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Community Care TKR-how to file

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auenone

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Have an upcoming TKR in April and want to get all of the i's dotted and T's crossed. VA sent me to community care. I would like to know what I need from the doctor to file for total disability for 4 months. Thanks.

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I have had a TKR.  (AT VA).  I got an excellent result.  (year 2017).  My advice:

1.  Vette the Doctor.  Look him up.  Ask other patients.  Check reviews.  Do not skip this part.  A great doc often gives you a great result.  A poor doc often gets a bad result.  Make sure you have the spelling of the doctors name.  If in doubt, consider another surgeon.  

2.  Be ready to commit YOUR part.  YOU will need to commit to the physical therapy.  Many start physical therapy BEFORE surgery.  Good habit to get into, and strengthens the knee..stronger knees heal better and faster.  If you are not willing to commit to the physical therapy, then rethink your surgical committment.  You can put it off...up until the last day.

3.  Have someone lined up to care for you "for at least" one to 2 months.  (live in).  My wife is a retired nurse, and she was fantastic.  Dont even think about getting the surgery and then going home alone.  You will re injure yourself, if the doc would even allow it.  You will also need someone to drive you home.  They generally wont let you drive home the day of surgery, you are under the influence of way too many pain meds.  Dont even consider it.  My doc did not release me to drive for about a month, as I was on pain meds.  

4.  Go to physical therapy and actually do the in between sessions they will give you.  Dont skip them.  Yes, they hurt.  Do you want to gain use of your knee or not?  It does come at a cost.  Yes, it hurts to bend that knee where it does not want to bend, but yes it needs to be done.  The better you do your PT, the better your knee works.  Its a fact.  

5.  You will likely be given or need to get a walker.  yep one of them old people things.  USE it.  Ditching the walker "too soon" is a common source of injury.  Wait until the physical therapist says you are ready.  

6.  Follow the advice of your doctor, and physical therapists.  If you dont get a good result, but dont do what they say, who should you blame?   Things can go wrong.  But dont make the things that can go wrong YOUR fault, by not doing what they tell you.  

     The day I got my surgery, they told me, "Dont walk anywhere without help.  Call for a nurse if you need to use the bathroom or need anything."   

     Well, I had to use the bathroom.  Sure its only 5 steps, I can make that, right?  Wrong.  I made 1 step, fell on a new surgery.  My wife had gone for a soda or she would never have allowed that stupid mistake.  My wife came back, I was on the floor.  (I could not get up with new surgery).  It was 100 percent my fault.  But, I was under the influence of strong pain meds.  I know better now.  I learned the hard way.  Nothing was broken, but I upset a lot of people.  A fall is serious in a hospital.  They xrayd me to make sure nothing was broken.  (I would not have known, I was completely numb with pain meds). 

      Be sure to ask questions.  Stupid questions are much preferred to stupid mistakes.  

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Also, you should be eligible to temp 100 percent, provided that the knee was service connected.  If you are already service conncected at 100 percent, you should get another 100 percent convalescent (temp) for the knee replacement.  Generally, that means you should get SMC S, or about another 450 per month, for a year.  It will likely be re evaluated at after a year.  That is the way convalescent (temp) ratings work.  

Get meals on wheels, if you can while you are recovering.  You are probably not going to be able to cook hobbling on a walker.   To apply, fill in the application form and ask for convalescent 100 percent for TKR.  IF SC, you should likely get it.  The sooner you apply the sooner you are likely to get paid.  

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Thank you for that. I was wondering if you were still here. The wife will handle the cooking. I took care of her when she had her knees done. Have her walker and other equipment. 
 

I’m 80%. It is SC. I don’t like dealing with VA as I would be at a higher rating. I know the form, 21-526EZ, is the FDC that I need and won’t file until I get the doctor’s report on the surgery. That’s the question: what does the doctor need to put in his report to make the process go smoothly? Is there a VA form available for the doctor’s report?

 

Thank you, broncovet. I’ve valued your expertise and knowledge for some time.

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Forgot: Dr. Baldauf is well known in Las Vegas. He scoped my knee and actually straightened out the leg. Unfortunately, it also made the bone on bone a little worse. It used to lock up pretty bad but not as often, but when it does now it is more intense. I think his Dad was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne.

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While Im not sure of your health records, nor your disabilities, many/most Veterans seek "at least" 100 percent as the goal, "assuming of course" that you are unable to work.  Remember, VA compensation is used to compensate us for the loss in earning capacity due to a service connected illness or injury.  Thus, if you are unable to work, the idea is to get to 100 percent or more.  Yes, there is "above" 100 percent.  Its a common myth that benefits max out at 100 percent.  

Example:  100 percent, for a married Vet is $3946 per month, while an SMC R2 is over $10,000 per month.  If my grade school math teacher was right, $10,000 per month is "much more" than 100 percent $3946 per month.  Almost 3 times as much.  100 percent "is not" the maximum.  Above 100 percent, you seek special monthly compensation, and, of course, not everyone qualifies.  

 

My advice is simply to seek an increase "and" convalescent rating for your TKR.  You could be awarded one, none, or both.  Your conditions have obviously worsened or else your surgeon would not have recommended TKR.  (My opinion, only).  Dont forget disabilities that you may be aware of, but wasnt sure if you could get those SC, also.  Arthritis, for example, often comes with knee issues, and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body.  As always, however, as you pointed out, yep, you will have to deal with the VA.  YOu may get lucky and get awarded benefits from the get go, or you may get an ornery rating speciallist who makes you work for it and appeal, like I had to do.  

While it did take significant time and effort on my part, I can tell you few things worthwhile are ever easy.  And, the harder it is to get benefits, the sweeter it is when you do get the victory.  

Wild card:  Your family.  Your kids can get DEA Chapter 35 education benefits when you get to 100 percent P and T..  My son got his bachelors degree on it.  Further, your spouse can get DIC when you pass from a SC condition or from any conditon if you are 100 percent P and T for over 10 years.  DiC means "about" 1500 or so per month to your spouse.  Your comp will not continue after you die, but the DIC should take care of her.  So, to take care of your family, you really should try to get to 100 percent P and T.  Education for kids, DIC for your wife.  Its a huge deal, not to mention being able to take care of yourself, and not have to ask your kids for money to make ends meet.  Remember, inflation will go much fasster than Cola.  

 

 

My advice is to check your health records and apply for any all benefits that you think may be able to be SC, to include an increase, and or tdiu if you are not working.  The sooner you apply, the sooner you can start getting paid.  And the sooner you can start on your "10 year" for Dic, I explained above.  Finally, as your kids get too old, they are no longer eligible for education benefits.  Its age 26, I think is the max age, but that could have changed.  

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