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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    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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In need of guidance


Hello to those reading this,

I am currently an Active service member (E-5) in the USAF with 10 years of service. I am in need of advice and guidance on my situation. Here is a background history of events that have led me to the beginning stages of an MEB. On 29 Oct 15, I was kicked in the back of the head during a sporting event. I had been seen by my medical provider for what was documented as post concussive syndrome (concussion). I was put on quarters for the week. During this week I had symptoms of dizziness, nausea, light sensitivity and memory issues. Two months go by and I go through a downward spiral of mental state, suicidal ideations, severe anxiety, severe migraines, major depressions, memory issues and  muscle spasms. On 10 Jan 16, I was hospitalized for all the things mentioned. A CT, MRI, Spinal test, EEG and neurological test are conducted. Neg on all tests but EEG noted TBI with decreased brain activity on the left lobe. Once the test results were verified, I was then started on an anti-psychotic called Risperdal and a anxiety med called Cymbalta . I had an immediate reaction to the medication. I was then informed that my diagnosis was Schizophrenia Paranoid Type with major mood disorder. Further testing would occur where my family history is screened and earliest occurrence of symptoms were established after BMT. I was than told about the possibility of a medical retirement and the whole ordeal of an MEB. I just recently received my NARSUM which stated everything I stated and other things like " Service member continues to have brief periods of paranoia and has continued auditory hallucinations which are improved with treatment but persist nonetheless" "Severe social and industrial impairment" "Recommend subsequent medical retirement". I have searched and read many posts about Schizophrenia and things related to SC and VA disability/process. My questions are the following: 1) Does anybody of experience with EDES process 2) Is there anything else I should prepare myself for with the start of this MEB/process? I believe I have service connection correct? 3) When I have a C/P exam can they diagnose something differently? Can the military diagnoses and C/P exam diagnoses differ from each other? 4) What should I know about social security programs and When can I possibly file for things like SSD? I will most likely have more questions down the road, so any tips/guidance would be appreciated.

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Another important fact to know, but often doesn't get mentioned is this.  If you receive separation with severance pay please know that when you get out and go to VA to file your claim.  Whatever your

While I certainly cannot answer all of your questions and concerns, the following would seem to apply and would be a starting point for a detailed conversation (thread): I think you have a great

Do you feel confident in their diagnosis?  Is there a chance your symptoms could be related to PTSD?  I only ask because of some of symptoms you have listed.  Though they are run differently, both the

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While I certainly cannot answer all of your questions and concerns, the following would seem to apply and would be a starting point for a detailed conversation (thread):

I think you have a great set of documentation regarding your in-service illness, provided you make sure you obtain a copy of all your medical records before the service lets you go.  These documents will prove "SC" more than likely.

Once "SC" is determined, there are two questions that are foremost in the VA's process.

1)  Just how disabled is the claimant?  The C&P examiner will fill out a questionnaire and those questions and the answers provided will correspond directly to the rating schedule.  This will form the basis of your "Percentage Disabled".  There is an entire volume of VA law devoted to this subject.  I hope other Hadit members will identify this manual and discuss the finer points of it's implementation, in this thread.

2)  What is the date of the claim?  This date will determine "when" you became disabled for compensation reasons, and may or may not be the same as the actual onset date or your disability.  Once again there are regulations regarding the determination of this date.

For our purposes here, you want the highest disability percentage and the earliest claim date.

Now, while the VA and SSA (SSDI) have similar rules regarding disability, they are NOT the same.

VA will provide compensation ONLY for service-connected injuries or illnesses, and then they will pay you a percentage based on how much those injuries or illnesses make you unable to work.  (See#1 above).  If you are 50% disabled, and so is another vet, most likely you will both get the same amount of compensation. ($)

SSDI does not require a service-connection, but will only pay you based on the fact that you are 100% unable to work and will pay you an amount based on your SSA contributions.  The crazy thing about SSDI is that if "they" determine you are able to do job A, then you are not disabled, because you can apply for job A, (even if you don't like it).

Some of your VA paperwork will satisfy "some" of the SSDI requirements.  SSDI paperwork only assist your case after you have proven service-connection.  (as in, it may help you show the C&P doctor that you deserve a higher percentage.





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Do you feel confident in their diagnosis?  Is there a chance your symptoms could be related to PTSD?  I only ask because of some of symptoms you have listed.  Though they are run differently, both the VA and an MEB must rate off the same federal regulations.  I would read through them, see what applies to you and what to expect as far as a rating percentage is concerned.  In order to be retired, medically, you need to be at least 30% disabled, but there is a slight catch vs your VA ratings which will come after.  The catch is that they will only rate you on items that they deem makes you unfit for duty.  If you already have a waiver in place or if they say that any issues you have do not exclude you from continued service, they will not be assessed and will be deferred to the VA, post separation.

  There is a big difference between a medical retirement and separation with severance pay.  Keep that in mind and read the federal regulations to make sure that you do want to get out now, because there will likely be no turning back.  If you want to stay in for a while longer, while the dust settles, there are ways to do that, too.  I dodged two MEBs during my career, once at about 12 years and another at 17 or 18.  It can be done, so your first step is to decide what you want/can do.

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Another important fact to know, but often doesn't get mentioned is this.  If you receive separation with severance pay please know that when you get out and go to VA to file your claim.  Whatever your rating is, the VA will first take back the total amount of your severance pay minus the taxes.  I make this point to let you know that should you receive a severance pay, do not spend it all at one time.  You will not receive a dime of your disability claim award until they have collected all that money.  They will hold your disability claim rating funds to pay back the money that you were given for severance pay.  That's just some good information for you to have.  I've seen many veterans run into this problem and the become very disappointed because it could take years for the VA to collect all that money back.


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You may need "Independent Medical Opinion(s)" or IMOs.  These are also called "nexus statements".  A Specialist should opine (have an opinion that ...) your disability was caused or aggravated by service to a certain degree. 

That degree is stated somewhat elegantly by using the words "more likely than not" or some similar verbage. 

Please read more here at Hadit.com about "Nexus Statements".

My  point being that while I agree with GoDeLocs, above, these IMOs can sometimes be expensive to obtain ($?), and the funds from your separation allowance could be useful in this area.


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