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Basic Question About Records Collection For A Disability Claim


rootbeer22

Question

Folks:

Although I filed a FDC Claim with all of my DOD, VA and Civilian Medical Records and all were provided to the Regional Office "hard-copy" , I was under the impression that VBA still automatically requests a Vets Service Medical Records (SMR's) from DOD as well as all of the VA Records to be loaded into the new VBMS System because of the "Duty to Assist" Requirements - even if it is duplicating the records that I've already sent in and they have? IS this True?

Recently, "ebennefits" is saying that I need to load even more evidence? So, I called the 1800 number and was told that it's their (VBA's) requirement to get the evidence that is being referred to and that I should not worry about the ebennefits notification because it's very outdated? The VBA Rep said, that they were looking at the screen with my information right then and that everything in my c-file was in good shape for my claim with the exception of a couple more C&P exams that I'm scheduled for this week?

But, I've been told many times before even if I had any new records and added them that my claim can be taken out of the FDC Program altogether? Finally, I'm having movment with my claim again, so I do not want to risk it?

Has this happened to anyone before and what did you do?

Edited by rootbeer22 (see edit history)
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Recently, "ebennefits" is saying that I need to load even more evidence?

Rootbeer,

This happened to me back Jan as well. I too, called the 1-800# and was told not to worry cuz it was just notifying Seattle and American Lake VAMC's to schedule C & P's . According to Ebennies they have until 3/21/15 to submit all info regarding my two current claims. I had my two C & P's ( sleep apnea and tinnitus) earlier this month. So now it's just wait n see on the outcome. Checked Myhealthevet and as expected the Sleep Apnea Exam was not so good, but the exam for the Tinnitus looks to be in my favor.

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Scotter04:

Thanks for responding,

Two of my claims are for those same issues as well. From what I have read, the Tinnitus is mainly based upon your MOS Speciality and how much exposure you had to mechanical and environmental noise you (we) had in the military. Were your sleep apnea studies and SA diagnosed while you were in the military and at a military medical facility? That seems to make a diffrence these days.... I have Severe OSA and really hate it and what it does to my work productivity and overall life....good luck to you...and I hope you get what you expect...

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Rootbeer,

My Career Field (MOS) was as a Fuels Specialist in the Air Force so I was around running aircraft, pumphouses, vehicles pumping fuel to the aircraft. FL 10-35 shows my job as Moderate exposer and the C & P examiner wrote in the notes a "least likely as not" so I'm hoping the tie goes to the vet. I have only been dx with SA since 2012 but have had it since 1992 while in service. I snore constantly and stop breathing in my sleep often so I use the CPAP and it works wonders other than it being uncomfortable. I was young and knew nothing about SA in the service so I never complained. It along with the tinnitus and insomnia make it hard to sleep at night and it affects my daily life and work. Along with the SA C & P they included the GW C & P to see if that had anything to do with the SA. The examiners notes don't look favorable for SC so we'll just wait n see.

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Scotter04:

So, you may try the option of obtaining an Independept Medical Opinion ( IMO) to support your OSA case? It will cost you but in the end, if you obtain a 50% rating, it will be more than worth the expense in the long run to show the linkage to the military. Although, I've not done one yet, I hear it avarages about $1,500.00. I know what you mean about not complaining? It's not in our nature as service members to complain during our careers because it could affect one's chances for promotion and opportunties? I was involved with a Tank Accident and later a Tank Explosion early in my Army Career as a Tank Commander which injured me significanlty but I was always worried about the impacts on my career. My wife was the one who said, you're in severe pain and need to get it treated despite the impacts on your career. Lucky for me, I was able to stay 22 years but it got tough to do the required physical fitness towards the end. That said, although I see a prominent pain specialist for my issues, I live with my service injuries as a constant reminder of my service every day. But, I knew the risks when I joined.....and really loved the military...

Edited by rootbeer22 (see edit history)
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You can always submit evidence that you really believe would benefit your claim, but remember that the dang VA can always try to prolong your claim. I am the type that always mails, and uploads evidence on Ebennies when I first submit my claim online, so that the evidence is there.

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I would not have confidence in the VA to gather evidence even though it is thier job. I would submit everything that could help my claim. if its redundant, its better than non existent in the C FILE.

I recall being told by my DAV rep before I dropped them.. " they have everything, dont worry abt it"/

well surprise, they didnt have everything., whether it was intentionally omitted or just not stuffed down thier throats, I dont know, but now they get everything served on a green card.

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63SIERRA:

I did the same thing with my VSO. Originally, I got a convincing story about how much good that a VSO would do for me and that they would "champion" my claim for me? However, after my first conversation with the VSO Rep, I was convinced that she had very little knowledge of the disability claims process at all? Then afterwards, I did some of my own research, and figured out that she was dispensing information that was just not accurate at all which was disappointing? I found myself trying to actually educate her about some of the latest informaiton on the FDC Process? The worse information that she gave me was to file all of my contentions under the FDC Program at once in one single package? When I did an indebth review of the process, I realised that the VBA has 3 "so called" lanes for processing disability claims? The lane that your claim goes in is determnined by many factors but the # of contentions sbmitted, their complexities, any special status like vietnam vet agent organge, etc are the main criteria's? So, once I saw one of the first VBA Monday Morning Workload Reports, it was clear that although not a perfect method, you could probably improve you chances to go into a particular lane with a strategy based upon the # of contentions submitted? For instance, generally, if you want a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) to get done quicker than regular claims, then you would file "only" two contentions for an FDC and it would probably move faster thru the process? Also, the next break would be 7 Contentions or Less for an FDC because, that the next break in terms of how they seem to work and track the next set of claims. Then there's 8 contentions or more for the next break, which is where I was advised by the VSO to do? She said, just put them all together because you'll only have to submit one claim to save time but that was not true? It saved her time and effort but not me? It was clear that she just wanted the claim under her name as the VSO submitter to get submission credit? However, this only works correctly when you provided absolutely every/all medical records that you have (VA, DOD, and Civilian) in the claims that covers the contentions that you've noted. That said, the big wildcard is that if you submit a FOIA, your claim may be delayed like mine was? Also, by submitting any addtional paperwork at all it may put it all back into the regular claims process? Frankly, If I could change things, I would have put in my first claim for 7 contentions or less by order of priority and waited for the outcome. Then, I would have provided the second batch of 7 or less for the second go round. Based upon what I've been hearing so far from others, that strategy probably would have worked best for me? But, I've learned that only YOU can be your best representative and advocate for your claim and not to rely on anyone else? Basically, the VSO was a nice person but she had no "skin in the game" and did not take to the time to fully learn her trade? I'm sure there are wonderful VSO's out there that fight for their Vets like Lawyers and win for you? However, my VSO acted like a "clerk" and was happy to put it in the mail for me, which in the end, after watching the claims package sit in her office for a couple of days, I retreived and mailed it myself - anyway? Frankly, I just got what I paid for and because it was free, I should have guessed what was going to happen in the end...?

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Dont worry about ebenefits showing you need to upload more documents. Its just there JUST IN CASE YOU WANT TO UPLOAD DOCUMENTS. Also the VA MUST gather ALL records in their possession to include any records that are with the DOD or at the archives. If they don't the decision can be CUE'd.

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  • In Memoriam

I had a BVA telecoference. The judge was waiting for lunch and I saw him standing there with his elbow on the top of my c-file resting. The c-file was at least 3" tall. I could hardly believe that there was that much evidence although I am sure some was duplicate. Your benefits are there for you, take what is yours.

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Folks:

Thanks for the advice....at this point..it appears that my CP exams are done and all of my evidece has been provided for the raters? I even just signed another 5103 Waiver just to reiterate that I've turned everything in and it should be time to move out from "gathering evidence" now to the next stage? One big lesson learned with the process was that asking for my C-File really stalled the process in the beginning for my claim? That said, I'm still a little nervous and I cannot confirm that all of my hand-written SMR's ever made it into VBMS? Also, when I do get the the final decision on my claim -hopefully, I don't get too many contention denials because I would like at some point in the process to order my C-file and see what SMRs actually made into VBMS? I actually submitted C-File FOIAs twice and had to withdrawal both of them because my claims came to a standstill? As I read in Hadit.com, many Vets are lucky and get their C-Files relatively quicky (some even take a year) - but I personally have never been able to "break that code" to obtain my C-file in a timely manner? After, I filed the second FOIA, my claims timeline went from 15 months to completed to now 37 months and that's considering that the claim is still an FDC? Also, I pulled the POA for the VSO that I was using because it just was not working out with them...and it's best to work my own claim now.

Edited by rootbeer22 (see edit history)
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