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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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Shake-n-Bake

Not Sure I'm Doing This Right

Question

Hi,

I've been reading these boards off and on for a while, but just recently registered. I'm a Navy vet, served 4 years on active duty from 1988-1992 and was in the Gulf War (Desert Shield/Storm). Did some reserve time, as well, but was never activated or deployed as a reservist. Until July 2016, I had never set foot in a VA facility, or sought any type of help/attention from them. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have waited 25 years, but I guess that was the result of a combination of factors.

So, in November, I submitted a eClaim (or whatever it's called) for PTSD. I believe I've suffered from it since right after we returned from the Persian Gulf, but I suppose it could be some other anxiety issue. Either way, that's when it all began. I submitted my DD-215 with my claim, which shows that I was awarded a CAR. It only took me about 15 years of trying to get my DD-214 corrected before I was finally successful. Until I got my DD-215 earlier in 2016, my discharge record did not show my CAR. I had understood that with a Combat Action Ribbon, you are not required to submit a narrative about stressors, but when I filed the claim online, it made me write about the stressors anyway, before I could even get to the part where it asked me about combat related awards. I don't know if that matters, but I thought receiving a CAR would presume certain things to the benefit of the veteran in these cases.

I had my first Primary Care visit with the VA in October (only took them 3 months to see me). She referred me Mental Health, because I told her I thought I suffered from PTSD. That visit happened in  November, but it was with an intern...not a real psychiatrist/psychologist. I ended up seeing that intern three times in October/November, but there was never an  actual Dr. present. The intern ignored about half of what I told her, but seemed very interested in my depression. Her notes from the first visit said something like: Major Depressive Disorder, Moderate, Recurring & R/O Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The notes from the subsequent visits just mentioned my depression. She was a friendly young lady, but seemed clueless and I definitely left each visit with a sense that she really enjoying "practicing" on me.

In late November, I finally had my first visit with a real psychiatrist. It took until half way through December for her notes to show up on the myHealtheVet site, but in her assessment notes she lists both depression and PTSD. I don't know where any of that leaves me really, but I submitted the claim as an FDC, though I feel like it's probably far from being fully developed. I just did it all myself, without a VSO, or anything. Maybe that was a bad idea. Right now, I'm just kind of half-way working for myself after leaving my job of 11 years, with it's good salary and benefits. That was also probably a bad idea, but I didn't feel like I could handle the stress much longer and felt like I was honestly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When I filed the PTSD claim, it said it would March at the earliest before I should expect a decision. A few weeks ago, I added a claim for my tinnitus, not realizing that it would just get added to the PTSD claim and, so, now the early side of the estimated decision date is late April. There are other issues I would like to claim, as well, (sleep apnea, hearing loss) but now I'm thinking I should just wait until they rule on the PTSD, or it will just prolong everything. The reality is, the PTSD is the main aggravating factor in my life right now, but I suspect that the way I'm going about this is not really doing anything for my chances of having my disability claim granted. Just this week, I went to my first group session at the VA for "coping skills". I feel like I'm botching my chances of a favorable decision, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do and moving ahead in any kind of focused or organized way. Part of me thinks it's pointless, really, but at 48 years old, starting over and supporting my family does not get any easier. Even if it's a long shot, I figure I need to try to get some compensation. I'm really not doing much for our financial situation, as it now stands.

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