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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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

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    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

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TiredCoastie

Need Help - Which Doctor Takes Precedence?

Question

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas!

I'm in the final stages of putting together a NOD - and thanks to all those who helped me thus far. I'm taking AskNOD's advice and putting appropriate CFRs in my rationale for why the RO wrongly denied service connection. However, I can't find an obvious CFR cite that covers which doctor they should listen to. In my situation, my ENT filled out a DBQ that said that my hearing loss was related to military service. The RO, relying on audiologists, is using the argument that I had hearing loss upon entering the service and that the level of increased loss was not due to military service - which for me included loud engine noise, pistol, rife, auxilitary or main battery fire, helicopter operations, etc. If my ENT said that it was, in his opinion, related to military service shouldn't the RO take that opinion over VA or QTC audiologists?

Of course, as AskNOD has so aptly put it, the DBQ form is somewhat short of a nexus letter. I can go back to my ENT and ask him for a full nexus letter to include with form 9.

But first of all, is there a CFR cite that discusses which doctor to choose? I sure can't find one...

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I got a 0% rating based on my C&P being done by a NP. The NP's exam was incompetent, incomplete and was full of guess work and speculation. The VA had not even ordered any testing for me prior to the exam. My claim was based on a CT scan for a lump on my shin that showed calcification in the arteries and veins of my leg. If you have it in your legs you probably have it in your heart and brain.

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Thanks again, everyone! Got my NOD mailed a day prior to the deadline, certified mail, RRR. Not my best piece of prose, but hopefully will be effective enough. Meanwhile, pursuing a more solid nexus letter from the ENT.

Happy New Year!

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Sure seems like you should get the "at least as likely as not" benefit of the doubt with your ENT weighing in on this.

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Well, to close out this story - I did approach our ENT again several months ago after filing my NOD. He relooked at my numerous hearing test results and determined that, based on what he was seeing, I did not have a solid argument for hearing loss caused by the service after all. Then, he advised me to drop pursuit of SC for hearing loss as it might jeapordize the VA continuing to provide hearing aids to me. (Our ENT doesn't understand the VA medical thresholds and at what point medical care gets paid for - the VA didn't somehow think I needed hearing aids until I was rated at 60% and had an outside hearing test in hand.) But without the ENT's further backing, I'm going to back off pursuit of the hearing loss. Our ENT is one of the best and most respected in our region.

Meanwhile, in the latest claim decision, I was denied SC for HL again. This time, they said that the ENT didn't mark that he reviewed my SMRs, which he did but did not check the box on the DBQ.

Way I look at it is that God doesn't want me SC'd for HL. Besides, I've got the care I need for them, and HL isn't very likely life threatening. Stuff that other vets have like IHD, the TIAs I get - now those are life threatening and more than worth the battle to get them SC because of the DIC impacts later.

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After reading your post, you have an issue you need to deal with first before you spend the money on an audiologist or medical opinion.

If they are denying your claim on the grounds that your hearing loss pre-existed service, then you need to clear that up.

The VA frequently denies claims on these grounds - and they FREQUENTLY screw up the presumption of soundness. Unless your MEPS doctors conducted a hearing exam that showed a LOSS prior to service, then you are entitled to the Presumption of Soundness, and the VA can only rebut that by showing:

1) That your hearing loss was NOTED on a MEPS physical exam, and

2) That your military service did NOT aggravate the hearing loss.

What they are doing is what the Courts laid into them for in the Horn v Shinseki case. Read about it here:

http://www.attiglawfirm.com/8steps/step3/va-presumption-of-soundness/

and here:

http://www.attiglawfirm.com/shoot/veterans-disability-benefits-in-horn-v-shinseki-the-court-of-appeals-for-veterans-claims-cavc-calls-out-va-on-failure-to-follow-the-law/

Make the argument that you are entitled to the presumption of soundness in line with the Horn decision, then attack their Compensation and Pension Exam opinion using these tips and tools.

http://www.attiglawfirm.com/move/va-c-p-exam-results/

Most important - whatever expert you get, make sure that they review the entire C-File, and the C&P Examiner Opinion, and discredit the C&P Examiner's opinion. The VARO may ignore all that, but the BVA likely will not.

Hope that helps a bit....from what you are saying, you have to kick out that "pre-existing condition" argument before any expert opinion really matters.

Chris

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