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TBI Pyramyding?


I have a question and I would appreciate info from anybody.

I had a vehicle accident stateside (while on duty) about a year and a half before I was deployed. They told me I had a concision but later the VA told me it was a TBI. The VA sent me to a TBI C&P and I was rated at 0%. I also have real bad migraines from the accident. The VA decided I was rated 30% (I think this is a low ball, I told the rater that I have several migraines a month that are deliberating). I also have tinnitus, can't smell or taste all due to the accident, that I haven't been rated for. Well I found out that my local VA has a TBI clinic. Been going to my local VA for other reasons since 2013 and just now found out there is a clinic. So I am going to this clinic next week. The first appointment is supposed to be three hours. I want to see what residual effects I have from my TBI.

My question is- Should I just be happy that I got 30% for migraines and file for the tinnitus, smell and taste? Or should I get re rated for my TBI and have everything rolled up into one rating? I figure if I get re rated for my TBI the VA will just low ball me on it and take away any other claim associated with it.

I forgot to mention that I also have Photo-phobia and am not rated for it also.

Edited by SouthpawVet

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So I just back from the TBI clinic. I read the instructions wrong about the exam. It said be prepared to stay 3 hours. I mistakenly thought I would be examined for 3 hours. I was there 3 hours but I accomplished a lot of stuff. Filled out paperwork. Met the nurse and she prepped all the info for the doctor. She wanted to get a clear picture of what was going on with my case. Saw the doctor for about one hour. Gave me the test that is on one sheet of paper that was used for the TBI C&P Exam. Checked me out physically and then we talked about some of my problems and what I most needed to improve on. I am going to see him in three months but I am going to take some kind of memory class/rehab thingy. Nurse came back in and told me about all the programs they could set me up with. Then I went to meet my new caseworker. Spoke with her for about 30-45 minutes also. I actually wish I could have been refereed right after my TBI! OH WELL!

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Mine was similar but I did not get to the C&P exam (or I didn't know it if she did.) She spun me around like a (325 lb.) ballerina in all kinds of orthopedic and neurology physical exams.

I got my pw today. It was just a real thorough tbi rehab department entry exam. She was just real thorough and a rehab specialists M.D. Neurologist. I'm just real apprehensive about everything though after a lifetime of failures since I had my tbi (and was just recently told I had it by my nexus expert.) It will be hard to shake the tbi blues after 34 years. At least it's a good defense mechanism, ha ha, not really.


You are way ahead of me, so learn all you can from the web. It just takes hours of drilling on duckduckgo.com for every related thing I don't understand (which is everything.) But after piling up all the articles and looking at them, I eventually get a methodological hypothesis that is strong enough to stand on it's own.The expert IMO or nexus it your base, but you need to have good arguments ready for everything you can understand. Just remember, no one knows exactly about the brain, and you have experienced it! So listen, take notes, and remember VA's constantly changing definitions are biased to reduce their liability. If you object, make sure you have a logical rational.

They have never experienced it, so they don't know. And any proofs such as M.D.'s favorable opinions to yours and long-term time proof's of symptoms is as good as it gets for statistical proofs that prove your point. Of course IMO or nexus by MD's or Psychology Dr.s should be the golden touch: or that is what I am counting on! 


Edited by armorer

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I have the same story except rated 0 for headaches but 70 for my tbi with sleeping difficulties. Also 30 for scars and 30 light headiness and dizziness. But my ptsd was from my deployment but grouped it with my TBI. My overall is 90% Now the battle with my employer for reasonable accomadation cant work night shift.

Edited by jfrei

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Just do not accept the VA's judgement about your impairment on a C&P exam unless it really reflects it correctly.  You should have your own private neurologist for the TBI so he/she can give an opinion besides just VA opinion.  They is a world of difference between the VAMC and the VBA.    The medical side of the VA is usually concerned with treating you as cheaply as possible and the VBA side is concerned with paying you as little as possible.  I have been P&T for 15 years and I used IMO/IME for 75% of my claims.  If I did not have a team of outside doctors working for me I would be sitting at 30% to this day.  You simply cannot trust the VA about anything.  Their goal it seems to me is to just save money at your expense.

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On ‎9‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 3:33 PM, jfrei said:

I have the same story except rated 0 for headaches but 70 for my tbi with sleeping difficulties. Also 30 for scars and 30 light headiness and dizziness. But my ptsd was from my deployment but grouped it with my TBI. My overall is 90% Now the battle with my employer for reasonable accomadation cant work night shift.

Lost this battle and was forced to resign

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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.

      Any clinical clinician such as MD ,Psychiatrist even a L.C.S.W. (Certified)can perform the Diagnostics Evaluation Employed by the the VA

      ...They just need to figure out your symptoms and put together a list of your symptom's that you possess or show from the evaluation...I am not 100% Sure just how they do this ?

      being I am not a Dr or clinical clinician 

      Once a Diagnoses of PTSD is given they try to set you up with a Therapist to help with your New dx And how to adjust or cope with the Anxiety and Depression the PTSD can cause.

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

       They test /screen you with phychoeducational type therapy treatment usually at first.

       Warning  some of this therapy can be very rough on a Veteran  from holding on to guilt  from the trauma its self or you maybe in a  ''stuck point''from memories and guilt or from the stressor's or anything that reminds you of the trauma you endured.

      The therapy works  even if we think it don't,  I recommend Therapy for all PTSD Veterans  it could very well save your life once the correct therapy is in place and the Veteran makes all his Clinical Appointments.

      I still have Combat PTSD it probably will never be cured completely but we can learn the tools it takes to cope with this horrible diseases 

      even learning breathing techniques  Helps tremendously during a panic attact.

      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.

      That's all I want to say about that.

      At least I am still around. and plan to be tell my old age dying day.
    • No timeframe gotta love that answer it’s even better when you ask 1800 people or call the board directly they’ll say you’ll know sooner then later. I had mine advanced and it was about 2 months later until I had the decision in my hand which seems forever but in the present system in 2016 lightning fast...
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    • I am serviced connected for ankylosing spondylitis back in 1985. I had a C&P exam on 7-7-19 since I am asking for an increase in my cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral ratings. After speaking with the DAV to find out progress and info on my exam, the Rep. noted sort of what I expected. Radiculopathy was noted and ROM was 0-15 for cervical, and 0-25 for back. I am currently rated as Cervical 30%, Thoracic 10%, and Lumbosacral 40%. The main question that I have is relating to the thoracic 10% and lumbosacral 40%. I am confused on these two. Is Lumbosacral separate from the thoracic/others ? Since my back ROM is at 0-25, does this mean that my thoracic might increase from the 10% to a higher rating ? I am confused how they break down my ratings from cervical at 30%, Thoracic at 10%, and Lumbosacral at 40%. Also, with the radiculopathy, is this something that they will rate also ? I am currently at 90% total combined for all my disabilities. I hope this helps for someone to give me advice/answers.
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    • Thank you @GeekySquid for your reply. 


      I have redacted personal information for my documents listed below. 

      I look forward to your reply. 

      HEADACHE STR 2006 copy_Redacted.pdf


      Pages from Original Denial-Grant Reasons_Redacted.pdf
    • Hello Defenders of freedom!

      I have a question pertaining to this denial for headaches. The decision letter is quoted below. 


      3. Service connection for headaches.

      "We may grant service connection for a disability which began in military service or was caused by some event or experience in service.

      Your STRs are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On your post-deployment exam in 2005 you denied any headaches. On separation, you denied any headaches. VA treatment records are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On VA exam, the examiner stated there was no evidence of any residuals of a traumatic brain injury.

      We have denied service connection for headaches because the evidence of record fails to show this disability was incurred in or caused by military service."

      From my understanding these 3 points must be overturned to successfully win a CUE case:

       (1) either the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions in existence at that time were incorrectly applied; 

      (2) the error must be undebatable and of the sort which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time of the prior determination

      and (3) a determination that there was CUE must be based on the record and law that existed at the time of the prior adjudication in question.  

      @Berta, or veterans out here who have knowledge/experience, tell me what facts you think would be needed to prove this denial for headaches was an error? 
      • 14 replies
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