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Withdraw Claim or Not?

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jerome.e.tallant

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Hi thanks for your time. 

When I was in the National Guard I was diagnosed with a non-service qualifying condition. I never reported it to the national guard, went thru civilian doctors. I didn't say anything because I was afraid it would hurt my career. I should have though I admit, I was a young Private. I did truly believe the condition was a result of my training however. 

I then went active duty changing components. After 4 years on active duty I got diagnosed with the same non-service qualifying condition and told the doctor my symptoms started while on active duty. Again I was afraid as I'd already said I didn't have medical issues to get onto active duty, so didn't feel like I could come 100% clean.

Another 4 years pass by and I again go to transfer back to the reserves and off active duty. I apply for VA disability and claim my non-service disqualifying condition. At that exact same time period, MHS Genesis launches. So now my civilian records have been automatically pulled into my military records. So while I didn't do the wrong thing maliciously, it should be pretty clear to the  VA Claims officer that this started prior to my time on active duty and I clearly claim otherwise in my records. 

Should I call the VA and cancel my claim for that one condition? Appreciate your time. 

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Hi Jerome, welcome to Hadit. You haven't disclosed what your disability is, so details could result in a different strategy. But based on what you stated, I think what you should consider is modify your current claim to say "X" was caused OR aggravated by whatever caused it in service. Or, simply claim it was aggravated not caused. It will cause a delay, but it won't result necessarily in a denial IMHO.

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What changed, since you applied?  I have never met a Veteran who was awarded benefits after withdrawing, so I would only recommend withdrawing a claim under some very special and rare circumstances.  

A Veterans own lay opinion is insufficient to establish Service connection.  It takes medical evidence (a doctors opinion).  In a similar way while "you may have opined" it was nsc (non service connected), you really are not qualified to render a medical opinion on the etiology of your own conditions.  

Almost all claims have favorable and unfavorable evidence.  That is, there is evidence that suggests you are SC, and other evidence would indicate not so much.  Rarely is there the proverbial "slam dunk" where 100.0000 percent of all the evidence favors the claimant.   Instead, most claims have favorable and unfavorable evidence, and if its in "relative equipose", the tie should go to the Veteran.  

You may well be awarded benefits based on equipose, many Veterans are.  

I do not recommend withdrawing your claim for the above reasons.  

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On 10/18/2022 at 3:50 AM, GBArmy said:

Hi Jerome, welcome to Hadit. You haven't disclosed what your disability is, so details could result in a different strategy. But based on what you stated, I think what you should consider is modify your current claim to say "X" was caused OR aggravated by whatever caused it in service. Or, simply claim it was aggravated not caused. It will cause a delay, but it won't result necessarily in a denial IMHO.

Thank you very much for your response. 

My disability is high tone pelvic floor disorder. It was diagnosed while I was in the National Guard by a civilian doctor at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Cleveland Clinic records have been automatically pulled into the new military health system, MHS Genesis. It is not a service disqualifying disability, Soldiers can continue to serve with it.  

May I ask how I modify my current claim Sir? I utilized the Benefits before discharge program (BDD) and have about 20 days until my ETS date remaining. At which time  my understanding is they will begin work on my claim. 

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2 hours ago, broncovet said:

What changed, since you applied?  I have never met a Veteran who was awarded benefits after withdrawing, so I would only recommend withdrawing a claim under some very special and rare circumstances.  

A Veterans own lay opinion is insufficient to establish Service connection.  It takes medical evidence (a doctors opinion).  In a similar way while "you may have opined" it was nsc (non service connected), you really are not qualified to render a medical opinion on the etiology of your own conditions.  

Almost all claims have favorable and unfavorable evidence.  That is, there is evidence that suggests you are SC, and other evidence would indicate not so much.  Rarely is there the proverbial "slam dunk" where 100.0000 percent of all the evidence favors the claimant.   Instead, most claims have favorable and unfavorable evidence, and if its in "relative equipose", the tie should go to the Veteran.  

You may well be awarded benefits based on equipose, many Veterans are.  

I do not recommend withdrawing your claim for the above reasons.  

Well to be totally honest my civilian medical records got pulled in my military health record file with the new military healthcare software MHS Genesis. This should make it pretty clear to the examiner that the disability originated prior to me being on active duty despite my claim otherwise. 

While I do believe this disability as caused by military service I did the wrong thing at that time by not immediately reporting it (out of fear). 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. 

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There are exceptions to every rule or normal procedures.  For example, I was recently awarded 60% for GERD caused and aggravated by my long-term PTSD and VA medications prescribed to me for PTSD, HBP, etc.  This award was based only upon my verbal and written statements that the GERD was due only to my Nam PTSD.  

I had no doctor's or medical specialist nexus statement or notes stating my GERD was due to PTSD, but I did have strong VA and private medical records evidence of GERD in my treatment notes and VA and private prescriptions of GERD medications since 2000 and 2011 to present day.  

I also received 10% for Tinnitus by simply stating this was caused by my repeated exposure to Vietnam combat and receipt of the PH award plus Vietnam Army medical STRs showing I was diagnosed with a leg wound and mild concussion.

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

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Just now, Dustoff1970 said:

There are exceptions to every rule or normal procedures.  For example, I was recently awarded 60% for GERD caused and aggravated by my long-term PTSD and VA medications prescribed to me for PTSD, HBP, etc.  This award was based only upon my verbal and written statements that the GERD was due only to my Nam PTSD.  

I had no doctor's or medical specialist nexus statement or notes stating my GERD was due to PTSD, but I did have strong VA and private medical records evidence of GERD in my treatment notes and VA and private prescriptions of GERD medications since 2000 and 2011 to present day.  

I also received 10% for Tinnitus by simply stating this was caused by my repeated exposure to Vietnam combat and receipt of the PH award plus Vietnam Army medical STRs showing I was diagnosed with a leg wound and mild concussion.

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

Dustoff1970 thank you for taking the time to respond to my question; I'll keep your response in mind. I am glad to see the system is working and that you got what you are entitled to. Thank you for your service in Vietnam - my uncles served there as well. A crazy time I heard. Thank you. 

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