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  1. I submitted claims at the end of Sept of 2021. I just received, and read, the VA decision letter that I received today. The claims I submitted that were related to my already service-connected back conditions were approved. I am now at 80%. However, even though the VA confirms the diagnosis of all my secondary conditions that I submitted, all of my secondary claims (Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Hypertension, and Abdominal Hernia) that I submitted and associated to my weight gain, due to my SC back condition, were denied. I specifically stated in my veteran statements that I was connecting these secondary conditions to my SC back conditions, since I am effectively unable to exercise, using my weight gain as the "intermediate step," per the Walsh v Wilkie Decision. In my veteran statements I also referenced other VA Decisions where others have been granted service connection for the exact same medical conditions (using weight as their intermediate step) that I submitted? In their reasoning for the denials (file attached), the VA mentions nothing at all about me using my weight as the "intermediate step" for my secondary claims. After reading this I wondered if they even looked at my veteran statements, or even took the Walsh v Wilkie Decision into consideration. I emailed my VSO about this and he said that the VA raters do not use court decisions when determining ratings because they are specific to that veteran. That just doesn't sound right to me. The letter also states that my claims for Insomnia, Depression, PTSD, and TDIU have been deferred for "Additional Development." What does that mean? So I guess my main questions are: 1. Is my VSO correct, or did the VA totally ignore my veteran statements? 2. Do I have a good chance at a Higher Level Review (HLR)? 3. What would be my best way to proceed? Attorney? Thank you for your time. Any advice, replies, and opinions are greatly appreciated! OSA Denial.pdf
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