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How long does a higher level review/CUE take?


  • HadIt.com Elder

Updated as of 2020-08-27 (at the bottom of my original post)

How long does a higher level review/CUE take? I initially called the 1-800 number and they said supplemental reviews are supposed to take less than 125 days, but they were not certain about higher level reviews. The agent speculated they could take a year or longer.

This post was changed to track my claim as it made it's way through the VA system. This may help other veterans understand some of the inner workings of what goes on behind the scenes.

Why am I calling this HLR/CUE and not just CUE or HLR?
At the time the claims were submitted, other members have indicated filing their CUE claims as regular letters. With the overhaul to the VA claims and appeals process in early 2019, they have became sticklers for filing on certain forms. Unfortunately, there is no mandatory form for a CUE claim. With HLR and CUE being mostly similar, aside from the restrictions of CUE, I wanted to cover my bases and not cause any delays with them having to come back and ask me to use a specific form.


Background: Initial claims were filed in 1995 and awarded on appeal in 2000, but the VA failed to follow the laws in effect at the time and resulted in incorrect initial ratings.

CUE Claim 1: Rhinitis/sinusitis (38 CFR 4.97 DC 6501/6522)
1. C&P examiner felt I always had this condition
2. VARO reduced rating from 30% to 20% based on C&P examiner's opinion
3. VARO failed to follow 38 CFR 3.322(a): "If the degree of the disability at the time of entrance into service is not ascertainable in terms of the schedule, no deduction will be made."
4. Expected outcome: Reversal of reduction. Correction of initial rating from 20% to 30%.

CUE Claim 2: TMJ (38 CFR 4.150 DC 9905) due to oral surgery
1. C&P examiner noted max ROM qualifying for 0% rating, plus painful/limited motion ROM qualifying for 20% rating.
2. VARO granted 10% per 38 CFR 4.59 Painful motion: "It is the intention to recognize actually painful, unstable, or malaligned joints, due to healed injury, as entitled to at least the minimum compensable rating for the joint."
3. VARO failed to follow 38 CFR 4.2 "Interpretation of examination reports" by not recognizing C&P examiner notes for limited/painful motion qualifying for 20% rating.
4. VARO failed to follow 38 CFR 4.40 "Functional Loss" and 38 CFR 4.45 "The joints". Painful motion = limited motion.
5. Expected outcome: Correction of initial rating from 10% to 20%.


HLR/CUE timeline

2019-09-20 Mailed to VA certified mail w/return receipt

2019-09-23 Claim received

2019-10-08 Not yet posted to va.gov. Called 1-800-827-1000. ETA March 2020.

2019-10-17 Moved you evidence gathering, review, and decision as of 2019-10-15. ETA November 4, 2019

2019-10-22 Moved to initial review as of 2019-10-03. ETA March 30, 2020

2019-10-24 Requested records

2019-10-29 va.gov status unchanged. Development letter sent. Called 1-800-827-1000. Claim is in the national work queue and being worked by Houston VARO. The development letter was the typical "we got your claim and are working on it". They sent a request to the Birmingham VAMC for medical treatment records from 1995-1999. Called the VAMC's Release of Information Office and they have 20 business days to complete the request.

2019-11-25 Called 1-800-827-1000. Status still unchanged, but the suspense date of the medical treatment records request has expired. VA agent sent IRIS request. Called the VAMC's Release of Information Office. Paper copies were mailed via USPS certified mail to the Evidence Intake Center in Janesville, WI. They were nice enough to provide the USPS tracking number.

2019-11-29 Certified mail tracking shows package was received by the Evidence Intake Center in Janesville, WI.

2019-12-11 Called 1-800-827-1000. Paper copies have been scanned in to PDF. Waiting to be picked up by a VARO.

2019-12-12 Called 1-800-827-1000. The call center agent (Donald) sent an IRIS request to inform the VARO that the claims are ready to proceed.

2019-12-20 Moved you evidence gathering, review, and decision as of 2019-12-19. ETA January 23, 2020.

2019-12-27 No change to va.gov status. Only change is ETA of May 27, 2020, which is five months out. Called 1-800-827-1000 and was given a strange status. First, they said they were waiting on more medical records from the VAMC from December 20, 2019 through January 20, 2020, which doesn't make much sense. I called back later in the day and was told something different. Called my POA VSO. They said the VA sent me a letter asking if I had any additional evidence to add. The VSO said the ETA is probably out so far because they are waiting for a response from someone outside of the VA system (i.e. me).

2019-12-30 Checked va.gov and noticed it says they sent me a development letter and items need attention. Called 1-800-827-1000 and they said a letter was not sent out and they are not waiting on anything from me. My claim is still at the VARO and assigned to a VSR. They found a note indicating that the recent second request for VAMC medical records was in error. They said they have seen this happen before where it triggers the ETA date to be pushed out automatically. In this case, it cost me about six to seven weeks of unnecessary delay.

2020-01-03 Checked va.gov and no change. Called 1-800-827-1000. The call center rep said it was confusing and transferred me to someone else who could help tell me what is going on. Talked with a friendly lady who said that on 2020-01-02, the person developing the claim sent a message to the quality department asking if the claim should have been submitted on 21-526EZ or 20-0995 (supplemental claim form). Fortunately, earlier today, @Dustoff 11 posted the exact information from M21-1 indicating that no specific form is required. I provided that to the lady and she sent a message to the VARO to let them know exactly where it is. No clue if they have actually processed my request and were just double-checking or if they still need to do it. At least I was able to help them to help me, I hope.

2020-01-07 Well how about this. I received a letter in the mail from the VA yesterday which was dated 2019-12-20 requesting additional evidence (treatment records). Called 1-800-827-1000 and let them know this is for CUE and no new evidence could be added. They did say the request to revise is assigned to a rater, so that's promising.

M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 2, Section B - Revision of Decisions
III.iv.2.B.4.d. Considering Requests for Revision Based on CUE


Although there is no specific claim form required to request revision of a decision based on CUE, the request must be submitted in writing and signed by either the claimant or his/her authorized representative.

2020-01-09 One week has passed since VARO asked about how to proceed regarding filing using a specific form. Called 1-800-827-1000. They said it is now awaiting a decision. Estimated completion date was moved from May 2020 to February 12, 2020, which is an improvement.

2020-01-17 No change on va.gov. Called 1-800-827-1000. They said it was status 499 (National Work Queue), not assigned to an individual and waiting to be picked up. As of 1/8, it is still "Ready for decision". Estimated completion date still February 12, 2020.

2020-01-21 There was a change on va.gov, but it is a bit different than what I have seen previously. The estimated completion date is still February 12, 2020 and the last status was January 8th, but now it also includes three new lines talking about "We closed the notice for Request 1", "We closed the notice for Request 2", and "We closed the notice for Request 3", all dated Jan 8. This was not there last Friday. I'll take it as a good sign that something is happening.


I called 1-800-827-1000 to see what these three things are. They said that these indicators were normal, part of what they are doing while clearing things off their checklist. I called my VSO and they confirmed it is "ready for decision", where it has been for the past two weeks. They checked to see if a letter was generated, but one has not been created yet.
  I also found the answer to my question (sort of) about the "We closed the notice for Request #". I just clicked on the "Files" header at the top.


And it showed more information about each request. It's more than what the agent on the phone provided, but it still doesn't give much transparency. For example, "Recent treatment for claimed conditions" was probably the request from the VARO to the VAMC for my medical records. However, because it was CUE, the request was probably not needed because they merely needed to check my claims file.


2020-01-23 I had to call 1-800-827-1000 to check on something unrelated, so I asked them to give me a status update. The decision was made yesterday and is presently waiting for final review (i.e. approval). Once that is done, it will move to notiification. At that point, a decision letter should be inserted into the system and become visible to my VSO so I don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.

2020-01-24 Friday afternoon and I checked va.gov and there was a change. Or was there? it was in step 3 yesterday and is still there today. Maybe sometimes between then and now, it was moved to step 4, but then moved back to step 3. The only visible change is the estimated completion date being pushed out by two days. No big deal. I'd rather they take a couple of extra days to get it right (I just hope they get it right). To satisfy my curiosity, I called 1-800-827-1000 to find out if that was what really happened. The first agent I spoke with was clueless and said they could not tell me anything more than what I saw on va.gov. They transferred me to a "technician", who provided a little more info, but was rather rude and made me feel like I was preventing him from leaving for the day. He said the decision was completed and they are in the process of generating the formal notification letter. He said it should be in step 4 Preparation for notification, but indicated that va.gov and ebenefits may not reflect the current status in realtime. Either way, the estimated completion date was still January 30, 2020, what I can see in va.gov.


2020-01-27 I guess someone at the VA was working over the weekend. Finally reached step 4: Preparation for notification and the estimated completion date was moved one day earlier to January 29, 2020.


2020-01-27 Decided to check va.gov before leaving for the day. This confirms what I was told earlier today! Tomorrow, I will ask my VSO to print a copy of the rating decision.




2020-01-28 Picked up rating decision from VSO. As expected, won one, lost one, but the one I lost will be appealed. They made the exact same mistake as in the original claim.



2020-08-27 HLR update and a recap
My HLR was received by the VA on April 10, 2020 and has been sitting idle in the national work queue. Today, I received a call from the DRO to perform the informal conference regarding the TMJ errors. He went over the details of the evidence he is allowed to consider (all evidence of record prior to when the decision was made in early 2000).

In this case, the VA did a C&P dental TMJ exam in November 1997, but they misplaced the notes and brought me back about a month later for a second exam. When the rating decision was made in early 2000, they only used the material from the second exam.

About 8 or 9 years ago, I requested a copy of my claims folder and received it a huge box. I scanned hundreds of pages, front and back, into my computer and organized them. When I had a heart attack in April 2019, I was out of work for several months to recover. I spent a good bit of that time going back over the documents looking for anything which might qualify as a CUE. As a result, I found the misplaced first C&P exam notes. I put together CUE motion and sent it to the VA in Sep 2019 for two issues. In Jan 2020, I won one, but lost the other. I took my time re-reviewing everything and filed the HLR in April 2020.

The DRO was able to see my copy of the first C&P exam notes from my packet, but needed to confirm that they were actually in VBMS already. Being handwritten, he had to go page by page and eventually found it. The document was jammed into a packet of 50+ scanned pages that were date stamped as being received by the VARO in March 1999.

He felt that when the decision was made in early 2000, the adjudicator probably was looking for transcribed findings placed on a formal C&P exam worksheet, not a handwritten progress note. However, because the first exam was so thorough, he is able to use it's contents.

He said DeLuca (4.40 and 4.45) definitely applies because numerous requirements of limitation of motion have been well documented. The first exam would indeed yield a 30% initial rating, but the second exam would only yield a 20% rating. Based on his findings, he feels that I should probably get awarded the 30% because had the material not been misplaced in error, the second exam would have never occurred.

He confirmed that CUE definitely did occur. He has to write up the rating narrative and will pass it on for review, claim approval, and any retro approval. The decision letter might be available in a couple of weeks. Due to the other CUE I won in Jan 2000, I was increased to 50% as of 1995. I should be increased to at least 60% from 1995 through 2008 or 2009.

The entire conversation lasted almost 90 minutes. I also asked him how HLR's are assigned from the National Work Queue. He said they they are assigned centrally. He saw I had my other HLR in the queue, but he is not allowed to request it. He said the HLRs are assigned to his individual work queue. For example, he may have 7 or 8 assigned to him at any given time. If he finishes up two in one day, two more are automatically assigned at the end of his individual work queue.

This news is a great relief, but as always, I will believe it when I see it. Crossing my fingers...

Edited by Vync
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The higher level review is a good way to go if and I do mean if your evidence is clear. And when I say your evidence is clear I mean that it falls in line with the regulations the VA uses. The evidenc

Vync, that is unfortunately, the truth. And, the VA is spending a gazillion dollars on new IT Program to merge DOD and VA files. That fiasco is going to be used more than than the St.Louis fire in 197

Delay, one of the VA's favorite ploys.

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  • HadIt.com Elder
9 hours ago, Bluebonnie said:

@Vync thanks for replying.....but yes my last c and p was Dec 30 last year and also my last exam seem favorable except he didn't check anything in criteria b section of my exam and diagnosed me with something else. Hopefully this time all goes well.  Here is a copy of my last one.

Sounds promising. If it is favorable and they got the nexus covered, this one may be just to obtain the current degree of disability. Sometimes they may diagnose other things in addition. Sounds like they may have wanted both clarification and current degree of disability.


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1. Diagnostic Summary
Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria
based on today's evaluation?
[ ] Yes [X] No
2. Current Diagnoses
a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Other Specified Trauma- and Stressor-Related
ICD code: F43.8
Comments, if any:
Veteran does NOT meet full DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
While the veteran did experience a Criterion A trauma event
(physical assault by significant other), her other significant
stressor in the service does NOT meet Criterion A (sexual
harassment), though the latter appears to have had a more long-term
impact on her functioning. She does NOT endorse, exhibit, and there
is no record of her experiencing core symptoms (arousal) that are
essential to a PTSD diagnosis based on the Criterion A stressor
(her arousal is far more closely related to her reported sexual
harassment). However, the veteran DOES meet DSM 5 diagnostic
criteria for Other Specified Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorder.
It is AT LEAST AS LIKELY AS NOT that the Other Specified Traumaand Stressor-Related Disorder is the result of an in-service
stressor related event.
Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Panic Disorder w/Agorophobia
ICD code: F41.0
Comments, if any:
Veteran also meets full DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for Panic
Disorder, with agorophobia. It is AT LEAST AS LIKELY AS NOT that
the veteran's Panic Disorder is SECONDARY TO her Other Specified
Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorder.
Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: Unspecified Depressive Disorder
ICD code: F32.9 

Comments, if any:
Veteran also meets full DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for Unspecified
Depressive Disorder. It is AT LEAST AS LIKELY AS NOT that the
veteran's Unspecified Depressive Disorder is SECONDARY TO her Other
Specified Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorder.
b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the
mental health disorder (to include TBI):
No response provided.
3. Differentiation of symptoms
a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed?
[X] Yes [ ] No
b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to
each diagnosis?
[X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A)
If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and
discuss whether there is any clinical association between these
PTSD Symptoms: 
* Sleep disturbance due to nightmares 
* Recurring/intrusive thoughts about his/her trauma(s). 
* Arousal symptoms, including hypervigilance, exaggerated startle
response; irritability/angry outbursts; difficulty remembering
specifics related to the trauma event(s); 
* Avoidance symptoms of avoiding reminders of the trauma(s);
having strong reactions when aspects of the trauma(s) are
* Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the
traumatic event(s)
Symptoms associated with veteran's depressive disorder include:
* depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
* markedly diminished interest in or pleasure in all, or almost
all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
* significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (not related to physiological condition) or decrease or increase in
appetite nearly every day
* insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
* psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
(observable to others)
* fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
* feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
nearly every day
* diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness,
nearly every day
* recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent
suicidal ideation or suicidality
limited to:
sleep problems (related to onset and maintenance);
concentration difficulties; difficulties experiencing
emotions; feeling isolated or disconnected from others;
loss of
interest in previously enjoyable activities; having
strong negative
beliefs about oneself, the world, others. As well as
feelings of
worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly
every day.
Symptoms associated with veteran's panic disorder include:
* palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
* excessive perspiration/sweating
* trembling or shaking
* sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
* feelings of choking
* chest pain or discomfort
* nausea or abdominal distress
* feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint  chills or heat sensations
* derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization
(being detached from one-self)
* fear of losing control or "going crazy"
* fear of dying
* persistent fear or worry about additional panic attacks or their
* significant maladaptive change in behavior related to the
c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not shown in records reviewed
4. Occupational and social impairment
a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational
and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only
[X] Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas,
such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/or mood
b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to
differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder?
[ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A)
If no, provide reason:
It is not feasible to parse out the veteran's level of
occupational/social impairment (a global assessment of impairment)
into diagnostic categories as the conditions have a significant,
bidirectional impact on one another with significant overlap in
NOTE: The overall functional impairment of this veteran is best
conceptualized via the chosen statement above in Section 1, Item 4a
("occupational and social impairment...") and NOT the symptoms
checklist at the conclusion of this report (see section 2, Item 3 -
"Symptoms") as symptom endorsement alone do not capture the
frequency or severity of their presence.

c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate which
occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not Applicable (N/A)
Clinical Findings:
1. Evidence Review
Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):
[X] VA e-folder
[X] Other (please identify other evidence reviewed):
Veteran's electronic C-File (through VBMS) and CPRS medical records
were reviewed. Particular attention was directed to 
previous C&P examination 

dated: n/a
prior mental health notes: CPRS 

VBMS documents including, but not limited to: buddy/lay statement

DD-214; STRs (negative for psych, depression, anxiety)
VA Form 21-0781 
VA Form 21-526EZ
No collateral information was available in C-file and no collaterals
joined veteran to C&P evaluation. 
Evidence Comments:

Please review the Veteran's electronic folder in VBMS and state that it was 
reviewed in your report. MEDICAL OPINION REQUEST
TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION REQUESTED: Direct service connection
OPINION: Direct service connection
Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of (a) post traumatic Stressor disorder 
that is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) 
incurred in or caused by (the) personal trauma during service?
Rationale must be provided in the appropriate section.
If more than one mental disorder is diagnosed please comment on their 
relationship to one another and, if possible, please state which symptoms 
are attributed to each disorder.
If your examination determines that the Veteran does not have diagnosis of 
PTSD and you diagnose another mental disorder, please provide an opinion as 
to whether it is at least as likely as not that the Veteran's diagnosed 
mental disorder is a result of an in-service stressor related event.

Additional remarks for the examiner:
Tab B (Stressor Statement in VBMS) Stessor Statement VAF 21-0781 
Tab C (Stressor Statement in VBMS) Stessor Statement VAF 21-0781

3. Stressors
Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers
traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military):
a. Stressor #1: sexual harrasment (mainly verbal with some physical
Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support
the diagnosis of PTSD)?
[ ] Yes [X] No
Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or
terrorist activity?
[ ] Yes [X] No
If no, explain:
sexual harrassment
Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the
MST event

b. Stressor #2: physical assault while pregnant by significant other (which
prompted her military discharge)
Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support
the diagnosis of PTSD)?
[X] Yes [ ] No
Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or
terrorist activity?
[ ] Yes [X] No
If no, explain:
personal assault
Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the
see above
4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria
Note: Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis.
Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion
A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other
things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria
for PTSD, referred to as Criterion A-H, are from the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).
Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury,
c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways:
[X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)
Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms
associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred:
[X] No criterion in this section met.

Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic
event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred,
as evidenced by one or both of the following:
[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories,
thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the
traumatic event(s).
[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders
(people, places, conversations, activities, objects,
situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or
feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic
Criterion Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with
the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the
traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of
the following:
[X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or
expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I
am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely
dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently
[X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror,
anger, guilt, or shame).
[X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in
significant activities.
[X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with
the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the
traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of
the following:
[X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical
aggression toward people or objects.
[X] Reckless or self-destructive behavior.
[X] Hypervigilance.
[X] Exaggerated startle response.
[X] Problems with concentration.
[X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying
asleep or restless sleep).
Criterion F:
[X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is
more than 1 month.
Criterion G:
[X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or
impairment in social, occupational, or other important
areas of functioning.
Criterion H:
[X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological
effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or
another medical condition.
Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD
[X] Stressor #2
5. Symptoms
For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the
Veteran's diagnoses:
[X] Depressed mood
[X] Anxiety
[X] Suspiciousness [X] Panic attacks more than once a week
[X] Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function
independently, appropriately and effectively
[X] Chronic sleep impairment
[X] Disturbances of motivation and mood
[X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a
worklike setting
[X] Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships
[X] Suicidal ideation
[X] Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene
[X] Intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living,
including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene.

7. Other symptoms
Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other
mental disorders) that are not listed above?
[ ] Yes [X] No
8. Competency
Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs?
[X] Yes [ ] No
9. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any
As part of this C&P evaluation, veteran was administered the PTSD
Checklist - DSM 5 (PCL-5) & Beck Depression Inventory - Second Edition
The PTSD Checklist - DSM 5 is a 20-item self-report instrument for
measuring the severity of criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder. Ms.(......)
PCL score of 68 is above the recommended score that is typically
indicative of PTSD symptomatology (31-33 based on Bovin et al., 2015,
Psych Assessment; maximum score of 80). No previous administration(s) of
this instrument were located in the veteran's records. The PCL is
considered a screening measure and does NOT include validity scales. As
such, it is susceptible to positive and negative impression management.
The Beck Depression Inventory - Second Edition (BDI-II) is a 21-item
self-report instrument for measuring the severity of depression in adults
and adolescents aged 13 years and older. Ms. (........) BDI-II score of 46 is
indicative of severe depressive symptoms being endorsed at the present
time. No previous administration(s) of this instrument were located in the
veteran's records. The BDI-2 is considered a screening measure and does
NOT include validity scales. As such, it is susceptible to positive and negative impressions.

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If I had to guess I would say that you should be rated for panic attacks related to MST.  I think a rating of 30% is what they will present.  The VA likes to low ball you, appeal and you would probably looking at 50%.  This is nothing but an educated guess on my part.

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    • By flynsolo2
      *****NEW EDIT AS OF FEB. 14th....
      Okay, it says that the HLR review was completed on Jan. 28th. I STILL have not received a letter, and on Monday, the 15th, it will be three weeks. The rating looks to be the same on my e-file, but, when I called the VSO on Friday to see if he could see anything on his end of what the VA said about the HLR, he said that my file showed nothing-not the claim or my disability percent(s), or the HLR. Anyone else run into issues with HLR decisions and taking longer than the 10 days to receive your decision letter? I would like to know why I was denied (I am assuming I was, since the percent is the same)...
      Thanks everyone!!
      Good Afternoon,
      I know the time frame for a HLR is normally about 4 months (they state on their website 125 days), however, I am wondering if anyone has filed a HLR since they opened up the VA more in August? Just wondering if there is a huge backlog now. I have mine just sitting there since September, and no status change, even though I was thinking it would be until January, but, as most others have said, still checking often to see if there has been any updates!
    • By Berta
      CUE =BVA - retro to 1985 for PTSD
      There are over 2,000 CUE decisions at the BVA for 2020. Many of them were denied and those cases reveal why they were denied.
      But persistence pays off:
      This vet would not give up- the case shows the rigamorale he went through.
      "ORDER The Veteran’s motion to revise the March 2007 rating decision that granted service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), effective October 7, 2005, on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error (CUE) is granted, and an effective date of April 9, 1985, but no earlier, for the award of service connection for PTSD, is assigned. "
      This case involved not only CUE but 38 CFR 3.156.
      Also the veteran appealed to the Court ( CAVC twice and apparently had a lawyer at that point who successfully represented him at the BVA for the CUE.
      The veteran at some point reopened his claim in 2005 and gained a 70% rating in 2007 (retro back to 2005)
      The BVA stated:
      "Here, there is no question that the award of service connection in 2007 was based, at least in part, on the confirmation of the Veteran’s stressors completed through CURR research. So, it is clear in this case that the effective date provisions of 3.156(c)(3) were applicable. "
      This vet Also had problems getting his stressors verified- problems that probably came from the VA itself-that is why it pays to do all you can to get a stressor verified via JSRRC and/or buddy statements. VA will lie about contacting CURR, when sometimes they never do that.
      It took 22 YEARS for that to occur in this veteran's case.
      Still the veteran knew that was wrong- and he proved with his lawyer that hi original 1985 claim for "delayed stress" ( PTSD was still new then and many vets with a PTSD diagnosis I met when I worked at a Vet Center, didnt really know what PTSD was, but they all had been diagnosed with it -from the Vietnam War.)
      My husband's 1983 award was for service connected "nervous condition"" subsequently changed to PTSD, when PTSD formally went into the regulations.
      In this case the original claim for "delayed stress" was clearly an established fact that the veteran had PTSD fro the Vietnam War.
      In many cases ( such as a recent CUE question here) a re opened claim can only generate a potential valid CUE on the original claim, only when there is no doubt that the original claimed disability was exactly the same as the re opened awarded disability.
      The only good thing VA ever did for my husband was diagnose him with PTSD immediately when he tried to choke a loan officer at the VA.
      The Director,a VA psychologist, as I mentioned before, gave him a buddy statement, because my husband revealed one stressor to him and the psychologist- was called to the same scene at the Perfume River, Vietnam to treat Marines who were obviously seriously affected by the "volunteer job" they had to do.It was horrible. He was awarded within a few months after that for SC PTSD. 30% SC.
      Even with treatment for years for the PTSD here in NY, he was awarded 100% P & T posthumously for SC PTSD because PTSD can get worse over the years. Severe stressors never go away.
      I hope this case above will help someone out there who thinks they have CUE and/or 3.156 potential.
      Any vet rep or VSO who can read, would be able to understand what a valid CUE is by reading this case, and be able to determine if you should file or re open in that regard.
      My last post on CUE here yesterday will also help any POA rep ,VSO , or claimant understand what a CUE is and how a re -open can gain a better EED, as explained in that post and in this very recent BVA award.
    • By MidwestAbbott
      I have roughly one million questions but I'll try to keep it simple. This is the first time I am appealing a denied claim (though not my first denied claim - I currently have 50% combined). Almost exactly one year after my C&P exam I finally got a denial for both of my knees).  I did a HLR informal conference and now my va.gov status says "The VBA is correcting an error".  Here is the decision I received on Dec. 7th after the Higher Level Review (sorry I couldn't figure out how to add image) and below that are my questions.
      1. A duty to assist error has been identified during the Higher Level Review of left knee pain. 2. A duty to assist error has been identified during the Higher Level Review of right knee pain. Evidence: Timeline from intent to file on 10/2/19 to HLR informal conference on 12/2/20 Reasons for Decision: 1. Higher Level Review for left knee pain The issue of left knee pain was returned for correction of a duty to assist error in the prior decision. We failed to get other records. We will develop for lay statements and if warranted additional opinions. (38 CFR 3.303, 38 CFR 3.304, 38 CFR 3.159, 38 CFR 3.2502, 38 CFR 3.2601) Favorable findings identified in the decision: You have been diagnosed with a disability. The VA exam dated 11/7/19 showed a diagnosis of patellofemoral pain syndrome. 2. Higher Level Review for right knee pain The issue of right knee pain was returned for correction of a duty to assist error in the prior decision. We failed to get other records. We will develop for lay statements and if warranted additional opinions. (38 CFR 3.303, 38 CFR 3.304, 38 CFR 3.159, 38 CFR 3.2502, 38 CFR 3.2601) Favorable findings identified in the decision: A nexus or link has been established between your claimed issue and an in-service event or injury. During VA exam dated 11/7/19 the VA examiner provided a positive medical opinion linking your right knee to service. You have been diagnosed with a disability. The VA exam dated 11/7/19 showed a diagnosis of right meniscal tear, right knee instability, and patellofemoral pain syndrome. MY QUESTIONS
      1. Am I just out of luck because I didn't seek treatment during Active Duty?
      2. Under "favorable findings" it states that "a nexus, or link, has been established between your claimed issue and an in-service event". Isn't that the literal definition of a service connected disability?!
      3. What is the error? What have you all seen as timelines and outcomes for this? 
      Thank you to everyone who takes the time to respond and post. Reading these questions/answers over the last year has been both educational and comforting. 
    • By Vync
      In August 2020, I filed a HLR for heart attack and was just called by a DRO. The DRO indicated the decision was in error because it was based solely on the wrong condition (atrial fibrillation) and did not address the heart attack at all. They will go over everything, including the strong "more likely than not" IMO from my non-VA board certified doctor. They said they would try to grant based off of the evidence of record. Of course, if granted, I would get another heart C&P for rating purposed. Should know something within the next couple of weeks.
    • By Foxhound6
      I will upload this to the HLR timeline post I have but also wanted to get some input. Looks like my supplemental claim about the lack of secondary opinion helped get me new CP exam as this is what the error was in my claim, apparently. It seems like they may back date the EED also to my ETS, at least that's how it seems to read? Any input is appreciated.
      HLR Decision - Error Correction_Redacted.pdf
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    • I already get compensation for bladder cancer for Camp Lejeune Water issue, now that it is added to Agent Orange does it mean that the VA should pay me the difference between Camp Lejeune and 1992 when I retired from the Marine Corps or do I have to re-apply for it for Agent Orange, or will the VA look at at current cases already receiving bladder cancer compensation. I’m considered 100% Disabled Permanently 
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    • 5,10, 20 Rule
      The 5, 10, 20 year rules...

      Five Year Rule) If you have had the same rating for five or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis. All the medical evidence, not just the reexamination report, must support the conclusion that your improvement is more than temporary.

      Ten Year Rule) The 10 year rule is after 10 years, the service connection is protected from being dropped.

      Twenty Year Rule) If your disability has been continuously rated at or above a certain rating level for 20 or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless it finds the rating was based on fraud. This is a very high standard and it's unlikely the rating would get reduced.

      If you are 100% for 20 years (Either 100% schedular or 100% TDIU - Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or IU), you are automatically Permanent & Total (P&T). And, that after 20 years the total disability (100% or IU) is protected from reduction for the remainder of the person's life. "M-21-1-IX.ii.2.1.j. When a P&T Disability Exists"

      At 55, P&T (Permanent & Total) or a few other reasons the VBA will not initiate a review. Here is the graphic below for that. However if the Veteran files a new compensation claim or files for an increase, then it is YOU that initiated to possible review.

      NOTE: Until a percentage is in place for 10 years, the service connection can be removed. After that, the service connection is protected.


      Example for 2020 using the same disability rating

      1998 - Initially Service Connected @ 10%

      RESULT: Service Connection Protected in 2008

      RESULT: 10% Protected from reduction in 2018 (20 years)

      2020 - Service Connection Increased @ 30%

      RESULT: 30% is Protected from reduction in 2040 (20 years)
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    • Post in New BVA Grants
      While the BVA has some discretion here, often they "chop up claims".  For example, BVA will order SERVICE CONNECTION, and leave it up to the VARO the disability percent and effective date.  

      I hate that its that way.  The board should "render a decision", to include service connection, disability percentage AND effective date, so we dont have to appeal "each" of those issues over then next 15 years on a hamster wheel.  
    • Finally heard back that I received my 100% Overall rating and a 100% PTSD rating Following my long appeal process!

      My question is this, given the fact that my appeal was on the advanced docket and is an “Expedited” appeal, what happens now and how long(ish) is the process from here on out with retro and so forth? I’ve read a million things but nothing with an expedited appeal status.

      Anyone deal with this situation before? My jump is from 50 to 100 over the course of 2 years if that helps some. I only am asking because as happy as I am, I would be much happier to pay some of these bills off!
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      • 13 replies
    • I told reviewer that I had a bad C&P, and that all I wanted was a fair shake, and she even said, that was what she was all ready viewed for herself. The first C&P don't even  reflect my Treatment in the VA PTSD clinic. In my new C&P I was only asked about symptoms, seeing shit, rituals, nightmares, paying bills and about childhood, but didn't ask about details of it. Just about twenty question, and  nothing about stressor,
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