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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    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

Recent article on the NDMA linking to cancer

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I am currently appealing to the US court for my denial of increase in GERD to include Class C esophagitis, erosive gastritis. I am currently being rating for 10% since 2007, up from 0% in 1998 or over 13 years, even though Ive had GERD,  gastris with H pylori in service and then again with the claim I made in 2007.  I didnt know of the bad C&P until I got my C-file in 2018.  It is very important to get yours, as you can find out a lot of things.  Like they didnt forward your VA file and your civilian paperwork to the examiner. I was very lucky the examiner noted this, as rater said he did in the decision. Had an ACE in 2019 which examiner stated she reviewed, but omitted what was found on the EGD in 2019 and ignored the 2007.  There are articles pertaining to the use of Zantac that contains NDMA as well as other medications such as Nexium.   For the 30% rating for GERD  it included the wording "impairment of health"   I used this same information in my argument concerning this.  I dont have cancer, but long term I could have.  Ive also included in my argument about the long term use of Nexium-I dont have long term kidney issues, but I could have. I took Rabeprazole for a few times, which can cause fundic gland polyps (growth on stomach lining) which I had one.   I listed the side effects of my current meds Im taking now, which IS joint pain, stomach pain, headaches.  So...Im giving it a try, as with these medications we are taking, and NOW finding out serious side effects, I would think it would cause a considerable impairment of health.  

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    • By DevilDocJay
      Greetings Moto's, 
      I have recently received my C FIle and in review of the C&P I had for GERD.  I was granted service connection and rated at 10%.  Given what I am reading in my C&P exam I think things were not taken into consideration as based on the examiners notes I qualify for a 30% rating. 
      What is the best way to go about requesting this increase? 
    • By flow1972
      So, I am SC'd on GERD 10% and IBS 30% which they grant at a 30% combined rating since (according to the VA) codes 7319 and 7346 (Hiatal hernia is what they use for GERD) fall in the inclusive rating categories according to this:
      Ratings under diagnostic codes 7301 to 7329, inclusive, 7331, 7342, and 7345 to 7348 inclusive will not be combined with each other. A single evaluation will be assigned under the diagnostic code which reflects the predominant disability picture, with elevation to the next higher evaluation where the severity of the overall disability warrants such elevation.
      I would argue that, that's not what that says..
      It actually says codes 7301 - 7329 are inclusive and then
      7331. 73342, and 7345 - 7348 are inclusive
      which would actually mean codes 7319 and 7346 are in their own categories and should be rated exclusively.  
      However, my actual question is about code 7204 Esophagus, spasm (cardiospasm).  I submitted a claim for this, but it was not rated separately.  Instead, I was given:
      Evaluation of IBS and GERD with esophagus spasm of (cardiospasm) (claimed as esophageal condition):
      The evaluation of IBS and GERD with esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm) (claimed as esophageal condition) is continued as 30 percent disabling.
      We have reviewed the evidence received and determined your service-connected condition(s) hasn't/haven't increased in severity sufficiently to warrant a higher evaluation.  We have continued a 30% evaluation for your IBS and GERD with esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm) based on:
      -Abdominal distress
      -Alternating diarrhea and constipation
      Additional Symptoms Include:
      -Disturbances of bowel function
      -Frequent episodes of bowel disturbance
      This is the highest schedular evalution allowed under the law for IBS. (38 CFR 4.114)
      A higher evaluation of 60% is not warranted unless there are symptoms of pain, vomiting, material weight loss, and hematemesis or melena with moderate anemia, or other symptom combinations productive of severe impairment of health. (38 CFR 4.112, 38 CFR 4.113, 38 CFR 4.114)
      A 10% evaluation would be warranted for your GERD with esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm) (claimed as esophageal condition) based on:
      -Pyrosis (Heartburn and/or Reflux)
      -Substernal pain
      -Persistently recurrent epigatric distress
      A higher evaluation of 30% is not warranted for hiatal hernia unless the evidence shows persistently recurrent epigastric distress with dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm or shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of health. (38 CFR 4.114)
      Ratings under diagnostic codes 7301 to 7329, inclusive, 7331,7342, and 7345 to 7348 inclusive will not be combined with each other.  A single evaluation will be assigned under the diagnostic code which reflects the predominant disability picture, with the elevation to the next higher level evaluation where the severity of the overall disability warrants such evaluation. (38 CFR 4.114)
      So in reading that, I do not  see how 
      7204    Esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm). 
                        If not amenable to dilation, rate as for the degree of obstruction (stricture).
      falls in to that rating criteria.  Does anyone have any experience in getting a separate rating for 7204? I'm now at 92.23% SC'd with 1 rating on appeal and an increase on remand.  Both of which (if granted at what the reg actually says) would kick me to 95.29% (or rounded to 100).  This one, I really expected to be at 30% on its own...so I'm confused as to why it was rolled in to another rating.
    • By flynsolo2
      Hello!! I wish I would have found this site before, because WHAT.A.NIGHTMARE the VA disability process is. 
      Bear with me as I try to explain my thinking:
      Okay, so I have had GERD listed as a condition at 0% rating, but, after fighting for an increase, it was given on 1-28-2019 (and as such, I cannot see when the 0% was given). However, even in the notes from endoscopy AND the dr noted epigastric distress, dysphagia, constant pyrosis (heartburn), shoulder pain-ALL things that should get a better increase to 30%. I submitted a claim for increase May 8th, 2019. It was quickly denied, stating not proper forms. Resubmitted with proper forms but still denied July 2019. Took a break from trying, went through my VA files, gathered evidence of all previous endoscopies, VA doctor's notes, medication lists, and resubmitted. Denied on 4-2020. So, now I have for a higher level review. They received that in September, and now I wait.
      My question is-I did not know that I could do a CUE form to have the date for GERD go back farther than the date given for 2019. While I do not think I could get earlier than 2019 for the 30%, I believe I could get the 10% rating. I have a endoscopy dated all the way back from Oct. 2006 stating that there is "esophagitisis" and "intermitten small sliding type hiatal hernia" with notes stating that I was complaining of heartburn and shoulder pain as well. Additionally, from an endoscopy from April 22, 2010, it states the reason for the edoscopy was "epigastric pain" and showed "moderate amount of gastroesophageal reflux and intermittent small sliding type hiatial hernia". 
      So, my question: how long does a Higher Level Review decision take? Also, once a higher level review takes place, and they do grant the increase from 2019 from 10%-30%, is it too late to do a CUE for 10% from at least 2010? Can I do a CUE as the same time as a higher level review, if I am not looking for the 30% in 2010, just the 10%? Does any of this make sense? ANY help/guidance with this would be appreciated.  Had I realized there was this website, I would have come here first!!!.... 
    • By freedog89
      Hello Everyone.  I have had a 10 percent rating for GERD since 2013. I applied for an increase on 3 occasions but finally got a copy of my private medical records. I don’t think the VA ever did. I will submit a supplemental claim with new evidence. I had a endoscopy in 2013 and results came back I have chronic gastritis and my stomach is giving me serious problems. I don’t think that is mentioned in my SMR’s. So can I go SWA since am a combat veteran or as a secondary condition to something that is rated? Not trying to beat the system. If I can claim within the rules then I will do that. If that is no rule that will allow me to then drop it. Thank you for your help.
    • By LanceJoseph
      Hello all, A bit about my situation. I was rated TDIU and recently filed for an increase on some issues that the BVA denied. I was increased from 10% to 40% each knee, and 10% to 20% for lower back. This put me in the 100% P&T threshold. I also filed for an increase with my Hiatal Hernia. Below is there reasoning for denying an increase of GERD. They list all but one contention that would need to be met,  but what they fail to understand is I have constant arm/ shoulder/ upper chest pain from an AC separation which I am also service connected for. So when asked my symptoms I would have never guessed besides having upper chest pains that my arms and shoulder would be effected by my GURD considering I had considerable pain there regularly. My question is should I file an NOD or just let it go and not "rock the boat" considering I am at 100 P&T? 

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    • 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 
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    • 5,10, 20 Rule
      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)
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      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.  
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    • Finally heard back that I received my 100% Overall rating and a 100% PTSD rating Following my long appeal process!

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      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!
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    • 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,
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