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Weird (Good Weird) Situation


chuck57thSig

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Ok this is an update with a few questions. Gulf War Vet, came back to the VA this past December with my list of issues. I’ve had lots of appointments, things talked and cried about, things shoved up one end and down the other, lots of different meds tried, with several failures. I was diagnosed with Anxiety, depression and severe PTSD, Psycho-therapist mentioned service dog, started researching and raising funds to get a service dog since the VA doesn’t prescribe them for PTSD, also been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus and hiatal hernia, but they haven’t narrowed down what’s causing the chronic diarrhea, and appointments with rheumatology for further testing on chronic pain all over, sleep study for sleep disturbances, says no Apnea but Restless Leg syndrome.

So I submitted a claim for the PTSD, anxiety, and depression, the first week of June while visiting my brother in Tennessee (short backlog). Came back home to Texas (long backlog) continued fund raising for dog. Contacted a Service Dog organization in San Antonio and worked / coordinated with them. A local news station heard about and did a story on my quest and fund raising efforts for a service dog including interviews with local VA personnel. Meanwhile the Director of the organization, Service Dog Express, is having meetings with local congressmen and she’s using me as an example with them. After a few weeks the VA pushed thru a prescription (and even allowed me to use the “non-ADI” organization and still provide VA benefits including continued training expenses for the specific tasks necessary for the dog to meet more needs) I picked up my dog, “Guess” a female Rottweiler rescue, on July 5th. Got a notice in the mail from the VA, here in Texas instead of Tennessee where I filed, that my C&P was scheduled for Aug 27th (today).

BIG BY THE WAY HERE – For you guys that are worried about a C&P for PTSD, depression and anxiety – I was freaking out, I read pretty much every link that would come up on Google in relation to PTSD C&P’s. Here’s a GREAT BIG HINT – DON’T DO THAT! I worked myself up, couldn’t sleep for 3 days before the C&P, I threw up on the way to the VA this morning, right after we got set down in the office to start the exam I grabbed the trashcan from under the desk because I was about to throw up again. All of that was useless. Just go in therebe honest and be yourself, take your significant other if at all possible!

My wife came in to the exam with me and was completely invaluable! The examiner would ask me a question and I would, being my typical self, understate my answer and my wife would be shaking her head then would give a more accurate and complete answer. The examiner was a sweetheart, bare in mind the examiners are there to get answers not to get you upset. By midway thru the exam the examiner was actually taking turns with my wife reminding me to use my breathing exercises to calm myself as we went thru triggers.

At the end of the exam I asked her about her thoughts on the exam, she said, “Of course I don’t have anything to do with your actual rating but yes, I agree with the diagnosis and my report will be extremely favorable.” I asked if she had any idea about how much longer it would take, and she said, “Some of the people I’ve done exams on have told me about 60 days, but yours is marked “Rush” so I couldn’t say.”

There is where the first question comes in, why would my claim be marked “Rush”? Possibly influenced by either the news channel interest or the Congressmen, or both?

The next question – 2 weeks ago the VA rheumatologist said they had ruled everything else out and said he was diagnosing severe Fibromyalgia. This is a presumed SC for Gulf War, should I wait until after this claim is completely resolved, and hopefully make further progress on the Gastro stuff and maybe file it and the Fibro at the same time, or go ahead and file for the Fibro?

Last question – I've read thru a lot on here and know about how the “pyramiding”(?) works so starting with being 100% able, first rating say is at 50%, then the next rating is figured like the remaining 50% is actually 100% of ability, so if second rating is again 50% that would be 50% of the original remaining 50% so a total of 75% disabled and still 25% able right? I’ve also seen guys mention things “rated separately” (not pyramided?) or something like that, what does that mean and how and in what situations does that come into play?

I apologize, that got really long really fast but it sure felt good getting all of that out.

Chuck.

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I was just reading another guys post "Awarded 70%" which brought up another question... Since I've been diagnosed with "Severe PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and now have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, should I go ahead and file with SSA or wait until the claim is resolved? I am still employed but definitely would not be employed without FMLA, I'm absent quit often. My anxiety and stuff has me stressed to the point of being sick on the way to work every morning, but I have to have income to support my family, so I keep working...

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I was just reading another guys post "Awarded 70%" which brought up another question... Since I've been diagnosed with "Severe PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and now have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, should I go ahead and file with SSA or wait until the claim is resolved? I am still employed but definitely would not be employed without FMLA, I'm absent quit often. My anxiety and stuff has me stressed to the point of being sick on the way to work every morning, but I have to have income to support my family, so I keep working...

I personally, would not submit a claim for SSA benefits if I were currently employed.

jmho

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That's what I was thinking... any input on the other questions? I just want to keep working as long as I can stand it... but having disability income would mean I don't have to be sick daily from the stress. ..

Edited by chuck57thSig (see edit history)
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Great story about your efforts and success with finally getting your service dog.

Personally, I would not file any new claims until your pending claims are completed. Filing new claims will only delay the pending claims. Once the old claims are completed, file an FDC for your fibromyalgia and any other new conditions.

I agree with Carlie about not filing for SSA benefits while employed.

Just my opinion.

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