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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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Question

I was recently diagnosed with Narcolepsy after experiencing sleep issues over the last 12 years.  12 years ago I was injured by a hand grenade (close Proximity) and am currently service connected %70 for mostly shrapnel wounds allover my body, nerve damage, and an additional %10 for PTSD.  I do not have a service connection for a TBI and did not know what TBI was at the time of checking out and filing a claim with the VA.  Over the last 12 years I have had issues with sleep and sought treatment during that timespan. I was referred to a new sleep doctor who tested me for Narcolepsy as well as Apnea, which came back positive for Narcolepsy.  His opinion was this diagnosis' onset was from the blast along with other symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc.  

I was however tested for TBI in 2005 and it came back negative, however there was no claim made for this when I got out.  My question is, should the Narcolepsy be service connected through a new TBI test (if it comes back positive), or another route such as PTSD?

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Based on what you posted I suggest that you obtain your SMRs and Personnel records from

NARA on line, if you dont have a copy of them.

It is possible that you could file for TBI residuals to get the narcolepsy secondarily service connected...or even prove you had narcolepsy possibly, in service.

 "I was referred to a new sleep doctor who tested me for Narcolepsy as well as Apnea, which came back positive for Narcolepsy.  His opinion was this diagnosis' onset was from the blast along with other symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc. "

Was this a VA sleep doctor? Or a private sleep doctor who might be willing to support his statement in a formal independent medical opinion?

The 10% PTSD rating is probably way too low as well.

"I was however tested for TBI in 2005 and it came back negative, however there was no claim made for this when I got out.  My question is, should the Narcolepsy be service connected through a new TBI test (if it comes back positive), or another route such as PTSD?"

Did the VA do the 'testing"? I am not sure what kind of testing they can do but they have a TBI criteria here at hadit the VA must follow in determining TBI.

Also VA has learned a lot about TBI since 2005.

Were you knocked unconscious after the blast and is that noted in your SMRs?

There is considerable info here on TBI---I think that would be earier to claim the narcolepsy to then to PTSD.

But your SMRs might reveal an inservice nexus for direct SC of this disability, as well.

I dont know if this BVA search link will work for you--

 

http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/bva_search.jsp?QT=narcolepsy&EW=TBI&AT=&ET=&RPP=10&DB=2016&DB=2015&DB=2014&DB=2013&DB=2012&DB=2011&DB=2010&DB=2009&DB=2008&DB=2007&DB=2006&DB=2005&DB=2004&DB=2003&DB=2002&DB=2001&DB=2000&DB=1999&DB=1998&DB=1997&DB=1996&DB=1995&DB=1994&DB=1993&DB=1992

The first 2016 decision might help....if I get some time today,I will check out the other decisions..and pull up the TBI regulations for you.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Berta

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To add...within my July 6th post here is a BVA decision that contains the new TBI criteria:

I say 'new' TBI criteria because as you can see in that older topic. the VA was screwing up TBI claims big time.

 

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Here is the VA rating schedule with this BVA decision  for Narcolepsy:

http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/view.jsp?FV=http://www.va.gov/vetapp16/Files5/1637890.txt

I think the most informative decision in the long BVA link above was only  the 2016 one...

If I were you I would file a claim for TBI residuals,also for a higher PTSD rating, and then file for the Narcolepsy, as secondary to the TBI, PTSD, and or as direct SC.

And definitely get a documented statement from the 'sleep doctor' with a full medical rationale for his opinion,supported hopefully by some medical texts as well:

 "I was referred to a new sleep doctor who tested me for Narcolepsy as well as Apnea, which came back positive for Narcolepsy.  His opinion was this diagnosis' onset was from the blast along with other symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc. "

If you are not employed you could file for TDIU.

When you hit the 70% did VA state why they did not consider you for TDIU?

If you receive SSDI solely for any or all SC disabilities, that would you get TDIU.

 

 

Edited by Berta

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Based on what you posted I suggest that you obtain your SMRs and Personnel records from

NARA on line, if you don't have a copy of them.

- I have my SMR's from December of 2004 right after I was injured and returned to the states.  Since this was in country during an assault, are the records of the actual triage and surgery in Iraq available in NARA too?  Also, I was reading through some of the records and small details are not accurate, such as;  "Grenade accidental."  This sentence is in there and I'm not sure why.  This grenade was from an insurgent in Fallujah.  Your thoughts?

It is possible that you could file for TBI residuals to get the narcolepsy secondarily service connected...or even prove you had narcolepsy possibly, in service.

- Do you suggest getting a private doctor to do the studies?  I prefer them anyways since the VA takes forever to do anything.

 "I was referred to a new sleep doctor who tested me for Narcolepsy as well as Apnea, which came back positive for Narcolepsy.  His opinion was this diagnosis' onset was from the blast along with other symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc. "

Was this a VA sleep doctor? Or a private sleep doctor who might be willing to support his statement in a formal independent medical opinion?

- This was a private Sleep doctor who is more than willing to make an opinion on the connection to the blast. and other instances ( Here was another instance where I was kicked in the head during Marine Corps Martial Arts Training and temporarily lost peripheral vision along with a bright flash, nausea, and dizziness.

The 10% PTSD rating is probably way too low as well.

- I agree.  This assessment was done ten years ago.  Do I appeal or ask for increase?

"I was however tested for TBI in 2005 and it came back negative, however there was no claim made for this when I got out.  My question is, should the Narcolepsy be service connected through a new TBI test (if it comes back positive), or another route such as PTSD?"

Did the VA do the 'testing"? I am not sure what kind of testing they can do but they have a TBI criteria here at hadit the VA must follow in determining TBI.

- No, the VA did not do the testing, it was done by the Navy at one of their hospitals.  I now question this because there was a period of time where I was uncooperative with many of the doctors and leadership while dealing with some other serious issues, and I did not know what TBI was at that time.

Also VA has learned a lot about TBI since 2005.

Were you knocked unconscious after the blast and is that noted in your SMRs?

- I was not knocked unconscious but there was a very bright flash followed by punch drunkenness and incredibly loud ringing and nausea, and then shock.

There is considerable info here on TBI---I think that would be earier to claim the narcolepsy to then to PTSD.

But your SMRs might reveal an in service nexus for direct SC of this disability, as well.

I dont know if this BVA search link will work for you--

 

Here is the VA rating schedule with this BVA decision  for Narcolepsy:

http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/view.jsp?FV=http://www.va.gov/vetapp16/Files5/1637890.txt

I think the most informative decision in the long BVA link above was only  the 2016 one...

If I were you I would file a claim for TBI residuals, also for a higher PTSD rating, and then file for the Narcolepsy, as secondary to the TBI, PTSD, and or as direct SC.

- Do I file 2 separate claims, on for the TBI Residuals and higher PTSD, and then one later for Narcolepsy secondary to?  Or can it all be at once?

And definitely get a documented statement from the 'sleep doctor' with a full medical rationale for his opinion, supported hopefully by some medical texts as well:

-  He has already drafted a few statements and will continue working with me towards this.

 "I was referred to a new sleep doctor who tested me for Narcolepsy as well as Apnea, which came back positive for Narcolepsy.  His opinion was this diagnosis' onset was from the blast along with other symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc. "

If you are not employed you could file for TDIU.

- I am employed

When you hit the 70% did VA state why they did not consider you for TDIU?

- I do not believe so, but then again, I did not understand what this whole process was 11 years ago and thought I was just checking out of the marines when I saw the Base VA Doctor, and then simply accepted their findings.

If you receive SSDI solely for any or all SC disabilities, that would you get TDIU.

- No I do not receive this.

 

Thank you very much for the information.  The VA wouldn't be showing me any of this.  I will read up on it as soon as possible and move forward with any of your advice.

-cjohnson

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