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Detailed Or Lite Nod?

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JohnO

Question

I'm filing an NOD presenting new information on two previous awards. My original award letter is dated 11 February 2011. My initial award was 70% (30 PTSD + 30 CAD + 20 DMII + 10 tinnitus).

What level of detail is needed in an NOD? I have medical records on hand and can pretty much duplicate the detail used by the rating officer in my original award. Or, I can keep it brief, referencing new non-VA hospital records and VA hospital progress notes.

Last month I had by-pass surgery and cardiology/hospital records support a 60% award (30% increase over original award). I want to NOD the 30% CAD award.

Subsequent to my PTSD C&P exam (June 2010), I've had a number of consultations with VA psychologists/psychiatrists. My VA hospital progress notes support a higher rating. My initial award was 30%, my records support 50%.

Further, I was at the Michael DeBakey VA Hospital in Houston for a scheduled appointment with my primary care VA physician last week. I visited the regional office and a service officer (what's the right term for a VA claims officer?). He helped me apply for the three months recovery from by-pass surgery (100% temporary award). The service officer suggested that I get a letter from my cardiologist supporting three months rehabilitation. My cardiologist has already told me he'd write the letter.

Am I on the right track here? Am I leaving anything out? Do I use a short NOD, referencing new evidence? Or, do I send a detailed NOD, noting all evidence supporting higher awards? Also, do I request a DRO?

My initial claim(s) was filed by a county VSO associated with the American Legion. Since then, other than advice from HADIT, I've been handling my claims myself. Thanks for past and future advice.

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You can file the NOD and hold off on giving any other info if you want. What will happen is the VARO will send you a letter stating that they received your NOD and then ask for the supporting documentation. I recommend that with the NOD you ask for a hearing so that you can present your case and answer the DRO officer's questions. You should definately get your cardiologist to write a nexus that supports your claim to a higher rating, as well as the same from the psychiatrist treating your PTSD.

Hope this helps,

Bergie

As a combat veteran, or any veteran for that matter!!!

If you thought the fighting was over when you came home, got out, or when the politicians said it was over.

Welcome to the real fight, welcome to VA claims!!!

"Just sayin"

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  • HadIt.com Elder

With the NOD ask specifically for a Personal Hearing with the DRO. Then you can present all your evidence as Bergie suggests. This gives you a chance to look the DRO in the eye and he/she gets to look at you and see you as a person.

With your evidence you want to use the doctors to connect all the dots regarding the nexus. You must have the doctor really spell it out for the VA. If that doctor won't do it get one who will.

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File your NOD, however, file a claimfor an increase and temporay 100% based on the by-pass surgery. Cover all bases. You can have a claim and an appeal going at the same time.

"Don't give up. Don't ever give up." Jimmy V

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Further, I was at the Michael DeBakey VA Hospital in Houston

This doesn't have to do with the claim, just wanted to relate that when I

was an infant, Dr.DeBakey was one of my cardiologists.

That was about 50 years ago, he was a great pioneer in this field.

Carlie passed away in November 2015 she is missed.

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There are two schools of thought on how detailed to make your NOD:

I tend to favor the one where you use that as an excuse to "argue" your case, presenting evidence as to exactly why you deserve your benefits. I think there is a "medium" length of your NOD, where you get a chance to present all your evidence, but dont "write a book". The courts frown on Veterans submitting more than 25 pages (this does not inculde medical evidence which can be hundreds of pages) ...usually this means the Veteran is "ranting" and telling stories that have no bearing on the outcome. I think an NOD of 1-5 pages is a good length. You should be able to condense what you need to say in less than 5 pages or so, but if it goes 8 or even 10 pages dont fret, if you have read it over thoroughly, checking for redundancy and whether or not it is relevant. One thing that will shorten it, it you dont need to cite the entire regulation, just say something like, "According to CFR 38 4.16, the Veteran is entitled to benefits because (and state why you think this reg applies to your case)" Dont cite the whole regulation..the judge knows how to look it up, if he does not already have it committed to memory.

If its not releveant to the outcome of your claim, then I would not include it. Dont go on and on about stories about what the VAMC nurse told you, if she did not put that in your notes. The VA is going to want documentation of everything, so start with the documentation you have, then build your case on that, rather than expect the Va to take your undocumented testimony. You will build credibility by documenting pretty much everything you say. If you say something that conflicts with the documented evidence, then you better have some pretty good reasons why. Something like this would be ok:

"While C and P Dr. A stated that the Veteran did not suffer from the disease, Dr. B, and Doctor C, have both diagnosed the Veteran with the disease on a medical exam dated 1-4-02 and 1-2-03 respectively.

The other school of thought on NOD's is to just identify the issues, and add evidence "later". I like to do them at the same time, as the VA cant say.."Gee, we did not know about (the medical exams dated 1-4-02 or 1-2-03) ". I then say, "oh yes you did, you see I mentioned them in my NOD dated 11-12-06 ".

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