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My Claim Letter


Stu Pidasso
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Question

I am would appreciate it if some of you guys and girls would be so kind as to read my claim letter I am sending in along with my supporting documents. I recieved a letter saying that VA is aware I have opened a claim and that they recieved some documentation I sent them. I needed to send them some release of information forms as well as sign a few different papers that will tell them I either have no other evidence to submit other than what I am sending at this time or I have more to submit. I also decided to add some things to my claim letter that were not on the first one. I did not type the first one someone that has been helping me did and they failed to support what I am claiming as service connected disabilities, with clear explanation in the body of the letter. So please, if any of you have the time and do not mind reading what I have; take a look at this and tell me what you think. I have not slept in two days. All I have done is read this forum go through papers make copies and type my letter. I really need to get this right. I waited as long as I could and did the best I could to make do. I now am unable to work and I can not ignore the obvious problems any longer. My injuries have been a plauge to me for years. I was originally hurt in 2000 shortly after I went in the Army. I was treated continously while in the Army, and post sepperation I have been taken medication for chronic pain since 2007. I have been to the doctor numerous times at the Durham, NC VA medical center, and the Raleigh VA Primary Care Clinic.

I XXXXXX XXXXXX, respectfully request the following:

An increase in flat feet condition rating.

An increase in tinnitus rating.

An increase of herniated nucleus pulpous (lower back condition with left leg pain) claimed as Lumbar injury.

Request rating for injured left knee

Request rating for injured left and right ankle.

Request rating for torn muscle in left hip.

Request rating for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Request rating for PTSD.

Request rating for Depression.

Request rating for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

 

My request is based on the following:

My left foot and ankle is extremely painful and unstable still.

I am currently pursuing another career because I am no longer able to work in the career field that requires continuous walking.

My foot injury was incurred in the military and was done while in the execution of my official duties. I was treated for my foot injury while on active duty from September 2000 thru July 2005.

I was on airborne jump status for at least 4 continuous years; with numerous jumps and infantry obligations that caused me extreme pain then and also now.

I participated in The Global War on Terrorism with duty in Kuwait and Iraq October 2003 to April 30, 2004.

The claim for the above injuries and conditions were all incurred while on active duty in the United States Army.

The treatment for my foot was performed at Womack Army Medical Center Fort Bragg, NC, during the period of 2000 to 2005. Today,

I have limited ability to walk and perform normal standing functions. I can no longer work in jobs where is standing is required. My feet ache, they swell often and I am using pain medication daily to offset the discomfort I have to walk. Often I walk using a cane sometimes a crutch, I wear orthotic supports in my shoe and an ankle brace.

Also as a result of my military duties. The many jumps from airplanes, and road marches performed carrying heavy loads on my back I have acquired a Lumbar Cervical strain (herniated nucleus pulpous).

It has gotten worse and now I am very limited to how much I can bend stoop or lift.

The pain medication I am given is also to treat the symptoms of this injury. I have tried to maintain flexibility and muscle tone to help support my back, but I am reaching a point I can do that no more.

I experience stiffness and swelling in multiple joints. I experience stiffness in my joints and an inability to bend, flex, rotate, and move my body in a natural way.

When I have been still for a short amount of time my elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, and knees pop and snap. Sometimes I wake my wife up in the night because of the sounds my body makes when I move.

I have to lay in bed and rotate, move, and adjust myself until my body feels like it will be able to be ambulatory without experiencing extreme pain.

Sometimes my ankles and feet feel as though something is out of place. I have to use ice packs, and heating pads on my body after days involving physical activities that would be considered essential for normal life.

These activities are not strenuous.

I am a former Army unit level weight lifter, I can no longer participate in this physical activity. While in the Army I scored above 300 points in the Army Personal Fitness Test, and was responsible for helping plan my companies physical training regimen.

My physical limitations prevent me from living the life I am accustomed too, and this has lead to depression.

These same injuries are effecting my work life the same way.

I originally injured the left ankle, and foot on a parachute jump. I indicated I was injured, but I was told to keep my mouth shut and drive on. I was looked at as being an example for others soldiers to follow.

I forced myself to keep training and eventually ended up being on light duty for periods longer than 7 months multiple times because the injuries became worse. I went to the doctor and got several MRI's done.

My left arch had collapsed and my gate was no longer normal while walking. The injured posterior tibia tendon in my left ankle had been ruptured but had healed back incorrectly. I felt numbness in my left leg after standing or walking for extended periods. This would lead to my buttocks going numb as well, thus I would lose my balance sometimes and it was very hard for me to keep up with others even while walking at own pace.

My left knee did not bother me too much until about a year ago I was at work I knelt down to put some paper in a fax machine and my knee popped, made grinding noise, and began to hurt immediately. I iced it, took NSAID's, took left over Prednisone and the swelling began to some what improve. I went to the emergency room after 2 days and was given Oxycodone 5mg pills to take for 2 weeks.

I did go to the musculoskeletal clinic at the Durham NC Veterans Hospital. I was told that not much could really be done to improve the condition of my knee. I was told that it was, "just kind of worn out."

My knee pain is both medial joint line and anterior knee. Some days it hurts to even lay in my bed on my side and when I walk I often use a cane for stability.

These conditions are burdensome, embarrassing, and prevent me from living the quality of life I lived before they occurred. I feel worthless, and vulnerable most days.

I was already diagnosed by the VA for TBI.

I was not counseled to apply for service connected disability and I have tried my best to deal with it alone over the years since returning from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I did go to several appointments at the VA until I started getting billed for the service so I discontinued my visits.

I was not able to afford medical treatment and miss work resulting in me making less money than I need to pay my bills. I am a OEF/OIF Veteran with duty in both Kuwait and Iraq.

I am claiming TBI and Depression for the following reasons.

I experienced the following events during OIF/OEF Deployment:

Blast or Explosion IED (improvised explosive device), RPG (rocket propelled grenade), Land Mine, Grenade, etc.

2. I had the following symptoms immediately afterwards:

Being dazed, confused, seeing starts, no memory of the event

3. I began to have balance problems, dizziness, sensitivity to bright light, and constant loud ringing in my ears.

4. Currently I am still suffering from the following symptoms within the last week:

Memory lapses, confusion, trouble sleeping, night terrors, sensitivity to bright light, irritability, paranoia, ringing in the ears, and was diagnosed by the Durham VA speech and audio logy lab has having significant hearing loss in right ear, which is the same side that the rocket exploded on.

Before deploying to Operation Iraqi Freedom I had suffered head injuries while performing a military parachute jump, and falling off a climbing rope during Physical Training with my unit. In both of these instances I was unaware of head injuries being a real medical condition, and just assumed that my symptoms would improve. I was not made aware of the true cause and effect of my

injuries until being screened by the Veterans Administration for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and receiving literature relating to the subject.

The Tinnitus that I suffer from was caused by sounds, and noises that were both loud and of high intensity. The worst coming from a blast that was created by a

Do to my injuries and physical limitations I have experienced difficulty while dealing with depression and frustration. These things have placed strain on my professional life and my personal life.

Some days I do not have the ability to be social with anyone and it has cost me one marriage. I did not come back from Iraq the same man that left.

The steady increase of the symptoms caused by my injuries has caused my ability to perform and quality of life to decrease. I fail to conduct personal hygiene and do not complete tasks as I once did. I have trouble eating, sleeping, maintaining relationships, and have lost contact with my children.

My new wife has actually separated from me multiple times, and I fear that is something does not change I may lose her. I have suffered from bouts of drinking, and was smoking marijuana for a period of time I am doing the best I can to get help and improve myself. I thank you for your time in reading this and your assistance in helping me get the compensation and treatment I deserve.

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Stu,

Welcome to Hadit.com.

My suggestion would be to trim this down by at least 50 %.

You have requested,

"An increase in flat feet condition rating.An increase in tinnitus rating.

An increase of herniated nucleus pulpous (lower back condition with left leg pain) claimed as Lumbar injury."

What are your current disability percentages separately, for each above SC'd disability ?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Remember you have to be able to show a nexus to service for every single disability you are claiming. That means DX or treatment must be in your service medical records or in a VA exam within one year of discharge. You have to have DX for PTSD and TBI from the VA. Your increases are already SC'ed so you have to show they have gotten worse. The main thing is to connect the dots from your service to your illness and injury.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

File the claims that you identified. You can include your letter. However, much of what you are saying needs to be addressed by doctors in their reports. You do need to show nexus and more specific limitations of joint movement or the lack thereof. The VA does have some obligation to assist you by scheduling C&P exams for the purpose of identifying direct service connection and secondary service connection and to perform evaluations to identify increase in severity of previously service connected claims. Consider the possibility that if you are service connected for a back injury that other lowere extremity conditions could be related. I have seen doctors reports that were sucessful relating many joint injuries to airborne personnel who jumped. The exams scheduled by the VA should address nexus issues. If any of these claims were previously filed and denied the process gets a little more complex in as much as they will require new and material evidence prior to the scheduling of exams.

The VA can use treatment notes from VA doctors and the doctor who you authorize them to obtain records. Sometimes they will use these reports instead of C&P exams. When filing out any documents involving the stressor for PTSD be very specific and follow their instructions. Do not fail to answer any questions. Do not ignore any request they send you for information. I do not recall that you mentioned a service officer. Get a service officer. Keep us posted here on hadit.

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Hello Stu,,,,, Welcome aboard. After reading your novel , it reminds me of my claim. I also made my claim very weighty and wish I could have trimmed it down so to speak. Carlie is right , trim by 50 percent if you can . Make sure you don't leave out the important things. Hoppy has given some real good advice as well as John, concerning the nexus from your doctors. It all boils down to getting strong supportive medical evidence , or known as IMO's, Independent medical opinions. Yes I understand when you can't work to pay those doctors, so try and use your VA. doctors. I have used both civilian and VA doctors for my nexus supporting my claims and have compiled a novel myself that is awaiting adjudication. Understanding that the Benefit of a Doubt rule needs to always be brought to the attention of the VA. I believe it is 38 CFR 3.102 and if coupled with your existing evidence, only has to make it to 50 percent in your favor and in equal equipoise to win the claim. C and P exams are not necessary to win your claim as the VA can make a ruling if you have plenty of other medical opinions and the VA has made plenty of awards from claims absent of VA C and Ps. The VA and its famous VCAA letter to you instructing what they need from you should be followed as best as you can. Yes the VA is suppose to assist you with obtaining records but I would forget that. It really all rides on you shoulders to get them everything they need to make a proper decision. Getting your doctor to help in your case should not be a problem as you are already service connected so its just a matter of telling him how much worse off you have gotten and hopefully it will be supported by test to prove up your statements and your doctors nexus. It is my opinion that in the end a strong medical nexus is what receives the proper award from the BVA or the COVA decisions which usually force the VA regional office to follow their advice. But above all remember ,,,,,,,,,, NEVER GIVE UP. God Bless, C.C.

Edited by Capt.Contaminate
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  • HadIt.com Elder

I would concentrate on the claims that get me to 100% or IU with the least burden of proof. The rest you can work on when you are getting a 100% check.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Stu,

I would suggest you go to my website. I think you will find a lot of help there. It is a free site offering suggestions for researching, organizing and then assembling an attachment to submit with your claim.

Remember to keep your comments as short as possible. Rely heavily on documented medical information and try to provide documents of the service connection side or at least point them towards the dates and times of the incidents.

The VA can find information but they will need some info from you to pinpoint the incidents.

If you can get buddy letters who witnessed the incidents, that could help also.

Again, go to my site. I think it can help.

I wish you a good journey as you continue your quest.

fanaticbooks

http://www.howtoassemblevaclaims.com/

Edited by fanaticbooks
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