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Reevaluation and Secondary Connection


harry59

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Greetings all, 

I have just joined the site and am eager to hear replies on the questions I have and would like to thank everyone in advance for their reply.

I have had a 70% disability for 15 years now.  I am rated on several issues, with my lower back being rated at 40%.  After 15 years, my back is worse now.  I am considering trying to get a rating increase for my back after all these years.  I may be a little paranoid, but I am so afraid that I may get a rating decrease when I go in.  I recently went in and got an MRI on my lower back in case I do decide to go through with the reevaluation.  Is it a good idea to submit the MRI to the VA?  I had an MRI done about 5 years ago when I ruptured a disc in my lower back, but my VSO told me it may not be a good idea to submit that one since that scan would be worse than the one I just had.  I'm on the fence on that one.

Also, if I go in for a reevaluation on my lower back will they automatically look at the other issues I've been rated on?

I would also like to hear thoughts on trying to get a secondary connection for my knee.  I have pain in my knee and have already had surgery to repair two torn meniscus and feel it may have been caused by the way I have to walk, and get up from a sitting position, because of my lower back issues.  Of course I have to get my doctor to agree with that and put it in writing.  Thoughts?

Thank you for your time!

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Ok so let me take a swing at this one. 

So VSOs will almost always error on the side of don’t rock the boat!   

Most of us here on this site are boat rockers and don’t stop!  

There is always a chance they could decrease but as you get older your conditions don’t get better but they can and do aggravate or cause other conditions to get worse.  The c&p will want a current mri/X-ray to she the condition of your back they will compare your old and new images. You could go get another to see if it has gotten worse but it sounds like you already know. Submit whatever you think is relevant.

they can look at any service connected disability.  Sounds like you could have secondary conditions to look into.  

There is tons of help here just make sure you start you claim before the first or you will miss out on another month and you have a year to finish it.  

 

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I first would file an intent to file to get the clock running while you gather evidence.  You have one year to file your claim after the ITF.

As for do not rock the boat, I am tired of hearing that.  Though I filed for an earlier effective date for SMC and they put my neuropathy in play when I did.  I believe they are trying to intimidate me, neuropathy does not get better, the same as a bad back. 

I would submit both MRI's as evidence as they will probably ask for all of your doctors records.  I would add the knee as secondary to the back, especially if your doctor is willing to put that in writing.  Most doctors will not file any paperwork on a VA case, unless you go to an independent medical opinion specialist.

Also consider filing for TDIU if you are not working and under 65.

Good luck, you are going to find that the VA is much more backed up than it was 15 years ago, and much more challenging to deal with.  Just always remember that you have an NOD and the BVA to file to if you are denied.  I think I heard that first time claims are running at about 85% denials, but I could be wrong, my memory is not as good as it used to be.

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I agree with Vetquest and Bronc. Since you are not sure on the secondary connection for your knee I would also suggest you do an intent to file . You can get an independent decision from another doctor, an IMO might be appropriate because getting secondaries can be tough without a good doctor's opinion. Some people I am sure would disagree with me; you don't have to do that now, you can wait and see if you get denied first, but sometimes it is worth the money to get it done right the first time. But what often happens is a s-c back injury causes a change in your walking, or gate. That injures your knee. Your walking now affects your hip on the other side; next your other knee starts to go. I just feel that maybe winning on the first go round may kind of set the record for the next related injury. Jmo, that's all. And that is what is so great about this forum; you can get advise from many people who have different experiences and vantage points. Best of luck.

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When a Veteran has the concrete evidence in his medical & service records I Advice him/her to file a claim.

  ITF is the best to preserve a Early Effective Date  but if the veteran has the evidence needed to win his/her claim file a FDC  Get Approved for your well deserved benefits ASAP.

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