Jump to content

Sponsored Ads



  • Latest Donations

  • Advertisemnt

  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

    questions-001@3x.png

    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 ...
    Continue Reading
     
  • Ads

  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

    tinnitus-005.pngptsd-005.pnglumbosacral-005.pngscars-005.pnglimitation-flexion-knee-005.pngdiabetes-005.pnglimitation-motion-ankle-005.pngparalysis-005.pngdegenerative-arthitis-spine-005.pngtbi-traumatic-brain-injury-005.png

  • Advertisemnt

  • Advertisemnt

  • Ads

  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

    employment 2.jpeg

    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

Sponsored Ads

  • Searches Community Forums, Blog and more

  • Donation Box

    Please donate to support the community.
    We appreciate all donations!
  • 0
justrluk

Preparing For A Hearing - On My Own...

Question

Good Morning -

I've received both IM and forum feedback regarding the preparation for a hearing. LSS: my hearing is in two weeks and my VSO just quit (not just me, the whole organization). I received this feedback in another thread:

Sergeant G wrote:

Justrluk,

Preparing for the BVA hearing was not as labor intensive as were earlier stages of my appeal. By the time I had my BVA hearing, I had already conducted 95% of my research as a result of preparing for DRO hearings, writing notices of disagreements, filing the substantive appeal, etc. Therefore, I just had to compile information I already had and tailor it to attack the Statement of the Case issued by the regional office.

Aside from compiling the information, I prepared by making an outline of the relevant issues and supporting arguments. Using the outline, I also practiced presenting my information. I sort of had a “script,” but my goal was to sound as though I was speaking with a conversational tone (without reading from my outline). I wasn’t sure if the Veterans Law Judge was going to ask questions throughout my presentation, or to just let me “run with it” by allowing me say everything I wanted to and then he would ask questions afterward. I would advise you to prepare with the assumption that it will be the later scenario, just so you don’t leave anything out. In my case, the VLJ already scanned my substantive appeal before the hearing and just asked a few questions to clarify my arguments. Therefore, I didn’t even go through my script/outline. However, it is definitely better to be over-prepared rather than not.

As for conducting the actual research, there are a few things to keep in mind. In law school, students are taught to use the “IRAC” method, which stands for “issues,” “rules,” “application,” and “conclusion.” First, make sure you have narrowed down the specific issues in dispute. That will provide a roadmap to finding relevant statutes, regulations, and case law (i.e., “rules”). After you do this, look at your Statement of the Case and Supplemental Statement of the Case, if applicable. Apply the law to the facts of your case. Show the VLJ how the regional office failed to comply with the law and then argue how you meet the criteria for the benefits you are seeking. Finally, make your conclusion.

Have you conducted any research so far? What sources of information have you used? I’m happy to provide additional research tips regarding sources of law and how to find them, but I don’t want to tell you stuff you may already know. Just let me know what you are looking for.

Also, if you feel comfortable sharing, please tell us what your service-connected disabilities are and what you are appealing (such as a higher rating, IU, earlier effective date, etc.). This information will help us to help you better."

Also, several elders (john999, Carlie and Berta to name a few) have responded to other posts with more info. Bottom line: the IRAC approach G mentioned is a common thread.

So, in response to G, here are my issues:

Bilateral Knees 22% (reduced from 44%)

Migraines: 50

Psoriasis: 30

Degenerative Disk Disease C5-C6: 30

Bipolar: 30

Asthma: 30

Tinnitus: 10

Hemi-Colectomy: 10

SMC-K

The issue on appeal is the bilateral knees. They reduced the rating stating the condition pre-existed service. My initial entrance exam states nothing of the kind, but all SMRs were lost after separation. I've requested the 22% be restored to 44% and that's all. I have a copy of the entrance exam, but no other documents.

G recommended an IMO, but my doc was nowhere near me at the time of entrance. I had a bad strep infection the summer after I entered active service and this is a known potential trigger. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis started showing symptoms within two years of the infection, but only used OTC meds and wore knee braces under my work clothes. I didn't want to lose my job, so I tried not to make a big deal of it.

Either way, I think I need to stick to the issue that they did not use the presumption of soundness for my first period of active service (1984 - 1988) and that this is when I believe I became symptomatic.

I have started to outline Berta's references to the CFR and M21-1MR along with my best recolection of the course of events. I could use any/all help at this point.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

A current IMO that connected your knees to your service would be helpful. My BVA hearing was a video conference. My DAV rep was worthless and I did the heavy lifting. The biggest thing I remember is I kept telling myself to be honest and truthful. I think the judge sensed it and I received my first remand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ad

"Either way, I think I need to stick to the issue that they did not use the presumption of soundness for my first period of active service (1984 - 1988) and that this is when I believe I became symptomatic."

Has the VA fully acknowledged that service period in any decision?

I dont understand the 44% to 22%...do you mean 40 to 20 %?

Can you post the VA rationale on the reduction?

A lot has been going on here...as soon as I can I will review all your posts justrluk.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. (The condition pre-existed my most recent period of service, but the decision did not include my initial period of service from 8/84 - 10/87. This is the period for which I provided the entrance documents.)

Sorry I asked what you had already answered....and that was

the reason I raised 3.156 as to 'newly discovered service records, in a past post.

Did you re-up right away , without a new entrance exam?

Or did you get a new re entrance exam that did not note the prior condition?

Or did it.......

Hope others chime in on this too............ you are smart enough to handle this hearing without a VSO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my two cents:

Have you obtained copy of your C file? Curious to know who determined and what evidence they used to determine that it was a preexisting condition given that your entry physical exam shows no notation of any pre-existing condition. 370 F3d 1089 Wagner v. J Principi is a very good case that covers presumption of preexisting conditions.

Do you have a statement(s)/records or can you obtain same from anyone that either treated you (pediatrician, doctor etc) prior to service entry OR how about next-of-kin parent, siblings etc that could perhaps write up a statement that you did not have this problem prior to entry into service?

I'm guessing here but if the VA has a statement/report/opinion from one of their physicians that state something along the lines that your condition must have been pre-existing because of the following medical opinion, etc I sure as heck would get an IMO that would back (bad strep infection the summer after I entered active service and this is a known potential trigger) your medical research. I'll assume that whoever gave the opinion of it being a pre-existing condition to VA did not know you prior to enlistment and I personally would counter this person's opinion with an IMO to counter this - even if it is from a doctor that did not know you prior to entry.

Thanks for sharing Sergeant G's remarks especially the information pertaining to IRAC. Hoping the best for you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Either way, I think I need to stick to the issue that they did not use the presumption of soundness for my first period of active service (1984 - 1988) and that this is when I believe I became symptomatic."

Has the VA fully acknowledged that service period in any decision?

I dont understand the 44% to 22%...do you mean 40 to 20 %?

Can you post the VA rationale on the reduction?

A lot has been going on here...as soon as I can I will review all your posts justrluk.......

Ms. Berta,

Yes, (should have posted the pre-bilateral numbers) reduced 40% -> 20%. I'll have to check the decision at home. They did not recognize my first period of service, only that it existed prior to my most recent period of service.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Ads

  • Ad

  • Latest News
  • Our picks

    • OK so I had pancreatectomy in 2003 due to an impacted goldstone 2/3 of my  Pancreas was removed I am type one diabetes with very large scars continued diarrhea stomach problems Constant back and shoulder pain I recently received a Nexus letter from my  endocrinologist related to my service in the gulf war.  Any suggestions or advice from anyone
    • I would like to meet other Hadit members who live in Michigan.  We have at least two major VA Hospitals (Battle Creek, Ann Arbor).  Or maybe you go to the the John Dingell in Detroit.  

      I like Ann Arbor.  I like the fact that most of the doctors there are also at the UM Hospital.  I don't like how uickly they seem to turn over though.  
      • 2 replies
    • Really?
      I am confused.  A few days ago I spoke to a person at a VARO who said if I die from something other than service-connected my husband gets zero, zilch, squat.  Hmmmmmm, it seems the rules change willy-nilly...I have been rated 100% P & T for over 10 years, MS is static, and I am 56 years of age.

      Can a fellow Veteran shed a light on this?

      Thank you.
      • 15 replies
    • Fund raising for HadIt.com
      The site is supported through ads and ad free subscriptions, we are also asking for any support you would like to send our way. You can give a $1 or more it all helps. Keep in mind though that it is NOT tax deductible and we are NOT a non profit. As the site grows so do the costs and ads and subscription do not always keep pace with the costs. Any help is appreciated, but not required.
      • 11 replies
    • Carol Ozanecki- Blue Water vet Advocate called me with this news:

      https://www.stripes.com/news/lawmakers-launch-new-effort-to-provide-agent-orange-coverage-for-blue-water-navy-vets-1.525395

      Also there is a article in Pop Culture she sent to me----mentionig Blue Water vets buy I felt it was too political to post here. You can google it if you want to read it.

       

       
      • 10 replies
×

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines