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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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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

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • 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
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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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https://www.va.gov/vetapp15/files2/1518640.txt

In Part:

"As discussed above, a TDIU claim is part of this appeal pursuant to Rice, 22 Vet. App. 447.  As any decision with respect to the claims for an increased rating for PTSD and hearing loss may affect the claim for a TDIU, the claim for a TDIU is inextricably intertwined with the claims for an increased rating on appeal; as such, adjudication of the TDIU claim is deferred until adjudication of the increased rating claims."

"The Veteran has not been afforded a VA examination regarding the etiology of his rectal cancer disorder.  He maintains that rectal sarcoma is a form of "soft tissue"

"Accordingly, the Board finds that the Veteran should be afforded a VA examination to assist in determining whether his currently diagnosed rectal carcinoma is related to service, to include herbicide exposure. "

"On remand, efforts should be made to obtain these treatment records and associate them with the claims file.  Further, the Board finds that a VA examination of the Veteran's son may aid in substantiating the claim.  Thus, the Board finds that a VA examination of the Veteran's son is warranted."(helpless child claim-)

"Accordingly, the claims for an initial rating in excess of 30 percent for PTSD and an initial compensable rating for bilateral hearing are remanded to the AOJ for review and re-adjudication."

"As discussed above, a TDIU claim is part of this appeal pursuant to Rice, 22 Vet. App. 447.  As any decision with respect to the claims for an increased rating for PTSD and hearing loss may affect the claim for a TDIU, the claim for a TDIU is inextricably intertwined with the claims for an increased rating on appeal; as such, adjudication of the TDIU claim is deferred until adjudication of the increased rating claims."

The peripheral neuropathy was denied because it had been diagnosed as alcoholic neuropathy.

It will take an Independent medical opinion to re-open that claim with a full medical rationale that the PN is due to the DMII.

In my opinion, the hearing loss claim, and the rectal cancer claim will definitely need an IMO.

If he falls into the higher PTSD rating criteria  ( here in our Schedule of Ratings forum)with evidence, that might not need an IMO.

There are potentially newer claims you mentioned, but I feel they too will need a strong IMO.

After this remand it appears that the DMII claim was awarded as well as the 100% Prostate cancer.

It would take an IMO to determine if the SC prostate cancer metastisized to the rectal cancer.

I hope you have a good vet rep or VSO helping you....because the July 6th 2015 award letter might have render the TDIU claim as Moot.

There is very little time left ( with a remand over 2 years old) to obtain any evidence to support the remanded issues. Have you heard anything at all, from the VARO on the remand or received any letters about what they still might need?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have you heard anything at all, from the VARO on the remand or received any letters about what they still might need? 

No, have not heard from VARO regarding the remand or have not received any letters about what else still needed.  Waiting to have a follow up discussion with Agent about new claims and adding new information to sure up appeal on denials as well as remanded issues.

Denial of the Neuropathy to be connected to alcoholism has been a challenge. VA gets something in their heads and everyone who assesses the case chants the same reframe (prior to DM2 diagnosis).

 

Yes......"After this remand it appears that the DMII claim was awarded as well as the 100% Prostate cancer."

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To add:

from the remand:

"Helpless Child Claim The Veteran is seeking additional dependent benefits for his adult son, O.L.H., on the basis that he is a helpless child permanently incapable of self-support. He was born in 1975 and turned 18 years old in 1993. The Board's review of the record reveals that further development of this issue is required. In an October 2011 statement, the Veteran's wife noted that their son was in receipt of Supplemental Security Income benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). To ensure that the record is complete, the RO/AMC should obtain records associated with O.L.H.'s award of Supplemental Security Income by the SSA as such records are relevant to the current appeal and must be obtained. See Golz v. Shinseki, 590 F.3d 1317 (Fed. Cir. 2010); see also 38 C.F.R. § 3.159(c)(2). Further, O.L.H.'s mother has reported, and has submitted supporting evidence, that O.L.H. received treatment from Dr. Williams. According to a June 2012 letter, Dr. Williams had dictated a letter in support of the claim, but due to his busy schedule, had not been able to submit the letter to VA. The June 2012 letter notes that the Veteran's son had psychological and medical problems at a very young age and was enrolled in special education classes. A review of the evidence of record reveals that treatment records pertaining to O.L.H. have not been requested. On remand, efforts should be made to obtain these treatment records and associate them with the claims file. Further, the Board finds that a VA examination of the Veteran's son may aid in substantiating the claim. Thus, the Board finds that a VA examination of the Veteran's son is warranted."

 

Has the letter from the doctor ever been prepared and sent to the VA?

It seems to me that the July 2015 award letter should have taken note of the "helpless child" claim".

 

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This link holds  the PTSD rating schedule:

 

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  • Similar Content

    • 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...:
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      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?  
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      B.      Is Substitution needed to do CUE claims or to receive any backpay on them?
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            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:
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                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:
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           2.       TDIU decision being effective 2006 (but he was unemployable per SSDI in 2000?) 
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           4.       100% effective date adjusted back due to Nehmer 2010 addition listing it as a presumptive
           5.       Combination of all the above?
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    • 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.  
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    • By Berta
      http://community.hadit.com/topic/69387-poopsy-woopsy/
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      All other surviving spouses of vets who had claims pending at death must file as substituted claimant or for accrued benefits within one year of the veteran's death. Accrued benefits are defined in detail here under a search.
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      “I.  Retroactive Benefits
       
      The appellant contends that the Veteran's heart disease was due to Agent Orange exposure and, therefore,  retroactive benefits are warranted pursuant to the Nehmer decision. 
       
      This is not a claim for accrued benefits.  The RO, on its own initiative, sent the appellant a letter in March 2011 explaining that it was going to review the matter pursuant to Nehmer v. Veterans Administration of the Gov't of the U.S., 284 F. 3d 1158 (9th Cir. 2002).  The provisions of 38 U.S.C. 5121(c) and §3.1000(c), which require survivors to file claims for accrued benefits, do not apply to payments under 38 C.F.R. § 3.816, regarding awards under the Nehmer Court Orders for disability or death caused by a condition presumptively associated with herbicide exposure.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.816(f)(2) (2015).
       
       
      1) Applicable Law
       
      Retroactive benefits may be paid under Nehmer if a Nehmer class member is entitled to disability compensation for a covered herbicide disease.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.816. 
       
      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). 
       
      The covered herbicide diseases are listed in 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e).  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.816(b)(2).  This list includes ischemic heart disease, which was added to the list of covered herbicide diseases effective from August 31, 2010.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e); 75 Fed. Reg. 53202 (Aug. 31, 2010). “
      https://www.va.gov/vetapp16/files2/1609942.txt
      (this BVA claim for DIC was denied but still held the exact regulation regarding Retroactive Benefits which made it far easier for survivors to attain than trying to claim accrued if over a year had passed after the veteran's death)
      I recall here over the past 2 decades that we never dreamed the VA would ever compensate IHD for AO exposure.
      Certainly many and probably ALL  widows with a AO IHD death claim never could have filed for accrued benefits anyhow for AO IHD because there was no regulation for AO IHD prior to August 2010.
      The above claim was denied thus:
      "FINDINGS OF FACT 1. The Veteran did not have service in the Republic of Vietnam and is, therefore, not a Nehmer class member. 2. The current effective date of November 1, 2008, represents the first day of the month in which the Veteran's death occurred where the appellant's claim was received within one year after the date of his death."
      But it did contain a good explanation of Retro payments instead of "accrued" benefits, that Nehmer Class action members, as survivors, could expect even if an accrued claim had never been filed for AO IHD. 
      And just to add....many of us Nehmer Class action survivors were also Footnote One claimants.
      I have explained Footnote One here Many times since 2010 and added Rick Spataro's emails to me on it ( NVLSP Head AO lawyer) and all of that that is easily searchable here ( I hope) and was the most important and  unique aspect of Nehmer 2010.
      Agent Orange is still harming and killing our nation's veterans. But only those vets or their survivors as defined in the above citation from the BVA and in the  the Nehmer Court Orders are Nehmer class action members.
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Andyman73
      Got some good news to share.  Some of you may know, or recall, that I had written elsewhere on here, that my Dad(Nam combat, 24 yr career retired, 60% SCD) and I don't exactly communicate very well.  The grapevine tells me that it's my own lack of communication skills are the problem.  Anyway, while updating my folks after yesterday's 6 month foster child case review court session, Dad went off topic to let me know that the VA has opened an AO claim for/on him.  Said they initiated it(???)and that he has a bunch of appointments scheduled over the next few months.  I was quite surprised that he wanted to tell me about that...since I'm usually the last to know, and my wife is usually the one telling me.
      So...is there anything I should tell him to tell them?  I don't know too much about his overall health, beyond his Nam related back injury.  Thanks.
      Andy
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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • 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
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