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Claim Filed Over A Year Ago, And V

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A little background first: I have 20% for DDD in my lower back, and 20% for pinched nerve and herniated disc in my neck secondary to DDD in my back. I had discectomy in my lower back while in service due to an injury that started in airborne school in 2003. I hurt my neck at the same time, but army doctors never did anything about my neck while I was in service. Once I got out of the army in 2006, I started seeing the VA for my neck and back problems. The VA did a fusion in my neck in March of 2010.

I filed a new / increase claim in April 2010. The claim was for increase in DDD in lower back, increase in urinary incontinence (previously rated 0%) which was caused by the pinched nerves in my neck, and a new claim for temporary 100% disability for the two months I was out of work due to recovery from my neck fusion, which is service connected. I know if you are in a hospital, on bed rest, or recovering from a service connected injury surgery for six weeks or longer you are entitled to 100% temporary disability compensation.

So, I filed these claims together with the help of my VSO a month after my fusion in my neck. It has been over a year now and the only information I have gotten to this point is the nice little letters from the VA saying they are still working on my claim. I haven't even received an appointment for a new C&P exam. I called the VA to check several times and they always tell me that it is pending. The last time I talked to someone at the Chicago regional office, she told me that they hadn't received any evidence from me yet and they had no record of my surgery for the temporary 100% claim.

Well, let's see! I sent a huge packet of evidence pertaining to my DDD in back is worsening and the evidence for the urinary incontinence. I sent the original form back from the VA allowing them to pull my records as well and the girl from the VA said I sent the letter back denying the VA to pull my records. And, how is it possible for the VA to have no records of my fusion in my neck when I did the surgery at the Milwaukee, WI VA hospital??? I didn't have the surgery at a civilian hospital, but a VA hospital!!! That really confuses me!

So, I am trying to figure out what I should do at this point. My VSO says to keep waiting. I am afraid my claim slipped through the cracks somewhere and it is not getting processed at all. The first to claims I filed were completely finished within six months. This time, it's been over a year and I still haven't received a C&P exam. I know you guys have gone through similar experiences, and I am looking for any input and advice you can give me, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am half tempted to call my congressman or something to that nature to try and get the ball rolling, but I don't know what the appropriate next step for me is. Please let me know what you would do in this situation??? And just to confirm, I should definately get back paid to April 2010 if the VA finally decides and gives me an increase, right?!? Thanks so much for the help!!! blush.gif

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It think maybe its time to "stir the pot".

First, I would start out with an IRIS email, asking for the status of your claim. Make sure you dont let them get away with giving you a "generic" status. How do you do this? Ask a question about a specific document, in a specific part of your claim, something like this:

"During my medical exam on 03/23/11, the physician stated the cause was at least as likely as not due to military service"...my question is do you have this exam document, from the VAMC on that date, and do you have the examiners qualifications to make this statment?

Something like that. You see, they will have to inquire at the RO to get the answer. If they try to give you a generic "Whatever you included will be in your file", then dont let them get away with it. Say, good, I would like a copy of that document.

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One of the things you are trying to find out is if they lost your file. If they did, then you need to find out ASAP, and, rest assured, they will keep this information from you as long as they can. You may be able to resubmit it and get it back on track. They may even be emabarrassed and "hurry it up", but, they wont even notice until you "stir the pot".

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