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1st Claim ever......Need Help!


Mcbwv

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I am using a DAV representative about 4 hours from me so questions have been through email and phone. I am applying for several disabilities and have requested records from St Louis and have been told a 6 month wait. In the mean time  last week i was diagnosed as having severe PTSD at the VA scored a 57 on the DSM-V with 17 symptoms. I have a follow up appointment next week. This is stemming from indirect mortar and rocket fire from 2010-2011. I have my orders showing I was in country during the event. Should I go ahead and file for PTSD and hearing and tinitus now or wait for the rest of my documentation for two other non related disabilities from the 90's? Since I am not service connected I'm using my insurance and paying copays for treatment and will soon be prescribed medication. Long story short...... do I have a strong enough case to file ptsd anand hearing now? Or continue treatment? Is it ok to file separate claims or just wait and submit one after receiving documentation for the others?  I have 7 years active duty and 24 total with air national guard with various sets of orders with active duty times....... thanks for any advice....

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I would say file away the longer you wait the more you miss out on.  Also the VA can get your records faster than you can.  I would get lay statements from you-your buddies-your spouse anyone who would know about your ptsd.  Here is a short read of all the presumptive conditions linked to your time in the Gulf.  If you have these you can file for them and the VA will send you to get checked out to see if you have them if you have not seen a doctor for them.  I always like to have a diagnosis.  I would say to get it done before the end of the month as if you file after the first of the month you miss another month of coverage/pay.  

Gulf War Illness Linked to Service in Southwest Asia

If you served in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations, you may suffer from illnesses or other conditions related to service in this region. Find out if you can get disability compensation or benefits.

Learn about service in Afghanistan and Gulf War Illness.

Can I get disability benefits from VA?

You may be able to get disability benefits if you served in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations during the Gulf War period and you didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. Your illness or condition must also meet the requirements listed below, and you must have one of the diagnoses listed below.

All of these must be true of your chronic illness or other condition. It:

  • Started while you were on active duty or before December 31, 2016, and
  • Caused you to be ill for at least 6 months, and
  • Qualified you for a disability rating of 10% or more, and
  • Was caused only by your service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations

And you must also have a diagnosis of one or more of these conditions:

  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Other undiagnosed illnesses, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, and headaches
Presumed disabilities

You can also get benefits for a presumed disability if both of the below descriptions are true for you.

Both of these must be true:

  • You have a presumed disability that appeared within 1 year of your date of separation, and
  • This presumed disability qualifies you for a disability rating of 10% or more

We consider these illnesses to be presumed disabilities:

  • Burcellosis
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
  • Nontyphoid Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • West Nile Virus

Learn more about disabilities that appear within 1 year after discharge.
Learn more about presumed disabilities.

Who’s covered?

Veterans

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I have already filed my intent to file a claim. So I'm not really wasting time. Back pay if I am rated will be based on that date. I reviewed the attached and I do not suffer from any of those issues. I also do not have a spouse or any buddies for that matter that I deployed with for lay statements. I'm hoping my evaluation, diagnosis, treatment history, orders that out me in theater during the attacks, and base records. Will carry some weight in my claim. My main question is it better to file one claim for 4 issues or file one now for two issues and another claim later for two more claims after I receive further documentation. I appreciate the responses and any advice.

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17 hours ago, Mcbwv said:

I am using a DAV representative about 4 hours from me so questions have been through email and phone. I am applying for several disabilities and have requested records from St Louis and have been told a 6 month wait. In the mean time  last week i was diagnosed as having severe PTSD at the VA scored a 57 on the DSM-V with 17 symptoms. I have a follow up appointment next week. This is stemming from indirect mortar and rocket fire from 2010-2011. I have my orders showing I was in country during the event. Should I go ahead and file for PTSD and hearing and tinitus now or wait for the rest of my documentation for two other non related disabilities from the 90's? Since I am not service connected I'm using my insurance and paying copays for treatment and will soon be prescribed medication. Long story short...... do I have a strong enough case to file ptsd anand hearing now? Or continue treatment? Is it ok to file separate claims or just wait and submit one after receiving documentation for the others?  I have 7 years active duty and 24 total with air national guard with various sets of orders with active duty times....... thanks for any advice....

There's some good news and bad news.

Initiate an "INTENT TO FILE".

I don't mean to be a debbie downer, but just barely getting diagnosed with PTSD last week is only part of the criteria to service connect it. How long have you been treated for PTSD? A minimum of 6 months to 2 yrs is a good amount of treatment that will build a stronger claim.

It's a process.

#1. A Confirmed in-service stressor. (I strongly believe you when you say what you witnessed; occurred in-service. If you have a combat action ribbon/medal you'll have a slightly easier time proving the in-service stressor.)

If you still have buddies that were there to corroborate your stressor. Have them write a buddy statement as lay evidence. You can also have family, friends, co-workers, or anyone associated with you to write a lay statement saying what they have witnessed in your behavior related to PTSD, such as....being distant, isolates, easily angered/agitated, the list goes on.

#2. Being diagnosed with PTSD (you have that.)

3. Nexus of opinion stating the minimum threshold of "at least as likely as not" the veteran's PTSD is due to or the result of military service.

Hope this helps. Welcome to the forum!

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11 minutes ago, Mcbwv said:

I have already filed my intent to file a claim. So I'm not really wasting time. Back pay if I am rated will be based on that date. I reviewed the attached and I do not suffer from any of those issues. I also do not have a spouse or any buddies for that matter that I deployed with for lay statements. I'm hoping my evaluation, diagnosis, treatment history, orders that out me in theater during the attacks, and base records. Will carry some weight in my claim. My main question is it better to file one claim for 4 issues or file one now for two issues and another claim later for two more claims after I receive further documentation. I appreciate the responses and any advice.

Disregard some of my last post. LOL. You have the ball rolling already.

I say file it all at once. 

Edited by doc25 (see edit history)
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My thing is not being service connected it is not covered or free to use the VA. I have insurance but copays and deductibles kill me as well as medications that they are suggesting. It looks as if I will have lots of treatment appointments. Is a history of treatment important to build the claim? I obviously dont have that since just being diagnosed.  However, I wasnt aware I even had PTSD. I dont want to jump the gun and file prematurely either. My DAV rep tells me with the diagnosis, confirmation of stressors- which he says my orders suffice with also records of the daily attacks, and nexus in my diagnosis can hopefully be confirmed during C and P exam my claim should be pretty strong. However I am not the expert. The other two claims I'm waiting on records for are minor claims.

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Basically to get started you need  3 main things    its called the Caluza Triangle

1 .This has to be MEDICALLY Documented in your records:

 2.  Current Diagnosis.   (No diagnosis, no Service Connection.)

In Service Event or Aggravation.

 3 .Nexus (link- cause and effect- connection) or Doctor’s Statement close to: “The Veteran’s (current diagnosis) is at least as likely due to x Event in military service

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10 hours ago, Mcbwv said:

My thing is not being service connected it is not covered or free to use the VA. I have insurance but copays and deductibles kill me as well as medications that they are suggesting. It looks as if I will have lots of treatment appointments. Is a history of treatment important to build the claim? I obviously dont have that since just being diagnosed.  However, I wasnt aware I even had PTSD. I dont want to jump the gun and file prematurely either. My DAV rep tells me with the diagnosis, confirmation of stressors- which he says my orders suffice with also records of the daily attacks, and nexus in my diagnosis can hopefully be confirmed during C and P exam my claim should be pretty strong. However I am not the expert. The other two claims I'm waiting on records for are minor claims.

Is a history of treatment important to build the claim? I usually recommend a  minimum of 6 months to two years of treatment; is a good amount of time to establish the medical evidence to substaniate any claim. What this does is  it shows a condition is present, has been present, and will continue to be present. Also known as continuity of symptoms and chronicity of symptoms.

I dont want to jump the gun and file prematurely either. You can start an intent to file around the six month mark of continued treatment. This will preserve your effective date. An intent to file locks in the effective date for a year with a claim. So, let's say it took you 364 days to gather all the evidence needed and you file on that day, your backpay will be for x amount of months plus however long it takes for your claim to be granted. If you're granted 100% PTSD that's alot of coin in your pocket in back pay.

which he says my orders suffice with also records of the daily attacks, and nexus in my diagnosis. Orders confirm you were deployed to the area and they carry some weight. Do you have the records of the daily attacks or at the very least have the buddy statements; already in hand? If you don't there is work to be done to obtain those records through the JSRRC. The VA is not going to go above and beyond of their half assed DUTY TO ASSIST attempt to get that to help your claim. Unfortunately, the burden is on us as veterans to do the heavy lifting to substantiate our own claims. 

United States Army and Joint Services Records Research Center

The Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) is the research arm of the Department of Defense and holds historical records (including some personnel records) for the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. Similar information for the Marines is held at the Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections (USMC Archives).

Records Kept at JSRRC

Any type of military historical records that were created are likely held at the JSRRC. Common types of records held vary by branch of the service, but tend to include operational reports and casualty records. These records can be helpful to prove exposure to an environmental hazard or to prove an incident occurred during service in order to establish a service-connected disability compensation claim. When a veteran files a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder, the VA will ask the JRSCC or USMC Archives for evidence of whether the claimed stressful event occurred.

How to Make a Request

Research requests to JSRRC or USMC Archives can be made by letter or by using the VA Statement in Support of Claim form. Provide as much specific information as possible in the request, such as details of when and where an incident occurred. A veteran may be asked for additional information in order for the request to be met, or may be redirected to another repository of documents that is more likely to hold the requested information.

Requests to JSRRC can be sent to:

U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center
7701 Telegraph Road
Kingman Building, Room 2C08
Alexandria, VA 22315-3802

Marine Corps Archives requests can be sent to:

Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections
Alfred M. Gray Research Center C40RCA

Attention: Dr. Jim Ginther, Archives
2040 Broadway Street, MCCDC
Quantico, VA 22134-5107

Buck52, is providing the information exactly of what is required for a favorable decision. If you end up meeting all the criteria, you're going to make it very difficult for the VA to deny your claim. 

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Thank you all for the great information. I'm Airforce so no CIB ..... also where do you request records for Airforce combat events? This is for Sather AB Baghdad . Is it still JSRCC?  Also I'm not in contact with anyone I have served with for lay statements. Basically the only people close enough to me for that is my parents....

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My other question without buddy statements....... I do have emails that I sent while deployed detailing attacks pretty much as I experienced them. Could that be used in my claim in any way?   

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On 4/4/2019 at 12:50 PM, Mcbwv said:

My other question without buddy statements....... I do have emails that I sent while deployed detailing attacks pretty much as I experienced them. Could that be used in my claim in any way?   

Just my experience with a PTSD claim, but don't rely on ANYTHING from the VA or the records you believe are in your personnel file.  From my own experience, I was diagnosed in service with PTSD in 1993.  I never sought treatment since then, and thought the doctor was full of it.  Come 2016, after years of sleeping issues and issues with anxiety and depression (as well as a lot of self medication with alcohol), and several counselors suggesting I have PTSD, I filed a claim.  My claim was initially denied because they could not verify the stressor incident.  That had me baffled.... after all, an after action review of the incident was conducted by my CO and a 1 star.... Surely there must be a mistake.....   I requested my service records to find out they consist of (wait for it) only my enlistment contract.   Additionally, there is no record of me being diagnosed with PTSD in service, as my medical records from my service in Somolia are missing (shocker).  That taught me (the hard way) to find as much evidence as I could ON MY OWN to support my claim.  I was able to locate a ton of evidence, including eyewitness accounts from my platoon mates who were there.  Just over three years after first filing, I won my appeal.  Moral of the story, NEVER rely on the VA to make you case for you.  I know it is intimidating to ask an old friend to write a statement, and for me, it made me feel kind of weak (just as asking for help with PTSD did). I was very surprised that my old platoon mates were more than happy to write a statement for me, and were very supportive, and some were dealing with their own issues...   I wish you luck, but my advice is to fully load your gun before firing down range.  Don't expect the VA to do the right thing. 

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On 4/4/2019 at 11:50 AM, Mcbwv said:

My other question without buddy statements....... I do have emails that I sent while deployed detailing attacks pretty much as I experienced them. Could that be used in my claim in any way?   

The emails would be pertinent documentation for the unit records to be located sooner rather than later; since the emails would have the dates of when the attacks occurred confirming your stressor or stressors. The emails may hold some weight, so submit them with your evidence. 

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My next question is the  change in 2010 in the criteria for verification of the stressor for the fear of a hostile action. Is that if your service or the area you were deployed indicates that the event more than likely happened during that timeframe in that area then lay statement from the claimant is sufficient if the diagnosis and nexis is there. And from my reading they did this to cut down on times for verifying stressors. Is this correct? or will they still need morning reports or verification from JSRRC. My next question I'm Airforce and how do I go about gathering that information myself?

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Yes  JSRRC will check on these records.

you ALSO can give  the location and date you witness the event   and if its within 10 days I belive they will accept that.  they will check on the event that happen on the dates you give and the locations. (this gives you credibility)

If you were deployed in a combat zone   your DD214 Should have it on there and your unit you served with   this is all you need   because in 2010 they  accept a veterans combat service or being deployed to a combat zone as the stressors will be automatically Accepted

Edited by Buck52 (see edit history)
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Ok I have my dd214, I have my orders, I have an Iraq campaign medal. Since my service doesnt not issue CIB .It's also in the VA system I received hostile fire pay for that time period. I have emails as stated above that I sent while in country that could serve as lay statements. I have specific dates as well. My question per the 2010 change in requirment ot would not require JSRRC verification?Not that I mind it should be an easy verification. Does the VA not follow their change? I also understand in most circumstances there is no rhyme or reason sometimes what the do and it's an uphill battle. 

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7 hours ago, Buck52 said:

Yes  JSRRC will check on these records.

you ALSO can give  the location and date you witness the event   and if its within 10 days I belive they will accept that.  they will check on the event that happen on the dates you give and the locations. (this gives you credibility)

If you were deployed in a combat zone   your DD214 Should have it on there and your unit you served with   this is all you need   because in 2010 they  accept a veterans combat service or being deployed to a combat zone as the stressors will be automatically Accepted

Buck is correct and I am not sure why it took so long for them to realize that combat is a stressor!   I think my ptsd was my fastest claim. It was done in less than 3 months. Lowballed but still completed. 

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Ok I believe I'm almost ready to submit my claim.... VA-526EZ , Orders for the deployment to Iraq, DD214 also after the deployment. I printed out my VA medical record from My Healthy Vet, I have also included emails I sent to friends and coworkers that gives timeframes to some of the incidents mentioned in the claim, as well as the VBA-21-0781. My question is I have ready about stressor statements. Is it ok for descriptions of incidents to enter " See attachment" ? I have attached a word document in detail of my stressor? Is there anything else that would possibly help? I am not getting much guidance from my DAV rep.

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