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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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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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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2W1_Socal

Lawyer Needed for TDUI or DIY?

Question

Currently rated at 60% and was previously rated at 20% since 2001 through 2017. My rating(s) is for lumbar disc disease and then for a spinal fusion. With my spinal fusion in 2017, I've got nerve damage on my left leg and then had hip surgery in 2018 to help elevate the chronic pain in my leg. This hasn't improved much and dealing with chronic pain every day is miserable. Over the past 2 years, I've missed countless days of work and have been very fortunate not to be fired yet. 

This last stretch, I had to take off 11 weeks of FMLA due to a deep depression and medication withdrawal due to one of the medications that were prescribed to me for nerve pain.  

I've been white knuckling the pain and trying to live and work, but it's becoming too much, impacting my health and mental state. After, speaking to two of my doctors (psychiatrist ongoing since 2006) & (therapist past year) they both have seen my downward decline and mentioned, that I shouldn't be working. 

I also recently submitted new claims/secondary claims for major depression, anxiety, increases for radiculopathy in both legs and for my hip surgery. Not sure if I should wait it out and see how all of these pans out or, just jump to what needs to be done and apply for TDUI. 

With all the above should I apply for TDUI and would a lawyer help with my claim? I personally think I have enough proof but don't want to be one of the many who gets denied and drag this out over the years. 

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I wouldn’t pay a lawyer for something you and a good service Officer can do for free. You’ve got a lot of options, but going it alone is a bad one.  If you’ve got issues after a surgery by the VA look into the possibility of filing an 1151 Claim.  It may be wise for legal counsel on that approach.  Discuss it with a service officer first and any recommendation she/he may have.  TDIU you can not be working if you file.  Filing for SS is an option too.  Their standards are different for rating conditions and based on your length of work history.  A medical option by a VA doctor is the best option.  She/he must state in the option that your condition is due to or more likely than not due to your d/x disability.  Maybe even permanent and total in nature.  Again, this needs to be an MD.

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VA quit allowing their doctors to opine on Veterans' conditions and whether they are service connected back in 2010. You'll have to look to an outside source in the private sector to get the opinion [option]. You can use an PA-C, PA, or ARNP but an MD is the best. VA often uses registered nurses at the ROs to make the decisions. They are called "VA examiners". Good luck.

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A lawyer is going to advise you to get an IMO or IME.  @asknodhas already advised this so save your money.  DIY the first time, with the help of a good VSO.  How to find a good VSO is the issue.  Interview the one you are asking to help and get a feel for how they react to your questions.  Anyone who advises you not to file because you may be reduced you pass over.  Anyone that balks at an 1151 also pass over.  As @MPsgthas advised you may want to look at SS disability if you have used up your FMLA.  I went out on FMLA and then applied for SS and TDIU after my doctor wrote a letter saying I was disabled due to my military disability but SS took two years and TDIU took ten.  It is not an easy road, do you have long term disability insurance at your place of employment?  That is what carried me through.  

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Most lawyers dont help with claims, they help with "appeals", and wont even represent you until you have gotten at least one denial letter.  

Until/unless you have gotten a denial letter, dont hire an attorney.  

This said, an attorney "may" look at your claim and point out any thing that he thinks wont fly and wont likely even charge you for that, but you need to discuss fees with an attorney.  

With TDIU you normally need these things:

1.  You need to not be working.  Duh.  

2.  Your doctor needs to have documentented that "you are unable to maintain SGE due to SC conditions."  Its not enough that he says you cant work.  That may help with social security, but with VA comp, your doc has to document WHY. (that its due to sc conditions). 

3.  Often you need a voc rehab assessment.  Here is why.  Lets say you have bad knees.  Your doc says you are not able to work because of those sc bad knees.  

However, that does not mean you could not be retrained to perform sedentary or other work.  That could come from a voc rehab counselor.  He could opine, for example, that, due to your age and experience, its unlikely that any retraining would result in a favorable outcome.  That is, in his experience and expertise, you are unable to maintain SGE due to your bad knees.  

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14 hours ago, vetquest said:

  It is not an easy road, do you have long term disability insurance at your place of employment?  That is what carried me through.  

 

I do have long term disability insurance but, have returned to work in fear of getting laid off or replaced. 

 

5 hours ago, broncovet said:

3.  Often you need a voc rehab assessment.  Here is why.  Lets say you have bad knees.  Your doc says you are not able to work because of those sc bad knees.  

However, that does not mean you could not be retrained to perform sedentary or other work.  That could come from a voc rehab counselor.  He could opine, for example, that, due to your age and experience, its unlikely that any retraining would result in a favorable outcome.  That is, in his experience and expertise, you are unable to maintain SGE due to your bad knees.  

4

Thanks, I had to reschedule my Voc Rehab appointment due to my disability from 3 months ago and going in the next couple of weeks. Will discuss my options with the counselor.

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