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What Should I Do?


pilgrim01
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Question

I retired in Nov 08. I filed for disability under the "pre-discharge program" in mid-August. One of my claims is that I had a problem with "tingling/numbness" from lower back down the back of my right leg to my foot. I haven't received a decision yet, BUT I had to go back to the doctor last week because the numbness/tingling had came back again. I had an X-RAY done on my lower back. The results were as follows....

"Lumbar vertebral bodies display normal height and alignment. Disc space narrowing is moderate and in extent at L5-S1. Multilevel spondylosis is seen. The sacroiliac joints appear within normal limits. The L5 vertebral body appears partially sacralized bilaterally."

Now, the doctor schedule me for a MRI so she can see if this "problem" is pinching a nerve or something. She also put me on Celebrex and Neurontin.

Should I wait until a decision is made on my current claims and then appeal or submit now? I don't know what to do? My current claim just says "foot numbness condition" for this condition. Please help and Thanks! Below is my IRIS responses....

On Feb 3rd the IRIS response said......

=======================================

After review of your files, we see that your claim is “Ready for Decision.” Your claim is with the rating specialist at this time. Generally the rating specialist will take 60 days to reach a decision. After the decision is reached, it is reviewed, updated in our system, the updates are reviewed and authorized. Once it is authorized, a letter is sent to you explaining our decision.

===================================================

And on Feb 23rd the IRIS response said......

===================================================

This message is in response to your inquiry regarding the status of your claim. Your claim went to the Rating Board on December 4, 2008. The Rating Board will review your file and make a decision on service connection and disability percentages. We are unable to give you a timeline when they will review your file as we do not know their caseload. After a rating has been established, your file will go to the authorization department for verification and review.

Once you have been approved a rating you will be paid retroactively from the date of your claim for any benefits you may be entitled to based on your rating. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work our way through the claims processing procedures. You will receive notification via US mail once your claim has been finalized. Your notification letter will explain our decision in detail.

===================================================

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I assume your are in the Benefit Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program. If this is the case, your file will be maintain in BDD for one year. When you get the results from your MRI send them in to repopen your claim. What ever claim your file within the first year goes back to the date of discharge. Does the answer your question?

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Should I also send the results from the x-ray, too? I have those.

So send the results of the MRI to reopen that particular claim? What will that do to my whole claims process? Will it start over or will they rate my other claims and hold off and re-work this particular one?

Thanks, Sharon!

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First, you dont want to appeal this until you at least have a decision so you need to wait. As someone said, you dont need to rush to apply for other conditions, you have until a year after discharge to file and it will be rated the date of discharge.

I suggest you chill out, wait for the decision, and then appeal if you dont like it. If you have any other conditions, make sure you apply for them within the year also.

Finally, if you do appeal (after the decision..you dont want to appeal a decision not yet made), make sure you appeal within a year, make sure you specify which things you disagree with, and make sure you send the appeal Certified Mail Return Receipt requested as VARO's tend to shred Veterans NOD's..it saves them hassles but costs the Veterans dearly.

Do you have a Veterans Service Officer? If you dont, you should get one at this point.

If you feel the additional information is important to the outcome of the decision, then file a "Statement in support of Claim" probably with your VSO. JMHO

Edited by broncovet
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Thanks, broncovet! No, I don't have a VSO. AMVETS on base helped me file my claim, but how do I go about getting a VSO? I had planned on NOT using AMVETS on base should I need to appeal (I pray that I don't need to appeal and that I am happy with decision). :rolleyes:

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Your claimed disability is very vague-this information might help the claim.

I firmly believe that a vet should submit anything at all during the claims process that could help the claim be properly awarded.

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