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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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  • 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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rk4435

Burn Pit Exam / Invitation to Apply for Compensation

Question

Several months ago I finally had a "Burn Pit" (Environmental Exposure) examination.  The letter that I received a few weeks later stated that I have a "presumptive" service connection due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I was invited in the letter to apply for compensation.  

I've never known the VA to invite people to apply for something that would cost them money.  I have been concerned about the overall effects of the burn pits for years, but it was only a couple of years ago when I started discovering that many other illnesses have been linked to burn pit exposure.  I have been far more concerned about my problems breathing but it is practically impossible to pursue that despite now being on a rescue and COPD inhaler. 

Has anyone else had a favorable outcome when the VA invited you to apply?

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Here is the deal:

    I dont blame you for being skeptical of the VA.  They have gotten their poor reputation the old fashioned way:  They EARNED IT.  

    However, apply.  There is no downside risk to you, if you have conditions you beleive are service connected related to this.  

    Here is why:  The VA takes the politically popular position that "they are there to serve Vets", and they want them to know about all their benefits.  While this is certainly not completely true, in reality, its their "official" position.  

     When I applied for compensation as an "about to be homeless Vet" in 2002, they conviently "forgot" to tell me I was eligible for Pension.  While they should have automatically put in a claim for my pension anyway, of course they assumed I would rather be starving and homeless than to have 1000 per month I deserved in pension.    My doctor, finally, tipped me off that I should apply for pension, but not until 2004, and several appeals and denials later.  (I appealed, and was granted.  But the VARO decided my "full grant of benefits" meant a 0 percent rating.  They counted a zero percent rating as an "award".  I dont.)  

      The sooner you apply, the better.  

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Yes, please do apply but don't stop when you receive your first award.  The VA likes to play a numbers game.  If they have a lot of vets receiving small disability amounts it looks good for the number of veterans they are serving.  What they do not want to do is give you a substantive award like 100%.  They can give a whole bunch of veterans 10% or 20% for what it costs to give a single veteran 100%.  Some will call me divisive but this is the game they play.   

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This a lot of recent info on the net as well as here on Burn Pit disability...searchable

This excellent law form has a good article here:

https://cck-law.com/news/news-burn-pit-related-conditions/

It makes the point that there are no presumptives for Burn Pit vets.

They are handled on a case by case basis.

The law firm above has a pop up for contact and you might want to ask them if they recommend a good IMO/IME doctor for COPD and burn pit exposure.

Those claims that have been awarded have had a strong IMO/IME (independent medical opinion/or exam) to support that there is no other medical etiology for the disability than the veteran's exposure to Burn Pits during OIF/OEF.

There is also a lawsuit in progress

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/magazine/burn-pits-veterans.html

 

 

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