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Kaupas1 - New Member With Questions

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Hello, my name is Scott.

I'm just now filing after 15 years retired. I didn't rile when I retired because I was under the impression that the only compensation I would receive would be a reduction in taxed retirement pay. I'm only recently becoming educated in the whole process after talking to several colleagues who are receiving up to 75% and the difference it has made to them. Another issue I have is that many of the ailments I have are not documented in my military service record so it may be difficult to document a service connection. I was always under the impression as a 20 year Marine that it would be frowned upon to go to sick call and be viewed by my superiors and peers as a weak Marine. Well, now I have the burden of proof with little proof. I have a lay letter from my wife on the sleep apnea but still need to get tested on that. I also have a little in my record on knee pain and when retired I had to have ortho on both knees. Will be interesting to see if I can get the PTSD from my Beirut, Lebanon time and something for the Basil Cell Carcinoma from my three years in the desert at 29 Palms, CA. We'll see. Anybody have any tips for successful linkages to service connection without the necessary documentation? I would very much be interested in that.

Thanks much!!

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kaupas1, you are in for an uphill battle.

I would recommend the following;

1. obtain a copy of your medical records while you were on active duty. review them and list the disabilities that you were

diagnosed with.

2. Obtain medical records from doctors that you seen once out of the service. review them and list those disabilities that you

diagnosed with. Compare your notes from the two records review.

You will indeed need an IMO (independent medical opinion) for the disabilities that you wish to claim. The Doctor will have to make a statement as to the diagnosis, the cause of the disability, connecting the disability to your active duty service. Then the Doctor will have to state why and how medically he/she came up with that decision.

As for sleep apnea, a statement from your wife is good, but you will need a pulmonary or sleep therapist to say that this began while you were on active duty, and again how they came to that decision. In my opinion, I don't believe that the claim for sleep apnea will fly due to this disability is on the chopping block to be a discontinued service connected disability. But again, this is just my own opinion.

When you get your documentation together, complete a VA FM 21-526ez, complete it in its entirety, complete a VA FM 21-686c (if you are married) supply a copy of your marriage certificate. Also, if you have children under 18 or in college that you are supporting then add them on the back of that form and attach a copy of their birth certificate(s) as well.

Once you have all your information together, forms completed, mail them (certified) to the VA Regional office in your state. If you live by or close to a VA hospital, I would make the trip and speak with a veterans service officer. They can assist you in your endeavors.

Good luck!

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I would also add, if you are going to the trouble and probably the expense of getting an IMO/ I would go ahead and get an IME and have the doctor also complete the DBQ examination forms associated with whatever issues you decide to claim.

Also, request a copy of your entire claims file from VA, so the IMO/IME doctor(s) can review all records that the VA reviews. This allows your private doctor to be on the same level as the VA doctor, as far as credibility goes. (inactuality, you private doctor will probably be on a higher level, as your private doctor will most likely be a specialists, and the VA examiners can be PA, or NPA or gen med doc's) and your private doc will have also examined you just like the VA examiner does his examination).

I agree with Meghp0405, your on an uphill battle, but it's not impossible. You need to stay organized and get as much help as you can from the people on this board. They will help you, but don't get impatient this is going to take time. I wish you good luck.

Edited by harleyman
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