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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.

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    • 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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Va Using Ssd Disability Rating

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We recently learned the VA has used an original SSD records for disability to establish a low SC rating for PTSD. My husband has all the criteria for SC PTSD - combat ribbons, etc. He was given a low 10% SC for PTSD as the SSD records hold no evidence of PTSD, but determine his serious mental health condition to be Schizoaffective disorder. Later medical evidence ( C&P) discovered the PTSD and established it as being the main mental health condition, even pointing out that without the trauma piece a correct diagnosis was possible. The VA agree his condition is severe but points to the SSD records done before his claim for SC PTSD as being the major mental health issue - one which, due to its lack of earlier connection - to be non-service connected. Has anyone elsehad this problem? He is appealing the low rating and it looks to be in his favor.

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7 answers to this question

Posted · Report post

Does the VA have your husband rated for PTSD or is it using Social Security to award to claim his PTSD is after his service?

What is 20% rating for?

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Posted · Report post

If your husband served in combat and got honorable discharge for a full period of service I think the schizoaffective disorder DX is suspect. He probably needs a private doctor to rebutt the VA's contention that PTSD is a minor % of his total disability. Was he ever treated for any mental health condition in the service? I think it is impossible to separate out MH disorders if there is a stressor like combat service. This stress could be the ultimate trigger for any MH condition. Probably many vets got medical discharges for MH conditions before PTSD was even recognized. When soldiers have complete nervous breakdowns due to acute combat fatigue what are the residuals of that in later life? No one knows.

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Posted · Report post

I have encountered several claims where the VA used reports from outside agencies to discredit a veterans claim. I was successful in having the reports from the outside agencies thrown out by a DRO. The reason the DRO will throw out the reports is because reports from the outside agency were not developed in accordance VA evidence rules.

You need to file an appeal for an increase in the 10% PTSD rating if you disagree. Have a service officer assist you. To support your appeal you can take a full attack. You need to discredit Social Security report and strengthen the claim for PTSD. It is most important to strengthen the claim for PTSD. In the long run the Social Security report should have no bearing on the claim. It is entirely possible that the Social Security report was not really the reason the claim was low balled. They could be citing Social Security report just to confuse you. You'll spend so much effort discrediting Social Security report that you will forget to strengthen the PTSD rating. You can file an appeal with no new evidence and hope a DRO will see through the problems. However, I would obtain new reports from clinicians as described later in this post.

Your first attack will be to identify exactly how the PTSD was rated. The exact language in the rating decision is important. Raters do not use any single criteria, measurement or descriptive language of the disability for the purpose of assigning a percentage. They are allowed to base their rating determination on what they perceive as the overall diagnostic picture. This incorporates GAF scores, records of hospitalizations, treatments, and negative impact on social and industrial functioning.

It appears that there have been no treatments or hospitalizations. You did not discuss any inability to obtain or maintain employment. You did not discuss any difficulties in interpersonal relations. You do say that the VA agrees his condition is severe. Who at the VA told you this? Was it some guy sitting behind a desk? What does the C&P exam say in regards to the disability.

It is hard to rely on reports from examining physicians. This includes Social Security and VA compensation and pension exams. The strongest evidence would be from treating doctors. I would recommend that your husband enter a treatment program either at a VA hospital or a veteran’s center. They pretty much know what to do. However, they need to assign a new GAF score. They need to identify how the disability affects employment and social functioning. The best way to advance a claim is with new and stronger evidence.

It should be fairly easy to shoot down for Social Security report. Especially since the C&P examiner commented that the schizoaffective disorder did not take into consideration the criteria for PTSD. The schizoaffective disorder diagnosis appears to me to have been based on a single exam. Did Social Security have any treatment notes available to them prior to the exam they performed?

It also appears that the rater may have over used or abused their discretionary power. The weight given to each diagnosis in a case which involves multiple diagnoses of mental conditions is performed by a clinician on a mental health exam. The C&P examiner should have identified how much of the disability is attributed to the schizoaffective disorder and how much of the disability is attributed to the PTSD. These questions are asked on the exam worksheet. It appears to me that this comparison was not performed because the C&P examiner thought that the schizoaffective diagnosis was based on incomplete information. In the absence of such a comparison by the C&P examiner I do not feel the rater has the authority or discretionary power to fill in the blanks.

Once again, I want to restate the importance of strengthening the evidence for the PTSD diagnosis. I do not see how you can obtain a high rating for PTSD if the C&P examiner did not identify a significant impact on employment and interpersonal relations. The exact terminology could very. However, a low GAF score combined with the identification of the impact on employment and interpersonal relations would be necessary. Hospitalizations and treatment programs also add to the diagnostic picture.

I am pretty sure that there is a link on hadit to an explanation of how mental health disability is rated.

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Posted · Report post

Excellent info Hoppy!

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Posted · Report post

I have encountered several claims where the VA used reports from outside agencies to discredit a veterans claim. I was successful in having the reports from the outside agencies thrown out by a DRO. The reason the DRO will throw out the reports is because reports from the outside agency were not developed in accordance VA evidence rules.

You need to file an appeal for an increase in the 10% PTSD rating if you disagree. Have a service officer assist you. To support your appeal you can take a full attack. You need to discredit Social Security report and strengthen the claim for PTSD. It is most important to strengthen the claim for PTSD. In the long run the Social Security report should have no bearing on the claim. It is entirely possible that the Social Security report was not really the reason the claim was low balled. They could be citing Social Security report just to confuse you. You'll spend so much effort discrediting Social Security report that you will forget to strengthen the PTSD rating. You can file an appeal with no new evidence and hope a DRO will see through the problems. However, I would obtain new reports from clinicians as described later in this post.

Your first attack will be to identify exactly how the PTSD was rated. The exact language in the rating decision is important. Raters do not use any single criteria, measurement or descriptive language of the disability for the purpose of assigning a percentage. They are allowed to base their rating determination on what they perceive as the overall diagnostic picture. This incorporates GAF scores, records of hospitalizations, treatments, and negative impact on social and industrial functioning.

It appears that there have been no treatments or hospitalizations. You did not discuss any inability to obtain or maintain employment. You did not discuss any difficulties in interpersonal relations. You do say that the VA agrees his condition is severe. Who at the VA told you this? Was it some guy sitting behind a desk? What does the C&P exam say in regards to the disability.

It is hard to rely on reports from examining physicians. This includes Social Security and VA compensation and pension exams. The strongest evidence would be from treating doctors. I would recommend that your husband enter a treatment program either at a VA hospital or a veteran's center. They pretty much know what to do. However, they need to assign a new GAF score. They need to identify how the disability affects employment and social functioning. The best way to advance a claim is with new and stronger evidence.

It should be fairly easy to shoot down for Social Security report. Especially since the C&P examiner commented that the schizoaffective disorder did not take into consideration the criteria for PTSD. The schizoaffective disorder diagnosis appears to me to have been based on a single exam. Did Social Security have any treatment notes available to them prior to the exam they performed?

It also appears that the rater may have over used or abused their discretionary power. The weight given to each diagnosis in a case which involves multiple diagnoses of mental conditions is performed by a clinician on a mental health exam. The C&P examiner should have identified how much of the disability is attributed to the schizoaffective disorder and how much of the disability is attributed to the PTSD. These questions are asked on the exam worksheet. It appears to me that this comparison was not performed because the C&P examiner thought that the schizoaffective diagnosis was based on incomplete information. In the absence of such a comparison by the C&P examiner I do not feel the rater has the authority or discretionary power to fill in the blanks.

Once again, I want to restate the importance of strengthening the evidence for the PTSD diagnosis. I do not see how you can obtain a high rating for PTSD if the C&P examiner did not identify a significant impact on employment and interpersonal relations. The exact terminology could very. However, a low GAF score combined with the identification of the impact on employment and interpersonal relations would be necessary. Hospitalizations and treatment programs also add to the diagnostic picture.

I am pretty sure that there is a link on hadit to an explanation of how mental health disability is rated.

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Posted · Report post

We just learned his SC-upgrade for pTSD is to be heard by the traveling VA review board - we had to make this request last year due to an approaching dead line - the latest C&P test once again came back supporting a High PTSD rating - 2 diviants above what is required by the VA for PTSD in Viet Nam Vets. He is now listed as severe PTSD and fits the criteria for 70% SC. He has been hospitalized twice at different VAMC treating pTSD. Will he still need to see this review board from Washington DC? The latest examiner explained where he percieved the confusion to be that led to husband's being diagnosed earlier as nc schizoaffective disorder - his repressing the trauma - which is documented and acknowledged by the VA which forced them to at least give him the rating of 10% SC ptsd- the first C&P rater fell in line with SSD and said the majority of husband's mh symptoms were non service connected - agreed though that they were severely debilitating in nature. The following C&Ps explained why the PTSD was not listed - simply because he would not talk about the event. Those C7Ps clearly state the real culprit is PTSD. How do we get this upgraded? We have been told there is a two year wait at least to be seen by this review board?

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We just learned his SC-upgrade for pTSD is to be heard by the traveling VA review board - we had to make this request last year due to an approaching dead line -

USSO,

Are your referring to a BVA Hearing ?

carlie

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