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What Is Next ?


garwal

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Hello and thanks for the help in advance! I am a 62-year-old Vietnam era veteran. I received a 10% rating in 1972 for SVT and generalized anxiety with underlying depression. In 1983, I re-submitted the claim for evaluation and was given a 30% rating for the same above conditions. Last August, 2009 I submitted a claim for re-evaluation for the above conditions as well as Diabetes, PTSD, neuropathy, liver and thyroid disorders. I felt at that time that I had submitted substantial evidence to substantiate my claim for an increase in the disability rating. I submitted several stressor letters and statements on the incident that started all my medical problems in 1969. I was exposed to the smoke abatement chemical used in aircraft in Vietnam during a fuel probe change in an aircraft just returning from a tour of duty in Vietnam. Yesterday I received the decision letter telling me that I was now diagnosed with PTSD (the Psychiatrist I say in January said I had CHRONIC PTSD and had been mis-diagnosed in 1983). The letter KEPT my disability rating at 30%. I have done

much research on the chemicals used in Vietnam JP-4 jet fuel and it is very clear that ANY or ALL of the conditions that I suffer from can be related to the exposure to the smoke abatement chemicals. The VA does acknowledge my serving in this squadron that used this smoke abatement chemical. In one of my stressor letters, I gave them the full information about me laying in the fuel bladder changing a fuel probe and being immersed in this chemical w/o any protective clothing or breathing protection. The VA did investigate one of my stresser letters and acknowledge that I witnessed a crash while stationed at LeMoore, California and the entire crew of 6 serviceman died. They said, "Therefore, your stressor is conceded herein." Since I do not feel that 30% is a fair rating (and the Psychiatrist agreed that "you've been screwed by the VA for the past 27 years"), I filed a NOD (Notice of Disagreement letter) today with the VA Regional Office in Los Angeles. I am open to any and all suggestions on what to do next. Do I hire an attorney and pay them part of the settlement?

I have contacted the DAV of which I am a lifetime member but they have yet to call me back. Also, does anyone have any idea on what a fair rating would be FOR CHRONIC PTSD that has almost driven me nuts for the past 27 years? Thanks so much for any comments or suggestions.

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Welcome to Hadit

Thanks Pete53

I have not counted on the VA for anything in 30 years I surely will not start now. I believe my major mistake was not staying in there face in the beginning. I always felt there were many in more need than me. I now realize that I should have been a pain in there a** much more than I have been. I am paying around 150 a month for medication from them and I never had to pay co pay until I moved to California and the Loma Linda Va refused to provide the meds that I am service connected for and have been up till the last 9 years. I have a drunk living up the street from me that served the same years I did for 90 days and he has a 100% for ptsd and unemployability. I ask him how he received this rating , he replied you have to stay in there face. Where is the justice in this?

thanks for the welcome.

Gary

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There is truth in the squeaky wheel gets the oil adage. Many of us here have been screwed six ways to Sunday, so we know where you are coming from. I'm not sure if you should hire an attorney or not, I think others will chime in and give you some advice on that.

First and foremost I would concentrate on the raising the PTSD rating, as it sounds like you have solid evidence and your psychiatrist agrees. I am of the opinion that you grab the low hanging fruit first, then go for the higher hanging fruit.

It is a sad fact that you will not receive validation form the VA, all they can give you is compensation and that is hard for many of us. We want them to validate that yes they screwed us, but they won't, however I get my validation from my VA psychologist and my compensation from the VA.

I hope other's chime in on the attorney question. Welcome Aboard - Glad to have you with us.

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OK first off your shrink says your PTSD is chronic:

Chronic

Chronic refers to something that continues or persists over an extended period of time. A chronic condition is usually long-lasting and does not easily or quickly go away.

Chronic is the opposite of acute.

Under the rating code for PTSD that will not get you an increase. You are going to need to show that your PRESENT DX of PTSD has gotten worse. Take a look at the breakdown for PTSD and see where you fall.

9440 Chronic adjustment disorder

General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders:

Total occupational and social impairment, due to 100

such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought

processes or communication; persistent delusions

or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior;

persistent danger of hurting self or others;

intermittent inability to perform activities of

daily living (including maintenance of minimal

personal hygiene); disorientation to time or

place; memory loss for names of close relatives,

own occupation, or own name.......................

Occupational and social impairment, with 70

deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school,

family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due

to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation;

obsessional rituals which interfere with routine

activities; speech intermittently illogical,

obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or

depression affecting the ability to function

independently, appropriately and effectively;

impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked

irritability with periods of violence); spatial

disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and

hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful

circumstances (including work or a work-like

setting); inability to establish and maintain

effective relationships...........................

Occupational and social impairment with reduced 50

reliability and productivity due to such symptoms

as: flattened affect; circumstantial,

circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic

attacks more than once a week; difficulty in

understanding complex commands; impairment of

short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of

only highly learned material, forgetting to

complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired

abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and

mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining

effective work and social relationships...........

Occupational and social impairment with occasional 30

decrease in work efficiency and intermittent

periods of inability to perform occupational tasks

(although generally functioning satisfactorily,

with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation

normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood,

anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or

less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory

loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent

events)...........................................

Occupational and social impairment due to mild or 10

transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency

and ability to perform occupational tasks only

during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms

controlled by continuous medication...............

A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but 0

symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere

with occupational and social functioning or to

require continuous medication.....................

What your doctor writes down puts you in one of these categories. You can see by your treatment where you expect to fit in. Read the criteria for each rating and put yourself in it. You should expect, in your mind, nothing more and nothing less that where you fit in. This will help you, believe me, in the stress of waiting though the process of the claim.

A note on these ratings as it applies to your employment:

Are you in treatment now or do you just go to the VAMC to see a shrink and get your pills. Also do you go to a vet center for treatment?

Being in treatment is from what I have seen the main things that the VA looks at and uses the vet center social worker as a true indicator of where you are in relationship to present day conditions of your PTSD.

As far as the veteran down the street that is IU and you consider a drunk. He may have issues that cause him to drink you don't know.

Edited by stillhere
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Thanks Pete53

I have not counted on the VA for anything in 30 years I surely will not start now. I believe my major mistake was not staying in there face in the beginning. I always felt there were many in more need than me. I now realize that I should have been a pain in there a** much more than I have been. I am paying around 150 a month for medication from them and I never had to pay co pay until I moved to California and the Loma Linda Va refused to provide the meds that I am service connected for and have been up till the last 9 years. I have a drunk living up the street from me that served the same years I did for 90 days and he has a 100% for ptsd and unemployability. I ask him how he received this rating , he replied you have to stay in there face. Where is the justice in this?

thanks for the welcome.

Gary

Gary:

You earned the benefits with your service. Many feel that there are other Veterans more deserving but it is not our job to award benefits just try and help Veterans like you get the ones they earned.

I am grateful I am not responsible for the awards cause I would probably look for as many ways as possible to grant the benefits.

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