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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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16thGLO

C&P results

Question

I got my disability decision in October 2018 after filing in June 2018.  I had filed a claim for "hand/finger degenerative arthritis with wrist pain.  The decision granted service connection for both right and left wrist as osteoarthritis secondary to my service connected bilateral carpal tunnel.  The decision said nothing about my fingers and hands. I requested a copy of the C&P exam in October and finally received it March 7th, 2019.  The initial doctor at the exam granted service connection for both my hands , fingers and wrists etc as at least as likely as not service connected.  In the documents another doctor ,a few months later looked at the case to give an IMO and told the first  doctor that some of the medical appointments in question were post military service and to explain his findings. (the irony here is that yes they are as I was showing a history of chronic arthritis from release of active service to present)   (this included a C&P exam completed in December 2005, 8 months after release from active military with x-ray evidence of bilateral hand osteoarthritis)  I had finger pain since leaving active service and went to both "Va and civilian doctors.  Within a couple of years of military service I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery that was deemed service connected.  Although the surgery did improve my carpal tunnel symptoms, I still had pain in my fingers. Anyway to continue the results of the exam the second doctor agreed with the first doctor that all was at least as likely as not service connected.  And finally a third doctor, physician assistant gave another IMO stating that the pain I was having was related to my fingers and hand and therefore not related to an extension of the carpal tunnel surgery.   There fore only the wrist pain was deemed service connected and 10% per wrist was granted.  It seems apparent that the doctors did not read any of the information that I sent in regards to laying down a road map for them to show chronic pain from 2005 to present.  The 2005 C&P exam with radiological evidence showing osteoarthritis in both hands and fingers 8 months after military service should be a big sign. In any event I am going to fight this but I thought I would let others know so maybe I could hear from them some words of wisdom. 

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Chronic pain is a tough road.  I have chronic pain in my hands, legs, and feet.  I am rated for neuropathy but the VA does not rate pain.  It only rates what they can see or understand and they do not understand pain.  I know this is something that you may not want to hear but that is the VA. They are working off of old CFR's that are updated sometimes to allow for advances in medical care but they have not tackled chronic pain.  You can request an increased rating but if you try for a rating related to chronic pain it is a loser in this current environment.

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Its not just chronic pain, most of the finger joints have restricted movement and one finger joint has been replaced.  I was and am attempting to show that this arthritis existed in service and manifested itself to a degree in the first year out of service that would have been compensable.  And, by showing all appointments where this was addressed from just a few months out of service to present that it is an ongoing issue.  

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Yes, then I would file an NOD and try to go to the BVA.  Can you get a private IMO?

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4 hours ago, 16thGLO said:

Its not just chronic pain, most of the finger joints have restricted movement and one finger joint has been replaced.  I was and am attempting to show that this arthritis existed in service and manifested itself to a degree in the first year out of service that would have been compensable.  And, by showing all appointments where this was addressed from just a few months out of service to present that it is an ongoing issue.  

Has your "earning capacity" been effected because of  your wrists/hands? Meaning, have you lost significant time from work (more than two weeks per year)? Have you lost jobs or lost promotion opportunities?

IU is one option to 100%, unless you want the Ratings Scheduler 100% and still work.

 

 

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I am retired and don't work any longer. The fingers/wrists would slow my ability to do administrative office work, which is the last type of employment I had.

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