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      The VA DRO denied my claim for an earlier effective date for my sleep apnea. They originally denied it in 2008 but granted it in Nov 2019 secondary to my GERD. I was rated for GERD in 2001. So I had it in 2008. I have attached the 2008 denial, 2018 approval, and the NOD SOC. All of my medical files and the medical articles and VA Citations referenced were in existence in or before Jan 2008. The only new items were the NEXUS letter from Dr Bash and a few extra buddy letters. The original denial states that my medical records show no diagnosis or treatment and only isolated complaints of symptoms. The denial does not even list my wife's or my lay statements as evidence reviewed. I have symptoms listed numerous times in my SMRs:

      a. Medical visit dated 24 Feb 76 for problem sleeping and depression.
      b. Physical exam dated 24 Jan 79 listed frequent/severe headaches" dizziness, and
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      c. Physical exam dated 07 Nov 83 listed frequent/severe headaches.
      d. Physical exam dated 16 Jan 85 listed frequent/severe headaches.
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      g. Physical exam dated 25 Feb 88 listed dizziness.
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      k. Physical exam dated 29 Sep 99 listed frequent/severe headaches.

      So could you all take a look and let me know what you think.

      Redacted VA NOD SOC 04-09-2020.pdf
      VA 2008 Denial of OSA Redacted.pdf
      VA Claim Decision Ltr 08 Nov 2018 Redacted.PDF
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Michvetinfla

30 Years to file claim, is this possible to win?

Question

Posted (edited)

Disproving a discharge for a physical disability existing prior to entry determined by a medical board.

Facts.
Entered the United States Marine Corps November 7th 1990,  discharge date May 20th 1991 for a total of 6 months 14 days. 

In Wagner v. Principi, 370 F.3d 1089 (Fed. Cir. 2004), the 
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 
(Federal Circuit) found that, when no preexisting condition 
is noted upon entry into service, the Veteran is presumed to 
have been sound upon entry and then the burden falls on the 
government to rebut the presumption of soundness.  The 
Federal Circuit held in Wagner that the correct standard for 
rebutting the presumption of soundness under 38 U.S.C.A. § 
1111 (West 2002) requires that VA shows by clear and 
unmistakable evidence that (1) the Veteran's disability 
existed prior to service, and, (2) that the preexisting 
disability was not aggravated during service.

When I entered active service in Detroit MEPS no waivers were signed As I had no disabilities including flat feet or bunions Etc. I was 100% healthy, passed my background check for top secret clearance and signed a five-year enlistment with a $10,000 bonus, MOS 0231. 

While in Marine Corps boot camp, during the third phase or last part of training until graduation,  I went to sick call for the first time complaining of lower leg and foot pain, that they were numb painful feel like knives are in them and hurts to walk or march. I was put on light duty no marching running PT and  ordered to wear go fasters or sneakers. I did miss the final last long march with the platoon at the very end of boot camp because of being on light duty, but I did graduate with my platoon (01Feb91). (Stating this now as there should be evidence of it somewhere in San Diego MCRD of me going to sick call, Proving the beginning of my foot problems and leg problems happened in boot camp). Went home for boot camp leave ,returned 10 days later for MCT Marine combat training, put in a guard platoon until a position opened up for me in the combat training class. The first week there while pulling guard Duty, (Reported back 11 February 91)- 19Feb91, and doing various Marine guard Duty tasks, the same problem occurred that happened in boot camp, shooting pains numbness etc etc. This time they took x-rays the first time 19Feb91, I came back in two days, 21Feb91, for another series of x-rays and that was it for my medical services at Camp Pendleton, and apparently that was the whole of my Medical Board in terms of talking to me or even having any contact with me upon making a final decision 29 April 91 Medical Board.

The Veteran was not shown to have any foot 
disability when examined for entry into service and the 
Veteran asserts that he had no foot disability prior to 
service.  The Board, however, finds that there is clear and 
unmistakable evidence that the Veteran had bilateral foot 
disability prior to service.  This is shown by the inservice 
medical findings that the bilateral foot disability existed 
prior to service.

Nonetheless, in order to rebut the presumption of soundness, 
the evidence must also show, clearly and unmistakably, that 
the Veteran's bilateral foot disability was not aggravated by 
service.  

A preexisting injury or disease will be considered to have 
been aggravated by active service where there is an increase 
in disability during such service, unless there is a specific
finding that the increase in disability is due to the natural 
progress of the disease.  38 C.F.R. § 3.306(a).  Temporary or 
intermittent flare-ups of the preexisting condition during 
service are not sufficient to be considered aggravation 
unless the underlying condition, as contrasted to symptoms, 
has worsened.  Crowe v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 238, 247-48 
(1994).  Aggravation may not be conceded where the disability 
underwent no increase in severity during service on the basis 
of all the evidence of record pertaining to the 
manifestations of the disability prior to, during and 
subsequent to service.  38 C.F.R. § 3.306(b).

(this is my conjecture of extrapolating recorded VA cases and actual notes with my facts in my case)

Although the April 29th 1991 medical board report states that the veterans physical disability had not been aggravated by service, But in almost every instance of cases I've been studying, like this, the VA court case inspected disagrees and Rules in favor of the veteran. It usually will sound like this. “ in this case the service treatment record clearly shows that the veterans bilateral foot disability increased in severity during service. the veteran went from having no foot complaints to having extreme foot pain and difficulty walking. even after going on light duty and 10 days bootcamp leave and refraining from marching and wearing boots after all that he still had the same symptoms and pain as in boot camp the pes planus flat feet. Despite the medical board, the evidence does not clearly and unmistakably show that the foot disability did not worsen in service.

 Because the veteran bilateral PES planus did increase in severity during service and because there is no clear and unmistakable evidence that the veterans pre-existing bilateral foot disability was not aggravated during service, the board finds that the veterans pre-existing bilateral pes planus was permanently aggravated by service. Because the presumption of soundness has not been rebutted, service connection for bilateral PES planus is warranted. !!!!
That is the outcome that I see coming from the facts of this case unless I am wrong. I want to add the rest of the information to complete the Nexus. 

I am including in this the x-rays and doctors prognosis of those x-rays which are the originals from 1991. this was given to me by the nurse who told me I was getting screwed over that clearly my injuries occurred in service in that they're doing this so I don't get any disability she was a Vietnam vet nurse very angry gave me all the records that I took pictures of below and told me to hold them until I was ready for disability I never forgot that and kept them in the safe place for 30 years that is why I have this evidence.

The discharge papers and the board paperwork I have included, does state a physical disability existing prior to entry determined by a medical board as the narrative reason for separation.The medical board consisted of going to sick call twice and getting x-rays. 

Two different times I went for x-rays as you can see I was diagnosed the first time February 19th with possible stress fractures of the proximal tibia of both the right and left leg as well as the right foot hallux valgus deformity otherwise within normal limits my left foot degenerative changes in the MP joints. Then on the February 21st prognosis was of bilateral mild pes plannus.

And the most important part of the case, I believe is, my father has been my primary doctor my entire life and he was a licensed chiropractor who retired in 2005. He did have all my records and notes for all my years, he did keep them the required seven years when he retired in 2005 and burn them along with all his patients in 2012. But he is willing and ready to go on record for me from memory. Again this was one of the factors I never attempted this because I have no doctor except my dad, and I didn't know they allowed Chiropractic doctors and gave the same weight of evidence as medical doctors.(I found out starting in 2004 so I guess I'm 16 years too late) I was always told the opposite so I felt I never could do anything about this unjustice that has been done to me all these years. 

When I was discharged I was Furious because I was perfectly healthy and they claimed that it existed prior when it actually happened in boot camp because they didn't want to pay disability to me. Now it doesn't matter per se proving I didn't have it previously if they failed the presumption of soundness test but my father will testify to the fact that I never had flat feet or fallen arches are any problems with my feet until I returned from the service and that is when he did his own X-rays of me and can testify that, yes they(USMC) had permanently injured Me by causing the flat feet tibia stress fractures hallux valgus and degenerative changes in the MP joints. 

Again all the files have been burned as per law but he will testify that he gave me physicals every year and noted the declining health of my feet and how it has caused back damage, lower back damage. He noted this all through my life while treating me, giving me adjustments Giving me arch support to try in my shoes as well as Orthopedic inserts and shoes all to no avail as they did not help my feet just got worse as well as the Nexus needed from my father to associate my lower back pain specifically the MRI that I included with the information about the disc herniation with severe Central stenosis and sacral nerve root impingement. 
Will the VA take into account my Father being a chiropractor as well as being my father and having an intimate knowledge and relationship of my health my entire life would they give his testimony the same weight as a medical doctor or more? He will testify that more so than not it is likely probable that my flat feet conditions led to the secondary conditions of the lower back where it is evident with the MRI from 2017 how bad my back truly is. As a matter of fact I'm waiting for a decision for Social Security disabilityI just sent in one month ago. I fit the listing for sacral nerve root Central stenosis lower back listing And have not been able to work since August 2019 where I had a bicycle accident and broke my right scapula resulting in the secondary hurting my back which was already end herniation and sacral nerve impingement. 

Now in terms of what to claim disability wise, I still need to speak with someone and I mailed in my intent to file a claim today and would like some advice?? I was going to use the Disabled American Veterans as my VSO the one in Tampa Florida Does anyone recommend them in Central Florida or have a better vso recommendation?. Again I am waiting for my SSI disability which I just put in 2 weeks ago and how will that ruling affect my VA ratings at all if any?

And should my father the chiropractor be putting in his prognosis such as my pes planus is either pronounced or severe Etc should he be making prognosis on my feet and back because he is a professional in that needs to give his professional opinion?

Any info would be great I guess I'm fairly confident that I finally have the facts straight that even if they claim it existed prior to enlistment they have to then prove it wasn't made worse in service and as I pointed out that's very high bar,  but again connecting the Hallux valgus, stress fractures, pes planus as Service-connected so that the secondary connection to my documented lower back issues that he, my father the chiropractor, has made the Nexus Link to the primary and it definitely happened at the direct result from my flat feet in it problems that happened to me while in service in the Marine Corps. United States claim

Any info would help should he be putting in a rating for my back there are many codes should he be trying to figure out all these codes and ratings or is that something my vso should help me with as I said my father is in my corner and knows that this was all caused by my in-service primary and secondary and will do whatever he has to to back that up. 
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Edited by Michvetinfla
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You have got some good advice from kanewnut

Please Remember there is no time limit on these claims  we can file, but  you will need 3 Elements  & they call the calzua triangle elements!

They are per claim/per condition In service Injury or disease. 

*NOTE* Calzua Elements  by member and Hadit Moderator broncovet

1.  Current diagnosis.  Your doctor must have diagnosed you.  No diagnosis, no benefits. 

2.  In service event or aggravation.  You could have had a broken leg, been exposed to excessive noise, or a bomb could have blown up and you lost your legs.   Or, you may have had something before service that got worse (aggravation).  

3.  Nexus.  This is the famous statement, by your doctor, that your (current diagnosis #1 is at least as likely as not related to your in service event, number 2).  

The only exception on certain diagnosis is PTSD, A  Dx must come from a M.H. VA Dr

But the 3 elements listed above are what veterans need when they first file a claim  if you have 3 claims with different conditions these elements will apply.  even if it has be years and years since you ETS. (End Of Time Served)

Of Course an Honorable Discharge helps but not necessary, you can have other than Honorable  as long as its not Dishonorable. 

 

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Thank you so much that is great advice and I am going through it line by line. I also made a huge step last week and made a psychologist appointment and have a counseling session tomorrow night 9 p.m. I am going to finally document what this has done to me mentally and put in a claim for that as well. I do believe this is the right course but any comments would be appreciated again thank you I just feel so overwhelmed right now 30 years of them denying me I wasn't actually crazy when I went in there they had my name wrong so when they actually said they did had nothing on me I never served actually believe them for a while but as I found out just a few weeks ago they had my name spelled wrong in Saturday I finally faxed  the correct information hopefully it will be fixed by then but thank you again.

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I don't know how it happened but ebenefits had my middle name wrong. They had it listed as Dennis. It was the correct first letter but not my name. I had to send them a certified copy of something to get it changed. No where else was this done. I don't know how ebenifits gets their information.

2 hours ago, Michvetinfla said:

I just feel so overwhelmed right now

It can seem to be overwhelming. Tbird has some stuff on here somewhere about going through your records and dealing with copies. I have done mine by creating files on my computer. I have different folders for things such as C&P exams, VA decisions, CUE with sub folders 1985 CUE, TDIU CUE and Date error CUE. It just depends on whether you are comfortable doing it on a computer or whether you would rather have all paper. As you get it all documented it should become a little less overwhelming.

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Thank you for the uplifting advice, I'm realizing very quickly that organization is probably the most important thing which is simple, since I have almost no files everything I have I've uploaded to this site so it's pretty easy so far I guess the overwhelming point is that I'm still looking into podiatrist for the flat feet primary in service incident but more importantly the secondary back issues that I had the MRI for and that I'm going on social security disability for, which I'm still waiting to hear my first original claim on that as well it's been about one month since I put the claim in. and I put that claim in with just an MRI and where to get my emergency room x-rays from my broken shoulder and my father wrote a statement as he is a retired chiropractor. 

And I have my first psychologist appointment tonight 9 p.m. the document the mental health side of it for another claim so I have one doctor the psychologist who I'm working with to give me a Nexus and DBQ so I assume next step is the podiatrist and a back doctor but my father should be able to have his word stand as a Nexus statement could develop these links between my feet and my back if he is a chiropractor and had 20 some years of X-rays of me and my entire life again just starts at start overwhelming me since I don't have any answers in trouble finding a podiatrist and possible back doctor.

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Michvetinfla, the psych diagnosis won't help your case at this time.  The case is your feet, and then spinal degeneration.  I know that it has created mental issues for you, but filing psychological issues like depression without first having a service connected disability is going to kill your case outright. The VA looks at "kitchen sink" cases and then backburners them like my 10-year fight to get my own issue dealt with.  It's going to be tough to pull this together, but I would start with your feet.

First, ask your Dad if he knows any chiropractors in the area that can give you an examination and look at your x-rays and the military evidence and see what they think.  Believe me, having a friendly chiropractor that has a current license is going to be half the battle. 

You see, many of the chiropractors in our area are seeing patients forwarded to them by the VA.  The chiropractors are the ones doing spinal and skeletal issue DBQs for the VA. And if they are doing those forms for the VA, they have zero interest in doing one directly for you even if you pay them to do the same exam.  Why?  Because they are on the VA payroll by virtue of having a steady stream of referrals and don't want to tick off the VA.  And now with the DBQs gone, you need an exam from a competent outside doc that can give you an equivalent to a C&P exam examination.  I haven't been able to find one yet in my area, though I did get a physical therapist to finally give me a spinal ROM and am combining that with a spine surgeon's report.

Second, that examination has to be equivalent to a VA C&P exam. You need the DBQ exam without the DBQ. Or use the DBQ form anyway.  I'm including the one for Foot Conditions (21-0960M-6), but it may take me a bit more to find 21-0960M-5 which is the Pes Planus one.

Then, you'll need nexus to connect the service injuries to your current injuries. This needs to be done by a podiatrist or a chiropractor or someone with specialty in spines or feet and skeletal conditions. The VA wants the exams to be done by someone in person, but the nexus can be a reviewer that takes your records and looks at them. That reviewer needs to be a specialist that I mentioned above, or the VA will simply toss it.

Your Dad can put his discussion of your case in a short letter that you submit.  As he does not have his medical license now, he can't be your medical exam or nexus.  But he CAN be Lay Evidence and submit a buddy letter on your behalf.  The fact that he was a licensed chiropractor should have some weight.

Get the feet done first, then go after the spinal degeneration.  If you try to go after feet, knees, hips, spine, psychological damage and all the rest, the VA will just trash it and it will be hard to get a C&P. 

Now, you were military, get your records from the National Records Center, both military and medical, then apply for Veteran Health Benefits.  You qualify with at least a day in Active Duty service.  Ask for an appointment.  Get the VA doc to examine your feet.  That may get the ball rolling alone.  VHA (the Health group) and VBA (the Benefits group) are not the same and the VA docs are often human. 

Last piece of advice in this message:  send the forms in on paper to the VA Evidence Intake Center as certified mail, return receipt requested. That decreases the "lost records". Keep copies of every paper you send them AND those mailing receipts.  When they send you stuff, keep the paperwork and their envelope.  Twice now I've had to prove an effective date based off the letter and envelope the VA sent me and my mailing receipts by taking pics and sending my rebuttal in with these pics.

They will still deny you the first time and basically want you to get a VSO immediately.  I've never had one, and I did win my first 30% on my own (PTSD, which is really difficult to do and moreso because it was non-combat and I'm female). It takes years to get through this system. Years. Every denial or setback takes another 3-4 year waiting period.  If they think you are one of the "file everything and I'm faking it" crowd, they'll wait you to death. I'm at the point where I realize that I can't go further without a lawyer or advocate. And I'm close. Really really close.

VBA-21 - Foot conditions DBQ form.pdf

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    • By Michvetinfla
      I found your website. I have never posted anything asking anyone about this but I'm finally doing something about it and desperately need some advice. 
       
      The question specifically has to do with my physical exam at MEPS and the presumption of soundness attached to it. If I am found 100% physically fit and did not have to sign any waivers, how can I have a disability existing prior to entry discharge for a physical disability not previously noted at MEPS or in any previous records? Am I correct that unless otherwise noted at my MEPS examination, any physical injuries thereafter besides something congenital had to have occurred in service? As in nothing was noted for me other than I was in 100% perfect physical shape. Secondary question will be about how to connect the dots with my disability and future appointments and what I should be looking for in responses from doctors which I will go into further below. 
       
      Background information  
      I am sorry if this gets lengthy or the wrong Forum to put it at but I really don't know who else to ask and have never told my story or asked any advice from anyone about this.
       
      My entire life I knew I was going to be a marine and that's all I wanted to be as my grandfather was a World War II Marine veteran my father an army veteran so I knew and trained for very young to be a Marine it was my hopes and dream. I was a high school sport standout in every sport, won the state championship football perfect physical health ( I am 6 foot 4 inches 180 lbs) the plan was to go to college then be a Marine Corps officer. This was 1988 when I graduated high school, by 1989 I was in college not enjoying it and watching the Middle East get very hot. After discussing it with my father I had his blessing to drop out of college at Eastern Michigan University and enlist in the Marine Corps. I did the Delayed Enlistment program and they actually called me up early and reported in November 1990 to Camp Pendleton California. I will mention that I got a perfect score on the ASVAB by the recruiter and offered any job and I chose and signed a contract for intelligence with a Meritorious Promotion to private first class after graduating boot camp and Lance corporal after graduating my MOS School and upon graduating my MOS school and also a $10,000 bonus. Again just establishing my sincerity and fortitude that this was my dream and purpose I had trained for my entire life And I wouldn't be signing a contract adding time to my enlistment if I truly wasn't planning on making a career of the Marine Corps. 
       
      Boot camp In the Marine Corps is very stressful and  it was during the very beginning of the Gulf War. Needless to say to drill instructors were hyper-vigilant in one of them even got busted from our platoon for striking some of the recruits. I am only mentioning these boot camp incidents to establish a fact. Anyone knows in boot camp unless you are on your deathbed you do not report to sickbay. I was the same way but then again I was always healthy in my entire life. In second phase my feet started hurting when we would go on marches and humps and by the time we went back for third phase in San Diego I did report to sick call. I did miss the final March because my feet and lower legs hurt too bad pins and needles numbness pain Etc and it is in the boot camp medical records that this did happen and I did go to sick call. If I recall while in bootcamp I just was on light duty for a few days and we were so close to graduating I only missed a few days and graduated with my platoon. Throughout my entire boot camp I went to Sick Bay sick call the one time for my feet they put me on light duty I missed a few days of training and that was it and I graduated February 1st 1991 with my original  platoon I started with. I also had a final physical fitness test score of 299 out of 300. I was perfect in Pull-Ups, sit ups and the 3 Mile Run was 10 seconds short. I had one point subtracted because I was 10 seconds over the 18-minute mark, I'm saying this to establish I was in perfect physical health otherwise besides my feet and legs being so sore and painful. 
       
      Went home for boot camp leave reported back to Camp Pendleton for Marine combat training  (MCT). I was told that we had to pull guard or KP duty until space was available in the class. While in this holding platoon, doing guard Duty, the same problems occurred with my feet as they were tingly numb painful and this was after just standing post. And so I went to sick call for the second time in my life praying and hoping they would just give me some pills or something to alleviate the pain so I can go back to being a Marine. They took some X-rays put me on light duty and told me they will be back with me to see me again. 2 Days Later I am pulled into the office and told point blank that I am being discharged because I have mild bilateral pes planus or the common name flat feet and that this disability existed prior to entry into the service. And that was it! I can't even explain in words how my whole life I had been training and wanting to do this one thing and it was taken away so quickly in the blink of an eye and I had no recourse or way to get my Marine Corps career back. I was devastated. 
       
      At that moment I had no clue what to do as I have said my entire life I want to be Marine and by simply reporting to sick call and having some feet pain and leg pain I am all the sudden being discharged and my whole world ended. I must include this side note below.
       
      At Camp Pendleton that day being told the horrific news there was a Vietnam veteran nurse who was assisting me. She could tell how I couldn't believe this was happening I told her I never been sick or have flat feet or problems my entire life, in bootcamp I went to sick call one time and now one time here and now I'm being discharged I was beyond upset and couldn't figure out what to do she said there was nothing I can do, the medical board is already underway. Then she did something I don't know if it was legal or not but she could tell I was upset pissed off I just was so mad I told her I didn't care what anyone did at this point she said I'm going to do something I've never done and handed me all my x-rays (she handed me everything in the original color coordinated huge folders, mine are orange, with all the Navy markings on it) The Originals as well as the original radiologic consultation request report and prognosis for all those x-rays. She told me I know you don't care about any of this right now and you're very upset and have just seen your whole life flash before you (because I did tell her I had intended to retire a Marine), but twenty or thirty years down the road maybe even sooner you are going to need medical help because I've seen your records and you had no waiver entering service stating that you had these medical problems previously and this was caused while in service and they are claiming you had it before you enlisted so you do not get any VA benefits, but I did not see it on any of your records.  I'm giving you your original X-rays and the consultative reports and please hold onto them until you're ready to file for disability some time in the future, these will be your key, if you don't have these you will never see them again and it will make your claim almost impossible, the VA will contend it did not pre-exist, but these will prove it for you, she reiterated in the most passionate way that I must not lose those that I will need them to file a disability claim in the future.
       
      So fast forward until present day. I did save the original X-rays and the consultation report and have them in a safe place. It has taken me until a few months back to actually pull them out, look at them along with my discharge papers and realize that this is all wrong and I have a claim here! The evidence that I have is that the radiological report says as follows
       
          "left foot, 3  views: mild pes planus. 
       right foot, three views: mild Pes planus. " 
       
      Second consultation report from the radiologic consultation is
       
       "right lower leg, two views: possible stress fracture proximal tibia
       
       left lower leg: possible stress fracture left proximal tibia
       
       right foot, three views: hallux valgus deformity, otherwise within normal limits.
       
       left foot, three views: degenerative changes in the MP joints.
       
      What does this all mean to me and my ability for a VA claim?
       
      So move forward to current day unfortunately since I left the Marine corps I never have had any health insurance had a plethora of problems. In 2017 after years and years of back pain lower back pain ( as well as my feet and lower legs the entire time since I left the Marine corps) I finally went to a doctor and complained I was in so much pain something had to be done and he ordered an MRI.  I do have an MRI establishing my s1 – l5 lower back an S5 through s1 does have sacral nerve damage bulging and deteriorating disc etc enough to meet the classification for social security disability. The MRI was in 2017 and my lower back pain has been with me since I was in the Marines. I may have had three or four emergency visits and some urgent Care but there has not been any paper trail or evidence that a normal person would have 20 to 30 years of it I have almost nothing because I never went to the doctor or hospital.
       
      The catalyst that started this was in August 2019 I had a bicycle accident I broke my scapula in five places. I had no insurance I went to the emergency room they x-rayed it said yes it's a terrible break and gave me the number of a doctor who sees patients without insurance or money. As it turns out the man retired and no one replaced him. I called every resource clinic site et cetera… they had no one to look at my shoulder for without having insurance. I never had any follow up. After being out of work 9 months and realizing it's going to be a full year I will meet the requirement for SSI disability then upon seeing the one piece of medical evidence I possessed my MRI and its prognosis I asked a doctor and yes, it appears I do meet the listing for that with my 2017 MRI, not even taking into account the new injury and the further damage it has done. The point is that it is now 2020 and I have never had a follow-up appointment for the shoulder and obviously the shoulder is horrible but the back is even much worse now after the accident than before my 2017 MRI. With this knowledge and the fact that I do not have barely any evidence I knew if I filed for SSI disability they will send me to a local doctor to verify my injury and give me a NEW MRI which should show that is is even worse now than in 2017, which was physically bad enough to qualify then, it should be more than bad enough in nature to qualify for disability now. My research into SSI disability I kept seeing about veterans and that is how I return to my discharge papers and looked at them, and am planning and filing for VA disability.
       
      I have read about obviously I need documentation to prove any of this, VA especially and I have almost none, that is my main concern.
       
      I have read a little about pyramiding and primary injury secondary at cetera.
       
      My end result of filing for VA disability in this case will be to try and achieve 100% disability. In my research it may be possible but I will put down what I am thinking now.
       
      Because of the presumption of soundness and I had no waivers they cannot deny that the mild pes planus and bunions and the other damage listed in the X-rays I had for my medical board could not have existed previous to my service in the Marine corps or else it would have to have been noted at m e p s or I would have had to have had a waiver.
       
      My VA Claim thought process?
       
       The rating for mild pes planus is 0%, after review, mine is pronounced bilateral pes planus a 50% rating (my feet have gotten terribly worse over the years, my feet truly are flat as a pancake now pronating inward and very painful, has changed my gate, this is not official as I've never been to a doctor, but this is my honest opinion). Since this had to have happened in service this will be a primary injury I believe as well as the bunions or hallux valgus deformity. They are noted in my 1991 medical x-rays so as a primary I can safely say they have gotten much worse and both toes are affected now not just the right. The rating for bilateral hallux valgus is 10% each foot or a total of 20%. Bringing the total to 70% rating. Of course that is if I am awarded the  maximum for the bilateral pes planus and both feet hallux valgus.
       
      Now this is where I have some more questions?
       
      I also have all the symptoms and am very positive I have peripheral neuropathy which I'm very familiar with as my mother has it but, but the rating for that looks like it can be deemed secondary cause from my pes planus. If correct shouldn't I receive x% for bilateral peripheral neuropathy as a secondary result from my primary injury?
       
      Next,is tying in the primary pes planus to my SSI disability case that my lower back secondary (sacral nerve, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease) is aggravated and hurt from my primary bilateral pes planus as well as my bilateral neuropathy affects it as well. The listing for lower back pain is x percent up to a 100%
       
      And lastly the whole affair has caused me PTSD and that rating is 0% to 100% rating. I don't want to go into how I have it or not but I have read all the symptoms and can present a very strong case that I definitely have had PTSD since the day I was told I was being discharged. And with no insurance I have never gotten it treated but I have definite evidence of it in my life.
       
      I filed the SSI disability last week and am awaiting them to call me and set up a doctors appointment. I also called the veterans administration about filing disability. I called my local VA and ask about a veteran's service officer who could help me with filing questions.
      I started to go over some basics in my case and when PTSD was brought up he inquired how I could have it without being in combat and only in the service six months and I immediately shut down and felt that it was horrible a veteran service officer would make me feel as though I don't have valid reason to have PTSD. So that is why I searched the internet and found this forum.
       
      So another question since how do I establish PTSD?
       With no insurance can't really get a counseling thing even as a veteran I tried and since I was not in 2 years I did not qualify for any health benefits. I guess should I call the veterans hotline PTSD number and tell them I am suicidal just in order to get this documented and at least someone would have a file then from the VA about whatever I tell them my story?
       
       Also should I be trying to find my own doctors who would be favorable to my situation, and to further explore the tibia stress fractures and if I can associate that injury to another rating?
       
       I don't have insurance but I might be able to find a clinic, and my thought process is a podiatrist who will substantiate my pes planus condition. Should I be actively looking for a civilian doctor who will know the whole story I just recited and work with me to try to get my VA disability? 
       
      Or should I just file my claim with just the limited information (presumption of soundness) the x-rays that I have from 1991 and prognosis and hopefully my SSI disability case once I see the doctor who will also have some more evidence, hopefully providing more evidence of my infirmaries?
          
      Also is a question that would I be getting any kind of back pay disability for all these past 30 years if the decision is in my favor?
       
      Another question is that should I contact a lawyer? Also a veteran service officer should I contact someone like the American legion or which one would someone recommend I use because I truly do not know what I'm doing and I feel if I had the right direction I'm someone who knows all the intricacies and workings of the VA if I filed this correctly the first time and knew what type of evidence to gather it would make my claim so much more positive in my favor. if I have to, I will get the money somehow,a loan from family to see the right doctor but should I be going to a doctor, a veteran Dr who will be in my corner and spend money on it before I file this claim?
       
      Thank you everyone, I'm sorry if I'm rambling, I have many questions but I've already asked too many. I am grateful for finding this forum and I really hope someone has some real answers for me that can assist me. Thank you.
       
      Happy Easter!
       
      Sincerely,
      Marine from MI living in central FL now.
    • By Penguin
      Hi everyone,
      I was recently diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome in both of my knees and I strongly believe that it was caused by my bi-lateral pes planus, which is service connected. I have never filed a secondary claim before and hoping to get advice from those that have been successful with a secondary claim and see what pieces of evidence are recommended to have. Here is what I have so far:
      Current medical diagnosis - Bilateral Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome from private orthopedic doctor Knee and Lower Leg disability DBQ completed by private orthopedic doctor Currently service connected at 10% for bilateral pes planus (supplemental claim in progress for increase due to pronated gait and bunion) I am assuming I will also need to get a medical opinion from my private doctor to link the patellofemoral pain syndrome to my pes planus? Or would the VA schedule a C&P to make that determination?
      Thanks in advance for the assistance!
    • By madog31
      I had infant asthma with all signs and symptoms of asthma gone by the time I was 9 or 10 years old.  On my pre-enlistment questionnaire, I marked I that I had had asthma (question says do you have or have you had) I had it as a kid and it was gone.  I enlisted in the Navy in 1979 and based upon all the research I have been able to find, with any history of asthma, I don't think I should have been allowed to enlist.  I have my service records and they are silent of any respiratory testing to enlist. The best I understand is they accepted me with a presumption of soundness.
      I had not had any sort asthma symptoms for at least 8-10 years prior to service.  During rigorous running and physical training in boot camp, I had an asthma attack and had to go to the dispensary.
      I filed a claim recently for service connection for asthma because it was aggravated in service and I was treated for an attack in service. I also have a 40% rating for a knee condition and have not been able to do much to be active over the years. At my most recent yearly VA physical, my cholesterol and weight were both going up so I figured I needed to do something to get some exercise. Swimming laps is something suggested to me so I tried that and after about 20 minutes of laps I had to quit because I was having asthma breathing problems.  I told my VA doctor who treated me with a daily inhaler and a rescue inhaler. Both have helped improve symptoms.
      The VA denied my claim for asthma saying it was preexisting. I had been asthma free for almost a decade prior to service.  If regulations at the time I enlisted say I should have been disqualified for service, but they let me in with a presumption of soundness, what steps do I take in my appeal?
      My mother has written a lay statement of the chronology of my childhood asthma and when symptoms were gone.  How do I show aggravation v exacerbation?  What should a doctors IMO say?
      Thank you.
    • By gab2112
      I have issues with my knees, but only service records showing the bunion I got while in along with foot pains. I recently put in a claim for my knees but the way the c&p doctor acted around me makes me think that it is going to be denied. I did not have any service records showing issues with my knees. 
      My examine during processing when I went in shows that I had moderate pes planus that was asymptomatic. I did not have any bunions. I went in when I was 17, and was out before I turned 21. My wife, and others have said that my knee issues has to be due to my horrible gait, and over pronation. The bunion I have on one foot would constantly bleed from all the road marches, and fun boot PT. I got it checked out while I was in, but was told I would need to re-up to get it operated on due to not having >6 months left. I have service records showing my bunion was at  45 degrees . I would say my feet are more of the severe category now. 
      This past C&p exam has made me think now that I have to have lots of records showing feet issues to even attempt to make a claim. I haven't tried any treatment for my feet since leaving the service, because my knees have been the only issues. I plan on waiting for my knee denial before filing this claim if I do. 
      Does anyone have any experience similar to this? I have researched the heck out of this, because I thought if it showed my feet were "moderate" flat feet when I went in then why try to claim flat feet. I have seen cases where people had this and won their appeal due to the examine said their feet were asymptomatic, and not causing pain before. Is it worth it to get an attorney to help show the relationship between feet, and knees if its possible? Thanks for any help. 
    • By Frank1959
      I have been an avid reader and have contirbuted to this forum. I thought I would ask if anyone could help me with a personal question.
      I have been rated with 20% Mortons Neuroma and hallux rigidus (Total disabilty is 50%).
      I was in the field artillery, US Army, from 1982 thru 1986, The last 18 months of duty, the medical staff had me on numerous profiles because of foot pain. They thought, at that time, I was simulating and trying to get out of PT. (I passed all of my PT exams - but with a lot of documented foot pain afterwards). It wasnt until 6 months prior to my ETS that a LTCL diagnosed me with Mortons Neuroma. 6 Weeks prior to my ETS, the neuroma was removed. It took the medical staff 1 and a 1/2 years to find and correct the problem. The Neuroma was a result of a PT run in combat boots.
      Since then, I have had continuing feet, knees and back problems - relating to the injured foot.
      A: Injured foot: There is a change of weight bearing on each foot. Pronounced useage of the outside areas for the weight bearing. I have been diagnosed with pes planus, from 2 orthopedic surgeons. (They are in the german medical system - I live in Germany). They do not take the time with reading the Army medical records. Army Entrance exams mention nothing about pes planus. Sometimes, when I stand in one position for a longer period of time, (10 or 15 minutes), my injured foot develops severe cramps, originating from the big toe, thru the inside arch and then on to the calf. Very painful. It goes away after about 5 minutes.  Same thing, at night, when I am sleeping. This happens once or twice a week. (Since I left the Army, I am an owner of a Nursery - quiet profession). THere is, also, a numbness in the 4th toe, which causes blood blister on the toe when I walk more than a mile.
      B. Knees: Since I have an altered gait, I have been having knee problems. Pain and weakness in the knees. Someitmes going up and down stairs, I have to catch myself - I feel that my knee or knees wont support me.  I weigh, about, 210 lbs. I have 2 medical opinions that state that they say that the  Mortons Neuroma contributed to the altered gait and the knee problems.
      C. Lower back pains: I have had, since I left the Army, continuous back pains. My MOS was 13B. Heavy lifting is recognized by a FAST letter. I had a Xray done, last summer, and the skeletal / bones are in good shape.
       
      My questions: has someone had similiar issues? Is it possible to connect pes planus because of the Mortons Neuroma and the resulting altered gait? Can I receive a secondary to the Mortons Neuroma, connecting my knee and back issues?
       
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      The VA DRO denied my claim for an earlier effective date for my sleep apnea. They originally denied it in 2008 but granted it in Nov 2019 secondary to my GERD. I was rated for GERD in 2001. So I had it in 2008. I have attached the 2008 denial, 2018 approval, and the NOD SOC. All of my medical files and the medical articles and VA Citations referenced were in existence in or before Jan 2008. The only new items were the NEXUS letter from Dr Bash and a few extra buddy letters. The original denial states that my medical records show no diagnosis or treatment and only isolated complaints of symptoms. The denial does not even list my wife's or my lay statements as evidence reviewed. I have symptoms listed numerous times in my SMRs:

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