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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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DonH

Monomelic Amyotrophy

Question

ALS Variant?

 

I'm a Vet Wife. I post on behalf of my husband, I'm his note taker at doctor's appointments and consults.  I'm his support system and all around cheerleader. Lord knows we have had our VA battles. All these years after Vietnam, the onset of my husband's emerging illnesses, obviously percolating internally has emerged  one after another. We've seen subtle signs and some not so subtle. But didn't; know what those sign meant. The VA didn't do a very good job of educating the older veterans about what to be aware of regarding SC disabilities,

My veteran husband's a Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran  served in US Marine Corps. My husband  has several service connected disabilities. My husband diagnosed with Monomelic Amyotrophy recently; it is a Motor neuron (MND) disease that is the umbrella covering all type Motor neuron diseases and variants. To which ALS/ Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and variants falling under the same umbrella as being classified as Motor Neuron Disease (MND). As exhibited in cases of muscle loss: Monomelic Atrophy.

ALS causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that leads to muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and spontaneous muscle activity. The VA Doctors pondered whether my husband had ALS or MS. Yet, the Neuromuscular Head Physician conceded that my husband's illnesses was an ALS variant because his illness fell under the umbrella of Motor Neuron Diseases as did ALS......is a Motor Neuron disease. ???? We don't know how VA will decide.

Other complicating issues:

*Spinal issue (S Curve of spine)

*Multi focal motor neuropathy associate with Diabetes 2 is a part of the mix/entwined as well. 

 

However, most severely is the inability of identifying the exact reason for the monomelic atrophy.

Although it was hoped a more exact finding will be determined when all results of updated blood tests were in.

On May 2017: *Blood test are in; determination that no immune diseases are present

Possible treatment of an intravenous treatment once every three months or medications with steroids would be beneficial. No effective treatment available.

 

MMA

Diagnosis. 

Inflammatory Arthritis is Part of the neuropathy (Special kind of neuropathy)

As well as severe spine problems. Very rare complicated illnesses intersecting and exacerbating primary and/or secondary with veteran's service connected disabilities.

 

Monomeric atrophy......Veteran has lost the use of his right hand and right forearm weakened and wasting away.

One limb atrophy

See notes…..described as one limb muscle atrophy

 

Spinal cord (S curve of spinal cord) compression on top on addition the monomeric

 

Toxic agent like Agent Orange could more likely than not" a contributor for neuropathy.

 

Immune diseases (no)

 

Deterioration. Of bones on vertebra

Spondylosis...inflammatory arthritis 

Acts like spinal cord injury 

 

(Findings of EMG) EMG to confirm the diagnosis ( Neuromuscular VA Physician at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas)

Table of Rated Disabilities

Disability

Rating

Decision

Related To

Peripheral Neuropathy, Left Lower Extremity

 

Not Service Connected

Denied as…. early as 2011… Yet, D to pinpoint as severe symptomatic complexities of Monomelic Amyotrophy variant of ALS in 2017….should be cued.

Peripheral Neuropathy, Right Lower Extremity

 

Not Service Connected

Denied as…. early as 2011…  Yet, ID to pinpoint as severe symptomatic complexities of Monomelic Amyotrophy variant of ALS in 2017….should be cued

Agent Orange - Vietnam

Neuropathy, Left Upper Extremity

 

Not Service Connected

Denied as…. early as 2011…  Yet, ID to pinpoint as severe symptomatic complexities of Monomelic Amyotrophy variant of ALS in 2017….should be cued

Bilateral Hearing Loss (claimed as diminished hearing)

0%

Service Connected

 

Tinnitus (claimed as ringing in both ears)

10%

Service Connected

 

headaches

 

Not Service Connected

 

depression

 

Not Service Connected

 

skeletal arthritis aching of the joints (unspecified)

 

Not Service Connected

Arthritis denied as…. early as 2015…  Yet, ID to pinpoint as being symptomatic complexity of Monomelic Amyotrophy variant of ALS in 2017….should be cued

post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, also claimed as depression and anxiety)

30%

Service Connected

PTSD - Combat

Hypertension

0%

Service Connected

 

Neuropathy, Right Upper Extremity

 

 

Rectal carcinoma claimed as rectal cancer, a soft tissue cancer)

 

Not Service Connected

Agent Orange - Vietnam

Still on since  12/11/14 appeal

Remand 5/15

scar, shrapnel right knee

10%

Service Connected

 

09/18/2013

diabetes mellitus type II

10%

Service Connected

Agent Orange - Vietnam

07/06/2015

prostate cancer

100%

Service Connected

Agent Orange - Vietnam

07/06/2015

erectile dysfunction

0%

Service Connected

 

07/06/2015

 

Neuropathy, Right Upper Extremity Denied as…. early as 2011…  Yet.ID to pinpoint as severe symptomatic complexities of MonomelicAmyotrophy variant of ALS in 2017….should be cued Agent Orange – Vietnam

 

Edited by DonH
adding more details

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I couldn't read the right hand side of the 'related to ' part but were all denied.

Still , was an MRi of your husband's brain done?

Was the PN claimed as secondary to the DMII?  as well as to the motor neuron disease?

The 10 % DMII is VERY low. But maybe it is correct...?????

 "Yet, the Neuromuscular Head Physician conceded that my husband's illnesses was an ALS variant because hiss illness fell under the umbrella of Motor Neuron Diseases as did ALS......is a Motor Neuron disease. ???? We don't know how VA will decide."

 

I assume you have that statement in the veteran's medical records?

Do you have a complete copy of his VA medical records?

 

What was the actual medical terminology the VA used to identify the Soft Tissue Sarcoma ( Rectal cancer)?

Please check out this link from Chris Attig:

https://www.veteranslawblog.org/als/ 

 

Chris Attig, a superb veterans lawyer and also a member here at hadit, won this case regarding a Motor Neuron disease.

I hope he comes aboard here today....

 

 

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Peripheral Neuropathy is often related to DM.  But, before you run to the CUE axe, check and see if the 38 CFR 3.156 knife may just work better.  If they denied you because there was no evidence, then you simply reopen and resubmit the evidence retaining your "supertool" of the Benefit of the doubt/equipose.  Look carefully at both 3.156 B (pending claim) and the other winner winner chicken dinner of 3.156 C (missing service records) 

While I agree it isa compelling  arguement that he is SC for the PN for right upper extremity, but denial for the same condition on his lower extremeties makes "0" sense.  I guess VA is saying, "Ok, this is a miracalous PN that manages to affect the hands, but that PN that effects the feet must have been caused by something else that isnt service connected, as we dont wat to pay benefits on your FEET PN."    Duh.  If the PN is service connected for the hands, its service connected for the feet, too!    Your diabetes is not somehow causing PN in your hands, but, when (the same blood) goes to your feet, it then transposes and no longer causes PN.  ITS CRAZy stuff.  

If you are the note taker, hopefully you have access to all medical records.  However, you need to compare your records with those VA has by ordering a full copy of his cfile including medical records and Service records.    You need to try to determine what is going on here:

1.  Did VA deny you because they were lazy and top sheeted you, not bothering to read? or

2.  Did VA deny you because they were lazy and never got your records at all?  

Number 2 suggests you reopen due to n and m evidence, number one suggests CUE axe.  

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to add; maybe I asked above

Was a Brain MRI done by VA?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4794906/

 

There are many differential diagnoses for Motor Neuron Disease….

Hirayama disease ,for example…if you search  for  more info.

I am adding this link so I don’t forget it:

Dont know why this block came up in my post?

Quote

 

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/nri/2012/608501/

It regards MRIs of brain re: ALS.

In my case I was able to decifer my husband’s MRI of brain to succeed in my FTCA case, and 1151 claims.

After he died I was able to use a photo of an autopsied brain  and marked it as to the MRI findings as to 6-7 areas of VA induced brain damage, in support of the wrongful death claims. 

The VA medical records should reveal a narrative of the MRI findings.

The VA had a brief MRI assessment, typed ..but the true picture and the beginning of a VA cover (I proved) was within 6 pages of very hard to read handwritten notes regarding in part the MRI.

My point here is that MRIs can be very definitive -if a real VA neurologist reads and assesses them.

Edited by Berta

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Remember to focus on stuff that will yield you the best result.  Lets use an example:

Lets say you are 90 percent SC now.  To get to 100 percent you need an additional 50 percent, not the 10 percent your second grade teacher taught you.  

So, with hearing loss, you are unlikely to get over 10 or 20 percent, unless hubby uses sign language to talk to you.  Fretting with the hearing loss rating, of itself is futile as it probably will not get you to 100 percent.  

However, if hubby is not working for example and is unable to work due to sc conditions, then you may want to pick the low lying fruit, which may be his PTSD which could have been lowballed at 30 percent, or it could be the low lying fruit is TDIU.  

Dont forget to think about yourself and your family, too.  DEA Chapter 35, and Champva are HUGE benefits.  DEA if your kids want to go to school, and Champva is the very best health insurance available.  

Both of these require 100 percent P and T.    And, dont forget about DIC for you, too.  Many Vets think of this for their wives, but it sounds like YOU have to consider this as PTSD Vets dont always think clearly.  To get DIC you need to have him Service connected at 100 percent for 10 years before he passes, then it does not matter why he passes.   Under 10 years and he has to pass from service connected conditions for you to get DIC.  Dic will mean an extra 1400 per month or so for you, as his sc benefits will also pass when he dies.  If he was thinking clearly, he would want you to be taken care of after he dies. 

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What is his rating now? TDIU or 100%?

When was the DMII rating made?

Is that 10% still comparable to the VA Schedule of Ratings Here at hadit?

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    • By Berta
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      Nehmer class member means: (i) a Vietnam veteran who has a covered herbicide disease; or (ii) a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a deceased Vietnam veteran who died from a covered herbicide disease.  38 C.F.R. § 3.816(b)(1).  If the class member's claim for disability compensation for the covered herbicide disease was either pending before VA on May 3, 1989, or was received by VA between that date and the effective date of the statute or regulation establishing a presumption of service connection for the covered disease, the effective date of the award will be the later of the date such claim was received by VA or the date the disability arose, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.  38 C.F.R. § 3.816(c)(2). 
       
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    • By Andyman73
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    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
    • 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.?
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    • 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?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • 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.

      ...................Buck
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