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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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I wish I could have worked  I would had a better life if I could  I would have made double as to what I am getting now 100%plus SMC S &K...

The VA Compensation is better than nothing  but the potential of making a better income had we not became injured in the military out weighs the VA COMP  Anyday

The 100% COMP paid to a Veteran especially a TDIU P&T Vet that can't work  or even a 100% scheduler Veteran  ,the VA Comp is not near what that veteran had the potential of earning.

And the thing is to get the VA Comp  we damn near have to beg for it .(just plain ridiculous) 

just my 2 cents

Edited by Buck52

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5 minutes ago, Buck52 said:

I wish I could have worked  I would had a better life if I could  I would have made double as to what I am getting now 100%plus SMC S &K...

The VA Compensation is better than nothing  but the potential of making a better income had we not became injured in the military out weighs the VA COMP  Anyday

The 100% COMP paid to a Veteran especially a TDIU P&T Vet that can't work  or even a 100% scheduler Veteran  ,the VA Comp is not near what that veteran had the potential of earning.

And the thing is to get the VA Comp  we damn near have to beg for it .(just plain ridiculous) 

just my 2 cents

It's a fair comment, Buck.

I worked it out at one point, and due to my primary background and previous earnings, I am worth, functionally, somewhere between 71k/yr and 90k/yr (Information Technology background and degree) with a high life earning of exactly 71k/yr (Systems Engineer).

The truck driving was me trying to step out of the corporate environment and into my own little closed cabin because of my PTSD/TBI issues getting me consistently released.
High there was ~60k/yr.
Problem was, there isn't much difference in environment and expectations, really.

Even with the non-taxable rate, it's still probably close to, at a minimum, ~2k/mo difference, which really is substantial.

I agree with you on the fight thing.
What's really irritating is when all of the documentation and evidence is plopped right in front of them, but you still need to argue with them over it, or "present more evidence", having sufficiently given them everything that could be rationally or logically required.
What is more irritating, is hearing about a brother or sister stepping into the parking lot to blow their brains out because someone told them "no, go away".
That's inexcusable.

I try to remember, however, that 90% of the staff are genuinely trying to do the best they can to make proper medical diagnoses and give proper treatment, but that 10% of rotten-to-the-core apples keeps sitting on top of the barrel for all to see, and that's what they are often judged by.

System needs fixing, for sure.
In my case I feel like it's doing it's job at the moment.

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Note: commondog

I think a lot of us do this at times I know  have did this and still do...I just think I'am getting old and this is what old people do  my Grandparents did this a lot...but at your age  yes  I afree with VETQUEST

but fortunately  as broncovet mention you being 100% helps but you need that other 60% seperate condition to get extra comp like the SMC .

but do read up on the TBI Rating guide lines  they are secondary conditions you can file because of the TBI so check them out.

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My humble opinion is that it wont be fruitfull for you to persue additional benefits (such as schedular) even tho, you could be entitled to it.  Since you are TDIU p and T, its unlikely, even if you won 100 percent schedular, that you would get any additional compensation.  

EXCEPTION:  SMC, if you are eligible for this, then go for it.  If you are housebound, need a and a, have loss of use of various organs or limbs, go for it.  

But, to just persue 100 percent schedular wont be productive.  They simply deny those as "moot", like they did me.  (They denied TDIU because I was 100 percent.  The VA pretty much does not adjuticate 100 percent on tdiu vets or vice versa, unless it could change your compenastion, especially with smc s) 

Interestingly, after I got denied TDIU because it was "moot", I appealed, arguing that it was not moot in my case as it could result in smc s, AND, it could result in an earlier effective date.  I won that appeal, and am still fighting for an earlier effective date and SMC S.  

As my lawyer explained, "not everything can be made right with the courts".  

ONE MORE exception, and this is a big deal:  DIC for your wife.  The rules say if you die of ANYTHING after you have been 100 percent for 10 years, your wife gets DIC.  However, if you die before you have been SC for 10 years, you have to die of a service connected condition for your wife to get DIC.  

So, if you dont think you can make 10 years for your wife to get DIC, then seek other sc conditions that "could" cause your death, such as IHD, kidneys, liver, etc.  

However, usually mental disorders dont cause death.  (Of course they can, but lets assume you dont take your own life).  

I urge Vets to fight for their benefits, but not to fight for revenge on an employee, or for the bragging rights of "I told VA I should be SC for that, too", unless their is monetary gain.  Maybe you dont like this, but VA benefits are about money.  They dont "restore your health" to the way it was before.  

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Have you applied for SSDI? This award should help with that.

 

 

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