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Ptsd Claim Awaiting Dro W/local Hearing

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NSA-Saigon-ET

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Hi Folks,

I have been working on my appeal and wanted to post it for review and comments.

I have recently relocated and my C-file has been moved to Reno, NV from Houston, TX.

I have attached the document as a Word file.

-donald

PTSD-100%final1.doc

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  • HadIt.com Elder

If I were you I would stay in one place until all claims are done. If you get denied on the CUE I would think about hiring a lawyer. It may not be a CUE. You should also see if you can get the BCMR to award you a PH. This would make a lot of problems go away. I got a feeling that once you prove the wound to your foot came from hostile action all other claims will fall into place. Were you ever seen or did you ever make a claim for a mental health condition of any kind before you claimed PTSD? The Navy discharged you without noting this injury to your foot? I just wish there was some way to get you compensation back to the time you were discharged with this injury. I got a feeling there might be a way since the VA did not make an attempt to get your records. I am speculating on that and wishing you had filed any sort of claim within one year of getting out of the Navy.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

John999:

I would agree with you 99.9% of the time but the Member has moved from Houston VARO maybe the worst in the country. Since he is already in Reno why not roll the dice?

Veterans deserve real choice for their health care.

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If I were you I would stay in one place until all claims are done. If you get denied on the CUE I would think about hiring a lawyer. It may not be a CUE. You should also see if you can get the BCMR to award you a PH. This would make a lot of problems go away. I got a feeling that once you prove the wound to your foot came from hostile action all other claims will fall into place. Were you ever seen or did you ever make a claim for a mental health condition of any kind before you claimed PTSD? The Navy discharged you without noting this injury to your foot? I just wish there was some way to get you compensation back to the time you were discharged with this injury. I got a feeling there might be a way since the VA did not make an attempt to get your records. I am speculating on that and wishing you had filed any sort of claim within one year of getting out of the Navy.

Thanks for your input John,

I have tried to be awarded the Purple Heart three times now and have just run out of steam at this point.

I wrote the CNO once and submitted my information as they have a department supposed to help. They didn't, all they did was forward everything to the BCMR. They in turn only looked at the existing records and didn't find basis for purple heart and sent me back a canned letter .

Next I wrote them back and tried to explain that I also have my records and understand that the information needed did not reside in my records, but was located at the archived storage facility or NPRC. I even sent them a copy of the information and also a copy of my VA claim so that the could see what was happening. They wrote me back and said the couldn't help me.

Next I contacted US REP. Al Green office and asked their help. I gave the staff all my information and they in turn asked for the BCMR to look into the matter. They did by repeating the same action as before and simply ignored the documents sent to them again. They did however, discover a missing MUC for my unit in Vietnam and sent it to me.

Well, I am the one who did not know to appeal back then. It was very difficult to even file the first claim as I waited for 20 years.

This has been a learning process, but I do believe what I posted should be fine.

I may not get all that I deserve, but at this point I think I will get some awards.

The verified injury is enough to be used as a stressor event for PTSD. The injury need only be perceived as life threatening by the veteran and an injury of this type which resulted in a 5 inch laceration and a two week hospitalization should suffice. I submitted many stressor events however, I traveled and worked alone and did not keep a diary.

So I have given up on that route and just chalk it up as another brick thrown at us Vietnam Vets.

Also I have waited 27 months for a simple DRO and local appeal. This used to take 6 months and now will take a decade in Houston. Idf you look at their claims on appeal , you will notice that it is over 12000 claims. Two years ago I checked it and it was at 12000 claims. Just zipping along!

I relocated to Las Vegas, NV and their RO is Reno. They have a backlog of around 920 claims. Big difference.

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I have re-written the local appeal and removed much of the un-needed background fluff. The result reads much easier and hopefully keeps the focus on the correct information submitted to the VA.

At this point I will be happy just to get the award. Anything else, I can pry from the VA will be pure gravy on the steak!

I do believe that one or the other regulation will prevail correctly if the DRO is competent in his/her job capacity. I do not want this to proceed up to the BVA.

Well, here is the improved version. Comments on the content would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-donald

Local appeal: ­­­

Local appeal evidence to be presented at DRO local hearing.

2009 rating decision –PTSD

Evidence:

1967-1974 - Veterans USN Personnel Records

1967-1974 - Veterans USN Medical Records

1994 VA Rating Decisions –pages 1-5

1991-1994 Vet Center report Manchester, NH

1994 Veteran Statements supporting claim–pages 1-4

1994-VAMC Manchester, NH Mental Health treatment-pages1-7

2003 ST. Pete VAMC PTSD -diagnosis from head of MH 2003

2003 Rewrite of Veteran statement 1st submitted 1994 pages 1-6

2003 VA Rating Decisions –pages 1-3

2004-2008 Houston VAMC Houston-patient active problems

2007 November Dr.Boyd IMO PTSD diagnosis & NEXUS pages 1-2

2007 Social Security Disability PSYCH.Review Worksheet pages 1-7

2008 Social Security Disability Award Notice

2009 Aug. NPRC 3rd Field Hosp. patient record pages 1-16

2009 Feb.3 VA Rating Decisions –pages 1-5

2009 Feb 10 DAV request for DRO personalhearing

Introduction

The veteran served in the USN from July 1967 to July 1974 as an Electronics Technician. The veteran served in-country duty in Vietnam from April 1969 to October 1970. The veteran was assigned to NSA-Saigon. Duties included traveling to remote facilities to maintain and repair communications equipment in II, III, and IV Corps. The veteran was hospitalized twice at theUS Army 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. The veteran also received in-hospital treatment after returning from Vietnam due to an automobile accident in 1971. The veteran was treated for a head injury at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. The injuries sustained included a head injury with loss of lower teeth, multiple chin lacerations and loss of a section of lower jaw.

Claim History

  • Veteran first filed PTSD claim at the Manchester, NH VARO in 1994. The PTSD issue was denied.
  • Veteran did not appeal.
  • Veteran filed to re-open claim in 2003 at the VARO in St. Petersburg, Fl. Issue again denied, but claim was re-opened due to the new evidence of a diagnosis of PTSD.
  • Veteran did not appeal.
  • Veteran re-filed in November 2007 at the VARO in Houston, TX. To reopen the PTSD claim. New evidence submitted.
  • The PTSD claim was denied Feb. 2009.
  • Veteran filed a NOD and requested local hearing and DRO review at Houston VARO Feb.10, 2009.
  • Veteran has relocated to Las Vegas, NV and requested transfer of jurisdiction, cfile and local hearing w/DRO review to Reno, NV. In April 2011.

    ANALYSIS


    It's worth noting that, in 1999, the VA amendedits PTSD regulation, 38 C.F.R. 3.304(f) to remove an earlier requirement of a"clear diagnosis" of PTSD. The amendment is retroactively effective toMarch 7, 1997.


    Under the old regulations to establish a claim for PTSD, the veteran needed the following :

    • A. A current medical diagnosis of PTSD (according to the diagnostic criteria in theDSM-IV);
    • B.Credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred;and,
    • C.Medical evidence of a causal nexus b/n the current diagnosis of PTSD and the claimed in- service stressor(s).

    1. The veterans' NOD is based on the new evidence which was submitted to VA:

    [*]Independent Medical Opinion report from Dr. Boyd with current diagnosis of PTSD and the medical NEXUS to the veteran's service in Vietnam.[*]Social Security Disability award document for PTSD.[*]Social Security Disability worksheet from SS doctors staff denoting PTSD.[*]NPRC archived in-hospital treatment record of right foot shrapnel wound sustained by veteran in July, 1969.

    Under38 CFR 3.156 New and Material Evidence regulation,

    The documents bulleted above are new and material evidence not seen by the VA. They list a current diagnosis of a chronic condition of PTSD. There is verification of the stressor event stated by the veteran which happened while in the service and was in the line of duty. A medical connection NEXUS of the condition and verified event has been provided by Dr. Glenn Boyd. These are all the conditions needed to qualify for a disability of rating code DC 9411 or PTSD.

    The veteran is currently unemployable and as such has been receiving Social Security disability benefits since April 2007. (Effective date is October,2007-approved retro from 2008 by Social security award) The Social Security disability is 100% and is based on the veterans PTSD. The veteran has also received a total unemployable opinion from Dr. Glenn Boyd, based upon his treatment of the veteran since 2007. The GAF score provided by Dr. Boyd was low 38-47. However, the veteran is currently stable on medication and treatment monitoring by the VAMC in Houston, TX. This treatment has been continued by the VA since the veteran relocated to Las Vegas, NV in early April, 2011.

    The veteran is asking an award for service connection disability of PTSD DC9411 @100% rating with an EED of the 2007claim.

    2. The veteran believes the rating decision of 2003 contains a CUE and cites 38 C.F.R 3.105a. This rating decision was from the St. Petersburg VARO. The veteran had sought help from the VAMC atBay Pines, facility and was diagnosed with PTSD from their head of mental health clinic. He was treated with medication and referred to Vet Center for counseling. The Veteran filed to reopen his PTSD claim using this new diagnosis and a re-write of his stressor statements, which included a right foot injury from Vietnam. The VA again denied his claim, although they did re-open it due to thePTSD diagnosis. The VA reasons were that although he now had a current diagnosis for PTSD, he still did not have a verified stressor which could be used in support of his claim. The only objection raised by the VA for the claim was the single issue of an unverified stressor event, in this case the alleged right foot injury.

    However, this stressor event has now been verified with the new evidence submitted by the veteran in 2009 from the NPRC. This is proof positive that the stressor event did happen. The specific CUE is that the VA failed to use all pertinent evidence in its possession to make a correct decision on an issue. Since the VA had knowledge of the alleged stressor and so noted it for the record, it also had the document to verify it being stored at the NPRC. The result of the failure on the VA to utilize all the pertinent evidence for a correct decision was a denial of benefits to the veteran.This constitutes a clear and unmistakable error. The remedy would be a reversal of the decision since in this case, the only obstacle was the unverified stressor.

    Furthermore, the veteran is also aware that regulation 38 C.F.R. 3.156 New and Material Evidence states in part, that this evidence due to its nature, can be used from the earliest submission of claims referencing that evidence. Therefore both the 2003 claim and the 1994 claim may make use of the verified right foot injury..

    The veteran is asking an award for a PTSD disability rating @70% with an EED of the 2003 claim.

    3. The veteran states that there is either a CUE o ran unresolved claim dating from 1994 rating decision. The veteran's original claim for PTSD was denied in part because of no diagnosis of PTSD could be found. However, the VA did note the diagnosis he received in 1991 thru 1994 at the Vet Center inManchester, NH and at the mental health clinic at the VAMC in Manchester,NH. In both cases he was diagnosed witha condition of DYSTHYMIC DISORDER dc9433.

    This was the final diagnosis at that time...The condition was listed as moderate and was possibly service connected. This condition is rated at a compensable level under VA regulations. The veteran believes that a CUE may exist in this1994 decision. The CUE is a failure to apply the regulation rating for Dysthymic disorder at that time.

    In the event the VA does not wish to use CUE for this issue, it may wish to consider the issue as an open claim from that date and should be rated as soon as possible.

    The veteran is asking a service connectionbe awarded for Dysthymic disorder dc 9433 @ 50% with an EED of 1994 claim. This should be corrected to PTSD in 2003.

    Conclusions

    It is now clear from the entire body of evidence that the veteran was denied compensation and benefits since first filing a claim in 1994. The failure of the VA to retrieve all records in their possession caused a wrong decision to be adjudicated for a claim o ffoot injury and also in part to cause a denial of service connection for a mental health condition, be it PTSD or Dysthymia. The veteran was allowed to further suffe runtil 2003 when a correct diagnosis of PTSD was finally rendered, but the VA still would not help the veteran. This denial of benefits has not changed, however,now the veteran has all the elements verified and wishes that the VA finally be responsible and award the benefits and compensation the veteran has earned.

    The veteran is asking for the following awards to be approved as a remedy for the denial of benefits

    a. An initialaward of Dysthymic disorder @ 50% rating from 1994 to 2003.

    b. A correctivechange to PTSD from the dysthymic disorder award and an increase to 70% rating from2003 to 2007.

    c. A currentaward of PTSD @ 100% rating from November, 2007.

    The veteran believes this is an accurate assessment of the PTSD issue and remedy for this claim.

    Submitted by:

Edited by NSA-Saigon-ET
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When did you have your last C&P exam where the VA said you had current DX of PTSD?

The VA has never ordered a C & P for any of the claims.

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