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Hoping to get some advice on where to start with a VA disability claim, I separated in 2017 and have filed several "intent to file" processes since separating but have let them all lapse as I've struggled so much with PTSD since getting out and have been in such a pit I'm only now trying to pull myself out of it and try and move forward with treatment and tying up all the loose ends I have.
Like a fool I spent so long suffering and not talking about my issues I've not only made them far worse but made any paths I have forward far more difficult, and was hoping that others that have had similar experiences can help me create a path forward somehow.
I originally joined the Air Force in 2001 and within my first year witnessed a fellow airman have a medical emergency during training and despite me and several others efforts to perform CPR we weren't able to save him. Thinking back I'm realizing I should have been more in tune with how it effected me, immediately after the incident I had lost all memory of the following two weeks, essentially a month after the incident I could remember the incident in every detail but the two weeks directly after were a complete blank spot in my memory just days after those two weeks passed. I couldn't remember people I had met or things that had happened, it's like I was teleported forward nd dumped there immediately after the incident. Over the years this started effecting me more and more and started to include other signs of trouble, I started having waking nightmares where I would sleepwalk and hallucinate the event unfolding all over again which still occurs almost nightly almost 20 years later.
The most debilitating aspect of it has become a slow descent into a deep fear and anxiety for death and medical events that causes daily panic attacks and daily uncontrollably unhinged sobbing, sometimes lasting as much as six hours a day. Starting ten years ago while I was still in the service I started seeing a private doctor and getting medication and treatment for PTSD and anxiety which I understand now incorrectly did everything I could to hide from the military. I spent the next seven years trying every medication under sun with sometimes three times per week therapy which has largely been unsuccessful with things getting especially worse since leaving the service three years ago.
Moronically I now realize, I kept everything from the military and pretended everything was fine, I pretended more than that, that I was thriving. It was only at the very end that I opened up to some about my struggles but honestly don't believe they ever made it into my military medical records, while my private medical records show diagnosis of PTSD, major anxiety disorder and depression along with a multitude of symptoms and other things effecting me like GERD and IBS (I take prescribed anti acid daily, as well as about half a bottle of tums daily and its still not uncommon for me to have to run to the bathroom several times in the night with bright orange lava coming out of my rear end), insomnia, hypertension, memory loss (it takes me probably an hour a day to find simple things such as my keys and wallet, and that's with systems being put in place to assist me with this) as well as the still nightly hallucinating waking nightmares and night sweats to the point where I need to keep towels next to the bed to wring myself off several times through the night.
With all of the struggles I've had I've lost three jobs in the past three years directly related and documented from the struggles I have had and still currently have and have decided to try and apply for VA disability for some of these issues if I have a path forward. The most important thing is probably the healthcare which I'm understanding without I have no hope. Being in and out of jobs and having healthcare come and go has made life the past three years impossible and while I filed an intent to file almost immediately after separating, that one lapsed, another I filed after has lapsed and now my third is lapsing December 28th with me only now just starting to try and gather my records and documents to support my claim.
After all of this I'm hoping to find advice as to if I have any path forward and what that may look like. With nothing but documented hearing loss and some foot issues while deployed ( I now have horrible bunions but that's a whole separate thing I'll worry about some other day), My military medical records are empty and its been longer than the year after separating that I'm realizing is the time I really should have done this.
Should I bother with any of it or have I waited to long to try and pull myself out of this pit?
Also is there any benefit to quickly getting it in before the 28th to make the window for the intent to file, even If I don't have everything together yet? Or should I just wait until I'm better prepared and file a new intent?
Also does someone know of a good resource explaining the difference between symptoms and secondary conditions? I cant quite wrap my mind around it, like GERD is a symptom on PTSD as well as a secondary condition, while insomnia is also a symptom but not usually a secondary condition.
Sorry so long and thanks for any advice anyone may have.
Pursuing initial VA claim after separated 8 years ago, currently using a VSO. Worried - Do I need to provide VA full access to my providers or can I provide them records?By MaxMax
Hi All -
I am new to the community, just found you guys a few days ago, because I had concerns about my initial claims process.
My question is:
Which is better - telling the VA to pull my records, or give them the records and letters I have or will get?
It has been eight years since I separated, and because of my mental health condition (depression, PTSD symptoms, anxiety) and just trying to fit into civilian life, I have been unable to begin my claims process. With the help of friends and family, I have now been able to do things like go through my military records (difficult process, emotionally), pull civilian records, and seek further assistance for my mental and physical health issues.
I have been doing research over several online platforms with regards to how to go about supporting my claim. The VSO that I paired up with seems to be of the idea to just give my list of conditions to the VA along with consent to pull records, and give it to them from there. This seems to conflict with advice given in the communities, who would say that the claimant should just turn over relevant or full records, along with nexus/medical opinion letters from individual doctors. They would say this provides the best chance at an accurate and speedy outcome.
I really can't bear the thought of being tied up with this claims process for another few years, because it already feels like it has been killing me for the last months/years. I want to be able to feel like I did it right the first time.
Also, on the mental health side, I really do not like the idea of giving the VA access to ALL of my mental health sessions and care, because it is very personal and much of it is unrelated to military life.
EDIT: I appreciate all these answers and am reviewing them. I think at this point I am leaning towards giving consent to access all records, as well as perhaps sending the full records on my own, along with my personal statements. My psychiatrist has requested that I basically give her my personal statement for her benefit, so she can review and get a full picture of the timeline and progression of the mental health side. I would like to have a letter from my my psych and therapist with the needed wording.
I have been dealing with a rep from the state of TN, who has been working with me after my first Total Knee Replacement. This was in 2018. I have since had 2 revision surgeries on the SAME KNEE due to the implant loosening. 2nd claim for the temp 100% went well. When I sent him all the paperwork THIS year, he filed all the current paperwork EXCEPT the actual comp form from my community care doc. He sent the 2019 form instead of the one from this year, so my claim is all screwed up!!! I attempted to contact this rep, and either due to COVID or just him being lazy, he has not responded to either email or phone calls, so after he filed the wrong paperwork, we have had no contact. I called the VA, and asked what I needed to do, and I sent in the correct paperwork, but now the VA is requesting a C&P exam, and I've been waiting 2 months to even get notification that I even HAVE an appointment!!! In the meantime, I'm stuck still in rehab with this knee(which is AGAIN loose!!), and I cannot work.
Is there ANYTHING I can do to make this move any faster?? I have contacted the company that is supposed to do the C&P, and the lady I spoke with said she would try to expedite my appointment, but that was 3 weeks ago, and I still have no appointment or info...
I'm so frustrated that the rep who is supposed to know how to do all this paperwork did it wrong, and that is why I can't pay my bills right now!!! How are us vets supposed to live when the reps that are hired to help us screw up their job???
I know there are NUMEROUS questions asked about the VA disability ratings, and even a disability calculator, but, my question is: my total combined disabilities are rated at 85%, so, it was rounded to 90%. I submitted a new claim for GERD, which I am expecting them to bring it from 10% up to 30%. For the disability calculation, will they work from the 90% and then factor in new claims or percentages or do they re-enter all my disabilities and so my rating could still remain at 90%?
I am currently rated at 90% with a 50% rating for MDD. I have a remand for increase dated back to 2015. I just recently had a telehealth C&P exam for this increase. I feel like it went very well. It lasted over an hour with a civilian provider. I was very surprised because at the end of the exam she told me, "I truly feel like you deserve an increase for your mental health." Does that seem like a positive sign? I wouldn't think that a provider would say that, especially in a C&P exam.
Also, if my appeal was remanded back to 2015 when I was 80% and I get an increase that raises me to a higher rating of 90% or even 100%, will I be entitled to back pay for the difference from 2015 to present?
Thank you all for your service and I hope you guys can help give me some guidance on these questions.
rebabevets posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,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
Ddsr posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,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)
broncovet posted an answer to a question,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.
Ztmiller8 posted a question in Appealing Your Veterans Compensation Disability Claims NOD, DRO, BVA, USCAVC,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!
Joey Ross posted an answer to a question,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,
Picked ByJoey Ross,