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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 when it comes to filing Veterans Affairs Disability Claims. Chris Attig - Veterans Law Blog










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dagoatmarine

NEW C&P EXAM (need input)

Question

Just had my C&P last week.  And, I've been trying to figure out if I will get the compensation benefits and at what percentage?..I was hoping some of my service family could help me with..Appreciate any input you guys or girls can give me.  Thanks!!

Initial Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
                        Disability Benefits Questionnaire
                         * Internal VA or DoD Use Only *

    Name of patient/Veteran:  Taylor, David G.  0507
    
                                   SECTION I:
                                   ----------
    1. Diagnostic Summary
    ---------------------
    Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria
    based on today's evaluation?
    [X] Yes   [ ] No
    
       ICD code:  309.89
       
    2. Current Diagnoses
    --------------------
    a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Other Trauma- and Stressor- Related 
Disorder
           ICD code: F43.8
           Comments, if any:
              This is the DSM-5 diagnosis which applies when symptoms
              characteristic of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder cause
              clinically significant distress or impairment, but do not meet the
              full criteria for any other specific disorders within this
              category. In Mr. Taylor's case, criteria are met for categories A.
              (stressor), B. (intrusive symptoms), and C. (avoidance symptoms),
              but not catagories D. (Negative alterations in cognition and mood)
              and E. (Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity).
              

       Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Unspecified Depressive Disorder
           ICD code: F32.9

    b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the
       Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI):
       No response provided.
       
    3. Differentiation of symptoms
    ------------------------------
    a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed?
       [X] Yes   [ ] No
       
    b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to
       each diagnosis?
       [X] Yes   [ ] No   [ ] Not applicable (N/A)
       
           If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and
           discuss whether there is any clinical association between these
           diagnoses:
              Mr. Taylor's Other Specified Trauma- and Stressor- Related 
Disorder
              includes situational symptoms which are activated by situations
              like thunderstorms. These symptoms are reported to include
              intrusive thoughts/fears/memories and accompanying states of
              anxiety. Mr. Taylor makes efforts to avoid encountering triggering
              stimuli.  

              The Unspecified Depressive Disorder includes symptoms of sad and
              depressed moods, decreased energy and motivation, interpersonal
              withdrawal, feelings of hopelessness, and anxious distress.
              
    c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
       [ ] Yes   [X] No   [ ] Not shown in records reviewed
       
    4. Occupational and social impairment
    -------------------------------------
    a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of 
occupational
       and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only
       one)
       [X] Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work
           efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform
           occupational tasks, although generally functioning satisfactorily,
           with normal routine behavior, self-care and conversation

    b. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is it
       possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social
       impairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder?
       [X] Yes   [ ] No   [ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed
       
           If yes, list which portion of the indicated level of occupational and
           social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis:
              The symptoms related to Mr. Taylor's Other Specified Trauma- and
              Stressor- Related Disorder are situationally circumscribed and 
seem
              to be mild or transient in nature. Symptoms of the Unspecified
              Depressive Disorder are more pervasive, resulting in occasionally
              diminished social and occupational functioning.
              
    c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what 
portion
       of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by 
the
       TBI?
       [ ] Yes   [ ] No   [X] No diagnosis of TBI
       
                                   SECTION II:
                                   -----------
                               Clinical Findings:
                               ------------------
    1. Evidence review
    ------------------
    In order to provide an accurate medical opinion, the Veteran's claims folder
    must be reviewed.
    
    a. Medical record review:
    -------------------------
    Was the Veteran's VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) reviewed?
    [X] Yes   [ ] No
    
    Was the Veteran's VA claims file (hard copy paper C-file) reviewed?
    [ ] Yes   [X] No
    
      If yes, list any records that were reviewed but were not included in the
      Veteran's VA claims file:
        
      If no, check all records reviewed:
      
        [X] Military service treatment records
        [X] Military service personnel records
        [ ] Military enlistment examination
        [ ] Military separation examination
        [ ] Military post-deployment questionnaire
        [X] Department of Defense Form 214 Separation Documents
        [X] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatment 
records)
        [ ] Civilian medical records
        [ ] Interviews with collateral witnesses (family and others who have
            known the Veteran before and after military service)
        [ ] No records were reviewed
        [ ] Other:
              
    b. Was pertinent information from collateral sources reviewed?
    [ ] Yes   [X] No
    
        
    2. History
    ----------
    a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history (pre-military, military, and
       post-military):
          Mr. Taylor was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Family consisted of his
          mother and a brother five years older. Mr. Taylor's father was not
          involved in his upbringing. Growing up, "We weren't rich... single
          mom... towards (my) teenaged years she got addicted to some things...
          got pretty bad... brother was older, so I was kind of there by myself 
a
          lot." 

          "I had a godfather that kind of watched me when my mom was working...
          He was there, which is more than what I could say about my dad..."  

          Father had 15 children- "You can see why he wasn't around... came
          around to high school graduation... boot camp graduation... I forgave
          him... just the type of person he is... I have all these other
          siblings... call me when they need some money... Only time I talk to
          them is when I go visit... got a little sister who will call me once 
in
          a blue moon..."

          Relationship with his brother- "We're working on it... He was a little
          abusive... beating me up... one time I had to come at him with a
          knife... I was always doing the chores... wasn't really the best
          brother to have... Think he was probably a littl
e jealous... He always
          had problems in school... I was kind of the smart one... He apologized
          to me... We're working on it..." 

          First marriage- 1995-1997. From that relationship, "I had a daughter
          and a son (both are currently in Buffalo), same mom..."

          "My daughter, she's 20... pregnant now... with a man that's older than
          I am... I think it's because I wasn't there... looking for a father
          figure (Mr. Taylor is visibly, audibly sad, no longer making eye
          contact)... My daughter, that's awreck... She's staying over there 
with
          the guy... He's trying to control her... I talked to her about stuff,
          but kind of late, like 16, 17... Her mom and her got into it and her
          mom said she had to go... but too young to go... I just want to be
          there for her when she needs someone... If I was there, it could have
          been a little different..."

          "My son, I'm still working on him... I think he's a little mad...
          thinks I abandoned him... wasn't my choice... couldn't financially 
help
          him... I flew him down a couple summers ago... apologized to him for
          not being there... told him my thoughts... I got to be honest with
          myself, I could have done more for him..." 

          "I was married (second) for about seven, eight years... two kids in
          that marriage... I was unfaithful, but she kind of forgave me... but I
          think that was more a way to get out.. I don't think I was really.. I
          get in so many situations I'm not comfortable... I'm not maybe the
          marriage type... getting married for no reason... I just left..."

          Current marriage of three years- "Terrible... I don't know if it's
          me... reason I'm here is maybe 50%... I think I moved too fast once
          again... When I left my first marriage, I was supposed to work on
          myself... I think it was more just having somebody there... She's kind
          of verbally abusive, and I think I allow it because... I can take a
          lot..." 

          "I don't want to be a third time loser... but I think I need to be by
          myself... same thing over and over..."

          "She (current wife) thinks I'm just around now because it's
          comfortable... If I could afford to move, I'd have been gone... That's
          true... I bit off more than I could chew.... worst thing that could
          have happened to me... wrong relationship for me... I need to go, but 
I
          don't know how..."

          "My second kids... When they come over my house... feeling guilty
          because I left them... If I was there, they'd be living a little bit
          better... a little bit of order... I try to make sure when they come
          and see me that everything is good... got clothes... do things with
          them..." His current wife gets mad because they don't have more
          responsibilities when they visit.

          Friends- "I have friends... wife kind of chased them off... Now I'm
          embarrassed to even go... They know... certain changes... She throws
          temper tantrums... doesn't really have no respect for nobody..."
          
    b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history (pre-military, military, 
and
       post-military):
          School- "Very well... honor roll... played basketball."

          Pre-service work at McDonald's.

          Marine Corps- 1995-1999- Administrative Clerk- No deployments.
          Honorable discharge.

          "The reason why I got in... I had a daughter on the way when I was in
          high school... early entry program... didn't work out so well... She
          (wife) broke up... She was gonna go to school and come back... didn't
          hear from her for a while... back with her old boyfriend... caused my
          issues in the service... I told my commanding officer I needed to go
          home... try to save my marriage... I came back and they shipped me to
          another office... Headquarters Battalion... They were more focused on
          the job than some young guy focused on trying to save his marriage..."
           
          After the Marines, "A lot of call-center the first couple years... 
kind
          of moved down here because there wasn't a lot of good jobs where I'm
          from... I got laid off about a year ago... help desk... Carolinas'
          Associated General Contractors... about seven or eight years..."

          Currently, "I'm working at Lending Tree in Ballantyne now... going
          good... I'm always able to separate (work life)... from my personal
          life..."
          
    c. Relevant Mental Health history, to include prescribed medications and
       family mental health (pre-military, military, and post-military):
          Mr. Taylor says he took anger management classes during the service,
          following an altercation with his wife.

          No indication of any other mental health problems observed in STR, nor
          in military separation exam- June 8, 1999.

          Denies any mental health services before or after the military.
          
    d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history (pre-military, military, and
       post-military):
          During the service, "I got some anger management classes... Me and my
          ex-wife had got into it.. she kind of hit me first.. reactionary
          thing... I hit her back... I did get arrested for that think with my
          first wife... got restrictions for a week or two... money taken
          away..." 

          Other disciplinary action, "Here and there... I'm not good at
          relationships I don't think... kind of got in trouble sleeping around
          with a... married woman... some other rules things... over-sleeping
          because I was drunk maybe a couple times..." Thinks he had two or 
three
          Article 15s.

          "I did get caught shop-lifting... When I was young... didn't have 
money
          to buy things... (in the service) video game card... got like 30  days
          restriction... like $400 in pay... maybe why I never got promoted
          beyond E-3... Most of the things happened during the first two 
years...
          kind of settled down after that."
          
    e. Relevant Substance abuse history (pre-military, military, and
       post-military):
          Alcohol- "Usually I'm just a social drinker... lately... kind of
          depressed... things ain't working out like they should have... 
expected
          more of myself... I might make two or three (drinks), maybe three, 
four
          times a week..." Sometimes more.

          No history of alcohol treatment.

          No history of illicit substances.
          
    f. Other, if any:
          Sleep- "I guess it depends... lately either I can sleep good, real
          deep... or I have... since I applied for this... sleep more off and on
          because I'm thinking about it... some periods I might have like
          restless leg syndrome... wife tells me... in and out of it..."

          "I try to work out now... try to help me sleep a little better... This
          bad relationship I'm in though, don't help me with my sleep..." Mr.
          Taylor says he gets "a good five" hours of sleep, "Then I toss and
          turn... had a surgery on my thumb... bulging disc in my neck... muscle
          relaxers... help me go to sleep..."

          Depression- "I've been depressed for a while... kind of live with 
it...
          I do have thoughts of maybe, you know..." Denies suicidal intent or
          plan. Wouldn't act on it because of his children. 

          "I think I'm just hard on myself... The women, I don't really have


          emotional attachment with... my kids, I love my kids... feel like 
I've
          failed them... guilt... probably don't do what I need to do to handle
          it right..." Talks about his son acting out, being disrespectful to 
his
          mother, with Mr. Taylor feeling guilty/responsible for it. "If I was
          there, I know that wouldn't be going on."
           
          "My confidence in myself... kind of mumbling... I lost it somehow...
          It's embarrassing... Everything pretty much... I think my mom had more
          hope for me... kind of let myself and my kids down... especially my
          older kids..."

          Anger, "I can keep it in check, cause if I don't keep it in check, I
          don't know where it will go... That's the reason I don't discipline my
          kids... one time I did it... ended up (going too hard)... that's why I
          don't..."

          Anxiety, "I think I'm... I can tell by how my nails look, how I'm 
doing
          lately... I swear it has something to do with losing my hair... I kind
          of go in kind of a shell too... There's kind of a compulsive thing I
          do... I always got a remote in my hand... constantly going back and
          forth (does some numerical patterns with buttons/symmetry).

          "If it's raining... lightning... If I see that (memory of reported
          stressor)... even in the car... Even though when the lightning struck,
          we weren't near a tree... lightning hit the ground... I always had a
          wariness of... lightning... staying where I'm at, or make sure if I'm
          getting anywhere, I don't see no puddles of water... or passing by
          trees or metal... I know it happens... I was right there... I'm 
staying
          there until it at least slows down..."

          "Ever since I started coming here, I keep replaying it in my mind...
          wonder if it has anything to do with what's going on..."
          
    3. Stressors
    ------------
    Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers
    traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military):
    
    a. Stressor #1: "What they said and what happened are two different 
things...
          storms... rifle range... lightning hit the surrounding tree line... 
I'm
          like... 'That's real close... don't know why we were still there.'...
          As we were leaving... two formations... guys (other group) right 
behind
          me... I was in the back of mine... Drill sergeant was like, 'Cover 
your
          rifles with your ponchos.'... We were doing that... All the sudden...
          blue light... no sound... feel this heat on the back of my neck...
          several of us got down... As I turn around... see several guys down on
          the ground... Drill instructor is running up... eyes out of his 
head...
          'Everybody get up to the... shelter!'... This one guy... just down...
          all this happened in probably no more than ten seconds... That heat...
          and you could smell it, like electrical burn... 'til I hear the boom,
          then I recognized what it was... My ears was ringing... One of the
          guys... He had died... hit him first, and came out and hit the people
          closest to him... We was in boot camp... didn't tell us anything... We
          went to his funeral... after that, we didn't do but ten or fifteen
          percent of the stuff... because it was raining a lot... lightning... 
We
          didn't do it after that... He could have been alive if we'd have left
          ten minutes earlier..."
          
          Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support
          the diagnosis of PTSD)?
          [X] Yes  [ ] No
          
          Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or
          terrorist activity?
          [ ] Yes  [X] No
          
              If no, explain:
                Mr. Taylor was witness to another man being killed by a 
lightning
                strike during training.
                
          Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual
          trauma?
          [ ] Yes  [X] No
          
    4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria
    ---------------------------
    Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. Do
    NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criteria A
    stressor/PTSD.  Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other
    things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms.  The diagnostic criteria
    for PTSD, referred to as Criteria A-H, are from the Diagnostic and
    Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).
    
       Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious 
injury,
                    c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways:
          [X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to
              others

       Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion 
symptoms
                    associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the
                    traumatic event(s) occurred:
          [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the
              traumatic event(s).
          [X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that
              symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).

       Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the 
traumatic
                    event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred,
                    as evidenced by one or both of the following:
          [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, 
or
              feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
          [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people,
              places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that 
arouse
              distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely
              associated with the traumatic event(s).

       Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with
                    the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the
                    traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) 
of
                    the following:
          No response provided.
          
       Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with
                    the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the
                    traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) 
of
                    the following:
          No response provided.
          
       Criterion F:
          [X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is more than
              1 month.
              
       Criterion G:
          [X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or
              impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of
              functioning.
              
       Criterion H:
          [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects 
of
              a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical
              condition.
              
       Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD
                    diagnosis?:
          [X] Stressor #1

    5. Symptoms
    -----------
    For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the
    Veteran's diagnoses:
    
       [X] Depressed mood
       [X] Anxiety
       [X] Chronic sleep impairment

    6. Behavioral Observations
    --------------------------


    Mr. Taylor arrived about 15 minutes early for his appointment. He was 
neatly
    and casually dressed. No abnormalities of gate or posture were noted. He was
    cooperative with the interview process and made good eye contact. Mr. Taylor
    was fully oriented. Speech was clear and coherent, quiet at times. Mood was
    somewhat depressed. Affective expression was mild, congruent, sad at times.
    Thought process was logical and goal-directed. Thought content was relevant
    and with adequate detail. Gross concentration and memory were adequate.
    Insight and judgment are in tact. There was no evidence of perceptual
    disturbance. There was no evidence of thought disorder or hallucinations. 
Mr.
    Taylor relates that he has thought about suicide, but denies any intent or
    plan. Homicidal ideation is denied.

    7. Other symptoms
    -----------------
    Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other
    mental disorders) that are not listed above?
       [ ] Yes   [X] No
       
    8. Competency
    -------------
    Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs?
       [X] Yes   [ ] No
       
    9. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any
    --------------------------------------------------
       Prior to beginning the interview, the undersigned examiner informed the
       veteran of the purpose of the evaluation, the role of the undersigned
       examiner, and the limits of confidentiality.  The veteran indicated
       understanding of the aforementioned information. 
       Per VA Memorandum titled Information Bulletin: Implementation Guidance 
for
       the Fifth Edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 
Disorders
       (DSM-5) use in Compensation and Pension Examinations, dated December 16,
       2013, this examination was conducted using DSM-5 criteria. Of note, the
       DSM-5 no longer requires computation of a GAF score.

       Per 2507:
       "Please indicate in exam report the stressor(s) claimed by the veteran
       upon which a diagnosis of PTSD is based. **If a diagnosis other than PTSD
       is rendered, please state if that psychiatric condition is at least as
       likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) linked to the conceded
       stressor."

       Examiner's Response:

       Mr. Taylor does not meet DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD. However,
       he does currently meet criteria for Other Specified Trauma- and Stressor-
       Related Disorder. This includes situational symptoms including intrusive
       thoughts/fears/memories of the stressor event, with accompanying states 
of
       anxiety,  which are triggered by situations like thunderstorms. Mr. 
Taylor
       makes efforts to avoid encountering triggering events.

       The Unspecified Depressive Disorder includes symptoms of sad and 
depressed
       moods, decreased energy and motivation, interpersonal withdrawal, 
feelings
       of hopelessness, and anxious distress.
        
       The symptoms related to Mr. Taylor's Other Specified Trauma- and 
Stressor-
       Related Disorder are situationally circumscribed and seem to be mild or
       transient in nature. Symptoms of the Unspecified Depressive Disorder are
       more pervasive, resulting in occasionally diminished social and
       occupational functioning. 

       It is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) that
       Mr. Taylor's currently diagnosed Other Specified Trauma- and Stressor-
       Related Disorder is due to his having been witness to the lightning 
strike
       killing a fellow Marine during training. The reported stressor is
       sufficient for the potential development of a trauma- or stressor-related
       disorder. The symptoms of intrusive thoughts/fears/memories of the
       stressor, accompanying states of anxiety, and efforts to avoid triggers 
to
       memory of the stressor are meaningfully related to the stressor itself.

       It is less likely as not (less than 50 percent probability) that Mr.
       Taylor's currently diagnosed Unspecified Depressive Disorder is due to 
the
       lightning strike killing a fellow Marine during training. Mr. Taylor's
       problems with depression seem more likely due to historical and current
       difficulties with significant other relationships, difficulties and 
regret
       in his relationships with his children, and perhaps aspects of adverse
       circumstances during childhood.
       

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Don't think you'll get a PTSD rating based on the above C & P PTSD DBQ. You may get another MH SC at a fairly low SC, possibly a 30%.

Your C & P examiner indicates a DX of PTSD in the very beginning of your exam but then contradicts that DX at the very end, when he states that you do not meet the PTSD criteria of the DSM V.

You should have a VA Decision shortly, seems pretty straight forward for the Rater. That and the VA is pushing the completion of New Claims Decisions.

Semper Fi

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I agree too that there are conflicting diagnoses.

Do you have proof of the Marine's death due to the lightening strike?

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Yes, I submitted proof of the incident.   Yes, thats why I needed some more insight. One place saids I do meet the PTSD diagnoses then near the bottom it saids I don't.

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Why would a PTSD Examiner say  (yes) to a PTSD dx  and later say no to the PTSD dx? from the beginning of the exam?

Its like he agreed with the 1st PTSD dx  (who ever diagnose it?) and then later  said no PTSD dx

I'd request another C&P with a Different Examiner  and ask he/she be qualified to do the exam.

quote inadequate exam

seems everything was going ok until this veteran mention his marital problems and then his stressor about the lighting and 

 memory of the stressor are meaningfully related to the stressor itself.

       It is less likely as not (less than 50 percent probability) that Mr.
       Taylor's currently diagnosed Unspecified Depressive Disorder is due to 
the
       lightning strike killing a fellow Marine during training. Mr. Taylor's
       problems with depression seem more likely due to historical and current
       difficulties with significant other relationships, difficulties and 
regret
       in his relationships with his children, and perhaps aspects of adverse
       circumstances during childhood.

Don't sound like a  good exam to me...the way the examiner change his/her mind.

 

jmo

 

................Buck

 

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I agree with the guys above, looks like another condition will be SC at 0-30%. Glad to see you made it thru the exam though. Keep us posted and good luck.   God Bless

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