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Thoughts on maybe dismissing my attorney, feedback appreciated


Hello everyone,

I've been somewhat more vocal these last couple weeks as everything seems to be coming to fruition, or elaborately xxxxxx...Unfortunately, i dont knwo enough about the va to offer any advice so here i am coming to take...hahaa

Seriously though, I knew the fee associated with legal representation. I was also well aware I'd be lucky if the attorney actually worked a quarter of what he was being compensated and was willing to sacrifice the pawn and kill a king back then. However, while for the better part of 5 years he's been able to offload responsibility to the VA for lack of response - the more research of my own i do, the less it appears he's even done than most of the shittier lawyers i've seen complained about. One of the biggest things that kills me is he should always be the more informed party between me and him about this type of stuff...And, i'd say he's uninformed or clueless more than 50% of the time he gives me reason for one thing or another.

I had caught my first felony at the end of 2016 for heroin possesion. I didnt talk to him much up till around spring time this year because it wasn't my top priority and i had to do a few months of county jail...Anyway, i initially  contacted upon release to see how everything was going. And he's more or less despondent. When i ask if my drug addiction/legal trouble could be used to strengthen my cause he told me no...on the contrary, felons aren't normally well received with favorable reviews - and that drug addicts are even less likely to get anything because the board "would hate to give someone so irresponsible a hunk of tax-payer money to buy drugs with." I was obviously crushed, and had yet to come to understand my lawyer often speaks without reason or knowledge. He then reassured me not to worry, he wouldn't drop me as a client since ive been with him for quite some time but that "he doesnt know of an attorney that would represent me" given those factors. Just to highlight the nature of my relationship with him.

I told him tdiu is really just not a goal of mine anymore since i had filled a decade ago and my conditions had only worsened and that P&T was really the only end game for me. When i asked if if the drug addiction could be used to highlight the 8 years out of the corps i was clean and sober until i snapped he said "if we get you in front of a board - you might find a judge that willing to hear it that way." Where does this guy actually come in if he can't even use a little courtroom rhetoric to help advocate my case? I personally filed the NOD by spending 20 hours in the law library chasing each component listed for denial to rebute, although that was prior to having him...and really come to think of it don't know one real contribution he's made to this effort.

Now, i wish i saved the post where one guy was complaining, thinking about changing lawyers for like 6th time and a hadit member and attorney just ripped him in half as a pariah on hard working people...naturally, the last part caught my eye and this guy went on about how lawyers for claims generally go out of their pocket for private doctors, and experts that can support this or that, and that for clients with little hopes of making any substantial money often run at a deficit. He is an attorney, and i've never met an honest or charitable one - so maybe they're more realistically doing whatever best helps facilitate their investment. If my attorney did just that, made sure he saw a return on his "investment" which i guess is very little, i'd be more than happy with that. But, I'm really just struggling a reason to keep him employed with me. I'm not a bad guy, or one who goes back on his word...And even if i find he's been pretty much dead weight i've carried wont cherish giving him his pink slip.

I dont know guys...I'm allegedly in the works(aren't we all") for a six figure award...bringing my side kick there roughly $30,000 give or take some. What would you guys do here? How could i approach exactly what contribution he's made thus far. Or perhaps tell him fee or no fee he's in it for the long haul, and if he cant lawyer up a way to solidify my P&T then *Insert some legal ramification" and if not applicable, and i have no way to entice his hardest effort than i likely have to walk...

Thank you all, and I'm praying the forum member esquire who i mentioned comes across this. I need a counterweight here.

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9 minutes ago, Axilleas said:

I wonder if it'd be possible to nullify the appeal since the concerning party (myself) was totally unaware of the primary issue award granted? Would that let me slip out of line a little less suspiciously if thats a possible concern?  

I would have no idea how to do that in the VA system shy of filing a malpractice suit against your current lawyer and have that lawyer notify the va that any actions between xxx date and today by him are part of that suit. This is likely to cause grief with him as it might just mean he loses his license to practice at the VA Bar.

I don't think anything will let you slip out of line quietly. I don't think suspicion is a concern in any fashion.

Your award shown above says your are P&T as of Nov 13, 2010. If that holds true when your BBE arrives, you are two years from be statutorily protected from ever having your rating reduced except for fraud. This is the highest protected status possible. Decide how that factors into doing anything to rock the boat.

As your for your "young man" as you call him, look into SMC-K for loss of creative organ. It adds 106 bucks a month to your compensation. I just found out mine was approved today, but with an Effective Date of when I put in the claim.

I will be looking to file for an Earlier Effective Date as it was present 5 years ago when I got my initial rating for PTSD and is documented then. I believe it should have been inferred back then and who knows, I might be able to convince them of it too!

I don't remember what claims you have ratings for, just be aware the if you are mental health related, there is controversy on the forums concerning being 100% P&T for MH claims and working.

Frankly you are over 55, have a P&T rating and are near the 20 year mark. Unless you put in for new conditions or an increase in something, the VA has absolutely no reason to review your Social Security data and won't as a matter of policy order a new exam unless something changes.


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Congratulations Sir,

May your days be much easier.

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Thank you guys for all the feedback, obviously my feelings of elation are conflicting over the next maneuver...Despite how either very poorly he represented me or attempted to take advantage of me, I wouldn’t wish him harm. I am interested to see how he faces reality that he without a doubt had nothing to do with the grant since I filled all nod, submissions, etc. and only hired him right after I requested the DRO review being left with no further recourse if it went poorly because I thought he’d be able to recite case law, and speak in the judges language to “lawyer” his way to a win, instead of me trying to reason or an overburdened VSO trying to focus with no real cart in the race...I will get predatory on him if he doesn’t accept the legal reality he’s not entitled to any fee, and tries to hit me with 10,000$ in billable working hours...I KNOW without doubt he spent an hour at most before knowing he would talk to me because I never got the correct answer, 10min on the shitter with google would have left me more informed, and because I think the VA-form 9 was THE only thing he has ever submitted besides a FOIA for the c-file...

But, honestly - filing that appeal with the tdiu awarded is really a bad move on his end... Like I said, when I got the initial award back in 2011 I was in school and thinking I needed a little help at the time. Didn’t factor in just how long everything would take if it wasn’t granted, or what I’d be settling for if won. TDIU at 80% with a social security award granted on the same issue made me think it’d be a lot easier to shoot for without manning up for the long haul fighting a P+T. I was 23, just out of the marines...couldn’t really fathom the process.

Anyway, I realize what you’re saying about the few more years and it’s unable to be reduced factor - and it is a significant issue to just overlook. I was under the impression there were no reviews as it was, the letter saying there are no more further exams as it is considered permanent. I don’t know why anything short of employment or telling the va I’m starting a boy band and live every day smiling at the world, tweeting every outfit and driving a Bugatti, could realistically challenge the award anyway. Is there anything I should be cautious of?

my struggle is this, assuming I settle for the stability and resilient income of VA & SSDI for the rest of my life, despite coming from a wealthy family and having a taste for the expensive(not my fault, and I turned my dad down to pay my college to join so don’t roll your eyes just yet) I would live beyond a doubt just fine without a single thing missing. With a family however, I just don’t see it being even close enough to really provide for them(va dependent increases abysmal) and then the psychological aspect of essentially dying in a way over there during one of the campaigns..unable to simply come to terms with the civilians we straight up executed(not my job really) or “interrogated”(my job). I came back in one piece, so I thanked god for at the time, but that is the worst death - the slow and inhibitive death of your life goals perishing at 19/21; with that burden no matter who and how many therapists tell you can be talked through and healed from doesn’t apply.

i don’t mean to get deep, and I know where to parse my issues. I realize I can turn the tdiu down and get out there if I feel it, but it’s a substantial risk to take - and honestly, i have run out of lives when it comes to risks. Ideally, I would approach with a claim of a few other issues that have progressed drastically in the 10 years being out and hope to get a high enough rating to make the cut as being 100% P&T for ptsd means your essentially living in a ward or under supervision and there’s no way I’m anywhere near that or could portray as such. Is it true they don’t really run social security numbers for income against disabled vets frequently? That’s the second time I’ve heard that comment, again...it feels a little risky. If anyone has any supporting anecdotes of people being employed with tdiu, or better people who got caught and maybe received a slap on the wrist to reduce their annual below 10k I’d love to hear about them. My employment ambitions were unique in the sense I wasn’t going to work for any company, and had developed and designed a project during college that eventually won NASAs interest enough for an internship to further it and I had wanted to develop to a point and then sell to the highest bidder. So, if absolutely need be I could probably skirt and official payment for “my” company by shifting ownership and officially acting as a coffee bitch, working as I would anyway - maybe having my partner the owner depositing earning in a shared account which I invested in and turned it to “passive” income no one blinks an eye at. 

 And, for clarification I’m a 31 year old man, 12 credits shy of a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. I was in haditha and al-Karmah Iraq in the mid 2000s as a HET(human exploitation team) team member most of the time, with running and gunning with the line companies some of the time.

if that sheds light on my issue more clearly to you geeky if you thought I was over 55yrs old why I’d still like to salvage whatever time I have and try to live the rest of my life in tribute to my fallen bros, and hopefully to myself...monsters don’t have family’s right? Hahahah...b

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17 minutes ago, Axilleas said:

was over 55yrs old

my apologies, when I glanced at the screen cap you supplied my brain took a left turn on the dates. Your twenty year point is 12 years away not two. My bad.

Your TDIU status brings with it a couple of serious considerations and parameters you have to follow.

1) you will have to submit annual financial statements demonstrating you don't earn more than the annual federal poverty level for a single person, this year about 12k. The law is specific and it does not matter if you are married with 8 dependents the income level can only be as specified....for a single person.

2) even as a "permanent" rating, it really isn't. None of them are. The closest is the 20 year law which can still be beat if the VA thinks you committed fraud at some point. not that you have it's just a point that proves it is not permanent.

3) With a 2010 date your cases is past the 5 year rule but before the 10 year rule. each policy has barriers the VA must get over to take away compensation.

4) if they catch you earning more than poverty wages outside the few tight restrictions you can end up with a big problem.

I would like to caution you about getting so set in the idea that you won't be paying this lawyer. You might not end up having to, but I will bet it will be a fight and include you paying another attorney and several court appearances.

you signed a contract with him when you gave him the POA. Without seeing it I can only tell you that it most likely has all the appropriate clauses that make is so even if you dump him before the appeal, he still gets paid. Then you have to take him to court to argue that. I told you in an earlier response that to get rid of him you would likely have to file a malpractice claim and win it. This is about the only way to void the contract you will have signed with him.

Additionally as he has your POA on file with the VA the VA will pay him out of your money if he files the right paperwork quick enough. With that amount of money it will take a few signatures to get it approved and paid and as he has your POA he will be notified about the award.

Since you have not revoked his POA (as far as we know from these recent posts) and the idea that it 'expired' is kind of absurd,  you may have a fight on your hands to get that money back from him. I can promise you from the bottom of my cold black heart that if he wants to fight you on payment, he will have the time records to justify his claim on the money and work product.

If you sue him for it, you will be in a civilian civil court in front of judge who most likely wouldn't know a NOD from a roll of Toilet Paper. Which means he will believe the lawyer and the massive number of hours of research he claims he did as well as the hundreds of phone calls he made, all divided into 6 minute increments. He won't need those things since what you signed is a contingency contract for a percentage. All he has to prove is he did 1 thing and his labor attaches to the contract and he has fulfilled it.

As to your monetizing an invention while on TDIU.

While on TDIU, even P&T, the VA will likely query the SS files to validate your reported income. As far as I can find being P&T on TDIU still requires you to submit annual financial statements and SS will also require them if you file there.

IF you look up the 5 year plan and read the barriers in it you will see that before revoking or reducing your 100% TDIU status they have to prove beyond a doubt that for at least 12 months you have maintained stable productive employment and your conditions have receded to the point that you can sustain yourself working. They will have to give you at least 1 more C&P likely 2 or 3 and compile evidence.

The law does not set an amount beyond the FPL that constitutes sustained income potential.

The law does create exceptions for Closely Held Companies employing you (often a family owned business) and a couple other types of sheltered employment situations. '

These things mean there are grey areas that might or might not work in your favor if you try and monetize that idea you are talking about.

People may offer you a lot of opinions on what you "should or should not" do. Some may make declarations about the legality of your choice and even the morality of a 100% vet working. Take those for what you will.

The concepts about work, and what constitutes work, is based on antiquated views of how someone can work and still not be triggered by society and other common events that kick off some of our PTSD events.

If I am correct on the history the original ratings schedule was written in 1925, updated in 1933 and then again in 1946. While there have been additions and changes to the schedule diseases and scales since then, the laws definition of work and how it must be accomplished has not yet caught up to the Internet Age and being able to work from home in almost complete isolation.

This is now too long. In closing just be thoughtful and careful on what you chose to do next. Don't make a mistake is setting your expectations in cement or you might set off a downward spiral for yourself if your expectations are not met. Good luck



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One attorney told me she did not want me to file any more claims while I had appeals going on.

She stated it would slow down my appeals.

She took it upon herself to drop one of my appeals without discussing the matter with me.

She would not answer my phone calls.

I went against her advice and filed the multiple new claims anyway.

Then I fired her.

Problem solved.

Congratulations on your victory.

Marines never quit.


Edited by 63Charlie

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