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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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  • 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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armorer

Question for TBI Brain-trust

Question

OK, I recently got a tbi Nexus with all the secondaries - headaches, Meniere's, vertigo, sa, ... (also w/an IMO for GAD and Depression) including some earlier claims I failed at proving alone, like SA and GAD (non-combat ptsd.) I NODed SA and GAD since the one year mark arrived, and my new TBI claim with secondaries and TDIU (simultaineously) is about ready to enter the system (since April 2016), which is why I did not pursue the SA and GAD claims alone.

I have a reputable lawyer firm wanting information about my GAD (70%) which I just filled out a NOD for. It really is a secondary off my TBI, so I don't know if I pursue it, will it just slow my TBI with secondaries and TDIU case down in the long run? If it did get a  quick 70%, then that would be a great help to me. The SA 50% NOD said they would consider it if my TBI ultimately passes which seemed appropriate. Ultimately, the TBI claim is the root cause to my injuries and my claim: which appears inevitable.

I hear once lawyers get involved, that the VA is a lot more agreeable and expedient. But I don;t want to clog my case up in VA Appeal quicksand either, due to lawyers looking for profit despite how it effects me. Any advice would be appreciated. I am homeless now and going to a dozen VA appointments a week, so I feel like a hamster running on a wheel. I need to get out of this shelter NOW! Thanks.

I have been certified unemployable by all the TBI/Neurology VA experts and have all the symptoms of NPH (water on the brain/spinal tap.) I really don't know what the hold-up is, but it did take them 30 years to give me tinnitus 10% rating for an armorer not wearing hearing protection at a firing/mortar training range.

Edited by armorer

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Since you have an attorney who is WAY, WAY more familiar with your case than I am, I suggest you ask your attorney these questions, which are good ones, by the way.  

Interestingly, I also have an attorney and asked her a similar question, which is should I persue other claims at the RO level, while Im in appeal at the CAVC.  She responded that, if I have the Caluza triangle, (current diagnosis, in service event and nexus), for me to "go for it".  

In reference to "secondary" conditions, remember you only need 2 of the Caluza triangle, not 3, because you already have documented an "in service event".  So, for secondaries you need a Current diagnosis, and a nexus statement where a doctor says, for example, your sleep apnea is at least as likely as not due to your service connected PTSD.  

Have you applied for social security disability (Im assuming you are eligble, based on your post, but, again, I have not seen your records)? 

Some Vets dont know they can get social security disability AND VA disability.  

Also, and importantly, you can/should apply for VA pension IF:

1.  You have low/no income.

2.  You have served "in wartime".  

    For me, I got VA pension during the long, long wait to get my va compensation, which took about 7 years, and is not still over after 14 years.  

    VA pension is only about 1000 per month, based on your number of dependents, but it could mean the difference between homelessness and being able to afford a very modest apartment.  

    You wont get VA compensation and VA pension at the same time, but apply for pension anyway, because its much much faster, AND it will save on attorney fees.  Here is why:

  Example:   YOu are 0 percent now and trying to get 50%, 70% or even 100%.  You apply for and get pension, sometimes in 3 months or less when you are homeless.  Lets use round numbers, here, and neglect dependents for an example. 

   So, you start getting pension, of 1000 per month.  You get it in 3 months with 2 months backpay so you can pay your first and last months rent and  a security deposit.  You get 3000 in retro, then 1000 a month for pension.  

    Three  years later, FINALLY, your attorney comes through and gets you 100%.  Well, you have already gotten 1000 per month, and you wont pay any attorney fees on that money, ever.  So, you will pay less to the attorney, because you will already be getting pension.  In this example, lets say your retro is 3 years times 3000 per month, or 108,000 dollars.  But you wont have to pay any attorney fees on 36,000 of that because you will have already received it.  

    In short, just file for pension, and social security disability now, if you have not already and if you are eligible.  

You wont get BOTH social security disability AND VEterans pension, as they tend to offset each other, but, depending on how much you get social security disability, you can still get some VA pension.  

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2 hours ago, broncovet said:

Since you have an attorney who is WAY, WAY more familiar with your case than I am, I suggest you ask your attorney these questions, which are good ones, by the way.  

Interestingly, I also have an attorney and asked her a similar question, which is should I persue other claims at the RO level, while Im in appeal at the CAVC.  She responded that, if I have the Caluza triangle, (current diagnosis, in service event and nexus), for me to "go for it".  

In reference to "secondary" conditions, remember you only need 2 of the Caluza triangle, not 3, because you already have documented an "in service event".  So, for secondaries you need a Current diagnosis, and a nexus statement where a doctor says, for example, your sleep apnea is at least as likely as not due to your service connected PTSD.  

Have you applied for social security disability (Im assuming you are eligble, based on your post, but, again, I have not seen your records)? 

Some Vets dont know they can get social security disability AND VA disability.  

Also, and importantly, you can/should apply for VA pension IF:

1.  You have low/no income.

2.  You have served "in wartime".  

    For me, I got VA pension during the long, long wait to get my va compensation, which took about 7 years, and is not still over after 14 years.  

    VA pension is only about 1000 per month, based on your number of dependents, but it could mean the difference between homelessness and being able to afford a very modest apartment.  

    You wont get VA compensation and VA pension at the same time, but apply for pension anyway, because its much much faster, AND it will save on attorney fees.  Here is why:

  Example:   YOu are 0 percent now and trying to get 50%, 70% or even 100%.  You apply for and get pension, sometimes in 3 months or less when you are homeless.  Lets use round numbers, here, and neglect dependents for an example. 

   So, you start getting pension, of 1000 per month.  You get it in 3 months with 2 months backpay so you can pay your first and last months rent and  a security deposit.  You get 3000 in retro, then 1000 a month for pension.  

    Three  years later, FINALLY, your attorney comes through and gets you 100%.  Well, you have already gotten 1000 per month, and you wont pay any attorney fees on that money, ever.  So, you will pay less to the attorney, because you will already be getting pension.  In this example, lets say your retro is 3 years times 3000 per month, or 108,000 dollars.  But you wont have to pay any attorney fees on 36,000 of that because you will have already received it.  

    In short, just file for pension, and social security disability now, if you have not already and if you are eligible.  

You wont get BOTH social security disability AND VEterans pension, as they tend to offset each other, but, depending on how much you get social security disability, you can still get some VA pension.  

Thanks BroncoVet!  I am always in a Gulf of misunderstanding. Thanks for bridging the Gulf!

Yes, the SSDI is in and in parallel with the VA disability claim. I got that started as soon as I started my VA TBI w/TDIU claim. My SSDI first line auditor is following my VA Blue Button, and I apprise her of when significant new entries are put in. She is quite helpful and easy to reach.

I need to digest what you wrote and prepare the Attorney's information they requested. Being homeless keeps you thinking logistics all the time, since everything has a steep cost/time trade-off and nothing is convenient time-wise anymore (like wi-fi, printing, scanning, eating, and sleeping.)

Thanks Again!

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