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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Zero % After Dro Hearing For Ptsd


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Dear Tbird,

This site is an unbelieveable blessing and, after more than two years of trying to prove service connection for my PTSD, I finally found the site a couple of months ago, after my Legion Rep told me about it.

I have been married twice, most recently for fourteen years. I am a Vietnam and Desert Storm non-combat veteran and worked as a Hospital Corpsman from 1973-1992 mostly with the Marine Corps as a Field Medical Service Technician as a platoon corpsman , and as an EMT/Paramedic at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital emergency services, and in the refugee camp in 1975 where all of my documented stressors occurred, along with caring for the sick and wounded returning to Long Beach Naval Hospital during 1972.

Last week a DRO sent me a transcript of our meeting and changed me from a complete denial status of my service connection claim to zero %. I have been treated by private mental health professionals on an outpatient basis since 1981, and by VA doctors since 2005. The diagnoses have always included anxiety/panic disorder, major depression, etc. GAF 55.

My American Legion Rep is happy and says that, now that I have recieved service connection status, we can appeal again for a higher percentage of disability.

I currently work four hours a day, five days a week in a job which allows me to have minimal contact with the public, and that helps me avoid many of my stressors.

I drive to and from work, and drive at work and, because I am on medication continuously I have few road rage incidents. I have been on medication for many years for my symptoms and I recieve them from a VA psychiatrist.

The transcript from the DRO had several mistakes in it, and I would like to correct them. How do I do that?

Also, in order to get my rating increased do I need to get a statement of employability? And should I go to a civilian psychologist, or psychiatrist-- or the VA psychiatrist (who I do not completely trust). Who's opinion would carry the most weight with the people who make ratings decisions?

One of the great Hadit community members provided me with a list describing what each percentage increment for PTSD requires, and I believe I fall somewhere around 30-50 %.

Thanks for your great heart and the help of the whole Hadit community.

Doc John

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Johnny, as far as VA docs go, I have a shrink that I didn't think much of either, but he writes excellent notes from the clinic vists. I at one time wanted to switch from him to the PTSD team, after being messed up by the PTSD team on the admissionto the inpatient program (they rejected me on the basis I was to sick to be in the hospital)so I asked the shrink if he would continue to see me (my wife suggested I keep him, due to his notes. In the long run it was one if NOT the most impiortant decision I ever made, my 100% came from his notes and his letters supporting my claim for the 100%. Sometime the people you expect to help you the least help you the most

Hey Testvet,

Here is what Berta said on the topic earlier, I really appreciate her, too:

date='Jul 29 2007,

I am astonished that the VA has not awarded you yet with the evidence you mentioned.

Do they have all of that evidence?

Did they ever refer to it yet in any Statement of the Case?

Have they attempted to rebutt those IMos with any VAola quackola medical opinions?

I would certainly bring all of the above opinions to the DRO hearing and make sure they are fully considered-

and are made part of the record----

My Rep at a DRO hearing- claimed he highlighted my IMOs -but the DRO record shows this never happened and that VA did not even have any IMos from me.

I hope the AL will sure show up for the hearing.

When the VA has enough medical evidence to make an award -they should award-

they should NOT do any doctor shopping to try to find a VA opinion against your claim.

When MY rep called me before the DRO conference (it wasnt really a hearing)

he said he was sure he would walk in with my IMos and walk out with an award.

I dont know what he walked in with- my IMOs disappeared from that point for over 2 years-in spite of being re-sent by me many times-and he never gave them to the DRO.

I will look for the regs and post them here-

that show that VA -with enough medical information to award (regardless of where it comes from-claimant or VA )is supposed to award.

You have a preponderance of evidence -

actually it is really too late for VA to doc shop-

I sure hope the AL knows the regs in and out on this one.

Berta

I saw the VA psychiatrist yesterday for my quarterly eval. He was not even aware of my claim, although I assumed he was. You know what they say about "assume".

I was not aware that the claims people do not talk to the medical people so yesterday I had him enter information about my claim into my VA medical record. He really only seems interested in controling my meds- not in counseling or therapy.

I have decided to stay with him and also get an IMO letter stating my employability and other conditions of my disability. But I guess I need a Psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD, what do you all think?

The DRO 's transcript did not mention that I have to be on meds all the time so I will get a statement from the doc to that effect.

John D. (cloudcroft who is very sharp, too) states that the VA psych's opinions are given more weight than a civilian doctor's. But I have two VA psychiatrists so far: one VA psychiatrist for my C&P (who said I have SC major depression but not PTSD) and another on a regular basis for treatment. Plus I have four psychologist opinions ( two from VA and two civilian) stating I have service connected PTSD already recorded in my C-file and the VA medical records.

I will not give up even though the battle just makes my symptoms worse.

Thanks for the encouragement! Got to go .

Doc Johnny K.

Edited by Johnny K.
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sounds like the DRO was playing the numbers game. if the issue in front of him is "entitlement to service connection for ptsd" then he can award service connection and pull the issue off appeal as a "complete grant of benefits." he did that by granting you what you asked for, and assigning a zero percent evaluation. he gets the credit for disposing of a case, and his pending appeals numbers go down by one.

now you have a new claim for "evaluation of service connected posttraumatic stress disorder" which is not on appeal. since you have a diagnosed mental disorder and take medication, an evaluation of 10 percent is inevitable. but higher evaluations may depend on complex issues specific to your claim. do you have co-existing mental disorders, one of which is not service connected? such a scenario is suggested by the DRO's assignment of a 0 percent, and can be problematic for getting a higher evaluation.

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Johnny K.,

Yes, if you can find a civilian (non-VA) shrink who specializes in PTSD that would be great. Better yet is one Board Certified for PTSD and on top of that, best of all would be one who has worked with combat vets and is VA-experienced. Because PTSD can have other non-military service causes, if your PTSD is from combat service, you'd want a shrink who has dealt with that environment and also knows how to write up IMOs according to VA guidelines.

The more suited a shrink is (due to his/her specialization) for whatever your mental disability is -- not just PTSD - AND who has worked with vets before, the better, and the harder it is for the VA to dismiss it.

I mean seeing a shrink specializing in children/adolescents, family issues or phobias, for example, isn't really going to be that helpful even though he/she may be a very good shrink; same for a shrink who knows nothing about vets or the VA...unless that's all you can find in your town. Also, keep in mind that some shrinks will not even do IMOs, others will, while even others will do IMOs, too, but will want to see you for a while (x-number of sessions) before they write one up. Ask the shrink about this ahead of time.

And an IMO could be expensive: A local shrink here requires a $2000 retainer before he will even see you...he said, "This in case I have to go to Washington and testify before the BVA or CVA" (but I don't see why he can't wait to BE SURE he will have to go before asking for the 2 grand, and besides, requesting the shrink's presence is unlikely anyway). And the famous Dr. Bash is several grand (but I don't know if he does mental issues, let alone PTSD). Otherwise, consider about $300 for the IMO sesson itself plus the actual write-up/report.

Unfortunately, a shrink like this -- PTSD specialist/board certified for PTSD/VA-experienced -- probably will be VERY hard to fund in small or medium-sized towns/cities...even in larger cities it may be tough. I expect that in a few years there will be more shrinks specializing in PTSD and vet-experienced due to the increasing number of vets coming back from Iraq. But that doesn't help us NOW. The lack of VA-experienced shrinks is probably the same as the lack of VA-experienced lawyers.

VA shrinks are the best way to go if you can find one who is vet-friendly and sympathetic to PTSD issues. Get one who isn't vet-friendly and you're probably in trouble.

Good luck,

-- John D.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Doc. As I read your post and the replies here, you seem to be on track to correct your PTSD rating. Thanks to experienced Hadit family and years of effort, my disability rating issues are truing up.

My 2 questions.

First, do you have a copy of your C-file and have you read it? When I first requested and recieved my C-file, I only got the "medical" office visit notes. I learned here that I didnt get the entire thing, so I re-requested a copy of my "entire" Cfile, wow, it had so much more data, like V.A. specific disability diagnosis statements, C&P exam results, claim notes, claim letters and proof submitted. Once I submitted a claim using the wrong diagnosis, that was before I had my Cfile copy. Afterwards, my VSO and I had correct info. There were some things in my C-file that I was surprised at, telephone record notes that I had reqeusted this or that (a few untrue statements too that upset me too!) All in all, a very important, interesting and eye opening read.

Second, Do you know you can update your listing here with your hard earned disability rating? See "my controls" at the top of the page, smile. cg

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Doc John, don’t give up, almost 5 years ago when a vet wanted to help me with a claim for PTSD I told him, “Your crazy as hell, I don’t have PTSD” A shrink the VA sent me to said, “the service was more likely then not the cause of my problems” (Not the exact words.) I am now waiting for the formal notice of my new rating of 70% MDD and 100% TDIU. Of course the waiting will probably kill me. So just keep working, it will come. AND there is a lot of great help here. bill

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