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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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  • 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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Back Condition Claims Help Requested


Hi all,

Hoping for some advice on multiple back issues diagnosed while I was still on active duty. I hurt my back in a helo crash and was diagnosed over a 5 year period with DDD, bulging disks, spondylosis, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. It's all in my medical records and I had many documented visits to docs, MRI's, X-rays etc that explain it all. My last 2 years was nothing but trips to the hospital. I submitted and received 10% each for the DDD and bulging disks last year. I never submitted for anything else but have been told I could/should. Any issues with "pyramiding" or any other reasons the additional 3 conditions wouldn't be accepted? My back is getting a lot worse lately...so many questions to ask...thanks for any response.

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You need to formally re-open the claim for higher rating It can be a letter or you can use a 21-4138 form available at the VA web site.

Look up these disabilities in the Schedule of Ratings here at hadit and tell the VA why you fall into higher rating %s by medical evidence which has occurred since their last decision.

They will send you a VCAA letter (unless they actually look at your current medical evidence they have and if they have enough to award already-which doesnt happen often) and this will tell you exactly what evidence they still need. The Re open will trigger a C & P exam to determine if the ratings should be higher.

I cant answer the pyramiding question- it is a good one.

M<ake sure you tell them of any increase in meds for these conditions you have needed since their last rating and anything else that would put you into a higher % rating.

Hope others chime in here- you are looking at secondarys I think due to the SC.

Edited by Berta

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You should probably file for chronic pain disorder and/or depression if your pain is a major factor. I have not met many people who have severe back pain who do not take drugs that can cause depression. As far as your back goes it is not the number of conditions you have, but how severe is the disability from even one SC condition.

If you can't work due to your back that is severe even if for DDD only.

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In addition, you can receive a separate rating for neurological problems. Do you suffer sciatic pain--such as burning, stinging, tingling, pain or numbness in either or both legs?feet? Normally, the conditions are referred to as "sciatica" or "radiculopathy". Also, you never mentioned if your back condition is cervical or lumbar or both? (Each can be rated separate). Possibly quote/exerpts the actual rating on here and may be we can understand more.

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John's right about the chronic pain and/or depression. Hurting all the time can really wear on you. Also, they probably are loading you up on medication to help keep your pain under control. You might also be able to file for secondary based on the side effects of the medication.

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Yes. Chronic Pain Syndrome.

Yes. Depression.

If you have either, or both, of these then file.

Also, are you able to work?

With the pain and the medications, I would think that you could not.

I know, from personal experience, that the pain is wearing on you............sometimes I cannot even think about being able to drive to a job. I volunteer for a couple of days a week, and, were it not for my wife driving me to the train station, so that I can get to my volunteer assignment, then I could not even do that.

If you can't work, then you need to file ANOTHER claim, also.

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