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Psych Evaluation


McRay

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I'd been on lorazepam for around 10 years and my primary care doc wouldn't refill the prescription. An appointment was made for me with a psychiatrist and I ended up spending over an hour in the appointment, and there was more interest in my symptoms/background than I've ever seen with VA mental health. They switched me to another med for sleep and want me to go to a 4 to 6 hour psych evaluation. Currently, I've got an appeal filed for increased % of my awarded 50% (ptsd and unspecified condition)  and an earlier effective date.

My question is if this will be helpful to my appeal, or will it be harmful? I don't know what the test is, but the guy who made the appointment said it would take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours -- the first two being with a psychologist who will 'talk' with me and then a written and computer question session. I've done the written one before, but not the computerized version. Anyone here have any experience w/ this kind of evaluation. Do you think this could be used to lower my current % rating?

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I've never heard of a 4-6 hour evaluation before. 1.5 hour max. Whether it's good or bad? It depends on the results. It sounds like they're finally taking you seriously and thus the long evaluation. If the VA is willing to put you through a 4-6 hour evaluation then they are taking your condition very seriously. In my humble, non-expert opinion, I'd say be honest and not minimize your symptoms and you should be ok. But other more experienced people may have more detailed advice. Personally, I'd consider this an opportunity to let yourself be heard and go for a possible increased rating, if it's called for.

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Thanks. Seems like a long time to me too. Never been through this before.

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8 hours ago, McRay said:

Do you think this could be used to lower my current % rating?

@McRay

Hi, you say you have been on the drug for 10 years, YIKES!, but then I am anti-chemical living....just my thing not a judgement.

What you don't say is  how long you have been at that rate. Also if you will share your age or just say if you are over 55, that will help frame the answer.

You don't say if your are P&T (permanent and total). If you don't know go to Ebennies and look at your docs, the A4 and A8 docs will say P&T or not. I think under the disabilities link there you might also see P&T and it will be on your last rating letter.

If you are TDIU look at the letters and look for the Commissary letter. If it has a renewal date for your ID card then you are NOT P&T at this time.

The VA has legal strictures against decreasing ratings.

This link talks about some of them.

https://community.hadit.com/topic/48666-total-and-permanent-guidelines/

Be aware that almost any rating that is not P&T can be reduced if A)Fraud was committed B) the C&P thinks you are substantially better. The caveat is they have to give you 60 days notice for you to reply before they reduce and they cannot reduce just because one test on one day says your are better. There has to be a demonstrated period (i think a year) where you have proven you are better.

something else to consider. The VA does studies and tests new protocols all the time. If it was me I would demand, not ask, demand to know the exact nature and name of the tests being given and if they are just a study or beta-test type thing.

If this is not a C&P you do NOT have to participate and under HIPAA  and a bunch of other laws they MUST provide you a clear and accurate description of the test, drug or procedure. If they fail to they are breaking the law and you have a civil suit available to you against the VA and or the Doctors depending on a bunch of legal factors.

So for example, April 26th of this year I had Lis Franc Fracture surgery on my left foot. The surgeon doing the work was an Intern working under a recognized expert in Lis Franc Fractures, who is also the VA dept head here for Ortho Surgery.  He is also a D-bag.

The Intern was asking for my permission to, if necessary, take bone from elsewhere and to cut a muscle to allow for flexion while I was recovering. He was explaining everything in detail. The D-Bag in charge tried to get him to shut up and not explain too much and he shot back that he was not going to get fired, sued or sent to jail for breaking the law.

When i spoke to the D-bag after surgery, he actually apologized for his behavior and admitted he was wrong. He is still a D-bag and I suspect he did it to try and prevent me from filing a complaint with the Hospital.

The point of course it that you have a right to make an informed choice, and it is a hard core black letter law right and they have to comply.

Good Luck

 

edit.

once you find the name of the test and all that. Go to Pubmed.gov and search for it. There are thousands of available government sponsored research papers that may include the testing they want you to go through and the outcomes. After that, go to Google with whatever you learn from Pubmed.gov

another edit

If they tell you it is an MMPI-2, take it. It is about 560 questions and is a subset of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which has been around for a long long time and is an aggressively long test if you are given the entire thing. It is usually done on a computer these days.

Edited by GeekySquid (see edit history)
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Thanks for your thoughtful response.

To answer your questions, I had been denied service connection for my PTSD/Unspecified Depressive Disorder in 2016 and that was decision was overturned last October. I'm 66. I looked at the letters and while I'm not P&T there is nothing listed, no letters, about TDIU or commissary privledges. I only have 2 letters there, one that says I'm 50% disabled and another that's a Benefits Verification Letter. There's nothing listed in the Documents section, either. It seems the VA likes to keep us in the dark with their findings.

I will ask for a clear and accurate description of the test they want to give me. I really distrust the VA when it comes to benefits.

Thanks again for your response.

Screenshot from 2019-05-09 07-11-22.png

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I am not one who trusts the VA to do everything right but I agree with Buddyloveak.  It looks like they are taking you seriously.  As to the hearing and computer test I have had both.  As long as you are honest and do not minimize your symptoms you should gain from this.  If they ask if you are fine you say no or I would not be here.  Describe to them your worst day or your most recent meltdown.  I am PTSD due to injuries in service, not combat but it is much the same.  If you are having problems this is the time to bring them up but do not over report.  As for the computer test there are questions to spot someone who is exaggerating.

Good luck with your exams. 

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2 hours ago, McRay said:

I will ask for a clear and accurate description of the test they want to give me. I really distrust the VA when it comes to benefits.

@McRay

I totally get that last line.

The VA has a legal prescription against reducing ratings that are over 10 years old and another for veterans over 50 or 55,  not sure which off the top of my head. it is much more difficult to reduce those folks.

There are barriers to reduce at 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of having that rating and unless fraud is involved you can never go below the initial rating.

i don't want to imply or for anyone to infer, that a reduction is not possible at those ages or length of award, just that it is much harder to do and generates the impression for courts that they are intentionally trying to find reasons to reduce your legal compensation. That is a Bozo NO-NO. The VA is legally required to MAXIMIZE your benefits and barred from seeking evidence to intentionally reduce them.

That does not mean it does not happen, just that there are laws and regs against it.

There is some confusing wording that floats around about "Not getting C&P's" after a P&T assignment or after reaching a certain age. What is typically missing in those claims is that if you file for an increase on some issues you will definitely legally need to have a C&P.

PTSD is one of those. There is even a specific PTSD Review DBQ. Generally speaking for rating purposes, PTSD rarely "gets better" with age. I don't care how much treatment you get, for rating purposes if it still exists at the same evaluated level or near it for any period of time over a year span (any 365 day span you are monitored for), you still have it at the same level.  It will most likely be rated worse if it has gotten worse, which is a bump for you.

Please read the DBQ and see where you fit on your worst day.

As I mentioned if this is the MMPPI subset test, don't try and lie or fool it. It is a highly reliable test and asks the same questions over and over again in different ways. It asks other questions to check that you are not just really good at taking tests. attempts to artificially influence your score in your favor show up very clearly in the results.

good luck and let us know what happens

 

 

 

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