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Statement Of Case (Soc)


Jaina Bledsoe

Question

had my DRO hearing 2 months ago and recieved an SOC letter a few days ago. Feel it is some sort of progress because after 2 years the VA finally "concedes your in-service stressor". However, the obstacle remains on tying it to the diagnosis. VA outsourced examiner spent 40 minutes and linked PTSD/MDD/BPD as co-morbid disorders originating in childhood, based on questioning that focused on prior service factors (3 years physical abuse, article 15 in basic training, 3 day hospitalization for situational depression 2 years prior to a sexual assault (the conceded in-service stressor). Also, the suicide attempts (2) and subsequent issues of sleep, irritability, paranioa, etc after the assault were used to reinforce this diagnosis. I am not to pleased with symptoms AFTER the assault being used to reinforce that dx, but you can't question a PhD with the VA without looking like a malcontent or somehow feeling like you are supporting a misdiagnosis/inflated diagnosis of BPD.

My question is....

What should I do from here? The VA has already denied my request for a re-evaluation, and nobody at the VA appear to be willing to look at flight physicals (with psych evals), performance records, service school performance, awards, etc. prior to the assault in an effort to disprove the BPD discharge I was given after 9 years of service. the real kicker is that 1 month prior to discharge everything checked out OK while attempting an early out. Not to mention the 2 suicide attempts prompted an MEB for "adjustment disorder" related to other stressors which occured simultaneously with the assault. No mention of BPD during that process, but now it feels like the VA wants to change everything to suit their denial. I actually won the fight with the MEB based solely on those very same records of service 2 years prior to the BPD dx that got me out.

ANY ideas would help. I am homeless and have absolutely no income since the VA is recouping my severance pay with the 10% I was awarded for tinnitus in both ears. Therefore, no money for civilian independent opinion. Do I at least have recourse for aggravation even though the thought of letting the BPD dx stand makes me sick to my stomach?

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I'm kind of a newbie here myself, but I suggest you get anh attorney. As I understand it, they get paid only if they win your case and the proceeds comefrom your retroactive benefit proceeds. So that says to me if they take the case, they think there's a good chance of winning.

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Jaina,

Are you working with an advocate or VSO? I couldn't tell from your posting if you are, or not. It's not necessary as has been noted and you are your own best advocate, but sometimes, if we are too overwhelmed, or not sure on how to proceed, it can be a benefit for some as well as looking for all the information that is on here, or asking those who've been down the process as you are doing. I found, also, that the attempt was to focus on before the military which had nothing to do with my claim, but it doesn't mean it wasn't tried. You say the childhood link was made to origination. Did you have treatments, diagnosis, evaluations, etc., prior to service, or was that from what was gathered in the questions from the C&P, or any treatments through VA, or what was noted from your entry exam? I found that if they could try to backdate a diagnosis, where there never was one, never mind any treatments, etc., it could be attempted as unfair as that sounds. However, then you can get into the issue of aggravation. From what you've posted, you seem to have a lot of information that you may have to go through, noting the timelines, how your diagnosis were assigned to those periods, etc., to come up with a rebuttal, using evidence. Have you looked for cases from the higher levels that can have similarities? There have been some that I found, but I don't have the information available right now. I don't know what all you have, or VA has for evidence, but I hope you don't lose hope that you can still sort through it all.

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Are you working with an advocate or VSO?

I Have a DAV representative who has been working with me on this. His feeling is I am getting a thorough railroading on this.

Did you have treatments, diagnosis, evaluations, etc., prior to service, or was that from what was gathered in the questions from the C&P, or any treatments through VA, or what was noted from your entry exam?

There were no diagnoses prior to service of any issues what so ever and I signed a complete medical release. There were the 3 events prior to the assault which I already listed below. The recent dx was based on those and the discharge I recieved 2 years after the assault, a re-interpretation of the MEB diagnosis (adjustment disorder), and some cherry picking of VA treatment notes when I experienced a relapse 2 years ago.

There has also been a long standing issue of association since the assault. At the time I was having financial, marital, and workplace difficulties all coinciding. I was handling these pretty well for months until the assault occured and once it did I totally flipped out. The assault was supressed and everything else going on was associated with the resulting paranioa, sleep issues, hypervigilance, withdrawal, etc. Hence the Adjustment Disorder dx vs BPD or PTSD. I do NOT have to substantiate the attack occured any longer, as I provided sufficient evidence and it has been conceded by the VA.

For years since i have dealt with varying degrees of symptoms depending on how closely my situation mimics that from the time of my assault (hence discharge 2 years later). When I recalled the assault in 2010 I had the perfect trifecta, on steriods, and a trigger directly related to the assault. It required 3-4 hospitalizations and one possible suicide attempt (they say i did, I can't recall having intent). It took me months to accept what I was remembering was reality, as I was still associating the feelings with the outside stressors. In time I came to accept it as my stress subsided but the memory became more detailed and recurrent.

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I have also had a VSO and have asked an attorney to take my case, and fire my VSO, after my dro hearing was denied.. I feel I have a solid case, and that a lawyer is now my best option,, appeanrly, you also have gotten the denails and feel it's time to get bigger guns, better representation?

btw, my Lawyweer was suppose to get a copy of my Claims file, on the last couple of week,s and stil don't know if they finally got a copy and what they are thinking at this stage, I expect int he next week or two thew attorney will let me know how to proceeed and if they will take over representing me...

I feel like I can get my win... I just need the prper representation to do it better..

good luck on your case!

Steven

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I would recommend:

1. First, stay in treatment or get in it if you are not already. If you are not currently seeing a doc, you are unlikely to be awarded benefits. Take the pills he prescribes, and see a counselor as well...be sure to tell them of SI.

2. You also need to understand thatyou must take action on the SOC within 60 days of receipt of the SOC. Your action needs to be to file an I9. If you do not "perfect" your appeal by timely filing the I9, your appeal will be dismissed and you will lose. The one year to file a NOD and 60 days to file an I9, are not flexible, nor are they negotiable. Get help, as already suggested, filing the I9, such as with a VSO.

3. When you do file your I9, you can consider asking for an "advance on the docket" with your BVA appeal due to your homelessness (hardship) This may help speed up your benefits. Even with a hardship, you need to face the reality that you wont be getting any benefits for at least a year. However, see number 4, below.

4. If you have not applied for NSC pension, then you likely should do so. You do not have to prove service connection to get nsc pension..you need to show you have needs (low or no income) and war time service. Getting nsc pension, which is easier to get than SC compensation, will not hurt your present appeal, and it wont hurt your sc claim. You can be awarded both, but the VA will only pay you the greater of NSC pension or SC compensation. NSC pension is "about" 900 to $1000 monthly, if you have no other income.

5. Figure out a reliable address (as permanent as possible) by which to receive mail. Your parents,family, trusted friends, PO box, etc. Check it often. If you can, consider getting a bank account if you dont have one, because you get your money faster by electronic deposit than snail mail checks. If you dont get or read your VA mail, you are handicapping yourself..and sabatoging your own claim.

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