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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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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

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Is There Anything Else I Need

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My wife was granted entitlement by the VA for 100% effective Sept 4, 2004, because of her being unable to work due to her service connected disability/disabilities. Her overall or combined rating is 70%.

She has been evaluated and diagnosis in 2005 by a Military Neuropsychologist and given a diagnosis of Cognitive Disorder, she is also 50% SC (VA) disable for Major Depressive disorder. She is currently being treated by a civilian psychiatrist who is treating her for the Cognitive disorder and Major Depressive disorder since 2005.

I have a copy of the Neuropsychologist report, the VA’s rating letter stating she unable to work, and a letter from her psychiatrist that states “it is my psychiatric opinion that her impairments in memory, confusion, agitation and at times disorientation are rendering her unemployable and are not likely to improve in the foreseeable future”.

We are getting ready to file for SSD (My wife is a 30 year retired USAF veteran who has worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. We believe we have covered all her bases. Is there anything else that I might want to consider or add, besides hiring an attorney when her claim is denied?

Post Script: She has not worked since she retired from the USAF in September 2004.

Steven Crouch



Awilda Ciuro

Ret USAF LtCol

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Sgt-it sounds like she has excellent evidence-

however the VA rating is not binding on the SSA but the SSA should consider this and all other evidence.

I felt bad when you indicated you expected a SSA denial-

it is a shame that this is becoming normal SOP these days as many eventually receive SSA that they had to fight for-

You might want to consider ALLSUP, Inc- there should be a link here somewhere- they are disability experts and can assess her SSA potential usually very quickly on ,line with some info- and for a fee they can help her all the way through-

They claim 97% success rate for all claims they handle.

I cant believe the advise I give sometimes- after being in the vets electronic community for 2 decades-nowadays I have to advise vets to spend money on either IMOs or fees like via ALLSUP- and if the attorney -for -vets claims regs go through I will advise many if not all vets to hire attorneys right from the gitgo-

It is a national travesty that disabled vets have to often pay to prove how disabled they are.

One thing that would not cost much might help your wife-

we were very worried when my husband suffered a major stroke-

if he would be approved for SSA.

We obtained the SSA criteria for his stroke and there was no way he could have been denied.

Still it was stressful awaiting their decision yet at the same time he was hoping he would recover and not even need SSA.

I went to the Corning NY SSA office where they have the disability criteria. It was a rigamorale and took hours for me to find it and copy it but still I knew as soon as I read it that Rod would be approved.

That was before SSA had a web site and there are many other sites too with SSA tips- you might be able to access the disability regs that would apply to your wife right on line.

She did good on the VA award- hope it didnt take years- Berta

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    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
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    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:

      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis

      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.

      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 


      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.


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    • Precedent Setting CAVC cases cited in the M21-1
      A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing.  That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran. 

      One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing.  I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down.  I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters.  I think raters should have some kind of legal background.  They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.

      There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989.  Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.

      The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1.   Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims.  Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why.  Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.

      It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed.  I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve

      M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx
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