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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

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

 

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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

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  • HadIt.com Elder

When I finally figured out  the 2 remands, I realized as well- that Janesville is where  subsequent evidence,;like the IMO should have been sent.I was confused by those older dates of past RO decisions.

https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/mailingaddresses.asp

I also wanted to say that the IMO might be in your husband's C file.

That is where I found all of the stuff the VA had received from me, but had ignored.

It was  the most critical and probative evidence I had sent to them.

When I gave testimony to the Sub Committee, House VAC, I put in the testimony letter,  copies in color of 53 USPS Priority tracking slips of what I had sent to the RO, to prove they had my evidence but withheld it from a C & P examiner, as well as the OGC.

Only by being aggressive did I manage to get the evidence they withheld from OGC, to the OGC and that is when they settled with me. They did this to the Regional Counsel as well- He wanted to settle with me within a few months after getting the SF 95.I already  have griped about what they did then with a critical Peer Review report- that supported all f my malpractices charges. So the FTCA took a few years and tyet could have been resolved in a few months.

I used the Peer Review report I found in my C file ( VA told me it had never existed) and I used it as evidence for my AO IHD claim.

Not only were my husband's medical records a template for proving a prime facie case of malpractice, the C file also contained for me Multiple surprises.

Without these records ( C file, and VA med recs, )and without SMRs and 201 files, 

a claimant might never succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm thinking that is a possibility that perhaps some information that is being ignored due to purposefulness.... My husband began in the mid 1990's on some of his illnesses PTSD intertwined with heavy drinking,. It  frightened the be Jeepers out of  him when they told him he would have to endure a recreated Vietnam Experience  as a  setting to evaluate him ( I understand they no longer do this anymore. Tp avoid being put through this, he didn't go back to the VA for awhile..... Around the early 2000's he filed again on PTSD.....[again ignored. Somewhere around the early  to mid  1990's  prior to 18 from days of a child of 8 or 9 (Bipolar, Schizophrenia   or the combination of the two  is difficult to pinpoint identify in young children because looking back, there were signs we just didn't know what it was called. Illnesses like Bipolar and Schizophrenia  exhibits  different from adults) It was mentioned  at some earlier point to VA; It was ignored. .It is typically  the teenaged  years that heighten over the years to full blown mental health issues  not occurring in younger children as recognizable to identify  

Then at the encouragement of my late father (military retired and disabled veteran), my husband went to  VA  2011 due to extreme weight loss; falling down; heavy drinking,   I was still working at the time . I ended up leaving my job mid way through 2011/ I wouldn't know what to expect when I got home,. Quite a few times, I'd find him on the floor where had fallen. he retired early because he had become so combative ; he was not getting alone with folks on the job due to  too many bosses and not enough  workers.  Emerging unsafe working conditions aggravated his anxieties ----- During the prior years of working he had worked in a control environment with just a few people  with a commitment to safety. As years went by the company's  changing ownership and  the practice began assigning  more people to work on a shift; then ownership changed for the company and the company began cutting corners and taking unsafe risk. My husband began being caught  too many times in precarious situations  reminding him too much  of Vietnam whereby the Grace of God, was his saving grace. The final straw occurred  while he stood on top of a large piece of equipment whereby unsafe conditions existed  for an explosion' at any moment! That was the day he put in paperwork to retire. 

Additionally, my husband was treated shabbily by VA because he had a coexisting  alcohol problem. VA was always low balling his PTSD and  denying his Neuropathy claims because VA  made  scoffing snide put-down comments  and cited alcohol related in lieu of an aggravation being  triggered by PTSD. 

I'm thinking  as you surmised, there is a possibility that perhaps some information that is being ignored purposefully.

 

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On 7/26/2020 at 7:54 PM, DonH said:

I'm thinking that is a possibility that perhaps some information that is being ignored due to purposefulness.... My husband began in the mid 1990's on some of his illnesses PTSD intertwined with heavy drinking,. It  frightened the be Jeepers out of  him when they told him he would have to endure a recreated Vietnam Experience  as a  setting to evaluate him ( I understand they no longer do this anymore. Tp avoid being put through this, he didn't go back to the VA for awhile..... Around the early 2000's he filed again on PTSD.....[again ignored. Somewhere around the early  to mid  1990's  prior to 18 from days of a child of 8 or 9 (Bipolar, Schizophrenia   or the combination of the two  is difficult to pinpoint identify in young children because looking back, there were signs we just didn't know what it was called. Illnesses like Bipolar and Schizophrenia  exhibits  different from adults) It was mentioned  at some earlier point to VA; It was ignored. .It is typically  the teenaged  years that heighten over the years to full blown mental health issues  not occurring in younger children as recognizable to identify  

Then at the encouragement of my late father (military retired and disabled veteran), my husband went to  VA  2011 due to extreme weight loss; falling down; heavy drinking,   I was still working at the time . I ended up leaving my job mid way through 2011/ I wouldn't know what to expect when I got home,. Quite a few times, I'd find him on the floor where had fallen. he retired early because he had become so combative ; he was not getting alone with folks on the job due to  too many bosses and not enough  workers.  Emerging unsafe working conditions aggravated his anxieties ----- During the prior years of working he had worked in a control environment with just a few people  with a commitment to safety. As years went by the company's  changing ownership and  the practice began assigning  more people to work on a shift; then ownership changed for the company and the company began cutting corners and taking unsafe risk. My husband began being caught  too many times in precarious situations  reminding him too much  of Vietnam whereby the Grace of God, was his saving grace. The final straw occurred  while he stood on top of a large piece of equipment whereby unsafe conditions existed  for an explosion' at any moment! That was the day he put in paperwork to retire. 

Additionally, my husband was treated shabbily by VA because he had a coexisting  alcohol problem. VA was always low balling his PTSD and  denying his Neuropathy claims because VA  made  scoffing snide put-down comments  and cited alcohol related in lieu of an aggravation being  triggered by PTSD. 

I'm thinking  as you surmised, there is a possibility that perhaps some information that is being ignored purposefully.

 

DonH,

This sound like the place for an extra-schedular claim.  Complicated and long standing.  The ROs and DROs and denying because they can and are pressured to do so.  Your husband needs to get them under the thumb of the Executive Director, Compensation Services, Beth Murphy.  I had an extra-schedular claim that lay ignored from 1987 to 2017.  It was ignored until a BVA Judge remanded it.  Then I had a DRO that actually went through the file, without any errors or omissions, in his report to the Executive Director.  I was awarded back pay to September 16, 1985.

I think more than just the colon cancer are related to Agent Orange.  He won't get a fair shake unless he rocks the boat a little.  If he wants to take it slower, rather than appeal to the Court, the extra-schedular claim which has no time limits is the way to go.  I was a Corpsman in Vietnam from October 1965 to October 1967 through two Agent Orange operations, Prairie I and Prairie II.  No Purple Heart so no primary battle incident for PTSD.  If your husband would like to connect, I'd be happy to help you talk him through this.  My email address is lembray@gmail.com .  The Executive Director does not need a CUE to correct.  Only what she finds as an error.

Your husband needs to think of you also.  Even TDIU gets you health care and survivor benefits no matter what his cause of death is.  He did his time in the place and is due correct compensation like any other person damaged in employment.  He shouldn't let his PTSD hold him back from being compensated for the AO residuals from probably being sprayed with it in the field.  I've met few Marines that weren't soaked and unable to flush off and change clothes the way I was when I spilled some from a barrel on me and jumped in the Cua Viet River.

I would just simply ask for extra-schedular Agent Orange and PTSD.  My son's stepfather was ALS SC from AO.  He is deceased now but was 100%. 

 

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Lastly, the Board has awarded service connection for diabetes mellitus and hypertension and neuropathy are recognized by VA as being potential complications of diabetes." And "The clinician must provide reasons for each opinion given. In this regard, the clinician should address the NAS’s determination that there is now sufficient evidence of an association between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure (See Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018)). The fact that hypertension is not yet on the list of diseases presumed to be associated with exposure to Agent Orange should not be the basis for a negative opinion." https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files4/20024447.txt This case was decided on 04/09/20 Jonathan Hager Veterans Law Judge Board of Veterans’ Appeals Right ---the 2012 report is clear-  "sufficient evidence of association between AO and Hypertension." Veterans Law Judge Board of Veterans’ Appeals https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files4/20029600.txt But in this case the BVA stated:   "The Board previously denied this claim in a February 2019 decision finding the most persuasive evidence of record did not support a nexus between hypertension and service or his PTSD. With regard to Agent Orange exposure, the Board noted recent NAS findings (the most recent Agent Orange update) indicative of “limited or suggestive” association between hypertension and herbicide exposure, but found such association was not conclusive in this Veteran’s specific case. Rather, according to a June 2018 VA examiner’s opinion and the examiner’s research into the relevant medical literature, a connection between Agent Orange exposure and the development of hypertension would only be possible within individuals in the Army Chemical Corps whom directly handled herbicides. Since the Veteran served as an M-113 armored personal carrier and not in the Army Chemical Corps, the June 2018 VA examiner found a nexus in this case unlikely. The Board denied the claim mainly relying on the June 2018 VA examiner’s opinion."   Yet in this case ,the BVA stated: "The February 2019 Board denial was vacated and remanded by virtue of a February 2020 JMR. Therein, the parties agreed that the June 2018 VA examination relied upon by the Board was inadequate. In particular, the parties agreed the matter was previously remanded in September 2015 and again in September 2016 for a VA examiner to specifically consider the 2012 NAS conclusion that found suggestive evidence of an association between herbicide exposure and hypertension notwithstanding that VA has not added hypertension to the list of conditions presumptively associated with Agent Orange exposure. In contrast, the June 2018 VA examiner noted review of the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, but no specific mention or consideration of the NAS Agent Orange update. The examiner found a nexus between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure unlikely because “[e]xposure to herbicides is not presumptive for service connection.” While the examiner noted suggestive data of a connection between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure where a serviceman had more direct handling of herbicides, there is nothing in the VA examination report that indicates the examiner specifically considered the NAS Agent Orange update as directed in two prior Board remands." This case was decided a little over 3 weeks later than the other one I posted first here. SHEREEN M. MARCUS Veterans Law Judge Board of Veterans’ Appeals https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files5/20032464.txt Yet the two AO Hypertension awards ( maybe there are more by now) clearly refers to (as I did in the accrued claim I have pending) tothe most recent AO HBP NAs report which Ihave posted here in the AO forum months ago:   "In the alternative, as explained above, the Veteran is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange in service and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) moved hypertension from the “limited or suggestive” category and indicated that there is now “sufficient evidence” of an association between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure. See Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018). Also, early onset peripheral neuropathy is a disease that is presumed to be associated with herbicide agent exposure. Lastly, the Board has awarded service connection for diabetes mellitus and hypertension and neuropathy are recognized by VA as being potential complications of diabetes." And "The clinician must provide reasons for each opinion given. In this regard, the clinician should address the NAS’s determination that there is now sufficient evidence of an association between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure (See Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018)). The fact that hypertension is not yet on the list of diseases presumed to be associated with exposure to Agent Orange should not be the basis for a negative opinion." https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files4/20024447.txt This case was decided on 04/09/20   Jonathan Hager Veterans Law Judge Board of Veterans’ Appeals   Right ---the 2012 report is clear- "sufficient evidence of association between AO and Hypertension." Geez, if the BVA judges are not all up on the latest NAS report- they have denied some vets of their rights- because the report might not award all AO exposed vets for HBP, but it is still at a high level that should prompt consideration. "Sufficient" is a higher level of association then many past AO disabilities have had in NAS reports.
      Any takers on this?????? I was stunned to see how two of these law judges were not aware of the NAS 2018 report.
      Tomorrow I might find more BVA judges don't know about it either---- this means on remand, the veteran might get a lousy C & P exam and be denied again, unless the veteran finds out about the NAS 2018 report.
       
       
             
    • By Foxhound6
      Berta and all. Here is what I have so far from my friend and his mother that I was speaking about the other day. From what I can tell, They do have the DD214 and DD215's. However, there DD214 itself does not show any type of locations of service as the newer ones do.It does show a previous command which I assume is the one he deployed with. I took notice of the "Foreign/Seas service" section of his 214 and noticed he has Foreign service for 11 months and 20 or so days, just long enough to be in Vietnam... However, I feel I may have to dig up records pertaining to that unit at the time in order to prove it? I am unsure on that exactly. It was also strange they had 2 DD215's, also unsure what to make of that. *edit - I remember the wife speaking about the veteran making a stop in Okinawa before Vietnam. I found a unit that fits that timeline of when the veteran would have arrive in Okinawa to link up with as a support engineer. I dont have a way to confirm, but it fits...:
      " On July 4, 1965, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines was ordered to Vietnam. During this first year 9th Marines took part in approximately 45 battalion-sized and several company-sized operations. During the next four years 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines operated in or around Danang, Hue, Phu Bai, Dong Ha, Camp Carrol, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Than Cam Son, Quanq Tri, Cua Viet, Vandergrift Combat Base and Khe Sanh. For its actions in Vietnam 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines was awarded a third Presidential Unit Citation, a bronze star in lieu of second award of the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two silver stars, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm. In August 1969, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines left Vietnam and returned to Okinawa. Its role in the Southeast Asian Conflict ended with the recapture of the Mayaquez and the landing on Koh Tang Island in May 1975 (Veteran completed his training sometime in 1969). In February 1979, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines became the first battalion to rotate to the United States as part of the unit deployment program. " via http://www.2ndbattalion9thmarines.org/About_Us
      As far as medical is concerned, I believe I have enough to prove the VA wrong. The mother has HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of medical records pertaining to his disability. I couldn't copy them all but I found many pertinent ones that show the initial DX plus ongoing treatment. I am posting all of it here in hopes someone might make more sense of it along with the Rating decision. Sorry for some of the photos, the mother found more docs after I left and sent them via her phone.
       








      Matt Spina Bifida_Redacted.pdf
    • By Persistant
      I uploaded (last week) some of the decisions my late husband had gotten and Berta spotted a couple CUEs and gave me some help in drafting them.  Berta if you are able to help with a few more questions Please?  
      I have only 2 more days till my year is up from the DIC/Accrued benefits claim where DIC was awarded and Accrued denied saying there aren't any.  At that time also, I intended Substitution but the VA form got separated (my fault) and didn't get submitted. I, however, wrote it into the 21-534EZ form and checked it. I also included a cover letter that said explicitly I was substituting for any and all accrued benefits...  They didn't address substitution in their decision.  Now with the CUEs which aren't an accrued yet, do I need to address those 2 forms immediately before the deadline?
      Here are some questions I still have if you could clarify these for me please:
      A.      Is a NOD for accrued benefits claimed with DIC a year ago needed – to appeal their conclusion that there are no accrued benefits? Would any backpay from these CUEs be considered accrued benefits that I would have to NOD the decision now for?
      B.      Is Substitution needed to do CUE claims or to receive any backpay on them?
      C.      What happens when future presumptions of ao are added to the list going forward (as a surviving spouse) does it affect anything I can act on?
            1.        Conditions claimed before – either rated or denied sc          
            2.       Would conditions listed in the C-File but never claimed come into play ever as a presumptive?
      D.      If CUE is successful:
           1.       then qualifying for housebound or A&A will need to be judged and evidence has never been presented before…
                a.       does the judgement come only from the C-File?  And if so, should I include printouts from C-File to bring attention to issues pertaining to them? 
                b.      Can any evidence be added (from that date and before) since it was never considered before?  And if so, do I include it with the CUE claim?
      E.       IHD was first decided as 30% and went back to one year prior to our first claim – effective 2004…the bump up to 60% was effective   .  But the 100% was effective 2006…Should any of those effective dates be different because:
           1.       SSDI was in place for IHD qualification date of 12/2000  
           2.       TDIU decision being effective 2006 (but he was unemployable per SSDI in 2000?) 
           3.        100% decision?   
           4.       100% effective date adjusted back due to Nehmer 2010 addition listing it as a presumptive
           5.       Combination of all the above?
      F.       Many of the evidence documents we submitted are not in the C-File and none of the forms we submitted are there to prove what we submitted or said.  Is that normal?
      G.     Also, the only SS docs in the C-File are the ones where I outline his conditions and behaviors in answer to the many questions on the intake paperwork for that SS claim.  There’s 4 pages of handwritten (including along margins due to space shortage)  that I doubt anyone is going to wade through but it’s filled with problems he was having.  Should I type it all out and attach it to the handwritten forms?
      H.      We submitted the whole SS file but can’t prove it.  We even wrote a letter to our Congressman to help us get a particular letter sent to us by SS along with their decision listing a myriad of restrictions to employment they concluded for him.  I couldn’t find it and neither could SS but the Congressman did try for us. I have those communications too, but don’t want to drown them in paperwork with this claim.  Any thoughts?
      Again, thank you Berta. I did try the other people you suggested without success.   
      And thank you to everyone here who has helped  me or does going forward!  
    • By Persistant
      Berta told me about Footnote One Nehmer yesterday and I had not heard about that although I do know about Nehmer.  And yes my husband was rated for Ischemic heart disease before it was added to the presumptive list. And his death certificate signed by his GP at VA saying long term heart disease.  It was rated as secondary to diabetes (which was rated 20% initially) and was already a presumptive condition. He had applied for both at that time - about 2003 or 2004.  He was rated 30% initially for his heart even though he had had a quadruple bypass (Dec 2000) with neurological complications, extensive scar tissue from many previous heart attacks that had to be cleaned out before the bypass could proceed in surgery.  He had a TIA on the operating table and post pump syndrome from being on the heart lung machine so long (due to the cleanup) for surgery.  He was told by his heart specialist he could no longer work at what he was skilled to do. He was granted SS Disability as a result 9 months later.  
      He filed his first VA claim a couple years later when his buddy finally persuaded him to do it.  He had been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 1997.  They didn't address any of the neurological stuff (from the heart surgery) as I recall at all or the post pump syndrome (which usually goes away rather quickly but was a problem for at least a couple years for Don).  The lower left ventricle of his heart was dead already before surgery from previous attacks we didn't know about - silent due to diabetes.  And his ejection fraction was 25 before and right after surgery and then came up to 30-35.  It bounced around some over the years but was usually 30-40. He had an echocardiogram every year which approximated it. After 2 hospitalizations for Congestive Heart Failure over the next few years, they finally rated him 60% heart and 40% diabetes (when he became insulin dependant.  Shortly after starting insulin  - a few months -  Don was put on an insulin pump because he was needing so much insulin and put him on the U500 insulin which is very closely monitored because of being so very strong) and VA rated him for 10% each leg for Peripheral Neuropathy.  Don also claimed PTSD, which should have been granted, as we had a few years worth of records already from a private practice psychologist the VA had recommended whose report said he had it and it was from VietNam (non-combat).  But Va's C&P psychologist or psyciatrist said he wasn't sure of that origin. He agreed Don had it. They asked us to prove Don's stressors.  We searched for months for other guys Don remembered being there, found one but couldn't prove the stressors.  They never contacted us when the requirement to prove stressors was lifted to re-evaluate his claim.
      In 2006 they rated  him TDIU and his heart 100% by itself in the same decision with effective dates a few months apart???  Makes no sense to me since the TDIU was then dropped due to the 100% rating.  That was his last rating - 2006. He developed kidney failure late 2010 with a hospitalization of a few weeks for Congestive Heart Failure because the kidneys weren't removing the fluid with normal types of hospital treatment. He was treated by a team consisting of his heart specialist,  his GP who had admitted him, and the new Nephrology group the GP brought in. All Private Practice doctors and hospital. They finally tried something rather bold, I'm told, that started the fluid draining.  After discharge, at home, he had a few weeks of digital monitoring of his stats, reports I had to give them on weight and output amounts etc. and nurse visits and was told to prepare for dialysis.
      About that time his doctor at VA called, alarmed, at his rapid decline in kidney function. That is in the medical records at VA along with numerous notations of him being on dialysis and having a port in his abdomen for it, every time he went in for a 6 month checkup.
      As you know, Berta, we asked about rating his kidney failure (which his doctors say was from diabetes making it another secondary condition of diabetes and so service connected..) and 3 different VSOs in 3 locations each said we couldn't go above 100%. I didn't know about these kind of forums then.  And only discovered the blog I reference below, by accident.  We also asked his doctors at VA and they didn't know either.  But one of them (unbeknownst to us) requested payment from VA for the 'dialysis treatment plan' and they agreed to pay for supplies, treatment, bi-monthly clinic followups with the 'team' (nephrologist, nurse, dietician, social worker). They also covered delivery of supplies to our home bi-monthly (huge amount of heavy bags of fluid and much more.).  He had started dialysis April 2011 and they began paying April 2013 and continued until his death Dec 6, 2015.  In March 2015 I saw a blog about Special Monthly Compensation and about rating conditions beyond the 100% level. I asked for an analysis of Don's case and the attorney agreed requesting Don's C-File from VA in March. It didn't arrive until late Aug 2015.  The analysis  wasn't quite finished when he died.  A & A was definitely something he qualified for as well and I have many statements from friends, relatives, our pastor etc as well as notes in VA's files and doctor statements about it. But that's another story.
      I don't know if Nehmer affects anything I've said here or not.  Does anyone else?  Berta?  And we were not ever contacted by VA or NVLSP about it.  Maybe because he was already 100%? 
      I did apply for DIC and Accrued benefits within the year following his death and was granted DIC and denied accrued because they said there weren't any.  They never checked his C file or medical records or Treasury to discover anything really. I had thought the attorney would represent me in an appeal but he's decided not to.
      My DIC was granted at the higher level due to Don having been 100% for over 8 years.  I'm not sure what you thought I interpreted wrong about that Berta.  
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