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piratelip

Advice For Ptsd Claim And More.....

Question

Hello all,

I have been following this website, among others, and have found it to be profoundly helpful in guiding me through the VA claims process as well as hearing stories from other veterans and their loved ones struggling with the same issues I have been struggling with for years. I have only posted once before on here and got some very helpful responses. I am hoping that there maybe are a few of you out there that can help me get a grasp on what is happening right now as I am becoming increasingly anxious with my claims status and the continuing deterioration of aspects of my financial, social and emotional well being. I appreciate all comments (helpful and courteous of course) and feel that my overall point with this thread is to get a grasp on where I am at, claim-wise, and where I might be headed. As well as any suggestions for actions I could take or any contacts in my local area, or for that matter nationwide, that might be able to help.

A little background. I filed a claim in feb 2013 for PTSD along with depression, anxiety attacks (ect.). I did so under the advise of a veterans outreach officer who I was contacted by while serving a year sentence in jail for brandishing a firearm. While not a Dr. or therapist, she immediately recognized symptoms and behavior patterns indicating pretty severe reactions to trauma. Not wanting to go into too much detail about what landed me in jail (I think it speaks for itself) prior to that, my behavior and emotional stability had slowly deteriorated from my discharge in 2006. Over the course of 7 years from my deployment in 2005 I developed anxiety which was treated in service and recorded in my SMR. I started medicating with alcohol (in addition to the SSRI's prescribed) and was kicked out of the Navy for etoh treatment refusal, racked up 2 DUI's, dropped out of college, fired from multiple jobs and lost a business (restaurant) that I had started resulting in bankruptcy, homelessness, and me being basically destitute. After ending my incarceration in March, I was living in a veterans homeless shelter and found a part-time job. I was able to rent a small room temporarily, but unfortunately it is no longer available and, as of the 15th of next month I will be back at the shelter until I am able to find something else.

So that was me after my deployment in 2004-2005. Before 2004 I was an exceptional sailor with glowing evals, tons of friends, hobbies, ambition. I joined up in 2003 out of high school with a 99 ASVAB turning down college acceptance in lieu of service for my country. Now I find it hard to have interactions with anybody for any longer than 60 seconds. I rarely leave my room and have no, and I really mean no friends at all. I haven't spoken with a single member of my family in over a year. It has been quite a transformation.

While I did deploy to a combat zone in 2004-2005, I was never in immediate life-threatening danger however my rate did subject me to some intense situations. I worked at a field hospital in Kuwait in casualty receiving doing trauma care as a Hospital Corpsman. Which brings me to my first question. I have described in detail in my stressor letter one, of many, situations (this one involving mass casualty) however I am still not sure if my stressor has been verified or conceded. I had a psych C&P done on 11/6/13 which my therapist from the VetCenter went over very briefly with me but I did not get to examine. He told me that the C&P examiner had indeed indicated a diagnosis of PTSD (55 GAF) but he failed to mention anything about a stressor, only that he thought my GAF was too high in his opinion and that it "seemed to look good otherwise". My question arises because, while I did think that because of my MOS and where I was deployed, during the time-frame and especially with the new regs it really wasn't even an issue about conceding the stressor (not to mention I was under the belief they don't schedule PTSD C&P's without verifying stressors to begin with), checking my ebenefits site it shows under solicited documents "O18 Personnel records-personal trauma". Is this a cause for concern as the O18 PIES request is more in-depth and time consuming than the O19? Does this indicate somehow that my stressor is not in fact verified or conceded at this stage and needs more investigation? I am aware that ebenefits is not regarded as being very accurate, however it makes me anxious because my VSO (who gets my mail due to me being homeless) has been receiving repeated VCAA notices as well as letters saying the VA never received my stressor letter (like 6 in all) even as recently as last month despite the fact that it was all sent in (3 times now, with receipts, from April) and the RO confirms this. Could this just be their system being a little cock-eyed? Also, to jump back to the C&P, supposing that SC is awarded, with my history, DX, GAF, any thoughts on rating. I know that without a copy of the exam, and it all kinda being a toss-up anywho, this is basically just shots in the dark. I know that the words "moderate to severe" were used. I have a concern that because I am technically "employed" that will work against me. However, I am hoping they take into consideration I work 8-12 hours a week and make less that 1000 a month and that I am homeless. When I filed my I was unemployed (incarcerated) and requested TDIU. Would I still qualify, or more to the point, that they would still consider it, being that I do have a job. But to be honest it is a nightmare struggle everyday at work. Even just the 2-3 days a week 4-6 hours at a time I am in a near constant state of anxiety attack. And my last question/concern has to do with time frame. I went to a second C&P on 11/20/13 which was the last one scheduled (physical, for headaches, chest pain, photophobia associated with anxiety attacks). My ebenefits page tells me my claim has moved into the "preparing for decision" phase. Not sure if that is good or bad. I know the backlog is horrendous but I honestly expected a time frame of 8-12 months. As of now I am at 273 days and counting. I know that my VSO has submitted a financial hardship form, and even the C&P examiner was aware of my homelessness. He did mention I need to get a bank account (possibly a good sign) but I have yet to get a paycheck that covers more than my bus fare and top ramen at walmart. I am understanding of the wait and also know that VA disability is just one aspect of the overall treatment of PTSD, however making it to appointments, staying positive, and trying to heal and get better is difficult to do while homeless and hungry. I am hoping that since my last C&P was a week ago (and according to my VSO I am in a priority group) a decision will be made within the next 30 or so days and I won't have to spend to much more of the winter in a homeless shelter. Is this a reasonable hope? Anyone know the current timeframes of the San Diego VARO?

If you have any answers/comments/advice I really appreciate any tips to help me along. I know I have just dumped a huge novel of a posting and I hope it hasn't been in poor taste. I want to thank this site and everyone here for all the help and guidance I have received from just being a reader. I know that, while I am very far from good, hearing the stories and successes of people getting help has allowed me to believe I have a future. It took a lot for me to start seeking help but the VA, the VetCenter and sites like this have pushed me to stick with it and keep fighting the good fight so thanks.

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I'd check w/the VA about doing something about your homeless situation. As for your claim, I don't know. It's common for the VA to lose documents. Usually they are misfiled. Do you have a common last name??

pr

PS - can you break up your posts more. I found that one toooo long and very hard to read. Maybe spacing and using more paragraphs?

Edited by Philip Rogers

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Pirate,

The sad thing is even with the Hardship the VA is still taking 6-9 months on so called Fast Claims. I am like you, I resigned from a 100K job last month, and if I don't get approved for an increase or my SSD claim then my family and I will be in rough shape by the spring. I have severe PTSD and I was in OIF and OEF. The battle is a struggle every day. Just keep the faith and please don't do anything that will put you in jail bud. I really do care about all my brothers and sisters that have ever served. We have lost too many as it is. God bless and take care.

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