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Questions regarding VA disability, c&p, and veteran suicide risk

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Lagin02

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So my husband is going though the VA disability process. He began treatment in April doing CPT which aggravated his symptoms immensely. In May, he was fired from the job he has held for 8 years. In June, he was put on disability leave from his National Guard unit after command became aware of his suicide risk and they have mandated that he continues the therapy which is only making the situation worse. He has been in for 15 years and most likely will be medically chaptered out which has worsened his depression significantly. Due to his suicidal thoughts I am trying to manage this financial crisis as best I can because I’m afraid he is being pushed over the edge. He just stares off into space and sits in our basement. I filed for VA disability at the beginning of June because prior to all this he was our only source of income. I left my job a couple months before he was fired because my income was not enough to cover daycare after our son was born. I can’t leave him alone with the kids in the state he is in right now. I payed off our bills for a couple months with our savings but we only have a month left before we will be homeless. I also expedited his claim due to financial hardship in June. His claim seems open and shut to me. He did is C&P exam in July 31st but the VA still haven’t received the report (it was a VA doctor that did it not a contractor).  I called on Thursday to ask where it is and was told “it’s not ready yet” by the office where it was conducted. 

My understanding is you must prove three things:

The stressor:

His stressor occurred in Iraq in 2007. There was a CID investigation due to the circumstances around the event and there are still people in his unit that were in Iraq with him and knew what happened. I don’t want to write details because it would defeat the purpose of confidentiality but there is no denying that it was extremely traumatic and involved death and serious injury of service members in a small convoy. I also have a memorandum signed by the commander sending my husband to the combat stress unit in Iraq after the incident when he became suicidal. In my mind there is no denying the stressor. 

A current diagnosis: 

He is currently under treatment for PTSD at the VA doing CPT and is on medication. His team wants him to do an in-patient program in Chicago but as it stands with our impending homelessness, it just isn’t an opinion right now. 

The Nexus: 

He marked off symptoms of ptsd on his demobilization paperwork and stated he encountered stressors. In his periodic health assessment 6-month and also 1 year follow-ups for his Iraq deployment it shows he endorsed every symptom of PTSD and one Depression question. He was supposed to be referred to mental health according to this form but for whatever reason it slipped through the cracks. His current treatment is focused on the events that occurred during his first deployment. 

I called the VA homeless assistance line and was told that they will place my husband in transitional housing but me and our children (6-month-old and 9-years-old) will need to “find somewhere else to go.” I called the White House VA line and was told “I am so sorry but I don’t know what else I can tell you to do” His ebenifits portal broke 6 weeks ago due to duplicate files and was supposed to be fixed 3 weeks ago but is still broken. I have called veteran resources but all in our area require we have a “resolution” if they assist which we don’t because I don’t know if or when he will start to improve. 

So if your still with me, I have a couple questions: 

1.) How long does it take for the doctor to send a C&P exam? Is it normal that it wouldn’t be don’t weeks after the exam? 

2.) What are the chances that this will be resolved before the end of September when we will be homeless? If we do become homeless how do we follow up with the case with no address? 

3.) Will the transitional housing be able to make sure he doesn’t follow through with his suicidal thoughts? I’m afraid that separating our family and having to toss everything we have build over the last 10 years will push him over the edge and I won’t be there to make sure he is okay. 

4.) Is there anything else I can or should be doing? 

5.) Is there any chance he could get better soon? Like it gets really bad but than starts then better? He has a bachelor’s degree and if he stops staring off into space and having these episodes he could get a job paying good money or I can work and he can watch the kids. I can’t imagine throwing everything we own in a dumpster, having my family torn apart, and taking my kids to a homeless shelter. I don’t even know how to explain it to my 9-year-old. He always struggled but at least he was functioning by numbing everything and isolation prior to opening this can of worms. We were financially comfortable so I just don’t understand how things got so bad so fast.

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I feel your pain.  Like yourself, I became a homeless Veteran in 2004-2005.  I got help elsewhere, the VA "homeless" program consisted of making as many Veterans homeless as possible, by delaying their claims as long as possible.  

It is better now, but you pointed out its still not fixed.  

My advice is, if you have sought all the help you can at VA, then also get help in the community.  I was saved from homelessness in just a short time via low income housing in my community.  

IMPORTANT:   Dont make the mistake I made.  If your husband is a "war" Veteran, and you have little or no income, you should be able to get pension and get it much faster than comp.  Go to your VSO and ask for "pension" and fill in the forms right away.  Even if/when you get compensation, you can get pension while you wait.  Pension is less, but anything helps.  My doctor told me to file for pension (while waiting for compensation).  It shouldnt be that way, but it is.  

Do go to your local VAMC and ask for the hospital administrator.  He should put you in touch with a social worker who may be able to get your claims expidited.  Homeless claimants, or about to be homeless, are supposed to be given priority.  One problem is that VA isnt good at communicating that to the Veteran and also internally in the VA.  

Call the white house hotline again, you will get someone else.  The VA reminds me of a teenager.  They ask mom, if mom says no, ask dad, if dad says no, ask grandpa.  If you find an unhelpful VA employee call at a different time in a different department until you find someone who will help you.  

I made the mistake of thinking VA was a "unified body", and what one VA employee says, they will all say the same.  Nope.  Each is different and the right hand does not know what the left hand does.  In short, ask someone else.  

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