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Need Help - Sorry Lenghty Post



I appreciate all of the advice and knowledge that I have received from this board. I am posting again because I have a unique situation that I need help with. My situation is rather lengthy, but I will try to be as brief as possible. I really need help understanding what is going on as well as what to do next. ( Past post at bottom of page related to this same claim)

I am a 35 year old disabled vet, medically retired from service, married with three kids. My disabilities have worsened in severity and I haven’t been able to maintain suitable employment since Nov of 2007. Trying to get back to the work force in a non-physical capacity I enrolled in the Chapter 31 vocational rehab program. I am %60 disabled and receive the corresponding compensation monthly along with the full time subsistence allowance which is barely enough to maintain my household with my wife’s income. I am fighting to get out of debt, but seem to face new challenges daily including the recent repossession of a vehicle.

After eight years of service in the Navy, I was placed on the temporary disability retired list and retired from active duty in April of 2004, and five years later, after two re-entry physicals was placed on the permanent disability retired list. My September 2004 award of 60% disability compensation trumped my retirement from DFAS so that is what I receive monthly.

In June of 2010, I initiated a new claim for increase of my current disabilities. Which I was receiving %50 for sleep apnea, %10 for asthma, %10 for sinusitis, %0 for acid reflux, %0 for allergic rhinitis, and %0 for migraine headaches from my initial claim decision on September 20, 2004. I was also denied an award for my back which was one of my issues.

My claim for increase included a re-consideration for my back issues. I received my answer December of 2010 with a %10 increase for my back (labeled L5-S1 herniated nucleolus pulpous w/spinal stenosis and peripheral neuropathy, bilateral lower extremities.)

This December 2010 decision also noted a CUE stating that I should not have received %50 and %10 for sleep apnea and asthma from the September 2004, rather I should have been receiving %50 for both, but under provision of 38 CFR 3.500(b)(2) no over payment shall be established.

The December 2010 decision was accompanied by a letter informing me that a consideration for IU (Individual unemployability) had begun and to return the requested information with included an application and additional medical evidence. I complied fully.

I also initiated an appeal for the 2010 decision for all of the before mention disabilities.

Since my December 2010 decision I have switched from a VSO to a VA disability attorney, simple because I was tired of the run-around.

The Run-around: (my claim and appeals are still going on during this entire process

I have had 2 back surgeries in 2011, February 7th and July 8th (requested temporary %100 percent disability for both with accompanying evidence and a request to expedite due to financial hardship.) I received a one month award after the February 7th, but not from July. (Note: I am still recovering-just started physical therapy and still have the same restrictions given to me after my first surgery. All of my care and surgeries have been at the North Texas VA. I was also overdosed on my first surgery and needed to be resuscitated) I now live in more pain that I have ever known, walk with the assistance of a cane, and have been diagnosed with clinical depression. After checking and re-submitting my second request I was unofficially advised to wait until my June 2010 claim was complete so not to delay anything further. I complied.

I have had 2 surgeries and 4 additional C & P exams since initiating my June 2010 Claim.

In Oct of 2011 I was told that all evidence that was requested from me has been received, all of my C & P exams were received September 2011, and that no other evidence was needed to make a decision on my claim. Jan 2011 my claim is still in the development phase although again I am told that all the required evidence and documentation needed has been received.

As of today I have:

Open Claim: June 2010 decision on Individual Unemployability

Open Appeal: June 2010 decision of disabilities

Open Appeal: Effective dates of Temporary %100 for surgical recovery

My June Claim now is very complicated it includes

  1. Pending appeals
  2. Pending consideration for IU
  3. Pending consideration for depression, after C & P, examiner wrote a statement in my evaluation that included a diagnosis for depression and PTSD
  4. Pending consideration for PTSD, added by VA after receiving the before mentioned C & P exam results.

My other problem, I switched to going to school online after my surgeries in 2011, which runs longer then a 4-year school because I now take one class at a time instead of 3 to 4 at a time, and I just found out that my program limit runs out in March 2012, unless an extension is granted. If I lose the addition of the subsistence allowance chapter 31 adds to my household income, my debts will be my last problem. I won’t be able to maintain my household or provide the basic living essentials for my family. I need help. Even though my doctor hasn’t cleared me to work, I am still looking daily for a job to supplement my income. My next post will be entitled homeless vet needs help.

Post History: Same Claim

Nov 15 2010 -

Dec 20 2011 -

Rating Decision 11302010a.pdf

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Are you able to work or could you start a new job today. I suggest that you consider a couple of things. From the tone of your post I think you should be evaluated for depression or other mood disorder. If you are depressed you should request it be considered with your current claim and if so you should also file for Social Security Disability. Its my opinion but you should consider checking it out. VA 100% and Social Security Disability would offer you and your family some security and also would not prevent you from being able to go back to work in future.

Good Luck

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The combination of medical issues and doctor restrictions prevent me from working. I have been seeking employment anyway against my doctor (VA health care) and my wife's recomendation not to work right now. At this time, eventhough I haven't found a job yet, I can't sit back and sink further into debt. I wish I could just relax and wait for the VA to make a decision, but I can't. I have had a few temporary jobs and part-times that continue to aggrivate my medical issues, just to maintain food, rent, and utilities. As a man and head of my household I can't just watch my wife kill herself working and while the cost of our basic living expenses exceed our income.

As far as depression goes, I am currently being treated and medicated by the mental health unit at the North Texas VA Hospital. It is a part of my claim, and I have an active appeal for Social security disabilty as well (denied last year).

My goal with the VA ( comp and pen, and Health care) is to get to a point were I can return to regular full time employement or recieve the appropriate compensation. I don't beleive the VA either knows or cares how many lives hang in the balance of there backlogs, CUE's, and unessesary delays.

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I have been seeking employment anyway against my doctor (VA health care) and my wife's recomendation not to work right now. At this time, eventhough I haven't found a job yet, I can't sit back and sink further into debt. I wish I could just relax and wait for the VA to make a decision, but I can't. I have had a few temporary jobs and part-times that continue to aggrivate my medical issue`s, just to maintain food, rent, and utilities.

IU is for veterans that cannot work due to their disabilities and not for veterans that cannot find a job. I know that times are hard but this will cause problems with your social security and unemployablity claims

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To Pete992 Thank you for reply.

Just to clarify, finding work is not an issue, there are a number of jobs that I could have taken if able to preform the required duties. The job that I had to walk away from in November of 2007 was because of doctor's orders. I could no longer preform my duties and my job could no longer accomdate my worsening disabilities. Part of my claim includes a dictation from my medical record where the doctors and staff at the North Texas VA Hospital would not comply with my jobs request to sign their medical leave act so that I could retain my job, nor can I get a signed release to return to any type of employment.

The occational temporary gig that I find where I can drag myself to and sit and suffer quietly I take just to catch up on bills. I don't understand how veterans that cannot work sustain while their claim collects dust. I hear stories of vet recieving their awards 5, 6, 7...10 years after filing and fighting. How can a person survive that long.

At the same time I don't want to do anything to hurt and prolong my claim, so what do you do???? If I could I would just get up and go to work and consider my VA claim a closed chapter, but I can't. I was raised to believe that every able bodied man ought to work. This situation is really taking a toll on me.

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I don't understand how veterans that cannot work sustain while their claim collects dust. I hear stories of vet recieving their awards 5, 6, 7...10 years after filing and fighting. How can a person survive that long.


Many, many, many end up loosing just about anything they have acquired over the years.

This includes employment,relationships, homes, vehicles, anything they can sell, trade or barter with.

Borrow from anyone the can - completely tap out family resources - max out and default on

any and all credit sources, file bankruptcy.

Some may wind up turning into criminals trying to survive, become drug addicts and alcoholics

trying to numb either or both physical and mental health symptomology and unfortunately

some even turn to suicide.

It can be a real hard road to travel - but it's the card's we've been dealt.


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