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Don't know what to do for husband...


nancygail

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I need  help and have no idea where to find it. My husband is a 50% disabled vet of 30 years. Due to the severity of his problems he has not been able to work regularly since he was discharged. As a guy with a lot of pride he's always tried to make it and though difficult we somehow managed.  He was diagnosed with  Conversion Disorder... but he has severe PTSD.  His condition got much worse last year... He's only sleeping 1 to 2 hours a night and has constant anxiety.  We recently started the process to get his disability increased and are trying to gather paperwork but its been so long I have no idea what are chance is. 

I was diagnosed with cancer last year and my daughter brought me to live with her for a while as my husband could no longer help take care of me along with his own problems. I'm in Arizona... he's in Arkansas. The goal is the move here. He blacked out today and barely made it home... there is no one to help him. In order to be seen by the VA he has to go to Little Rock to the hospital there which is 2 hours away and sit and wait for what is typically hours to be seen. But he can't drive and has no way to get there.  We have a house which we are in danger of losing... I've never felt so helpless...

If anyone could give me any information where I might find help I'd be so appreciative. 

 

Thank you,

Nancy

 

UPDATE

  • My husband is 60 years old. NOT a wartime veteran.
  • Active Duty AF: 1980 to 1988
  • Experienced several head injuries on base. 
  • Experienced traumatic shooting event in 1984. (Shooter came into his office and shot a coworker.)
  • He started passing out. They could not find a cause. He would pass out and come too unable to move and with his eyes rolling around in his head. His eyes would be BRIGHT red. Took a day to recover. 
  • From 1988 to 1998 he continued to pass out 2 or 3 times a week for TEN YEARS. 
  • Though the passing out lessoned his ability to think and reason became difficult. He started having nightmares, unable to sleep... uncontrollable shaking and panic attacks. 
  • Could not hold a regular job due to these things. 
  • Became an entertainer in 2000 as a way to control his schedule and keep an income.  www.royrivers.com
  • Was unable to perform his last show due to health. 
  • Jan 2019 started process with Sierra Vista, AZ DAV after a failed attempt in Little Rock. Have 1 year to get them all paperwork. 
  • As of this date his conditioned has deteriorated to a point where he cannot easily drive. Sleeps 1 to 2 hours a night. Started passing out again. Shakes uncontrollably and has nightmares. 
  • He is alone in Arkansas as we have a home we are in fear of losing. I am in AZ for cancer treatment with my daughter. 
  • I have access to many of his records and buddy letters etc. We are waiting on his medical records. 

 

 

Edited by nancygail
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Sounds like you have a few things going on.  A VSO might be able to help you file this, but there are also people on here who can help also.  

Sounds like he is not working?  So you need to file for TDUI.  Next it sounds like you are in HARDSHIP?  Filing for this can get you claim advanced.  As for the medical records this is what can win this case for you.  Make sure you get as much as possible.  Also Lay statements by you and anyone who knows how bad his condition has gotten.  

Also the VA will help you get the paperwork, but It takes them forever.  It is far faster to call the hospital and get them mailed to you.  

Lastly the VA is starting to allow for those who do not live near a VA hospital to see someone closer to you.  It sounds like he needs some help!  

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First, apply for an increase to include TDIU.  

Your husband (or yourself, if you are taking care of him) also needs to apply for Aid and Attendance if he needs help.  

You should also tell the VA you "are losing your home and about to become homeless."  This may speed up your claim. (Its supposed to..I lost my home waiting on VA benefits, but VA is much better now than it was in 2005, when I lost my home).  

LET VA KNOW ITS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOME.  

You cant expect them to help with this if they dont even know about it.  Tell multiple people in VA to make sure your claim is earmarked "Homelessness Imminent".  

If you are doing your claim yourself, send in a 21-4138 stating what you posted.  It needs to be signed by the Veteran or representative.  If your husband permits you to sign his stuff, then you sign it for him.  You may need his POA to do this.  

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If you dont know how to do this, get help.  This is a VSO's job.  While I have been let down in the past by VSO's, that option beats doing nothing by a long shot.  

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You are in a very difficult situation. I agree that one of the Big Six ( DAV, AL, VFW etc) might be able to give you some guidance as to getting him to a VA Hospital.

With his type of disability it is obvious he cannot drive.Is there anyone he knows locally to him who might be willing to drive him to a VAMC?

I live in a rural area , but am only 20-25 minutes from a VAMC. I donated  quite a bit of money to the DAV years ago to help them get a van ,to use for this type of problem and they did get one, and maybe two vans  that helped veterans I knew in this area , the way your husband needs help.

Try to find out of they can offer something like that for him.

Conversion disorder is far different from PTSD. I believe he could get TDIU as Broncovet stated, due to the SC disability he has now.

Does he receive SSDI or SSI solely  for this disorder?

Do you actually have a claim in progress? Make sure the VA knows how desparate the situation is.

You might want to call the Little Rock VA, as they might have some sort of  van there or have a  way to get him transported to the VAMC.

Our local VAMC had not only the DAV van but also their own VA van-that picked my husband up with other rural vets and delivered him home, when he was  VA Day Treatment.

 

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There is quite a bit to the Arkansas VAMC situation:

https://www.littlerock.va.gov/

I have no idea where you feel he should go-

You can contact the Central Arkansas VA Health care system via the Contact us button on the left of the page.

You will be Asking a question,click on that , and re directed to IRIS and hopefully to  someone who can help-

You will need a lot of his Military info however-do you have his DD 214 and C file # with you?

Or possibly by calling the specifc hospital here- you can get some help on what to do as far as transportation for him goes.

John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital

4300 West 7th Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-257-1000 
Directions

Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center

2200 Fort Roots Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72114
501-257-1000 
Directions

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Here 's the main Patient Advocate's # for Central Arkansas 

 Patient Advocate for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System at 257-5410.

Maybe that should be your first effort to find help.

Edited by Berta
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Would your husband be willing to check into the hospital?  The phsyc ward is no fun but these people can really get a ball rolling for you.  If he is willing then there is only the transportation issue.  I know that most people are not willing to do this but they will evaluate him and if he is suffering severe PTSD they will see it.  This might be the route.  Call your local VA and find out what he needs to do to check in.

Edited by vetquest (see edit history)
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IF HE IS 50% SC he can call 911 and have the ambulance take him to the nearest VAMC that has a MH Clinic  with MH Dr's

 First  Call the Nearest VA (Little Rock) and let them know you have a emergency and that you can't drive yourself and you don't have anyone that can drive you  so ask if you can call for an Ambulance to transport you to the Little Rock VA...they should tell you yes    then the VA will pay for the Ambulance Bill

seek treatment ASAP  if he is having uncontrollable anxiety  it will only get worse if he don't get help

Once at the VA Emergency  they will contact M H and get him the help he needs.....PTSD Anxiety  is nothing to take lightly

IF your hubby is this Bad  don't be worrying about a claim  worry about getting him the help he so badly needs before its to late.

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I don't have any advice for you @nancygail but I can offer my thoughts and prayers for both you and your husband. You are both going through very tough times...but you can make it!!!

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You can also get "community care" help, at least temporarily, because VA wants to make Veterans wait a long time for help.  This is especially true if your husband is over 65.  

    The fastest way to get help in an emergency (like if he blacks out) is to dial 911 and get an ambulance if needed.  

    As Berta mentioned, the DAV usually has vans to transport Vets with no good means of transporting themselves to the VAMC.   Other VSO's, may also have transportation available such as VFW, etc.  

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The DAV gives rides to veterans where I live who have to go to the VA in Johnson City, TN from Boone, NC.  Door-to-door both ways.  The DAV can help your husband with networking with other veterans.  My veteran friends bend over backward for one another.  I have no experience with the FHA but an elderly lady told me that they helped her keep her home.

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8 hours ago, shrekthetank1 said:

Sounds like you have a few things going on.  A VSO might be able to help you file this, but there are also people on here who can help also.  

Sounds like he is not working?  So you need to file for TDUI.  Next it sounds like you are in HARDSHIP?  Filing for this can get you claim advanced.  As for the medical records this is what can win this case for you.  Make sure you get as much as possible.  Also Lay statements by you and anyone who knows how bad his condition has gotten.  

Also the VA will help you get the paperwork, but It takes them forever.  It is far faster to call the hospital and get them mailed to you.  

Lastly the VA is starting to allow for those who do not live near a VA hospital to see someone closer to you.  It sounds like he needs some help!  

Had a rough night so I'm just getting back on here... I'm overwhelmed with the number of replies! I'll start at the beginning and go through them. 

Here is a bit more of the story:  When my husband started getting much worse he contacted the Disabled American Veterans in Little Rock. The guy who was helping him had an office  in with the VA hospital I believe. The guy helping him gave him a great deal of hope and said he could fast track things. This was early 2018. He told my husband to gather a bunch of info. He also told him there were a variety of other things he could get as a veteran including grants for a home business etc. My husband started the process of gather info, contacting old service buddies and typing up his story. Unfortunately doing all this this caused a huge setback with PTSD... nightmares... not sleeping... panic attacks... shaking. He called his advocate three months later and the guy would not return a call. Finally he drove to his office. The lady there said he had been "let go". there was no record of anything my husband had brought him and she would not tell him any details. Through research I found the man had been arrested.   So all that was for nothing and we would have to start over and my husband was in worse shape than ever. 

In january this year he came out to visit me in Sierra Vista AZ and we took him to the local DAV there and started the process again. They sent for his records which we still have not received. They were not nearly as hopeful as the original guy in Arkansas and said much of what the original guy told him was not true. I have started gathering buddy letters etc. But its been 30 years. As we are both ill its been a slow process. The DAV there told us they would also REDUCE his current disability which was not comforting.  

I'm unsure what a VSO is. Unless its the same as the DAV people which he saw again in january.  We have till January 2020 to get them all the paperwork we can. 

Due to his inability to hold a normal job he entered the field of entertainment over a decade ago. While its not been too profitable  it allowed him to set his own schedule and it kept the wolf away but was inconsistent and a very stressful way to live. He has a couple shows coming up and I doubt he will be able to do them. He's just too sick. FYI if your interested: www.royrivers.com   (His name in the miliarty was Roy Rector. He changed it when he became an entertainer for security reasons.)

I have no idea what the TDUI is... and we've been in hardship for decades not knowing how we would make bills for extended periods. Got help from our church and friends.   

I have his current records and were waiting to get his original military files. They were requested by the DAV in January.  He's not been seen a lot by VA doctor through the years due to location. 

There is a clinic in our town but they do limited things. He's gone there a couple times and they just tell him to drive to Little Rock. They won't help. 

 

I will research this TDUI. My greatest fear is losing our house... we were finally able to purchase one in 2014 after 36 years of marriage. We will try to sell it which is heartbreaking but we need minimum income to keep u payments. 

 

Thank you so much for the info. 

 

Edited by nancygail (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, broncovet said:

First, apply for an increase to include TDIU.  

Your husband (or yourself, if you are taking care of him) also needs to apply for Aid and Attendance if he needs help.  

You should also tell the VA you "are losing your home and about to become homeless."  This may speed up your claim. (Its supposed to..I lost my home waiting on VA benefits, but VA is much better now than it was in 2005, when I lost my home).  

LET VA KNOW ITS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOME.  

You cant expect them to help with this if they dont even know about it.  Tell multiple people in VA to make sure your claim is earmarked "Homelessness Imminent".  

If you are doing your claim yourself, send in a 21-4138 stating what you posted.  It needs to be signed by the Veteran or representative.  If your husband permits you to sign his stuff, then you sign it for him.  You may need his POA to do this.  

Thank you SO much for this info. I'm copying this down for printing so I can refer to it.  

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7 hours ago, broncovet said:

If you dont know how to do this, get help.  This is a VSO's job.  While I have been let down in the past by VSO's, that option beats doing nothing by a long shot.  

Is this the same as the DAV? We have contacted them and started the process. We have to gather a LOT of paperwork, buddy letters etc. We are doing are best to get these things.We have until Jan 2020 to get them the info which they then submit. But living until then is my concern as is my husbands health. 

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7 hours ago, Berta said:

You are in a very difficult situation. I agree that one of the Big Six ( DAV, AL, VFW etc) might be able to give you some guidance as to getting him to a VA Hospital.

With his type of disability it is obvious he cannot drive.Is there anyone he knows locally to him who might be willing to drive him to a VAMC?

I live in a rural area , but am only 20-25 minutes from a VAMC. I donated  quite a bit of money to the DAV years ago to help them get a van ,to use for this type of problem and they did get one, and maybe two vans  that helped veterans I knew in this area , the way your husband needs help.

Try to find out of they can offer something like that for him.

Conversion disorder is far different from PTSD. I believe he could get TDIU as Broncovet stated, due to the SC disability he has now.

Does he receive SSDI or SSI solely  for this disorder?

Do you actually have a claim in progress? Make sure the VA knows how desperate the situation is.

You might want to call the Little Rock VA, as they might have some sort of  van there or have a  way to get him transported to the VAMC.

Our local VAMC had not only the DAV van but also their own VA van-that picked my husband up with other rural vets and delivered him home, when he was  VA Day Treatment.

 

Hello Berta,

To answer your questions he currently has no one to take him to the VAMC. Its an all day event when he goes. I'm unsure about any help available for transporting him. The DAV was useless there. They did more damage than good. The person who was helping him and made him a bunch of promises stopped responding. My husband drove to his office and the lady over the place said he'd been "let go" and would give no details. There was absolutely NO record of my husband in their system nor any of the paperwork my husband had supplied the guy. I did some research and ends up the guy was arrested.  See Here   Here is a limited linkedin for him. Just a bizzare situation. 

We are trying to get a local psychiatrist to give a paper stating the PTSD which is what he has. For 10 years immediately after his medical discharge he passed out 2 to 3 times a week. he'd had a head injury. t was a horrific time which was traumatizing to not only him but myself and our kids. The passing out got less but his mental ability was never improved and he started having panic attacks etc. 

He receives no SSDI or SSI... I talked to him about this and he said they would not let him work at all if he did that. Plus at only 50% I'm told he won't qualify. 

Yes the claim is in process. Started at Sierra Vista AZ in January. We are trying to gather all the paperwork, buddy letters etc. But its been 30 years. I'm doing my best though and we've got a few great letters. Plus a few letters from those who knew him right after he got out of the military and witnessed his passing out and the fact he could not keep a job. 

Not to knock the VA in general but the Little Rock VA has been terrible. I've called and talked to them and received no help. They said he can go to a local ER but has to get PRIOR approval for the VA to pay. Prior approval for an emergency... its nuts. 

 

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Apply for an increase on any conditions you think got worse since he was rated x years ago, again to include applying for tdiu if he is not able to work.  

Also, apply for any "new" conditions which may have appeared more recently, especially those which may be related to a currently sc condition.  

As an example, medications taken for PTSD can cause things like high blood pressure, ED, sleep apnea, etc.  

Check his medical records and see if a doctor said that (a diagnosis) was caused by or related to any of his sc conditions.  

Dont forget about housebound (if he is, indeed housebound), or, if he needs someone to care for him, he may be eligible for Aid and Attendance.  

If your husband has very little income or no income other than VA, he may also be eligble for PENSION.  (It will depend, in part, when he served).  

Pension should happen quickly..more quickly than VA compensation.  Its possible to get pension in a matter of a few weeks if you get flagged for imminent homelessness.  

As always, be honest with VA.  Dont even think about exaggerating symptoms, but do fight for all benefits available to you.  

 

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You posted:

Quote

 The DAV was useless there. They did more damage than good.

Many of us have had similar situations with DAV  and/or other VSO's.  You dont need to bring this up with them.  It was probably some one else in the organizations fault, so it wont help you to take it out on the person trying to help you..when others let you down.  

Again, you will need the VSO help, because it sounds like you have a ways to go to learn the VA system.  (Most of us started out that way).  

Its ok to get their help, but, especially if something sounds bizzare post it here where experienced people will try to help you.  

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, vetquest said:

Would your husband be willing to check into the hospital?  The phsyc ward is no fun but these people can really get a ball rolling for you.  If he is willing then there is only the transportation issue.  I know that most people are not willing to do this but they will evaluate him and if he is suffering severe PTSD they will see it.  This might be the route.  Call your local VA and find out what he needs to do to check in.

The only reason he has not gone to the Little Rock VA is driving is difficult... and he will lose money. He has been doing some work for a friend. We will not make bills if he can't work. He passed out yesterday and had to go home... so that may be at an end anyway. He's a guy with a lot of pride and tries his best to work. But we're at a very bad point right now. No work... can't pay the house payment. Obvisouly if he's too sick to work anyway it doenst matter. 

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6 minutes ago, broncovet said:

Apply for an increase on any conditions you think got worse since he was rated x years ago, again to include applying for tdiu if he is not able to work.  

Also, apply for any "new" conditions which may have appeared more recently, especially those which may be related to a currently sc condition.  

As an example, medications taken for PTSD can cause things like high blood pressure, ED, sleep apnea, etc.  

Check his medical records and see if a doctor said that (a diagnosis) was caused by or related to any of his sc conditions.  

Dont forget about housebound (if he is, indeed housebound), or, if he needs someone to care for him, he may be eligible for Aid and Attendance.  

If your husband has very little income or no income other than VA, he may also be eligble for PENSION.  (It will depend, in part, when he served).  

Pension should happen quickly..more quickly than VA compensation.  Its possible to get pension in a matter of a few weeks if you get flagged for imminent homelessness.  

As always, be honest with VA.  Don't even think about exaggerating symptoms, but do fight for all benefits available to you.  

He tried to get help with the DAV in little rock after the one guy was arrested... they had no one. I called the VA and was told he had to go to the hospital which he can't do. They were useless. He was seeing a psychiatrist who put him on meds that made him deathly sick. The guy also unknown to him changed his condition to neurosis... which I don't think helps. We've had several veterans tell us this specific psychiatrist has hurt their case so he stopped going.  He's got textbook  PTSD. I have no idea why they didn't call it that way back when. But we were very young and didn't question anything. Were trying to get an outside psychiatrist to write up a paper with the PTSD which they told him he had. Which is difficult with no money. 

6 minutes ago, broncovet said:

 

 

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