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      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.

      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
    • A bit about Tbird and HadIt.com for those who've asked...

      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.
    • HadIt.com Pass It On Cards

      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
    • VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index

      VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index The following is the index with links to the various Training and Fast Letters plus a few miscellaneous. These letters are not necessarily in the original formatting. I have tried to present them in an easy-to-read form instead of some forms as originally presented. Some of the paragraphs were WAAAAYYY too long. lol - HadIt.com Member fanaticbooks Something to be aware.... Some of these letters may be rescinded, outdated, or otherwise no longer viable. I have still included them because sometimes they provide additional insight or just plain more information than the newest version. Use them wisely. The oldest letters will display at the bottom with the latest letters displayed at the top, all in sequential numbers. Coding of the letters... FL = Fast Letter TL = Training Letter First two numbers = last two digits of year of origin Training Letter http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40694-va-tl-00-07/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40693-va-tl-00-06/ Fast Letter Number Title http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44262-va-fl-11-15/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44260-va-fl-11-13/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44261-va-fl-11-11/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44310-va-fl-11-09/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/42151-va-fl-11-03/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40957-va-fl-10-49/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40958-va-fl-10-46/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40959-va-fl-10-45/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40960-va-fl-10-42/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40961-va-fl-10-39/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40962-va-fl-10-35/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40963-va-fl-10-34/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40964-va-fl-10-32/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40966-va-fl-10-30/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40967-va-fl-10-26/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40968-va-fl-10-25/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40819-va-fl-10-24e1/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40818-va-fl-10-24/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40817-va-fl-10-22/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40814-va-fl-10-04/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40969-va-fl-10-03/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40812-va-fl-10-02/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40808-va-fl-09-52/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40806-va-fl-09-50/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40970-va-fl-09-41/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40971-va-fl-09-38/ 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  • 0

I Hate The Va! I Hate Them I Hate Them I Hate Them

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Posted · Report post

So, I'm so mad I can't see straight right now. They denied the increase again. I can't believe it, I really just can't understand how a DOCTOR'S OPINION, the DOCTOR WHO TREATS MY HUSBAND TREATS HIM! can be ignored for a lower rating. RATERS ARE NOT DOCTORS! DAMN, I'm pissed. I am sitting here shaking I'm so mad.

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146 answers to this question

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I forgot to mention that they didn't use ANY medical records after July 2008. The records after July is when he started to really trust the doctor. He figured out that the doctor wanted to help him, not lock him up and throw away the key. So, he started talking more, and letting him know the true magnitude of his symptoms. I put in a NOD that they didn't evaluate any records after that date, but they ignored that part of the NOD. They did it again with the new SSOC. It takes him months to trust a new doctor, and the VA didn't even take that into account. They used the records where he said things like, "hi, I'm fine, my meds suck, can I leave now?" and they know they did that on purpose. I'm going to go up there again and get another set of his records after July, and resubmit them, third time's the charm, right?!

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Posted · Report post

I would write an explanation and resubmit, and get your local congressman involved or Senator. CC them on anything you send them. Make your letter sound clinical, devoid of emotion, just the facts.

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Posted · Report post

Belle

I'm so glad that the doc is not a part of your problem like it is in most cases, you are very lucky.

Unfortunately, you fall into the same category as 99.9% of us, with that being lousy raters. Other than fire the entire VA system and start completely over, I'm not sure what can be done.

Your husband is a very blessed man that he has you. Take my word when I say that men, in most cases, do not stick around to care for female spouses with severe PTSD they simply do not want to deal with the drama, so we are left to deal with it alone.

Do not ever give up and channel that anger into logic that will eventually win your case.

Good luck with your SSA claim.

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Posted · Report post

Is this alright? Or should I word it differently:

I disagree with the decision dated 10 December 2008 as well as the decision dated 29 October 2008. In both Supplemental Statements of the Case Department of Veterans’ Affairs failed to evaluate the Medical Records Evidence after 17 July 2008. I am requesting a reconsideration based on this fact.

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Posted · Report post

You might want to include a highlighted copy of the VA Docs opinion.

Good Luck

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Posted · Report post

That is something I'll keep sending them until the read the whole thing, and acknowledge that as his doctor's opinion!

You might want to include a highlighted copy of the VA Docs opinion.

Good Luck

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Belle

Even tho I cant say as I blame you for being mad, there is a "silver lining" in all this. You got a decision from 2008, even tho it was bad, it was still a decision and you can now move on to appeal.

My case is worse, I cant even get a decision on an appeal from 2004. The Cleveland Regional Office

"misinterpreted my NOD as a claim for benefits" so, I am not even able to appeal UNLESS this interpretation is overturned. That is unlikely to happen, since the Regional Office decides how it interprets stuff. They are free to interpret anything in a manner that is consistent with their own agenda. It is like having the wolf stand guard over the hen house when we send NOD's to the Regional Office for "consideration". I wonder how many Veterans NOD's got shredded or misinterpreted, like mine.

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SouthernBelle,I am sorry for your problems you thank you have with the the va,but you have to play by there rules and your husband psychiatrist didn't help very much,after you get 50% for ptsd everything changes, i don't want to offend anyone on this forum, for there help, and support because i know that everybody want to help you,but southernbelle read and comprehend everything that Rentalguy1 posted, because he is right on, with everything ,and hadit is about helping the veteran get what he/she deserved.

mobie

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rentalguy wrote: "My suggestion is to take the next 3 months and have as many MH appointments at the VA as is absolutely possible. Let them know about his suicidal ideations. Let them know about his spatial disorientation. Let them know that he is incapable of maintaining personal hygiene. Don't beat around the bush about it either. March in there and the two of you let the doc know that he has problems. Then, when you have these things in the records, file a new claim for increase."

rentalguy is right..I read your SSOC...and based on some of the statements his condition falls into the 50% for example it states in the SSOC "He stated you are a poor candidate for contiuation of college courses. He recommended that you be excused from current and future college work until your mental health concerns can be addressed. He noted your prognosis is poor BUT YOU COULD MAKE SIGNIFICANT GAINS with normalization of function depending on your response to medication and therapy"

Based on that statement alone it indicates that with proper medication and therapy that his condition will improve...I would say that is why the VA did not give an increase. What has to happen now is that you will need to get a IMO from a private psycologist indicating what his limitations are...for example due to his depression and aniexty he no longer participates in family gathering (something to that effect), he is servery limited in his ability to drive due to his confusion, due to his depression he no longer takes interest in his personal hygine...

The bottom line is this the VA will only increase an individuals percentage if his condition has deterioated to the point of the next level. The Va will need to have an IMO from a psycologist stating that due to his PTSD he is limited in the following areas...

You should bring the schedual of rating with you so the pyscolgist can read it and base his report based on the VA criteria for the level of disability that he falls under.

If you husband is having suicidal thoughts that needs to be brought up...but keep in mind not everyone who has PTSD has suicidal thoughts or tendencys...and they rate out at 70% PTSD is a disabling condition that does not only effect an individuals mental and emotional well being but also is very damaging physicalogy (sp) many individuals that have PTSD also have other secondary conditions that manifested due to PTSD...conditions such as IBS, hypertention, migrains, reflux, aches and pains everywhere the list goes on...due to the fact some individuals with PTSD will internalize they will have more visits to there doctor.

Keeping a daily diary of his behavior will also help...his mood swings...outburst...how he interacts with others...

once you can establish that even with medication and therapy that his condition has not improved then I would think he would be awared the higher evaluation...

just my thoughts

mt

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Posted · Report post

S/B...

Sorry that I haven't responded till today, but I lost the connection, while retrieving info for you, and I had a lot on my plate.

I can understand your frustration (as many others have expressed here)and I can understand that you are 'Venting' at this particular time--that is good. You are receiving a good variety of valuable info, of all sorts. So, I hope that what I submit adds to your quest to seek justice with this defunct agency.

It is obvious that you are going to have to go down the long crooked DVA road. Go down this road with your head held high.

These J-O's are going to attempt to knock you off your feet everytime you get one of their Bullsh*t replies.

Don't get MAD...Get EVEN!

These SOB's are doing to you, what they've done to millions of others. As you already know, they want you to QUIT/GIVE UP/CALL IT A DAY!

Here's what I would like you to start doing...

#1)Read and LEARN what is being said in your denial statement(s). Make sure that their "i's" are dotted, and their "t's" are crossed.

Try and obtain outside opinions from SPECIALISTS, to contradict the VA QUACKS. I trust VA doctors as far as I can throw them.

Ask yourself this...

Why would a doctor work for the Gov't., if he/she could make significantly more outside (Private Practice)?

#2)Learn of your and your husbands' conditions, and don't settle for a drug cure all. I do not believe in pharmaceutical crap with all its' side effects. Learn alternative means to helping your husband, and discuss it in a dialogue (NOT Monologue) with your private physician. Don't go to your doctor as a "Deer in the Headlights" when he mentions treatments OR medications.

Case in Point...

In MY situation, I confronted many doctors with Fusion -vs- THR, from coast to coast, and how a hip fusion could have adverse effects on spinal conditions. Finally, one Professor agreed that I was not a candidate for a fusion, due to the preexisting Lumbar compression. He agreed with me that I was a candidate for a THR!

The gist of this, is that I studied my conditions and the cause and effect...then I studied the corrective procedures available, and determined how each procedure would effect the existing spinal condition. Arthroplasty OR a THR were the only alternatives for me.

My point here is, that the VA jackasses don't always know, OR they DO know, yet they are not willing to help the Veteran (as they claim), or budget is a factor.

Back to YOUR situation...

*There is a statement that was made in your Denial letter pointing to a "Change in his Medication..." or something to that effect. I would focus on this statement if I were you, and research to see if the VA is treating your husband as a "Guinea Pig"...eg: CHANTRIX being prescribed to Veterans even AFTER the FDA issued a warning that it could cause SUICIDE with Veterans diagnosed w/PTSD.

Do you know what I'm saying here???

If your husbands condition is showing signs of deterioration, and you can establish that his condition has worsened due to this drug, and research shows that this drug should not have been given, due to it's side effects, then he was clearly misdiagnosed and given a drug which harms more, than helps...!

I'm saying FTCA especially if his condition is irreversible due to this prescription.

This is a long shot, but worth looking in to.

I'm including this link for you to find a case they may have similarities to your husbands situation. It IS 350+ pages long, but worth the time. I don't know how often this is updated, so you may have to GOOGLE your husbands conditions, and medications taken, for new case law.

http://www.louisvillelaw.com/federal/ArmyP...ca_handbook.pdf

#3) LEARN Title 38 CFR, to use against these pricks! Don't assume for a moment, that your husbands conditions were interpreted correctly and that adjudicators applied appropriate law. Court cases have been REVERSED based on the misuse of a single word, phrase and/or meaning!

#4) Obtain as much medical documentation from an outside SPECIALIST as possible. If necessary dive into JAMA, Univ. of Maryland, and many other medical universities and written about your and your husbands condition(s). Again, you'll have to GOOGLE his condition(s).

Don't approach the VA with FOAM bullets in this matter, approach them with full metal jackets!

You've got a lot of work to do, but the payoff will make it worth it.

(hopefully, in the not so distant future, I will see you and your better half on a cruise ship, and we can swap DVA horror stories!)

I've been dealing with these scumbags for 30+ years!!!

#5) Research Case Law, that has key components where the courts decided in favor of the plaintiff. (it doesn't have to be VA related, but that would help). A start: www.findlaw.com

A message for all: GOOGLE: Veteran case Law, Veteran claims in Federal Courts or Supreme Court, SC ruling on Veteran issues, etc., to find case law to use in your claims/cases.

In roughly a month, the BVA will render a decision in my case. I anticipate that this claim is going to Federal Court, and if unresolved in the lower court, it's off to the US Supreme! I hope to amend law with this case. Amending new law, will assist the thousands of others with the same, or similar issues. Additionally, amending law, is the way to change the DVA!

#6) A best way to guarantee success, is using US Supreme Court rulings in your claim/case. As more Veterans are utilizing the Federal Courts, I will expect some (including me) to file a Writ of Certiorari. It wouldn't hurt to start looking at this. Chances are that you won't have to go this far, but don't ASSume that the DVA or Fed court will cooperate anytime soon.

#7) Don't put a 100% confidence on your SO to win your claim.

#8) Don't put a 100% confidence even on your attorney. When I have a case, I prepare using Case Law, AND US Supreme Court rulings PRIOR to obtaining an attorney. All these clowns are used for, is Legal Writing 101, and Litigation/Trial and of coarse, in case I was wrong and if they have something I might have missed. "Two heads are better than one" applies here.

OK...

I hope that this helps you and the many others preparing for War with these incompetent morons!!!

Take Care, and Fight the Good Fight! :lol:

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The SSA -if it is awarded solely for ASC cndition-will help him get TDIU-

I sure agree with the excellent advise posted here- an Independent medical opinion would be the best bet-then again the SSA will give him techncally -an IMO evaluation and perhaps there would be no need for you to go to this expense.

Going over a SOC line by line is the best course of action too.

A lawyer on the old Prodigy Vets BBS always said -if you do not disagree with anything in a SOC, the VA assumes you accept it.

I always made sure I disagreed with a full argument on anything in SOCs or SSOCS that was incorrect.

My IMO doc even stated to the VA that a SSOC I got was "medically inaccurate" and he then expounded on statements the VA doc made that were wrong as well as I myself raised significant argument on the rest of the VA doctor's opinion-reminding VA I had been competent enough-as lay person in late 1990s to prove malpractice.

You must give them all you got in any rebuttals to their decision.

Question- how the heck did the VA address the major hospitalization that your husband had and consider that as evidence that is problems were far greater then they rated him on?

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:lol: Berta, your guess is as good as mine! I've asked that the VARO CUE itself on that particular matter. I appreciate all the help you've given. I think I need to take a few days, and think about some stuff. Monday, he went to the VA clinic and his pdoc happened to see him sitting there. (he wasn't scheduled to see him that day) and the pdoc said, "Man, you look horrible, we need to talk!" He at least paid attention to the fact that he looked pretty horrible, and said he would at the very least call my husband today. They talk on the phone often, so that helps. As far as the medications: He's been on 5, yes, FIVE medication trials in the last two months, alone. They can't find the right stuff for him, and we're about out of medications to try! They've even tried meds that aren't specifically for PTSD symptoms, but things like abilify, for bipolar disorder. (We agreed to try just about anything, so we're not mad that it wasn't for the PTSD, he just wants to feel OKAY, and if something has a snowball's chance of helping, he'll try it) Anyways, I'm going to take a few days, and think about some things. I put a call into the director's office on Monday, they called back yesterday, and I explained (suprisingly kindly) about the fact that they didn't use evidence, that they've continued to deny even though the doc says this, (I pointed out that no, it isn't in "VA language" but it was very clear in the opinion) I pointed out the the VA trusts this doctor to treat, diagnose, and dispense medications to Veterans, but they don't trust his opninion about the capabilities of one of his patients (he was somewhat shocked that I put that together) I told him about the missing SMRs, the fact that IN MY OPINION, this RO is now biased, because clearly the evidence is there, they just didn't bother to a) read it and :lol: request updated treatment records, even though I sent them copies of those same records. I was very nice, I didn't get mad, I just said, "you know, the Army broke my husband, and it is the sole responsibility of the Department of Veterans' Affairs to take care of him and they haven't, they have a history of falling short in not only benefits for my husband, but medical care" (I sited the fact that he wasn't give therapy until a short while ago, he hasn't seen his therapist since September, we can't get an appointment for something that could be skin cancer!) He seemed like he was upset that I felt like they'd fallen short, he apologized for our treatment, looked at the c-file, promised to make absolutely sure we got a copy of it, he would have his secretary copy it, then have the FOIA rep sign that it has been copied and have it delivered to us asap. He said he couldn't belive we hadn't been given the benefit of the doubt. He said you wouldn't have argued, or I think even applied for an increase if he didn't need it. He said "you've spent a lot of time on this, and I can see that, so I'm going to see what can be done to resolve this, and change your opinion of this Regional Office" I just hope it was worth my time talking to him. Sorry, I just rambled on and on. I'm going to take a few days and think things over. Again, thanks for all your help. You will never know how much I appreciate it.

Question- how the heck did the VA address the major hospitalization that your husband had and consider that as evidence that is problems were far greater then they rated him on?

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the reason the hospitalization wasn't mentioned, I'm guessing, was that it was quite a while back. If it isn't very current (within the last year) it most likely mean much because they have to see the most recent picture and mental health conditions change on a dime. The reason that the evidence they used only went through July was because that is when the pre-determination team finished gathering evidence and sent it to the rater. The rater wasn't able to get to it for several more months and a lot had transpired in the mean time. He could have sent it back to the pre-d team to gather more up to date evidence, but by the time he was able to get back to it again, that new evidence would be 4 to 6 months old again. Please, put this claim on the back burner until 2 January. Enjoy your husband, children, and family for the next few weeks, then come back to it. You'll have a much clearer head, and renewed vigor. I urge you to think about my advice, the exact phraseology that has to be in the records, and the time frame it would take to navigate the BVA process versus a new claim when you come back to it.

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Belle, if you don't mind, a pause in your efforts to 'manage' the va paper shuffle, struggle and battle. As best as I can read, you are good at keeping information straight. I see your tenacity and strength in attending your husbands medical needs, knowing his military history and current condition are direct result of that. You are one hard working woman! I agree with Rental, take some healthy time for you, your family and Hadit willl be here for ya.

The best to ya,

Cg

P.S. Pete's correct hospitalization counts especially for MH, it's considered In Patient, my experience added weight to my award.

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Hospitalizations count big time in my opinion.

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Berta-

You cannot count on TDIU with SSA being given for service connected conditions!

My SSD is sole service connected conditions and I have been turned down x3 for TDIU by VA even at 80%.

Of course I am a female vet which makes a huge difference also...don't start with the hate msgs, 'cause we all know it's true.

I was approved by SSA 1st time around and I've been fighting with VA for 28yrs. I started at 60% with VA because those disabities and percentages were in black and white in the regs...after all this time I'm up to 80%, and better off than some.

But never count on SSD and TDIU going hand and hand.

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Belle,

I just noticed something in YOUR NOD that you posted. There are two things required of a NOD:

1. Veteran expresses disagreement or dissatisfaction with VARO decision.

2. The Veteran desires to contest the result.

(Maybe someone can look up the NOD regulations, I am doing this from memory)

When you file your NOD, (and I certainly recommend you do exactly that..sooner is better than later but NEVER wait more than a year) make sure you have those two elements. I recommend you specify either (as in number two above):

The Veteran desires to contest the result with a Decision Officer Review. (Of course, you can also elect to skip the Decision officer Review and go straight to the BVA. In that case, state something like "The VEteran waives the right to a decision officer review and elects instead for a BVA appeal")

I recommend you CHANNEL YOUR ANGER into doing a great job stating your case with the NOD.

I have been working on perfecting my NOD for MONTHS. The BVA (or DRO) will read your NOD, but may not read other stuff in your file. So make your case very clear. State exactly why you think your hubby should get a higher rating. Copy down the criteria for the disability rating you are trying to achieve. If you look it up, you can find the criteria for a 70%PTSD depression rating, for example, if you are seeking TDIU. Then, look through your hubbies entire medical records and LOOK FOR THINGS that the doctor said about your hubbys med exams that support your position of a 70% (or 100% rating) using the rating criteria.

In my case, I am alleging the Regional Office "mishandled" evidence. (See fast letter 08-41) That is, they failed to cosider certain evidence through 5 regional office decisions, one DRO review and one BVA appeal. I stated it this way:

This medical exam documents the Veterans 2002 claims for depression and TDIU, and, reveals the Veterans suicidal ideation's. The evidence of the Veterans suicidal ideation's was NOT considered in any Regional Office decisions. Instead, the Regional Office, in the 2005 decision rated the Veterans depression as if the Veteran had no suicidal ideation's, because suicidal ideation's are present only in the rating criteria for 70% and higher disability ratings. The Regional office rated the Veteran's depression at 30% and offered no explanations as to why it would be rated at 30% when the criteria would indicate that suicidal ideation's would warrant a minimum 70% rating. Surely, the issue of this medically documented evidence of the Veteran considering taking his own life would be worthy of consideration if this evidence were known at the time of the ratings review! The suggestion that the Regional Office knew of the Veterans suicidal ideation's but did not deem that information important enough to be included in the decision would both insult and trivialize the Veterans life. It is simply unacceptable for the Regional Office to consider the Veterans own life so trivial that it was unworthy of consideration when evaluating the Veterans depression ratings.

I hope this helps. I am in nearly the same boat you are in. Good luck.

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Belle,

I agree w/ others - take a break. I do not agree w/ those who say skip the DRO and go to BVA. The one good tihng about a DRO review is that you get a senior rater who was NOT involved in the previous Decision. Now, I realize that many here think an entire RO is in cahoots w/ one another, and that may be the case, but in my situation the the DRO route (twice) finally got my bipolar claim rated 100% P&T.

Mind you, that was after they denied sc by ignoring information in the cfile and letters attesting my treatment on active duty. Then they low balled me 50% despite the C&P examiner stating I was 100%. They finally awarded me 100% after I sent in my second NOD with an IMO. Took about 4 years all total. Did it suck ?? - BIG TIME!!

Here's how I would fight your situation:

A) Point out the evidence that supports the 70% rating. Highlight it (literally).

:P Apply for IU with this NOD (that's what I did)

C) Point out the regulations and court cases that are in your favor.

It would look something like this:

This is my Notice of Disagreement regarding the Decision dated xx for yy% on my claim. I do not agree with this Decision. I would like DRO review for a 70% rating as well as 100% IU because symtoms of my sc PTSD render me unable to hold down a job.

The evidence clearly shows symptoms consistent with a 70% rating and 100% IU (highlighted in yellow):

1. Psychological Evaluation by Dr QQ stating " (get a good IMO)

2. Treatment report dated xx stating "suicidal ideation..."

3. Treatment report dated xx stating "wife must come with husband..."

4. Dr. ZZ statement that "veteran is unable to hold down job...."

5. VA IU Form

6. VA IU Employer Verification Form (if it's relevant to his claim)

7. Spouse's statement that "I have to go with him....he can't drive....won't bathe....."

8. Parent's (or in-laws) statement that ......

Furthermore, VA regulations and court cases support a higher rating:

CFR 38 § 4.7 states “where there is a question as to which of the two evaluations shall be applied, the higher evaluation will be assigned if the disability picture more nearly approximates the criteria required for that rating.”

Rating Criteria Not an Exhaustive List (Mauerhan v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 436, 442-43 (2002))

Since the rating criteria are not intended as an exhaustive list and there are many symptoms listed in the Decision that fall out in the 70% rating criteria, I request that you assign a higher ratiny by applying Mauerhan v. Principi to my claim.

Giving Veteran Benefit of Reasonable Doubt (38 CFR Book C §4.3)

If the VA still contends the evidence was not overwhelmingly in support of a higher initial rating, 100% Individual Unemployability and Permanent and Total status, effective May 17, 2004 then I would ask the VA to apply 38 CFR Book C §4.3 and give my claim the benefit of reasonable doubt and award a higher rating.

Thank you for your consideration of my request for a higher rating of 70% with 100% IU.

Joe Snuffy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope this helps. IME the only way you win your claim is with evidence, regs, court cases and reminding the VA that the evidence, regs, and court cases mandate they adjudicate your claim properly.

Also, is there an inferred claim in the cfile for IU? If the veteran raised the issue during his C&P exam then it can be considered an already inferred issue. I don't know where you are in the process but this can be important when it comes to your effective date.

Good luck with your husband's claim. Take a break and enjoy that baby during the holidays. As many of us can attest, you will blink and your little ones will be grown. I have a grandson not much younger than your son.

God Bless,

TS Snave

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SouthernBelle- this is a clear-cut example of the VBA failing to apply the reasonable doubt, it appears that the rater has one foot in the 70% camp and one foot in the 50%- simply put it should have clearly & legally been resolved in favor of your husband. In such, I would go the DRO route and cite failure to apply Reasonable Doubt persuant to 38 U.S.C. 3.102.

I also think that the rater had mistake in two areas. 1. A complex medical desicion was made by the rater along with the (2) complex legal desicion refered to above.

So, if you really wanted to drive your point across the R/O- file a FOIA request and ask for the medical and legal background of the perosn/s whom rated your husbands claim. If the R/O does not give the details use this as your basis for appeal. If the R/O gives you the info then use that as the basis unless the person/s where a licensed M.D. that made the desicion (not likely).

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Amazing. You said exactly what I needed to do, and gave me the actual steps to do it. Thank you, I hadn't thought of that route, but doggone it, I'm on it as of today. I know I said I'd take a few days, but this is the point I was trying to make (not nearly as eloquently as you put it) about the rater. They're not qualified (generally) to make medical decisions. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I'm on it right now!

SouthernBelle- this is a clear-cut example of the VBA failing to apply the reasonable doubt, it appears that the rater has one foot in the 70% camp and one foot in the 50%- simply put it should have clearly & legally been resolved in favor of your husband. In such, I would go the DRO route and cite failure to apply Reasonable Doubt persuant to 38 U.S.C. 3.102.

I also think that the rater had mistake in two areas. 1. A complex medical desicion was made by the rater along with the (2) complex legal desicion refered to above.

So, if you really wanted to drive your point across the R/O- file a FOIA request and ask for the medical and legal background of the perosn/s whom rated your husbands claim. If the R/O does not give the details use this as your basis for appeal. If the R/O gives you the info then use that as the basis unless the person/s where a licensed M.D. that made the desicion (not likely).

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Thanks Poolguy that is very useful advice and I think it made things a lot easier for Belle. She has a good plan and she can say that the reason she wants to see the DRO is copy and paste your explanation.

Thanks for helping Veterans and their families.

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I second Petes reply.

J

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Do I have to provide a reason for the request?

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"When it rains it pours"... then the sun shines again. Your washing machine picked a fine time to stop working. You are a kind soul and a blessing to those lives who you touch. My most positive thoughts are with you and your family this Christmas season and I wish you every success in the new year.

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Ok - at the risk of being shot by friendly fire, in the interest of giving SB the best advice possible by vetting all opinions through the board, let me take the opposing position on asking the VARO for a rater's qualifications and using that as basis for refutting the Decision because I do not see that as a viable option (unless someone has specifically used this defense before successfully - then it goes out the sphere of conjecture and into the sphere of experience which would make it more suitable to pursue).

Unless there is a regulation or court case where this has been done before I would not waste your time doing it. I would stick with the VA regs, which support you, and court cases, which, again, support you.

The VA rating manual, M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 5, states “the RSVR may not rely upon his/her own unsubstantiated medical conclusions to reject expert medical evidence”. So it doesn't matter what the rater's education is, he has to bow to expert medical evidence and rate accordingly (you may have to remind them of this fact). The VA reg already supports you without having to question the competency of the rater.

So, the question becomes what does the expert medical evidence state? At the end of the initial PTSD C&P exam in Section N the examiner states basically what percentage you are disabled. It is Section M on the review C&P exam. What did the examiner state in this section of your husband's C&P exam? If it is either the 100% or 70% (first two) statements, then you can quote the C&P exam as expert medical opinion and remind the VA that the rater can't use their own opinion over medical opinion.

Do any of the treatment reports or IMOs state clearly that your husband can't work due to symptoms of his PTSD? If so, quote them, verbatim and then quote M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 5.

I know you are upset right now, I understand that, I have been right in your shoes knowing that I am 100% disabled but not being able to get the VA to see that for years. It is maddening. But the only way to beat them is with the medical evidence, the regs, and the court cases - ALL of which favor the vet.

Please check your husband's C&P exams (sections N for initial exam and M for a review exam) and tell us what the examiners put in those sections. That will help your claim immensely. Also, quote the VA docs and private IMOs for language that speaks to his inability to work due to his PTSD.

Think long and hard before you start down a path questioning the VA's very right to adjudicate your claim. No matter how poorly they do it, they are authorized to do so. FTR, it was a 24 year old female history major who denied my claim in the first go round because "there is no evidence in your SMRs" despite a treament report and consult as well as letters from two shrinks who treated me on active duty. She never served in the military - I have kids older than she is. When I found out just how green the rater was I wanted to yank a knot on her little GS-7/9/11 head but it didn't matter. She had the authority to rate my claim and it wasn't until I got to the DRO and a senior rater that I was even able to get a C&P exam. I know the stats on my first rater because my VSO was disgusted and told me she was cranking out lousy Decisions left and right. It's called a learning curve and I got slaughtered in it. You may be in the same situation since the VA has hired a lot of new folks.

Either way, consider basing your NOD on the evidence, regs and court cases rather than going down a path that will cause you more frustration than it will be worth and continue to delay proper adjudication of your claim. Your rater could have been another 24 year old who never served in the military and has an art degree but even so, he/she has the authority to rate your claim - you simply have to show the VA through your evidence, their regulations, and court cases how they did it wrong.

I realize others may not agree with me, and I respect their right to have an opinion different than mine and I hope they will offer the same courtesy to me but either way, it is your claim and you need to figure out what is the best way for you to win your claim in the least amount of time possible.

Go back and read my earlier post - I gave you a NOD outline that worked for me to get 100% P&T. Look at his C&P exams and see what the examiner states in sections N/M about his functioning.

I hope this helps focus you in the right direction.

TS Snave

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