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AimSmall

SSDI Battle for 100 P&T Combat Vet

Question

Hello All,

Ive been coming to this site on and off for a couple of years, but this is my first post. Lot of knowledgeable and great people here. Thank you to all the old timers and those with experience for everything you contribute here. You do a lot for people, even though it may not be evident. 

Im a 36 year old 100 P&T VA for combat related PTSD, TBI and other service connected issues. Former active duty 11B B4, fought with the 101st in OIF. Left active in 2009 as I was having issues. No one was helping me, didnt understand what was wrong with me, and of course the culture of "if youre not bleeding or missing a limb, dont go to sick call", ect. So I left, joined the reserves where Ive been ever since. That door is about to close as well, as I just cant do it anymore. I did my best to try and still contribute to my nation, feel some sense of worth and continue to serve, but my issues are too great and I have to step away. Even though the Army has changed a lot, I still feel a great sense of loss of over this. But, I have a family now and must do what is best for them. That alone is difficult for me. Those of you who have the same issues as me may understand, PTSD and TBI are what I call a "perfect storm of bull____". Our hardware and software are both busted and feed off each other in ways that I myself cannot even begin to describe.  Damn near ruined my life and just trying to get through the average day takes everything Ive got. I used to be a mostly-normal, fun-loving, smart and well-adjusted guy and I was good at my job. Anyway, this ain't a therapy session, but Im sure a lot of you can understand where Im coming from.

My latest battle is with SSDI. Denied. Appeal denied. Now Im onto the hearing phase. Hearing is set for April 5th. I have a lawyer firm I sort of just picked out of a hat. They arent even in my locale, Im in the Northwest, they are Philadelphia or something. They are supposed to be representing me. I have a hearing in April and I havent even talked to a real lawyer yet. Im worried and scared about this whole process. It has made me extremely anxious, among other things. Its causing a lot of extra stress. Im trying to find answers on how to maximize my chances of success. 

What Ive gleaned so far is of course, get all VA records. I still attend treatment every month (i would go more but Its a 4 hour round trip just to see them every month). Im sure its going to be harder to get SSDI because of my age too. Not to mention, the VA does not seem the best at keeping records. Most all of my treatment has been with the standard-issue social worker therapist type and of course, the docs/nurses who prescribe me my meds.

My head is swimming. I am having a hard time making sense of all this. Im scared and I could really use some guidance. I dont trust these lawyer people to do their best for me. Im hoping there is not something critical I am missing. Im not good at describing my symptoms, reflecting on my life.... let alone in court in front of a judge.  Sorry such a long post, sort of hard to collect my thoughts. Thanks for any input and advice. 

 

 

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Welcome to Hadit!

Based on what I have read, initial applications with SSDI, tend to be denial. Most get approved on appeal or hearing. Good idea getting a lawyer.

By the way, did you use the SSDI fast track program for 100% P&T veterans or just the regular application process?

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On 1/16/2019 at 2:01 PM, Vync said:

Welcome to Hadit!

Based on what I have read, initial applications with SSDI, tend to be denial. Most get approved on appeal or hearing. Good idea getting a lawyer.

By the way, did you use the SSDI fast track program for 100% P&T veterans or just the regular application process?

Vsync, yes I did use the fast track. It seemed to have sped up the process a little bit. And I wouldnt be able to do this without a lawyer, no way. I see some guys have had success doing everything themselves, and that is awesome. I just cant do it. Id have better luck trying to thread a spare 240 barrel through the eye of a sewing needle.

 

 

 

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On 1/16/2019 at 12:23 PM, AimSmall said:

Hello All,

Ive been coming to this site on and off for a couple of years, but this is my first post. Lot of knowledgeable and great people here. Thank you to all the old timers and those with experience for everything you contribute here. You do a lot for people, even though it may not be evident. 

Im a 36 year old 100 P&T VA for combat related PTSD, TBI and other service connected issues. Former active duty 11B B4, fought with the 101st in OIF. Left active in 2009 as I was having issues. No one was helping me, didnt understand what was wrong with me, and of course the culture of "if youre not bleeding or missing a limb, dont go to sick call", ect. So I left, joined the reserves where Ive been ever since. That door is about to close as well, as I just cant do it anymore. I did my best to try and still contribute to my nation, feel some sense of worth and continue to serve, but my issues are too great and I have to step away. Even though the Army has changed a lot, I still feel a great sense of loss of over this. But, I have a family now and must do what is best for them. That alone is difficult for me. Those of you who have the same issues as me may understand, PTSD and TBI are what I call a "perfect storm of bull____". Our hardware and software are both busted and feed off each other in ways that I myself cannot even begin to describe.  Damn near ruined my life and just trying to get through the average day takes everything Ive got. I used to be a mostly-normal, fun-loving, smart and well-adjusted guy and I was good at my job. Anyway, this ain't a therapy session, but Im sure a lot of you can understand where Im coming from.

My latest battle is with SSDI. Denied. Appeal denied. Now Im onto the hearing phase. Hearing is set for April 5th. I have a lawyer firm I sort of just picked out of a hat. They arent even in my locale, Im in the Northwest, they are Philadelphia or something. They are supposed to be representing me. I have a hearing in April and I havent even talked to a real lawyer yet. Im worried and scared about this whole process. It has made me extremely anxious, among other things. Its causing a lot of extra stress. Im trying to find answers on how to maximize my chances of success. 

What Ive gleaned so far is of course, get all VA records. I still attend treatment every month (i would go more but Its a 4 hour round trip just to see them every month). Im sure its going to be harder to get SSDI because of my age too. Not to mention, the VA does not seem the best at keeping records. Most all of my treatment has been with the standard-issue social worker therapist type and of course, the docs/nurses who prescribe me my meds.

My head is swimming. I am having a hard time making sense of all this. Im scared and I could really use some guidance. I dont trust these lawyer people to do their best for me. Im hoping there is not something critical I am missing. Im not good at describing my symptoms, reflecting on my life.... let alone in court in front of a judge.  Sorry such a long post, sort of hard to collect my thoughts. Thanks for any input and advice. 

 

 

Have you tried getting a Vocational Expert Opinion. If you get that in writing your SSDI and IU will be approve as long as you meet SC%.

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Don't fret about not speaking to a lawyer before the hearing.  I had a SSI hearing (I managed to work for twenty years before my disability canned my ability to work) and also had a lawyer from out of state.  On the morning of the hearing the lawyer showed up as anticipated and talked to me for about half an hour and then we were in before the judge.  The lawyer had done their homework on me and knew her stuff.  I second the Vocational Expert Opinion.  The state had one there at my hearing and he said I could work as a parking attendant or light office and I thought I was sunk.  He then said due to my recorded lost time at work I could no longer hold a job in any field.   

Good Luck.

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2 minutes ago, vetquest said:

Don't fret about not speaking to a lawyer before the hearing.  I had a SSI hearing (I managed to work for twenty years before my disability canned my ability to work) and also had a lawyer from out of state.  On the morning of the hearing the lawyer showed up as anticipated and talked to me for about half an hour and then we were in before the judge.  The lawyer had done their homework on me and knew her stuff.  I second the Vocational Expert Opinion.  The state had one there at my hearing and he said I could work as a parking attendant or light office and I thought I was sunk.  He then said due to my recorded lost time at work I could no longer hold a job in any field.   

Good Luck.

Thank You for adding to the Vocational Expert Opinion Vetquest. Vetquest I was blessed to speak with a very knowledgeable Veteran on this site that suggested having Voc Rehab Counselor write me a feasibility letter. I did just that and used that for my SSDI claim as well as my IU claim. Guess what it was Gold in being approved for both on the first try. The thing I want Vets to understand is that any of us with even 10% SC have the option to do Voc Rehab. The next important thing is if a veteran is qualified> see below qualifications for filing for IU. If this is met then see a counselor and if one is truly IU then they will be denied into the program. In return get a letter stating so. I know some vets claim the counselor wont issue one etc. etc. My take on it is be persistent. Take things with claims in our own hands and get as much knowledge as possible. This evaluation is free. If not willing to do this there is options to pay a specialist to evaluate you. My hope is Veterans will continue to realize the power of a Vocational Expert Opinion and in fact do the work and get it. Bless all.

Both of these must be true:

  • You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—and
  • You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.

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