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Denied For Higher Level Of Aa


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I have been receiving AA at the "L" rate and "K" rate since 2002. My current disabilities are:

PTSD 70%

Deg joint disease of cervical spine 20%

Deg joint disease of lumbar spine 20%

Left upper extremity radiculopathy 20%

Left lower extremity radiculopathy 20%

Diabetes Type II 20%

Deg joint disease thoracic spine 10%

Hep C 10%

Incontinence 10%

SMC K

SMC L

Since I was granted these disabilities back in 1997 I am 100% P&T and things have gotten much much worse for me where I have loss of use of my legs and loss of feeling in arms and butt. I need help in everything I do and I don't have the monetary resources to pay for someone to come in daily or even a couple of times a week. I pretty much live in my own filth to the point I bathe so infrequently unless I can get some money to have someone come in. I don't have family to help and it is really embarrassing to have anyone see me. Last year I filed for an increase in AA from the "L" level to a higher level but was denied in May for that but was granted 10% for incontinence. The DAV who has been my Rep for 40 years now won't respond to my letters or faxes. A rep did call me and ask me what I wanted to do and I told him I wanted to file a NOD but he stated I didn't have anything coming and I was getting all I am going to get and that is the last I heard, don't know if he did or didn't file b/c I can't get in touch with them. Everyone I have contacted doesn't want to do an appeal and basically try to fence me off to someone else, attorney's don't want to deal with it either b/c I am not close by or they don't handle complicated cases like mine, what it really is they don't see any money as this is not a straight forward compensation claim that will take years to get and build up a large settlement...how about the 37 cent cure then???????

My day is constant pain and I can't get any relief really, I take volumes of pain meds and now am addicted like a junkie...I urinate on myself and can't control my bowels. I have had 3 C&P's this year and either the Doctor is not listening to me or they are writing down what they want on their summaries, the document the RO uses when deciding one's claim. I specifically told my C&P Dr. that I urinate at least 6 times a night and at least 4 times a day b/c I take diruretics b/c of edema, but he only put down 2 times a night and 4 times a day....not 6 times a day but way more and most of the time I end up going on myself unless I can catch it in time as I can't feel the need to go. He stated the reason was b/c of the narcotics I take but 2 other Drs stated it was b/c of diabetes neuropathy and yes I had the nerve conduction test which showed positive for nerve problems but still the RO didn't hear any of that.

There are many more issues that have been piling up on me that I have just dealt with it over the years but it is now to the point where I can't take care of anything for myself and I don't have the money to hire what I need. The girl I can get to come in sporatically charges $15 an hour and my outgo is more than my income as I am in debt. I have had my medication stolen by these people and have had someone try to break in while I was here but I keep my 357 close by at all times. My life and my day are miserable, I don't bathe or clean anything b/c I can't, in order to get to my VA Dr. appt in which I have to cancel most often b/c I don't have anyone to take me and the VA doesn't have a wheelchair van to come get me or push me around. I have been trying to see my Doctor for the past 8 months but the last 4 months he has been out having surgery. I know he will recommend me to go to a live-in facility if I could get into one but I don't want to go as I would be so damn paranoid and couldn't take my weapons I woudn't be comfortable but I would let someone come in my home and help me with my needs. If he made that recommendation would I have to go to a live in facility??? I read in the VA Regs where if a Vet requires a nursing facility then they can be granted a higher level of AA, I may have read that wrong b/c it is very confusing to me and I seem to forget so much these days...I forget to take my meds or take them more than once a day and I know that can be dangerous especially with this friggin methadone...I take 180mg a day and Lortab 10mg 4 times a day on top of that plus a host of other stuff for blood pressure, heart, diabetes and nerves medications.

I don't know how to go about filing anything right now as I need a direction and how best to put what I have in a coherent appeal. I know if I ever go to another C&P I will go as is and not worry about offending them in the least. On other C&P they write down how you came to the exam but this Dr. didn't state anything plus it took 3 big men to lift me onto the exam table and he didn't write any of that down but he did write I didn't smell of urine and I wasn't wearing my diaper...things that he knew would be negative for me so that is why I think he did this deliberately....he was nice enough and compassionate enough but still he wrote down things incorrectly stated to him and didn't disclose things that may have helped.

Do you know how I should best approach this?? With a higher level I can pay for therapy and a daily attendant to come in to make sure I eat and take my meds correctly. These pain meds make me forget so much at least I hope that's what causes it. A suggestion, an attorney or something to help me would be really appreciated. Remember I cannot do anything but use my laptop, watch tv, use a built-in fax machine and scan documents that I type and send to the fax to send. The mailman will come and knock on my door, I have direct deposit and my meds are mailed to me and I have a cabbie that goes to the store for me when I call him and all I get is basically junk food or can order out but I am never really hungry and don't have an appetite for anything. Sorry, I am gone..this is too long already.

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How many K awards do you receive?

Can you post their basis for denial of the next higher level of SMC?

They should have sent you the SMC regs with the decision-you need to fit your medical evidence into the higher criteria.

"I don't know how to go about filing anything right now as I need a direction and how best to put what I have in a coherent appeal. I know if I ever go to another C&P I will go as is and not worry about offending them in the least"

Do you have loss of use of both feet or loss of use of both legs?

You need to file a Notice of Disagreement:

A letter to the VARO that sent you this decision-

Put Notice of Disagreement in bold type or CAPS and then tell them why you feel their decision is wrong.

Cite the reasons they used and then correct anything they said that is incorrect.

Also tell them of any medical evidence they failed to properly consider.

It would help if you can scan and attach their reasons and bases for denial here.Cover any personal info.

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You are seeking a higher level of SMC A & A but the steps from L to R-1 etc set the stage for this higher benefit.This is why it would be good if we could read the VA's denial reasons.

I wonder if the woman who does come in from time to time could prepare a buddy statement for you,if needed,as to the daily state of your disabled condition.

As I understand the higher levels of SMC they are added by steps to L based on the medical evidence.Maybe VA has overlooked (or doesnt have yet) evidence that puts you into the higher levels of A & A.

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Berta....

Thank you for your input...here are some answers to your post...can you give me an email to send you the decisions..

I receive (1) K award

I receive (1) "L" award

I have a loss of use of both legs and loss of feeling in hands and arms although never sought a rating for this..

I think the deadline for filing a NOD has past as the date on the denial of April 5, 2010

I had a decision for Bladder Incontinence on July 14, 2010 granted 10% SC w/continued denial of Increase in AA

Also, I did have a letter from the woman who use to come in giving the job duties she was doing for me. Again, the VA took the things I had at one time, like I had someone coming in to help me and also had a relative helping me but the contrast i was trying to draw in my letters to them was

what i had I no longer have and that is the reason I need an increase. I didn't use to be in as serious condition that I am now faced with which made it easier for the help, but now that I have gotten worse they require more money and the work is harder, plus they can't steal my medication anymore...you just don't know how many people take this kind of job just to get to my medication. Why the VA would look at my letter of what use to be and try to imply that is what I have today, no that is not the case...there are so many inconsistencies in the C&P doctor's summary that it

is blatantly obvious she contradicted herself so many time you would think the RO would want clarification. On one paragraph she states that I cannot walk or use my legs and another paragraph stating that I can walk in my house with a helper or a walker. Either she mixed what I had told her I could do at one time as opposed to my reason for being there that day or she did it deliberately or they really are boderline incompetent.....Can I file a NOD or Appeal based on what I told the Doctor as opposed to what her summary suggest showing the discrepencies/contradictions?? I mean they should have been able to see that quite obviously or else they go by the letter of the summary.

What I find interesting is in the VA Regulations under a higher level of care stating...."In the absence of a higher level of care you would require hospitalization, nursing home care or other institutional care...." What I think they are saying is that if I don't have that higher level of care but my Doctor recommends that I be housed in a care facility then the RO can grant me that higher level on the Doctor's recommendation. My Doctor has already offered moving me to a care facility but I can't live in one of those places but I know he would recommend it again if I ask him....should I take that recommendation and submit it to the RO and is that what that regulation is really saying???

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I regret I don't use email for claims stuff.

You have one year after the denial to file a Notice of Disagreement.

"I have a loss of use of both legs and loss of feeling in hands and arms although never sought a rating for this" You should make a formal claim for these disabilities.You get one K now and possibly could get 3 more K awards if this numbness hinders your use of your hands. That would have to be a medical determination by a doctor however.

There is considerable SMC info here at hadit under a search.

As I understand it one cannot jump from L to the highest A & A level without meeting the criteria for the M,O, P and R awards.

SMC is a very complex issue.In the decision the VA should have stated exactly why you do not meet the next level of SMC.That can be challenged in the NOD by referring to any specific evidence you have that you believe should warrant a higher rating.

Also the VA web site where the BVA decisions are posted is another way to see how they determine the evidence for the higher levels of SMC.

Would the doctor you mentioned be willing (with the regs ( 38 USC 1114) and the decision)

to access your complete medical records and then prepare an independent medical opinion that would warrant a higher SMC rating?

Or at least -with the criteria for SMC "K". maybe they could provide an IMO that would cover 3 additional K awards.It is hard for me to say not knowing the etiology of the numbness but I assume this is peripheral neuropathy from your SC diabetes mellitus and should be compensated.

The IMO format is here under the IMO forum.

If you file a NOD within the first year after receipt of the decision, you also have the right to obtain a lawyer for the claim.Their fee is only payable if the claim succeeds.

If you get the additional K awards compensated -that right there would be a higher comp check

and in the meantime you could still pursue higher levels of SMC.

Can you tell us what the VA said as to denying you an "M" award?

Edited by Berta
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I have quite a few issues that I need to have addressed that I don't feel I have the resources or ability to present to the RO so having said that do you know of any attorney's that would be willing to

at least look at what I have and give me an honest appraisal of my position???

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Our SVR radio show guest tonight is Carrie Weletz from a well known law firm that represents vets.

http://www.vetlawyers.com/about_attorneys_weletz.htm

They have an area at their site where they can do a consult.

You can always consider giving your POA to another veteran's organization,too.

If you google veterans disabilty lawyers there are sure many that will pop up. Also the National Organizations of Veterans Advocates has a list of vet attorneys.Many here in the claims research forum have sought lawyers too.

A NOD has to be filed before a lawyer can formally take the case.

There is a lot a lawyer can do for a claim and a lot they cannot do.

Claims like yours are awarded on medical evidence that fits into VA specific criteria.

If you can determine exactly what VA said was lacking in your claim, and then obtain the medical evidence to satisfy what the VA and the regulations call for-then you don't need a vet rep or attorney.

If you post in the laims Research forum here maybe someone with SMC experience and info on VA lawyers will respond to you.

This show should be good and I hope many listen in to it.

By the way -is the SMC "S" award for A & A or Housebound incorporated into the compensation you receive now?

You can always change a POA vet rep by rescinding the POA and then aquiring another vet org to help you.Here in rural NY. some of the vet reps even make housecalls to vets whose disabilities make it difficult for them to get to a rep's office.

Please print out and show them my suggestions here -

that you possibly could be eligible for additional K awards and/or possibly the SMC "M" award.

Then again the VA could qustion loss of use of your hands if they see you can use a PC.If that is difficult for you make that point too.

My husband lost normal use of his hands from a stroke and could only type with one finger after that.He could not determine by feel- pocket change nor write his name on a check legibily anymore.He had difficult with using telephones do to loss of dexterity and I dicumented to VA o with a bill- that in attempt to fix our heater (he had PHVAC license prior to stroke) he broke something in the motor because he could not handle tools properly.

These are things both SSA and VA considers for loos of use "K" awards.

Yo might find more suggestions in the main Claims Research Forum here.

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Dolphin

I am 100% with SMC S award and the Dallas VA provide me with an aide who comes twice a week its my choice she told me she could come every day. She can stay up to 1 hour and does many things to assist as they will bath you and do light house cleaning, make beds and a whole lot of stuff. They also send a nurse who takes my blood pressure and temperature and checks my medications.

What I am saying is you should ask your social worker at the VA to help you and this could help your claim. Working on an advanced claim takes determination and I think the advise you have received from Berta is on the mark.

One more thing is to get a lawyer who will work on a contingency basis you have to pretty much lay this out so they can see a winner. Just cause you get turned down by a lawyer does not mean that you don't have a claim that could win.

Good Luck

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This case might explain better what I meant :

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp10/files2/1017808.txt

Reaching a A & A level beyond the "S" award means a step progression- in other words from "L" your evidence has to warranr "M", then the additional steps before the VA will award under R-1 and R-1 -the highest SMC A & A levels.

I cannot tell if your extremities all should warrant separate K awards or if in fact that is part of your SMC "L" level award.

I asked Ms Weletz at SVR radio last if they can access a claim without the formal NOD being filed yet and she said yes as long as the veteran has a recent denial and still is within one year NOD appeal period.

The firm's contact info is at this site:

http://www.vetlawyers.com/about_attorneys_weletz.htm

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I have contacted that firm but as of yet have heard nothing...I will give you a heads up should they respond.

I have some really good cases from the BVA and also memo's and other resources about AA and a higher entitlement to AA and from what I have read they awarded Vets who were in much better

shape than I am...I know it is because of how I wrote it up and the way the Dr. wrote the summary otherwise I should have received a higher award. They think I can transfer to a wheelchair with ease, they don't realize sometimes I have to literally crawl to get to where I need and it is hard for me to even breathe because I cannot straightened up and it cuts my breath off. When I was in Vietnam I was a door gunner on a Huey, before than I was a grunt but in one crash we were shot down and crashed I ended up breaking my back or fracturing it in 5 different spots along my spine and today I am suffering the results of ignoring the injury for so long, my bad I know, I have to live with it and I'm not whining, all I want is to be able to clean up and live decently. Another thing I don't understand why the Dr. didn't mention I have to use a catheter or I take injections that I need help on and that requires a nurse or someone trained but no mention at all.

This has taken a long time to write and I am very tired so let me know what I could possibly do to get this back to the RO. Thank you Berta..

Is this what you wanted me to send..this is denial of a higher level of AA..I have another RO Decision for the Bladder Incontinence. Remember when you read this what they state are things I use

to have but the sole reason for me filing for a higher level was b/c I didn't have the money to bring someone in or pay for some rehab or pay for transportation. I use to have someone but the girl stole

my pain medication and I have been afraid to hire someone unless they are licensed and they cost more money.

REASONS FOR DECISION

Entitlement to special monthly compensation based on a hither level of aid and

attendance.

We have denied entitlement to a higher level of special monthly compensation for aid and

attendance.

Your statements/letters/medical records were reviewed. You indicated that you have assistance from

basic sitters and relatives two to four times per week. You receive care from another (this is what I use to have, not anymore)

person who helps you one day a week and prepares your meals at the beginning of the

week. You reported that she helps you dress/undress, care for the needs of nature, and

assist you with getting out of your wheelchair. You indicated that you need help getting

into and out of bed. You also reported the use of a walker and a cane that you use with

your wheelchair when you need extra support when rising up out of your chair.

Statement from Mary Anderson was reviewed. She reported she's an independent health

care provider providing basic assistance for you on average of twice per week. She

reports that she prepares meals, keep your area clean, clothes washed, and provide

bathing assistance. She also indicates that she helps you with dressing/undressing and

bringing you to your appointments. There is no indication that Ms. Anderson is a licensed (This is all before I filed for a higher level of AA, it is worse now and it was bad then)

medical provider.

VA examination of March 10, 2010 was reviewed. You reported that you are unable to

leave your house and that you only leave when you need to see the doctor. You indicated

that you've hired someone to help you fix your meals and dress. You reported being

permanently bedridden but not currently hospitalized. You are able to travel beyond your

domicile, and you attended the VA examination with assistance of a VA attendant. You

reported that you mostly stay in bed. You denied dizziness and memory loss. Physical (I did report dizzyness and bad memory loss, why she said no is beyond me because it is in the letters I wrote)

examination revealed a frail build with stooped posture. You were unable to walk. The

examiner noted you are able to walk without assistance of another person only within the

home. You require a walker for ambulation. Your functional impairments are

permanent. The cervical spine has very limited range of motion. You were unable to (First they say I can't walk then they say I can, this should have been so obvious to the RO of the contradictions)

straighten up in your chair and the examiner was unable to get you to a standing position.

There was evidence of severe impairment to the upper extremities. There is marked

difficulty for self feeding, toileting, and dressing/undressing. You are unable to selfbathe

or self-groom. There was evidence of muscle weakness and numbness in the lower

extremities. You reported that your hands are so weak you can't open bottle tops or take

the plastic wrap off of microwavable foods. The examiner diagnosed you with severe

Page 2

degenerative disease of the entire spine, peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities,(why didn't they hear award me for peripheral neuropathy, I read even if you write in a letter they have to examine you for what you claim you have)

radiculopathy of the upper extremities, and bladder incontinence. The examiner noted

you have someone come every other day to fix your meals and help you bathe, dress, and

buy groceries.

The evidence of record does not show a higher level of care than is required to establish

entitlement to the regular aid and attendance allowance, and in the absence of the

provision of such higher level of care you would require hospitalization, nursing home

care, or other residential institutional care. Furthermore, the evidence of record does not

show that you require daily substantial care from a licensed medical provider due to your

service connected disabilities. Therefore, entitlement to a higher level of special monthly

compensation based on Aid and Attendance is denied.

Entitlement to an additional payment of compensation is established when serviceconnected

impairment imposes a special level of disability. Entitlement to special

monthly compensation is not warranted in this case because the criteria regarding a

higher level of aid and attendance have not been met. {38 CFR 3.3501

Entitlement to an additional payment of compensation is established when serviceconnected

impairment imposes a special level of disability. Special monthly

compensation under 38 U. S. C. 1114® is payable for a veteran receiving the maximum

rate under 38 U.S.C. 1114(o) or (p) who is in need of a higher level of care. A veteran is

entitled to the higher level aid and attendance allowance authorized by §3.350(h) in lieu

of the regular aid and attendance allowance when all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The veteran is entitled to the compensation authorized under 38 U.S.C. 1114(o), or

the maximum rate of compensation authorized under 38 U.S.C. ii 14(p); (2) The veteran

meets the requirements for entitlement to the regular aid and attendance allowance; (3) (What does 2 and 3 of this statement mean to you, interpret this for me)

The veteran needs a higher level of care than is required to establish entitlement to the

regular aid and attendance allowance, and in the absence of the provision of such higher

level of care the veteran would require hospitalization, nursing home care, or other

residential institutional care; (4) The veteran's need for a higher level of care required to

establish entitlement to the regular aid and attendance allowance is determined by a

Department of Veterans Affairs physician or, in areas where no Department of Veterans

Affairs physician is available, by a physician carrying out such function under contract or

fee arrangement based on an examination by such physician.

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The law firm I am mentioning here to all reading this

is:

Bergmann & Moore, LLC!

We are a full service veterans law firm with former Department of Veterans Affairs Attorneys. We are devoted to providing unparalleled representation in VA benefits to disabled veterans and their dependents including spouse and widows. Our clients, who live all over the country (including California, Florida, Washington State, Texas, Alaska, Wisconsin), trust our services to secure the maximum veteran benefits under the law.

http://www.vetlawyers.com/about_attorneys_weletz.htm

Ms. Weletz was our SVR Guest Wednesday and a click on the home page in this link gives you all more info and contact number for this reknown veterans' law firm.

One of the law firm members Doug Rohde - has just joined hadit.

Edited by Berta
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I was unable to delete or edit the post I made.I think I was wrong.

because I cannot determine if the VA, in fact, has already considered the 3 PN awards in your overall SMC L rating.

If they did I am completely incorrect in thinking they owe you K awards if that is part of the L you get now.

Is it?

"The examiner diagnosed you with severe

Page 2

degenerative disease of the entire spine,"

What is the rating you get now for this disability % wise?

By reading BVA decisions that is a very good idea in your case, to see how the VA determines those higher SMC levels.

I do feel they need to have current evidence that the care taker no longer provides you with any help.

SMC is a complex issue and I hope one of SMC experts will respond here.

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Hi Berta...

What a mess...you won't believe what happened to me Friday night...all the more reason to have help nearby..took me all the better part of Saturday to make things right but that is my life now, suck it up and deal with it. I received an email from the Law Firm and she asked me to call this coming week so I will and see what she might have to offer me. My funds are so tight I don't know if I will be able to hire them or not depending on what they charge.

The answer to your question is I have never been rated for loss of use of my legs...at the time I was was given those awards in 1997 I could get around my problem started get severe in 2001 and 2002. I applied for AA in 2002 and was awarded the "L" award but that wasn't based on my loss of use of my legs. I didn't receive the "K" award for ED until 2005, so the answer is I have those issues and problems that are very severe for me now. Again here are the awards that I currently receive:

PTSD 70%

Deg joint disease of cervical spine 20%

Deg joint disease of lumbar spine 20%

Left upper extremity radiculopathy 20%

Left lower extremity radiculopathy 20%

Diabetes Type II 20%

Deg joint disease thoracic spine 10%

Hep C 10%

Incontinence 10%--------I just received this on July 14th 2010

SMC K

SMC L

If they didn't hear my case for Loss of use of my legs and limitations in my shoulders, arms and numbness in my buttocks (it feels like I have had a shot of novacaine and I know it is some kind of nerve damage but where I don't know.

I feel like they could have heard me for these following issues but did not do it and they knew about them.

Loss of use of legs, arms, shoulders and buttocks.

Loss of bowel control

Loss of memory and dizziness

Tinnitus

Ischemic Heart Disease

Diabetes Neuropathy----I think this may be a cause for a lot of my nerve problems as my feet and calves are always swollen and purple with no feeling in my feet..I have bad discoloration in my feet and calves that may may be due to loss of blood flow maybe.

Do you have the ability to archive your radio shows so that we can go back and listen to the shows later??

Thank you again Berta...have a good day.

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http://www.svr-radio.com/archives.html This should give you the MP download to hear the show.

I am quite surprised they didnt give you SMC L due to your legs.I was afraid I gave you wrong info by suggesting you might be eligible for more K awards-

but if it didnt cover your legs -the advise I gave was sound.(I hope) I dont quite understand the L award you have.

If you get the K for Erectile dysfunction they they appear to owe you 4 K awards.

You do have to ask for them- and tell the VA why you should be granted these awards.Or they could be claimed as secondary to the DMII if in fact they are actual due to peripheral neuropathy. I hope the call back you get is from Carrie as I briefly ran by your situation with her at SVR in a very brief way as to the K awards.But any lawyer there should be able to help.

I am not an expert on SMC so I hope others chime in here.

The VA will only consider what a veteran claims. Sometimes they can obviously see a secondary condition and award it but I would never depend on them to do anything like that.We have to tell them every disability we want a rating for,

Edited by Berta
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I think the reason they did not give me the "L" rate for my legs is because this was in 2002 that I applied for regular Aid and Attendance and the use of my legs was in no way like they are today..they have progressively gotten worse over the last 8 years. I could actually get around with a walker

at that time and a cane but for any distance I did have to use a wheelchair.

You state you feel they owe me for 4 more K awards, can you tell me what disability they would give me those ratings for??

Would that preclude me from seeking a higher rate greater than the "L" level b/c as I understand it they cannot give the veteran 2 awards for the same disability. I just wonder if that would keep me from an R1 or R2 award??

Thank you for the link to the archive and when I contact Carrie I will let you know their decision.

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If the "L" award was not regarding any of your extremities than I thought separate K award for all upper and lower extremites (loss of use of)would be possible.

The K awards are fairly independent of anything else.Unless a past decision has already recognized the disabilities and rated them as part of a past award.

The rest of the SMC rates are "step" awards. You must be eligible for each next step in order to progress to the R-1 or R-2 levels.

Do you still have the L award and the rating decision?

The law regarding the issue of SMC based on the need for

regular aid and attendance is governed by provisions of 38

U.S.C.A. § 1114 (l), (s); and 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(b), (i).

Under 38 U.S.C.A. § 1114(l), SMC is payable if as the result

of service-connected disability, the veteran has an

anatomical loss or loss of use of both feet, or of one hand

and one foot; has blindness in both eyes with visual acuity

of 5/200 or less; is permanently bedridden; or is so helpless

as to be in need of regular aid and attendance of another

person. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1114(l); 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(b).

I dont quite understand how you received the L award – but it appears it was it solely that you needed regular aid and attendance of another person-not for any 'loss of use of'

If so then the K awards might kick in if you ask for them but Carrie might see all of this very differently then I do.

I hope she gets to talk with you soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Berta...

I got an answer from the law firm and they denied taking my case...so far that is 4 law firms that have denied me...not because I don't have a good case but because they are too busy...I can forward you their letters if you like. I even contacted the Paralyzed Veterans and they can't take it, along with Rep4Vets and some others. The DAV never filed a NOD even when I requested they file it for me, I have written the National Office but have heard nothing from them. I haven't tried the American Legion yet I may try them but I don't know how their organization is or whether they actually represent Veterans in Appeal cases. You know I thought the VA provided Veterans with an attorney at the Appeal level, did I read that wrong??

Well, if you have any suggestions, as I say it is beyond me right now to appeal this as important as it is to me...I need it done right and I feel I may have messed it up by not doing it right the first time...Take care and thanks for your response...

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That is troublesome to me that this firm ( a recent guest at SVR radio via hadit was a lawyer from this firm ), is too busy for any more cases-

The National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) has a lawyers list at their web site-and the service orgs are listed at the VA web site.

"The DAV never filed a NOD even when I requested they file it for me, I have written the National Office but have heard nothing from them"

Did you instead-file the NOD on time?Within one year of the decision?

Is the DAV still on your POA?

If so I would allow them to respond to the letter even if you have to send a follow up letter.

Did you send it to the director of their National Service Officer program?

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I forgot-yes you are still in the appellate period for a NOD-

I am not a SMC expert and will ask the Moderators to move this whole topic up to Claims Research where more will be able to respond to it.

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Berta...I think what they do is review a new claim with all the attorneys and it is a firm decision not just the one who appeared on the show...I wouldn't want to state it was her directly but the firm decision. I think they also make their decision on what amount they can receive for taking the case on contingency and in my case since I am already 100% and have no retroactive money coming then they see where their investment doesn't warrant any return, however, if I were granted even the R-1 rate that would be almost a $4000 difference between what I now receive and what I would receive should I prevail on my case and that amount times the number of months of retroactive pay should give them quite a sum of money for their investment....but then they probably also look at the merits of the case and the percentage of cases won on an appeal are much lower than on a claim for higher compensation. That is just my guess but I am sure there are more issues in their decision than just helping a veteran in need.

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