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This post is about seeking the best advice for my next step(s). I'll try to be as succinct as possible, however, we are talking about the VA compensation process.
I received a BVA decision in December 2018, most appeals were denied, however, the important one’s, back increase (40%) and SC for migraine headaches, although zero percent, were granted and the BVA judge also stated:
TDIU: VA treatment records have raised the issue of TDIU as part and parcel of the claims for increased rating; the Veteran has submitted several records indicating findings by VA that he is not employable at present due to his service-connected disabilities. This claim has not yet been adjudicated, and further, in light of grants of service connection and increased rating herein, required additional development.
I currently have a total rating of 60% and the VARO TDIU decision states:
Entitlement to individual unemployability is denied because you have not been found unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities. This case has not been submitted for extra-schedular consideration because the evidence fails to show you are unemployable due to service connected disabilities. (38 CFR 4.16).
I received a fully favorable decision for SSDI by the Social Security Administration and VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services States:
After carefully reviewing the evidence, I have determined that it is not reasonable to expect you to be able to train for or get a suitable job at this time.
I had a VA/social security attorney, whom I felt was not meeting my needs as there was very limited communication on their part, I’d filed a complaint with them letting them know, I didn’t need hand holding, however I do expect my representative to take action on the BVA decision, appeals, CUE, etc. It seemed like they weren’t interested in working on my behalf, and I kind of felt like they were just waiting for a positive VA decision so they could get paid. I am completely aware VA things take time, and I’ve been battling the VA for three decades now.
Anyway, I decided to contact CC&K and they informed me they aren’t interested in taking my case. I’ve already filed a NOD and I have no idea what’s going on with the VARO remand response to the BVA.
I’m almost sure, I can win an increase for my migraine headaches rating and entitlement to TDIU via pro se representation. However, I would love to have some assistance and not sure if I should keep contacting attorney’s, VSO, forum buddy, or go on my own. I’ve only had one attorney in all the years I’ve been pursuing my VA compensation rights, my previous VA claims were won on my own, and I’m almost positive both my SSDI and BVA claims were granted without any assistance from the attorney. They got their VA 20% and SSA $6,000, so I figure were good and it was time to terminate our agreement and move on.
Thanks in advance…
By S. Bruce
I was awarded 30% service connected for sleep apnea when I left the military in 2008. In 2013, I was directed to and took another sleep study. It was found and the VA agreed that I needed to start using the CPAP. VA reviewed the evidence, agreed, paid for and I have been using the CPAP since 2013. In Sep 2019, during a review of my records, my representative informed me that using the CPAP meant that my SA rating should be 50% versus 30%. I filed an increase claim and was increased to 50% with an effective date of Sep 2019. Shouldn't the effective date be April 2013 when the diagnosis was received and approved? I checked and the 50% rating for using a CPAP was in place in 2013. I wasn't aware of the rating difference at that time, so I didn't file a claim at that time. I'm asking because I'm thinking I may be due some back pay...……….
I submitted a claim for Sinusitis, OSA,, and Tinnitus. My claim was denied for all 3.
The tinnitus they claim was neither occurred in nor was caused by service. My job on active duty exposed me to gun fire, explosions, tanks, and tracked vehicles. I submitted the Duty Noise Exposure Spreadsheet that displayed my AFSC was rated as highly likely to be exposed to loud noise. In the first Exam they claimed I said my hearing loss was from jets flying overhead. Never said that, so they scheduled a second exam. This one they acknowledged the correct job but I was still denied. The evidence listed on the second decision dd not include the MOS Noise exposure chart I included on the first claim. I never went to sick call for ringing ears because that is just silly (had I known then) and was not something you did. I have had quiet office jobs since separating from The Air Force. What am I missing?
For the OSA claim, I submitted Lay statements from my current wife and my ex-wife as well as explained to the doctor my symptoms and that when I was on Active Duty i had no idea sleep apnea was a thing. I assumed I just snored and was tired because I was working hard. I had a sleep study this past year and was deemed to have severe OSA. In my claim I listed that I believed my osa was related to my cluster headache disability. They responded Cluster headaches do not cause OSA even if there are many people with cluster headaches and also OSA. I experienced a stuffy nose during my headaches on the left side. This was completely different from the closing of my airway when I would sleep. It was just worst if both occurred at the same time. They claimed I have other risk factors such as being male, obesity, and advancing age. Something I did not include in my claim was the fact that I was on the Fat Boy program at one point on Active Duty and my SMR made a reference to obesity. Would this help support my claim. Also in the second decision they said I was a 73 year old male and I am no where near 73 so they probably mixed my records with someone else. What can I do about this?
And Sinusitis, I have a couple diagnosis in my SMR's specifically listing sinusitis. I have had sinus issues since I was on Active Duty. I use a Netti Pot and have been diagnosed post active duty with sinusitis. The DBQ from the QTC Medical Doc claims I have rebound sinusitis because I mentioned using Afrin. I have always been aware of the danger of over use and in my VA records I discussed this concern whenever the VA would prescribe a nasal spray. What am I missing and how can I get this corrected. The errors on the 2 decisions make it seem as if they are not very organized and I have to suffer from their disorganization. Are they supposed to review all of the evidence from the initial claim when you submit a supplemental, or should I have resubmitted all the documents from the initial claim. Are the documents that contain research that supports your claim supposed to be on the evidence list as well? They were not on there and if they did not give those documents equal consideration what is my recourse. Any assistance would be appreciated Thanks for listening.
I was all set to use the 21-0958 for for my NOD when I happened to notice the decision I am disagreeing with said to use 21-0995. I looked up 21-0995 and it said it's the "new and improved" faster response form. If there is such a thing as a "faster response" form, I'd like to use it. The 20-0995 makes it sound as if it can be used for both CUE and NOD. I need to submit multiple of both and I don't want to screw it up. Have any of you use this form? thanks
So, as some know I have been having a little war with the VA and my VSO, the American Legion, about getting my DBQ's.
So today I went to the VSO's office in the VARO building during their "walk in" hours since I could not get them to give me an appointment.
On the door was as sign saying the office was closed for the week for training and left the 800 number for Washington DC office.
I knock on the door anyway. Two ladies answer.
Tell them what I want and that I need them to do it today.
They invite me into the office.
I hand them a typed sheet with the Dates and Dr's of my C&P's and a list of documents for each one that I need.
The first lady says she doesn't know why I am there. The second lady says she will help me. The first lady says show me how we do this.
I tell them again what I want and the 2nd lady says why do you want to file a NOD, I tell her. She says you don't need these files to file an appeal.......The VA already has them. I tell her I need to know exactly what the DBQ says and what the letters to and from VA says. I also need the code sheets as they existed at each point for each approved and denied C&P.
She tells me no i don't and if I insist on filing a NOD I should just file an HLR.. I told her no, that would not work for this and the HLR results are not typically veteran friendly.
She then spends 20 minutes more telling me that I need to listen to her because veterans don't know what they want and don't know anything about the VA and how to win their claim.
She then says "We work for the VA not for you, and the VA knows what it is doing".
this of course makes me mad and I say to her " I am asking you to get me these files. nothing more. I have heard your opinion and all you need to do is get me copies of these files." She then starts in again trying to convince me not to file.
I get more insistent and tell her that i heard her but I expect her to do exactly as I requested, nothing more.
She then says "Well you don't need those files so let me file the NOD" I tell her NO. Resoundingly empathically NO>
She then tells me I know how to file a NOD. She then remembers I am filing a CUE and says "you shouldn't file a CUE because you will never win and then the VA will be mad at you"......
Just f'ing wow.
Then I tell her once again to do what I asked her to do and to stop trying to dissuade me from what I want. I tell her she is wasting her time and mine and that all I want is her to get those documents.
She then yells to the other woman to get "Bill". Man comes in and says "those are VA files you don't get to have them".
I tell him he is wrong and ask who he is. He refuses to answer. I look at woman 2 and say Please tell me your full name so I have a record. She wants to know why. I tell her point blank, that the next time I speak to AL in DC I am going to reference her and what she has said and not done. I then look at "Bill" and ask his name. He tells me 'you don't need to know that". I tell him I do because saying "Bill from AL means nothing to anyone". He snaps back 'I don't work for AL I work for VFW".
I ask him why he is sticking his nose into an AL situation? He gets mad and leaves.
She writes down her name, at least I think it is her name, date and time .
Then says all she is going to do is fill out a FOIA. At this point I decide to let her do that and get a copy to submit with my complaint to the AL.
She then asks me what I want. Types that I want my C-file and the files on the attached sheet, prints it, shoves it at me and says to Sign it. I tell her no it is not accurate and ask for a pen and write explicitly what I want.
She literally tries to argue with me.
I tell her to stop arguing and write the FOIA the way I tell her.
She writes it wrong in her own phrasing and i made her redo it.
Then I made her add Time is of the essence on the form.
When she handed it to me. I initialed before and after the typing and drew a line threw the blank space.
She gasped and asked why I did that. I said "its blank space and anyone could add words to that blank space. She then started to say, and got half way through saying
'I needed to put more stuff...." and then shut up as she realized she was admitting to falsifying a FOIA over my signature.
I am not sure which is worse, having the people with my POA try and screw me over or having the VA which is supposed to be on my side try and Screw me over.
Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
Vync posted an answer to a question,I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:
2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis
2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.
"...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.
First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date.
If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues.
I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.
It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.
Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.
Does this help?
Buck52 posted an answer to a question,Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.
The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.
Picked By66 bricks,