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I'll try to be brief.
Va claim filed April 2019 for sleep disturbances, jaw condition, scar in mouth, painful scar. In June my scar was rated 0% and pain 10%. Jaw condition was deferred and sleep disturbances ignored.
In July I filed somatic symptom disorder and mood condition secondary to all my denied disabilities and current ones. I received a letter saying I did this incorrect and ebenefits updated accordingly deleting the claims. Then in August I filed somatic symptom disorder and mood condition secondary to jaw condition and scar pain. I also filed hearing loss primary. Ebenefits updated accurately showing what i claimed.
In October I get a call from the regional office wanting to clarify what I was trying to claim. They then attached my somatic symptom disorder and mood condition to my sleep disturbances claim. The person told me I would retain my original effective date of the April claim.
I attended c and p for jaw condition and hearing loss. I submitted a dbq from a board certified psychologist. The October called said I had plenty of information to get it rated.
I looked at ebenefits December 14th and have now been rated 20% combined due to my scar pain and TMJ. Claim CLOSED.
I called VA 1800 number and they tell me the somatic symptom disorder and mood condition, as well as hearing loss are attached as secondary to tinnitus which is pending appeal (and nothing else).
What I did from there this week was submit a 21-4138 explaining I claimed those secondary to tmj and scar pain, not tinnitus. Also hearing loss as primary. I then called the VA and they took a statement to send to the regional office.
Has anyone had experience with this and should I be worried?
Will I still retain my effective date with my original claim?
below is my personal statement for my hearing loss. i beleive this might be a CUE and have outlined in my statement why i belive that. if anyone has any input on this i greatly appreciate your help! please if you have any follow up questions regarding my denials etc let me know
tahnks again in advance
I started having these symptoms after the IED explosion I was involved in while serving in Iraq, which I suffered a mTBI (please refer to the provided personal statement regarding the event). Before the event, I was a good student in school, usually getting A’-B’s, and never presented or was diagnosed with any attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], language impairment, and learning disabilities. None of the other symptoms misunderstanding or difficulty “hearing” movies, songs, etc. presented them selves until 2008, after the event.
During my tour in Iraq (9/2017 -4/2018), I was also exposed to a fuel known as JP8. We used multi-fuel vehicles during our convoy missions, and JP8 was the primary fuel we used. I was exposed to JP8 at least 3 times a week (as many as 5x) during this period for missions that lasted from 8-12 hours depending on the trip. Fueling was done before and after each mission which could be as long as an hour of waiting and fueling before the mission and sometimes as long as 2 hours after a mission; exposure to JP8 fumes during this period as well as the exhaust during the missions. On long missions that required return of the same convoy we came with, we also would fuel before the return trip.
The symptoms I have are listed below:
· difficulty understanding or following conversations with competing background noise
· problems understanding dialogue on tv or in movies (often requiring use of closed captioning)
· struggle to understand or make sense of song lyrics (misinterpreting whole phrases and cannot hear the correct phrase even after being told what the actual lyrics; i.e. “Wild Thoughts” by Rhianna(thinking the chorus that contains the same name as the song is saying “When I'm with you, all I get is why-thos”) and “Got Whatever It Is” by Zac Brown Band (thinking the chorus that contains the same name as the song is saying ”she goggle pennants” and the phrase “you got whatever it is” is saying “gobble gebble goo”)
· confusion of names of people with who I have had long relationships with close alternatives names that are not correct (i.e. Diana and Deanna, Sidney and Cindy, Micaiah and Mikala)
· strain to locate direction of sounds, in silence and with background noise
· difficulty following conversations that are rapid fire or fast speakers
· Frequent requests for repetitions, saying “what” and “huh” frequently
· Misunderstanding for sarcasm or other tone and sentence cadence that give clues to speaker’s intent, which result in Inconsistent or inappropriate responses
· sounds like listening to through water
· difficulty understand children (while others around me understand them and help me with grasping what is being said)
· feeling exhausted from listening
The symptoms I have experienced do not equate to an organic hearing loss (outer or middle ear or hearing loss at the level of the cochlea or auditory nerve) that can be detected by standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination testing I have had done in the past. All my hearing tests done by the VA and from my outside audiologist reflect normal organic hearing along with undamaged structures in my ears. This lead me to seek out another explanation for the auditory problems I have been suffering with that eventually pointed to CAPD.
The VA has provided information and studies that have linked blast injuries to CAPD. JP8 was also linked in the disorder (please see below links to VA websites provided information). With these clear connections, my exposure and injuries, my symptoms and the clear diagnosis by a licensed audiologist the obvious link to service is distinct.
I also have been reporting these problems since 2008 when I first filed a claim for hearing loss. I described these symptoms to the VA audiologist at that time with no mention of CAPD as a possibility. A normal standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination hearing test was done that showed no discernable hearing loss and my claim was denied. I again put forth a claim in January 2019, saw the VA audiologist, described the symptoms above and the result was a normal standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination hearing test was done that showed no discernable hearing loss and my claim was denied again. This is a “Clear And Unmistakable Error” by the VA in their “duty to assist” me as the veteran in my claim of hearing problems. Regardless of how and what label is used to file a claim, the claim should be evaluated by the symptoms reported by a veteran, and if further testing or examinations are needed, it is the duty of the VA to provide these. The correct facts were therefore not before the adjudicator, resulting in a denial of claims based on the facts provided to the adjudicator at the time of review. This is not an argument or disagreement with how the facts were weighed or to correct and an earlier diagnosis to CAPD, but rather the fact that the VA failed to assist me as the veteran to have the correct examination/testing based on my reported symptoms during the C&P (Compensation and Pension) examinations and hearing testing and get those results before the adjudicator is an undebatable error. If the correct facts would have been provided, a clear service connection for CAPD would have been given in 2008. -§3.159 Department of Veterans Affairs assistance in developing claims(c)(4)
i recently put in a claim to reopen a prior decision on bilateral hearing loss and one with dizzines. VA tested but C&P doc only looked at first enlistment. said hearing loss is there but not service connected and did not give a percentage of what that hearing loss is.
The hospital itself has ordered me to take a new hearing test but that is not until december 2018
VA deferred claim on dizziness and order new c&p and hearing test the hearing test is on the 13th of November 2018 and C&P is on the14th at QTC facilities.
The question I have is should I bring my copies of military STR's concerning hearing test.
Original claim was denied
had this finding
[X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 500-4000 Hz)*
ICD code: 389.11
and this write up
If present, is the Veteran's hearing loss at least as likely as not (50% probability or greater) caused by or a result of an event in military service?
[ ] Yes
Rationale (Provide rationale for either a yes or no answer):
1.RME dated XX/XX/XX (at induction) documents hearing within normal limits bilaterally.
2.RME dated XX/XX/XX (at separation) documents hearing within normal limits bilaterally.
3. Comparison of induction and separation exams indicate no significant change in hearing sensitivity and documentation of an
OSHA-defined STS during military service CANNOT be established from this audiometric data.
4. The documentation of hearing within normal limits at induction, documentation of hearing within normal limits at separation, and
the lack of documentation of an OSHA-defined STS during military service indicate that it is NOT at least as likely as not (50/50 probability) that veteran's current hearing loss is related to his military service
Items 1 and 2 only refer to my first enlistment and what she called my "separation is actually marked as a re-enlistment physical.
Item 3 there is an OSHA STS in the records she did not look at.
The award letter used the same language denying my claim to (at least) service connection but probably 0%.
The decision letter on reopening the claim should arrive by Monday the 12th and I plan on filing an appeal/nod on their denial of service connection based on them not looking at all the files and tests.
AS it pertains to this newest C& P and hearing test, I want to make sure that this time they look at all the records to demonstrate that the hearing loss occurred in service particularly if they suspect Meniures (sp?) disease is causing my vertigo and dizziness.
So will bringing my hearing test records and the first C&P to the tests at QTC help or hurt me?
I am new to all of this so I just have a quick question that maybe someone can explain to me. I went to the VA last year and received a 10% rating for tinnitus and )% rating but that it was service connected for hearing. After my 3rd hearing test I was given a set of hearing aids because they deemed that certain frequencies and speech I could not hear. I did an appeal for the 0% hearing loss cause makes no sense to me that there is enough to rate hearing aids but not within specs for a 10% rating. Does this make sense to anyone?
I just had two C&P exams this morning and am trying to keep a positive mindset, but the glass looks half empty to me. Maybe someone else can offer some insight on my situation.
Since April, I have been rated at 60%; 50% for PTSD and 10% for tinnitus. The claims process for those went pretty smoothly, really, and I was awarded my disability ratings in very short time. I have since then filed three additional claims. My intent to file was back in April, but I submitted the claims on July 25. These three claims are for hypertension secondary to PTSD, sleep apnea secondary to PTSD and for hearing loss. Today I had my C&P exams for the hearing loss and hypertension. I have heard nothing about scheduling a C&P for the sleep apnea.
My first exam this morning was for hypertension. I was diagnosed with hypertension, by a private doctor, about 4 years ago and have been on medication since then and am currently being treated by the VA for my hypertension. My hypertension isn't very severe, but it is outside of normal parameters and has been this way consistently for quite a few years. Even though I wasn't officially diagnosed until 2013, I have (and submitted) evidence of prior medical records that show high blood pressure readings well before my actual diagnosis. I don't think I meet the criteria for anything more than a 0% rating, but that's all I really want, or need. I believe I have bradycardia (abnormally low pulse), as a result of my high blood pressure. My blood pressure has always fluctuated and spiked in relation to my PTSD symptoms, so I certainly think the PTSD aggravates my blood pressure, but I don't feel good about my C&P exam from this morning. The doctor was one of the weirdest people I've come across at the VA, so it was hard to get a good read on him. All he did was take my blood pressure 3, or maybe 4, times, all from my right arm, while I was seated. He wanted to know when I was first diagnosed and how many times they had taken my blood pressure during the visit in which I was diagnosed. I told him it was in 2013 and, although I didn't recall how many times they took a blood pressure reading, I did remember how high it was when I was diagnosed. I tried to discuss the evidence I had submitted to support my having actually had high blood pressure before my 2013 diagnosis, but he shut me down. He said anything that I sent in with my claim wasn't his concern. All he was doing was "checking the boxes" on my blood pressure exam and someone else would look at everything that was submitted. This doesn't make sense to me. Isn't the purpose of the C&P exam to look at the evidence, as well render an opinion? I have already been diagnosed with hypertension and am receiving treatment. I'm guessing my blood pressure readings from the C&P exam are within normal parameters...that's what the medication is for. I don't understand the point of putting me through this dog and pony show, but I certainly didn't walk out of there feeling good about it.
Next, I had my audiology exam for my hearing loss claim. I just had a audiology exam a little less than 2 months ago from a VA contractor and was subsequently issued hearing aids from the VA about a month ago. As I mentioned earlier, I already receive compensation for tinnitus, so part of me feels like the VA has already conceded that I had sufficient noise exposure in-service to cause damage, but I have also heard of people winning on tinnitus and losing on hearing loss. Since I had just recently had an audiology exam, I was only given an abbreviated C&P exam for my hearing. The audiologist stated that the contractor had not "submitted a full report", or something to that effect, so she only needed to do a partial test today. She asked me a little about my in-service noise exposure, as well as about my civilian occupations. It was over pretty quickly. I didn't feel quite as bad, or confused about that one as the hypertension C&P, but both of them seemed rushed and indifferent.
When I got home, I logged in to eBenefits to check on something unrelated and decided to look at my claim status. It had gone from Gathering Evidence to Preparation for Decision, since the last time I had checked on it. How could it be in Preparation for Decision? Mind you, I just had two C&P exams a couple of hours before. There is no way those reports had been sent in and considered already, so it had to have moved to Preparation for Decision a day, or more ago. Since I have not been scheduled for a C&P exam for my SA secondary to PTSD, I suspect now that they don't plan to give me an exam for the sleep apnea. The fact that they'd already moved my claim to Preparation for Decision before my exams leaves me with the impression that my claims are doomed to denial. Realistically, both the hypertension and hearing loss should each be rated at 0%, so that won't get me an increase in disability pay anyway, but a positive decision on the SA would. I also need the 0% ones, though, because of their relationship to other problems I have.
I'm a little confused by all of this and am certainly not feeling hopeful about my prospects at this point. Am I jumping to conclusion prematurely, or am I making a reasonable conclusion that things aren't going my way? It's been less than 30 days since my claims were filed and it's already been moved to Preparation for Decision before my C&P exams. I don't know what that means, but it doesn't seem good.
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.?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.?
Vync posted an answer to a question,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.
It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.
Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.
Does this help?
Buck52 posted an answer to a question,Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.
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.
Picked By66 bricks,
JKWilliamsSr posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,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