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VARO tomorow. Tips? First Claim, VSO, I.D. (DEERS) what am I missing?


I would appreciate any planning tips, putting together my plan of attack for tomorrow. 

1)  I have a list of things to bring already, any must brings? 

2) I have  a list of things to accomplish, what am I missing? 

a) VA ID Card,  and the verification needed for (DEERS?) so that I can enter a claim in ebenefits. at the RO.

What else can I accomplish at the RO?

b) VSO, look them over, talk to one or all, maybe choose one to work with on my first claim. 

3) Should I call either the RO or the VSO groups that are there to make appointment or just walk in? 

What questions should I ask the VSO? 

I haven't been to one of these RO before, its almost 4 hours away, I want to make this trip count.  Any suggestions to add to my list? 


I plan on filing first claim for 1) tinnitus 2) hearing loss 3) deformed toenail (military medical procedure). Plan is 20% Not much to debate on these SC. Most likely choose a VSO to work with so I can be 'more' likely to learn enough to submit my real claim after.  And maybe I will fly through the process with these, and maybe I won't. But, one way or another, I will either have filed initial claim before I leave the RO or will have the last tool necessary to do it myself online.

My first VAMC appointment is next week, if anyone has any tips for that visit, I am preparing for it, gathering up my medical history (was a work in progress as I have been doing so to work on big claim). Any must do's and don'ts ? 

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The VARO has offices from various veterans service organizations, like DAV, VFW, etc... Not sure which ones have offices at your location. I learned that the DAV at my VARO was open Mon-Thurs and I arrived on a Friday.

The VSOs can help you get started on your claims. You might even have a VSO rep closer to where you live. Here in Alabama, I have used the DAV at the VAMC and also the state/county VSO reps. Feel free to visit all the VSOs if you want or have timeyou may have to sign in and wait. Just remember, some organizations like VFW will only represent veterans who meet certain criteria. Not sure if they will answer general questions, but assume they probably will to some degree. 

Regardless of where they are, jst remember they stay busy. They can help you by filling out the claims forms and reviewing your material. Just keep in mind that some of them can be minimalists. Don't expect them to go through every page of your files and look for all possible claims you can file. it does sound like you are on the right path. You have a plan and an idea of what you want to file which is a good start.

At the VAMC, you might have to go through the eligibility office (if you have not already). They will get you into the system and make a VA ID card. Not sure if the VARO can give you a VA ID card or not. 

if you go back to the main hadit.com page, there are a lot of resources to help you learn more about the ins and outs of the system. Don't hesitate to ask questions, but try to be specific.

If you post any scanned documents or type/copy/paste text from your personal records, be sure to redact/black out any private details.

good luck on your visit tomorrow!



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Vnyc has given you good advice.  Please do not hand over any original copies of your records, you will never see them again.

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thanks, good point about these folks that I will be seeing will be busy, and not to waste their time. I am always as concise as I can be in person, as the stakes for me, are pretty high, and have been for a very long time. That is why I over prepare.

I know what I want to ask them, thanks to researching here and other places. 

And I know what I want to accomplish at RO, that is reason for the trip. 

I received two referrals for 'special' agents, we will see.

Looks like I have two interviews to do I believe I have enough general info to accomplish this phase of the plan. 

I know I can't get anyone to do the legwork for me, I know its the veterans job to dig it all up and to know what they want from it.  I want to find someone who knows what they are looking at, after I put it together and they will see more than just a stack of paper (even if it is a digital stack). And someone who is not going to dessert me after the first submit button is pressed. I want to see a track record, and something complex that they have been involved in, and know that they stick with the claim, like beans on rice, and will communicate at the right times, if I can't find something close to those specs, I will wing it. 

I appreciate all of you letting me sharpen my tools a bit, or a least, remove a few burrs. 



no worry about the originals, got that message loud and clear.....

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I just posted VA Fast Letter 10-35 in this thread:


The VA is supposed to apply it when dealing with Tinnitus and Hearing Loss claims.

There are two links- the first one has the MOS list with it, and your MOS might well put you into an obvious tinnitus category. So you certainly should claim the tinnitus and HL.

You mentioned other issues in past posts but those issues will need to conform to the Caluza Triangle, that Broncovet so often mentions here- because it is the key to gaining VA compensation for most veterans.

Just for fun I googled' Broncovet Caluza Triangle hadit.com ' and over 200 links popped up-

I am so glad he brings this up often here because it is the essence of most compensation awards.

Hopefully you will get your SMRs soon. And I hope they are legible.

I dealt with some very old handwritten 1960 SMRs many years ago, it took me three weeks to decifer them.

Unfortunately the veteran had been to BVA and the CAVC twice by then but his lawyers never ever attempted to read the SMRs.  I prepared  an assessment of my lay findings in his SMRs as to the disability he had, that VA kept denying,for his private doctor  and the doctor (an expert in the field of his disability)prepared a free IMO for him and he won.

Vet reps wont take the time to find evidence in SMRs of a potential nexus, and apparently neither will some lawyers, he had two who didn't, and none of us here really have the time that can take, but you sound very capable of doing this yourself-and you did mention other potential SC disabilities but we do not know what they are.

Nexus is Everything. Nexus is the documented cause, injury, stressor, etc etc that had led to a disability you have now, with no other etiology or cause, but for your service.








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Yes, Berta, I do repeat myself on the Caluza Triangle.    I dont think its possible to overemphasize the Caluza Triangle (aka Caluza elements) when appealing Vets claims.  Its pretty simple, really:

1.  Get all 3 Caluza elements documented (current diagnosis, in service event, and nexus) or get denied.  

2.  There is no number 2.  

      I repeat myself because, I see, over and over, Vets persuing SC when they have one or more missing or weak Caluza elements.    If people learned to search, they could find the answers, but most love the personal touch of having their question answered, "not just" someone else's question even in it would apply to them.  



Edited by broncovet

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    • 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
    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
      • 7 replies
    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:

      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis

      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.

      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 


      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.


      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

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