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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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ATCJen

My MST Journey/Battle with the VA

Question

I promised myself that I would talk about my experience navigating through the VA bureaucracy because it has been such a long, arduous, insulting, and ridiculous ride so far....and I haven't even had my C&P yet! I know that I am a regular person and that my experience with the VA (and the department of the Navy) is likely a very typical one. That thought both saddens and enrages me because I know if this happened to me, this and WORSE has happened to so many other people. This morning I uploaded my "package" including all evidence I could obtain (took me the better part of a year to obtain what little evidence I got), a nexus letter from my doctor, a buddy statement, my statement in support of claim for MST, and my information release forms. I feel weird that this is out of my hands yet again, and I only hope that things get better from this point on. Here's a timeline of my events to give you an idea of what I've gone through so far. I'll update this as things progress for me. 

2009-MST incident occurred. I was found by Navy MA's (military police) and it was quite obvious what occurred to me given my condition, where they found me, and complete lack of clothes. I was too afraid to admit what happened for fear of reprimand and ridicule, so when questioned by NCIS and the Sexual Assault Victims Advocate I simply said I didnt know what happened to me. I was treated on base, given emergency contraception, and sent on my way.

2009-all ptsd/mst "markers" present themselves. I was forced into inpatient psych treatment by my CoC, causing me to lose my job (air traffic controllers are bound by flight status and ongoing psych problems/meds are disqualifying). I was dxed with "adjustment disorder" which is basically the most vague psych diagnosis you can get. 

2010- I left the Navy.

2010- Rated 10% for depressive disorder

2011- Began MST Claim, faxed in evidence.

2011-2015 "I know there's a backlog, but holy sh!t, what happened to my claim???"

Early 2015- VA says they closed my claim. I was never notified in any way, shape, or form. They say "oops! Our bad!" My claim is deferred then reopened. None of my evidence was received by them (rolls eyes) and I no longer have the original paperwork (discharge paperwork from medical, ncis paperwork with agent's name, card of the sexual assault victims advocate lady) or fax transmittal sheet i originally submitted due to a flood. 

Mid 2015- I began requesting documentation through FOIA

Mid 2015- I receive responses. No records were kept by base police, NCIS, SA Victims Advocacy, or even Branch Medical. The only thing noted was that I was treated for "alcohol intoxication" with no mention of medications given, provider, or even date of treatment. I receive ONE 2 page treatment record from a counseling intake that briefly mentions the assault (score!). 

Summer 2015- I begin working on getting a Nexus letter from my provider. I was very clear with her that I was seeking her out not only because of how ptsd from mst presents itself in my everyday life, but because I have this burden of proof to meet so the VA can acknowledge this as service connected. 

Summer 2015- I am notified that the VA will "entertain" evidence in this claim, but that the effective date will be 8/31/2015 instead of 11/2011. The VA claims they tried calling me to notify me of my claim being closed back in 2011 but my phone was disconnected and the letters they sent me were returned to sender. Neither of these statements are true. My phone has NEVER been disconnected, and I in fact still have VA letters dated within days of the supposed letters they sent me (those letters pertained to other things appointments,education stuff). To top it off, the lady who called me says she's the one who tried calling me in 2011 personally and that she personally was the one that closed out my claim because she "couldn't find me." I told her I would be happy to provide evidence that my phone was never disconnected and that i was receiving their letters at the contended address at the contended time. She took offense to this and i could tell. They (in turn) audited my VA payments (out of nowhere). I feel like because I openly said that the VA was wrong and could be proven wrong, they took me to collections over $00.39 of overpayment. Yes. 39 cents. No, i can't just pay 39 cents. No they can't just withhold the 39 cents. Its a whole long process and its terrible and its almost more than I can handle at this point. 

Fall 2015- I finally have everything submitted. At this point I'm waiting on a C&P. 

Again, I'm putting this out there in hopes that it will help someone keep fighting the battle. Its hard. It sucks. Its re-victimizing. Its a terrible thing to deal with when you are already fighting daily battles as a result of MST. Its hard to ask for help because its hard to trust anyone, which is why I never sought the help of a VSO. 

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ATCJen,

Welcome to Hadit, first off, I apologize that some monster/s did these things to you.  As a man, that really burns me up!  Worse yet, they are most likey Vets now, themselves.  And as we all know, the gov't barely acknowledges us as it is, we certainly don't need to have fellowship with Vets that have harmed other Servicemembers/Veterans.

You will find the members of Hadit are all on your side, as most of us are Vets, and all have some varying degree of Service Connected Disability(SCDs).  You will find excellent guidance here, as many can and will attest to.

My own VA experience hasn't been so corrupted like yours, or others, more so like room temperature milk(ok to drink if you're dying of thirst). However I have felt the bum's rush of the VA's whole denial style of operations.

Semper Fi.

Andyman

 

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ATCJen,

Welcome to Hadit, first off, I apologize that some monster/s did these things to you.  As a man, that really burns me up!  Worse yet, they are most likey Vets now, themselves.  And as we all know, the gov't barely acknowledges us as it is, we certainly don't need to have fellowship with Vets that have harmed other Servicemembers/Veterans.

You will find the members of Hadit are all on your side, as most of us are Vets, and all have some varying degree of Service Connected Disability(SCDs).  You will find excellent guidance here, as many can and will attest to.

My own VA experience hasn't been so corrupted like yours, or others, more so like room temperature milk(ok to drink if you're dying of thirst). However I have felt the bum's rush of the VA's whole denial style of operations.

Semper Fi.

Andyman

 

Thank you Andyman! 

I'm a long time follower of the forums on here, but I was waiting until I had something of substance to contribute. I have to admit my experience with the VA has not been the best, but I still have hope because I see that some vets are actually taken care of. My dad for example, a Vietnam era Vet, has had a wonderful VA experience. They take care of him amazingly well. It is frustrating to see that I haven't been as lucky. Is it because I'm a female Vet? Is it because I'm an OIF/OEF Vet? Nah. Who knows. It's most likely because there is a lack of continuity within the VA. Often times it seems like the left hand isn't talking to the right. I decided that I have to have a goal in order to help me get through this. For me, "getting through this" means achieving SC status for PTSD/MST....and my end goal is to study to become a VSO so I can help others get through this. In the meantime, I'll glean knowledge from all of you on here. This forum is incredible and I can honestly say that I would not have been able to make it through the ups and downs of this year without it. 

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For advice on what to do about a claim that mysteriously "disappears" in the VA system, like yours,  read here:

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Thanks @broncovet. I read this post earlier today and I'm really intrigued by the OCR (Old Claims Review). Mine certainly qualifies for that. My question is, do I have to contact Allison Hickey in order to get this applied to my claim or will the VA do this on their own seeing that this claim is over 2 years old? I should probably contact Ms. Hickey anyway, right? 

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You almost always have better luck if you are proactive.  This means, yes, I would contact Allison and "ask" (asking nicely is always best, at least at first) Allison if you qualify for the Old Claims Review, given that your claim is began in 2011 (for MST). 

I would consider, first, however, email IRIS with a similar question, and/or send a 21-4138 letter, possibly something like this:

To: Department of VEterans Affairs, VBA, xxx Regional OFFICE. 

Subject:  Ima Veteran, xxx-123-3456  

     (State the facts):

IN xx 2011, I applied for the benefit of MST due to trauma while in the US military.  A review of the medical records show this is documented on xxx date, by Dr. xxx.  This was faxed to the VARO on xx, xx, 2011.  A copy of said fax is enclosed.  (if applicable). 

    So far, after 4 years, I have made little progress and have not had a c and p exam nor have I received a rating decision.  

    AS you know, undersecretary Allison Hickey, in Fast letter xx 2013, has developed procedures for claims over two years old, such as mine.  Please inform me as to the status of these special procedures.

    Thank you

Ima Veteran,

1235 Main Street,

Your town, USA zip code.  

Phone 1 000-00-1235.  

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