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Confused On My Disability Rate %

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I am a Gulf War Veteran (USMC) 1986-1991. I am also S/C 30% disability for asthma. I originally put my claim in for asthma, allegric rhinitis and ptsd back in 1998. It was denied for allegric rhinitis and ptsd. I just recently put in a claim for PTSD again and an increase on my asthma because it has worsen over time with more prescripition medication and immuntherapy. These symptoms along with many others that has developed over time was due to the burning oil fields, the hazards airborne particles and the burn pits near our unit. These were just the common elements being exposed to in Kuwait.

I recently had a C&P evaluation on my asthma and that went pretty well. the VA doctor even recommended for me to put in a new claim for Allergy and resubmit my claim for allegric rhinitis stating that it was related to the Gulf War. I'm a little confused because my award letter from 1998 denied me allegric rhinitis and Ptsd. Now when I go to review my claim status on Ebenefit it states that I am 0% s/c on both A/R and Ptsd. Which one should I go on? Is there any retro pay IF i do get awarded a % for A/R , Ptsd or any Gulf War undiagnose illness? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Elder

I would say go for both, if your awarded a % they usually pay retro from that date.

you have a good chance according to what your last C&P Examiner Stated.

go get a copy of that particular exam.

unfortunately a 0% rating does not qualify for compensation



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  • Content Curator/ Elder


One important thing to note about asthma ratings is don't just look at the FEV1%'s. Look at meds too, regardless of FEV1%'s. This is often overlooked and the VA is supposed to rate the higher of the two. Daily inhaled steroids qualifies for 30%. If they give you 3+ courses over a 12 month period of oral/injected/IV (not inhaled) corticosteroids like prednisone, that opens the door to a 60% rating. Don't expect it to last forever because they will state it is temporary. I don't know your situation, but wanted you to be aware. Plenty of veterans get screwed over because of this.

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  • Elder

If you are rated 0% in you are insude the gate. All you have to show is a diagnosis and an opinion as to how much is affects you.

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No, there is no retro for 0 percent ratings. The discrepency SHOULD be explainable, and this is likely due to you getting an "award" of zero percent for PTSD and also zero percent for AR.

In other words, the VA claims you ARE service connected for these things but your symptoms are non existant or very very low.

That is a problem especially with PTSD (not for you, but for VA). To diagnose PTSD, they rely upon your symptoms. There is currently no "xray" or "blood test" for PTSD, like there is with, say, arthritis or Hep C. Instead, they rely upon your "symptoms". And, if you have symptoms of PTSD, then you should be compensated. This happens "some of the time" because Veteran's have been trained not to complain. In other words, you go to the doc and or a C and P exam, and the doc ask's "How are you?" You respond, sometimes, with the classic "Pretty good, how are you?" Then you proceed in the exam to "not reveal" how you really about work, football, your kids, everything BUT your symptoms. Then Veterans are suprised when the rating comes back at zero.

Now, I do not ever advocate either lying or exaggeratting your symptoms. But, you dont tell the doc you are fine if you are not. Tell the doc what happened on your WORST day, instead of your best day as we all have both of these. If you got into a fight with your spouse and the police were called last Saturday, tell him. If you are self medicating with alcohol, or buying Oxy on the street, tell him. If you wake up with night terrors and sleep with a loaded gun in your drawer as you are afraid that you will be attacked, tell him. If you are paranoid someone will break into your house and kill you, tell him. You get the idea. When you go to the doctor, or a C and P exam, this is not a good time to "suck it up" and pretend nothing is wrong if you want to get compensated. No, you do not have to tell everyone in your church at "meet and greet" time that you can't sleep because you relive the war over and over. You can do the "Im okay, how are you?" You need not tell every single person all your PTSD symptoms every time you meet someone for the first time. You should, however, tell your wife..she needs to know what is going on. And you should not leave out the horrifying details to your doc, either..not if you want compensation OR treatment for PTSD.

For compensation, you need to ask for an increase. Here are the criteria: (from VA website)

Criterion A: stressor

The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, as follows: (one required)

  1. Direct exposure.
  2. Witnessing, in person. (Note. I read court cases where this is unnecessary anymore. As an example, If someone calls you and says, "Jones was killed today with an IED in the tank you usually drive. He was on fire for five minutes before he died." then THIS can cause you extreme stress even though you were not there when it happened. Under no circumstances should you lie to VA and tell them you were there if you were not.)
  3. Indirectly, by learning that a close relative or close friend was exposed to trauma. If the event involved actual or threatened death, it must have been violent or accidental.
  4. Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to aversive details of the event(s), usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, collecting body parts; professionals repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). This does not include indirect non-professional exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures.

Criterion B: intrusion symptoms

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following way(s): (one required)

  1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories. Note: Children older than six may express this symptom in repetitive play.
  2. Traumatic nightmares. Note: Children may have frightening dreams without content related to the trauma(s).
  3. Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) which may occur on a continuum from brief episodes to complete loss of consciousness. Note: Children may reenact the event in play.
  4. Intense or prolonged distress after exposure to traumatic reminders.
  5. Marked physiologic reactivity after exposure to trauma-related stimuli.

Criterion C: avoidance

Persistent effortful avoidance of distressing trauma-related stimuli after the event: (one required)

  1. Trauma-related thoughts or feelings.
  2. Trauma-related external reminders (e.g., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, or situations).

Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood

Negative alterations in cognitions and mood that began or worsened after the traumatic event: (two required)

  1. Inability to recall key features of the traumatic event (usually dissociative amnesia; not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
  2. Persistent (and often distorted) negative beliefs and expectations about oneself or the world (e.g., "I am bad," "The world is completely dangerous").
  3. Persistent distorted blame of self or others for causing the traumatic event or for resulting consequences.
  4. Persistent negative trauma-related emotions (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
  5. Markedly diminished interest in (pre-traumatic) significant activities.
  6. Feeling alienated from others (e.g., detachment or estrangement).
  7. Constricted affect: persistent inability to experience positive emotions.

Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity

Trauma-related alterations in arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the traumatic event:(two required)

  1. Irritable or aggressive behavior
  2. Self-destructive or reckless behavior
  3. Hypervigilance
  4. Exaggerated startle response
  5. Problems in concentration
  6. Sleep disturbance

Criterion F: duration

Persistence of symptoms (in Criteria B, C, D, and E) for more than one month.

Criterion G: functional significance

Significant symptom-related distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).

Criterion H: exclusion

Disturbance is not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

Specify if: With dissociative symptoms.

In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:

  1. Depersonalization: experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if "this is not happening to me" or one were in a dream).
  2. Derealization: experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., "things are not real").

Specify if: With delayed expression.

Full diagnosis is not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013)Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
end of VA website quote.

To get compensated for PTSD, you should tell the doc your symptoms. Write them down if you have to, reminding you that "not remembering" is one symptom of PTSD. There are some things you need to try to "not remember" or not relive over and over. Look over this list..and IF you have any of these symptoms, tell your doc next time. You can also tell him you didnt tell the last doc as you were afraid of what the doc or va would do to you. This is paranoia, like when Vets wont trust their doc, and think they are out to get them. While this could be rarely true, 99.9percent of the time, your VA doc is not "out to get you" and he has no intention of finding out where you live and threaten your family because you told him you watched your buddy burn to death in horror while you "blame yourself" for not being in that Stryker tank instead of him, beause you went to lunch instead.

Edited by broncovet
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  • Elder

Great Informative post bronco!


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You were denied in 98 probably on a direct service connection basis. When you refiled you probably got a GW Gen Med Exam and was granted related to GW. The PTSD its hard to say w/o seeing the RD or why you were denied in the first place, do you have any combat medals? 0% SC, no request an increase or take a private DBQ PTSD Review else where and do your increase exam that way.

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