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Claim Reopen Statement question


I am in the process of reopening a claim  that was filed in 2009 and had some questions about how the statement should be worded.

I filed a claim for a bilateral foot disability and was denied because they stated my there was no mention of the claimed disability in my medical records.  I now have definitive proof that they in my SMR's and am requesting a reopen citing 38 CRF 3.156 (c) (1) that one should be a no brainer but you never can tell with the VA.

I also filed for my ankle issues and back issues as well.   I requested a reopen for those as well.   I feel the ankle issues should be secondary to my foot issues but since I did not make that it a secondary disability when I filed my claim I think they will deny that.   The back issues are acknowledged in my records but the VA state that there was no chronic diagnosis.  I figured I will give them a shot and if denied I will just file a new claim for them.

I originally planned on filing a CUE but after some help from Berta and Bronco I think the best option would be a reopen request which is why I am not posting here.

My question is how much detail should I put in the statement in support of reopening.  I have used the search feature and found some good information but no examples of reopen statement letters.  I have one created and would upload it here if I could.  If someone could give me some insight on how I could upload a document I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

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You are over thinking this.  When you file a "claim", the VA's job is to figure out if its primary, secondary, presumptive, etc.  

I dont suggest you do their job for them because:

1.  They dont like it.    Would you like it if I did your job?  Especially if I told you how to do it?  

2.  You can be a bit "too smart".  If you are too specific on your claim, for example, Doc A may say the diagnosis is x, while doc b may say the diagnois of x is wrong and its y, instead.  So, apply for "foot pain" and dont speculate whether its plantar fasciatis, osteo arthritis, or something else.  Let the doc diagnose it. If you self diagnose it wrong, it can result in long delays to your claim, at best.     I like statments like:  "I would like to apply for a disability of my R foot, as a doctor may so diagnose, both primary or secondary, as the evidence may support.  Its not your job to diagnose your own conditions..your diagnosis wont fly anyway, unless, maybe you are a podiatrist with experience in foot disorders.  Its not a bad idea to list symptoms, such as "Right foot pain, loss of range of motion, and mention how this disorder limits your mobility, your life, and or your job.  

Here is your part:

   Fill the applicable forms in completely, and legibly, and mail it to the evidence intake center, along with your applicable evidence.  Make sure you have all Caluza elements:  current diagnosis, in service event or aggravation, and nexus.  Its a little different if seeking secondary conditions, however.  You need not concern yourself with an in service event, because that will already be documented with the primary condtion.  Dont, however, close the door and insist its primary or secondary..again let the VA rater do their job and decide whether its primary or secondary.  Ask for both to ocver your bases, if there is ANY doubt.  

    When you get a letter from VA, read it and comply with its requests, including attendance for c and p exams, if requested, and/or additional information as well as release forms so they may obtain your records.  Then, be patient.  

Edited by broncovet

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Thanks Bronco that makes a lot of sense.

So simple put.... All I need to do is request they reopen X disabilities.  Cite the Regulations I am making my request from.  Submit my evidence and move on?

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Another question.   I think you touched on it Broncovet but I probably need a little clarification. 

Even though I am requesting the claim be reopened via 38 CFR 3.156 (a) and 38.CFR 3.156 (c) (1) is it still a good idea to list all of the symptoms I am experiencing? 

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