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PTSD Claim 12 years after discharge


Bucker

Question

Hello,

I served on active duty with the Army Infantry from 2006-2010 with a couple deployments to Iraq.  I was wounded in 2007 and received a Purple Heart.

When I left active duty in 2010 I filed a C&P claim and was awarded 20%.  Part of my rating was Anxiety.  That was 12 years ago and at the time I had no idea how the system worked and didn't have an understanding that my behavior has not been "normal".  The C&P Dr. basically said I was okay and sent me on my way.

Here we are in 2022 and I finally decided that I needed to actually do something about what I assumed was PTSD.  I went to a VA clinic this week and was immediately diagnosed with Chronic PTSD and was prescribed some medication.  The Dr. strongly encouraged me to apply for compensation related to this diagnosis and in fact seemed upset that I hadn't been rated higher upon discharge.

I'm trying to read up on the process but I'm not really clear on how all of this works.  I intend to follow through with a referral to a therapist in the near future and will give the medication a try when it arrives.  What are my next steps? I'm near the Columbus, GA area but it appears that the DAV office that assisted me way back in 2010 is no longer present.  MOPH seems like it no longer assists with claims.  Who can I go to for assistance?  Will the Anxiety diagnosis from 2010 impact anything?  It's been like 15 years since I was wounded, does that degrade my chances of getting a proper rating?

I was incredibly satisfied with the Dr. I saw this week and wish someone like him had talked to me during the C&P back in 2010.  I imagine getting treatment back then would have significantly improved the last decade+ of my life and the relationship with my kids.  Can't go back now though.

 

A few additional notes:
After leaving active duty in 2010 I continued to serve in an intelligence MOS in the Reserves and deployed again, this time to Afghanistan.  I ultimately received an honorable discharge in 2017 and am no longer affiliated with the military.  No idea if this changes the equation at all.

 

Any help with understanding the process would be incredibly appreciated.  My initial claim took 24 months exactly to be processed and the 20% rating never seemed appropriate, but my experience with the VA at that time was so bad I had never intended to interact with them again in any capacity.  I know, that was poor judgment, but it was absolutely crushing to my mental health even back then.

Thank you in advance, and I will keep reading a much as I can while here.

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@BuckerWelcome aboard.

  1. You don't have to wait to find someone to file your claim for you. You can file your claim right now on the VA's website here https://www.va.gov/disability/file-disability-claim-form-21-526ez/introduction This page includes a lot of information you should read.
    • I recommend doing this immediately if your claim is approved they will pay you back to the date you filed. You want the earliest date possible.
    • Here's a link to Alabama Veterans Service Organizations form Alabama's Veterans website https://va.alabama.gov/veterans-service-organizations/
  2. You can sign into the VA with your My Healthevet login or ID.me login and some others here https://www.va.gov/disability/file-disability-claim-form-21-526ez/introduction
    • The link above will take you to the form to fill out to file the application.

More members will jump in with more.

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Bucker Welcome to Hadit. Others will post on your question. The take away is this: FILE A Claim for increase.(21-526E)If you are diagnosed by the VA and have a rating of 10% for anxiety, that is fine. File for increase. Mental Health (MH) issues are all grouped together in terms of compensation, so a rating for anxiety can easily morph into a change to PTSD. Look up diagnostic codes for MH schedule 38cfr 4.130 here https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/4.130 If you have a diagnosis from the VA doc, great; if you don't have it as a process note, I would suggest you include a statement in support of the claim , VA form 21-4138 explaining how your mh has effected your everyday life, ex. afraid to go out, don't like crowds, can't take direction from others, etc. You want a reeval of your mh condition as it affects you today. My advice is to file, get an increase and probable change in diagnosis from anxiety to PTSD and see if your symptoms are truly worsened. You are a combat veteran  being under-compensated  for by the appropriate rating (50% or 70%). You can always appeal with new evidence, such as a detailed eval from your own private doc. But get it going.

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Anxiety is just one of several symptoms of PTSD that also include depression, OCBD, startled response, hyper alertness and sensitive, flashbacks, nightmares and on and on, etc.

I can answer some of your question by briefly explaining my own historical PTSD journey since 1985 when I was first diagnosed at 50% PTSD due to 1970 Vietnam combat and my receiving the PH plus CMB.

My initial diagnosis was due to hospitalization at Temple, Texas VA for PTSD and Alcohol abuse and this was on the discharge summary on exit from two week stay.

I underwent near hostile and/or indifferent VA C&P exams by shrinks who later reduced then terminated my PTSD until 1998 when I filed a new TDIU PTSD claim and underwent professional VA C&P exam in Nevada that led to 70% P&T TDIU rating in 2000 that has continued for over 20 years until I was made P&T 100% scheduler recently.  

Your present doctors treatment notes are very important along with PTSD prescriptions issued to you for filing a claim for increase.  If possible obtain from the doctor or counselor a statement opinion as to his opinion of the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your work ability and daily life routing including sleep problems, family problems due to PTSD.  Also a written statement by you of the the adverse impacts on your work ability and daily routine plus any sleep problems and family problems, etc. (lay statement).

You need to get on going treatment from at least a licensed clinical psychologist/psychologist social worker or nurse psychologist or higher such as MD psychiatrist for your Anxiety/PTSD. This will help you with your PTSD and future claim/s if any. It is important to have a PTSD diagnosis instead of only for Anxiety due to higher disability ratings for PTSD.

Keep copies of all treatment records, interviews, diagnosis and prescriptions forever like I have done since 1985.  Good Luck going forward.

P.S. I do not give short abrupt answers as I believe that is a disservice to the vet ask the question.

My comment is not legal advice as I am not a lawyer, paralegal or VSO.

 

 

Edited by Dustoff 11
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Bucker

 

                      Since you have a purple heart and probably a CIB your PTSD DX is a slam/dunk.  You have all the proof you need except the actual PTSD DX.  Usually, a PTSD diagnosis gets at least a 30% rating if you are able to work.  If you are unable to work or keep a job you should be able to get TDIU or 100% schedular.  You should understand the ratings and symptoms of PTSD the VA uses.

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4 hours ago, Tbird said:

@BuckerWelcome aboard.

  1. You don't have to wait to find someone to file your claim for you. You can file your claim right now on the VA's website here https://www.va.gov/disability/file-disability-claim-form-21-526ez/introduction This page includes a lot of information you should read.
    • I recommend doing this immediately if your claim is approved they will pay you back to the date you filed. You want the earliest date possible.
    • Here's a link to Alabama Veterans Service Organizations form Alabama's Veterans website https://va.alabama.gov/veterans-service-organizations/
  2. You can sign into the VA with your My Healthevet login or ID.me login and some others here https://www.va.gov/disability/file-disability-claim-form-21-526ez/introduction
    • The link above will take you to the form to fill out to file the application.

More members will jump in with more.

Thank you!  I actually registered back in 2011 but was so off-put by the VA process back then that I didn't really pay attention.  I did log into My Healthevet recently and will make sure to try and learn how to navigate it better ASAP.

4 hours ago, GBArmy said:

Bucker Welcome to Hadit. Others will post on your question. The take away is this: FILE A Claim for increase.(21-526E)If you are diagnosed by the VA and have a rating of 10% for anxiety, that is fine. File for increase. Mental Health (MH) issues are all grouped together in terms of compensation, so a rating for anxiety can easily morph into a change to PTSD. Look up diagnostic codes for MH schedule 38cfr 4.130 here https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/4.130 If you have a diagnosis from the VA doc, great; if you don't have it as a process note, I would suggest you include a statement in support of the claim , VA form 21-4138 explaining how your mh has effected your everyday life, ex. afraid to go out, don't like crowds, can't take direction from others, etc. You want a reeval of your mh condition as it affects you today. My advice is to file, get an increase and probable change in diagnosis from anxiety to PTSD and see if your symptoms are truly worsened. You are a combat veteran  being under-compensated  for by the appropriate rating (50% or 70%). You can always appeal with new evidence, such as a detailed eval from your own private doc. But get it going.

Thank you.  Does filing for an increase rather than making a new claim prohibit me from doing one or the other if there is a denial along the way?

 

VA Doc diagnosed me with PTSD and prescribed medication (not sure when that is supposed to arrive but I'm glad I finally did SOMETHING).  My Healthevet shows Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder problem code 313182004.  I don't see any type of notes from my visit anywhere in the blue button or the VA Health Summary PDF I pulled.  I'm also looking forward to some counseling in the near future and wholly intend to receive as much treatment a I can if it can improve my quality of life.

Thanks for the suggestions.  I've been keeping notes on stressors, feels, reactions, etc. and will include those in a statement with the claim if possible.

4 hours ago, Dustoff 11 said:

Anxiety is just one of several symptoms of PTSD that also include depression, OCBD, startled response, hyper alertness and sensitive, flashbacks, nightmares and on and on, etc.

I can answer some of your question by briefly explaining my own historical PTSD journey since 1985 when I was first diagnosed at 50% PTSD due to 1970 Vietnam combat and my receiving the PH plus CMB.

My initial diagnosis was due to hospitalization at Temple, Texas VA for PTSD and Alcohol abuse and this was on the discharge summary on exit from two week stay.

I underwent near hostile and/or indifferent VA C&P exams by shrinks who later reduced then terminated my PTSD until 1998 when I filed a new TDIU PTSD claim and underwent professional VA C&P exam in Nevada that led to 70% P&T TDIU rating in 2000 that has continued for over 20 years until I was made P&T 100% scheduler recently.  

Your present doctors treatment notes are very important along with PTSD prescriptions issued to you for filing a claim for increase.  If possible obtain from the doctor or counselor a statement opinion as to his opinion of the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your work ability and daily life routing including sleep problems, family problems due to PTSD.  Also a written statement by you of the the adverse impacts on your work ability and daily routine plus any sleep problems and family problems, etc. (lay statement).

You need to get on going treatment from at least a licensed clinical psychologist/psychologist social worker or nurse psychologist or higher such as MD psychiatrist for your Anxiety/PTSD. This will help you with your PTSD and future claim/s if any. It is important to have a PTSD diagnosis instead of only for Anxiety due to higher disability ratings for PTSD.

Keep copies of all treatment records, interviews, diagnosis and prescriptions forever like I have done since 1985.  Good Luck going forward.

P.S. I do not give short abrupt answers as I believe that is a disservice to the vet ask the question.

My comment is not legal advice as I am not a lawyer, paralegal or VSO.

 

 

Thank you for the input, I will certainly heed the advice to keep copies of everything.  I've not done a good job of that to date, sadly.

3 hours ago, john999 said:

Bucker

 

                      Since you have a purple heart and probably a CIB your PTSD DX is a slam/dunk.  You have all the proof you need except the actual PTSD DX.  Usually, a PTSD diagnosis gets at least a 30% rating if you are able to work.  If you are unable to work or keep a job you should be able to get TDIU or 100% schedular.  You should understand the ratings and symptoms of PTSD the VA uses.

Purple Heart, CIB were awarded for the same incident.  Several additional periods of action (and subsequent deployment(s) also compounded my situation).

I'm successfully employed as a Fed Civilian but my job has an incredibly flexible schedule and I have worked remotely for 6 years in this position.  I don't believe I would be successful in a traditional office environment.  Here's to hoping I speak with someone that gives me an opportunity to try and explain.  Thanks for the input, I sincerely appreciate everything that is available here.

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You should be in the 50 to 70%, no problem.  You have your duck in a row at this moment.  Have a VSO file for the increase right now or go on ebennifits or Vets.gov.  If you're not signed up, you may have to go into a VA clinic and have the front desk help you out.  

Comb over your service medical records for any other claims you might have.  For example, I got rated for a TBI for an accident in which I got knocked out for a short period of time.  One excerpt in my medical records about it.  Took a keen Psych Dr. to ask if I ever had any head injuries one session.  You served in the Gulf.  Look into GW presumptive issues.  

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