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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.
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      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. 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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.
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      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/ 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New To Forum, Exam Upcoming On Psoriasis And Arhtritis

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Hi all,

I'm a new guy, and I've been perusing the posts, but haven't seen much about my condition. Next Tuesday I am going to my ratings physical (is it called this?) to have my service connected disabilities rated. I have Psoriasis and associated Psoriatic arthritis, and am wondering what I can expect from the rating. I have been on immunosuppressive drugs for more than 3 years for the Psoriasis, so according to the schedule that should be 60%?

For the arthritis, I have it in my back, knees, wrists, hands, and to a lesser extent in 1 shoulder and both ankles. Does anyone have any idea if they lump these all together, as it seems to indicate under ratings code 5002? Any information offered is much appreciated, I am pretty new to this process.

Thank you in advance :-)

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21 answers to this question

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http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm

These are the blank C & P exams- which is what I think you mean by the ratings physical.

There might be something there that shows you what to expect.

Also the BVA web site has claims similiar to your condition and if you put psoriasis and arthritis into the BVA search engine they will come- I saw 4 for 2008 but the weather affected my connection-

I see that you are 90% SC- are you able to work- and if not have you applied for TDIU and SSA?

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Posted · Report post

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm

These are the blank C & P exams- which is what I think you mean by the ratings physical.

There might be something there that shows you what to expect.

Also the BVA web site has claims similiar to your condition and if you put psoriasis and arthritis into the BVA search engine they will come- I saw 4 for 2008 but the weather affected my connection-

I see that you are 90% SC- are you able to work- and if not have you applied for TDIU and SSA?

Hello :-)

I put 90% because I had to put something when I registered. I am assuming 60% for the psoriasis and perhaps 60 or 70 for the arthritis, which would make it 90%. I can presently work, though the arthritis causes constant pain, I will put off the IU as long as I can hold a job. If the time comes that working is too difficult, is that the time that I should put in for SSA? I hope I never have to do that. Anyway, thank you for the information :-)

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Posted · Report post

Diablogun,

I filed a claim in March 2007 for both Psoriatic Arthritis and psoriasis, I was rated at 60% in May of this year (60% for psoriatic arthritis and 10% for psoriasis). I have filed a NOD because I have taken on Methrotrextate (immunosuppressive drug) every week for the past three years to treat both, if successful my rating for psoriasis should increase to 60%. Also I filed my first claim almost 17 years after my discharge from active duty.

Here's what was in my rating letter:

Psoriatic Arthritis:

We have granted your claim for service connection for your psoriatic arthritis because evidence shows that this disability developed as a result of the inservice psoriasis. We have assigned a 60 percent evaluation effective March 21, 2007, the date we received your claim treatment records from your private physicians show that you have been treated for this condition since early 2006. The records show that you have been treated with methotrexate with significant relief of symptoms. Your disease remains in the active phase. In 2007 you underwent surgery for significant left wrist disability. VA examination shows that both wrists elbows and hands are affected as well as the ankles and feet. You have flares about every month or two lasting for 1 to 2 days, relieved by Celebrex and rest. There is some loss of motion in the elbows, wrists, knees, feet and hips. There is no ankylosis. The hands show boutonniere deformity of all fingers except the thumb and little finger on the left. There is a gap between the finger and proximal transverse crease of hand of the left of 1 to 2 inches. On the right there is no gap. Range of motion of the right thumb is from 0 to 20 degrees and on the left from 0 to 30 degrees. There was no painful motion. The examiner states that this condition is due to the psoriasis incurred during military service.

An evaluation of 60 percent is assigned for an active process with weight loss and anemia productive of severe impairment of health, severely incapacitating exacerbations occurring four or more times a year, or a lesser number over prolonged periods. A higher evaluation of 100 percent is not warranted unless there is a totally incapacitating process with constitutional manifestations and active joint involvement.

Since there is a likelihood of improvement, the assigned evaluation is not considered permanent and is subject to a future review examination.

Psoriasis:

We have granted your claim for service connection for psoriasis because service medical records show that this condition began during military service. We have assigned a 10 percent evaluation effective March 21, 2007, the date we received your claim. Your service treatment records show that your psoriasis began on your knees in 1987. Subsequent to service you have continued to receive treatment in the form of topical creams and corticosteroid (Cordran) tape. VA examination shows that currently the psoriasis covers 18 percent of exposed areas and 15 percent of non exposed areas. The face is normal with scaly psoriasiform lesions over the elbows and also the dorsal surface of the hands. The skin on the body is within normal limits. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned for evidence of at least 5 percent, but less than 20 percent, of the entire body, or at least 5 percent, but less than 20 percent, of exposed areas affected, or; intermittent systemic therapy such as corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of less than six weeks during the past 12-month period. A higher evaluation of 30 percent is not warranted unless the record shows 20 to 40 percent of the entire body or 20 to 40 percent of exposed areas affected, or; systemic therapy such as corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of six weeks or more, but not constantly, during the past 12- month period.

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Posted · Report post

Diablogun,

I filed a claim in March 2007 for both Psoriatic Arthritis and psoriasis, I was rated at 60% in May of this year (60% for psoriatic arthritis and 10% for psoriasis). I have filed a NOD because I have taken on Methrotrextate (immunosuppressive drug) every week for the past three years to treat both, if successful my rating for psoriasis should increase to 60%. Also I filed my first claim almost 17 years after my discharge from active duty.

Here's what was in my rating letter:

Psoriatic Arthritis:

We have granted your claim for service connection for your psoriatic arthritis because evidence shows that this disability developed as a result of the inservice psoriasis. We have assigned a 60 percent evaluation effective March 21, 2007, the date we received your claim treatment records from your private physicians show that you have been treated for this condition since early 2006. The records show that you have been treated with methotrexate with significant relief of symptoms. Your disease remains in the active phase. In 2007 you underwent surgery for significant left wrist disability. VA examination shows that both wrists elbows and hands are affected as well as the ankles and feet. You have flares about every month or two lasting for 1 to 2 days, relieved by Celebrex and rest. There is some loss of motion in the elbows, wrists, knees, feet and hips. There is no ankylosis. The hands show boutonniere deformity of all fingers except the thumb and little finger on the left. There is a gap between the finger and proximal transverse crease of hand of the left of 1 to 2 inches. On the right there is no gap. Range of motion of the right thumb is from 0 to 20 degrees and on the left from 0 to 30 degrees. There was no painful motion. The examiner states that this condition is due to the psoriasis incurred during military service.

An evaluation of 60 percent is assigned for an active process with weight loss and anemia productive of severe impairment of health, severely incapacitating exacerbations occurring four or more times a year, or a lesser number over prolonged periods. A higher evaluation of 100 percent is not warranted unless there is a totally incapacitating process with constitutional manifestations and active joint involvement.

Since there is a likelihood of improvement, the assigned evaluation is not considered permanent and is subject to a future review examination.

Psoriasis:

We have granted your claim for service connection for psoriasis because service medical records show that this condition began during military service. We have assigned a 10 percent evaluation effective March 21, 2007, the date we received your claim. Your service treatment records show that your psoriasis began on your knees in 1987. Subsequent to service you have continued to receive treatment in the form of topical creams and corticosteroid (Cordran) tape. VA examination shows that currently the psoriasis covers 18 percent of exposed areas and 15 percent of non exposed areas. The face is normal with scaly psoriasiform lesions over the elbows and also the dorsal surface of the hands. The skin on the body is within normal limits. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned for evidence of at least 5 percent, but less than 20 percent, of the entire body, or at least 5 percent, but less than 20 percent, of exposed areas affected, or; intermittent systemic therapy such as corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of less than six weeks during the past 12-month period. A higher evaluation of 30 percent is not warranted unless the record shows 20 to 40 percent of the entire body or 20 to 40 percent of exposed areas affected, or; systemic therapy such as corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of six weeks or more, but not constantly, during the past 12- month period.

Hi John,

I am assuming the arthritis will break down in the same fashion as yours. My heart goes out to you, this disease is horrible. Did you tell them of the methotrexate during your C&P? I don't really want to have to appeal. I am surprised they only rated you 10% knowing you had been on immunosuppressive drugs. I am bringing my prescriptions and letter from my private doctor about the Enbrel I have injected for the psoriasis for almost 4 years.

Please let me know anything you can about the examination for the arthritis; did they take x-rays? Did they test each joint? Are all of your joints affected? Thank you for any information you may have :-)

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Yes, I told the C&P doctor that I was on MTX for both, he even noted that I have seen a "enormous improvement on the skin" since I started taken MTX on my C&P report. The rating letter only mentions this for the arthritis.

All of my joints a affected, some are worse such as my wrists and knees.

The C&P Doc used the exam work sheets http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm for "Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Hip, Knee, and Ankle" and "Hand, Thumb, and Fingers". Yes they did X-rays for all joints and used a goniometer to measure the ROM of each joint. He will also ask you alot of questions on how each joint impacts your daily activities, work and how ofen you have flares.

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Yes, I told the C&P doctor that I was on MTX for both, he even noted that I have seen a "enormous improvement on the skin" since I started taken MTX on my C&P report. The rating letter only mentions this for the arthritis.

All of my joints a affected, some are worse such as my wrists and knees.

The C&P Doc used the exam work sheets http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm for "Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Hip, Knee, and Ankle" and "Hand, Thumb, and Fingers". Yes they did X-rays for all joints and used a goniometer to measure the ROM of each joint. He will also ask you alot of questions on how each joint impacts your daily activities, work and how ofen you have flares.

Thank you for the information John, I guess I better make certain he writes down all of my information clearly. You should not have had to send a NOD on such an obvious issue. Please keep me posted, I'll do the same.

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johnc515 -

Sorry for duplication; I posted this as a personal message to you as well:

I am new here, but read your post re: psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I've been on immunosuppressive weekly injections for several years, but have yet to hear the results of my request for increase. I call the DAV and all they can tell me is "it's still pending". How long did it take for you to get your request through the system?

Thanks for your post,

justrluk

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johnc515 -

Sorry for duplication; I posted this as a personal message to you as well:

I am new here, but read your post re: psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I've been on immunosuppressive weekly injections for several years, but have yet to hear the results of my request for increase. I call the DAV and all they can tell me is "it's still pending". How long did it take for you to get your request through the system?

Thanks for your post,

justrluk

I would send an IRIS. For me, I elected a DRO review when they ignored my treatment with immunosuppressive therapy for 5 years for psoriasis. From the time I gave them a NOD and asked for a DRO review, it took about 10 months for them to grant my appeal completely. However, I literally sent perhaps 15 IRIS inquiries, and from the amount of times that I got confused responses, I got the impression I would have waited at least 2 years in order to get it resolved without constantly quizzing them. You also may want to ask for a reconsideration instead of the whole DRO review, as I have heard this is faster.

When I finally got the Statement of case that granted my NOD, I was impressed with the thoroughness of the response. This was in the Phoenix VARO.

Hope this helps :-)

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I would send an IRIS. For me, I elected a DRO review when they ignored my treatment with immunosuppressive therapy for 5 years for psoriasis. From the time I gave them a NOD and asked for a DRO review, it took about 10 months for them to grant my appeal completely. However, I literally sent perhaps 15 IRIS inquiries, and from the amount of times that I got confused responses, I got the impression I would have waited at least 2 years in order to get it resolved without constantly quizzing them. You also may want to ask for a reconsideration instead of the whole DRO review, as I have heard this is faster.

When I finally got the Statement of case that granted my NOD, I was impressed with the thoroughness of the response. This was in the Phoenix VARO.

Hope this helps :-)

It does, and thanks again. I have used IRIS for two issues, one of which actually resulted in a personal call from the VAMC I'm treated at. Very impressive. After my mere 5 years of dealing with the VA, this issue has yet to be resolved. The DAV represents me, and I have bugged them as well; still no results. I have updated my signature so you can see I have several issues in the mill. Just gets tiresome to feel like I’m pulling teeth to get anywhere…

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It does, and thanks again. I have used IRIS for two issues, one of which actually resulted in a personal call from the VAMC I'm treated at. Very impressive. After my mere 5 years of dealing with the VA, this issue has yet to be resolved. The DAV represents me, and I have bugged them as well; still no results. I have updated my signature so you can see I have several issues in the mill. Just gets tiresome to feel like I'm pulling teeth to get anywhere…

Hi,

It looks from your conditions that the psoriasis rating if done at the 60 percent would put you over the top for 100 scheduler. If you have been under constant treatment for psoriasis with an immunosuppressive drug for more than 6 months out of the last year I believe you will get the 60% rating. I would be sure if I was you to get your dermatologist to write a note that says you have been traeated for that amount of time and submit it, making sure he puts that it is for psoriasis. This really is a slam dunk, they cannot interpret it any other way. Good luck and keep me posted.

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You need to make sure that you have filed a claim to service connect both psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. As far as I know they are rateable separately.

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You need to make sure that you have filed a claim to service connect both psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. As far as I know they are rateable separately.

My current determination has the two broken out separately. I just received an IRIS response that they have no record of a request for reconsideration for Psoriasis. I've contacted the DAV to see what might have happened, but have a feeling the paperwork's been lost. Back to square one, I suppose....

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You really need a Doc to say that you have psoriatic arthritis and it is more common than you think. If you can't work you need to ask for TDIU.

This is very personal to me and I do not want to scare you but flare ups can be devastating and the VA is not equipped to treat your problem. You really need a specialist that understands the issues and proper treatment.The only reason I know is my brother had it and the VA completely dropped the ball on treatment causing him intolerable suffering.

75 to 15% of people who have psoraisis and arthritis get the combination which is a auto immune disease and can cause excruciating pain. Please get a qualified Doc to help you

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You really need a Doc to say that you have psoriatic arthritis and it is more common than you think. If you can't work you need to ask for TDIU.

This is very personal to me and I do not want to scare you but flare ups can be devastating and the VA is not equipped to treat your problem. You really need a specialist that understands the issues and proper treatment.The only reason I know is my brother had it and the VA completely dropped the ball on treatment causing him intolerable suffering.

75 to 15% of people who have psoraisis and arthritis get the combination which is a auto immune disease and can cause excruciating pain. Please get a qualified Doc to help you

Pete53,

Thanks for the post, and believe me I know what a bad day feels like. I've been on the immunosuppressive injections or infusions for several years, and have tried most of them with little to moderate success. Some days, it's a hot bath for half an hour just to get up and take on the day. I work because I swore I wasn't going to become the disease, and because my job pays more than 100% P&T. My wife and kids could use the benefits, but I just can't seem to get there. I've had to have joints injected, and have used a lot of sick and personal time when I just can't get it in motion. The immunosuppressives seem to have at least slowed the degeneration of the joints, though. I have private insurance, and should probably get a second opinion for the course of action and pain management. My prayers for your brother - this disease can catch you off-guard and at a time when you can least afford the reminder.

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Considering what you have said you should get 60% provided there is a link to your service. My Brother had psoriasis and arthritis diagnosed in military. He fell off a tank and broke his left ankle.

Good Luck

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Dont forget to consider applying for other secondary conditions. I have had psoriasis since 93, it causes depression, irritable bowel syndrome/colitis, can efffect your eyes (irirsitis, uveitis, conjuctivitis) cause heart conditions, and so on. Doctors dont even connect all the dots with psoriasis. All of this is because psoriasis is an immune mediated autoimmune disorder. It effects the entire body. internet "Psoriasis takes center stage in immune mediated diseases". The more you know about your condition, the less you will have to fight the va.

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Dont forget to consider applying for other secondary conditions. I have had psoriasis since 93, it causes depression, irritable bowel syndrome/colitis, can efffect your eyes (irirsitis, uveitis, conjuctivitis) cause heart conditions, and so on. Doctors dont even connect all the dots with psoriasis. All of this is because psoriasis is an immune mediated autoimmune disorder. It effects the entire body. internet "Psoriasis takes center stage in immune mediated diseases". The more you know about your condition, the less you will have to fight the va.

Believe me, I won't. I still haven't heard from IRIS (7 June 2010) or the DAV (last email was 22 May 2010) and am getting frustrated on this topic. The last thing I heard was that the VA was still trying to make a determination on the issue, then that they had no record of any request/appeal/whatever for the weekly injections for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I have another issue in the final stages according to eBenefits (finally), but who knows how long it will be there. I now know why people on this site keep saying 'don't give up': it gets tiresome feeling as though I'm begging for something that should be obvious. At this point, I don't know if I should hire a lawer or not, or if it's even worth it at this point. Tired of being in pain every day, fighting my way through nightmares, begging for at least some sort of response, etc. Oh, and by the way, I now have to have a sleep study done as recommended by my neurologist. I'll file for SC, but again, have to prepare for the same fight. It would be great if the doctors that actually treated you and captured all the data they get from you would trigger an increase as your symptoms got worse.

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Believe me, I won't. I still haven't heard from IRIS (7 June 2010) or the DAV (last email was 22 May 2010) and am getting frustrated on this topic. The last thing I heard was that the VA was still trying to make a determination on the issue, then that they had no record of any request/appeal/whatever for the weekly injections for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I have another issue in the final stages according to eBenefits (finally), but who knows how long it will be there. I now know why people on this site keep saying 'don't give up': it gets tiresome feeling as though I'm begging for something that should be obvious. At this point, I don't know if I should hire a lawer or not, or if it's even worth it at this point. Tired of being in pain every day, fighting my way through nightmares, begging for at least some sort of response, etc. Oh, and by the way, I now have to have a sleep study done as recommended by my neurologist. I'll file for SC, but again, have to prepare for the same fight. It would be great if the doctors that actually treated you and captured all the data they get from you would trigger an increase as your symptoms got worse.

Well, this is just my own opinion, (based on 12 years experiance and how I got to 90% sc for Psoriatic arthritus) but here goes,

the only things the va respects (and even then only about half way) are attorneys and non va medical evidence.

The va claims adjudication system is in a state of transition. Alot of their problem/process originates in the fact that they are still operating with a 1920's mentality that you are not disabled unless your limb/s are missing or dont work, your not disabled. Technology as it relates to medicine has simply passsed them by. Also, just like social security, which began as non adversarial, that to has changed. Simply put, the only way anyone is going to get anything out of the va anymore is to have a lawyer and insurance so that you can be treated by doctors outside the va. There is a differance between non va dotors and va doctors. va doctors are company doctors, they see more patients than they want to, non va doctors are trying to build practice. You have to choose which one you are going to use. Private practitioners (PP) hate patients who jump back and forth between them and the va, while the va docs could care less. I no longer tell a PP that I go to the va if I am seeing them. I very rarely discuss the Indipendent Medical Opinion (IMO) until threee or four visits and I do not say why I want it. I usually say my insurance company promoted a question about one. If I do otherwise, I state that that is my objective at the first visit, usually with a speciallist to whom I have been refered to. If they are going to crawfish, I want then to do it before they have a chance to run up a big billl. If I get it I can apply it to my claims. I can predict with a large amount of certainty that the rates have told you that they could not seee evidence of your Psoriatic arthritis in your xrays and denied the claime based on that. Psoriatic Arthritis does not show up on xrays until it becomes Psoriatic Mutaligens, and only 10% of the people who develope PA develope PM. It doesnt mean you dont have PA.

As to the va RATers, simply put, I dont like them, I have never had anny SOC where they completely followed the law or applied all of the medical evidence provided with the claim. I have had them ignore, malign, and misapply clearly expressed medical evidence in any way that they could to deny claims, until it became obvious that if the claim went to the board that it would get tosssed back in their lap as the denial being ludicriss. But denials saves them (the US government) the interest on the money. And I think thats what alot of it is about.

As for you decision to get a lawyer, I got myself to 90% on my own. it took me eight years. I went from 10% to 80% over night. I had a cue case and the va knew it. But they refused to grant me my back pay. I had previously tried to use the DAV. I now despise that organization because they refused to help me when I refused to join them. After I got myself to 80% I was going to have to appeal to the CAVC. This was because I had the VFW representing me, and from what I read of what they sent to the Board, it was like they asked the Board how they wanted them to write the appeal so it could be turned down before it was ever written. The VFW cannot, from what I was told, afford to retain attorneys to represent veterans. Again, I am not a member of the VFW ether. Both the DAV and the VFW get their power from the number of members that they have, IE election votes. I then decided to get an attorney. How do you find an attorny, you go to the internet, type in cavc, and click on the box that says practitioners. Did that mean that my claim was instantly solved, no but alot of the BS stopped. I dont have to deal with the stresss. Im waiting, but at this point my life wont be made any better by a lump of money. I have alot of claims, the va should have offered me TDIU when they first received my claims as to the duty to assist. But the duty to assist is just lip service. If they had I probably would have never presented another claim unless it was really important, meaning something I would die from that would effect my childrenn and wifes benefits. But no, they played the game, so now They will never get rid of me. They can deal with the frustration of dealing with my claims after Im past 100%, and if anyone thinks this really delays other veterans claims, they are fooling themselves, because the va's whole game plan is to delay any claim as long as possible, regardless of the circumstances. Dont geve up, dont get mad, dont beg (they like that-they know they are pushing your buttons) just keep pushing.

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Well, this is just my own opinion, (based on 12 years experiance and how I got to 90% sc for Psoriatic arthritus) but here goes,

the only things the va respects (and even then only about half way) are attorneys and non va medical evidence.

The va claims adjudication system is in a state of transition. Alot of their problem/process originates in the fact that they are still operating with a 1920's mentality that you are not disabled unless your limb/s are missing or dont work, your not disabled. Technology as it relates to medicine has simply passsed them by. Also, just like social security, which began as non adversarial, that to has changed. Simply put, the only way anyone is going to get anything out of the va anymore is to have a lawyer and insurance so that you can be treated by doctors outside the va. There is a differance between non va dotors and va doctors. va doctors are company doctors, they see more patients than they want to, non va doctors are trying to build practice. You have to choose which one you are going to use. Private practitioners (PP) hate patients who jump back and forth between them and the va, while the va docs could care less. I no longer tell a PP that I go to the va if I am seeing them. I very rarely discuss the Indipendent Medical Opinion (IMO) until threee or four visits and I do not say why I want it. I usually say my insurance company promoted a question about one. If I do otherwise, I state that that is my objective at the first visit, usually with a speciallist to whom I have been refered to. If they are going to crawfish, I want then to do it before they have a chance to run up a big billl. If I get it I can apply it to my claims. I can predict with a large amount of certainty that the rates have told you that they could not seee evidence of your Psoriatic arthritis in your xrays and denied the claime based on that. Psoriatic Arthritis does not show up on xrays until it becomes Psoriatic Mutaligens, and only 10% of the people who develope PA develope PM. It doesnt mean you dont have PA.

As to the va RATers, simply put, I dont like them, I have never had anny SOC where they completely followed the law or applied all of the medical evidence provided with the claim. I have had them ignore, malign, and misapply clearly expressed medical evidence in any way that they could to deny claims, until it became obvious that if the claim went to the board that it would get tosssed back in their lap as the denial being ludicriss. But denials saves them (the US government) the interest on the money. And I think thats what alot of it is about.

As for you decision to get a lawyer, I got myself to 90% on my own. it took me eight years. I went from 10% to 80% over night. I had a cue case and the va knew it. But they refused to grant me my back pay. I had previously tried to use the DAV. I now despise that organization because they refused to help me when I refused to join them. After I got myself to 80% I was going to have to appeal to the CAVC. This was because I had the VFW representing me, and from what I read of what they sent to the Board, it was like they asked the Board how they wanted them to write the appeal so it could be turned down before it was ever written. The VFW cannot, from what I was told, afford to retain attorneys to represent veterans. Again, I am not a member of the VFW ether. Both the DAV and the VFW get their power from the number of members that they have, IE election votes. I then decided to get an attorney. How do you find an attorny, you go to the internet, type in cavc, and click on the box that says practitioners. Did that mean that my claim was instantly solved, no but alot of the BS stopped. I dont have to deal with the stresss. Im waiting, but at this point my life wont be made any better by a lump of money. I have alot of claims, the va should have offered me TDIU when they first received my claims as to the duty to assist. But the duty to assist is just lip service. If they had I probably would have never presented another claim unless it was really important, meaning something I would die from that would effect my childrenn and wifes benefits. But no, they played the game, so now They will never get rid of me. They can deal with the frustration of dealing with my claims after Im past 100%, and if anyone thinks this really delays other veterans claims, they are fooling themselves, because the va's whole game plan is to delay any claim as long as possible, regardless of the circumstances. Dont geve up, dont get mad, dont beg (they like that-they know they are pushing your buttons) just keep pushing.

I'll keep pushing as long as it takes. I went from 70% to 90% from 2005 - 2009. I have a pretty good rep at the DAV, but like I said I'm sure she's overworked with the number of new vets coming home. She told me I need to file for an increase for psoriasis due to the weekly medications/injections. I thought this was already started in MARCH. This is why I get frustrated. I get left out of the loop on how things are going. I'm not smart enough yet to really work issues myself, but can't seem to get those that are to actually help and provide status. I read in another forum that if you call the 800#, and requested a FAX, you could get more information. I'm going to call and see what happens. As to you comment about private practitioners, I agree. My cardiologist refused to sign anything that could possibly tie my current heart condition (cardio-vasospasms) to psoriasis or other currently existing (and rated) condition. He's in it for the money, but not in my corner. I'll try a few and will let you know how it goes.

Last - can't thank anyone enough in this conversation thread. You've all really helped me get through a very tough month.

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I think that the VAMC, the VARO and all the raters have not a clue about psoriatic arthritis. They don't know how to treat it nor diagnose it.

It was like me in 1969-70 trying to get any help with panic disorder and 1991 a claim for it with the VA.

We had a couple members here who understood it but the VA is pretty much clueless.

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Update: had my C&P for request for increase for Psoriasis on 9/16/10. Didn't even see a doctor. The practicioner took measurements of areas and scars, listed the scores of medications and frequency, and took personal history statement. That was it. I was done in less than an hour and really don't have a great feeling about the whole thing. I was honest, answered all her questions and added 'life impact' to each response. We'll see what comes of it...

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