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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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LenB

"old Timer"; New To This

Question

Hi all,

I'm a Vietnam Vet who recently filed a PTSD claim and am having a hard time getting guidance. I originally filed my own disability application online at the beginning of October 2010. About a month and a half later I received a large envelope in the mail from my local DVA Regional Office asking me to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and also to notify me of an appointment to be examined by an outside psychiatrist. Mind you, I found out by casually requesting records from my VA medical center that I had been diagnosed over a year and a half ago with PTSD by a VA psychiatrist.

I sat down with a VSO in my area trying to get some guidance about a week and a half prior to sending all of my forms and documents in. He really sucked in that he spent 35 out of the 40 minutes telling me his own war stories of when he was in the Navy - I had to struggle to get just a word or question in edgewise. I was able to show him one form that I had started to fill out and he said "It looks like you are all set." Then he pushed my forms aside in order to tell me more of his war stories. It was really disappointing and he was of no help at all.

They scheduled my outside exam to be within 2 weeks of my receiving the large envelope from them (earlier this month of December), and also they only gave me 30 days from the date of their letter in which to submit all of my own documents and testimony from others. Mind you, I was discharged from the service in 1975 without any diagnosed injuries or disabilities at that time. Well, actually, PTSD hadn't even been defined or recognized at that time, but knowing what I know now I did indeed have it when I was discharged.

First off - if I do get a percentage rating for compensation from the VA, will they pay for prior years that I suffered with it? For example, I do have documentation showing that I was getting outside psychiatric treatment for the symptoms of my PTSD starting in 1993 up until the present time. I was getting treatment much earlier than that, but that was so many years ago that I don't have proof of it. I also lost some significant jobs from it over the years.

I was trying to find out how to get a copy of that recent outside psychiatrist's report but I have had no luck. I called and asked that useless VSO and he said that I am not entitled to see it until after the VA determines my rating, if any. That doesn't make sense to me. I have tried to call my local regional DVA office (they are the ones requesting all of this proof) but they only have telephone prompts with general informational messages. I can't get a real human on the phone. I asked the records office personnel at my local VA medical center and they said that the outside report goes directly to the regional office so they have nothing to give me. Has anyone else had luck with seeing outside diagnoses before a rating determination is made?

I know that the VA has recently redefined who they consider to be a "combat veteran." I was in the Air Force, based in Okinawa, and never spent time on the ground in Vietnam, but I did fly lengthy missions in the combat zone of Vietnam several times a month. We flew for three hours each way to and from the combat zone and then flew for 12 hours continuously while in the combat zone. Halfway through each mission we had a mid-air refueling. The flights were 18 hours in total. I was paid both combat duty pay and hazardous duty pay every month during the two years of flying those missions out of Okinawa. I received badges and air medals, one of which was a badge for my first 10 "combat missions" flown (that's how the SPECIAL ORDER refers to it, and I still have a copy of it.) In the letter I received recently from the DVA they listed certain medals that would be proof of my being a real "combat veteran," but I don't recognize any of the ones they list so I don't think I ever received one of those medals in particular. Does it sound like I would still be deemed a "combat veteran," based on what I say here, as far as the possibility of a disability rating and payment is concerend?

Well that's all the questions I have for now. Thanks in advance for any answers you can provide.

Len

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Hi all,

I'm a Vietnam Vet who recently filed a PTSD claim and am having a hard time getting guidance. I originally filed my own disability application online at the beginning of October 2010. About a month and a half later I received a large envelope in the mail from my local DVA Regional Office asking me to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and also to notify me of an appointment to be examined by an outside psychiatrist. Mind you, I found out by casually requesting records from my VA medical center that I had been diagnosed over a year and a half ago with PTSD by a VA psychiatrist.

I sat down with a VSO in my area trying to get some guidance about a week and a half prior to sending all of my forms and documents in. He really sucked in that he spent 35 out of the 40 minutes telling me his own war stories of when he was in the Navy - I had to struggle to get just a word or question in edgewise. I was able to show him one form that I had started to fill out and he said "It looks like you are all set." Then he pushed my forms aside in order to tell me more of his war stories. It was really disappointing and he was of no help at all.

They scheduled my outside exam to be within 2 weeks of my receiving the large envelope from them (earlier this month of December), and also they only gave me 30 days from the date of their letter in which to submit all of my own documents and testimony from others. Mind you, I was discharged from the service in 1975 without any diagnosed injuries or disabilities at that time. Well, actually, PTSD hadn't even been defined or recognized at that time, but knowing what I know now I did indeed have it when I was discharged.

First off - if I do get a percentage rating for compensation from the VA, will they pay for prior years that I suffered with it? For example, I do have documentation showing that I was getting outside psychiatric treatment for the symptoms of my PTSD starting in 1993 up until the present time. I was getting treatment much earlier than that, but that was so many years ago that I don't have proof of it. I also lost some significant jobs from it over the years.

I was trying to find out how to get a copy of that recent outside psychiatrist's report but I have had no luck. I called and asked that useless VSO and he said that I am not entitled to see it until after the VA determines my rating, if any. That doesn't make sense to me. I have tried to call my local regional DVA office (they are the ones requesting all of this proof) but they only have telephone prompts with general informational messages. I can't get a real human on the phone. I asked the records office personnel at my local VA medical center and they said that the outside report goes directly to the regional office so they have nothing to give me. Has anyone else had luck with seeing outside diagnoses before a rating determination is made?

I know that the VA has recently redefined who they consider to be a "combat veteran." I was in the Air Force, based in Okinawa, and never spent time on the ground in Vietnam, but I did fly lengthy missions in the combat zone of Vietnam several times a month. We flew for three hours each way to and from the combat zone and then flew for 12 hours continuously while in the combat zone. Halfway through each mission we had a mid-air refueling. The flights were 18 hours in total. I was paid both combat duty pay and hazardous duty pay every month during the two years of flying those missions out of Okinawa. I received badges and air medals, one of which was a badge for my first 10 "combat missions" flown (that's how the SPECIAL ORDER refers to it, and I still have a copy of it.) In the letter I received recently from the DVA they listed certain medals that would be proof of my being a real "combat veteran," but I don't recognize any of the ones they list so I don't think I ever received one of those medals in particular. Does it sound like I would still be deemed a "combat veteran," based on what I say here, as far as the possibility of a disability rating and payment is concerend?

Well that's all the questions I have for now. Thanks in advance for any answers you can provide.

Len

I will answer your questions as posed by you. Your payment will date back to the date the claim was filed. You can request a copy of the c&p exam by filing a VA 21-41378 with your VA regional office. You should submit copies of your air medals and other combat related documents to the same place you request copies of the c&p and make sure you get "timestamped copies" of all documents you submit.

Hope this helps,

Bergie

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being a "combat vet" really is not the issue when it comes to PTSD it's do you have the diagnosis from a VA doctor, and do you have a "stressor incident" that you can verify a plane crash severe injury if you were assaulted while in service does your medical records show the attack was anyone court martialed because of it?

There are many ways to get PTSD mine was from an attempted murder and robbery 4 men went to Leavenworth over it, that was easier to prove than the DMZ incidents in Korea or the many vehicle accidents at NTC where people I knew died and live rounds (short rounds) wounded etc

they will not pay you back to when you were discharged or even when you sought treatment years ago the effective date will be the day you actually filed the claim my stressor one of them happened 5 Feb 1975 my PTSD effective date in Dec 2003 when I actually filed my PTSD claim the only way to get paid back to a discharge date is for veterans who file claims within a year of ETS then the VA will go back to their discharge date for the rest of us it is the day we file the claim.

Not all VSOs are good at what they do as you seem to have found out some are chair warmers you can't micro manage what they do but you can file your own documents and get them date stamped etc many veterans file their own claims but most do not understand the system and it usually is best if you use a good VSO from one of the veteran groups or county veterans agencies my wife and I did mine after I revoked my American Legions SOs POA in Dec 2003 and filed my own claims I got 100% P&T for PTSD but I did have to get a lawyer to help with my BVA appeal for CAD and hypertension which I was granted in 2009 in spite of myself sometimes you just need a good rep either a VSO or an attorney before 2007 we could not get lawyers until the appeal went to COVA now you can use them after the first denial which is good for veterans. Letting a lawyer deal with the VA can be worth it if you have a complicated mess and the VARO is denying you and seems not to be listening

learn some patience there is nothing fast about compensation claims and there are no dumb questions if youcan think of it ask it the only dumb question is the one you have that you didn't ask

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I will answer your questions as posed by you. Your payment will date back to the date the claim was filed. You can request a copy of the c&p exam by filing a VA 21-41378 with your VA regional office. You should submit copies of your air medals and other combat related documents to the same place you request copies of the c&p and make sure you get "timestamped copies" of all documents you submit.

Hope this helps,

Bergie

Thank you, Bergie.

What does c&p stand for? Also, I did a search online for form VA 21-41378 and nothing that looks like or even sounds close to any VA form with that designation comes up. Would you happen to have a link to where it can be downloaded?

Finally, I've already sent my documentation in and didn't request any time-stamped copies of anything. All I did was put them in a notebook binder with a table of contents and then mailed it all out to them. I did get a confirmation of mailing and also prepared a duplicate set of what I sent to them for myself. After reading some of the stories in this forum I'm beginning to feel paranoid and untrusting of them. Or is that my PTSD acting up?

Len

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Thank you, Bergie.

What does c&p stand for? Also, I did a search online for form VA 21-41378 and nothing that looks like or even sounds close to any VA form with that designation comes up. Would you happen to have a link to where it can be downloaded?

Finally, I've already sent my documentation in and didn't request any time-stamped copies of anything. All I did was put them in a notebook binder with a table of contents and then mailed it all out to them. I did get a confirmation of mailing and also prepared a duplicate set of what I sent to them for myself. After reading some of the stories in this forum I'm beginning to feel paranoid and untrusting of them. Or is that my PTSD acting up?

Len

It's a form # 21-4138, "Statement In Support of Claim".

C&P = Compensation and Pension. C&P is used as the short form of referring to the Compensation and Pension EXAM performed by the VA when a Claim is filed. It's the medical examination determing your disability.

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LenB.

Good for you being active about your claim; no one will make as strong a case for you as You will.

You can see that from your VSO's behavior.

Some VSO's are good but all I use mine for is to look in the system for information (and that can take days).

Your best bet is to do the research, submit evidence and handle your claim yourself.

I wish you well! :smile:

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