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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 read something a while back about requesting a Vista cd from the VA? It's supposed to contain all notes in a patient's records and not just what is shown on Blue Button. I would like to get a copy of all my medical/administrative notes, to include interdepartmental communications between doctors. I cannot find the forum/thread where I read this before. Can someone point me in the right direction of that thread or how to go about getting all of my records please (this is something different than a C file)? Thanks so much for your help!
Let me start by saying thank you in advance for any help or information provided.
The first time I filed was in May of 2012(I lived in El Paso, Tx at the time), it was for PTSD, bursitis in hips, carpal tunnel, and a slew of other joint problems, however life happened and I missed a C&P exam that I was unaware of and the claim was denied at the beginning of 2013. I understand that this is my fault, but I did learn that the VA found nothing in my army records to justify a claim for any of the physical problems.
The second time I filed was in Feb of 2015(I lived in Tacoma, Wa at the time), it was for PTSD. I had a C&P thru QTC at the beginning of APR 2015 and attended, however during the C&P the doc diagnosed me with major depression and anxiety rather than PTSD. Also during that C&P I was made aware that the dates for one of my deployments was incorrect and did not match the stressors I had listed and thus he did not recommend a service connection and I was denied at the end of APR 2015. It should also be noted that I received no diagnosis or treatment prior to during the claim process(I still had no idea how the VA worked and was under the impression that I needed to be service connected.) Of note on this claim I attempted to use a VSO thru DAV, however when I went to the office I was given booklet titled "Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors" and the representative highlighted the address of the vet center near me and the ebenefits website instructing me that I needed to file the claim there.
In JAN 2018 after a low point I finally went to the American Lake VA office to see what treatment was available to me. This is when I discovered I qualified for no copay visits and partial copay of medication. I went through the intake exam at the behavioral health clinic there and have been in individual counseling sessions almost weekly as well as attending a few of the group counseling programs offered. I have also been put on various medications to combat the anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Since starting the sessions I have been diagnosed with chronic severe PTSD, chronic severe MDD, chronic severe anxiety, and chronic severe insomnia.
My third and current claim I put in on 02/27/2018(I live on Joint Base Lewis-McChoord, WA). It is for PTSD, MDD, anxiety, insomnia, as well as an application for TDIU. I listed the MDD, anxiety, and insomnia as secondary to the PTSD. I included my DoD service records and my DoD payment records to show that the dates of the deployment on my DD214 were incorrect. I uploaded my medical records from the VA American Lake office just in case there was going to be any issues for them to obtain them, they were reviewed and accepted on 04/04/2018. I had the C&P in MAR 2018, while there the doc said he was recommending all issues be service connected. I filled out the 21-4192 Request for Employment Info on 04/25/2018 the best that I was able and added an attachment to it explaining that my last employment was over 8 years ago and the reasons why I haven't been employed. On 05/03/2018 I submitted a 5103 Claim Decision Request.
In FEB 2018 I requested my military medical records, when I received them the only document there was the medical exam from MEPS, the one you do prior to joining. However while in service I was treated for bursitis over a period of two years(physical therapy and medication) I had the occasional trip to sick call, and at one point had an in grown toenail removed.
I filed my current claim as a new claim, however they reopened my 2015 claim instead.
My ETS was in FEB 2007 after being extended 7 months due to deployment.
I spent my entire time in the military at Fort Hood, TX as part of the 4th Infantry Division(the division has since relocated to Fort Carson, CO)
Q. Is there a way to obtain the medical records that are missing from my file so that I am able to claim the bursitis and joint issues?
Q. I am planning to move from JBLM, WA to somewhere in Iowa(Wife's decision) at the end of AUG 2018. This will change my regional office. Will it effect my claim and what do I need to do to ensure my claim doesn't disappear?
Q. Will them reopening my older claim instead of accepting a new one have any effect, beneficial or not?
Q. Should I request my C-File now or wait until the claim is complete?
Q. Does contacting the 800 number or using IRIS to check claim status affect my claim in any way? (I'm curious where it's at because it has passed the estimated date, and the last date it seems anything was done is 04/04/2018 when they reviewed medical records.)
Thanks you again for any info or suggestions able to be given.
I'm new to this site, and somewhat novice with claims as I've ignored them since my discharge in 2012, but I have some questions that I've yet to find answers for that hopefully someone can help me with:
In a nutshell, my story is I did my four years, two hellish combat tours to Afghan, got out in 2012, immediately filed my claims for a few disabilities like back and shoulder issues and got a 40% rating total. I've since not looked back as none of that concerns me. My issue now is that I was sent to a mandatory PTSD screening during one of my visits that year, and the examiner kind of went about the thing blase, and although I did tell her most of my traumatic experiences, she gave me 0% for "Combat PTSD not related to military service" as it says in their justification, whatever that means. I don't think they even attempted to listen to me as my experiences were extraordinarily traumatic and have been a detriment to my mental health and quality of life since. And yet I now have an effective date of a PTSD claim from day of discharge 6 years ago for 0%, says it right on eBenefits. I think you know where I'm going with this...
After 6 years of dealing with a slew of issues related to PTSD, I decided this week to start looking into trying to re open the case. My questions for you are.... Would I be entitled to any back pay if I could prove that I've suffered from PTSD since then, and that they made their original decision in error? And if so, how could I go about receiving the exact paper work / medical records from that one specific screening I had in 2012? I've looked everywhere and I don't really know how to navigate either of these situations...
Thanks a lot!
I put in a FOIA request for my C-file back in March 2015.
I expected to get a box or large envelope of documents.
Instead this is what I received Friday. The CD is PDF and searchable, which I like.
However, I am still missing service records from Desert Storm so maybe VA doesn't have them.
Can anyone tell me another route to get them?
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,