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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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philusmc

Ptst C&p Exam --

Question

I have PTSD and diagnosed as bi-polar too. Personally, I think the bi-polar is not correct but, hey, I'm not a doctor. I missed my C&P exam in Houston TX in Oct 2011 (I moved back to Florida in August 2011 and did not get the notice). ANyway, I got notice in Dec 2011 that my claim for PTSD had been denied because I missed the exam. I went to my county VA office and the "&D&&" filed to wrong request -- he filed an appeal instead of requesting my case be reopened and requesting a new C&P date. Fast forward 3 years and here I am. I had my C&P exam this last Wednesday and personally don't know how it went. The doc was very straight laced with no personality (I think that's the way they're supposed to be). Hadn't slept well in about two-three days and only got about 1 hour on Tuesday night before the exam at 8:00am. I muddled through with the doc -- lasted about 45 min. and the took the mmpi2. The mmpi test results were "questionable validity with some validity scales elevated to the extent that profile interpretation is of limited utility". " Veteran endorsed many psychological symptons on a variety of clinical scales, often reporting moderate to severe levels of intensity. Overall this response pattern may indicate a sense of feeling overwhelmed, though exaggeration of psychological distress cannot be ruled out."

Here's the summary of my C&P exam and I'd appreciate any feedback. Semper Fi.

1. Diagnostic Summary

---------------------

Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria based on today's evaluation?

[X] Yes [ ] No

ICD code: 309.28

2. Current Diagnoses

--------------------

a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: PTSD

Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: ALCOHOL USE DISORDER

Comments, if any:

moderate

Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: MOOD DISORDER, NOS

b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): SEE CPRS

3. Differentiation of symptoms

------------------------------

a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed?

[X] Yes [ ] No

b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis?

[ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A)

If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses:

SYMPTOMS OVERLAP

c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

[ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not shown in records reviewed

4. Occupational and social impairment

-------------------------------------

a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of

occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one)

[X] Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms

controlled by medication

b. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social

impairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder?

[ ] Yes [X] No [ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed

If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairment

is attributable to each diagnosis:

SYMPTOMS OVERLAP

c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what

portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI?

[ ] Yes [ ] No [X] No diagnosis of TBI

SECTION II:

-----------

Clinical Findings:

------------------

1. Evidence review

------------------

In order to provide an accurate medical opinion, the Veteran's claims folder must be reviewed.

a. Medical record review:

-------------------------

Was the Veteran's VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) reviewed?

[X] Yes [ ] No

Was the Veteran's VA claims file (hard copy paper C-file) reviewed?

[X] Yes [ ] No

If yes, list any records that were reviewed but were not included in the Veteran's VA claims file:

ALL RELEVANT RECORDS REVIEWED

If no, check all records reviewed:

[ ] Military service treatment records

[ ] Military service personnel records

[ ] Military enlistment examination

[ ] Military separation examination

[ ] Military post-deployment questionnaire

[ ] Department of Defense Form 214 Separation Documents

[ ] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatment

records)[ ] Civilian medical records

[ ] Interviews with collateral witnesses (family and others who have known the Veteran before and after military service)

[ ] No records were reviewed

[ ] Other:

b. Was pertinent information from collateral sources reviewed?

[ ] Yes [X] No

f. Other, if any:

MILITARY HISTORY

Service Discharge Type (Last): HONORABLE

Service Branch (Last): MARINE CORPS

1967- 69, 69-79

Service Discharge Type (NTL): HONORABLE

Service Branch (NTL): MARINE CORPS

Service Entry Date (NTL):

Did the veteran have combat experience: YES

Combat service location:

Vietnam 1968-69

Duties:

Were combat wounds sustained: no

Any mental health tx: NONE

3. Stressors

------------

Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers

traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military):

a. Stressor #1: SEE MILTARY HISTORY

Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)?

[X] Yes [ ] No

Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity?

[X] Yes [ ] No

Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual

trauma?

[ ] Yes [X] No

4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria

---------------------------

Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criteria A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, referred to as Criteria A-H, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).

Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious

injury, c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways:

[X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)

[X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to

others

Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion

Symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred:

[X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).

[X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to

Internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the

traumatic event(s).

[X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).

Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the

Traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred,

as evidenced by one or both of the following:

[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).

[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people,

places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that

arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).

Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:

[X] Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic

event(s)(typically due to dissociative amnesia and not to other factors

such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs).

[X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger,guilt, or shame).

[X] Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g.,

inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving

feelings.)

Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the

traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more)

of the following:

[X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no

provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.

[X] Exaggerated startle response.

[X] Problems with concentration.

[X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep).

Criterion F:

[X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is more than

1 month.

Criterion G:

[X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or

impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of

functioning.

Criterion H:

[X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects

of

a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical

condition.

Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD

diagnosis?:

[X] Stressor #1

5. Symptoms

-----------

For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the

Veteran's diagnoses:

[X] Depressed mood

[X] Anxiety

[X] Chronic sleep impairment

[X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events

[X] Disturbances of motivation and mood

[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships

6. Behavioral Observations

--------------------------

OTHER PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS

Today the veteran reports "I'm very agitated, didn't sleep well. Nerves

raw"

Current stressors: health

The veteran described/endorsed the following symptoms associated with

depression:

Withdrawn, isolation, anhedonia, depressed mood, low energy, poor sleep,

poor

attention and concentration, forgetfulness, change in appetite, crying

spells, guilt, helpless, hopeless, and worthless.

Frequency of Symptoms: 4-5 days a week

Duration of Symptoms: hours

Onset of Symptoms: years

Severity of Symptoms: mild to moderate

The veteran described/endorsed the following symptoms associated with

anxiety: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, easily fatigued,

difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension,

sleep disturbance, excessive worrying, second guesses, what if?,

difficulties

with decisions

Frequency of Symptoms: frequently

Duration of Symptoms: minutes

Onset of Symptoms: years

Severity of Symptoms: mild to moderate

The veteran described/endorsed the following symptoms associated with Mania:

inflated self esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressured speech, FOI,

distractibility, increased goal-directed activities, reckless behaviors

Frequency of Symptoms: no recent manic episdoes, often has bouts of

depression

Duration of Symptoms: hours

Onset of Symptoms:years

Severity of Symptoms:mild to moderate

Denies psychosis

MENTAL STATUS EXAM:

Appearance: clean, neatly groomed, casually dressed

Orientation: AOX4

Mood: subdued, mildly agitated

Affect: constricted

Attitude: cooperative

Speech rate and tone: Unremarkable

Language: Good

Thought content and progression: Unimpaired

Tangentiality: none

Circumstantiality: none

Loose associations: none

Flight of ideas: none

Delusional: none

Difficulty in understanding complex commands: none

Gross impairment in thought processes or communication: none

Hallucinations: not present

Delusions: not present

Grossly inappropriate behavior: none

Memory:

Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events

Attention and concentration: "its shot"

Fund of knowledge: Good

Intelligence: average

Insight and judgment: fair

Abstract Reasoning: wnl and a function of intelligence not reduced by mood

Obsessive-compulsive: used to be organized , now less so.

Sleep impairment: chronic difficulties with delayed onset, has sleep apnea ADLs: no impact from mental disorder

Suicidal ideation: in past

Homicidal ideation: none

Persistent danger of hurting self or others: none

Relationships: limited to partner (see social history for details)

Has difficulty with people, easily irritated in dealing with others.

7. Other symptoms

-----------------

Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above?

[ ] Yes [X] No

8. Competency

-------------

Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs?

[X] Yes [ ] No

9. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any

--------------------------------------------------

MMPI2 RF- profile of questionable validity with some validity scales elevated to the extent that profile interpretation is of limited utility.

Veteran endorsed many psychological symptoms on a variety of clinical scales, often reporting moderate to severe levels of intensity.

Overall this response pattern may indicate a sense of feeling overwhelmed, though exaggeration of psychological distress cannot be ruled out.

NOTE: VA may request additional medical information, including additional examinations if necessary to complete VA's review of the Veteran's application.

=========================================================================

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    • Yes 

      After a PTSD/Unspecific MDD Diagnose From the VA Dr's

      The gold standard for diagnosing PTSD is a structured clinical interview such as the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5). When necessary, the PCL-5 can be scored to provide a provisional PTSD DSM 5 diagnosis.

      Any clinical clinician such as MD ,Psychiatrist even a L.C.S.W. (Certified)can perform the Diagnostics Evaluation Employed by the the VA

      ...They just need to figure out your symptoms and put together a list of your symptom's that you possess or show from the evaluation...I am not 100% Sure just how they do this ?

      being I am not a Dr or clinical clinician 

      Once a Diagnoses of PTSD is given they try to set you up with a Therapist to help with your New dx And how to adjust or cope with the Anxiety and Depression the PTSD can cause.

        you learn the tools to cope with and depending how severe your symptoms are ? 

       They test /screen you with phychoeducational type therapy treatment usually at first.

       Warning  some of this therapy can be very rough on a Veteran  from holding on to guilt  from the trauma its self or you maybe in a  ''stuck point''from memories and guilt or from the stressor's or anything that reminds you of the trauma you endured.

      The therapy works  even if we think it don't,  I recommend Therapy for all PTSD Veterans  it could very well save your life once the correct therapy is in place and the Veteran makes all his Clinical Appointments.

      I still have Combat PTSD it probably will never be cured completely but we can learn the tools it takes to cope with this horrible diseases 

      even learning breathing techniques  Helps tremendously during a panic attact.

      I have guilt from the war in Vietnam  ( I ask my self what could I have done to make a better outcome/difference?..and also I am in what the therapist calls stuck points. working on that at present once a week for 90 minutes.  I am very fortunate to have the help the VA gives me and I am lucky I have not turned to alcohol or drugs to mask my problem.

      But I have put my family through a living hell with my angers of burst.and they all stood by me the whole time years and years of my family life was disrupted because of me and my children &spouse  never deserved it one bit.

      That's all I want to say about that.

      At least I am still around. and plan to be tell my old age dying day.
    • No timeframe gotta love that answer it’s even better when you ask 1800 people or call the board directly they’ll say you’ll know sooner then later. I had mine advanced and it was about 2 months later until I had the decision in my hand which seems forever but in the present system in 2016 lightning fast...
        • Thanks
    • I am serviced connected for ankylosing spondylitis back in 1985. I had a C&P exam on 7-7-19 since I am asking for an increase in my cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral ratings. After speaking with the DAV to find out progress and info on my exam, the Rep. noted sort of what I expected. Radiculopathy was noted and ROM was 0-15 for cervical, and 0-25 for back. I am currently rated as Cervical 30%, Thoracic 10%, and Lumbosacral 40%. The main question that I have is relating to the thoracic 10% and lumbosacral 40%. I am confused on these two. Is Lumbosacral separate from the thoracic/others ? Since my back ROM is at 0-25, does this mean that my thoracic might increase from the 10% to a higher rating ? I am confused how they break down my ratings from cervical at 30%, Thoracic at 10%, and Lumbosacral at 40%. Also, with the radiculopathy, is this something that they will rate also ? I am currently at 90% total combined for all my disabilities. I hope this helps for someone to give me advice/answers.
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    • Thank you @GeekySquid for your reply. 

       

      I have redacted personal information for my documents listed below. 

      I look forward to your reply. 

      HEADACHE STR 2006 copy_Redacted.pdf

      HEADACHE-DBQ.pdf

      Pages from Original Denial-Grant Reasons_Redacted.pdf
    • Hello Defenders of freedom!

      I have a question pertaining to this denial for headaches. The decision letter is quoted below. 

       

      3. Service connection for headaches.

      "We may grant service connection for a disability which began in military service or was caused by some event or experience in service.

      Your STRs are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On your post-deployment exam in 2005 you denied any headaches. On separation, you denied any headaches. VA treatment records are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On VA exam, the examiner stated there was no evidence of any residuals of a traumatic brain injury.

      We have denied service connection for headaches because the evidence of record fails to show this disability was incurred in or caused by military service."

      From my understanding these 3 points must be overturned to successfully win a CUE case:

       (1) either the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions in existence at that time were incorrectly applied; 

      (2) the error must be undebatable and of the sort which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time of the prior determination

      and (3) a determination that there was CUE must be based on the record and law that existed at the time of the prior adjudication in question.  

      @Berta, or veterans out here who have knowledge/experience, tell me what facts you think would be needed to prove this denial for headaches was an error? 
      • 14 replies
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