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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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Googy

Pending Claim - Scary

Question

I am in the middle of a SMC and AA claim with the VA. Served from 80 to 85 in USAF. Muscular Dystrophy manifest while in service. Condition was aggravated my service and took me to where I could not function or even walk and had so much muscle breakdown that I would have red tinged urine. This was all under the threat of article 15's and reprimands. I made copies of all those physical profiles. They sure have come in handy. Was medically retired in 1985 placed on TDRL with 50% comp (they offered me 20K but I said no way) and a year later on PDRL with 80%. Then in 86 was taken over by the VA at 50% SC in the Hodkins category - that is a form of cancer of the brain and not the correct category. They took my comp away in 1987 saying it was CUE. It was not CUE and I eventually prevailed over them in hearings in 2 local hearings and then the DC BVA where they supposedly opened a new category for Muscular Dystrophy in 1988. Then they put me in the "brain infection" category at 30%. They did not even put me in the category I set precedence with and this was not the correct category yet again! They then threatened me that if I ever made another claim they would take away everything forever. You can believe that I did not want anything to do with them after that. I developed related cardiomyopathy along with this weakness throughout my body - I have used a wheelchair since 1987 and arms are so weak I cannot do most things by myself like preparing food and bathing and etc. My wife, daughters and neighbors have been caring for my needs, but not the VA. I have never been able to work a job for more than a few months from 1985 to the present. I have my lifetime earning statement all the way back to before I enlisted and I is very paltry. I never even heard of IU until this summer. I had never before heard of SMC or AA until this summer. I have been trashing my body all these years and my wife has been working multiple jobs just to make ends meet all the while trying to care for my ill health. Thinking about this now really angers me to boiling. So one day in 1997 as I happened to pop in to a DAV NSO in a VA hospital to ask him if this seemed odd to him. There is a huge story behind all of this but too long to go into right now. This NSO did not buy my story at first, but after a week of research he saw that everything I said was correct. He did some sort of quick claim and I wound up with a dual rating; 100% SC PAT for loss of use of lower extremities due to Muscular Dystrophy and a 60% SC for cardiomyopathy. I took it and ran like a starving child who hoards food for fear of never eating again. Ten years later I am a greenie at Unit DAV Commander. By chance the state DAV Commander asked about my condition at a BBQ this July. It was then that I heard of SMC. Then I did research about AA and IU. There are many years I should have received IU first then SMC and AA. So now I have Muscular Dystrophy, cardiomyopathy with electrophysiological arrythmias with the need for a pacemake soon, stroke, whitematter disease, brain infarctions resulting in cognitive/memory problems, spine problems and a paralyzed right lower foot from a ill fitting VA wheelchair. These are all SC related disabilities which I have overwhelming record of. I am going to do as they say? Appeal, appeal, appeal.

I submitted the SMC AA claim in July 07. I received 2 VA letters at the same time. I had a C&P the same day I turned in the letter asking if I had any more medical records to submit. I knew I had numerous letters to substantiate my claim, but somehow the box was marked "Does not have any records to include". I am not sure they even read this right.

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It can be extremely confusing-

Loss of Use of extremeties certainly puts one into high SMC ratings-

It sounds like your rep is really on the ball here-

My SMC CUE claims are quite similiar to yours-

My husband was denied SMC consideration in posthumous decisions-

I think the clinical record supports the SMC M level-in his case-

I need to print out this post and get back to you-

but it does sound like the Rep knows what he is doing-I can tell he is using the actual SMC regs-

This concerns me:

"I had four strokes since last August and something called white matter disease and...what do you call it....uh....memory loss. I have had veritigo for 4 years now."

My husband had 7 strokes- all causing minor accumulate deficits until he had a major 100% stroke.

He had the white matter problem too-

I proved to VA this was caused by his malpracticed heart disease. They agreed.

Their is no doubt in my mind that your strokes were more then likely caused by your heart disease.

I cant determine if you mean transcient cerebral ischemia attacks or that these were major CVAs requiring extensive hospitalization.

Also I cant determine if these strokes left you with ratable residuals-

If so -they should be claimed as secondary to the heart problems.

Or- do you have HBP?

Is it being properly medicated?

That too would be more than likely due to the heart disease- and that too should be rated as secondary and as another potential cause of these strokes.

"Do you think handing in the paperwork while it is "on deck" will hinder or will it help. Will submitting this info take away my chances of using it in the future for the other cases? I guess I have a year to NOD. Am I worrying too much? I am trying not to."

I say give them all you have got-copies of it that is-

if you deal with the Buffalo VARO you might well have to re submit it anyhow when they lose it-

I have used the same medical records for separate claims.

I have been getting my stuff ready for a lawyer regarding my CUE claims and had to also send all the paperwork from 2 decades of VAola crapola.

Some of my copies of med recs have tabs Exhibit A, then Tabs for Exhibit B , C, etc on them-

depending on what claim they were sent in to support.

Stuff that won my FTCA in 1997 became highly probative in my claim of 2003.

"I knew I had numerous letters to substantiate my claim, but somehow the box was marked "Does not have any records to include"

If you mean the VCAA election notice with the 2 boxes-

I never got one of these for over 5 years-

It is this election notice that triggers them to read our evidence.

The entire form is deceptive-in my opinion-

it suggests that nothing you already sent in already or that VA already has will be considered.

For anyone who doesnt get this election form- their claim goes to the absolute bottom of the pile.

Then they can deny and say you never responded to them with the form (that they never sent to you in the first place)

Do you have any narrative of any MRIs of your brain that were done in August?

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I am wrong-I asked VA for R-1 for my husband-

I have to explain to lawyer how I arrived at that-

Good think I kept all of my notes-the CUE SMC claims were filed in 2004.

Can you cover the personal info and attach a copy of the MRI Narrative?

I am not a doctor but I might be able to see something to SC the strokes as secondary to the SC CAD that would also put you into higher SMC level.

Did VA ever give you any neuro tests to assess the residual deficits of these strokes?

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I will get that MRI narrative so you can look at it. That issue has not been given consideration or claimed yet, but that is coming up. I did include it when I sent the info in during the first claim. I think it should be pertinent to AA and my overall need for AA. I still have not seen that VCAA form that I am positive I marked that I do have more info. Wow do I more info, and it is still coming in - from neuros, scans etc. We put together a 4 inch notebook with tabs and color pointer stickys with letters and records etc. I thought it looked very professional. Sometimes I wonder if they do play games with our claims and appealss, or is it that they are so inundated all the time?

I was in college again until just before the strokes and my voc rehab counsellor asked me "Do you ever really think you will ever work again full-time". I told him that I didn't think so. Well, I got dropped from voc rehab with more than enough benefit to finish. At that time I was really beginning to know for sure that my brain function was/is severely affected. I can't retain information very long, I forget everything and I struggle to learn things quickly. I have to repeat, repeat and then continually use information to keep it straight. How frustrating. I have been informed of brain function involvement because of muscular dystrophy as I cannot produce certain proteins necessary for function but now, after the vertigo I have been experiencing for 4 years now, the strokes, white matter disease, and the brain injury, this is increasingly a huge problem. Yes, I will use this in this claim and in a seperate one after I prevail on this one. (positive thinking) One thing I just remembered is that the doctors have mostly ruled out cardio problems as the cause of the strokes. I am not sure I agree with that assumption though. The have done bubble tests looking for problems with valves and such. I do have some heart block that does show up on the strips and went How about the fact that I have not exercised since 1985 and have been in the wheelchair all these years and I have type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides and cholesterol and on and on. I have been dealing with stupor of thought for as far back as 1986. This has been an annoyance and has gotten to be a huge problem. No work history over all these years and always losing my job because of the MD, the heart and the memory issues. Wish I would have claimed this all these years, but it all goes back to that VA threat back in 1988. "This is the highest category you can be rated in, and if you ever make another claim, you will lose everything and will never get it back". Crud, they didn't even put me in the category I was responsible for establishing. Pretty nice, huh? I am certainly watched over in that I am still here, but those were some injustices and many were CUE.

The VA has not done any tests for residual deficits from the strokes, nor any other facility. Those regs talk about NERF (no effective remaining function)? This NSO has been very helpful - yes. No I don't have HPB, but the medicines I take for cardiomyopathy mask and treat any HBP I might have. It is documented that it IS borderline. Get this, they have me get out of my chair to weigh me and THEN they do a BP test. All that struggling gets my BP up. The VA did send me a BP cuff. Whenever I have tested it it is always good though. You proved a malpracticed heart disease - impressive. That is almost as hard as proving a CUE. I appreciate your willingness to help. Sometimes I get last and dazed reading and gleaning all the CFR 38 and M21 and on and on. This AA vs housebound was more than I could get. Thanks

I will be waiting to be scheduled for the local DRO hearing. They do them every Tues but will schedule you 1 month out. In the meantime I am writing and strategizing and organizing.

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You answered a question I was afraid to ask you-

you obviously presented a clinical picture of a diabetic and I didnt see that mentioned in your past post.

I was beginning to think they never ruled in or out diabetes, but fortunately they did in your case.

Is the diabetes service connected?

Did you ever spend any time at all in Vietnam?

"Sometimes I wonder if they do play games with our claims and appealss, or is it that they are so inundated all the time?"

I think it is both.

"I was in college again until just before the strokes and my voc rehab counsellor asked me "Do you ever really think you will ever work again full-time". I told him that I didn't think so. Well, I got dropped from voc rehab with more than enough benefit to finish. At that time I was really beginning to know for sure that my"

Most Major strokes have to be rated at 100%.

I am going to assume something- I am not a doctor however-but I am going to assume your medical records might well reveal you had strokes that were due to clots and were not hemmoragic in nature-with controlled HBP that too rules our hemmoriagic brain ischemia.

formed in your heart due to diabetes mellitus.

There is a VA diabetes training letter here at hadit available under a search-the original one changed a little -it was 17 pages long-

the VA is fully aware of what I just stated-

so is the ADA.

DMII can cause heart disease, which then can cause strokes,atherosclerosis, PN, etc etc

"One thing I just remembered is that the doctors have mostly ruled out cardio problems as the cause of the strokes."

I would love to read their medical rationale on that one-

again-I am not a doctor but believe me ,VA doctors can sure manipulate things to go their way-

when they could not knock down my 1151 wrongful death claim with probative medical evidence ,-I combatted every single statement in their denial letters,a VA doctor actually stated maybe my husband died from using cocaine.

It shows you how low they will go.And how creative they will get.

My husband was an organ donor-the Organ bank does a complete toxicology as part of the autopsy.

It was easy to knock them down again.

the strokes- if due to the heart disease would be 100% SC secondary in my opinion

Then again maybe muscular dystrophy is the cause of the strokes- I dont know -

still- you seem to present hyperlipedemia- high triglycerides-which can cause atherosclerosis which can cause a stroke.

And obviously a service connected stroke can put you into a high SMC rating.

If you have the MRI Narrative and still have the medical reasons and bases for why they did not service connect your strokes to your heart disease-

if you can post it here- it could be the key to a higher SMC rating.

They might be right- in saying these strokes are Not due to your heart disease-

but I never believe anything a VA doctor says-

unless it helps a vet succeed in their claim.

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Found my floppy--

this shows what I mean -it is 17 pages long

Also my husband could no longer go to school in Voc Rehab when he had a major stroke-

the deficits were documented prior to the major stroke-(misdiagnosed by VA- transcient ischemia)by the college itself-

He had short term memory loss and would be unable to remember a single thing for the tests.

Sometimes if he waited a few hours,the subject matter would come back to him and he could take the test and pass it.

The college allowed him to do this as he asked them for accomodations due to his PTSD-

like the EXam clock-

it was a land mine- they let him take exams alone without the clock-

he also was assigned a note taker as he could not assess the lectures as fast as others and could note take enough notes-

he thought it was PTSD stress but it was in fact the residuals from the smaller strokes he had prior to the big one.

If you cannot attend Voc Rehab due to a stroke- then that is proof that the stroke has render you in essense unvoc-rehabable- therefore unemployable-therefore 100% due for the stroke.

The VA might have had a good medical reason for not attributing the strokes to your heart disease.

But in my opinion their reason might well be completely inaccurate-or at least dumb enough to punch holes in it.

DMII_VA_TRAINING_LETTER.doc

Edited by Berta

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