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New claim or Supplemental - TBI and TBI Residual Bipolar Mood Swings


Foxhound6

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Evening all! 

Having been going through my records awhile for my current claims, I found another claim I may be able to pursue. However, I am unsure exactly how to proceed with it.

Possible TBI in service (Unconfirmed medically as it happened during an exercise and I did not go in, but have buddy statements confirming event for another claim on back). 

The VA treated me for Depression and Anxiety for several years, as well as during my Reserve time after active duty (have claim in for this, exam on 11/19)

I was also diagnosed with Bipolar Mood Swings later in 2014 by a non-VA psychiatrist. I submitted this DX as a claim at that time as well when I didn't know what I was doing. It was denied, obviously.

My question now is: Should I file as TBI and TBI Residual Bipolar Mood Swings OR file the TBI by itself and file a Supplemental for the denied Bipolar claim from 2014? The only "new and relevant" evidence would be the buddy statements of the TBI event in service?

I was thinking that since it may be listed under TBI-R coding, I should file it as TBI/TBI Residual Bipolar Mood Swings? 

Any input is appreciated! Thanks!

Edited by Foxhound6
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I had a MD that provided his signature on my TBI complaint because I reported my injuries while in the service  and I'm currently fighting it and it will be a few more years until I get my SMC-T. As well as wasted many years going to the VA and getting no help for it at all because they swept it under the rug.

Likely not because it wasn't documented by a physician or you going to seek treatment after it occurred during service.

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7 minutes ago, Oceanbound said:

I had a MD that provided his signature on my TBI complaint because I reported my injuries while in the service  and I'm currently fighting it and it will be a few more years until I get my SMC-T. As well as wasted many years going to the VA and getting no help for it at all because they swept it under the rug.

Likely not because it wasn't documented by a physician or you going to seek treatment after it occurred during service.

I have been reading that it is difficult as the VA still understands very little of it. Well, I can just submit it and see where it goes! Couldn't hurt. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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 I can say from experience if you had a TBI you  would know it immediately upon waking up in a hospital, or in the very least if , you would have been placed under observation for a while.

If you don't have medical evidence it will  be a hard fight....  I think You need something besides buddy statements in such a case .  Has any doctor stated you had a TBI, have you had xray or CT scan confirmation of damage to your brain?

I was rated for TBI 30 years after the fact , ( just never made the claim until 30 years later) but I had the active duty medical evidence and I have  brain damage shown on CT scan......in your case you can't even remember if you actually had a TBI....

If it were my claim, I would seek out a doctor and get a medical opinion before I spent time on a claim. Its not difficult to get a rating if you actually have medical evidence.

The TBI C/P exam  is about memory retention and personal control issues mainly.   The examiner will ask you questions or show you something to draw or memorize .. then ask you to draw what you saw, or repeat what you read.   

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2 hours ago, Richard1954 said:

 I can say from experience if you had a TBI you  would know it immediately upon waking up in a hospital, or in the very least if , you would have been placed under observation for a while.

If you don't have medical evidence it will  be a hard fight....  I think You need something besides buddy statements in such a case .  Has any doctor stated you had a TBI, have you had xray or CT scan confirmation of damage to your brain?

I was rated for TBI 30 years after the fact , ( just never made the claim until 30 years later) but I had the active duty medical evidence and I have  brain damage shown on CT scan......in your case you can't even remember if you actually had a TBI....

If it were my claim, I would seek out a doctor and get a medical opinion before I spent time on a claim. Its not difficult to get a rating if you actually have medical evidence.

The TBI C/P exam  is about memory retention and personal control issues mainly.   The examiner will ask you questions or show you something to draw or memorize .. then ask you to draw what you saw, or repeat what you read.   

It is more of a question of criteria rather than me "knowing I had a TBI". I believe, to the VA, any event where there is trauma to the head, causing unconsciousness (it sure did), headaches(understatement), etc. is considered a TBI. I have no medical because we were on a 36 hour exercise and well, it just never sits well with leadership when someone gets hurt and has to go to sick call.. I just pushed on. Had headaches for few days after, couldn't sleep the entire exercise. Just figured I was fine. I was young and very dumb. Small silver lining is the buddy statements I have is from the person who caused it and a person who helped me when I was unconscious.

I am really just trying to see if I even should bother. Like you said, hard to do much after the fact. I'll most likely add it to the list of things I need to try to see a specialist for and see if I ever get around to it. I do have memory issues, albeit more short term things, balance is off, things like that.

Thanks..

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8 hours ago, Foxhound6 said:

I have no medical because we were on a 36 hour exercise and well, it just never sits well with leadership when someone gets hurt and has to go to sick call..

Again I don't think that such a claim will go anywhere with out medical evidence... Unless you were in combat ( and it doesn't seem so) , the buddy statements will not mean much either. In my opinion as someone who suffers from a TBI and its residuals... I find it hard to believe that you were unconscious and were not medically evacuated back to the rear , or never got medical care during or after a 36 hour field exercise.  What your saying doesn't fit the normal pattern of someone with a head injury.  Any rater will look at such a claim and wonder too.   

I think you ought to seek out an independent medical opinion before you submit  a claim,  getting a CT scan, or x-ray ( that  shows  residual damage)  might help you prove your claim. Honestly, if I did not have proof of my left frontal brain damage upon CT Scan even with the active duty medical records, and after 30 years   I don't think I would have been granted a claim either.

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1 hour ago, Richard1954 said:

Again I don't think that such a claim will go anywhere with out medical evidence... Unless you were in combat ( and it doesn't seem so) , the buddy statements will not mean much either. In my opinion as someone who suffers from a TBI and its residuals... I find it hard to believe that you were unconscious and were not medically evacuated back to the rear , or never got medical care during or after a 36 hour field exercise.  What your saying doesn't fit the normal pattern of someone with a head injury.  Any rater will look at such a claim and wonder too.   

I think you ought to seek out an independent medical opinion before you submit  a claim,  getting a CT scan, or x-ray ( that  shows  residual damage)  might help you prove your claim. Honestly, if I did not have proof of my left frontal brain damage upon CT Scan even with the active duty medical records, and after 30 years   I don't think I would have been granted a claim either.

Roger that..

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