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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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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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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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Navigator

I Would Like Your Opinion On My Current Va Disability Claim

Question

I will try to be as quick as possible, I served on active duty onboard ship from 1986-1989. I injured my lower back on a work detail in early 1987. The docs really didn't do too much for me except give me some tylenol or aspirin as they had the attitude that I was bothering them. They did log the incident in my file however. I have been going to the VA for treatment and after a recent MRI, it shows that I have DDD, a bulging / torn disk and facet joint issues. I suffer a great deal of pain and have sciatica that runs down to my left ankle about 90-95% of the time on rare occasions, it travels down to my right ankle as well. Once my pain level goes above a 5 I am usually on a walker and once it gets up to about an 8 I am in a wheel chair.

In addition to this, I was recalled to active service for GW1 I got to breath the black snow like the rest of you that were there and also got several shots while enroute to the sandbox that I have no idea what they were. The only one that I knew for sure was, that they gave me my third ever small pox vaccine. About a month after returning home, I noticed that I just didn't feel like myself, like my batteries were only charging up to 99% or like if I had 1% of my soul taken away from me. I started immeadiately with accute stomach pains and diarrhea. I then started noticing every year that my internal battery so to speak was taking less and less of a charge and that I was starting to experience more and more intense joint and muscular pain as well as the back pain and sciatica. In addition to this I started breaking out with skin rashes and bumps.

I am the kind of guy who never goes to the doctor unless I was dying and even then I would wait till my stomach pains were so bad I would just go to the ER for treatment. From 1991 to 2014 I probably went to the ER at least a dozen times because of the stomach pains and they would just give me pains meds and send me home. I can't begin to tell you how many nights that I have spent curled up in the fetal position on my shower floor with hot water running over me for relief. I developed a large cancer tumor on my left hand in mid 2013 and due to not working anymore because of my physical condition, I had to go to the VA for treatment. I filed for VA disability in June 2013 and I also signed up for the Gulf War Registry at the same time.

My claim was denied in May 2014 because they could not locate my medical records. A week or so after receiving the denial my elderly mother fell and broke her neck in two places. I became her primary care giver and at this time I had already had my tumor removed from my hand and My VA doctor had finally ordered me to have a sonogram on my gall bladder. Finally in late December 2014 I had my gall bladder removed with two 3cm black stones inside of it, one blocking my bile duct. The surgeon told me they had been there a long while. I located my medical records in storage and turned them over to my VSO this mid May and asked the VA to reopen my claim. I am claiming lower back pain, hearing loss, tinnitus, joint/muscle pain, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel.

Since reopening my claim, I have already went to a C&P for my lower back and for my digestion / stomach issues. During the stomach issue questioning from the C&P Dr., she asked me if the VA had done any testing as far as this was concerned and I told her no, I just told her all of the issues I was having currently, that my gall bladder had been removed and that I was no longer experiencing accute stomach pain but still had diarrhea for the last 24yrs as well as gas and indigestion issues. I gave her copies of my MRI report of my back and since I was in quite a bit of pain that day, she did not ask me to do much bending or movement.

A few days later I went to my C&P for my hearing loss / tinnitus. The Dr. told me I had substantial high frequency hearing loss and that I needed hearing aids for each ear.

I went on the benefits site and it showed that the claim was in the gathering of evidence phase and that they were not asking for any paperwork from me, but they were requesting paperwork from someone other than myself and that they had a dedline of 6/28 to get it in. I rechecked the site on 6/29 and it showed that the 1st item had been accepted and number 2-5 were showing no longer required and it had been moved up to preparation for decision status.

I find this weird, because while I have complained about these issues and am suffering depression and anxiety from these issues, my VA doctor hasn't diagnosed me with anything for the chronic fatigue, muscle/joint pains or stomach issues or skin issues for that matter. We just haven't time to work through them yet. When I came in for treatment in June 2013 they diagnosed me with type two diabetes and the cancer and began treating that. Then they started my gall bladder issues and just recently began focusing on my back issues. I also recently had an eye infection treated. So I was really figuring that they would want me to have a C&P for these issues that the VA Doctor has not had time to get to yet.

As of yet, I still haven't been called in for my GW1 screening yet eventhough I turned my paperwork in in June 2013. My wife had went into the Va reps office with me in February of this year and she still had my paperwork in her desk drawer. She told me that they did not have anyone available to do the screenings. I talked to her a month ago a she said that they had just started doing burn pit veterans at this time so hopefully I will be called in soon.

Sorry to be so long winded and scattered brained but I would appreciate your opinions on the matter. Thanks

Edited by Navigator

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Did you get treatment for all these issues after service on a continual basis or were there large treatment gaps? This may be a problem for you with the back thing. If you had filed within one year of discharge I bet you would have gotten SC for the back. The Gulf War syndrome issues are so strange for most Gulf War vets I think you need expert help. So many Gulf War vets have health issues they should just make it presumptive for any of the symptoms that are well known, but they will wait until 90% of you guys are dead.

John

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Hi john999!

No, I did not seek treatment from the VA or from outside sources except for the accute stomach pain that I believe ended up being my gall bladder which has now been removed and from which I have been relieved from all of the intense accute pain. As far as all of my other issues, I found myself in the beginning not bothered enough by the symptoms to bother with seeking treatment, I had finished college, was making really great money with awesome benefits and basically rode that situation to where the wheels fell off and my body couldn't take anymore. For what it is worth, I have been complaining to my VA Dr's since 2013 and it really seems they are not interested with dealing with GW1 issues or that they are simply not prepaired to do so. I don't nessescarilly blame the VA Dr's, I have questioned all of my outside Dr's, surgeons and orthopedics as well and it seems like none of them have a clue to the issues that I am dealing with and want to relate it to some other condition. That is the problem, I think, is that the symptoms mimic a ton of other conditions and I think that the Dr's egos prevent them from making an diagnosis because they are afraid of looking bad if a wrong diagnosis is given. Luckily for me, they have finally put me into pain management and now I am receiving pain medication for my back which also alleviates the pain from my muscle / joint issues so at least I am not suffering like I have been over the past ten years.

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
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