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Should I Be Concerned With These Changes to My Fully Developed Claim?

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So I filed a Fully Developed Claim on April 11, 2017. I served 12 years in the Army and was the Medical NCOIC for a very large organization the last four years that I was on Active Duty. My experience in the Army made navigating the EBenefits portal and knowing exactly what type of documentation that the VA needed as evidence to prove service connection seem like a breeze, yet I knew going into the claims process that is was unlikely for the rest of it to go smooth and quickly.

When I submitted my claim I submitted all of my DD214s, NCOERs, and Awards from my service records. I am glad that I did this, because even though I just got out of the Army in Jan 2017, the OMPF that I requested through the EBenefits portal contains only 4 documents total. I also submitted all of my LODs, Deployment Medical Records, Civilian Medical Records with Army Sick Call Slips showing that referrals to said civilian facilities were ordered by Army docs. I also uploaded all VA medical notes on disabilities claimed, all VA labs in reference to claimed disabilities, notes that covered all VA hospitalizations, all VA radiology reports, VA medication history, and copy of VA Problem List confirming current active VA diagnoses. Hell I even had personal statements regarding the nature of my injuries, how they affected my service in the military, and how they affect my ability to work today. For my PTSD claim I made a PDF file that could confirm from outside news sources that the majority of the PTSD incidents from my claim happened. This also included pictures from verifiable sources and maps from verifiable sources that showed where the attack happened in relation to where I was stationed. I also had personal statements on PTSD Incidents both on deployment and stateside disaster relief that included personal pictures and pictures of myself published in newspapers and magazines. I also had my DoD Military Service Information uploaded which along with the information in my NCOERs and Awards proved that I was indeed at the area where the PTSD Incidents occurred. I had all of this information uploaded to my claim before submission and meticulously labeled.

I had my Psych C&P Exam on April 20, 2017. The examiner concurred with my diagnosis of PTSD and that my Major Depression and Substance Abuse were both secondary to PTSD. Going by the rating scale I was checked off as "Unable to function in most social and work areas with symptoms such as obsessive behaviors, illogical speech, depression, and panic so persistent that it interferes with ability to function, suicidal thinking, inability to control impulses (including becoming violent without provocation) neglecting self-care such as hygiene, inability to handle stress, and/or inability to maintain relationships". In other words, that is a 70% rating recommendation according to every source I have seen on the topic. If I am wrong about that please let me know.

Another thing I guess I should mention that I did have a Persian Gulf exam on April 17, 2017. This was done at a C&P office, by a doctor that does C&P exams, but wasn't a C&P exam. The doc put in my notes that it could be verified that I was exposed to Open Burn Pits and Airborne Hazards. He also made a note that part of my exposure to Open Burn Pits and Airborne Hazards, having to burn the soiled uniforms and bandages of Soldiers who died in my clinic in burn barrels, could have contributed to my PTSD. A few weeks after this under, my Disabilities on EBenefits, Mental Disability - Active Psychosis/GW Mental appeared. I was kind of surprised by this, but so far not really concerned.

Before my Psych C&P I was asked by the VA to submit a Statement in Support of Claim (VA Form 21-4138) in regards to my exposure risk factors in order to support my claim for Hepatitis C. I submitted this on the date the VA asked for it, April 19, 2017, and was given a deadline to have it submitted by May 19, 2017.  At the time EBenefits was giving me an estimated claim completion date of my claim as July 22-October 22, 2017.

My claim was still in the Gathering of Evidence stage until I checked on EBenefits during the last week of May and noticed that my claim had moved to the Preparation for Decision phase, where it is still today. My estimated claim completion date also changed and it is now June 21-August 02, 2017. What concerns me the most is that under Documents Requested it stated that my Statement in Support of Claim for my Hepatitis C had changed from Submitted-Awaiting Review to No Longer Needed. I also noticed that a VA Facility had requested my Physical Claim File and it also states No Longer Needed under it as well.

That is the the majority of the information regarding my FDC. So the fact that the VA is saying that requested files for my claimed physical disabilities are no longer needed and my estimated completion date was changed to several months sooner than anticipated is concerning to me. I have read that the VA can award partial decisions on claims, but I am unsure that is the case here. If I was about to get a partial decision based off my Psych C&P (if it even works that way), I would think that the VA would still need the necessary information that they had already requested for my Physical Claims C&P. Oh, I guess I should mention that there  7 pending physical disabilities on this claim as well.

I haven't called the IRIS 1800 number to inquire about this, but am thinking about it. Does anyone here have any feedback that might be helpful in regards to my concerns?

Thanks in advance

Edited by StretchBones
Fixing some typos
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I guess I should mention before anyone claims that I am BSing about the speediness that I was able to get a Psych C&P Exam completed I should clarify some things.  I was in a VA Inpatient Mental Health Facility going through Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD and attending groups and classes pertaining to Depression, Substance Abuse, Alcohol Abuse and PTSD, from Jan 24-May 15, 2017. I filed my FDC while in the hospital. The C&P office was located in the same building where most of my classes were located. I had gotten to know the staff there before hand as I was working to get my Persian Gulf Exam scheduled through their office and I had taken some Vietnam vets who were in the program with me to the office to help them get Agent Orange Exams scheduled. So one week after I filed my claim the staff at the C&P office called to the nurses station on my unit and had them put a message in my mailbox that stated I needed to go the C&P office. I went over there the next morning and they asked when I would like my exam, and since I told them as soon as possible, I had a 0900 appointment the next morning.

I am sure another factor that helped speed up the process was the fact that I did click "Yes" that I was Homeless or At Risk of Being Homeless. I did have a call into the Veteran's Crisis Line in Dec 2016 seeking homeless resources as I was in a pretty bad spot and it appeared that I was going to be losing my house when I was just around six months away from having it paid off. I have heard that if you do indicate that you are Homeless/At Risk of Being Homeless when filing your claim that it can expedite it to about 20% faster, but I don't know the actual facts about that.  Luckily, thank God, I can say that my house did get paid off while I was inpatient at the VA and that once I pay a family member back, who looked out for me while I was getting treatment, I will be free and clear on any money owed on it. Also while I was in the VA hospital I actually got linked up with some veterans who run non-profit organizations for homeless veterans and have already done some incredible work with them. Being in the situation I was in makes me grateful for where I am at today, but also more eager than ever to help those who are still out there struggling.

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"No longer needed" can mean a couple of things,

First, they have your information already, or

Second, they don't need your information to complete your claim.

Either way, you won't know until you get your rating letter.

As far as your status on eBenifits, it can go back and forth a bunch of times.  My favorite is when it goes from Notification back to gathering evidence.  Talk about a downer.  But it usually comes back to Notification the next day and three days later you get the letter in the mail.

When I have a claim in the hopper, I watch it a least two or three times a day.  Some people can't handle that kind of stress, but it relaxes me and I like the rush when I see something move on eBenefits.  Like when the estimated completion date changes from three years out to two and a half.  LOL.  Maybe I should claim that.

Good luck,






“There is no hook my friend. There's only what we do.”  Doc Holiday 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

just my opinion but when it says no  no longer needed   is usually favorable indication that you have been approved  it just don't say for how much until you get your packet in the mail  or an unofficial letter from your VSO.

My favorite thing is when they say ''In prep for decision''

Sounds like you have  good team at your VMC  and yes they do work a homeless veteran faster.especially with this New Administration.

Congratulations on getting your home paid off  that's a milestone in life to say the least.


Edited by Buck52

I am not an Attorney or VSO, any advice I provide is not to be construed as legal advice, therefore not to be held out for liable BUCK!!!

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Don't speculate, wait for the E-Ben Award update, the Retro Hit or the Award/Denial Letter arriving. There's always a possibility of a Denial.

As to RETRO, be sure your VA Direct Deposit Bank/CU Account is setup to Txt & Email you real-time, regarding ALL financial transactions.               Semper Fi

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Wow....just got movement toady. It went from Preparation for Decision to Pending Decision Approval. My estimated Claim Completion Date also just changed from 06/21/2017 - 08/02/2017 to
06/15/2017 - 06/19/2017.

The only thing is that this was a Fully Developed Claim with both Mental and Physical Disabilities on it. I had a very favorable Psych C&P, as I already mentioned, but I didn't have any C&P exam that covered the multiple physical disabilities claimed.

I have a strong feeling that they will be sending this back to Gathering of Evidence...or does anyone think that they will complete it as is???

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Also just noticed that as soon as I got the movement to Pending Decision Approval that there was something new under "Documents Needed From Others" It has a Red Dot next to it and has a due date of 07-12-2017. It also says <VA Facility> and nothing else listed.

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