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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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Christopher Are you saying you had a disability for bth but applied for an increase and that is what was denied? Not sure what you have going on. War zone isn't presumptive for your back or feet disabilities. I suggest you redact your personal info on the decision letter and post it to this thread.

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I haven't yet been approved as them both it being rated as service connected, they were both denied on my initial claim, so I submitted a HLR but it was just closed and I haven't actually gotten that decision letter yet but when I called they said if I were to get a service connected rating that I would see the percentage increase on my ebenefits page but beyond that they said they couldn't tell me anything and I had to wait for the letter. I guess I should wait for the letter before I say it was denied but with what they told me regarding ebenefits, that if i did get rated as service connected I would see it on my page I'm assuming that they were denied.

 

I was trying to upload images to this post but it says it needs to be a URL, is there a different way to  upload it?

The letter says the following:

1. Higher Level Review for Lower Back Degenerative Disc Disease.

The issue for lower back degenerative disc disease was returned for correction of a duty to assist error in the prior decision. We failed to get federal records. We will develop for a final notification letter.

Favorable Findings identified in this decision:

The evidence shows that a qualifying event, injury or disease had its onset during your service. Your service reserve treatment records show you had a low back pain profile as of January 2010.

You have been diagnosed with a disability. You were diagnosed  with degenerative disc disease at the VAMC on February 2018.

2. Higher Level Review for pes planus (claimed as bilateral fallen arches).

The issue for pes planus was returned for correction of a duty to assist error in the prior decision. We failed to get federal records. We will develop for a final notification letter.

Favorable Findings identified in this decision:

The evidence shows that a qualifying event, injury or disease had its onset during your service. Your service reserve treatment records show you had a profile for pes planus as of January 2010.

You have been diagnosed with a disability. You were diagnosed  with pes planus at a VA Exam dated November 23, 2020. ( this was my C&P exam but I was I really was diagnosed early 2006 when the VA mad custom inserts for me but the VBA is telling me the VA don't have those records, so not only did the Army lose my records but also the VA) 

 

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