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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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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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Johnny K.

Zero % After Dro Hearing For Ptsd


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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Yes B) I got service connected for PTSD at 0%. But that is only the new beginning. I also have MDD , conceded as "more likely than not SC" by the C&P shrink. Now I need to have that diagnosis included in my claim.

Just one little step at a time....I'll get there B)


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I think your worst battle is over: It took you two years just to get SC but you did...and even 0% is good, too. Because PTSD usually only gets WORSE, not better...so NOW it's "just" a matter of getting your rating raised (as you know). But the SC was the hard part.

I believe the VA gives more weight to an MD or DO (psychiatrist's) medical opinion rather than to a Ph.D.'s (but these ALSO will help as supporting evidence to the main IMO)...so look for an MD/DO and one who (hopefully) specializes in dealing with combat vets/PTSD issues...a specialist in the field (PTSD) would have the most weight over a "general practice" shrink but they are RARE...but still, get what is available. Try to find a shrink who AT LEAST has dealt with vets before even if it's not his/her speciality.

And if you DO get an outside medical opinion, be sure to print-out and take with you -- for his/her reading pleasure and enlightenment, and in order to write an IMO in VA-Speak that will be acceptable -- the appropriate PTSD C&P Exam guideline. Preferably, get the guideline to the doctor BEFORE seeing you so the doctor has time to read through it so he/she can ask the appropriate "VA format" questions, etc....be sure the doctor understands the VA is pretty demanding in what it wants to be sure the guideline is covered. And don't forget that the all-important "rationale" for his/her opinion must be indluded.

Good luck,

-- John D.

Thanks Cloudy,

I got the DRO letter in the mail today, explaining the decision.

Now it's back to work on the appeal. My VSO had me sign a form to ammend my claim to include MDD. You have all been such a huge help I cannot put it into words.


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Johnny,i see you was given a 0% service connection for ptsd and i also see at one time your gaf was 55.This is what i would do,I would file a nod and ask for a reconsideration of my claim.You already have the service connection,you just have to show that it have worsen to get a higher rating,but i would make sure i submitted evidence where i was given a gaf of 55 before, and if you have anymore evidence that you have been seeing, a psychiatrist of a clinic psychologist i would submitt with my nod.All the medical evidence that was not submitted,you need to submit because on a reconsideration va review the evidence again that was used to rate you 0%,but will review the new evidence.When filing a nod and asking for a increase in rating, va made just considerate the date that the the nod was filed,But when asking for reconsideration,your claim will be considerate from the original date it was filed.


Thanks Mobie,

That sounds like great advice, and I'll run it by my VSO.


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Regards my recent post, (see below) wasnt able to edit. Hope everyone figured out the first portion was quote from Doc Johnnys discussion.

Johnny, I too think using the PTSD or MDD compensation guideline is a very, very concrete idea. Forgot that I did that with a different claim, took 2 copies of VA guideline with me and a Mayo Clinic condition description in large type so I could speak to the "condition" with med terms too! C&P Doctor was kind enough to ask to have a copy of the VA compensation page *before consulting Wikipedia to "define" a term with! Of course I gave a copy of the guideline page! cg

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Hi Berta,

I saw a Fee For Service psychiatrist for my C&P exam. It was at 11:30 A.M. and he must have been hungry. He did a very brief and incomplete exam, not even mentioning hyper-vigilance, insomnia, etc.

When he asked his first question it was about when I was first seen for my symptoms, and I said 1981. Then he asked what the psych's initial diagnosis was and I said

" dysthymia (major depression)" and before I could say "but, he later changed his diagnosis to PTSD", the quack had moved on to the next question. Because of this poor exam (which did concede SC major depression but failed to service connect me for PTSD, I asked to see the DRO.

After she read all of my IMO opinions, she put me at 0% for PTSD and now I am adding the Major Depressive disorder and TMJ to my ammended claim.

The VSO sent me the DRO's transcript, but I have not received the actual opinion letter yet. The DRO meeting was only on Sept 12, so it should come soon.

Oh, and now I have found out the VARO at Bay Pines has hired the quack (Dr. Mack) as

a staff psychiatrist- no longer fee for service. My Vet Center counselor says that this guy has not diagnosed PTSD in any claimants and five of her clients have documented PTSD diagnoses from IMO's which have been ignored by him. Maybe that is how he got the staff position? :)

Thanks Doc Johnny K.

Hello everyone,

I got an appointment with a psychiatrist that john999 referred me to for an IMO. She worked at the James Haley VAMC in Tampa, way back when. She had no kind words for the VA paper trail or the attending shrinks.

I have to pay her "out of pocket", but it may speed my claim since she knows the way the VA works.

Thanks john999.

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