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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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john.penasack

Supproing data recognized by one VA Comp, but another

Question

My USAF medical records were lost or destroyed and I was initially denied any compensation. I retired in June 1981 with 20 years service. In June 2018 I found that the VA would accept a 4 page signed statement from my spouse, of 57 years, describing what family life was like living with back pain which started in June 1968, while on active duty.  Within 2 weeks, I was awarded 80% disability, with 14 medical problems identified. Monthly disability checks started. I then submitted a claim for  37 years of.retroactive pay,  and was denied because that 4 page statement by wife was considered "informal". 

I have no idea if there are 2 or more different, independent, VA Compensation Organizations, because the VA denials do not identify which VA Office made the decision, where the office is geographically located, who signed the denial, where I could call, etc.

I submitted 2 NDO's citing the fact that I have been granted an 80% disability and initial monthly benefits based on the "formal" statement of my spouse and asking why my VA Compensation is not consistent. NO ANSWER.

I have solicited the VA IG, Senator Hassan (NH), House Armed Services Chairman,  and all have failed me. I have been exploring an age discrimination action, but that requires a lawyer and I cannot afford their extravagant fees.

Anyone have any advice

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You may want to talk to a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) if you don't have one already.  From reading your post, I'm guessing that you don't have one.  They don't cost anything to use, and they can help you understand how the system works.  

The VA can only pay comp from your "Effective Date" forward.  Your Effective Date is either the date you filed the claim, or the date the condition was diagnosed, whichever is LATER.  

If you filed a claim in 1981, and you can prove that the VA received it, but never acted on it, you may have a claim for some serious backpay;  BUT, if you first filed a claim in 2018, you are only entitled to compensation beginning after you filed the claim.

Nowadays, the services brief soon-to-be-separated GIs on the how and why of filing VA claims for disabilities;  however, having gotten out of the Air Force in 1974, I had no clue how the VA system worked.  It was only later on, after I went to a VA hospital and got into a conversation with some other veterans, that I met a VSO and filed claims, that I got rated and received VA Compensation.  There was no backpay for the time between separating and filing.  That's just how it works.

If you're getting 80% based on a "Buddy Letter" from your wife, my hat is off to your wife for writing such a good statement that helped you win!

You can find out more about VSOs by calling DAV, VFW, American Legion, or any of a number of veteran organizations.  I don't know about NH, but a lot of places also have state or county VSOs that will assist you.  And, I'm sure there will be more folks on here who can give you advice and information.  Best of luck in getting whatever benefits you deserve!

Edited by acesup

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How long ago was the decision awarding benefits?  When did they deny the earlier effective date?

Here is the deal.  You only want to hire an attorney when he can "MAKE", not "cost" you money.  

37 years of retro pay, depending on the percentages, could be a half million or more.  GS7 rating specialists "are not authorized" to sign a document that would get you a half million dollars or more.  This will take a judge either BVA, or probably CAVC.  To have a reasonable chance of winning this effective date, you are going to need an attorney.  Yes, you could have to pay him 20 percent, but only when you win.  I would gladly pay an attorney 100,000 to earn me 500,000, how about you?  You would still be 400,000 to the good.  

My advice is to take your file to a NOVA attorney:

https://www.vetadvocates.org/cpages/sustaining-members-directory

 

 

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You need a copy of your c-file so  you can see what the VA sees.

There is only one VA.  That includes compensation.

I think that you have more going for you than your wife's letter.  I suspect that when you did file with the wife's letter they found medical records from your active duty.  You will not know that until you get your c-file and again see what they are seeing.

No such thing as age discrimination regards VA compensation.  They compensate for injury or illness regardless of age.  However, some maladies progress on there own from aging.

Now, if you haven't already, I would take a ride down to my County's vet rep, i.e., CVSO (County Veterans Service Officer).  He/She probably has a record on you whether you went there or not.  He/she could have got notice when you left active duty.  Remember, this was before digits and electronic filing, etc.  Everything was snail mail and sent to everyone re:, etc. etc.

You need to request your records from St Louis...  Don't expect the VA or anyone else to do that for you.  AF records may be at a different site, but it will tell you on the form where to send regards your branch of service.

And as already stated, you only get comp from the day the VA first knew you.  And the AF (all services) doesn't share with the VA.  So, if you didn't claim until a year ago, that is a far back as they are going to go.  That is why I would go to my local CVSO and see what's in their file.  You may have had a VA physical when you left service and didn't even know it.  I had one, but I remembered it.  It was my first contact with the VA, and that was in 2004.  I started service in 1981.    

Start diggin, know one is going to do it for you,

Hamslice

 

 

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Good advice here- it is correct-

If you didnt file a  formal claim,in the past, for the same disability-that was denied- there will be no Mega retro.

They use the claims filing date Most of the time ( only one exception I know of)- date entitlement arose-

and that is most often based on a prior SSA award solely for the same disablity.

There is more to that exception available here under a hadit search  for "date entitlement arose."

BUT you stated:

"USAF medical records were lost or destroyed and I was initially denied any compensation."

Can you scan and attach that VA denial decision here. (Cover C fle# and name prior to scanning.)

That decison might hold basis for a valid CUE- Meaning More ( and in some vet cases) MEGA retro.

Or you might have a 38 CFR 3.156 claim potential  for more retro 

Many Air Force records were burned in the St Louis Fire-

However I want to see what VA told you, as to the lost or  destroyed records. Ad we need to see the evidence list.

I had two local cases,( my former dumb vet rep wanted me to help with) whereby the vets got the St Louis Fire BS- VA would see AF on  DD 214s year ago  and use the fire as an excuse not to even try to obtain those records, so that they could deny the claim.

One of the vets was only 12 years old when the fire occurred! 

I helped them both  get ther Mil records with the above advice.

Go to the NARA website, and click on the veteran's records button, and an SF 180 will pop up-

Ask for all of your SMRs and inservice personnel file.

You will have to copy and print  the  filled out SF180 off for your records, and also -unless this has changed_ print off the Bar coded thing they will post for you on line, and copy, save copy for your records, sign it, and mail it to where the NARA site tells you to send it to-(get a proof of mailing this as well)

And also request a copy of your C file from the VARO you deal with as well as a copy of your VA medical records from the VAMC that treats you- Dont use FOIA- ther Records access office will have a brief form for you to fill out for your VA medical records. Lawyers need FOIA for this- we however do not need FOIA for obtaining our own medical records.

 

 

 

 

Hamslice said:

 " I suspect that when you did file with the wife's letter they found medical records from your active duty.  You will not know that until you get your c-file and again see what they are seeing." You bet, I agree with Ham Slice.

 

Edited by Berta

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Actually your Mil records might still be at the VARO that recently awarded the claim.

If so I would send them an IRIS request if I were you-

Go to www.va.gov, click on Contact Us, and then Ask a question and fill out the on line stuff.

Ask them if they still have your  in service records  at your VARO and if not where have they been sent.

Maybe you should do that prior to contacting NARA-

My husband was USMC Vietnam and then a few years later USN. When  I contacted NARA for his inservice stuff they sent me his Navy records and added a bref letter saying his USMC record were at the Buffalo VARO.

Since he had died, I became the claimant on his 2 pending claims, and the USMC records were where I hoped they would be... at the VARO I dealt with.

 

 

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