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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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blackbird

Imo Content

Question

Hello Vets,

I'm in the process of establishing Persumptive SC from a back injury suffered in 1995 while deployed. At the time I thought it was just a sore muscle so I didn't go to the medics and report it. (I know I've learned my lesson!) Anyway what I had was a ruptured disc that required surgery just 2 months later. It was determined that I was no longer world wide qualified in Nov. 1996 and I was discharged Jan 97. Of course when I was turned down it was because I couldn't prove SC.

My case was recently remanded back to the RO for another C&P exam, which hasn't been scheduled yet. My neurosurgeon told me he would be happy to write a IMO for me. He stated that the way I described the incident causing the injury coupled with the type of disc herniation and the timeline leaves very little doubt in his opinion that it was SC.

In 1998 they had to fuse the same lumbar location. Pain has persisted and it's due to nerve root damage that he states probably occurred at the time of injury. The nerve damage is agravated by walking, standing or sitting for any length of time. I had to stop working in 2000 and was awarded SSID. I have had two other lumbar spine surgeries and five cervical fusions since, all due to chronic Degenerative Disc Disease and Spondylosis that has spread through my spine.

My questions: On the IMO, should the Dr. list any of the other surgeries on my spine on this IMO or wait to see if I get SC, and then list them when I get rated?

Next, Is it better to go ahead and mail the IMO as soon as I get it or take it with me when I go for the exam later?

Do you think I have a chance???

Thanks for your input, Blackbird

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Blackbird,

There is a list of presumptive illnesses for service in WW2, Vietnam and for the gulf war etc. and they all deal with exposure to chemicals and enviornmental hazards and things of that nature. I think you can win you claim but it is not presumptive. Take a look at 38 CFR book b ajudication 3.307, 3.308 and 3.309 it will help with understanding presumptive.

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I would help your case if you had statements for anyone who witnessed the accident or can attest to the fact that you hurt your back while deployed.

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Blackbird,

There is a list of presumptive illnesses for service in WW2, Vietnam and for the gulf war etc. and they all deal with exposure to chemicals and enviornmental hazards and things of that nature. I think you can win you claim but it is not presumptive. Take a look at 38 CFR book b ajudication 3.307, 3.308 and 3.309 it will help with understanding presumptive.

Thanks for the info kw34, I think I finally understand presumptive SC. So the way I understand it, I can possibly still establish SC eventhough nothing about my injury was entered in my SMR at the time of injury? As I stated before, there is a notation on my exit exam that states the pain started in my back, radiating into my leg at the time I was deployed. The time line of treatment immediately following the injury is very suggestive. I also will be getting the IMO from a very well respected and well known neurosurgeon. Unfortunately I can't get a statement from a witness since the other men with my detachment had a serious satellite communications equipment failure and were in the van working on it when I got hurt.

I had thought that if the injury was not noted in your SMR, the only chance I had was presumptive.

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FYI

I have a letter from another veteran that witness my back injury written in June 2008. I have MRI's from more than one medical source. Now my Mother will write a letter that I did not have any back probler before my Army days.

Still waiting on C&P

Ken

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You should try to get as many buddy letters as you can. As far as your Mother, it will not hurt, but your medical records prior to service will help more. On the claim you should have listed all your doctors, make sure that is complete and get the records.

I am not sure how to prove nexus without having been treated in the military. They ignored my exit physical, mainly because it did not support my claim. Yours does support your claim, so it will probably be used. Will it prove service connection? I cannot answer that and I am not an expert on the nexus issue.

One thing the VA will look at and has alot of weight, is your medical treatment records. Both in-service, and following your service. They will look for a pattern of continual treatment from the day you ets'd, until present day. It is powerful evidence in your favor. Even if you had a problem before your service, it can still be aggrevated by service, and be service connected ( again not an expert on this facet of claims ). You want to lay out a complete chronological medical history. You also want to show that you have continually sought treatment, and that the treatment has escalated with the condition. Your private doctors opinions will matter.

Also your employment will factor into this.. If you are claiming a back injury from serivce and spent the last 10 years at a job that is physical in nature, then the VA has something else to blame your problems on..

The VA has to give you the benefit of the doubt when weighing evidence. That being said, you might have to fight all the way to the BVA to get a favorable decision..

Good Luck with everything

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