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Lessons Learned Initial Disability Claim Exit Physical


cowgirl

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  • HadIt.com Elder

My first claim to the VA had several disability issues listed but not well defined or supported. I didn't specify very well what I wanted in medical terms or " I have this problem that occured during miltary service..... For example, I simply listed "fractured fingers" or "lower back, lumbar problems". IN hindsight, I should clearly stated a very complete request for claimed issue. I should have been proactive in supporting my claimed conditions that I needed service connection (SC) for. I also didnt "challenge" the denials, follow up with debate or disagreement, thinking that all was for not with all the "vague" verbage on the VA response.

Now I am thinking, the VA should have researched my issues on inferred or implied basis? Just a thought I have had for several years now, but reading a post here regards "inferred" caught my attention. So with that said. if a rater were reviewing my medical records for evidence related to the disability items I "listed" and applied for in my disability claim, as a minimum they should have looked for medical evidence and diagnosis's in my SMRs. The diagnosis's were clearly there, supported by years of treatment records. I still have unresolved disabilities and continue to work for SC, over a decade later. With kids in school and a husband, I havent been able to hold a full time job since the military, its been a strain to say the least.

Some of the responses I recieved from the VA mentioned exit physical "denial" for an issue. My exit physcial was all paperwork and a breif interview with a technician. I probably accepted my medical conditions or diagnosis's as status quo, my own ignorance. It would have been great to have a sponsor or buddy who had been through it all before, like us here at Hadit. I think this exam very important. As usual military procedure, I used a timed checklist to outprocess from the service and so I was concerned problems during the "exam" would delay my release. Or even worse, any problems presented for medical disability would cause a ton of paperwork to be reviewed in accordance with regulation this or that. For what its worth, I recieved high performance ratings during my years in service with no discipline problems, following orders as given.

What I know now, My exit exam was 'Very Important" and that all important medical problems were recognized BEFORE I accepted it as final. The terms "whitewash", "expediency " and "accepting orders and not making waves" comes to mind.

What I know now: Question again and again, don't follow "blind" orders and realize whats due.cg (with 2 cups of coffee on a Saturday mornin')

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...Question again and again, don't follow "blind" orders and realize whats due.cg (with 2 cups of coffee on a Saturday mornin')

Like you, I out-processed quickly--I was eager to start my new life. Fortunately, many (but not all) of

my medical problems were adequately cited in my medical records.

How I wish I had taken the time to ensure everything was accurate in my files...

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  • HadIt.com Elder

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CG, Don't have time tonight to go into details, but I wanted to kick this message - to keep it on top!

This "lesson learned" is a hard one (ouch) . . . The importance of a DoD Exit Physical Exam can not be overstated.

I had several INFERRED issues on my Outprocessing (hasty) that should have gone up the chain of command. One thing that I did wrong (had I known?!) was to NEVER check the box that said DO NOT SEND TO THE DVA . . . Big DUH on my part!! I didn't know shi% about the VA when I was leaving active duty.

Thanks for addrfessing the issue!!

~Wings

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Many Vietnam Era vets did not even get exit physicals. I never got an exit physical and six months of psychiatric records disappeared. We were young and just wanted to get the &^%$ out of there. Then, of course, there was the threat that if they found something wrong with you they would have to keep you an extra 6 weeks to evaluate it.

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My exit exam had just about everything and I was worried about being held longer.

I was held 6 months over my 4 yrs. It was actually longer than that but I dont

mind doing my 4 yrs. I have a buddy who has similar problems and even more than me

He retires this month from the Corps and I have spoke with him a number

of times to make sure everything is documented and he gets copies of everything.

He has PTSD and they let him go back to Iraq for one, so if y'all dont already

know you can still stay in with mental health problems. He's medicated and not

suicidal, so I'm guessing thats why he was able to stay in and finish his 20 yrs.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I would have to say that the exit physical I had in 1968 was a joke. I had a partially healed incision on my abdomen from surgery about six weeks before. They discharged me from the hospital and the Navy expected me to be able to haul a sea-bag weighing over lbs around. (I just barely managed, and naturally, it caused the incision to drain.) Anyway, it was the usual choice of saying I was basically OK, or spending an indefinite amount of time in a Navy hospital located at Treasure Island Navy Base. Since the base had several "schools", the hospital was about as "ch-- sh--" as the schools. I ended up going over to the "duty driver" section of the motor pool, volunteered, and spent most of the time waiting for seperation goofing off at the motor pool.

My first claim to the VA had several disability issues listed but not well defined or supported. I didn't specify very well what I wanted in medical terms or " I have this problem that occurred during military service..... For example, I simply listed "fractured fingers" or "lower back, lumbar problems". IN hindsight, I should clearly stated a very complete request for claimed issue. I should have been proactive in supporting my claimed conditions that I needed service connection (SC) for. I also didn't "challenge" the denials, follow up with debate or disagreement, thinking that all was for not with all the "vague" verbiage on the VA response.

Now I am thinking, the VA should have researched my issues on inferred or implied basis? Just a thought I have had for several years now, but reading a post here regards "inferred" caught my attention. So with that said. if a rater were reviewing my medical records for evidence related to the disability items I "listed" and applied for in my disability claim, as a minimum they should have looked for medical evidence and diagnosis's in my SMRs. The diagnosis's were clearly there, supported by years of treatment records. I still have unresolved disabilities and continue to work for SC, over a decade later. With kids in school and a husband, I haven't been able to hold a full time job since the military, its been a strain to say the least.

Some of the responses I received from the VA mentioned exit physical "denial" for an issue. My exit physical was all paperwork and a brief interview with a technician. I probably accepted my medical conditions or diagnosis's as status quo, my own ignorance. It would have been great to have a sponsor or buddy who had been through it all before, like us here at Hadit. I think this exam very important. As usual military procedure, I used a timed checklist to outprocess from the service and so I was concerned problems during the "exam" would delay my release. Or even worse, any problems presented for medical disability would cause a ton of paperwork to be reviewed in accordance with regulation this or that. For what its worth, I received high performance ratings during my years in service with no discipline problems, following orders as given.

What I know now, My exit exam was 'Very Important" and that all important medical problems were recognized BEFORE I accepted it as final. The terms "whitewash", "expediency " and "accepting orders and not making waves" comes to mind.

What I know now: Question again and again, don't follow "blind" orders and realize whats due.cg (with 2 cups of coffee on a Saturday mornin')

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I deal with several active duty "holdover" soldier and soon to be retirees so I thought I'd comment here. The exit exam is critical... they try and give you a form and ask you to filll it out just prior to the exam listing all your problems. I reccomend saying that you need to look at your records to fill it out, reschedule and take the form home. Go over it in depth and list everything that is in your records. Yeah the VA doc is gonna get pissed when the see it all because they have to go over it.... too bad.

Further, I like to tell soon to be veteran to ensure they get a copy of their service records... often things like convalescent leave are better annotated in those, as well as a great many other items you may need. May sure both your medical, and service records are complete. Make copies... several of each.

Ideally, a soldier will have their claim ready prior to discharge... or soon after. Soldier CAN file for SSD even before they are discharged... I did and have watched many that I advocate do so and get paid for that time... normally no more than 3 months though.

Anyway... my opinion.. sorry about the typos.. me and my new "ergonomic" keyboard are not agreeing... it's like the keys are bent to fit the hands... it just screws me up so far... joy.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Yesterday I found my exit exam note in my records, said in accordance with a particular regulation I didnt require a "physical". However, I did get to lightly go over forms with a technician and dont recall seeing a doctor confirm anything written. I highly encourage the idea of reviewing teh records, taking them home if possible and filling out the form (copying it once complete too!)Getting a copy of service records (personnel, training and financial) and medical records is probably more engaging these days with computerized data banks. Just a thought, what happens if a military member needs to have SMR for an off post doctor appointment? Do they carry the entire paper records or computer disk? If I could give a thought to new veteran/retirees - Forget about the pressure to return to work to do this or that. the outprocessing appointment is just that, use the time one needs to take care of self. cg

I deal with several active duty "holdover" soldier and soon to be retirees so I thought I'd comment here. The exit exam is critical... they try and give you a form and ask you to filll it out just prior to the exam listing all your problems. I reccomend saying that you need to look at your records to fill it out, reschedule and take the form home. Go over it in depth and list everything that is in your records. Yeah the VA doc is gonna get pissed when the see it all because they have to go over it.... too bad.

Further, I like to tell soon to be veteran to ensure they get a copy of their service records... often things like convalescent leave are better annotated in those, as well as a great many other items you may need. May sure both your medical, and service records are complete. Make copies... several of each.

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