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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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acesup

Questions About Secondary Conditions

Question

Anyone have experience with this situation?...

My major disability is lumbar spine 40%. I have secondary issues I've filed for including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Major Depressive Disorder.

Now, I'm medically retired for my SC condition and some other problems. (They SHOULD have been SC, but I got denied way back when, am now trying to re-open them.)

Will VA deny and try to tell me that Sleep Apnea and Depression are secondary to other issues besides my SC problems? I have pretty strong nexus letters from private PCP doctors, saying caused by SC lumbar spine disability.

Should I drop all of my claims and just focus on re-opening?

I wish I could get a VSO, but there aren't any good ones to choose from locally.

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If you have good evidence that your SC condition is the cause of the secondary conditions you might as well wait for a decision to see how the VA is going to play it. There is no telling what they will decide.

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I agree with John999, I know it is hard to but I think you should wait. Let VA make a decision on your sleep apnea and depression and then see what they decide about the other issues. If you drop your claims now, it will restart your effective date when ever you file a new claim. Did you have a sleep study? Do you use a CPAP machine? Are you seeing a psychiatrist for your depression?

Edited by pete992

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If you have a strong medical opinion from a specialist, you should not have a problem. Resonable doubt should rule in your favor.

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Anyone have experience with this situation?...

My major disability is lumbar spine 40%. I have secondary issues I've filed for including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Major Depressive Disorder.

Now, I'm medically retired for my SC condition and some other problems. (They SHOULD have been SC, but I got denied way back when, am now trying to re-open them.)

Will VA deny and try to tell me that Sleep Apnea and Depression are secondary to other issues besides my SC problems? I have pretty strong nexus letters from private PCP doctors, saying caused by SC lumbar spine disability.

Should I drop all of my claims and just focus on re-opening?

I wish I could get a VSO, but there aren't any good ones to choose from locally.

Acesup,

I'm in the same boat as you. I filed for lumbar back and was denied. I am working on getting a strong medical opinion from a specialist and enough medical evidence to crush any chance of doubt.

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If you have a strong medical opinion from a specialist, you should not have a problem. Resonable doubt should rule in your favor.

This would only apply if the evidence is equal.

Examples:

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files4/0927118.txt

The mandate to accord the benefit of the doubt is triggered

when the evidence has reached a stage of approximate balance.

In this matter, the Board is of the opinion that this point

has been attained. Because a state of relative equipoise has

been reached in this case, the benefit of the doubt rule will

be applied. See Alemany v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 518, 519

(1996); Brown v. Brown, 5 Vet. App. 413, 421 (1993).

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files2/0913672.txt

There can be no doubt that further medical inquiry could be

undertaken with a view towards development of the claim.

However, under the "benefit-of-the-doubt" rule, where there

exists "an approximate balance of positive and negative

evidence regarding the merits of an issue material to the

determination of the matter," the veteran shall prevail upon

the issue. Ashley v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 52, 59 (1993); see

also Massey v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 204, 206-207 (1994).

The mandate to accord the benefit of the doubt is triggered

when the evidence has reached such a stage of balance. In

this matter, the Board is of the opinion that this point has

been attained. Because a state of relative equipoise has

been reached in this case, the benefit of the doubt rule will

therefore be applied. See Alemany v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 518,

519 (1996); Brown v. Brown, 5 Vet. App. 413, 421 (1993).

Two out of three competent medical opinions attribute a part,

if not all, of the Veteran's current back disability to his

back complaints noted during active duty service. Both of

these opinions were based on a comprehensive review of the

claims folder, as well as clinical interviews with the

Veteran. As this evidence does not rule out such a connection

between in-service events and the current disorder, nor is

the countervailing opinion phrased in terms to positively

exclude such a connection, the evidence is in approximate

balance on this issue and entitlement to service connection

for a back disability is warranted.

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