How to get your questions answered. A few observations, and requests of all members. All folks who come here are volunteers who do this on their own time and their own dime.To avoid burning out our best contributors please follow these guidelinesf you are reading a post and it reminds you of a question you want to ask, start a new topic, if you place your question in someone thread it will be difficult to distinguish your question from the original poster, you will get better results posting a new topic with your question. 1. Before Posting please do a search and see if your question has already been answered. If you find the answer print it out and put it in a file to use as a reference file, I find this helpful myself. 2. If you can not find the answer and you do post a question, please print out those answers and refer to them to avoid duplicate questions. 3. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions4. Duplicate questions will come up from time to time but the keeping them to the minimum will lighten the load on the regular volunteers.5. Respect folks privacy do not request their personal phone numbers for claims help, it is inappropriate and not why they are here.6. Keep the topics focused on veterans issues, in closing Search first Search ... Ask second.it may save a lot of time or at the very least enlighten you.
Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests. Please check the little home I am carving out for our SVR partners. http://www.hadit.com/svr.html
The following is on my About page, but some have been asking how this all happened. So here is my little story. Tbird US Navy 1983 – 1990 E-6 HadIt.com the website domain registered Jan 20, 1997 the domain is registered and paid for through Jan 21, 2023 at which time I plan to register it for another 15 years Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I guess the best place to start is Jan 1991; I had gotten out of the navy Dec 1990. At my separation seminar, there was a DAV rep Jim Milton he told us to bring our medical records in and he would look through them for us and let us know if we should file a claim with the VA. Well, bless his heart, he opened my medical file, reads the first insert, looks me straight in the eye, and says you will be 50% for the rest of your life and he would file the claim for me. 50% was for surgery I had in the service. True to his word he met with me and talked with me for a long time filled out my paper work and urged me to file for PTSD. I would not file the PTSD claim, nor even discuss it. By Feb 1991 I had moved to the San Francisco bay area and was staying at a friends apartment and pretty much I was just a puddle. In desperation one night I called suicide hot line, I had no job, no idea about going to the VA. They talked with me for a long time and explained to me that I could go to the local VA hospital even if I did not have insurance. Now, I know what you are thinking if I was 50% why didn't I just go to the VA in the first place, two reasons 1, this was Feb 1991 and the 50% didn't come till May and 2, even if it had come through it is unlikely that I would have had the mental acuity at the time to put the two together. I relate this here because it is where so many of our brothers and sisters are coming from, perhaps where you started. Fuzzy and unsure, in pain and sometimes homeless they come to the VA hospital for help. And that is where I ended up. Up to the pysch ward I went, blah, blah, blah, a few days later I was released with a promise of a call from the out patient program, which I would soon be entering. Blah, blah, blah, after many missed communications, and no call backs I was at the Day Hospital everyday M-F. And this brothers and sisters is where I began to learn and formulate my plan for HadIt.com. Veterans, veterans everywhere…I spent a year in the day hospital and about another year at a sheltered workshop before I got back on my feet. So I just talked to veterans everyday waiting for appointments, waiting for prescriptions, waiting for a vet rep and I started to learn the system. While in the navy I was data analyst and had to learn a 5 volume manual and just about anything you were suppose to do was in that manual. So I figured there must be a manual on how to do a VA claim or at the very least regulations. So I found out about the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, Veterans Affairs Manuals and so on and so forth. Of course this was 1991/1992 I was living in a tiny studio apartment in a particularly bad neighborhood, working in a sheltered workshop making a nickel per envelope I stuffed throw in PTSD and you will see that it was a difficult task for me to get somewhere where they had copies of these, let alone that they would let me look at. And there was so much knowledge around me, it was like the gold rush in those days, I could just sit on a bench a veteran would sit down next to me a little conversation later I had another nugget, I made copious notes. Phone numbers to call, ask for this guy or that guy he'll give you the straight scoop and they'd slip me a piece of paper with a number on it. You want to read this regulation or that one and another slip of paper into my hand. I spent a lot of time on those benches watching the squirrels they gathered their nuts and I gathered mine :) So I'm thinking I could put a little handbook together print it out and hand it out at the VA. Or perhaps fliers. Still formulating, time goes by, 1994/1995 I am being treated for PTSD regularly and doing and feeling much better and I go to work for a company as a marketing systems analyst and I discover the internet. Well let me tell you that was perhaps one of the most significant life changing events I have ever experienced. And I might add finally a positive one :) It seemed only natural to me that surely there must be a website that contained all the knowledge I wanted, well as it turned out not so much, lots of stuff but I wanted to get straight to the claims information and there was a lot of stuff to wade through to get to it. So taking my lesson from the squirrels earlier I started to gather, gather, gather…and learn HTML and work as a marketing systems analyst and work my claim. 1996/1997 major PTSD cork blows and unemployed. Working my claim, working the website. 20 Jan 1997 register HadIt.com domain name right after getting off the phone with the VA and saying I've had it with this. As fate would have it the old DAV board goes down just as mine opens up and folks start to wander in. So HadIt.com has two main components the website which supports the discussion board with links, articles, research resources etc. The website starts to grow, I can't tell you how many times I had to switch servers for space and features. I continue on a downward trend and in 1998 ended up back home in St Louis living in my sisters basement in therapy and working it, I swear I would have swung a dead chicken around my head at midnight naked if I thought it would have helped. The website continued to do great during this time, I just stayed in the basement bought new software, new books, and learned how to make things work and I continued to use this knowledge to make HadIt.com better. My 100% finally came through from the VA and I had a friend who is an advocate who helped me thru my SSDI claim, he was literally at my side thru the entire process and that came through for me. My therapist and sister continued to try and get me to leave the basement, but to no avail. At some point in 1998 or 1999 I put a counter on the website and was shocked to discover how many visitors we were getting. Time goes by my sister gets married and I move from the basement to the upstairs, there is much celebration that Aunt T is living in the light again. More time goes by and I settle into my life in St Louis and spend more time on the site trying new things, finding more information. 2003 I buy my own home VA loan. For years now I have just considered HadIt.com my job and I get up every morning go to the office and work for several hours, take an afternoon break and see where the rest of day takes me. I have a place in the office to use the computer and a comfortable to place to read journals and articles and take notes. Blah, blah, blah so that is my story and HadIt.com's intertwined.
Hi I've updated our HadIt.com Pass It On Cards. They are in a PDF format you can print them out cut them there are 12 to a page. If you have found HadIt.com helpful and would like to pass it on to other veterans this is an easy way to do it.I hope you find them helpful, feel free to leave a few anywhere veterans gather, veterans centers, veterans hospitals, public libraries, be creative. Please make sure though, that if you want to leave some at any business you ask permission first.Here you go http://www.hadit.com...it_on_cards.pdf
wutzthedeal added a question in (VA Claims Research) Veterans Affairs Claims and Benefits ResearchI'm Lost At Sea In The Paperwork OceanHey guys; I've used this forum and its information on and off since 2001 and I'm very thankful for all the guys who put in tireless efforts to help veterans. The guy that helped me the most, Flip Heilig, is one I've lost touch with but he was like a VA claim marathon runner; always pushing, pulling new case studies, sending and re-sending requests, he helped me so much.
Anyway, now I'm lost. I'll make this as short as possible (not sure if that's a good idea based on some other posts I've read, but I think this helps get the forum "routing" right): I served AD USAF 1990-94 in support of Desert Shield/Storm. I had hurt my knee before coming in; MEPS made me have it examined to make sure I could still join and the ortho. doc said the knee was completely healed and healthy.
With maybe 2 days left in basic training, I completely blew the knee out, popped the ACL in half, crushed the medial meniscus. They drained and braced it so I could graduate, and told me to get follow up help at my first permanent base after tech school, which was Langley, so I did. 1992: arthroscopic knee surgery with partial, crushed medial meniscus removal; acl deficiency noted. PCS to Eielson AFB, AK, followed docs orders to get ACL reconstruction consult up there. Got that, got the ACL reconstruction at Ft. Wainright Army Base in 1993. Since then, the knee has become gradually worse, with extreme varicose veins popping up on the back of the leg behind the knee, arthritis diagnosed most recently by the VA as "moderate arthritis with degenerative changes." The initial award was 20% less 10% EPTS (I presume that meant injury or episode prior to service, which I have disagreed with since I got out in 1994 since that MEPS doc had called me 100%). Because of Flip's help, I got the knee rating where it should have been and a scar over my eye added in from a butchered cyst removal to take me to 50%. That was around 2001. Around 2006, I was having trouble climbing stairs and filed for an increase, so I got a C&P exam--I made the huge mistake of telling that doctor that I was having a good day and was on my meds, but ended up getting reduced to 20%. I was shocked, as I had not even claimed the huge, painful scar that was over my knee that causes me not to be able to kneel at all. That doctor also was evaluating my flexion/extension and although they are supposed to stop on flexion, I believe (sliding your heel toward your butt) when you experience pain, he rammed my knee into a bent position beyond my groans of pain (even though I was having a good day) and wrote down that %, instead. I had no idea he was doing this.
Of course, I was still working through all of this. I had also blown my back out in 2001 but could never prove that was due to my favoring my left leg for daily use rather than the injured right.
Since then, my conditions evolved, and now I have fibromyalgia, severe spinal arthritis, moderate knee arthritis and a few others that I don't think would affect a VA claim.
When the VA came down with their 20% reduction from 50% decision, they sent a letter to ask if I wanted to appeal. Of course I did, but could not make it to the appeal hearing because I had no transportation and it was 100 + miles away. Since then, I've done some letters to congress and the VA response was pretty much, "He asked for a hearing but didn't show." So I filed again for an increase and the VA said they were processing it. Haven't heard back in a long time. I don't even know if I HAVE an active claim right now. SO, I decided to re-join the American Legion in hopes of getting help (I was a member for some years before but never used my benefits or even coupons) so I got in touch with a rep. for here in Virginia and he referred me to some offices. This just happened over the past couple of days.
1. Given my situation, would your next move be to get the American Legion rep., to get a lawyer, or to do some type of requests/submissions to the VA on your own?
2. I don't ever want to "game the system," so I do not want anymore than the guidelines say I'm entitled to, so I'm not looking for ways to "beat" the VA, yet I feel like they have beaten the hell out of me at this point; judging by my conditions posted, what percentage would you be comfortable with to feel like things were square?
3. Has anybody else gotten so deep into claims/counter-claims and such they they just got lost? That's where I am.
Your help and advice are appreciated and thank you to my fellow vets for your service.
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