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After seventeen years of fighting the VA stick a fork in me, I am done!

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jamescripps2

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I began my VA claims saga in 2005. My first success was in November 2009, whereupon I was granted the very first claim for AO exposure at a military instillation in CONUS. That award was a 100% P&T plus an "S" award and 1 "K". The award was for Diabetes due to AO exposure, ischemic heart disease claimed as secondary to the Diabetes, and Chloracne. In the subsequent years there have been numerus other claims and grants including three 100% P&T awards. I filed for, and won at 100% P&T, loss of use of right hand and right foot. In July 2020, Fournier's Gangrene dammed near killed me and I won that one too, in short order. That Fournier's Gangrene claim as secondary to chloracne, took forty five days, submission of the claim until grant. Severe anxiety and depression as due to my service connected general medical conditions claim only took thirty five days to grant. Fourteen scars, some rated as painful, were added to the mix,  an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator will always get you a 100% P&T, and so will class 3 kidney failure. Severe Neuropathy x four limbs adds up quick at 40% per limb and will get you the bilateral factor too.

In 2016 I was granted R-1 for A&A plus loss of use of two limbs with an effective date of November, 2016. I banked my retro, got my vehicle grant with adaptive equipment, and initiated my specially adaptive housing grant. Next I filled an appeal for an earlier effective date back to 2011 on the R-1 grant. As one would expect, he appeal was DENIED at the RO. I filed an appeal with the BVA. The BVA DENIED the claim.  I then conferred with Alex Graham who was too booked up to take my case but instead hooked me up with the CCK law folks. We then took the case up to the CAVC. At the CAVC the case was granted a joint motion for remand (JMR) and the case was sent back to the Board and, in turn, was remanded back to the RO where it was once again, DENIED. Next a higher level revue (HLR) was filed and the result was that the Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) found a failure of the VA's duty to assist. A C&P was ordered to rectify the error as to be compliant with the VA's duty to assist order and the case was returned to the VLJ for a new decision.

On October 14th 2022, a new decision was rendered. I was granted five years earlier effective date of R-1 with five years retro.

In the interim, on August, 1, 2020 was granted SMC R-2. My final rating is R-2. Considering the fact that there is no VA rating higher than an R-2, and my back pay issue has been addressed by the Court and now meets my satisfaction, I am at the end of the line as far as VA claims are concerned. The only outstanding future issue is a hard earned burial flag and a small plot of ground in the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery just west of Nashville.

P.S. I need to add that on June 22, 2022, I won the very first PCAFC case granted at the BVA. That grant by the Board was for PCAFC level 2 caregiver benefits for my caregiver.

Edited by jamescripps2
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broncovet, you are living in the past and need to catch up.

In the beginning I filed and worked all of the claims on my own. In 2019, when I filed for the EED, and was denied by the BVA, I found myself needing to hire an attorney to take the case to the CAVC.

In the past the EAJA funds that were paid to a law firm were deducted from the total charges for legal aid owed by the veteran. About five to six years ago, the law firms took that issue to court and won the case that specified that no longer would the EAJA funds be deducted from the total legal fees that were owed by the veteran.

EAJA paid $4700.00 to my attorney for work at CAVC in obtaining the JMR. After the JMR was obtained and the case was remanded to the Board we were working on my dime. In the end I am responsible for attorney fees of 20% of the retro plus any charges for IMOs where the cost of the IMO was fronted by the legal team as they were needed to win the claim. My attorney fees will exceed $37,000.00 over and above the amount of the fees EAJA paid my legal team for work at the court in obtaining the JMR. So, total attorney fees were in excess of $41,000.00. And that is plus IMO cost. 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I was awarded P&T 20 years ago and I am still filing claims for agent orange mostly.  What I hear Bronco saying about VA paying us in depreciated dollars is true and a shame.  They spend their time thinking about how to screw us instead of helping us.

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True about the inflated dollars, but it is not so much about the dollars. The value of the win is priceless. I woke up this morning finding myself not in a backlog of some kind for the first time in seventeen years.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

If you have to pay the lawyer 20% of your retro and they get 100% for you it is worth it.  With my SSA and pension plus VA money I do alright. I don't worry about money. I don't spend that much but I can pay my bills.  Once you get 100% start working on getting Housebound.  

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john999, You should not need a lawyer to get to 100%, or for that matter housebound either. I found no need for a lawyer until I had to go up to the CAVC for a very complicated claim for a five year earlier effective date for the granting of R-1 in 2016. By the time I hired a lawyer I was already an R-2 veteran, and I got there on my own. Also remember, a lawyer cannot speed up your claim.

To address your, "is it worth it question". My total win for the EED claim alone was more than $228.000.00. You can google VA SMC disability rates and see for yourself that my monthly R-2 disability pay, considering the latest COLA, exceeds $10,000.00 per month. I think that it was worth it and considering all, the legal fees were well worth it. Now, I did manage to outlive the claims process, I just need to live long enough to realize the full benefit of the win.

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