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    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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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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  • 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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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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JaeT.21

They said no to my increase, but gave me a decrease

Question

Welp, Just found out they closed my claim. Surprise surprise, nothing changed EXCEPT they reduced my GERD from 60% down to 10%! WHY and What the?! So apparently that random C&P without my knowledge played a significant part.

 

So my questions are the following:

1. Should I reopen my claims or file an appeal?

2. How do I go about getting ALL of my C&P claim notes, especially whatever was said from this C&P without my knowledge?

3. Should I even attempt to ask for the much qualified for increase on other areas of my body, that have gotten worse, or fight this last round of let downs?

 

I try to explain to everyone when you retire or get out and become a veteran, your own company (the VA) treat you like used tissue. Nobody has any use for used tissue...tossed to the side.

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If the VA used the ACE procedures to rate your gerd  you will need to get a copy of the examination and review it.  Once you do that you will need to prove the examination was not complete.  If you have medical evidence outside the VA then you can claim the ACE did not consider all of the available evidence., because an ACE  only includes review of the VA medical records. 

 

Either way you have to attack the examination as inconclusive , you should appeal the decision to preserve the effective date.

 

ALSO ADDED: its very usual for the va to lower a rating based on one C/P exam alone,  that itself is a reason to appeal, its been my understanding that the va cannot use one review for downgrading  a rating.

 

ACE Directive.pdf ACE News Release.docx

Edited by Richard1954
see above
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24 minutes ago, Richard1954 said:

If the VA used the ACE procedures to rate your gerd  you will need to get a copy of the examination and review it.  Once you do that you will need to prove the examination was not complete.  If you have medical evidence outside the VA then you can claim the ACE did not consider all of the available evidence., because an ACE  only includes review of the VA medical records. 

 

Either way you have to attack the examination as inconclusive , you should appeal the decision to preserve the effective date.

 

ALSO ADDED: its very usual for the va to lower a rating based on one C/P exam alone,  that itself is a reason to appeal, its been my understanding that the va cannot use one review for downgrading  a rating.

 

ACE Directive.pdf 55.37 kB · 3 downloads ACE News Release.docx 113.8 kB · 1 download

Yeah when I went to the VA clinic a week after I found out about the 'ace' c&p exam, they couldn't see it I. My files. The only thing they saw was my C&P exam from last year. 

This is the second time I've filed for an increase and some random VA C&P exam for something I wasn't claiming happened and they decreased my rating. Last time was me finally getting the best evidence to prove my 18 years of neck/nerve/hand damage. Coincidentally I got an appointment for a C&P for my plantar fasciitis. Next thing you know my 30% went to 10% as my neck and hand went up. Thus I stayed at 94% instead of going over to 96% aka 100%. Now they dropped me down to 87%. Still 90% but I know my migraines warrant more than 0% and that's what the increase was for. That and trying to servicE connect my sleep apnea. I guess statement in support of claim and a visit about my sleeping lack thereof, slightly over  year after I retired don't count....

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St. Pete RO is sooo dirty!!

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I would get a copy of all those exams,  file for any another increases and any other new conditions you haven't filed for in the past.  Also,  were any of those conditions you were proposed a reduction for "protected" because they were over a certain number of years old, in that, they need to show marked improvement over time?  The St. Pete RO pulled this on me, when I filed for A&A and had the nerve to go by the CP exam given by a quack GP contracted who spent less than 5 minutes with me for two conditions!! after my neuro filled out the paperwork for A&A,  I freaked.  It would have dropped my rating below 70% losing my IU PT, with kids in college using Chapter 35.  I was LIVID.  I had held that rating for 10years and it was documented very thoroughly in my VA records, anyway I said screw that and filed for every single thing I have never filed for before, I went from 70% IU PT to 100% schedular with SMCs after a year of so much stress and grief.  I was sent an actual apology but only because I raised hell. 

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@seminoles is correct. Reducing a rating is a very specific process and must be followed.

There are specific timing issues with a reduction in rating and you need to follow them to avoid problems.

The other questions are on point

are/were any of your ratings in place for more than 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

are you over 55?

did you receive a letter "proposing" a reduction in rating? did it include your options to appeal that reduction?

You need to file for a new C-File immediately.

You need to start gathering evidence for your appeal

As for the notes. you will have to include in your C-file request a specific demand for that notes. They may try to avoid doing that, and if they do that is more evidence in your appeal. Make this request ASAP.

you NEED to challenge the Dr's credentials in your appeal. This preserves that challenge for future potential legal claims in higher courts and MUST be raised at the first possible moment which is your first appeal. Make no mistake, this is not hyperbole. You legally lose the right to raise that issue later if you don't claim it NOW.

What you are experiencing is the underlying reasoning over why VSO's are known to try and discourage vets from filing appeals or increases once they have been rated. Their famous don't rock the boat statements.

When you apply for anything, you open your entire claims file for review, even if you are 100% P&T.

This new review could, in theory, uncover older errors is granting awards. The application of this and our (the vets) perception is that this is punitive on the part of the VA.

There is a rule in the VA Manuals, and I don't know it off the top of my head, that amounts to saying that if one rating is reduced, but others are increased and the net value is the same amount of pay/rating to the veteran then no actual harm is incurred. That is false and needs to be challenged on grounds of it being a presumption not a  reality. Our ratings are cumulative in nature and conditions tend to get worse with age not better. 

There is even a possible Constitutional Property Right claim to your existing rating and future rating potential. Even though some might see this as a stretch, it is one I would make in a case of reduction of rating in conjunction with your other paths of attack. IMO raising at the lowest possible level is just another opportunity for the VA to make more errors which the board or higher courts would have to address on further appeal.

read these

https://www.bva.va.gov/docs/VLR_VOL3/4-DeutschAndBurriesci-DueProcessInTheWakePages220-262.pdf

https://www.veteranslawblog.org/grading-the-bva-on-constitutional-due-process/

There is a case that modifies the application of Due Process to Veterans. I don't remember if it is Cushman or one after Cushman. But it is effect says that Vets do have a Property Right to their SC but it only attaches after the SC has been granted. The first case just said we had a blanket Property Right to SC which implied that we had that right even before SC was granted.

Keep us informed and post the letters or orders they issue so we can help where possible.

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  • Similar Content

    • By Endgame Thor
      I have found this forum today searching desperately for answers and help, and I'm hoping that some can be found here. I have been working with a representative from the American Legion to assist me in preparing and filing a service connection claim. We started last May (an intent to file was sent on May 17, 2019), and this week of all weeks I finally received a series of letters from the VA Intake office saying my claim was being worked on and that I would be getting a call from a local doctor to schedule my C&P exam. The rep I have been working with told me to call him (or see him at his office) when I got this information, but his office is closed for another week at least (automated voicemail and email responses say through Apr 6) and I am very concerned about what is happening. The rep had mentioned the name of a local physician as who most everyone he has worked with in the past was sent to, but I just this morning got a call from Logistics Health Incorporated and the reviews I found for them online are varied from awful experiences to good ones. I have no way to contact the one person who has been helping me navigate this process and I am very worried on how to proceed. My primary claim is Anxiety/Panic Disorder (it has become so severe that I have been put on ADA Medical Leave from my part time job and my university professors/staff are working with me through their version of a disability office to provide accommodations to help me try to finish this term). I have been on that ADA Leave since Nov 17, 2019 and it is currently slated to last until May 17, 2020. Due to the nature of my primary issue, I have been unable to sleep recently trying to figure out what to do as I can not access the resource I had come to rely on over the last nearly one year. I have several claims being made other than just the Anxiety/Panic Disorder and can elaborate if someone needs that information to help, but frankly I'm terrified to call this large impersonal corporation to schedule a C&P when I had been expecting to work with a local physician.

      EDIT: I just received a Voicemail from LHI, and they have already scheduled an appointment for me for Mon 4/13. One of the primary issues of my Anxiety/Panic Disorder is that I am unable to travel long distances (anything out of my own city, and even long distance within town is problematic even with medication). In light of this, we had submitted along with our filings a request to have an appointment scheduled within my own city, but the appointment was made for me at an office in a city more than 30 minutes away, a trip I can not make. 
    • By Chalman
      I’m currently rated at 50% for ptsd and anxiety. This C&P exam is for a ratings increase, insomnia, drug abuse disorder, and IU
      1. Diagnosis
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      [x]yes
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      [x]no
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    • By arizonavet85
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    • By JaeT.21
      I have 4 C&P exams this Friday. All for increases. (Migraine, PTSD/depression/anxiety/chronic pain/agoraphobia, bilateral foot pain and knee pain increase [including VA issued knee brace and civilian issued AFO foot brace]).
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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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