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Multiple Sclerosis - 30%, Should We Appeal?



My wife got out of the military and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the birth of our second daughter. She had 10% disability upon leaving the military, and after about 1 1/2 years, finally got back her rating as 30% for the MS with a combined 40% w/ her previous rating. Of course, they need more information to prove she's married to me and I guess they lost the birth certificate for our second child so the actual amounts are wrong on the paper.

My question is, should we automatically appeal the 30% as it is the lowest she can be rated with MS? Fatigue is her current issue. We're blessed in the fact that my wife has rebounded from her MS quite well with only mild peripheral vision loss. There were several bad years w/depression for which she is still followed by an excellent neurologist at Johns Hopkins and receives monthly infusions but is off all other medications currently. There's always the risk that her disease could progress, but is it safe to assume if she does have something devastating happen in the future we can appeal at that time for additional compensation? The only frustrating thing for us is that when she goes to the infusion center, half of the other MS patients are rated much higher than her, up to 100% in several cases and don't seem that severe. They were all diagnosed while active duty though. It still boggles my mind that we can't backtrack the payments to the day she was diagnosed in the hospital. Is that something worth appealing to? Her award date is 2 years after her actual diagnosis because we weren't aware it was service connected at the time.

Thank you for any assistance. We've been sitting on the award letter for months now. She has payback for her separation bonus so any reward we get we won't see for several years anyway. Getting closer to that 1 year out from award date and need to make a decision on whether to keep going with this process.

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ABSOLUTELY Appeal this.

When did she get the 30% award? Is she still within the NOD time frame ( one year after the decision)

Did she claim this within the year after her discharge?

If so did they award back to the day after her discharge?

If she needs an IMO ( and sure might) it will be a good investment and I strongly suggest Dr. Craig Bash.

We have done many Blog radio shows with him ,available in the radio show archives and, as former VA doctor, he knows exactly what VA needs in these IMOs he prepares,

and plus....

he is a disabled vet and has Multiple Sclerosis himself.

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What Berta Said annnnnnnd, keep the Claim ALIVE!! Don't ever give up a Retro Date due to allowing a rating to become final. My DRO Hearing Request from 2010 just happened this past 06/14. Maybe mine took longer but hearings have been taking 3+ years. A lot can happen or change while waiting. You really have nothing to lose by filing your NOD and requesting either a DRO Hearing or old style VARO to BVA. Last time I reviewed 2014 BVA Decisions, seemed a large number of 5+ years waiting with heavy number of Remands. Things could change with the VA and all of a sudden start going at Warp Speed but I doubt we'll ever see that.

Next on the agenda, as long as your claim is ALIVE sitting for a couple of years at your VARO just waiting for the DRO Hearing or BVA Hearing, any and all New & Material Evidence submitted to the VARO will trigger an Automatic VARO Review of your issues on appeal.

Semper Fi


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I missed this

"Getting closer to that 1 year out from award date and need to make a decision on whether to keep going with this process."

You have time left.....but it goes fast

It helps to read the VASRD ( VA Schedule of Ratings here at hadit)in it's own topic area..

She can disagree with the percentage by comparing her evidence to what the ratings for MS are there.

"several bad years w/depression for which she is still followed by an excellent neurologist at Johns Hopkins and receives monthly infusions but is off all other medications currently"

She needs to claim the depression as secondary to the MS. An IMO can help with that.

Are you able to scan and attach here the award as to their Reason and Bases and the evidence list?

(Cover C file # name,address, prior to scanning.)

It is always possible VA ratings are correct, but often 'as likely as not', they do not reflect an accurate percentage.

What are the infusions for?

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forgot to add, if you google multiple sclerosis hadit.com , more will pop up,,,,we have MS veterans here:

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Thank you for helping re-motivate us!

She was awarded in September and life has gotten in the way of us responding. Like I said, at 40% disability she wouldn't even pay off her separation bonus until 2020...

She had 10% disability separating in 2007 (back issues from her deployment mostly).

She developed MS in summer of 2011, but had her first symptom as early as Fall of 2008 (within a year of separating). We filed the claim in April 2013 when we found out she qualified.

They gave her 30% for MS with optic neuritis.

They gave her 0% for major depressive d/o with generalized anxiety disorder based off:

* The evaluation of MDD w/ generalized anxiety d/o is continued at 0 percent disabling.

* We have assigned a noncompensable evaluation for your major depressive disorder with generalized anxiety disorder based on:

* a diagnosed disability with no compensable symptoms

* No Global Assessment of Function (GAF) score was reported

* The overall evidentiary record shows that the severity of your disbaility most closely approximates the criteria for a noncompensable disability evaluation.

* A higher evaluation of 10 percent is not warranted unless the evidence shows the occupation and social impairment due to mild or transient symptms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication.

* We reviewed the evidence received and determined your service-connected condition(s) hasn't/haven't increased in severity sufficiently to warrant a higher evaluation.

As far as her depression, we find this laughable considering she had to take short term disability due to fatigue/depression multiple times over the past several years and is on daily medication (I forgot to mention it above, as it is a low dose SSRI). She had acute psychosis due to the anti-depressants/medications shortly after she was diagnosed with MS due to having to bear losing vision in both her eyes for about a month. She had additional hospitalization just to treat her depression around the time she was diagnosed.

I guess some of those memories are suppressed at this point because things are going well and she only needs once/month infusion for her MS. However, the more I think about a 0% rating on depression/anxiety, the more ridiculous it seems.

Do we just type up a lettered response saying we want to appeal? Do we request copies of the records they used to make their determination? Thanks!

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Remember that you can always appeal a % or award or denial that you don't agree with. As long as the Medical Evidence is there, go for what you feel is fair and I know you deserve. Good luck and God Bless!!!

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