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Guest jangrin

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Guest jangrin

:unsure: I was just wondering when the RO recieves a claim that has multiple conditions (sent all on the initial claim), do they make a determination on the ones they know are service connected first and send out notification, or do they go ahead and send out a notice on each condition as they make their determination? OR do they hold back everything on the initial claim until they have made a determination on all issues and then send out notice. Also how long before a C & P exam is scheduled following filing the initial claim? Do they always schedule C & P exams? Thanks

Jangrin :D

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Someone else may have more information than me, but with the experience with my husbands claims, they decided all of them before issuing him their decision. The only exception to this was when he had new claims in and remands from the BVA. In this instance, they sent him the decisions on his new claims and then later sent him their decision on the BVA remanded claims.

From what I have read in other postings, I am not sure that there is a hard and fast rule on this. It may depend on the RO handling your claim, then again, it could depend on the person deciding your claims. I've heard that if a decision can be made on any outstanding claim, regardless of the number that you have filed, then they can decide on just that one and send you the decision.

This is only our experience. Someone else may be of more help to you on this.

As far as the C & P exams go, again I think that depends on the backlog of the VAMC in doing C & P exams. At our local VAMC, a C & P gets scheduled fairly quick, but I have read other postings from veterans where they have waited a long time in getting their's scheduled. Not all claims require a C & P. If the evidence is enough for the RO to make a decision, without the C & P, then you will not necessarily be scheduled for one. My husband has always had a C & P exam for all of his claims, even though we felt the evidence we presented was enough to decide his claim favorably to him. Again, this is only from our experience.

mssoup1

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jangrin,

By initial claim - are you saying this is the first time you have ever filed a claim for SC disability with VA ? When were you discharged ?

My opinion:

VA does what it wants -- when it wants.

carlie

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Thanks mssoup1 and Carlie,

This is the first time ever applying for SC conditions. My husband is vietnam vet. Just wondering if there is a time frame for initial presumptive DMII determination. I know other conditions and seconadary conditions may take more time but the initial claim for DMII, I would think, should be rather quick. Just wondering, he filed for the DMII and secondarys back in January.

JANGRIN :unsure: .

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My personal current experience is they have waited 16 months so far since I filed my claim with multiple conditions. I was already SC 10% since 1976 and I filed for increase on that one and the other conditions were new and I filed them all together in March of 2005. I had the first C&P for two of the conditions in July of 2005. I had another test MMPI and neuro-psych exam Dec 05 through Jan 06. I then had C&P for two other conditions in May, and the final C&P for tinnitus in June of 2006. I too am a Vietnam vet. My claim is now in the finalization phase is what they told me on the 800# and has at least left the rating board.

It takes a long time, so it has been 16 months for me so far and could be more.

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RockyA1911,

Wow!! That is a long wait in my opinion. I just assumed that when my husband filed for this that we would hear back in just a couple of weeks. :unsure: Boy was I uninformed on the VA process. He has recieved a couple of letters asking him to send in additional information in support of conditions and how service connected condition is related to additional conditions. Only one problem, he has not been awarded with a service connected condition yet. So do we wait for determination or do we get IMO now, to connect all the dots? He hasn't even been sent for a C & P exam yet. I'm not sure how to respond to their letters.

This is certainly a learning process and much more involved than I ever thought.

Thanks, Jangrin :D

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Oh Yeah!

If you haven't even had the C&P yet, you are a long way off IMHO. And yes, I highly recommend getting an IMO to connect the dots and send those medical records with diagnosis along as additional information. That way you have a handle on it with a undisputed expert opinion. I always say it is better to get the IMO now up front or you will eventually have to do it in the end when disputing the comp award and that will take more time. Try to get everything you need up front and hopefully before any C&P exams so it is in the C-File where the C&P examiner that is supposed to review the file sees it. A lot of times they will not dispute the diagnosis that comes from an independent specialist.

Yep, this is not a spectator sport. It requires your full attention and concentration. So get some accordian folders, make copies of everything, and keep it all in a file and file everything by separate conditions you claimed.

The letter you got from the VA is like the first letter everybody gets after they file a claim. So sit back, gather all the documents and records you can to prove your claims. I know it is hard and the wait is the worst part. But it gets better once everything is completed and you are just awaiting the letter of notification.

Wish I could give you better news, but we all here have been through this maze and many more that are way beyond my 16 months awaiting a decision.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Semper Fi,

RockyA1911

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Rocky-

"Yep, this is not a spectator sport"--- excellent advise!!!!! vets have to realise how proactive they must be-

I like the way you put this-

the DMII vet-this will take time- as others have said-

Rocky is in a final stage and I am too- my claims were filed in January 2003.One has been decided (decided this past Jan)-but they are putting both into the decision- they said in 2 more weeks I should know results.

My past main claims at this VARO both took at least three years-

A vet can have absolutely bonafide evidence right from the git go- but still can have a long wait for a decision-

As an incountry Vietnam vet the DMII is presumptive- however-they like to lowball at 20% or 40%-and if he had secondary conditions that stem from the DMII- they like to try to see if those conditions preceeded the DMII diagnosis-

to deny them-

Example- vet has heart disease diagnosed in 2001. Then vet is diagnosed with DMII in 2002.

The VA might say the heart disease preceeded the DMII and is not due to DMII (yeah right) and wont service connect the heart disease.

In cases like this- since DMII is known to often be misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, the vet needs a good IMO to show the heart disease is secondary to the DMII- which it "as least as likely" as not would probably be-

Also I have seen vets get a DMII diagnose during a C & P and then the VA tries to give them the C & P date as retro date-

that should be questioned too-

A vet gets a glucose reading only at periodic exams-

many never get the HBIAC test and the glucose reading at a normal exam can be misleading-

especially if the vet ate a small breakfast, hurried to the VAMC, and then sat around for hours waiting and maybe missing lunch. The Glucose could be low and then hours later shoot up to a diabetic reading.

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Guest jangrin

Thanks Berta and Rocky,

This is the advice we were needing, I've been reading the past forum about appeals and NOD, etc., but we are in the very first stages in the application process and other than filing the claim there wasn't much advice in how to respond to the initial letters from VA and what we should be doing right away. We were being reactive with VA when we should have been being PROACTIVE.

We recieved a copy of my husbands medical records from the clinic. I noticed that there are no ECG strips in his record. They took his ECG on at least 3 times in the last 8 months. Also no records of seeing the clinic psychologist for his "stress related gastroentinology" (according to the VA doc). Any suggestions?

The SO told us that the VA would have copies of all records that the VA doc had a part in ordering or that we brought to the VA doc for review. I noticed there are no records like that in the copies they sent. Do they only send VA records or are they supposed to send ALL records that qare in the file?

This is probably a dumb question, but when sending evidense to VA, if they already have the medical report or history in their file but you want to reference a certain point on the record, do you re-send that particular piece of the records or do you just reference it (page number-date, etc.).

Also, SS just did a mental exam on my husband, DX PTSD and depression. WHen the report is ready should be in about a week, do we send it in or do we wait and have SS send it to the VA? This is the first of two exams with SS, the next one is in two weeks. I was planning on getting copies of the SS file all at once but now I'm thinking it might be better to send a little at a time. Any suggestions?

Thank you all very much, I'm sure once I get a plan here of how to proceed it will keep us really busy.

Thanks again,

Jangrin :unsure:

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"if they already have the medical report or history in their file but you want to reference a certain point on the record, do you re-send that particular piece of the records or do you just reference it (page number-date, etc.)."

Jangrin-I always send them another copy of the specific record and use magic markers or highlighters - so they dont miss the part they need.

The psychologist records as well as those ECGS should be there-

Sometimes the shrinks keep their records separate and you might need to ask the shrink for copies.

The ECGS and any ECHO (if they did this- Doppler image of heart and report) should have been with what you got- I would asend the Records Access Officer a letter saying they were missing and you are again requesting them.

"Do they only send VA records or are they supposed to send ALL records that qare in the file?"

It definitely pays to check and see if they send ALL-

I could write a book about that-

VA is very good at manipulating some records to set up a denial rather than getting a good picture with ALL records-

I would send them a copy of the SSA report myself if I were you and again state that your husband has applied for SSA and wants these records considered by the VA.

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Guest jangrin

Thanks Berta,

You guys have no idea how much you have helped us today. I know we have alot of work to do, but to be honest, at least we will feel like we are doing something and that is a great feeling.

I'm sure we'll have more questions as we move forward in this process, but now we have a starting point. Thanks again.

Jangrin :unsure:

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Guest jangrin

Berta,

"VA is very good at manipulating some records to set up a denial rather than getting a good picture with ALL records-"

Are you meaning at the clinic level itself, or a the RO level? Just wondering, because it seems to me that in reviewing my husbands medical records, they have not listed his complaints when he has presented for his appts. I have been there for many of the appts. and listened to him tell the doc his complaints. The doc seems to be entering them in the computer but then....now in reviewing the records, they don't reflect what was presented at the time. Is there anyway we can give a history or a statement for a particular doctors visit to give a more complete and accurate picture for the records.

I am thinking that my husgand is going to have to hire his own medical doctor just to be able to give an accurate picture of his true medical problems. This is kindda tough when your not able to work and have no income. No wonder so many vets just give up.

Thanks again everyone,

Jangrin :unsure:

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Jangrin

Simply go to the VA Clinic where you have had appointments and ask for copies of all medical records from the first time you were there. You will have to sign a release.

I had my family doctor review my complete military medical records and make a statement of his findings. He only charged me the price of an office visit. His statement really turned the VA in the right direction.

Good luck with your claim.

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Jangrin

Simply go to the VA Clinic where you have had appointments and ask for copies of all medical records from the first time you were there. You will have to sign a release.

I had my family doctor review my complete military medical records and make a statement of his findings. He only charged me the price of an office visit. His statement really turned the VA in the right direction.

Good luck with your claim.

foreeveryoung,

yes, thank you, we did that and we just recieved the records yesterday. Unfortunately, all the records are not there including most recent treatment with VA shrink. Also, recent heart ECG strips. Also, statements about medical problems that my husband has been having are not documented by VA doctor. We need to be more firm during appts and insist on better record keeping at the VA clinic. Boy oh Boy, this is going to get interesting for sure. All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,

Jangrin :unsure:

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Jangrin

Do you have any medical records from private doctors or private shrinks? If you do I would take them to your next VA appointment and show them. Maybe than he will add the different conditions to the records.

I know when I had C&P exams the VA doctor never had any of my medical information.

Edited by foreveryoung
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Jangrin

Do you have any medical records from private doctors or private shrinks? If you do I would take them to your next VA appointment and show them. Maybe than he will add the different conditions to the records.

I know when I had C&P exams the VA doctor never had any of my medical information.

foreveryoung,

We only have 3 radiology reports that are private. We have one recent exam by SS shrink from last week when my husband went to SS mental exam, physical exam for SSDI is in 2 weeks. Shrink told husband he had PTSD with depression as secondary, but we need to wait a few more days for report. The SSA hasn't gotton the report yet. I hope we can believe the SS doc.

(Part of my husband's ptsd is that he stayed as far away from anything to do with the military since he got home from RVN.) It was only out of sheer medical necessity when he was unable to work any more, that he went to the VA 8 months ago and recieved treatment and diagnosis.

So unfortunately he has no other records except VA. We are going to have to seek the aid of private medical professionals to aid in our documentation. After today, we have learned alot and our understanding of the process is much better.

I think as long as the good people at "hadit" stick around we will be all right. It is just going to take us longer as we can only afford a little bit of private medical help at a time. We are kindda at the mercy of the VA at this point.

Jangrin :unsure:

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Jangrin,

While I was reading I noticed the SSA DX PTSD with Depression. SS and VA are two different beasts when diagnosing PTSD etc. I hope you have sent off and have all your husbands records such as DD-214, Military Personnel Record (Complete), and Military Service Medical Records. Was your husband awarded any combat medals, ie., Purple Heart, Bronze Star w/V, Silver Star, Combat Infantrymans Badge (CIB), Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), or any commendation medals with the V device? If so it should be on his DD-214 and it will be proof of the combat stressor as a standalone.

If your husband does not have a combat medal and his records do not indicate that he engaged the enemy, it will be a tough row to hoe to get PTSD from the VA. Without a combat MOS, Combat Medal, etc., the Veteran is required to furnish a Stressor Statement detailing the stressor event(s) and coobborated with Buddy Statements, or other military records that prove stressor event occurred.

The VA may or may not deny PTSD, but they want proof that the PTSD was caused by military service. There are lots of folks diagnosed with PTSD everyday by SS, but a small handful gets compensation from the VA. Some have never been in the military service. So you see, you must get all the documents you can if he does not have medal or records from the military proving service connection.

Here's a tip on getting the information you want from the VAMC. Next time you go to the VAMC, go to the Release of Information (ROI) office and ask for a couple of blank ROI forms and also get a card from them that has the ROIs telephone and fax number on it. Then when you get home, YOU get to fill out exactly what you want instead of the clerk always writing down ""INFO from (date) etc". List what you want on there such as ECG test report from - - - - - - Clinic by Dr - - - - - - on 6/4/2006, C&P Exam Report for PTSD by Dr - - - - - - -on 6/4/2006, etc.

Check the box to mail it to you and then fax it to the ROI office. I have been specific and have gotten every clinic report, C&P reports, and clinic progress/treatment reports. This way you get to control the information you need and request it yourself. I make extra blank copies at home and when I need a medical report I just fill it out and fax it. The documents arrive in about a week from the VAMC.

The main records from the VA you are interested in are any treatments and diagnosis the VA has done with respect to claimed conditions. He has not had any C&P exams yet and those are the one's with the most weight that you need.

The VA is good at throwing a rush C&P on you for PTSD so be ready for that. I guess they look through the veterans records and if they don't have a combat medal they try and rush you to the C&P without any proof of stressor and then the C&P examiner states it is not likely PTSD onset was from military service and tell you to provide a stressor event.

RockyA1911

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Jangrin

You can prevail on a claim for PTSD or Major depression as secondary, if the stressor is service connected.

If you have a solid claim, which it appears you have you'll do fine. Just don't give up.

Edited by foreveryoung
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Guest jangrin

RockyA1991 and Foreveryoung,

You all have been great. My husband is currently getting help from the VA contracted psychologist. The Doc has been great and my husband will be starting group therapy within the next couple of weeks. Actually this is a really good thing. My husband did some river patrol in the mekong delta up into cambodia and then in '68 was in Saigon. I know he spent 2 full years in vietnam and comming home was really bad. I really don't know much of what happened as he has not said much over the last 25 plus years that I have known him. But the counseling is helping and even if he doesn't get his ptsd claim with the VA I don't care because he is finally talking about his vietnam experience and he is smiling more these days. To "heck" with the VA ptsd protocals. Who cares what they think. He is doing better. He was awarded some medal but it is a letter in his file not on his DD-214. Something about meritourous/ valourous service.

As you can tell, I am in love with my guy. That's more important to me. The stressors have been there for the past 25 years, whether they believe it or not at this point is irrelevant, his mental and physical well being are the most important issues right now whether they are SC or not is up for ????.

The ROI (office) is a good point. I was wondering how we would get the info. How long following his appts. do you think we should wait to get copies? The same day or give them a few days? Ya know, I think they will leave out of his records what they think they can get away with. Are we allowed to make a statement regarding the doctor appt.... kind of like a diary type statement. Maybe we should start keeping a diary.. to address info during his doctors appt. would this be considered part of the medical history if we did this?

Sorry to be so emotional, but this process certainly can be frustrating.

Thanks all of you, you are the GREATEST!!! Please be patient with me as I am not used to dealing with the military at all and this is new to me.

Jangrin :unsure:

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