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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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  • 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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Blackhawk12

Tmj Associated With Ptsd

Question

I will try to keep this quick and not too drawn out. I have been off active duty for 14-15 months after deploying to Iraq. I Have submitted a claim and was denied for PTSD a few months after coming off active duty. Submitted a NOD and still waiting for that to go forward (less than a year after receiving the denial for service connection). About a year ago I was doing my final dental exam with the VA (the last one they give your for free within 180 days of being on active duty). They observed that my teeth were extremely worn down and recommended and paid for a mouth guard. I did not claim anything regarding that or the fact that I have a popping/grinding sound when I open and close my mouth. I was doing a little looking around and saw that these symptoms were consistent with TMJ...I have not had the VA or a private doctor tell me that I have the condition. I then found the following article http://www.sdm.buffalo.edu/news/20010308_ptsd.html. titled: PTSD Patients Damage Teeth Through Involuntary Grinding, Clenching, UB Study Finds. I also found a VA article that talks about the same information.

My question. Is it too late for me to claim this as either its own issue or as a secondary to PTSD? Also, would I have to wait until I am actually given a PTSD diagnosis? Like I said I just came across this information and think I may be SOL and I should have filed something before the 1 year was up. Any suggestions?

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5 answers to this question

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There is an association of PTSD to causing TMJ and vets have succeeded in getting their TMJ awarded secondary to their PTSD.

Are you saying the VA has not diagnosed you with PTSD?

Did they question your stressor?

If we knew more as to the exact Reasons and Bases they used (can you scan the decision, cover the personal stuff and post it here?)

we could help more.

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Yes, go ahead and file a claim for TMJ. Because you complained about it within a year of getting out, it makes it easier than waiting 10 years and trying to claim it. If they deny you, keep pressing the issue and try to have it granted secondary to PTSD (once you get that SC). The recent PTSD rule changes should make a big difference in your claim because you were in Iraq.

Please note that they rate you based on range of motion. They measure the distance between your front teeth when you open. For example, 10% = 31-40 mm and 20% = 21-30 mm. There are more details in the regs. Dig through your records and see if they noted anything about inter-incisal opening.

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As far as my current PTSD claim it was denied because I did not do what I needed to show a stressor (when I initially submitted the claim I did not know exactly what I needed to do...found out the hard way and all I did was submit the short statement that was on the VA form when I filed for the compensation claim), I actually never had a C&P for the issue, which is one of the things that I brought up to the VA in my NOD.

Also, I have been off active duty OVER one year. The way I am hearing it/understand it is that when/if I get diagnosed and service connected for PTSD then and only then will I be able to try and show that the TMJ would be a secondary condition. If I don't get the PTSD claim in my favor then I am out of luck because it has been over one year since I came off active duty.

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As far as my current PTSD claim it was denied because I did not do what I needed to show a stressor (when I initially submitted the claim I did not know exactly what I needed to do...found out the hard way and all I did was submit the short statement that was on the VA form when I filed for the compensation claim), I actually never had a C&P for the issue, which is one of the things that I brought up to the VA in my NOD.

Also, I have been off active duty OVER one year. The way I am hearing it/understand it is that when/if I get diagnosed and service connected for PTSD then and only then will I be able to try and show that the TMJ would be a secondary condition. If I don't get the PTSD claim in my favor then I am out of luck because it has been over one year since I came off active duty.

Au, contraire. File for the TMJ, now. Then, when you are service connected for your PTSD, you will have already filed for the TMJ, thereby establishing your Earliest Effective Date for your TMJ claim, si'? As a matter-of-fact, I would send in copies of the records from your final dental exam, wherein they noted your dental problems, as FURTHER proof of your PTSD..........................and hang on to those records, you'll need them.

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If you have any combat awards your stressor is conceded. You can get the TMJ secondary, but the main thing is to get the PTSD approved since that is the where the bulk of your compensation will probably come from. The TMJ will probably add 10% unless it is really bad. I think they measure how wide you can open your mouth. You know in advanced TMJ your jaw will stop popping and clicking because the tissue holding the jaw in place just wears out and your jaw will occasionally just pop out of the socket. They you take your hand and put it back in place. Be very careful about letting anyone do surgery to fix it. It is major surgery to get it fixed and if some clown dentist/surgeon does it you can really suffer. How bad is your TMJ? Do you have to take opiate pain killers? I would claim it now, and claim chronic pain as well.

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