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HLR found Duty to Assist Error but still Denied my claims

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I had my degenerative disc disease and flat feet bilateral claims denied, submitted a higher level review and a duty to assist error was found. The letter said there was a favorable finding for both and that a qualifying event, injury had an onset during my service and my service record shows I had a profile for both but yet still no increase in my percentage. They couldn't find really any of my records from when I was in the Army or from my deployment to Iraq and said my records were minimal at best. How is it my fault that the Army lost my records! I'm so sick of the VA and it's very discouraging to have to go to the next step of hiring a lawyer apply for the board appeal, its already been almost a year and a half, now this will take a least another year at best. Has anyone else had this happen to them as well? Any suggestions? One thing I was reading that I thought would help me is the presumptive law for my conditions being able to be tied to my service because I served in a war zone in Iraq also my C and P exam for my flat feet, the doctors said they condition was due to my service but I guess I'm wrong.


Any help or direction from my fellow Veteran would be greatly appreciated.   

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Are you trying to obtain service connection, get an increased rating for your service connected disabilities, or a combination of both (i.e. SC for one and not-SC for another)?

Your post had me a bit confused. You mentioned not getting an increase in your disabilities, but then indicated the VA was unable find your service treatment records (STRs). Normally, you would only need your STRs if you were trying to obtain service connection (SC). Once SC'd, then you merely just need evidence that you meet the criteria for a higher rating percentage.

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I'm trying to get them rated as service connected. They denied them in my initial claim, so I did the HLR. The below was in a letter that I received in a decision letter from the higher level review and it said they needed to make a correction (the duty to assist error) before they could make a final decision. The way they worded it, it sounded like they were deciding in my favor but the HLR was closed and my rating wasn't increased. When I called the VA Regional Office they said that they couldn't tell me anything except that if they were rating it as service connected then I would see the change on my ebenefits right now. I still haven't received the final letter, so I guess I should wait but I was hoping to find out something 

The letter said there was a favorable finding for both and that a qualifying event, injury had an onset during my service and my service record shows I had a profile for both.

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Welcome to hadit.  

Most of us have learned not to rely upon ebenefits and to wait for the decision.  

My advice is when you get the letter, try appealing to the BVA instead.  

HLR is "mostly useless", even tho some Vets have won benefits there.  


res ju·di·ca·ta
/rēz ˌjo͞odiˈkätə,ˈrās/
  1. a matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and may not be pursued further by the same parties.

I guess VA gets away with it because "this is a senior reviewer".  (whatever that means).  

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