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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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  • 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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VA definition of combat activity


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I thought I read somewhere that the VA description of combat activity included "Preparing for combat" as well as actively in combat.  I have looked for the legal VA definition and can't find it.  Can anyone provide a link or past the legal definition in here for me?

Thanks

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Thanks  EODCMC- you are correct and I just started to put the link here, but you beat me to the punch. CRSC requires "Disabilities that may be considered combat related include injuries incu

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Gunny, thanks for the clarification. In this case, I would not check the "combat activity" box unless you actually served in theater. If they feel you did something in error, however well intention-ed, it can hold up your claim for months. This is something I have experienced. The claims that you list would probably not be aided by this anyway.

I'd like to weigh in on 3 of your claims that I have some experience with:

- "Reevaluate my back (current SC but at 0%)" : This should be looked at favorably providing your condition has worsened since your last P&T. If you are within a year of that decision, I would not "Reopen" the claim but ask for a reconsideration. It could benefit you where the effective date is concerned.

- "Hearing Loss" : Something so common can be the most difficult to service connect. If you have had or are having a hearing exam outside your C&P exam, ask the examiner to look at your service record audio-grams. You should show a "Auditory Threshold Shift" in the 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 or 4000 Hertz range while on active duty and/or an incident where you have has inner or middle ear baratrauma. Ask them to point these things out in your test. VA Fast letter 10-35 lists military ratings, MOS and occupations and their hearing risk factors. This can aid you greatly if you were in any of the high risk fields. In my case the VA did not automatically research this. You need to point it out. 

- "Tinnitus" : Aside from what I mentioned in "Hearing Loss", if you get rated for hearing loss they will probably allow you the Tinnitus assumption. If you don't get rated for hearing loss, you will need to reference the occurrence somewhere in your SMR (Service Medical Record). Hopefully, the occurrence began after your threshold shift.  

I am no authority; my comments are based solely on my personal experience. I wish you luck (only because with the VA, you sometimes need it) but more importantly, I wish you good health. Thanks for your service!

 

 

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A lot of us that were injured over there (Vietnam) our injuries went unreported and Some of my records they could not find and now 46/47 years later my unit I was with don't exist...I was in special operations

lucky for me my DD 214 had my vietnam unit name and location dates &TDY Service on it.

  and at the time I filed my claim  they said no records of the event in question (denied)...so I had Flip Helgic (aka Phillip Rogers) helping me work my claim( 2000) from here on hadit and we conversed via email and Phone .

I also some how got home with my TDY in -country travel orders Sign by the transportation officer.

this proved my in-country travel

I sent Phillip what records I had and we were waiting on my C-FILE(never recieved in time for my claim....butt I did I remember the day the event happen and location and  placing me at the combat event operation.

Since I never recieved medical help for & self doctor my self and my buddies...so no medical records...I describe what happen that day in my lay statement when and where and what happen, the VA check out my story and found the event that happen that day  to be true I can't remember what the operation was? but luckily for me my story checked out.

We never had it in our mind thought to to go get medical help if it was not life threatening and filing a claim was the least on my mind back then.

so if a Veteran can't find his medical records or  had an injury in the military  combat or non combat  he can describe the event and location and close to the dates it happen  and the VA can some how check it out   ...and this will help establish Service Connection.

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13 hours ago, EODCMC said:

Gunny, thanks for the clarification. In this case, I would not check the "combat activity" box unless you actually served in theater. If they feel you did something in error, however well intention-ed, it can hold up your claim for months. This is something I have experienced. The claims that you list would probably not be aided by this anyway.

I'd like to weigh in on 3 of your claims that I have some experience with:

- "Reevaluate my back (current SC but at 0%)" : This should be looked at favorably providing your condition has worsened since your last P&T. If you are within a year of that decision, I would not "Reopen" the claim but ask for a reconsideration. It could benefit you where the effective date is concerned.

- "Hearing Loss" : Something so common can be the most difficult to service connect. If you have had or are having a hearing exam outside your C&P exam, ask the examiner to look at your service record audio-grams. You should show a "Auditory Threshold Shift" in the 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 or 4000 Hertz range while on active duty and/or an incident where you have has inner or middle ear baratrauma. Ask them to point these things out in your test. VA Fast letter 10-35 lists military ratings, MOS and occupations and their hearing risk factors. This can aid you greatly if you were in any of the high risk fields. In my case the VA did not automatically research this. You need to point it out. 

- "Tinnitus" : Aside from what I mentioned in "Hearing Loss", if you get rated for hearing loss they will probably allow you the Tinnitus assumption. If you don't get rated for hearing loss, you will need to reference the occurrence somewhere in your SMR (Service Medical Record). Hopefully, the occurrence began after your threshold shift.  

I am no authority; my comments are based solely on my personal experience. I wish you luck (only because with the VA, you sometimes need it) but more importantly, I wish you good health. Thanks for your service!

 

 

More information....I was in theater in the Gulf War.  I have looked up the qualifying dates and locations and I was there.  I am considered a Gulf War veteran,.  I was thinking that maybe I should ask for the specific Gulf war Syndrome review that I was reading about.  I'll wait to see how my current claims come out first.  My VSO told me not to put in for all my muscle and joint issues right now.

I had an exit physical in 1999 and nothing since then. I thought after you got out you weren't allowed to go back and be reevaluated.  I just found out that I could this January so I called the DAV and they sent me to a VSO.  He filed my claims.  I have requested my entire C-file but as yet haven't received it. They sent me only the current stuff from 2018.  I called and asked them to reopen my FOIA because I didn't get any of my STRs or claims from when I retired in 1999.  According to them I should be getting the rest of it ASAP.

I don't understand how reconsidering the back issue will help and honestly, I don't know how my VSO filed, but since he already did I'm guessing it is what it is.

The VA did a hearing test but they didn't do the Maryland word test so I know it has to be redone.  Plus they didn't have my service record audio-grams.  I know that my MOS is on the list for high risk of hearing loss, my VSO looked that up.  Hopefully I'll have my military service audio-grams before my C&P.  I'll make a point to find them.

As for the Tinnitus, I know exactly when that started.  We didn't use hearing protection when training because we couldn't hear commands and orders.  We were told NOT to use hearing protection.  I can't imagine why that wasn't even a part of my 1999 initial retirement claims.  I don't even remember having anyone help me with all this 19 years ago.  I probably just went through a quick physical and signed a few papers.  Now I'm learning what I should have done back then.

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14 hours ago, broncovet said:

If the VA thinks you are exaggerating your symptoms, they  label you a "malingerer".  

My advice is to "not" try to get VA to recognize "combat service" for boot camp or training even tho I agree that boot camp and training are massively stressful.  If you check "combat training" and you didnt go to a combat zone, the VA "may" conclude you are exaggerating your symptoms.  

If you were injured in an "exercise" to simulate combat, it would be okay to check that box if you made sure you specified this was a training exercise only..not actual combat.  

My son, who "Is" a combat Vet, gets irritated at people who want benefits for combat without actually doing it.  He isnt alone.  

I make sure I specify VIETNAM "ERA" Vet, not a Vietnam combat Vet in my stuff.  I got benefits just the same, in fact, I was awarded at the BVA because they thought my testimony was credible, as I have gone out of my way to make sure I never exaggerated symptoms.  Think about it.  

Broncovet, I think I didn't make my comments clear.  I don't consider myself a combat vet for training in boot camp.  Although I was a drill instructor at both Parris Island and San Diego (not by choice), I am a Gulf War veteran.  I was not in active combat but I was in theater.  My question was simply because I didn't know which box to check since it is at the top of the form and not specific to each issue.  Like, what does "Combat Activity Y/N" have to do with kidney stones? Nothing as far as I know, but it is in the Military Service Information section of the form I have to fill out for my Kidney Stone condition. Why would that even be on that form?  They aren't asking if the injury is related to combat and there is another question asking which war you served during.

It would certainly be clearer to me if the question was more like Combat Y/N Theater Y/N.  But I read that simulated combat training, again not boot camp stuff, is evaluated the same as active combat.  If you loose your hearing training for combat is it evaluated the same as if you loose it in combat?  Honest question, I don't know the answer.  And if it is something that combat doesn't matter then why are they asking me? Am I better off not to answer at all?

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