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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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dav_marine72

Presumptive Within One Year

Question

Hi Everyone,

I was service connected for a right and left foot injury out of the gate when I was discharged in 1995. I broke my right foot in boot camp and got a stress fracture in my left at Marine Combat Training. Come to find out over the years that my feet seem to have been the cause of most of my medical misery. Prior to entering service I had nthing wrong with my feet and never saw a doc for them.

The docs figured out that I had severe pes cavus which led to the fractures and my L3-S1 discs rotting out. This was based on all the running and humping out at old camp horno at Pendleton. Anyway they gave me 10% for the right intially and 0% for the left. My right always seemed worse and at the time I wasn't feeling the effects of my back so I acceted the decisions. In 2000 I asked for an increase for my right and left feet based on the severity of each getting worse.

By the time I asked for the increase I had been seen from 96-00 about 10-15 times for my feet. In 1996 less than a year after discharge the VA diagnosed me with pes cavus, equinus, and rigid feet. They tried orthodics and special shoes but it made my feet worse. In 1997 I was diagnosed with pes cavus, equinus, and nerve entrapment on the top of my feet. For those that don't know pes cavus is high arch feet. So any shoes or sneakers I wear kill the top of my feet. Then in early 2000 in addtion to the pes cavus, equinus, and nerve entrapment the civilan doc diagnosed me with tarsal tunnel syndrome. He gaveme steroid shots in both feet but they did nothing. He wanted to operate but I refused. In 2002 I started seeing the VA podiatry again and they gave me special shoes and new orthodics. I was denied all along the way for any increases.

I had a hearing at the RO in 2004 where I asked why they could not try to incorporate my pes cavus, equinus, or nerve entrapment either into the rating or see if they could rate me higher based on any of those aliments. She went back and reviewed the case. In her decision she stated that my pes cavus, equinus, and nerve in trapment could not be linked to my feet injuries in service. She said I would need to try and file service connections for those if I thought they were secondaries. Well years later I found the VA treatment notes showing the dagnosis of pes cavus and equinus less than a year out of service. My feet made their way to the BVA and got shot down during the mean time. Then they went to the CAVC and got sent back on joint remands. Because of all my back problems I put going to podiatry on hold for years. In 2009 I ended up going to a civilan and VA podiatrists. I was diagnosed with severe pes cavus, severe equinus with 0% dorsflexion of my ankles (normal is 10%), arthitis (by xray), and nerve entrapment of the tops of both feet.

So my main question here is since I was diagnosed with pes cavus and equinus back in 96 less than a year out of service and had no feet problems prior to service don't they have to consider all these other feet problems in my ratings?

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If you file for conditions within one year of discharge some are considered presumptive. In general, if you don't file for a condition the VA does not grant it. On secondary conditions you have to file a claim based on medical report that makes the link between the secondary and primary SC condition. The VA will not do it on their own. Even if you have an obvious secondary condition the VA will do nothing until you file a claim even on a presumptive condition like agent orange.

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