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C&p Exam Frustration

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blackwind

Question

Sorry, really long post.

Not sure if this is the right place, but I am 100% service connected vet that has received his benefits for nearly eleven years. I was medically separated and denied disability by the Marines, I thought that was it. What I didn't know at the time is that the VA could assign their own ratings and 5 months later I received my letter that informed me of my compensation from a pre-discharge exam. Years I struggled inside my home fighting a new enemy: my mind. Eventually I learned how stress increases my symptoms and that I need to be in environments I either directly controlled or can deal with on my own terms. It took a decade to learn that, in the process I realized some of the stress I deal with is the direct result of sitting at home and doing nothing. I began to question if life is worth living like this, collecting a check and wasting away. My counselor at the vet center encouraged me to go back to school as a part of my therapy. Told me to deal with the challenges on my own terms and at my own pace. I always wanted to get a degree, and then a thought occurred to me. If i could work on obtaining my degree than perhaps one day I may be able to return to work, to feel useful again. At this juncture I still don't know if I could work, I mean my hallucinations of my dead daughter and her mother will more than likely haunt me for as long as I live and my two previous C&P examiners noted that this condition will likely persist through my life. I accept that, but does it mean I have to do nothing with my life? I believe if I have the possibility to find something I can do despite my obvious barriers shouldn't I at least try? Isn't that the goal of all my therapy? Well so two years ago I went back to school, turns out that as long as I can work with professors who are willing to let me slide on the attendance issues and they let me work ahead I can keep up.

Now the problem: I have a C&P exam coming up a month from now, something that has never occurred before either, for the first time in 12 years of suffering from MDD w/psychotic features I have actually manages to stay on track and work on something. Not without some rough times, as my hallucinations love to point out my failures, and continue to reinforce that I will fail at this just as I have with everything else. Hate is as good as motivator as any to achieve something. Does the ability to go to school equate to being able to manage my array of issues at the workplace? Not really, I have yet to try, school is just merely the first phase of an experiment. As I stated before I need to find an environment I can deal on my own terms, trying to find a suitable job that allows me to replace my disability income may not be even possible. Assuming I could even work for a sustained period of time at any rate. After some reading, it seems that by simply going to school (I used my GI benefits) it seems that by showing some cognitive function can put at risk the lifeline that I have been using for the past decade as I worked on trying to manage my psychological disorder. It took nearly ten years to even start reclaiming my life, encouraged by a system to improve and find some fulfillment in my life, is also the same system that will take it away as I now face the possibility of being homeless, or at the very least financial ruin as even a moderate decrease in my disability translates to over $1000 dollars loss. The previous two C&P exams I showed no improvement, it was a no brainer, I was in intense therapy trying to learn how to cope with this condition, this time however i have managed to do something other than rot in my house. I ask if the goal of therapy and medication is to help improve my condition so at one day I could manage to get off of disability (if possible) or at least obtain some kind of fulfillment in life then why risk punishing anyone who participates in therapy and attempts to manage their condition? It seems the system is designed to fail, their is no incentive to improve and rotting away in a house waiting to die is not an existence I wish to continue. At this point I won't be able to hold down a job for long, even if I could manage get an interview, practically zero work history for ten years and only a partial college education. Even if I did find someone willing to take a chance and I could maintain it there is no way I could find employment that would supplant my current income.

I never asked to be put on disability, I didn't even know I could be. I thought the military denied me (figured they would) and that was that. I figured I would have been dead soon enough, and that was ok by me at the time. I was 20 years old when my family died, medically separated at 22, and while the Marines did make my condition worse, I didn't know that they could be held responsible for it. I accepted an early death, then I got a break, allowed a chance to work on myself while all my needs were taken care of. Now I face losing everything again at 32 because I used benefits I earned, encouraged by the system to use them, and now this C&P exam will come, I won't lie about school, where someone at the VBA who only knows me on a piece of paper will look at his exam, look at my medical records and could claim I show minor improvement or even moderate and possibly rate me lower. The stress of of heading to the exam is unbearable, the thought of losing everything again is unthinkable.

Edited by blackwind
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More knowledgeable hadit members will respond, in the mean time . . .

You may find the answer here: http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/disability/veterans-disability/how-long-do-veterans-disability-benefits-last

Some operative parts of the article are:

"If a veteran has had the same disability rating for five or more years, his or her rating should not be lowered unless a wide and comprehensive examination of all medical records and history concludes that “sustained improvement has been demonstrated."”

and:

"... if the veteran's work is for vocational rehabilitation, education or training, or if the job uses mental demands rather than physical, when the disability is physical, than a reduced rating may not occur."

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Are you earning more than the VA SGI ($12,400) per year? If so, an IU rating reduction would be proposed unless you were working in a "Sheltered Employment." There also has to be evidence that you have maintained this employment income level for the past 12 months uninterrupted. An IU reduction would take you back to your SC rating.

If your 100% Scheduler for mental health issues, periodic C & Ps should be expected up until you reach 55yrs old or the 20 yr Award anniversary. I don't think I've come across any VA or for that matter Private Mental health clinician that doesn't think that a MH condition can improve with treatment. I'm really only familiar with PTSD ratings, a drop from 100% SC would result in a 70% SC rating, no 80 or 90 listed. Big hit.

Semper Fi

Gastone

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Welcome aboard and sorry to hear of your troubles bud. I have had over 30 C&Ps since I was medically retired in Feb 13, that don't get any easier that's for sure. Good luck and God Bless

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Having 100% benefits this long,this is rare that you got called up for a C&P?

if they reduce your rating they have to have an all out investigation of all your medical files , and usually they can't reduce on just one C& P they need two C&P to agree with each other , if the two C&P conflict with one another then they should drop the exams and keep your rating the same

I wonder how they got information your disability has improved? or assumed it has improved!

Usually the only way they ask for a new C&P is that some Improvement has shown in your current disability.

Maybe they think if you can sit in a class room all day you can work?

Some veteran can work and still be 100% if they don't make over so much $$ I think they can work and make up to 12,000 or less

Its just hard to figure out why they want a veteran to go to a C&P after 10 years or more being disable.

They could spend more time working on another veterans claim that needs help.

I suggest to you go to your C&P and be honest during the exam and try not to let it get you down, just do the exam the best of your ability's and let it lay where it may...you could be surprised at the outcome and they find no improvement and this is closed.

Remember they have to prove your disability has improved.

jmo

....Buck

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Oops, don't know how I did this.

Anyway, Blackwind, I will be praying for you!

Semper Fi.

Andy

Edited by Andyman73
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I am not sure but I believe I am not IU my service connected disability is rated at 100%. Since I was so young when I got on disability they schedule regular examinations. I am at my 5 year marker since my last one. They ordered this one at the end of March but this reexamination is taking 3 times longer than the other ones. Somehow I believe they are going through all my records to see if they could reduce me

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