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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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commodog

100% TDIU - Permanent and Total: TBI and general Question

Question

Hello all,

Ever since suffering a cold knockout from a vehicular fall, and down the side of a levee/cliff during the invasion of Iraq (14-20 feet, directly on back of head: ACH was worn at the time, and NVG's [AN-PVS5's] were on my face.), I have had a variety of cognitive issues and total behavioral personality change.
I am already 100% Permanent and Total (as the title says), and diagnosed with mTBI and PTSD, to which the majority of my award is granted towards PTSD.
My LOC (Loss of Consciousness) was probably around 30 minutes if you consider me "coming to" briefly from time to time (being fireman carried by my TC, and then lifted by said TC, MOPP gear, M16 and all into the bench seat of a 5-ton) and being pushed on the shoulders as I lay in the fetal position, in utter confusion (I couldn't even "think" straight), on the bench seat by my TC who kept trying to get me to stay awake while he concurrently drove.

I'm filling you in with this cursory amount of detail so you guys can get a feel for my background and situation. (Circumstances and type of injury.)

What I want to seek your guys advice on, is this:
I have a memory/focus issue that seems to be getting worse.

I do things that seem to be gaps in processing tasks.

For example:
- Driving - Briefly lose "awareness" (presence?), but come to seconds later.
- Daily routines or tasks:
 (a) Leave house, forget I locked it. Get out to car, can't remember whether I locked it. Go back to door, door is locked. Go back to car, can't remember if I locked it. (If wife is in car, she reminds me almost always as soon as I get in car.)
 (b) Make coffee - Fill coffeemaker with water, insert coffee grounds, turn on, walk away. Come back to coffee all over floor several minutes later. Forgot to put in cup or pot. (Put something in stove, and totally forget about it until it's burned.)
 (c) Have a difficult time coordinating tasks, and find myself extremely frustrated when doing so.
 (d) I sometimes go into long segues or overcomplicated verbiage. Internally, I feel like I'm struggling to say what I mean, and everything seems to "run together". My doctor wrote something to the effect of "This is either a sign of his cognitive dysfunction, or he is avoiding questions/conversations.", of which I assured said doctor it is not the latter.

I have talked to my psych doc, and my doctor is telling me that these symptoms sound TBI-related, and put me in for a "Second Level Evaluation" with polytrauma.
I have been to polytrauma before, and they did what I think was a best-case effort, and I went back to work. (Was driving a concrete truck at the time, and eventually got fired for , frankly, being forgetful/inattentive. Am now staying at home and doing home improvement projects to keep me busy/"fulfilled')

I have to admit, I have a bit of fear about what the reality could be, as I am fairly young (early 40's), and have children and a wife.

My questions, are as follows:

- Does my doctors assessment that my apparently degrading cognition and processing is related to my TBI seem reasonable? Are they stretching? (I know *some* of you have psych degrees, or have seen this thing before.)
- Could going back for more second-level polytrauma assessment affect my current rating? 

My wife is currently an honors level student (Deans List, Presidents List, and Academic honors), utilizing Chapter 35, and a state tuition waiver for spouses of those 100% P&T, and I do not want to ruin her frankly amazing pursuit of her degree.

Any insight whatsoever will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Commodog

Edited by commodog

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Yes, his contention that your degrading condition is related to TBI sounds reasonable to this layman.  Going back for additional disability should not affect your current disability.  But others will chime in and could do so with more information.

When were you awarded TDIU P&T?  It should be just that P&T.  The award date being over 5 years would put you in a supposed state of stabilization.  10 years would give you even more protection and 20 years would give you full protection of your rating.

What are your percentages?  This should help understand what more you need to get 100% scheduler.

Someone else will need to chime in here....Does TBI get rated separately or is it part of your PTSD rating?

Others will chime in and give you more information.

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Since you are 100 percent, the only way for you to get an increase is SMC.  

If you have "a single" 100 percent, plus an additional 60 percent, seperate and distinct, that would qualify you for about 354 bucks more per month (SMC S housebound).  Or you can also meet the criteria for SMC S housebound if you are "substantially confined to your home".  

It does not always make sense to persue ratings in excess of 100 percent unless you meet the criteria.  Do you have "loss of use" of arms, legs, you vision, or hearing, etc?  If you do, then you should consider applying for additional compensation.  

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Hey Vetquest and Bronco,

First and foremost, I am in no way interested in "getting to 100% scheduler", and am content and grateful with what I receive already.
It is merely the combination of my PTSD and TBI symptoms that I believe warrant me receiving TDIU P&T for being unable to work.
I strongly feel that the VA has gotten these ratings, in my case, "right".
I'm not a "funds chaser".
If I felt I could work again without getting fired for hostility/forgetfulness/inattentiveness, you can bet I would. (I am a very independent and prideful person, and it's taken a long time for me to adjust to this.)

Second, I have a long history with the doc, and tend to trust this particular mental health provider, but their comment threw me for a loop since I have always been extremely direct with them, hence the question here.

Third, my initial award for TDIU Permanent and Total was July of 2016. So I am, in effect, only 2 years into it. 

For vetquest specifically:

TBI and PTSD are rated separately,
I am 80% PTSD, and 10% TBI (omitting other conditions).

I am no neurologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I just thought it was weird that a mental state can further degrade because it was smashed on real hard 15 years ago.
I can just chalk that up to more medical stuff I don't know.

I've always had anisocoria and anger inhibition since the fall, but I come across in reality as a verbose, articulate, and analytical person (Until you actually spend some time with me, and watch me struggle with the aforementioned stuff).
Lately, I have without question begun to slip cognitively, and my memory and attention issues seem to be getting worse.

Not much truly frightens me, but damn, I'd at least like to watch my little ones grow up before I'm completely nutty.

Edited by commodog

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commodog,

If any of us could work again we would.  There is an independence in working and earning our own keep.  It just comes with the territory of giving our best to our country and being injured in the past.  We also do not see you as a funds chaser.  Disability is to offset the issue of not being able to work and support our families.  

Your mental state can degrade many years later, as well as your physical state due to injuries.  Many on this site drawing PTSD benefits never dreamed we would have problems later in life.  Let alone the diagnosis of TBI.  You should pursue the TBI diagnosis as your doctor seems to recommend.  There are many VA programs for TBI veterans specifically to help them adjust to their condition as you are trying to do alone now.  We are all frightened of something.  I am scared of when my neuropathy will become so serious I may need a wheelchair.

Good luck and God speed.

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3 minutes ago, vetquest said:

commodog,

If any of us could work again we would.  There is an independence in working and earning our own keep.  It just comes with the territory of giving our best to our country and being injured in the past.  We also do not see you as a funds chaser.  Disability is to offset the issue of not being able to work and support our families.  

Your mental state can degrade many years later, as well as your physical state due to injuries.  Many on this site drawing PTSD benefits never dreamed we would have problems later in life.  Let alone the diagnosis of TBI.  You should pursue the TBI diagnosis as your doctor seems to recommend.  There are many VA programs for TBI veterans specifically to help them adjust to their condition as you are trying to do alone now.  We are all frightened of something.  I am scared of when my neuropathy will become so serious I may need a wheelchair.

Good luck and God speed.

Thanks, brother. I really needed this today.

I will continue to pursue treatment as I usually do.


 

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