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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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socomsam

Appeal Process?

Question

In 2009, I was finally awarded 10% disability for a 1985 back injury while active duty with the US Army. After the injury, I received several months of physical therapy, so I was pretty surprised and dismayed at the low rating, but after 24 years but I was thankful I was even acknowledged by the VA.

Also during my time on active duty, I was witness to some pretty horrible things in Central America, plus I was very close to impact of a C130 crash at Ft. Bragg in 1987. I filed a claim in 2010 and was awarded 30% for PTSD in May.

I am pretty disappointed in the initial rating for both my back and my PTSD and would like to file an appeal because since I got out of the Army in 1989, I have not been able to hold a job for more than a year, I have panic attacks, I cannot fly and I am forced into entry level jobs that usually require extensive manual labor that makes the pain in my back unbearable. I currently work in a factory moving and lifting 40lb boxes and 70lb pallets for 12 hours. I just can't take it anymore and I am pointed out on attendance. One more call off and I am fired. Because of my PTSD, I have memory problems and find it hard to pay attention for more than a couple of minutes, so some of the managerial positions I've had resulted in termination or demotions. At 47 years old, there really isn't any options left for me. Last September I was enrolled in the VocRehab program, but after nearly a year, I am still in limbo and my counselor just sent me a letter stating she is pulling me out of the program for lack of progress (I've been waiting on her and have emails to prove it).

What is the process to getting an appeal approved? I would love to keep working to some capacity, but because I have no college, I am always forced into entry level positions that wreck havoc on my back, which leads to extreme anxiety. I am really at the end of my rope with the pain and the depression and the sense of hopelessness is just overwhelming.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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Did you NOD the back rating in time? (One year time limit for filing Notice of Disagreement.)

If not, that claim can be re-opened but you need to send them new and material evidence to warrant a re- open.

If the PTSD decision was May 2011, have you filed NOD yet on that?

You need to show them by medical evidence that your level of PTSD matches a higher level of rating in the Schedule of Ratings they use. You need to focus on what rationale they put in the decision for not giving you a higher rating.

PTSD is not rated by what stressors were involved, only by their impact on the veteran's work, and social functioning.

It sounds to me like you should re open the back claim for a higher rating if you have new and material medical evidence that this has gotten worse than it was at time of last decision.

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Are you currently getting treatment for your PTSD and/or your back? You may have to get independent medical opinions. You can request an increase in your ratings but you will start a new effective date if you win the increases. You do need medical evidence that your problems are getting worse. Are you working? It is probably too late for an appeal unless you filed a NOD.

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