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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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JRB 67

Currently SMC S - Confused on Elibility for higher level


I am new to this forum and hope I am posting in the right section.  My husband fought the VA for the last 10 years and in 2014, the Board of Appeals granted him 100% with SMC S, P&T.  I am confused as to the levels of SMC and if he is entitled to a higher level of SMC due to a recent claim that was adjudicated, giving him a temporary rating of 100% for lung cancer for 6 months.  His disabilities are as follows:

PTSD with alcohol dependence - 100%

Lung Cancer - 100% (temporary for 6 months)

Bilateral hearing loss - 70%

Tinnitus - 10%

Right fibula stress factor - 0%

Right foot degenerative joint disease - 20%

Left foot degenerative joint disease - 20%

Residuals, fracture, left clavicle - 20%

Cervical Spine degenerative disc disease - 20%

Instability with degenerative joint disease and fibula stress fracture, left knee - 20%

Right knee degenerative joint disease s/p partial knee replacement with right fibula stress fracture - 10%

Left knee instability - 20%

He was diagnosed in September with lung cancer and finished radiation treatments in October. He didn't file the claim for lung cancer until January of 2017.  By the grace of God, we had gone into the VA to try to get a medication through the VA and because they had not had a current chest xray, they ordered it that day and before we left the VA, he was diagnosed with the lung cancer (had no symptoms). Needless to say, it absolutely devastated us since he had had xrays 3 months prior by his primary pulmonologist and it showed nothing. In summary, after a biopsy he was diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer and his prognosis is good.  There is a chance he does have Radiation Pneumonitis which is the scarring of his lung from the radiation but we will not know this until we get the results from his CT scan. He has Alpha-1 with COPD and Emphysema which are by-products of the Alpha-1 and have made things more difficult for him but we are thankful it was caught at Stage 1.

We know they will drop the 100% temporary rating for the lung cancer but to what degree we don't know.  He already has difficulty breathing because of the Alpha-1 with the COPD and Emphysema so the lung cancer has just added to that problem. My question is, is he entitled to a higher level of SMC due to the 100% rating for lung cancer even though it is temporary?

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  • Similar Content

    • By Mantana
      I'll try to be brief.
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    • By GeekySquid
      Hey all
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      3. Etiology
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      [ ]
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    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
      • 6 replies
    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:

      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis

      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.

      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 


      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

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      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
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      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

        • Like
    • Precedent Setting CAVC cases cited in the M21-1
      A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing.  That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran. 

      One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing.  I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down.  I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters.  I think raters should have some kind of legal background.  They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.

      There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989.  Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.

      The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1.   Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims.  Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why.  Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.

      It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed.  I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve

      M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx
      • 5 replies
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