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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    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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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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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flow1972

How To Know What Injury Or Event Connects Current Issues

Question

Some of you know, I'm new to all of this.  I feel like I'm trying to build a 5,000 piece puzzle with no picture or instructions to look at.  I currently have 10% SC for Tinnitus.  I have a C&P scheduled for the 18th of November for my PTSD caused by MST Claim.  I have a ton of things in my SMR's as well as CMR's that I have no idea how to connect the dots on.  Is there some "place" or "person" that assists with this stuff???  I feel lost, and I'm a Data person.

I have currently diagnosed conditions:

1. Carpal Tunnel

2. Raynaud's

3. IBS/Spastic Colon

4.  Current Gastritis 

5.  Just had my Tonsils out at 46 (yep...tonsil lesion after decades of recurrent pharyngitis/Strep/Tonsilitus)

6.  Lower back disk degeneration (been on my Xrays for years)

7.  Arthritis in hands (not RH)

8.  Cold Sores

9.  Asthma/Allergies

10.  Right Hip (Injections a few months ago)

11.  Vertigo (I believe it's Motorist Vestibular Disorientation, but the one time I asked my PCP about it, they thought it may be my allergies causing it)

I left service back in 1996.  I had just had my first child and was still recovering from the affects of Pre-Eclampsia.  ( All over my SMR's.)  No physical at Separation. I have things in my SMR's where I had Asthma as a child but no issues since early childhood (on my Entrance paperwork).  I also have an entry where they state there was a review of my Medical Records (Security Review for Above Top Secret) and "No Chronic Illnesses" or something to that affect.  I literally had 9 cases of URI/Bronchitis/Phneumonia or a related lung issue in my 5 years of service logged in my SMR's. 

There was 12 cases of Strep/Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis along with a visit for some stomach issues that went on for several weeks (pretty sure this is when my IBS started showing up), a broken 9th rib (got kicked by a horse in Germany), Left Ankle Overuse Syndrome (I don't know why it says this because I'm pretty sure that's when I got sever shin-splints in both legs), Right ankle sprain, left knee strain, left hand and wrist injury, left thigh myalgia 2nd degree strain..then I started having to be given meds for allergies/Asthma episodes again the last few years in service.  I had a ganglian cyst removed from my right hand just a little over a year after I left service...I've read there isn't a "known" true cause but arthritis can be a possible cause...

I'm just overwhelmed with what relates to what and so forth.  My Carpal Tunnel...you know they'll try to say that's 100% due to my work as a Data Analyst when the "know" hand/wrist injuries as well as job duties that require repetition also contribute...I even have a note in my SMR's about my fingers being numb while I was pregnant, but I guarantee they'll attribute that to the Edema from the Pre-E.  So.....how do you work through it all in the best way NOT to screw yourself????

Edited by flow1972

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7 minutes ago, vetquest said:

 

I get what you're saying...the issue for me is the whole "putting me in front of a person in charge who will now judge my integrity as I am forced to recite what I already wrote in my statement".  This particular situation...is part of what I carry with me.  It is the reason I don't talk to anyone about it...or haven't for a long time.  To be 21..all alone in a foreign country...and have some Commander you don't know request your presence in his office (by yourself) so that you can "tell him" what OSI already gave him in a written statement...while he looks at you with disdain and talks to you like you're a whore (sorry for the word choice..don't know how else to say that) and you're being one is now a problem "for him to deal with" that you probably brought on yourself....yeah...really don't want to relive the exact scenario...ever.

I wouldn't take a person with PTSD from a Combat situation and make them walk in to a Combat situation to prove they have it....so...I'm doing it because I have to, but it's making things worse...not better...

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I have been there somewhat.  I was disabled due to an injury in service that caught up with me.  The secretary of the Navy had written a directive that said what I had was pre-existing.  I was no longer able to perform my duties and was discharged at the convenience of the government, illegally, not even allowed to have social security or unemployment benefits.  My first C&P's diagnosed me with hypochondria, then they turned around and reported me as unfit to have a drivers license. I got tired of seeing doctors and shrinks that said there was nothing wrong with me, that I was a malinger or worse.  I had made Staff Sergeant (E-6) in seven years and was at the prime of my health when I was suddenly having what looked like seizures and temperatures as high as 108 degrees.  I was over $30,000 in debt the first year paying for medical care and living expenses and I could not hold a job.  The doctors ignored the evidence and made derogatory reports.  I was fighting to survive without any help.

I will not lie to you, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. But you have to decide whether or not you want to fight this.

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17 hours ago, vetquest said:

My word @Vync.  After that I have nothing to add.  You should write a book about applying for benefits. 😎

Well, I just added that as part of a blog entry here. I'm not sure if all that info is current, but wanted to give a good once-over to veterans new to the system. I remember relying on my VSO for my initial claims and they cared about me long enough to get me out of their office. If I had known then what I know now, I would not have had near as many troubles with the VA system.

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12 hours ago, vetquest said:

 

How on earth were they able to say the injury was "Pre-Existing" if you'd been in for 6 years with no problems!!??  That's just crazy!  How did you finally get it all straightened out, and how long did it take you?

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17 hours ago, flow1972 said:

Wow!  You are wealth of information!  I have done quite a bit of what you already outlined.  I have my SMR's already.  I already requested and rcvd my in-patient records from in service.  I don't have the X-Ray scans though.  I'll have to request those.  I haven't been seen by a VA Doc/Facility yet.  I just got registered to use them last week.  I've gathered most of my CMRs.  I do have a gap from when I got out for a few years...can't remember the PCP I used way back then.  I had surgery on my hand just a little over a year after leaving service though, and I finally have those records being sent to me.  I think the old PCP is on them as the "referring physician".  I have my personnel records, but I noticed the leave requests and such weren't included.  Not that I need those at this time; just noticed that kind of stuff wasn't included.  I got out in 1996, and I've kept the giant file of my SMR's for years.  Just figured they'd come in handy one day...and here we are.  LOL  I'm also in the process of scanning everything and noting what each sheet contains and date as well as making a spreadsheet to cross-reference.  I'm a Data Analyst (actually a BI Manager now), so I'm all about detail and easy look-up.  I have the OSI Investigation Report and am in the process of obtaining the Action Report from the assault that happened to me in Germany.  So...I'm getting up to speed as quick as I can.  I've decided to focus on one thing at a time...otherwise, it's just too much information to unpack and really understand.  I have my C&P for my PTSD due to MST claim coming up in November.  I'm SERIOUSLY not looking forward to that....literally to the point of it's making me sick to my stomach.  So...to take my mind off of it, I started building out a folder itemizing the many URI/Bronchitis/Walking Pneumonia/Asthmatic Bronchitis/Allergic Rhinitis/Allergy entries in my SMRs.  Building out a time line..then going to work on the CMRs that link to that stuff and see what it all looks like.  That's a lot in and of itself..so, one major thing at a time.  Really appreciate the info!

That's a really good start. Things like the x-ray imaging scans are not always required, but are good to have. I had to pick up an MRI disc recently to take to a non-VA neurologist. The doc went over the actual images and told me exactly what she found, which is something the VA practically never does. She also needed to review the images in order to write me an independent medical opinion.

If you can't remember your civilian PCP, you might want to check with your private insurance. They tend to keep billing records going back 10 years. I had the same issue and was able to find out who treated me. I had to pay about $25 for them to print and mail the records, but it was worth it.

Leave requests are considered unit records and can be purged periodically if the admins did their job properly. Better unit admins will ask if you want to keep forms like those, but a lot would just shred them.

You did the right thing by keeping the records you have. When I got out in 1995, the out processing center told me to take my personnel and medical records to the VA officer in my town. I talked with them and they made a copy, but told me to keep the originals in a safe place and never give them to the VA.

Lol, I'm a programmer at a company that does data archiving. I just opted for a master Excel spreadsheet and kept the files separate.

Yes, definitely take things at a steady place. Don't wear your self out. Give yourself time to rest and recharge.

Regarding your upcoming C&P, check out the DBQ for the exam. That will give you a good idea of what to expect, but they may not ask every question on the form. Also research here about other people's experiences. You can also visit a VA vet center and talk to their counselors if you don't feel comfortable talking with the VA just yet. It's ok to tell them what you are going through. They can help get a load off your chest. Additionally, check T-Bird's articles about what to do before a C&P exam. Don't go in not knowing what to expect.

 

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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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