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VietnamVetSis

VIETNAM PTSD CLAIM

Question

I'm new here and am re-posting under this topic as it may be a more appropriate forum.   

First off, let me say this site has been extremely helpful to me in developing my brother's VA claim.  He's a former Marine - served in Vietnam 1969-70 and was WIA by tripping a grenade booby trap - Purple Heart.  He was unemployed for approximately 4 years of the first 8 years he was back.  Then in the 8th year, he attempted suicide, taken away in a straight jacket, hospitalized and diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type.  In the 5 years that followed, he underwent long-term mental health therapy, was incarcerated for hitting a police officer with his truck (charged with intent to maim/kill), received a Felony conviction, put on Probation, and lost his license.   There were many other bizarre behaviors too numerous to list here.   My father filed a VA claim for his "nervous condition" in 1982 - The VA denied it saying "evidence did not establish service connection for PTSD - and disorder not shown by the evidence of record - your nervous condition not shown to have been incurred in service."   With my parents now gone, my husband (retired USA LTC) and I now financially support my brother, who lives below the US Census Poverty level.   His only income is SS retirement.  He's on food stamps.   This prompted me to re-file his claim.  They came back with "disabilities claimed" of PTSD - reopen; Non-service connected Pension - new; Schizophrenia, residual type, competent;  Scars - increase; Compentency - new; and Special Monthly Pension - new.   

My biggest obstacle has been gathering medical evidence for this claim.   I was only able to submit the written diagnosis from his hospital for schizophrenia in 1978 (quite detailed though citing suicide attempt, paranoia, second coming of Christ hallucinations and all that); emergency center invoice from the local County Community Mental Health center in 1982, a physician's report of medical status (schizophrenia-form episode with depressive symptoms) in 1983.  I also submitted relevant documents including the Probation Officer's consult with his mental health therapist agreeing his behavior arose from Vietnam combat experience, a Circuit Court judge probation condition that he undergo a year of mental health treatment, and a DMV suspension letter indicating license would only be reinstated on the condition that he file a psychiatric evaluation annually.    I've reached out to the hospital, the mental health center, even the County Court reporter to get further documentation.   All records have been destroyed in accordance with the state record destruction policy because it's been so long.

The VA has now come back asking for "medical evidence of his permanent inability to obtain/maintain gainful employment".   They didn't ask for a medical exam, they didn't offer a medical exam or Field Examination.  They made no reference to PTSD or Schizophrenia.   (Are they planning to deny it outright or are they perhaps accepting it based on his booby trap trauma??)  There is no other medical documentary evidence to be had!  I am creating a time line of sorts for them - showing his below poverty earnings and unemployment correlating to the times he was hospitalized and undergoing mental health therapy.    DOES HADIT or ANY VET out there have any other suggestions for me as to how to tackle this lack of evidence in my response to the VA?  Please come back to me --- they are asking for my response back within 3 weeks.  Would greatly appreciate any comments.   

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Welcome, WM, to the wonderful world of Hadit.

First and foremost, I applaud you for lifting the (he ain't heavy, he's your brother) load he isn't able to carry.  I can't even begin to know what you are going through. I can imagine, because my twin brother is a 100% disabled Army Vet, and my father currently 60% from Vietnam.

I think you may be better off with an attorney, since your battle closely resembles inter-galatic multi-dimensional warfare.  There are some good ones that are on this site, like Chris Attig, a Vet himself.  Also Matthew Hill of Hill and Ponton, is also on here.

Maybe they or other more knowledgeable Vets will chime in for you.

Semper Fi.

Andyman

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Thank you Andyman73.  I greatly appreciate your kind words and the referrals.  I will most likely wait for the rating decision to come back before hiring an attorney to appeal.  We are not asking for the world, even a 40% rating would alleviate our monthly financial burden, at least for the time being.   I know in my heart my brother certainly deserves some compensation.  Yes, I am my brother's keeper.  Semper Fi to you (two Marine brothers);  Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win (USAF WWII bomber pilot daughter); and Hooah (Army wife).   :biggrin:

VietnamVetSis

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You should be able to get his STR from St Louis (NRPC)archives .there is a form you need to fill out and tell them what you need all his in-service records from Vietnam

 That has the evidence you need to prove his in service stressors,  Where he was what unit he was in with time and dates that placed him in hostile enemy territory, his Purple Heart Medal is great evidence.  also his D-214

VA Mental Health treatment is good, if you /he has a Myhealthvet internet account  you can get the VA -MH notes from that for evidence.

Also private treatment records & a letter from him telling(detail) what happen with the grenade Issue,date ect,,ect,, any other issues that will help like stressful times in fear for his life.

such evidence should be documented and the records can be got from St Louis.

you can call St Louis BUT you do need to send in the form to allow them to check for his records..I will try to find the form  but you can type in National Records Personal Center (St Louis Mo) and they have a web site with the information you need & what to do...if you just have 4 weeks do this..> do it today do it online preferably.

They have the form in PDF Fill it out and then send it besure and request'' ALL'' records that they have on him  especially his vietnam service records.

when you send VA anything by snail mail be sure and get certified return receipts  and keep in safe place, matter fact keep all correspondence from VA. 

JMO

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

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1 hour ago, VietnamVetSis said:

Thank you Andyman73.  I greatly appreciate your kind words and the referrals.  I will most likely wait for the rating decision to come back before hiring an attorney to appeal.  We are not asking for the world, even a 40% rating would alleviate our monthly financial burden, at least for the time being.   I know in my heart my brother certainly deserves some compensation.  Yes, I am my brother's keeper.  Semper Fi to you (two Marine brothers);  Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win (USAF WWII bomber pilot daughter); and Hooah (Army wife).   :biggrin:

VietnamVetSis

VVS,

I was hoping I was right with the WM moniker.  :cool:  I don't believe there is a 40% for PTSD/MH ratings, it goes 10, 30,50,70 and 100%. And just based on what you said, he should fall deep into the 70% range, and if not even break into the 100% with TDIU and perhaps even SMC for housebound or something similar.  Also certainly whatever physical disabilities caused by that grenade will add to his rating.  And hearing loss and tinnitis, too.  Even that fun anti-health moisturizer AO, may be effecting his health.  Of course you're not asking for the world, just asking for what he has earned and is long overdue.

Does he have any medals or commendations from 'Nam?  Especially combat related, cuz they would certainly lend credence to the PTSD claim.

Even though you want to wait, you can still contact a lawyer and get a free consult, to get a good idea what may be ahead for ya'll. 

Is this the first time anyone has put in for VA claims for your brother?  Seems like a lifetime gone by for him to continue reliving his war.  Thank God he has you.

Hmmm, Army Brat, twin bro to Army Vet, Dad Army, '68-'92, his Dad '39-'50, Army Air Corps and OSS. 5 aunts and uncles various N.G and Reserve duties, and one AD Army. Also 2 cousins AD USAF. And some others farther back in time.

Semper Fi.

Andyman73

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Thanks Buck for taking the time to respond.  

I did indeed obtain his Service Treatment records and included them in the claim submission.   They consisted of the inpatient treatment record from NAVSUPPACT Hospital in Da Nang when he arrived by helicopter immediately following the explosion, and subsequent treatment at US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.  The Japan record included the "PULHES" exam just prior to discharge - which is really the only mental health exam he received while in the Marine Corps.

Service stressors proof was no issue.   Incredibly, I was able to obtain his official USMC command chronology citing his actual incident while part of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam Province.  I submitted this daily log that described very detailed enemy and Marine Corps operations by his rifle company.   I also got the statement from my brother and included it in the claim - albeit quite short and abrupt.  I included a post script from me to the VA that he won't talk about it.

I spent months compiling the claim - but alas where it lacks is the additional medical evidence they're now asking for.    All I can do I think now is try to prove the correlation between his unemployment record and his psychotic episodes.  He quit working in 1988 -- not an easy task at this date.

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    • Yes 

      After a PTSD/Unspecific MDD Diagnose From the VA Dr's

      The gold standard for diagnosing PTSD is a structured clinical interview such as the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5). When necessary, the PCL-5 can be scored to provide a provisional PTSD DSM 5 diagnosis.

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        you learn the tools to cope with and depending how severe your symptoms are ? 

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      I have guilt from the war in Vietnam  ( I ask my self what could I have done to make a better outcome/difference?..and also I am in what the therapist calls stuck points. working on that at present once a week for 90 minutes.  I am very fortunate to have the help the VA gives me and I am lucky I have not turned to alcohol or drugs to mask my problem.

      But I have put my family through a living hell with my angers of burst.and they all stood by me the whole time years and years of my family life was disrupted because of me and my children &spouse  never deserved it one bit.

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