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TDIU Claim, C&P, Free Money, my story


Retired Port Dawg/AF MSgt
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Question

 

Edit: TMI is right, I edited this down to make a little less personal

Hello, First-time poster but I have been browsing the forum for several years now.  

I recently "woke-up" from one of my 2 week "shutdowns" and I suddenly started to see the financial and emotional burden that I am placing on my family.  I decided that enough was enough and I started frantically searching for benefits that I meet eligibility requirements for.  I do not like looking for handouts or welfare but I made a decision to suck up my pride and start looking for help to support my family, pay off high-interest debt and be able to make basic repairs to my home that I cannot afford right now.  I am not trying to scam anyone or anything I am just looking to maximize benefits for my family that I am already eligible for. 

Below were some possible sources of income that I looked into, maybe this could help someone else out too. 

- Applied for Unemployment because I stopped working during the stay-at-home order, and the news said that gig workers were eligible. I did not meet the income requirements for unemployment but I think I still have an open claim.  I may be eligible for the PUA unemployment (federal, pandemic UI).  I was hired as a temporary Census Field Supervisor and work was supposed to start mid-April but that is on hold now, this would have been my first W-2 job since my retirement.  I'm still trying for unemployment but from what I can gather my military retirement pretty much negates any chance of being eligible.   

- I researched CRSC somewhat, almost applied but I am having second thoughts now, because I am leaning towards my "combat" experience not really being combat especially when compared to all of you ground pounders.  Some of my PTSD is from combat but most of it probably comes from personal tragedy.  I was physically hurt in a combat zone but not while personally engaged in combat.  If I got this I would then be eligible for unemployment I think and that $24K mil retirement would become tax-free.

I am also waiting for the coronavirus EIDL to come back online, which if you can get the application in on-time will provide a $1000 forgivable loan (grant) for gig workers (defined as sole proprietors of their own small business).  I am not eligible for the PPP loan because my "business" did not net a profit. -SBA.gov 

Applied for SSDI, realized that my VA medical records are crap and I need to get a copy my C-file for the C&P exams since they were all contracted out.  I am planning on visiting VARO this week to see if I can take a peak, if they are open.  Also, my digital copy of my military records is corrupt so I only have a paper copy.  Does anyone know of an easier way to get your C-File in these times?  Online?  Open application online, not submitted yet.

Applied for TDIU, on my own.  I tried to write a personal narrative with accurate examples of my symptoms in the claim in a way that I thought would make the decision easy for a VARO.

Applied for and received $250 unemployment aid from DAV!

Applied for USACARES - denied due to income

Researched Food Stamps - when I did the calculator it showed that I could be eligible for $16-$35 a month, did not apply.  I don't wanna go there, but I have heard news that there may be an upcoming "bonus" disaster payment for food stamp eligible families.

Also, I saw news that the federal government has already approved millions of dollars of stimulus/disaster to be granted to "Pell-eligible" students.  I knew that I already may be missing out on some money because I never completed FAFSA so I went in and applied for FAFSA for last year and this year.  I am now waiting on the offer from my school.  It seems TGTBT but can I really receive a student loan right now and if my TDIU is approved can I then be forgiven?  I'm thinking that I should take out a student loan at the max amount, pay off around $20K in high-interest debt that is killing me and possibly purchase a more reliable, gas-friendly vehicle that I could not get a loan for right now.    

Applied for FERA and received 18% discount on energy costs until July 21!

Applied for a few college grants

The VA scheduled me for a C&P within days.  I felt great after the exam, touched on all the points that I wanted to touch on, I was brutally honest which is really difficult for me and after the exam I was certain that I was going to be awarded the 100%.  I believe that the provider was getting emotional when I was describing my symptoms.  After the online C&P I took some notes and now I am starting to get concerned.  The examiner pressed me pretty hard on why I don't think my current job was sufficient and I explained to her that I don't make any money from it.  She was also asking me about my finances and I may have said that I was irresponsible.  I also said that I do frequently participate in some dangerous activities, that I didn't want to elaborate on.  She asked me if it women and I said no, she also asked me if it involved money and I may have said yes, not really sure.  Then I started looking through my VA medical records and there are a lot of statements in there saying everything is fine, I think most of my symptoms are peppered in here and there but if I was reading this record for someone else I would probably tell them that it looks like your fine most of the time, which is certainly not the case.  Also there are several references in my VA medical record of me mentioning my wife's overspending, to me that looked to be a little over-emphasized but maybe I'm being paranoid.  So now I'm thinking they may appoint a fidicuary and honestly I may need it but I certainly do not like the idea of it.  

I am grateful for my benefits, I receive a lot of benefits already with a mil retirement, Voc Rehab & disability.  Thank God for the VA and the US MIlitary.  Also, I definitely appreciate all the hard work that you old timers have done to help fix the claims process over the past several years.  I hope that I do not sound too entitled to some of you folks.  The VA has moved exceptionally fast on all my claims since I retired a few years ago and I am really grateful for that as well.  I am also hopeful that this claim will be completed in record time.   

Just wanted to vent a little bit, I'm pretty anxious about any upcoming decisions.  Do you think I'm asking for too much?  Am I missing something?

Here are the questions from this long-ass narrative... 

It seems TGTBT but can I really receive a student loan right now and if my TDIU is approved can I then be forgiven?

Does anyone know of an easier way to get your C-File in these times?  Online? 

Do I need to prep for a fidicuary fight?  Should I just accept it?  The real threat of it is enough for me to get my shit together now.  

Should I upload my tax returns to my claim in VA.gov?

Thank you, 

.

 

 

Edited by Retired Port Dawg/AF MSgt
tmi
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Welcome to hadit!  It seems your questions fall into 3 categories:

1.  VA benefits.  You have applied for TDIU, and you apparently have a VSO.  Your VSO "should" be able to view your VBMS file, and they "may" inform you before you get a decision.  Its been my experience VA benefits "do not" happen quickly, but I hope they do for you.    I dont see much you can do there except wait for the envelope "assuming" your VSO ensured your doctor said you were unable to maintain SGE due to sc disabiliites.  The regulations permit you to get tdiu when you dont have "substantial" gainful employment.  They also define SGE as below poverty level for your denpendent status. It sounds like you are well below that.    

2.  non VA stuff, such as managing your money.  For this, you likely need someone to "mentor" you.  If you stopped seeing your best friend, this may be tough.  It depends on how motivated you are to get your life in order.  Your family sounds like its important to you, so you need to do that for them.  

3.  Health issues, including mental health.  If your doctor has, or likely will say that you are not capable of managing your own finances, then you should try to get your wife or other family or friend to do so.  You dont want a VA appointed fiduciary in any case.  That almost never is in the Veterans best interest.     

     And, no, I dont recomend you upload your tax forms "unless" VA requests same.  

     Be careful of TMI.  (Too much information).  You need to understand VA isnt helping you to get benefits, they are trying to figure out a way to not pay them.  And, the VA will use anything you say against you.  

     I get it.  I did the same thing.  Wrote VA long explanations of how and why I should get benefits.  None of it mattered, but when they got the chance they hung on every word I said to try to delay or deny me.  Now, I check the regulations, send the VA very few letters.  And the letters I do send are short, to the point, never volunteering unrequested information.  Generally I point to a doctor's exam or regulation which supports the grant of my claim.  

     The VA looks for "conflicts" in your statements so they can basically call you a liar.  For example, lets say the VA asks you in 2004 if you smoke.  You say no.  In 2012, they ask again.  You say you have an occassional cigar.  Now, I think I am being honest here..I really consider myself a non smoker, but do enjoy an occassional cigar.  Not VA.  That sounds like I gave conflicting statments.   I think its perfectly ok to change your mind, attitudes or moods.  I considered myself a non smoker for years, but the way SOME define it an "occassional cigar" is still a smoker.    I didnt lie to VA, but I did "redefine" what a "smoker" is, because someone explained "smoker" means "have you EVER smoked".  Well, yes I have, but I do not smoke every day..they way most people view "smokers".  Probably once or twice a year I like to enjoy a cigar.  

   

     Reading between the lines, I think you may need "direction" in your life, and would humbly suggest you try going to church.  (If you dont already).  I do.  

Edited by broncovet
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