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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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IraqwarRN

Ptsd And Getting Ready To Retire

Question

Hello everyone!

I have been reading comments on this forum and I'm a little concerned about what to expect from the VA. I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD related to my service in Iraq. I am an Operating Room nurse but I have been removed from patient care due to my conditions, mainly panic attacks. Am under treatment but have not been able to return to patient care. All of this is documented in my mental health record by my psychiatrist. I will be retiring in less than a year (226 days to be exact). What documentation do I need besides my health record for the VA and how soon do I need to start this process. I'm the primary bread winner for our family and we still have two children at home and a grandson that we are raising. I was hoping for a smooth transition into the VA health system but after reading everyone's stories here that's not looking too good. Does anyone have any advice about how to get through this process without going further over the edge of mental disease?

As a side note, does anyone out there with PTSD have uncontrolable muscle twitches. I'm just wondering if this is just part of the condition/medications or am I just becoming more of a hypochondriac. Thanks in advance for your help.

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IraqRN

I don't have PTSD its Panic Disorder and I have the muscle twitches. I am no expert but should you not get Medical Retirement? Keep copies of all your Medical Records. The VA has gotten better about taking care of military who are leaving the Service. Most of us who had long delays also did not apply within one year of separation.

I wish you well and thank you for your service.

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IraqRN, listen to Pete, he gives great advice.

What muscles are twitching? Are you on medication? My panic attacks are usually accompanied by my going super rigid, can't move a muscle, but some of the medications can cause tics and twitches.

One of the medications I was on earlier caused Restless Leg Syndrome. I think Abilify can cause it as well.

It sounds like you'll have good information in your records to back your claim, just make sure you get ALL of them. If the Army tries to tell you that the VA will get them for you, tell them that you need them anyway. The VA is NOT good at getting your SMRs for you.

When you get your SMR packet, go through it and make sure the key records are there, the ones that clearly connect your problems with your service.

I know it seems overwhelming... it IS overwhelming for someone with PTSD. The cruel irony is that the VA system that is supposed to help PTSD vets doesn't have any program (that I know of) to really help PTSD vets get the compensation and help they need. It's hit or miss.

I've read posts here from Vets who were able to get great help and guidance, and then others who were jerked around like naughty poodles.

The biggest thing is getting help for your PTSD, help for coping with it and living with it. The best help will extend to your family. Many vets here swear by their local Vet Centers (these are mental health offices that aren't connected to the VA Healthcare system). I had a horrendous experience with the one in my area, but I think this is definitely the exception to the rule.

You're smart, smart, smart, to be thinking about this well in advance. Give yourself a hug or a pat on the back, okay?

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Get into treatment immediately and file everything within the first year. Pete and Hedgey have told you good info. Stay in treatment. You want all your records from the military and you want to build on that through the VA for the rest of your life.

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