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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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    • 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)
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    • https://community.hadit.com/searching-for-va-claims-information-on-hadit.com/

       

      Your question has probably been asked before so the fastest way to find the information you need is to search for it.
      • 3 replies
    • How to get your questions answered...


      All VA Claims questions should be posted on our forums. Read the forums without registering, to post you must register it’s free. Register for a free account.

      Tips on posting on the forums.

      Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery” instead of ‘I have a question’.


      Knowledgable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title. I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.


      Use paragraphs instead of one huge, rambling introduction or story. Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.


      Leading to:

      Post clear questions and then give background info on them.

      Examples:

      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?


      I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine but claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?



      B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?

      I was involved in traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?



      This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial from your claim?” etc.

      Note:

      Your firsts posts on the board may be delayed before they show up, as they are reviewed, this process does not take long and the review requirement will be removed usually by the 6th post, though we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.

      This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before they hit the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims and this helps us do that.
      • 2 replies
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toomnyhats

Question about opening a new claim

Question

I have a few separate questions.

I was granted 100% P&T, no exams required, along with the rest of the benefits (Chapter 35, Commisary, etc) based on cervical neck aggravation in service. We discovered later after discharge that I have a narrow spinal canal, I am now an incomplete tetraplegic with some remaining function in my left arm and not much in my right.  They granted 20% for neck with the following secondaries: 100% loss of use of legs, 70% Right Arm w/loss of use, 30% on left arm radiculopathy.  I also have an independent 60% on bladder granted almost immediately after filing my claim in 2015, because they found in my str where I had gone in for bladder spasms, however it is not listed as a secondary to the neck. I also have 10% tinnitus.

I had to have my colon removed and an ileostomy placed due to neurogenic bowel.  This was never addressed in the nod. When I mentioned it, I was told that they would see the secondaries automatically or we could file a new claim.   My neck claim never went to the board because I had two good letters (IME and IMO) stating that aggravation was more likely than not caused by service.  So after the Form 9 was filed, they eventually granted the items listed above.   My question is should I file a new claim for the neurogenic bowel.  I'm not looking at it from a monetary standpoint now, but looking at the future. If I were to get a bowel obstruction and die, my husband would not get anything since it's not service connected.  

Question number two relates to the bladder.  I'm am deteriorating in my hand and arm function to the point that it is difficult to intermittently cath.  My urologist thinks it is time to place a supra pubic catheter.  I saw somewhere that this is rated at 100%..does anyone know if that is correct? If so, then I assume the 60% for bladder would go up.  

Question 3 relates to the fact that I have loss of use of both legs, loss of use of both sphincters.  If they connect the neurogenic bowel, would that put me in the SMC O category?

And one last comment, I'm being urged not to rock the boat because there was no documentation regarding my neck, however the IMO did a great job documenting clearly why he would not expect me to seek treatment for neck pain because it typically starts at a low level (as mine did) and most people just treat it at home via OTC and heat.  There is also a steady stream of continuity of treatment starting 2 years after I was discharged.  He also specifically said that my degeneration occurred at a much more rapid pace than it would have had I not been doing the strenuous work I was doing.  I believe that, along with a great letter from my VA SCI doc plus full exam is what got me granted but I'm sure it was sitting on the fence and could have gone either way.  I am, of course very happy we avoided having to take it to the board of appeals.  So asking all the experts out there...would I be rocking the boat to request the connection of my neurogenic bowel?

Thanks much!

 

 

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broncovet - thanks for the info.  Both #1 and #2 are what prompted me to look further into this.  My husband has been my wonderful caretaker for 15 years and he deserves everything he can get should I die before him.  I've only been service connected since 2015 so I still have 7 years to get to that 10 year mark.  I have an SMC of M.  I'm kind of a control freak so going through my VSO was tough because they don't always want to share and share info alike 😂  But she calmed me multiple times and truly did do a great job, even though she scared me a bit about them coming back  and taking a closer look at things.  But from the beginning she was honest about this being a long shot since there was nothing in my str about my neck pain and from that long shot...here I am 100% P&T with full benefits for my family.  

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I would not trouble yourself about reductions unless you have "actually improved under ordinary conditions of life".  From what you posted, your conditions have worsened not improved.  Remember, that "ordinary conditions of life" means that you are working, and it does not sound like you are likely to go back to work any time soon.  This "5 year protection" for 100 percent P  and T means that its highly unlikely you will be reduced in rating.  Given that you are 100 percent P and T, both sections a and b, below, apply to you.  Read them over and this may give you confidence and decrease worry about possible reductions:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.344

Its my opinion that you should focus on increases that will/could result in additional compensation, and not concern yourself over issues which wont result in more money, UNLESS you feel there is a good chance of death from NSC conditions PRIOR to the 10 year mark for hubbies DIC.  

Hopefully, you have already purchased the free life insurance, your first 10,000.  https://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/disabledvet.asp   The 2 year limit applies, not to the effective date, but to the date of decision.  

Also read about DIC eligibility here:

https://benefits.va.gov/compensation/types-dependency_and_indemnity.asp   Its possible your family may become eligible in 5 years vs the full 10, but I dont know your situation and whether or not this applies to you or not.  

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Based on what you posted, as far as additional levels of SMC are concerned, I dont think additional SC ratings will increase your SMC except to the extent you can demonstrate "loss of use".  

Hopefully Alex will chime in here, but once you get to SMC L and above, you dont get the statuatory SMC S

(100 plus 60) because you already have a higher SMC and the statuatory SMC S becomes moot.  

Now, there are 3 levels of SMC L based upon the skill of the caregiver necessary.  If you just need A and A for "unskilled" aid and attendance, that is the lowest level.  "Unskilled" A and A means stuff like helping you get dressed, and stuff that does not require a nurse.  

If a nurse is required, such as if you are on IV's, (I dont know about catheters..I think that could go either way because people put in their own catheters and they are not doctors.  However, some require skilled nursing care)

So, especially if you have a "visting nurse" there to help you on a regular bases, you should be eligible for a higher level of SMC L.  

Further, you may be eligible for "Caregiver benefits", especially if your husband had to quit work to give you care:

https://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/new-va-family-caregiver-program.html

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    • 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)
        • Thanks
      • 4 replies
    • Wonderful news way to hang in. I hope this gives you some well deserved peace. 
    • If HadIt.com has helped you or you believe in it’s mission then please donate even $1 helps. I hope HadIt.com has provided $1’s worth of help to you. Imagine waking up and there is no HadIt.com it could happen and that is why I’m asking for your help now.



       



      Our traffic is going up and so are our expenses, however revenues have gone down and so I am reaching out to you to see if you can help me keep Hadit.com up and running.
      • 4 replies
    • https://community.hadit.com/searching-for-va-claims-information-on-hadit.com/

       

      Your question has probably been asked before so the fastest way to find the information you need is to search for it.
      • 3 replies
    • How to get your questions answered...


      All VA Claims questions should be posted on our forums. Read the forums without registering, to post you must register it’s free. Register for a free account.

      Tips on posting on the forums.

      Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery” instead of ‘I have a question’.


      Knowledgable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title. I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.


      Use paragraphs instead of one huge, rambling introduction or story. Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.


      Leading to:

      Post clear questions and then give background info on them.

      Examples:

      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?


      I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine but claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?



      B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?

      I was involved in traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?



      This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial from your claim?” etc.

      Note:

      Your firsts posts on the board may be delayed before they show up, as they are reviewed, this process does not take long and the review requirement will be removed usually by the 6th post, though we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.

      This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before they hit the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims and this helps us do that.
      • 2 replies
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