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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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  • 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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snake doctor

Gulf War General Medical Examination

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Hey Snake Doc,

First, I am not a VSO.  I am, however, an ill Gulf War Veteran (GWV) that has been trapped in the hamster wheel of VA Gulf War claims for years now.  I have some questions and observations:

1)  Are you representing yourself or do you have a Veteran Service Officer (VSO)?

2)  Am I correct that you filed a claim for "Gulf War Illness??  Since there is currently no directly assignable rating for GWI, my guess, based on experience, is that a pure GWI claim will summarily be denied.  This is largely due to the fact that your VBA rater likely does not understand the medical side of GWI and likely does not understand or fully implement the VA regulations for rating illnesses associated with GWI (such as FM, CFS, IBS, etc).

3)  Was your C&P exam done by a typical VA doctor?  Unless this doctor is far outside the norm for VA doctors, it is very likely that the examining doctor had no idea what GWI is, its medical definition, signs and symptoms, tests or potential treatments.  Seeing as the doctor did not address GWI directly, the first thing I would do when appealing is to challenge the exam and the examining doctor.  A doctor who does not know what GWI is, or worse, denies GWI exists, is incapable of providing a thorough and competent C&P exam for GWI.  To my knowledge, there are only a handful of VA doctors across the country who might be able to give you a C&P exam but, unfortunately, those doctors are conducting research and have not been shuffled away to give C&P exams.  Currently, there is also no DBQ for GWI though we might get one in the future if the politicians seem fit to follow through with the bills currently in Congress.  

4)  If you do not have a VSO, I strongly suggest you find one or hire an experienced attorney that handles VA claims.  If you go with a VSO, shop around.  Ask a VSO if they have experince with GWI claims, how many they have done and what sort of success rate do they have?  I have found out the hard way that when a VSO does not understand the ins and outs of a GWI claim they will not correctly file your claims and appeals for you.  I STRONGLY suggest that you insist on reviewing all documents your VSO intends to submit before he or she submits them.  That simple move could sav you a lot of time down the road.  

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Sleeper 692,

I'm doing everything on my on, i don't have any faith in my VSO. If i screw it up i will be okay. Concerning questions number 2. Yes, 3. Yes, she is a Fee base doctor, 4. I'm still looking for a POSITIVE VSO. Until then i will continue to read the comments our brothers and sisters in arms posted here on Hadit. This is an OUTSTANDING SITE.... I will keep you posted on the final outcome.

Snake

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The most important thing you need to know about GWI claims is the law, 38 U.S.C. Section 1117 which is codified in 38 CFR 3.317 by the VA. This is all taken from that CFR section, and I've put a link to it at the bottom. It is the only rule that matters. Also at the bottom is a link to the National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC). They are the single best resource for finding information on filing GWI claims, especially in their Self Help Guide. 

There are really only two things you can claim related to Gulf War Illness (1) a medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness (such as IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia), or (2) an undiagnosed illness. "...signs or symptoms which may be manifestations of undiagnosed illness or medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness include, but are not limited to:

(1) Fatigue.

(2) Signs or symptoms involving skin.

(3) Headache.

(4) Muscle pain.

(5) Joint pain.

(6) Neurological signs or symptoms.

(7) Neuropsychological signs or symptoms.

(8) Signs or symptoms involving the

respiratory system (upper or lower).

(9) Sleep disturbances.

(10) Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms.

(11) Cardiovascular signs or symptoms.

(12) Abnormal weight loss.

(13) Menstrual disorders.

Shortlink to 38 CFR 3.317:  https://goo.gl/8wyOaQ

Link to NGWRC:  http://www.ngwrc.org/guide/ngwrc-guide.html

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