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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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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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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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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    • Update 2:

      Just talked to a representative for my lawyer.

      I was basically told my lawyer is going to write an argument letter and present it to the BVA hearing judge - citing VA rules, regulations, and other similar cases of how my claim has been unfairly rated by the RO given all of the probative evidence.

      The motto of “deny, deny, deny until the veteran quits or dies” is alive and well.

      It should not take a veteran to present their case before the BVA to get it right.

      It is downright insulting and a spit to the face when a veteran clearly has current disabilities (that are presently being treated) that were diagnosed while in-service and documented in their SMRs.

      I find it funny how my least documented disability in my SMRs (patellofemoral syndrome in both knees) was granted when I first filed my claim in 2018. 

      Now I know first-hand how most or some of you feel in hadit.
    • Update:

      My lawyer received the decision letter before I did. I was denied on all of my contentions, and my lawyer sent in the form to appeal to the BVA.

      I find this disheartening because one of my issues (migraine headaches) are clearly documented in my SMRs and even on the separation physical exam the physician wrote “Migraine headaches (severe).”

      My SMRs also showed the frequency (3-5 per month) and intensity (prostrating in nature) of the migraines with documentation of laying down or sleep was my only relief.

      Sumatriptans did not help at all. After I left service, I was also diagnosed by a VA neurologist with migraine headaches.

      Then I had an IME w/ IMO with a board certified specialist who provided a nexus with “at least as likely as not related to his military service” in regards to my migraines.

      I just feel defeated, and my migraine headaches make me suicidal to the point I have suicidal ideation on a daily basis.

      I do no understand how the VA can deny service-connection when the evidence is cut and dry.

      The C&P exam for my migraines was done by an NP who incorrectly applied the VA definition for migraines and opined “veteran does not have chronic migraines. Chronic migraines are 15 migraine headaches per month or more.”

      Migraine headaches are not rated that way, which to me is clearly a CUE.

      I just feel so broken.
    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
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Josh

How Much Time For Imo Is Reasonable?

Question

Greetings all,

I have not been active here recently at all but wanted to let you know my 1151 is still being reviewed by the VARO chosen Doctor- He was given 15 volumes of medical records along with a 47 or so pages of new and rlevant information. The revoew has been at the IMO for three months now and the leading question is, is this normal? This claim is the summation of years of pressure on them for an error their own cheif neurologist acknowledges. It has been suggested that the DRO will rule based upon what the reviewer writes. Considering there were five aggreeing doctors that there was a big error, the end should be clear but, as usual. I always expect to be totally surprised no matter what the next level may be.

Josh

I will let all know what the outcome is. The claim was posted on the old board but am not sure if it is still there and was for untreated Bacterial Encephalomyelitis (bacterial infection of th e brain and spinal cord left without antibiotics for 7 years) ending only when I was brought to Colombia, South America, where she supplied a doctor, was my nurse helping recovering my ability to walk holding her hand. After having spent 4 years in a wheelchair and nearly three years in a nursing home. in the end before I was brought here, the state of Wisconsin left me without Medicare coverage having listed me as having died.

I want to see just what happens next... No matter what it is, I am sure it will be a total surprise.

Edited by Josh

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4 answers to this question

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Good Luck!

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Guest Berta

Josh- 1151 opinions seem to take about 3 months-

then again the IMO that VA requested for my claim in late Oct was done within three weeks and it is at the DRO's desk-

We are in the same boat-

we both have sent them other medical opinions that support our claims-

my situation is that I filed an AO claim due to misdiagnosed diabetes. The Sec 1151 award I received in 1997 stated there were "multiple" medical errors- so I did not file this technically as 1151 but as direct SC claim due to AO undiagnosed diabetes mellitus as one of the multiple medical errors-(that included undiagnosed heart and brain disease) which contributed to the veteran's death.

A denial by the DRO solely due to this VA IMO -in my case-would go against all know diagnostic medical standards of DMII. It would also prove that the VA is still incapable of proper diagnosis. I cannot imagine what else the VA IMO doc could come up with.

My vet rep said the evidence was in a preponderance for me even without additional IMOs.

Still- my past experience on Sec 1151 -1994-1998 caused the VA to go against me many times-

I didn't have an IMO opinion , and spent night after night reading medical texts, and then went up against a Cardio team in Washington- but I felt that the evidence was in such preponderance that the claim would succeed. It did- it took over 3 years-but it did succeed without going to the BVA.

VA does not take Sec 1151 claims lightly-

but they will do all they can to stave off a Sec 1151 award.Some of the SOCs with VA doctor opinions in them that I got were outrageous and medically unsound. When I got the actual reports however, the VA IMOs supported another claim I had and much for the Sec 1151 had been completely manipulated. Also they never gave this doc the evidence he needed. Last year this same doctor opined to me that my present DM claim had definite sound medical basis-just based on a few limited notes he still had from 1997-but when I asked him for an IMO he reminded me that I had knocked down two of his prior IMOS and they probably would not accept another one from him, unless they ordered it.

You have IMOs and that is what you need.I hope you have copies of them.

But you have to be prepared (which you are) for the unexpected. I am close to a decision.

Yet even though my vet rep felt I submitted preponderant evidence, with two IMOs,and I cannot foresee how a VA IMO would be able to go against the claim- I am still prepared for battle.

One tip- in my case the DRO assured my vet rep that my two IMOS would be considered by the VA doctor-

it boiled down to a few medical blood chem test-and the autopsy- which the doc obtained 3 weeks ago and the files are back with the DRO-

Any denial will prompt me to immmediately request that IMO report and see what the VARO gave the IMO doc and what they held back.

Make sure that this IMO doctor has those other IMOs Josh-

It is easier for a doctor to corroborate with other sound documented IMOs than invent something that will go against the claim.

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Hi Berta... about 3 months... Thanks for the information

We are definitely in the same boat but your boat has gone further than my boat at this point since you won your tort claim.. As you may know, I could not reliably contest their denial as I had an attorney wait until the very last day to say he could not do it while I was here in COlombia. I should have filed it myself.

You will be the first to know when I get the information back... With ALL the jucy details..

A hug to you and may your Christmas season be delightful.

Josh

Edited by Josh

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Guest Berta

Josh- forgot- in 1995 , 2 months after Rod died-I realised they misdiagnosed my husband's buddy-Vietnam vet employed at the same VAMC (makes me wonder-both of these vets were pretty outspoken when the VAMC tried to mess with them on employment issues-they almost killed this vet too)

I typed a brief 1151 claim minutes after he mentioned to me what a VA doctor had told him after his cancer surgery,he signed it, mailed it same day in late January - -he got 100% under Section 1151 by April ,1995.

Just goes to show- some of these claims can go quicker-

the IMO VA just got probably for my claim probably only took an hour or two-

as the evidence had been clarified and considerably condensed.

Happy Holidays to you too!

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    • Update 2:

      Just talked to a representative for my lawyer.

      I was basically told my lawyer is going to write an argument letter and present it to the BVA hearing judge - citing VA rules, regulations, and other similar cases of how my claim has been unfairly rated by the RO given all of the probative evidence.

      The motto of “deny, deny, deny until the veteran quits or dies” is alive and well.

      It should not take a veteran to present their case before the BVA to get it right.

      It is downright insulting and a spit to the face when a veteran clearly has current disabilities (that are presently being treated) that were diagnosed while in-service and documented in their SMRs.

      I find it funny how my least documented disability in my SMRs (patellofemoral syndrome in both knees) was granted when I first filed my claim in 2018. 

      Now I know first-hand how most or some of you feel in hadit.
    • Update:

      My lawyer received the decision letter before I did. I was denied on all of my contentions, and my lawyer sent in the form to appeal to the BVA.

      I find this disheartening because one of my issues (migraine headaches) are clearly documented in my SMRs and even on the separation physical exam the physician wrote “Migraine headaches (severe).”

      My SMRs also showed the frequency (3-5 per month) and intensity (prostrating in nature) of the migraines with documentation of laying down or sleep was my only relief.

      Sumatriptans did not help at all. After I left service, I was also diagnosed by a VA neurologist with migraine headaches.

      Then I had an IME w/ IMO with a board certified specialist who provided a nexus with “at least as likely as not related to his military service” in regards to my migraines.

      I just feel defeated, and my migraine headaches make me suicidal to the point I have suicidal ideation on a daily basis.

      I do no understand how the VA can deny service-connection when the evidence is cut and dry.

      The C&P exam for my migraines was done by an NP who incorrectly applied the VA definition for migraines and opined “veteran does not have chronic migraines. Chronic migraines are 15 migraine headaches per month or more.”

      Migraine headaches are not rated that way, which to me is clearly a CUE.

      I just feel so broken.
    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
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