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Hello Hadit Helpers,
I feel like I am stumbling around blind. I hope someone can help me see.
I was service connected in 2011 severe anxiety due to mst and a bladder condition.
I have not had gainful employment since ETSing in 2004. I was re-evaluated for an increase and received an overall 70 - 40 -10 but started being payed at 80% in 2016.
In June of 2019 I applied for TDIU. I hit the make a decision now button on ebenefits, which was like shooting my own foot for lack of patience, not realizing that this meant the VA could not request any further info from me.
In August I was denied, and obtained an attorney.
The attorney took over and ebenefits is showing the privacy act starting on October 4th and my claim is now in the evidence gathering/decision making process. Estimated end date of April 2020, the attorney says 3 years, but I know there are new systems in place to make things move a little quicker.
I am looking for any information that you all would have about what is actually happening. I don't know if this is a NOD or what. My case manager acts like I am a major pain and won't give me any info and I fear she has no idea what she is actually doing. =(
I assume it is not an actual appeal yet, because my case manager said they would have to wait for my c-file before they would appeal on the next denial from the VA.
I am so confused, If any of you experts could find the time to help me I would greatly appreciate it. I have always dealt with the VA on my own with no previous denials, but never fully understood what I was doing. I thought hiring an attorney would change this, but I still feel just as blind as before.
I met with a VSO on Feb 8th 2019 and started my MST/PTSD claim. To be totally honest I am scared to death. The incidents happened during my Navy duty 88-89. I had hid it from everyone including my wife until this past December. I had went to a VSO to talk about other claims when it slipped out and I was offered help to form a claim. We filed an intent to claim in Dec 2018. She suggested I talk with my wife and make an appointment with my doctor. After sitting and having a very emotional talk with my wife and with her support I made an appointment with my personal doctor. I am very lucky to have a great doctor who sat with me and after many tears I was able to explain in detail what had happened. He diagnosed me with extreme anxiety mostly when dealing with other Males ( Authority Figures or when confronted), and PTSD/MST and prescribed an anxiety as needed.
What we submitted:
A two page statement from me ( Timeline form) A statement from my wife A statement from from my 20 yr old son detailing my issues with examples of my issues with male authority figures A Nexus statement from my Doctor saying he feels that my anxiety and PTSD is definitely caused by what happened while I served. The VSO said that it was the best written Nexus statement she has ever seen in her 10 years in doing Veteran claims. My Questions:
After submitting a claim to the VSO how long before it shows up on ebenefits? Mine still shows as intent to file. The VSO says it has been submitted. What can I expect at my C & P exam? How can I prepare myself for the exam? This is what I dread/fear most. Is it ok if I post my journey? I also want to thank all the men and women who have submitted to the MST forum. I now know I am not alone. Being a male and reading that similar things has happened to other males and reading their journeys has prepared me to start my journey and start the healing process.
Looking for some guidance. I served on active duty in the Navy from 87-90 overseas on a ship. My original plans when I enrolled was to do 20 years, Back in Dec of 2018 I met with and amazing Veterans Service Officer about a tinnitus claim which was approved. While there she had handed me a bunch papers about claims and one was on PTSD and MST. She was copying and I was reading the PTSD-MST document and it triggered a bunch of emotions where I started shacking and tearing up. The VSO walked in and noticed my state and asked me if I was ok. I tried to answer her but, couldn't she went and got a male VSO and a male nurse to come in. Once the nurse helped calmed me down the male VSO noticed the document I was reading and we talked for awhile about it and I briefly explained a little. He recommend that I file a DBA for PTSD-MST and recommended the following.
I document everything I can remember about the events is causing my stressors: I wrote an eight page document in details about the events. Talk to my wife about what happened and have her write a document on what she sees and how it effects our relationship: After having an very hard emotional talk with her, she wrote a two page document. My 20 year old son also wrote a two page document on things he as seen, even though he only knows a little about what happened. Talk to my doctor about what happened: Made an appointment and discussed detail what happened and he diagnosed me with severe PTSD and anxiety placed on Xanax as needed. He wrote a Nexus letter and has sent it into the VA for me Now I explain a little about what when on when arriving on ship I was assigned to a steam generator room and assigned watch with two other sailors one was a 2nd Class Petty officer and the other a 3rd class. At the time we were doing 12 hour watches 12 on 12 off. The first few watches went well. We were getting ready to pull into Subic Bay Philippines for a few days before heading back to Japan. They both stated " We want you to come out and drink with us and then we can tag team a few girls". Now a little history alcoholism runs in my family and I don'y shy away from drinking I just know my limits. When we arrived in port I hung out with a few of my buddies instead. When we headed back to sea things went down hill. On my first watch back with them they yelled to me to come to the watch booth which was big enough for 2 chairs and a small table/chair between them the whole booth was maybe 4 feet by 6 feet with a center door and windows. When I went in I noticed they both had towels over their laps which wasn't unusual do to it being over 100 degrees in there. I was told to sit down and did then one of them stated we figured out why you didn't go out with use you must be gay and not like girls. I didn't get a chance to answer when they ripped the towels off and exposed themselves to me. I tried to leave but they held the door laughing. I was finally let out and was very shaken up. This happened many time the next few day the both continually exposed themselves to me. I would ask them to stop and would be ignored. I went to my Chief Petty officer and told him what was going and and got this remark back " Why you trying to get them in trouble they are just playing with you". I went to back to my watch and was cornered by them and verbally threatened to keep my mouth shut. With out going in two many details things escalated to the point where I wold come done to watch and they would be masturbating in the open I'd try to move away and they would chase me around. One time I was working in the bilge( bottom area of ship lots of stinky water and valves) under the floor of our work space crawling around attempting to fix a valve when I felt what I thought was water coming down on me upon looking up realized they were urinating on me. A lot more worse things happened. I was very depressed and felt helpless. I tho ought about suicide many time and even cut my wrist once when things were at its worst. Got scared and told everyone I fell and sliced it still have the scar. Other than my failed attempt to tell my Chief about it I never told a soul about it. I ask myself why didn't I fight back? Lets put it this way at the time I weighed about 125 lbs soaking wet and about 5'7". They both were about 170-180 and were both over 6 feet. I was working in a space alone with them at anytime they could injury me say I got hurt working it was my word against the 2 of them. Why has it taking so long for me to open up about this? I always thought that Sexual trauma only happened to woman. I was scared and embarrassed to admit he happened to me. How has this affected me.
I have nightmares weekly. I have flashbacks. Something will trigger memories and I'll have panic attacks. I have intimacy issues. I have ED issues that started at an early age. I have issues in places where there may be Male Public Nudity ( Locker rooms, even public restrooms I'll use a stall ) Just because it triggers flashback of them and what they did. I have issues with Male authority figures. I have the tendency to back down from and conflicts even though and right. Fear retaliation And the big one still fear retaliation from them. Still fear after almost 30 years that exposing them and what happened they will find away to get me. Thank you to everyone who reads this. Now my questions: Is there anything else I should include to help my case? I'm aware that after my meeting with the VSO they will set me up with a DBA with someone from the VA. What can I expect from that meeting and how should I prepare for it? What about secondary PTSD symptoms what applies? After meeting with my personal doctor he actually interned at the VA center I going to. He suggested apply for ratings secondary to the PTSD rating for the following. Erectile dysfunction, hypertension. Do you feel that these are ok? Are there others that I should consider or be aware of?
Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD DSM-5 criteria on today's eval?
[X] Yes [ ] No
2. Current Diagnoses,1PTSD 2Panic Disorder 3Agorophobia 4Major Depressive Disorder
b. Medical diagnoses relevant. obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism.
a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed?
[X] Yes [ ] No
4. Occupational and social impairment
[X] Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity
b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to
differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder?
[ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A)
Vet has multiple co-morbid psych dx and therefore cannot differentiate level of impairment due to each mental disorder due to overlap in symptoms.
Does stressor meet Criterion diagnosis of PTSD)?
[X] Yes [ ] No
Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military terrorist activity?
[X] Yes [ ] No
Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma?
[X] Yes [ ] No
Criterion A: Exposure to
[X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)
Criterion B: Presence of
[X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).
[X] Recurrent distressing dreams
[X] Dissociative reactions
[X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic
[X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or externalcues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic
Criterion 😄 Persistent avoidance of
[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated
[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects,
Criterion 😧 Negative alterations
[X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others
[X] Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event that lead the
individual to blameherself others.
[X] Persistent negative emotional state
[X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.
[X] Persistent inability positive emotions
Criterion E: Marked alterations arousal
[X] Irritable behavior angry outbursts
[X] Exaggerated startle response.
[X] Problems with concentration.
[X] Sleep disturbance
[X] Duration disturbis more than month.
[X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important
[X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiologicaleffects of a substance
Criterion I: Which stressor contributed to the Veteran's PTSD diagnosis?:
X] Stressor #1
[X] Depressed mood
[X] Panic attacks more than once aweek
[X] Chronic sleep impairment
[X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recentevents
[X] Flattened affect
[X] Impaired judgment
[X] Disturbances of motivation a
[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social
[X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances,including worklike setting
[X] Obsessional ritualsInterfereActivities
[X] Neglect personalAppearance hygiene
DSM 5 Diagnosis:PTSD-Panic d/o with agoraphobia-Generalized Anxiety D/o
Vet meets the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD as level of severity - severe. Relationship of mental disorders to each other Vet's MDD, recurrent,moderate is secondary to her PTSD.HerPanicDisorder, Agorophobia and FSAD are also secondary to her PTSD. It is my medical opinion that vet's MST stressor is as least as likely as not suppported by and consistent with the in service marker evidence. Her agorophobia preclude her from functioning satisfactorily in work environments.
Hi there! Long time member here but been MIA for awhile. Life has been busy and I have been dealing with health issues. Long story short, I went through a battery of tests to find out what is wrong with me. I did an ANA-TITER test, and it was positive for an auto immune disease. Was referred to the RA doctor for further testing to see if I had lupus. The RA doctor did blood tests and determined I don't have lupus. We did additionally physical exam at the VA back in May and he determined I had Fibromyalgia and diagnosed me with it. We discussed that my Fibromyalgia co-exists with PTSD/MST and IBS. We also discussed that Fibromyalgia can be secondary to my already service-connected PTSD/MST or even maybe my IBS. I discussed this with my representative and we decided to file a claim for Fibromyalgia (non-service connected disability) to an already service-connected disability. Either PTSD/MST or IBS and we asked that they evaluate either causation or aggravation.
We filed in July and I had my C&P exam in September. The examiner was asked by the rater to give his medical opinion as to the Fibro being secondary to my PTSD/MST. The rater did not ask if it was possible to be secondary to my IBS like we requested. The examiner did a C&P DBQ for Fibro and that was positive. I do have Fibro, that isn't the issue. The medical opinion is what was disturbing. I was with the examiner for less than 5 minutes. He stated he physically examined me when he did not and he seemed very unknowledgeable about Fibro/PTSD-MST/IBS as co-existing and determining either causation or aggravation. Of course the medical opinion stated, "less likely than not". I was floored, so I went to work for my claim.
I contacted my RA doctor and we talked with my representative on the phone as well. By the end of the call he was confident enough to link my PTSD/MST as aggravation to my Fibromyalgia. He wrote a one/two paragraph letter on my behalf. We sent that to the rater. Then I spoke to my MH provider last week and she too wrote me a very good NEXUS letter. That was sent to the rater yesterday. Both my doctor's are at the VA and both stepped out on a limb for me. I am hoping their medical opinions outweigh the negative C&P medical opinion.
I am attaching the C&P exams (redacted), the two medical opinions (redacted) - I am hoping I am successful because this will make me 100% scheduler. I am currently 94% overall rated.
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,
JKWilliamsSr posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing. That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran.
One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing. I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down. I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters. I think raters should have some kind of legal background. They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.
There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989. Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.
The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1. Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims. Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why. Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.
It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed. I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve
M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx