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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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Ryan H.

Hi... I Could Use Some Advise.

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Hi Im Ryan.

I am a vet, and did 2 combat deployments to Iraq. I am currently 10% disabled for tennitus. I am also service connected for distal esophagitis (acid reflux), Anxiety dissorder, and right ankle arthritis.

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Welcome to Hadit, Ryan! And thank you for your service!

What do you need advice on??

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Welcome Ryan thank you for your service and let us know if you need something. Are you sure that you are only 10% connected for those disorders? or maybe I need to find my reading glasses. *(I'd better ask rental for 'em back! the ones with ladybugs on 'em!) best to ya, cg

Hi Im Ryan.

I am a vet, and did 2 combat deployments to Iraq. I am currently 10% disabled for tennitus. I am also service connected for distal esophagitis (acid reflux), Anxiety dissorder, and right ankle arthritis.

Edited by cowgirl

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I wanted to try the search function first but I've had little luck with it. With the issues I am service connected with, I am seeking an increase in compensation. I'll go over each individually.

Right Ankle Arthritis- I have been having problems with my right ankle every since i was in the Marines. In Jan I decided to have something done about it. The pain had gotten to the point of not being able to walk. I saw a podiatrist and an Orthopedic Dr and both said that there is significant damage and it appears that my ankle is in the shape of a person twice my age. The ortho Dr had an MRI done and noticed that I have a ligament that is torn completely in half and I have 2 free floating bone masses that have been tearing up the soft tissue in the joint. The ankle was severely injured while in My MOS training back in May of 2002. So for almost 6 years i have been dealing with a bum ankle... thanks to military Dr's...... I have submitted for an increase through my local DAV and provided all the Dr's notes that i have seen in the past 2 months. I even sent a copy of the MRI but they sent it back. Just last week I had surgery on the ankle because the pain was becoming intolerable. The ortho Dr removed the free floating bone pieces and scar tissue, but could not repair the ligament at this time. I have 5 scope holes and an 1.5" incision on the back of my heal. I am worried that since i had the surgery done without going through the VA i will not be able to get an increase in compensation. My C&P apt is on the 28th of this month and I know that i will not have full mobility back. What else should i provide at th C&P apt to show that even though i have had a surgery to help correct the problem, there is still damage that i will have to deal with for pretty much ever.

Anxiety (PTSD)- I was service connected for anxiety. I flew in Ch-46e helo's and was involved in many casavac missions. I have bad episodes of depression and anxiety. I have had 5 jobs in the past 2 and 1/2 years. The longest lasting 11 months. I was unemployed for 8 months of that time as well. My wife and I split 3 months after my separation from the military which was 5 months after my second tour. There was no infidelity she told me that i was not the same person that i was before. I tried to go to college but could not keep myself motivated to go to class. I do not sleep much. Lately I have resorted to smoking MJ to keep my mood in check. I get angry very easily at times, and I have alot of issues with social interactions. I have distanced myself from my family and I have practically no friends. I have been diagnosed by a VA Dr to have PTSD, but i do not know if that can be connected to the anxiety. I have my C&P apt for this on Friday and I'm not sure what i need to bring. I could really use some help with this!!!!!

Distal Esophagitis (Acid Reflux)- I am service connected but I have no rating for this. I have been on Nexium 40mg for about a year and if i don't take the meds it gets pretty bad. My Dr did not do any test before giving me nexium so I have no documentation for the problem. What should i do to prove that this is still an issue and it has gotten worse. My c&p for this is on the 28th as well.

Thanks for your time.


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I'm sorry that you've been through hell since you ETS'd. The foremost thing you need to do is seek medical help from your local VAMC, especially for the depression/anxiety/PTSD. This will help you in two ways. One, you're not going to win squat if your mind isn't functioning somewhat normally, and two, it will help your claim to show that you are regularly seeking care. I know it's helping, but you need to kick mary jane out of the house. It's horrible for your health (I smoke cigs and dip, so I'm not much of one to talk), and it can screw you up in your treatment from the VA. If you get so bad that you need regular pain meds from the VA, they will make you enter a pain mamagement agreement. This means that you have to give them permission to piss test you for various forms of drugs, and yes, it's just like being in the service, except it will be Nurse Ratchet watching you instead of your platoon sergeant. Lastly, you need to know that you are not alone. Most of us here at Hadit have had the same rough road as you. Some are still on that route. I have went through about 75 jobs since I ETS'd in 1994, so I know what it's like. Just remember that we are on your side, and you can talk to us if things get bad. Now, on to your claims for increase.

The absolute first thing you need to do is get all of your medical records together. That means service medical records (SMR's), VA medical records (VAMR's) and civilian medical records (CMR's). It is too late to get a copy of your C-file, but try to get it as soon as you can after you receive a decision on your claims. As far as what information to take into the C&P with you, it's really up to you. A lot of C&P docs will not even look at the evidence you bring with you, because there job is to discern the level of your disability at that particular moment in time. In the case of a claim for increase the Regional Office (VARO) doesn't even have to make the C&P doc review your C-file. The most important thing to do is speak to the doc in terms of your absolute worst day. When politely asked, "How are you?" your answer should not be "Fine," or anything of the sort. You need to remember that anything you say is likely to be used against you.

First, read THIS so you'll know what to expect from a C&P. I know you've already had a few, but it's a good refresher.

Next, you will want to go to THIS WEB SITE and find the worksheets for the C&P's that you have coming up. Get familiar with what the doc is supposed to do and ask. You can even print this off and take it to the exam with you to make sure that the doc does all that they are supposed to do. After the exam, go over the sheet again and make notes on what the doc did/didn't do while it's fresh on your mind. This information can be invaluable if you need to appeal later.

Then look at 38 CFR 4 and figure out exactly where you stand within the VBA's rating criteria.

This is a good start, and after you have read all of the above material, you'll start to develop more focused questions. Let us know if you have questions about any of the links I gave you.

One other thing you can do is to go to the VA's web site, and look up BVA cases that are similiar to yours. There is a link on the left side of the main VA web page that says BVA. When you mouse over that, you will see Search Decisions. Just enter your disability as the search term and start reading. Good Luck!

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    • Yes 

      After a PTSD/Unspecific MDD Diagnose From the VA Dr's

      The gold standard for diagnosing PTSD is a structured clinical interview such as the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5). When necessary, the PCL-5 can be scored to provide a provisional PTSD DSM 5 diagnosis.

      Any clinical clinician such as MD ,Psychiatrist even a L.C.S.W. (Certified)can perform the Diagnostics Evaluation Employed by the the VA

      ...They just need to figure out your symptoms and put together a list of your symptom's that you possess or show from the evaluation...I am not 100% Sure just how they do this ?

      being I am not a Dr or clinical clinician 

      Once a Diagnoses of PTSD is given they try to set you up with a Therapist to help with your New dx And how to adjust or cope with the Anxiety and Depression the PTSD can cause.

        you learn the tools to cope with and depending how severe your symptoms are ? 

       They test /screen you with phychoeducational type therapy treatment usually at first.

       Warning  some of this therapy can be very rough on a Veteran  from holding on to guilt  from the trauma its self or you maybe in a  ''stuck point''from memories and guilt or from the stressor's or anything that reminds you of the trauma you endured.

      The therapy works  even if we think it don't,  I recommend Therapy for all PTSD Veterans  it could very well save your life once the correct therapy is in place and the Veteran makes all his Clinical Appointments.

      I still have Combat PTSD it probably will never be cured completely but we can learn the tools it takes to cope with this horrible diseases 

      even learning breathing techniques  Helps tremendously during a panic attact.

      I have guilt from the war in Vietnam  ( I ask my self what could I have done to make a better outcome/difference?..and also I am in what the therapist calls stuck points. working on that at present once a week for 90 minutes.  I am very fortunate to have the help the VA gives me and I am lucky I have not turned to alcohol or drugs to mask my problem.

      But I have put my family through a living hell with my angers of burst.and they all stood by me the whole time years and years of my family life was disrupted because of me and my children &spouse  never deserved it one bit.

      That's all I want to say about that.

      At least I am still around. and plan to be tell my old age dying day.
    • No timeframe gotta love that answer it’s even better when you ask 1800 people or call the board directly they’ll say you’ll know sooner then later. I had mine advanced and it was about 2 months later until I had the decision in my hand which seems forever but in the present system in 2016 lightning fast...
        • Thanks
    • I am serviced connected for ankylosing spondylitis back in 1985. I had a C&P exam on 7-7-19 since I am asking for an increase in my cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral ratings. After speaking with the DAV to find out progress and info on my exam, the Rep. noted sort of what I expected. Radiculopathy was noted and ROM was 0-15 for cervical, and 0-25 for back. I am currently rated as Cervical 30%, Thoracic 10%, and Lumbosacral 40%. The main question that I have is relating to the thoracic 10% and lumbosacral 40%. I am confused on these two. Is Lumbosacral separate from the thoracic/others ? Since my back ROM is at 0-25, does this mean that my thoracic might increase from the 10% to a higher rating ? I am confused how they break down my ratings from cervical at 30%, Thoracic at 10%, and Lumbosacral at 40%. Also, with the radiculopathy, is this something that they will rate also ? I am currently at 90% total combined for all my disabilities. I hope this helps for someone to give me advice/answers.
      • 4 replies
    • Thank you @GeekySquid for your reply. 


      I have redacted personal information for my documents listed below. 

      I look forward to your reply. 

      HEADACHE STR 2006 copy_Redacted.pdf


      Pages from Original Denial-Grant Reasons_Redacted.pdf
    • Hello Defenders of freedom!

      I have a question pertaining to this denial for headaches. The decision letter is quoted below. 


      3. Service connection for headaches.

      "We may grant service connection for a disability which began in military service or was caused by some event or experience in service.

      Your STRs are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On your post-deployment exam in 2005 you denied any headaches. On separation, you denied any headaches. VA treatment records are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On VA exam, the examiner stated there was no evidence of any residuals of a traumatic brain injury.

      We have denied service connection for headaches because the evidence of record fails to show this disability was incurred in or caused by military service."

      From my understanding these 3 points must be overturned to successfully win a CUE case:

       (1) either the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions in existence at that time were incorrectly applied; 

      (2) the error must be undebatable and of the sort which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time of the prior determination

      and (3) a determination that there was CUE must be based on the record and law that existed at the time of the prior adjudication in question.  

      @Berta, or veterans out here who have knowledge/experience, tell me what facts you think would be needed to prove this denial for headaches was an error? 
      • 14 replies
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