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Writing The Ro


Scott D

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Do you think it is worthwhile to write your RO and explain the circumstances behind filing appeals? It seems that the NOD's my SO officer files are pretty generic and simply request a review based on new and material evidence.

An example in my case would be regarding migraines: The RO ignored evidence in my SMR with regards to the frequency; hopefully this has been rectified with new evidence plus the highlighted page from SMR, and assigned a 0% rating. We have filled the NOD with evidence from my treating physicians that the correct freq is 3-4 a month vice the 3-4 a year the RO quoted. The evidence shows that during the attack I suffer from Nausea, vomiting, photophobia, noise sensitivity as well as other symptoms. But the medical evidence will not show economic impact as needed for the correct rating under the schedule of ratings.

With very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks

Productive of severe economic inadaptability 50

Will a letter to the RO showing the amount of time I have taken off of work, specifically the sick days and vacation days, provide the needed evidence?

Also, I have had to file a FMLA request in order to not be penalized by the company for taking time of with no pay; will this information support the claim?

Thanks

Scott

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Scott- I sure agree that those generic NODs that SOs do are almost useless in getting a vet closer to their proper compensation.And have them fill out an I-9? I would never ever let a SO or vet rep do that.

They might sit there wondering if there are any donuts left at the coffee area and then miss something very important to put into the appeal for your claim.

I think all you mentioned sending to VARO is a good idea.

Under a post started by Mr. Tann regarding appeals yesterday- I posted a bit more on NODs.

Maybe it will help you.

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What is the I-9 form you mentioned? All my web searches turned up Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Probably not the right one.

Also some of the conditions being NOD'd are were granted SC but were not rated in accordance with the evidence. For quite a few of the conditions I was never scheduled for a C & P exam because the VA says the documentation in my SMR was suffiecent. This is quite a farce because as we all know your SMR doesnt neccesarily reflect all of the symptoms and is usually lacking in completeness which in my case was due to being treatd by a hospitalman vice doctor while staioned on the submarine. Should I try and request a C&P in order to get the symptoms documented?

Thanks again

Edited by Scott D (see edit history)
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Scott D - if you use one of the SO generic NOD's I would quickly follow it up with a detailed statement which outlines your arguments so there is no question as to why you appealed the decision. You can continue to provide arguments on your appeal as your research reveals more information to support your claim. This can be done throughout the appeals process. Why SO's use generic NOD's is beyond me. The only use for them as I see it is if you are three days from the deadline for filing the NOD. Outside of that a vet should hit'em with all they have upfront and update as often as needed.

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Scott -the I-9 is the formal BVA appeals form. It is usually attached to a SOC or-in my case an SSOC-

It puts your claim onto the BVA docket---

You have 60 days from receipt of the SSOC to file it. I say file the I-9 but also continue the arguement at the VARO level.The BVA wont call for your file for a long time anyhow.

However- I always suggest to respond to SOCs and SSOCs if you can- draw them out, send them more evidence, argue with everything you can in the SSOCs-because- why wait to get to the BVA- and then years down the road have your claim remanded back to the VARO for something that could have been satisfied at the VARO level in the first place?

If you check out the BVA website- you will see why they remand claims-

in many cases the veteran- by fully responding to the SOC, could have submitted what they wanted.

To date-(today 10 AM) 440,593 the word Remand appears within 329,459 BVA claims at their web site- some have been remanded more than once-

this claim shows what I mean-

http://www.va.gov/vetapp00/files1/0004338.txt

The veteran had 29 years of service that VARO could not account for????

Seems to me that this claim could have been worked at right from the git go to prove this veteran's service period-http://www.va.gov/vetapp00/files1/0004338.txt

This remand was due to a VCAA letter screw up:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files3/0518860.txt

This one- the VA doctor provided no rationale ----sounds like the vet rep here was pretty ticked-

http://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files2/0508570.txt

This is why I say to argue your case at the VARO level and get all you can as evidence-

Some of these Remands are just ridiculous-

BVA is great----that is not the problem- many claims should have never gone there in the first place- thus the tremendous BVA case load -and then the additional VARO caseload as they AGAIN work on claims that could have been resolved in the first place.

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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  • HadIt.com Elder

Berta what is scary to me is that 2 out of the 3 examples you showed were all from Columbia SC VARO, to me that just shows how they handle their files and mine is on the bottom of the pile lol.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Scott D,

When writing the RO be very specific as to frequency of the headachs. If your service connected a "0" percent. I would think that they still have to treat the condition without charge. Not only use work records, but every time you have one see a VA doctor and tell him that the VA counts the number of events. Thus, you want him to document the symptoms he notices. I would do this until he tells you not to come in. Then have him write it up in your records, and send a copy to the RO. There has been posts recently about the VA's obligation to rely on your personal history of events. They will try and argue the number of events unless they are documented. I went through this with events of angioedema. The rating schedule actually rates the condition for angioedema on the frequencey of events. 2 per month, 2 per year etc.

I think in the long run they will have to use your account of the frequency of events even if you do not see a doctor everytime. However, it would probably take a DRO or some other senior adjudicator to get this pointed in the right direction. Things might go quicker with a fresh stack of medical reports.

They should rate the condition on the frequency of events today not on what the SMR says. Any supportive evidence as to the impact on productivity, such as the documents showing missed work seem necessary considering the rating instruction that you posted. I would not rely on them to take your unsupport verbal account of the events.

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