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I have been (finally) diagnosed with ALS by the VA. Started getting symptoms in 2015, by 2017 I figured out that the VAMC was not interested in diagnosing those symptoms that were progressing, so I had to go to a non-VA specialist. It took 2 years but in 2019 I was diagnosed w/ALS. VA dragged its feet, and finally in 2021 (after almost 6 years) verified the diagnosis. I have learned a lot about ALS in the meanwhile.
The PVA rep told me that the VA has been refusing to allow SC for Vets if the diagnosis they presented was less than definite ALS. Seems odd because people with possible and probable ALS die and never progress to the definite diagnosis. Started researching this and learned that the possible/probable/definite diagnosis was for research and entry into clinical trials. Found a professional opinion from 22 top specialists in ALS that stated as a matter of fact, all three diagnosis were in fact ALS to a high degree of diagnostic certainty. I submitted that along with several other attachments in a supplementary claim after I was denied last Nov 2020.
My concern is that there may be dozens of Vets with ALS that were denied service connection based on the erroneous criteria. Am attaching a few documents that may help others if they run into this situation. Hope it helps.
6 A proposal for new diagnostic criteria for ALS.pdf 7 World Federation of Neurology Vol 35 No 4 Oct Nov 2020.pdf 8-Neurology Live peer exchange APR 2021.pdf
I have several questions which are at the end of my post, but here is some background information.
I got an email from CCK law firm with a link to this Youtube video. It indicates that the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 was enacted and includes the three new AO presumptives: Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism, and Parkinson's-like symptoms (symptoms similar to Parkinson's without actually having a Parkinson's diagnosis).
My father served in Vietnam boots on the ground, non-combat, for one year and had a number of ailments arise over time both during and after service. He did file for one musculoskeletal disability in the early 1990s and won 10% SC, but nothing else. Whenever I asked him to consider filing new claims, he simply did not want to deal with it. I didn't question him, but brought the idea up periodically. Now, after many discussions, my father recently finally agreed to allow me to help him file new VA claims.
Here are the issues, some are AO-related:
Mental health, memory problems, antisocial behavior, and triggers related to hearing helicopters. This is in part related to AO/Vietnam, but also due to a head injury later in service. Head injury residuals due to a head injury later in service. Sleep impairment and daytime tiredness due to a head injury later in service and hypothyroidism. Digestive issues including heartburn, dysphagia, voiding dysfunction, and alternating constipation and diarrhea in part related to AO/Vietnam, but also in-service diagnosis of food poisoning, frequent gastroenteritis including hospitalization after drinking contaminated water Residuals of insect bites including Lyme disease due to numerous in-service treatments for chiggers and tick bites, including one describing circular formations. Nocturia, frequent nighttime urination (3+/night) Hypothyroidism due to to AO/Vietnam; He was repeatedly diagnosed with this years ago. Parkinson's like symptoms to AO/Vietnam including apathy, cognitive changes, early stage dementia, depression, fatigue, occasional hallucinations, problems swallowing, etc... Fortunately, he had not developed cancer.
My mother and I are working to write buddy letters to support each of the claims. She has letters, photographs, and even videos to help reinforce this.
Question: My father retired from the Army and has a 10% rating. If he happens to get 50% or more, would that mean he would get paid from both Army retirement and VA disability?
Question: Any recommendations or tips?
Question: Would he qualify under Nehmer?
Question: Under Nehmer, because he has never filed for any of these conditions, is there any chance for a backdated EED?
As you all know the recent Agent Orange Defense Dept Bill does not include HBP.
I found another recent HBP due to AO award at the BVA- there are more, and some I already posted here-
"In the December 2019 examination, the examiner provided a positive nexus for the Veteran’s hypertension. In support, she explained that according to medical literature, the Veteran’s hypertension is more likely due to his exposure to herbicides during service. She cited a news article that reviewed health impacts between Agent Orange exposure and hypertension. The Board finds this opinion to have probative value. While it was somewhat conclusory as it relies on the news article, the Board notes that it is the only opinion that addresses hypertension based on herbicides exposure. As such, the Board finds the opinion to have some probative value. Moreover, the Board notes that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has found that there is “limited or suggestive evidence of an association between” hypertension and exposure to herbicide agents (such as Agent Orange) based on a recent statistical study. See Determinations Concerning Illnesses Discussed in National Academy of Sciences Report: Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012, 79 Fed. Reg. 20308 (Apr. 11, 2014); see also 38 U.S.C. § 1116 (b) (2012). The category “limited or suggestive evidence of an association” means that the “evidence suggests an association between exposure to herbicides and the outcome, but a firm conclusion is limited because chance, bias, and confounding could not be ruled out with confidence.” Id. A more recent study by NAS released on November 15, 2018, indicates that “[t]he latest in a series of congressionally mandated biennial reviews of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War found sufficient evidence of an association for hypertension.” NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, Hypertension Upgraded in Latest Biennial Review of Research on Health Problems in Veterans That May Be Linked to Agent Orange Exposure During Vietnam War (Nov. 15, 2018), available at: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=25137." https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files1/20007929.txt In this case the C & P examiner gave a probative statement to award the claim. It still was denied at the RO level. The veteran or their rep should have sent them the actual report-it could have been awarded at the RO level,if their RO can read. I have posted a link to the National Academy Of Science Report , that many vets have used, in order for them to attain, with proof of AO exposure, a SC rating for Hypertension. I used this same report for my HBP accrued claim, but the VA said they do not have that claim, I am used to them lying, and will need to find the time to pressure them to find it or file it all over again. Due to my accrued widow status and the fact it is a Nehmer claim, the EED ( 1998) will be the same anyhow. If an AO vet has "essential" hypertension or no other known cause for it, and they were exposed to AO,they should file the claim using the above most recent report that states the "sufficient" association of HBP to AO has been determined. Unlike former Sec Shulkin Sec Wilkie sent my VARO a coy of my letter to him, making a strong argument why HBP should be an AO presumptive. Deemed as a "sufficient association" by NAS -that is a higher level of association than many of the established presumptives have. If VA has never attributed your HBP to any other cause, and you are an incountry veteran ( to inlude BWV AO vets), they would be hard pressed to suddenly find some other NSC cause for the HBP, but they might try.
I saw this article in the new News Section Tbird has put here:
"Veterans Affairs states there’s no record of a cancer diagnosis while Richard served in the 1960s nor is there evidence of exposure to herbicides.
“They actually want a photo of him standing by this particular plane that he guarded, however, that’s not possible because he was in a high-secured area,” Mary said.
So tying the discovery of Agent Orange barrels to where Richard’s unit was stationed is strategic to the appeal."
The VA wants to identify what planes he had worked on in Okinawa. It is unfortunate that often widows do not recall things their husband discussed with them, about their service, that could become highly relevant to a successful DIC claim, after they pass.
," that’s not possible because he was in a high-secured area,” Mary said." from the above link- but a highly secured area would be an ideal place for the AO to have been sprayed. I assume he worked close to the flight line.
In the large stack of paperwork in the photo-I hope it includes the veterans SMRs and Personnel file.
It often pays for veterans to try to find their unit buddies in their lifetime- if not for a VA claim, for the comradery. And one never knows when a unit buddy can help turn a denied claim around ,for living, and even deceased veterans.
rebabevets posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,I already get compensation for bladder cancer for Camp Lejeune Water issue, now that it is added to Agent Orange does it mean that the VA should pay me the difference between Camp Lejeune and 1992 when I retired from the Marine Corps or do I have to re-apply for it for Agent Orange, or will the VA look at at current cases already receiving bladder cancer compensation. I’m considered 100% Disabled Permanently
Ddsr posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,The 5, 10, 20 year rules...
Five Year Rule) If you have had the same rating for five or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis. All the medical evidence, not just the reexamination report, must support the conclusion that your improvement is more than temporary.
Ten Year Rule) The 10 year rule is after 10 years, the service connection is protected from being dropped.
Twenty Year Rule) If your disability has been continuously rated at or above a certain rating level for 20 or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless it finds the rating was based on fraud. This is a very high standard and it's unlikely the rating would get reduced.
If you are 100% for 20 years (Either 100% schedular or 100% TDIU - Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or IU), you are automatically Permanent & Total (P&T). And, that after 20 years the total disability (100% or IU) is protected from reduction for the remainder of the person's life. "M-21-1-IX.ii.2.1.j. When a P&T Disability Exists"
At 55, P&T (Permanent & Total) or a few other reasons the VBA will not initiate a review. Here is the graphic below for that. However if the Veteran files a new compensation claim or files for an increase, then it is YOU that initiated to possible review.
NOTE: Until a percentage is in place for 10 years, the service connection can be removed. After that, the service connection is protected.
Example for 2020 using the same disability rating
1998 - Initially Service Connected @ 10%
RESULT: Service Connection Protected in 2008
RESULT: 10% Protected from reduction in 2018 (20 years)
2020 - Service Connection Increased @ 30%
RESULT: 30% is Protected from reduction in 2040 (20 years)
broncovet posted an answer to a question,While the BVA has some discretion here, often they "chop up claims". For example, BVA will order SERVICE CONNECTION, and leave it up to the VARO the disability percent and effective date.
I hate that its that way. The board should "render a decision", to include service connection, disability percentage AND effective date, so we dont have to appeal "each" of those issues over then next 15 years on a hamster wheel.
Ztmiller8 posted a question in Appealing Your Veterans Compensation Disability Claims NOD, DRO, BVA, USCAVC,Finally heard back that I received my 100% Overall rating and a 100% PTSD rating Following my long appeal process!
My question is this, given the fact that my appeal was on the advanced docket and is an “Expedited” appeal, what happens now and how long(ish) is the process from here on out with retro and so forth? I’ve read a million things but nothing with an expedited appeal status.
Anyone deal with this situation before? My jump is from 50 to 100 over the course of 2 years if that helps some. I only am asking because as happy as I am, I would be much happier to pay some of these bills off!
Joey Ross posted an answer to a question,I told reviewer that I had a bad C&P, and that all I wanted was a fair shake, and she even said, that was what she was all ready viewed for herself. The first C&P don't even reflect my Treatment in the VA PTSD clinic. In my new C&P I was only asked about symptoms, seeing shit, rituals, nightmares, paying bills and about childhood, but didn't ask about details of it. Just about twenty question, and nothing about stressor,
Picked ByJoey Ross,