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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    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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If you have a BVA decision within 120 days, or a VARO decision within a year, you can appeal the effective dates. 

The VARO decision can be appealed with a NOD, the Board decision must be appealed to the CAVC.  I recommend hiring an attorney if you dispute a BVA decision, as many/most will do so for the EAJA fees, so it will likely cost you nothing even when you win.  

I will summarize a few of the arguements that Veterans have used to win an earlier effective date.  

Generally, your effective date will be the later of the facts found, or the date you applied.  There are some notable exceptions, however:

1.  New Evidence.  If you submitted new evidence, you may get an earlier effective date via 38 CFR 3.156 b (pending claim) or 3.156 c (new service records.  Check to see if you submitted new evidence in the appeal period (3.156b), or anytime if it was new service records. (3.156c).  

2.  ITF.  OFten, VA gets this wrong, and does not give you the earlier "ITF" date.  https://www.hillandponton.com/common-effective-date-errors-va-makes/

3.  Other things VA does wrong:  

http://www.purpleheart.org/ServiceProgram/Training2011/W-2 Common VA Effective Date ErrorsL.pdf

4.  Claims for increase.  A claim for increase should give you an extra year, if your symptoms warrant it.  See the purple heart link, above, number 5.  



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Good info!

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On 9/14/2018 at 10:37 AM, broncovet said:

New Evidence.

Bronco, have a question for you on "new evidence" and procedure.

I was diagnosed for Sleep Apnea in 2013 after the VA sent me to a sleep study. They did not rate for SC nor did I ask at that time as I did not know SA was a rated condition or could be a secondary condition to my rating for PTSD.

I know in my SMR's there are documented sleep issues including snoring etc. that occurred after my nexus PTSD events. I am waiting on my C-file to find out the exact wording and dates.

My question is this.

If, as I believe, my SMR shows the sleep problems and as I am already rated 100% for PTSD, could/would I claim the SA as an independent condition or would I have to claim it as secondary to PTSD?

I am positive it is service connected and that my records will prove that, but in context to compensation as I am at 100% P&T on PTSD, the SA as secondary would have no compensatory value to me, at least as I understand the rating rationale.

any input would be helpful



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The VA has to officially consider all manners of SC:  Primary, secondary, presumptive, etc.  We all know Va does not (always) do what they are supposed to do.   

Therefore, claim it both primary and secondary to ptsd.   While I dont recommend you "wait" until you get your cfile to ask for this increase (how much retro money do you have to throw away by waiting?), when you do get your cfile, the medical evidence for one or the other (sometimes both) should be obvious.  

For example, if your sleep doc indicated this was related to PTSD, then there is your nexus.  

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21 minutes ago, broncovet said:

claim it both primary and secondary to ptsd.


Thanks for the response. I will file an intent today.

I am curious though about the quoted line. How does one do "both"? I cannot visualize that process. any guidance is appreciated.


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If you use the 21-526ez form, simply write, in line 17:

1.  Sleep apnea...(sleep disorders noted in service).

2.  Sleep apnea (secondary to PTSD)

Then put the treatment dates for your sleep apnea, when you were diagnosed, etc.  If a doctor opines that your sleep apnea is secondary to PTSD, put that date he said this, in number 2.  

I do not suggest "burning down any bridges" to service connection before your cross them.  

You see, doctors differ on their opions about everything.  

You may run into a sleep doc who thinks that PTSD and sleep apnea are linked.  

However, you may run into a sleep doc who thinks you probably got it in service.  You dont care which one, you just dont want to burn down either of these bridges. 

While its true the VA should have to consider both, dont count on a GS7 doing his job, when you can make sure it happened.  You have a dog in the fight.  

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