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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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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 ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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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NMNavVet

Do I have access to VA examiners' decision documents?

Question

I received my VA disability claim decisions (one service-connected at 0% and the rest denied).  In review, of VA's "breakdown " of making their decision on my denied disabilities, I noticed two disabilities had the following remarks: "Service treatment records show that _______ manifested while in the service."   I mentioned these conditions based on my VA and private medical records, but was surprised, that it was mentioned in my service records.  I "combed" through my service treatment records but cannot find such entries.  One of my questions, where in my service records did they find these existing conditions?   I am going to appeal, but can I as a Veteran, have access to the VA's examiners decisions or can they reveal where these conditions are located in my service records? 

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Don't know what VA hospital you visit or have your EVAL at, but in BHAM, AL I get mine from patient records three to four days after the exam. You can also down load them from your Health Vet website if you have a prime account. https://www.myhealth.va.gov/

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1 hour ago, NMNavVet said:

I received my VA disability claim decisions (one service-connected at 0% and the rest denied).  In review, of VA's "breakdown " of making their decision on my denied disabilities, I noticed two disabilities had the following remarks: "Service treatment records show that _______ manifested while in the service."   I mentioned these conditions based on my VA and private medical records, but was surprised, that it was mentioned in my service records.  I "combed" through my service treatment records but cannot find such entries.  One of my questions, where in my service records did they find these existing conditions?   I am going to appeal, but can I as a Veteran, have access to the VA's examiners decisions or can they reveal where these conditions are located in my service records? 

There could be a number of reasons for this.

If you had paper STRs, be sure to check the back of every page. Back when this was the norm, docs loved to just find an empty section of a page and use it. Additionally, the chicken scratch handwriting that most of us cannot read may have been deciphered by the C&P doctor.

Check the STRs for both the subjective (what you told the doc/nurse) and objective sections (what the doc determined).

Check your exit exam - sometimes it can appear there.

If the condition was diagnosed within 12 months after you left the service, they may consider that as manifesting while in service.

If the condition is a presumptive condition, that might cover it too.

If you have an account on myhealth.va.gov, check the 'blue button' feature and download everything they have. It might be in there.

It might be worth requesting to view or obtain a copy of your c-file.
--and/or--
Request a copy of your service treatment records from your VAMC release of information office

 

I hope this helps!

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2 minutes ago, RickyDee said:

Don't know what VA hospital you visit or have your EVAL at, but in BHAM, AL I get mine from patient records three to four days after the exam. You can also down load them from your Health Vet website if you have a prime account. https://www.myhealth.va.gov/

Good advice. The Birmingham VAMC patient records (i.e. Release of Information) is in the basement. If you are requesting a small number of pages, they usually can print them out on the spot. If there are a lot of pages, they will mail them to you. You can also request copies on a CD, but that will be mailed also.

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Thanks for the responses.  I may need to review my service records again.  In the final decision comments, it breaks down which medical records shows the conditions: (1) "service treatment records show that optical atrophy manifested while in the service,"  then goes on, "VAMC records show that you have an eye condition.  There was no evidence of a diagnosis of optical atrophy,"  and then it says, "the medical evidence received does not show that you have optical atrophy."  (2) "service treatment records show that hemorrhoids manifested while in service," then goes on, "VAMC records and medical evidence received does not show that you have hemorrhoids"        I need to check if these two conditions were diagnosed within the 12 months of leaving service.   GOOD ADVICE.   otherwise, I have complete access to all of my VA medical records.  Thank you. 

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Just now, NMNavVet said:

Thanks for the responses.  I may need to review my service records again.  In the final decision comments, it breaks down which medical records shows the conditions: (1) "service treatment records show that optical atrophy manifested while in the service,"  then goes on, "VAMC records show that you have an eye condition.  There was no evidence of a diagnosis of optical atrophy,"  and then it says, "the medical evidence received does not show that you have optical atrophy."  (2) "service treatment records show that hemorrhoids manifested while in service," then goes on, "VAMC records and medical evidence received does not show that you have hemorrhoids"        I need to check if these two conditions were diagnosed within the 12 months of leaving service.   GOOD ADVICE.   otherwise, I have complete access to all of my VA medical records.  Thank you. 

Wow... I hate to have to ask this, but does your VARO happen to be in a state where medical marijuana is legal? If so, it makes me wonder if the rater was on it when they decided your claim. They can't make up their mind what you do or do not have. "Now you have it, VAMC confirmed it, but now you don't have it"...

To get SC, you need:
1. Event/illness in service
2. Current diagnosis
3. Nexus connecting 1 and 2

Someone at the VARO is having trouble with #2...

Keep in mind that some illnesses do not require that it be happening at the very moment of the C&P exam. Asthma is a good example because as long as you have a history of treatment, that is good enough. However, not all conditions fall in to that category.

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