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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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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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New to the process


Hello all.

I am new to the disability comp process, and I'll be the first to admit--it sort of freaks me out.  There is a lot of complexity to it, and I consider myself fairly learned and understanding of science and causation.  Years ago I interned at the local VA hospital, and my dad retired from 20+ years in the VA civil service.  Its a bit different walking in the door as a patient.

Okay, I had a book practically written below, but I'll keep it short:

  • Really didn't expect basic training to be as hard as it was--the constant screaming, lack of sleep, etc.  It WAS NOT like 'Scout Camp' like my recruiter and retired USAF neighbor said.  I never had more than 1-2 anxiety attacks before this.  It was a struggle.
  • Took a psych eval maybe 2-3 days into basic training.  I was referred to Behavioral Health for a followup.  They were concerned about stupid things like "I weight myself often".  Um yep, I was a bit chunky.  Whatever.  Released to duty no problem.
  • Tore the heck out of my feet in basic training, had PT waivers, missing big toenails and a lot of pain for months, bled through my shoes, horrible.
  • Post-basic training, tore hamstrings in PT session--put on about a monthlong PT waiver
  • Developed severe bronchitis.  USAF docs treated me like I was faking it.  It wasn't 'a cold'.  I got really bad.  Nearly hospitalized.  Took 3 weeks+ to recover

Had an uneventful year in the Air Guard, then ran into some older guys who basically hazed me.  I was about 3 paygrades lower, and 20 years younger.  It was awful

  • Broke up with a girlfriend after getting ready to move across country--my unit 'was concerned I was depressed'
  • Had a field exercise that didn't go well.  They asked for feedback in an email. Was a little 'too honest'.  Nothing I said was wrong, but I clearly did not like where I was, who I was with, and did not trust them.  Probably shouldn't put that in an email.  To this day I stand by what I said.  Some good guys, some idiots.  Was sent for a psych eval for 'erratic behavior'.  Initially cleared.  Nope--sent for another one.

I said screw that, these people are jerks, and I transferred into the Navy Reserve.  Had 2 good years there.  Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Graduated college, moved across country.  Wasn't enthusisatic about the hassle of drill weekends.  Wasn't making anything as an E-4.  Prospective employers were always wary 'so you can get called up', and 'oh, so when do you get out.'  I realized I needed to cut ties.  I was out of college.  Did what I came to do.  See ya.

9/11 happened and I was nearly recalled to Active Duty.  But I lucked out, stayed in my civil service job, and was transferred to the IRR per my request.  I kept up pooints for good years in the IRR, but had no real intention of going back.

Had a change of heart, and economics were getting tight.  Re-enlisted and went back to the drilling reserve.  Found a loophole in my previous contract, and intentionally took a demotion to change career fields.  Muhahaha.  Then advanced first cycle each time.  A year later, was an E-5.  Took all the extra orders I could.  Did pretty well.  Spent a year on and off active duty orders in the reserve.  Job market sucked and I liked traveling to new places.  New York City was a highlight.  Went twice.  

But wife got into nursing school.  We'd have to move.  You go where you have to.  And she was busy as hell.  Loans were piling up.  I figured--take a deployment.  In the meantime, I volunteered to go to New Orleans to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.  And en route, got hammered by Hurricane Rita there (anybody remember that?).  

  • Started having sinus issues from the mold that was now everywhere (not in my service record)
  • Started feeling extremely depressed, slept every free moment I could (the post-deployment questionnaire shows that somewhere)

A few months later, got the magic phone call.  Deploy now if I wanted, but not with my unit.  Or not.  But I knew I would probably get yanked to go to Iraq with the Seabees (now I was one), Korea with the Coastal Warfare unit I was now in, or maybe not get yanked for a year.  But eventually I would.

Economics rule.  I opted for NOW.  But the catch was--it was with the ARMY.  And it was a year-long.  And it was Afghanistan.  

The deployment sucked--why would you expect different?  I enjoyed a lot of it.  But the issues I felt during Katrina got intense.  The isolation from the real world sucked.  I was fighting the 'just war'.  But we didn't do much anything most of the time.  We were ON the front lines.  Basically not doing anything all day.  I was trained for all this combat stuff, and was stuck all day on the tiny FOB.  And if you don't engage the enemy, they come to you.  First night of tower guard, gunfire.  Turns out if was a runaway 50cal on a Humvee.  Tracers into the sky.  An accident.  And accidents, more than anything else, were to mar the deployment over and over.

In short:

  • Stationed with ABSOLUTELY IDIOT medical types who didn't document anything.  Totally worthless people.  And now it matters more than ever.
  • Broke a toe on my right foot (have the x-ray for that)
  • Howitzers are loud.  Mortars 40 feet from your tent are louder (tinnitus really sucks--but need formal diagnosis)
  • Body armor and Humvees don't mix well off-road (2-3 weeks in physical therapy)
  • Anxiety sucks.  Got demoted with a feud with my CO, and he ended up relieved of command a couple of weeks later.  But anxiety was worsening, and now I was having up to 15 attacks PER DAY.  Son of a bitch tried to ruin me.  
  • Had a former co-worker I knew in my civilian days, take a mortar shell to the helmet.  He woke up in Germany.  9 people didn't
  • Had to go to a funeral for 2 fallen airman.  They died in a suicide bombing--getting MAIL in Kabul--and if they waited 1 day, it came by helo.  Some COs don't understand that's an idiot risk. Made a quick enemy with my CO over the issue.  And then it spiraled.  He demoted me, but then was relieved of command.  LONG LONG story.
  • Smashed in the face with a Humvee door (not in service record)
  • Finally got tired of anxiety attacks, saw an Army psychiatrist.  Guy basically said 'too bad, deal with it, and sent me back to the front lines'.  Anxiety attacks now were almost continuous.  
  • Was deprived of sleep constantly because a few CO-loyalists though it fitting to assign me extra duty whenever possible.  No joke--sleeping maybe 2 hours a night for days/weeks on end.  Was sleeping instead of eating lunch.  Slept every free moment I had.
  • Base was attacked a few times.  That sucked.  But I was more upset about missing lunch--serious.  Started to notice I was detached from my surroundings.  Sort of felt invincible in terms of the war around me, but extremely vulnerable too.  Was more suspicious of people.  Feared my own people more than the Taliban--absolutely dead serious.
  • Was stuck for months hosting the Local National Detail--basically locals who could work on the base doing menial tasks.  They got paid for janitorial stuff mostly.  And I had to drive and escort them to the BURN PIT.  Sometimes 5 times a day.  It was awful.  And some Army guys threw ammunition into the trashcan.  Nothing like rounds going off when you drive down there. Seriously.  A car battery sounds like a car bomb.  Crazy.  
  • Could have been killed by a mortar that blew up just feet out of the tube.  Had it not been an illuminating round...
  • Had many suicidal thoughts during the deployment.  Instead, just volunteered for crazy stuff.  Figured result would be the same.
  • If we had any medical issues at all, the Navy tried to hold us hostage at Norfolk.  I had to sign out AMA (Against Medical Advice) so I could finally go home after being gone 13 months.  

Post deployment:

  • Had extremely strong irritable bowel symptoms 1-2 months later.  This had plagued me at Fort Bragg and intermittently throughout the deployment.  Had a barium exam.  Horrible.  Results: inconclusive.  Something has plagued me since, and it has been 10 years.
  • Very strong anxiety, PTSD, and particularly depression.  Formally diagnosed at the VA hospital.  Finally had something.  Meds: Prozac.
  • Moved across country for Graduate School: may have experienced a manic episode.  Adjusted meds.  Felt better.
  • Diagnosed with SEVERE chronic obstructive sleep apnea by the VA.  Been on a CPAP now for 7 years.
  • Struggled with a lot of change.  Medications had side effects, things were rough.  Been on a mental health see-saw for years.
  • Changed meds to Cymbalta.  Bad idea--if I took it an hour later than usual, I started to feel withdrawal 
  • Changed meds to Wellbutrin to address worsening anxiety.  It did not work.  Had almost immediate depression severity.  Had to discontinue after 3 weeks--was literally suicidal.  Scary as hell.
  • Change to Pristiq.  Seemed better than other choices.  Took that for 2 years.
  • Moved again, new doc prescribed Lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer.  Took for 1 year
  • Recently, sleep really got bad.  Prescribed Ambien
  • Anxiety attacks nearly daily.  Prescribed Adivan.  Eventually doubled the dose just to sleep.  Having recurrent dreams of being isolated, stuck in the Navy, in trouble, etc.
  • Finally fed up with the doc, transferred to the VA.  Initially thought the pyschiatrist was a bit weird.  But she said a few things that amazed me.  And unlike the previous psych doc, she listened to my concerns.  Changed sleep meds to Tramadol.  Changed meds to Clonipin for PTSD, anxiety.  Still taking Pristiq and Lamotrigine. Feeling somewhat better but not where I want to be, but closer than before
  • Oh yes, and my feet are killing me now.  I wonder if my foot geometry shifted after the broken foot and basic training injuries

Overall, its been a real struggle.  Survivors guilt, being abused by some peers and superiors, some issues from PTSD, and a propensity to want to talk about things, but nobody wants to hear your story.  No one.  Everyone wants to believe the Afghan campaign was the 'right war'.  And they don't want to know we tried but basically failed.

There were no war heros in my FOB.  One purple heart.  A LOT of close calls.  And tons of accidents.  Tons.

It took me almost 10 years to finally march myself into the VA and say 'finally, let's do this'.  I have pain, nightmares, anxiety attacks, and I've not tackled them.  I go to the VA and feel out of place--30 years younger than everyone else there.  And 'I'm not as bad as that guy' feeling.  And especially thinking someday about re-enlisting, and not wanting a foot of paper to need a waiver for everything.

But then I realized, its very unlikely I would re-enlist.  And I was getting older.  I had the time.  Let's roll.

I am wary of the VA, just as I was wary of the medical departments all along.  There is so much missing in my service records.  Our unit corpsman didn't write anything down.  It will be a struggle to argue service connectivity for many things, being that its been 9 years since I came 'home'.  It sucks.  I remember times/dates/places vividly.  That may not matter.

But its a fight many of you know all too well.  I have questions.  Many.  And truly, thank you for your service.  

We weren't all patriots.  Some needed money for college, others to feed their families.  And many drafted without a choice.  Most old, and a few young ones.  But we are all veterans.

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The VA rating criteria contains a list of diagnostic codes and are broken down by categories/systems.


Just be sure to read the entire text of sections which might draw your interest. For example, the gastro issues section describes which codes overlap each other. There is a lot to read. I just didn't want you to search for the table with your disabilities and think that was all that matters.

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23 hours ago, Berta said:

Hiring an attorney depends on many factors....and it seems you have not been denied yet...


Thanks for the advice--this is truly great stuff and very helpful especially to newcomers to the process.

Well, its complicated but I sort of was denied.

The VSO here submitted a bunch of forms 'on my behalf' without telling me.  I don't even recall signing them.  I had butted heads with the VSO since she was unfriendly, hostile, and didn't lend herself to answering any questions I had.  I remember that she printed off a bunch of forms, spelled my name wrong on them (and gave me the biggest eyeroll and sigh ever when I asked her to fix it) one form for each claim (I think), and told me to 'go check my records' and bring back what I had.  Well, it took me months to get them and go through them--and then QTC came calling.

No one had ever told me that QTC was a contractor that schedules appointments.  Apparently the VSO had submitted my info in June, pretty much right after I visited.  So now I was being scheduled for all sorts of appointments I didn't know about, one I had already missed (!).  

First thing I noticed, an appointment in the same day as another, but the second appointment was an hour later, and 350 miles away.  But to be nice, they had included directions for me :lol: 

I talked to them about this, and apparently had an appointment scheduled that I didn't know anything about, and had missed already.  And another one the next morning.  Apparently QTC doesn't ask when you want an appointment, and think you never have anything to do. I asked to cancel these and allow me to reschedule--basically I said, 'let me call you'.  And they said that was okay.  I guess not!

Sorry for the long explanation, but to summarize, I was denied on basically every claim because "I had missed my appointment" on some of them.  Others said something like 'your service record has no mentions of....' (not surprising to me), and the others said something like 'there is something in your service record about this, but your claim is denied due to a lack of a diagnosis, etc.'

So I don't know if the VSO had put these in as a FDC, or a standard claim.  But filing it without me knowing it, especially when I was working diligently to get records--jeez.  I am currently looking for another VSO.

So, I guess I was denied by default.  Makes me mad.  As was typical in my career, always obstructed through no fault of my own.

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19 hours ago, Buck52 said:

usually you need to be denied before seeking an attorney  but you can get one if your able to pay out of pocket to help you with your claim or claims to prepare your claim before sending it in to the VA Raters.

or better yet  just come here to hadit and ask questions.

Thanks--I don't know if I expect the attorneys will make much difference in the beginning to me, since its either the VA and/or the attorney saying 'go do your homework'.

But I'm finding as I already thought, much of the medical record is completely missing, etc.  What remains is over 4" thick, and it has a lot of evidence (good). I was in tears reading some of it.  There's a huge part of me that wants to give up on the VA process already.  Its painful to relive a lot of it. 

For some of these claims, they are legit but I'm going to have a hell of a time finding evidence in support of them.  I was hoping not to go the buddy letter route--one guy with the best knowledge was a tentmate, and a huge jerk.  We parted on very bad terms.  A few were like that.  After being bullied by some of them, just the thought of contacting people I've tried to avoid for over 10 years is horrifying.  I can get letters from other people, I suppose.

My other problem I'm having already is eHealth, or forgive me if I am using the wrong terminology for it.  Whatever 'the thing' is that has the VA Blue Button--when I use it, it is missing a ton of records.  It shows some of the newer appointments, results, etc., but nothing from 2007 onward, except maybe a flu shot.  2007 was when I had a barium colonoscopy for suspected IBS/Crohns/parasite (which was 'inconclusive'), when I was diagnosed by the VA with depression, etc.  All that was within 2-3 months of discharge, at the moment.  I can't tell when I had the initial diagnosis for sleep apnea, but 'of course' I expect it was outside a year of discharge, just short of 2 years.

I would like to figure out the IMO process soon.  But for me, probably means I need to find an in-network IMO provider or prepare to pay $$$.

I'm looking into the Burn Pit Registry at the moment, but not expecting anything on that.

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VA denies every claim when you miss a C and P exam.  They dont schedule those at your convience, you must adjust your schedule to theirs.  

Its a very, very bad idea to miss a C and P exam.  When you do, you just put a bullet in the head of your claim.  

You need to call back the examiner's office and reschedule immediately.  Be available whenever they want you to.  Its your only chance, without IMO/s or IME's.  


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If you can reschedule now, even if the exam was long ago, you can resubmit that as new and material evidence under 38 cfr 3.156, and you can survive the bullet to the head wound to your claim.  Just dont try it again.  The va will say you abandoned your claim, which they are already doing, unless you take effective action, now. 

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      Stressor #3: A third incident occurred when he was stationed at COB Zormat - they took incoming artillery and returned artillery in response. Once again, the veteran froze, and was taken aside by his Sgt. who chewed him out, shamed him, and told him to hide his fear. The veteran stated he was afraid to say anything to anyone because he feared he looked like "a xxxxx." While in Afghanistan, the veteran received word from his wife that she wanted a divorce. The veteran stated that his friend helped him through his distress. In 2013, on Christmas day, his friend committed suicide. The veteran stated that when he heard of this, he was angry, including anger at himself for not seeing the warning signs. Veteran stated that his friend's suicide has ruined Christmas for him ever since. Post military occupational functioning: The veteran has been unable to maintain employment since his military discharge. In the first few years post discharge he held 4 to 5 different jobs, the longest being less than a year. Then, he found work as a corrections officer in a prison in Kentucky. However, the
      veteran's depression, drinking, calling off work, anxiety, and irritability, resulted in him being terminated after about 2 years. He got into trouble for losing his temper with the captain and cussing her out. In May 2018, he moved to Ohio having landed another job as a corrections officer with a prison in London. He was there less than 6 months before being terminated. Again, he was having difficulty due to anxiety, irritability, depression, poor attendance, and drinking. He briefly worked at the Post Office as a mail carrier after that, but couldn't get enough sleep, felt depressed, and felt that everyone who worked there was from the military. He couldn't stand it. The veteran has been unemployed for some months now. He wishes to return to school and earned his bachelor's degree. Even at school, he had difficulty because people wanted to ask him about his military service and he always wanted to avoid it.
      c. Relevant mental health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran stated that he was never the same after his deployment. He has felt fearful, depressed, and worthless. He experienced the loss of his grandfather while he was deployed, and the loss of his friend to suicide in 2013. The veteran stated he sleeps poorly, waking up many times throughout the night, and dreaming about artillery attacks. He has intrusive thoughts about his military trauma and other negative military experiences, and at times has physical symptoms including rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, and trembling. He drinks excessively as an apparent avoidance technique. He has problems with anger outbursts and irritability. He has hypervigilance, problems concentrating, exaggerated startle reflex, feelings of guilt, feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, inability to connect with others, and wonders if others would be better off if he were dead. The veteran second-guesses his actions in Afghanistan and thinks he could've done better and "I should've manned up." He said he feels worthless. He wonders why he cowered when his base was attacked. He shakes when he hears loud noises, and can't tolerate fireworks. He rarely does activities unless he must, and generally just wants to be by himself. He sees others as threatening, and feels disconnected from everyone including his wife, with the exception of his children, and more recently, his therapist Dr. Ward. The veteran stated he has lost interest in things he used to enjoy, most notably sports. He overeats and drinks excessively. He avoids his friends because he doesn't want to talk about the military. He dropped
      out of school because people kept asking about his military service. He hates going to his parents home because his mother has erected a "shrine" to him in their living room, and he is to fearful of disappointing his parents to tell them how much he hates it. The veteran sought treatment earlier this year, and has now been working with a psychologist in Spring field, Dr. Ward, for 4-5 months. He stated that Dr. Ward is the one person he feels close to. They recently began EMDR therapy. The veteran has been referred for medication, but is awaiting his first appointment.
      d. Relevant legal and behavioral history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran has no history of legal problems.
      e. Relevant substance abuse history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran has been drinking excessively since his return from Afghanistan. He estimates that he was drinking a bottle of hard liquor per day at his peak. It has decreased somewhat recently as he has been engaged in therapy, but he continues to drink quite heavily. f. Other, if any: No response provided.
      3. Stressors ------------ Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military):
      a. Stressor #1: Artillery attacks at Bagram and Salerno, Afghanistan Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No
      Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity? [X] Yes [ ] No
      Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [ ] Yes [X] No
      4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Note: Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD
      diagnosis. Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, referred to as Criterion A-H, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).
      Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)
      Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). [X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
      Criterion Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
      Criterion Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with
      the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others. [X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
      Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects. [X] Reckless or self-destructive behavior. [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless 
      Criterion F: [X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is more than 1 month.
      Criterion G: [X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
      Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or
      another medical condition. Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD diagnosis?: [X] Stressor #1
      5. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Suspiciousness [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting
      6. Behavioral Observations -------------------------- The veteran arrived on time for his scheduled examination. His identity was confirmed by having him provide his full name and date of birth. The veteran presents as a tall, obese, Caucasian male who appears the stated age. He was dressed casually and exhibited good grooming and hygiene. He had tattoos visible on his lower and upper extremities. His posture, gait, and psychomotor activity were within normal limits. His manner of interaction was cooperative, courteous, and friendly. His speech was normal in rate, rhythm, tone, and volume. His thought processes were clear, logical, coherent, and goal-directed. Veteran reported his mood to be depressed, with affect congruent. He denied suicidal ideation, but admitted to thoughts of death and wondering if others would be better off without him. He denied homicidal ideation as well as auditory and visual hallucinations.
      7. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [ ] Yes [X] No
      8. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No
      .9 Remarks, (including any testing results) if any -------------------------------------------------- In my opinion, the veteran meets DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, which is more likely than not secondary to military trauma. In this veteran's case, there is a strong component of shame that is also associated with his military service and is foundationally related to his depressive disorder. His experience of freezing during 3 artillery attacks is something that is associated with feelings of overwhelming shame, worthlessness, helplessness, and inadequacy for the veteran. These thoughts and feelings contribute significantly to his depressive condition, and contribute meaningfully to his PTSD symptoms as well. The veteran also experienced significant losses during military service that have likely aggravated his PTSD and depressive conditions. Notably, the veteran's grandfather died in 2011 when the veteran was deployed to Afghanistan, and his best friend committed suicide on Christmas day in 2013. Both losses were experienced by the veteran as emotionally traumatic and contribute to his symptomatology. The veteran has developed a dysfunctional coping mechanism of excessive alcohol intake in his efforts to suppress negative feelings associated with his traumas. As his excessive alcohol use appears to be largely in the service of avoidance of distress and suppression of intrusive/reexperiencing symptoms, it is my opinion that his alcohol use disorder is secondary to his PTSD and depressive disorders. The veteran's mental health symptoms have severely impaired his functional capacity. He is socially disengaged and avoidant. He has difficulty expressing himself emotionally, showing empathy, or forming emotional bonds with others. Occupationally, the veteran has exhibited significant dysfunction as he has been unable to maintain employment due to anxiety, depression, avoidance, alcohol abuse, irritability, shame. Hs shame about his reactions of freezing during artillery attacks prompts him to avoid interpersonal interactions as much as possible as he fears that the topic of his military service will arise. Recently, the veteran has begun outpatient mental health treatment in the form of individual counseling, and he is awaiting an appointment for trial of medication.
    • By weep4souls
      I'm a Gulf War veteran with 90% S/C for various conditions. Some conditions that have been denied have been frustrating since I'm still suffering with symptoms. How can I create a Nexus for sinusitis and sleep apnea? I'm 30% for asthma and tried to create a relation between sleep apnea and asthma, but that was a no go. I was thinking trying again and tying my PTSD to that. Any thoughts? 
      I was also shot down on sinusitis from the get go, but I thought all I had to do was tie my gulf war time to that condition. I guess I was wrong.
    • By tw4904
      So I pretty much have my statements together. I feel pretty confident especially since I do have a CAB. However, I am already diagnosed with Chronic PTSD by my psychiatrist who works for the VA. I am also being treated by him with medication. And it helps me out alot. Will the doctor who I see during the examination judge me off of how he see's me in my current condition and say I am fine even though I am medication to help with PTSD? I typed up a very lengthy paragraph in the remarks section of the 21-0781 and stated two incidents like directed. Surely they wouldnt judge on my current well being because I am being treated. Also it has been 1 year and 3 months since I got out, and I have been on medication for about 2 and a half months. Also, one of my parents committed suicide a day after I got back from deployment. I was on the fence about bringing this up, but I would be lying through my teeth if I brought up all the things that happened since I was 19 and didnt bring this up. Will this hurt my case in any way?
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