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Question About Cfs


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#1 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:23 PM

I just filed for disability compensation and they are in the process of getting my medical records. I know for a fact that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was medically, honorably discharged in 1996 and was in the Persian gulf. I was told that I would not quality for VA assistance so haven't persued it until recently. I was approved and put into Priority Group 3 as service-connected. I haven't been given a rating yet as I just filed for disability compensation. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms since the end of my tour. The last 4 years have been the worse with chronic headaches and joint/muscle pain. I had Kaiser and haven't been able to afford to keep it because I haven't been able to work in over 4 years.

I have 9 of the 10 symptoms of CFS and it is all documented in my medical records which I have right in front of me and will be sending to the regional office in support of my claim. I did not claim disability compensation due to CFS because I only recently heard about it and learned that I have it because I have had all of those symptoms for 15 years. I have been diagnosed as having chronic headaches and joint problems, GERD, concentration/memory issues, throat problems, etc... all of which are documented in my medical records.

My question is: What do I do now? I already filed for disability compensation due to the 4+ years of chronic headaches and also for bipolar which is what I was diagnosed with in the military. Should I get the CFS diagnosis somehow? And, if so, how do I go about getting the diagnosis? Can I simply add on to the disability compensation claim that I just turned in and add CFS to it or should I do something else? I learned that if I was diagnoses with CFS and have been unable to work for 4+ years that I would get a 100% disability rating which I should have in my opinion because it's impossible for me to work. Or, should I file for unemployabiltiy. I just don't know which direction to go and what order to do it in and I need asistance asap. What do you all suggest?

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#2 carlie

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:44 PM

Welcome to hadit.com

#3 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:40 PM

Thank you, Carly, it's a pleasure to be aboard.

One of the major things I need to know about my situation is if it's too late to add Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to the list of medical reasons for file for disability compensation? Or if I have to get diagnosed first or go through some kind of required exam or something? Should I get one of those free lawyers to help me so I don't have to file again and waste a lot of time? I need assistance right away so I really need to know the fastest way for me to get compensation. I have my medical records from the last 4 years that chronicle my chronic headaches and bipolar. I did not have medical insurance until 4 years ago, but I was diagnoses with bipolar in the military and was having fatigue and sleeping problems that they also will see in the records. More than likely the records have been destroyed because it was 1996 when I was discharge. Am I correct in assuming that? I just read about a similar case and she won her claim on appeal and her medical records were also destroyed and they approved her on "presumptive service-connection" see below...

For her part, the Veteran has reported a history of
headaches, and back, neck and wrist pain dating back to
service. She is competent to report experiencing these
symptoms in service, and to also report a continuity of
similar symptomatology since service as symptoms of headaches
and joint pain are all capable of lay observation. Her
testimony in this regard may serve to satisfy the requirement
for a nexus between an in-service event and a current
disability. Barr v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 303 (2007).

The Board is aware that there are no medical records that
show treatment or complaint of the claimed disorders within
the first few years after the Veteran's discharge from
service in 1991. Incurrence of a disorder or disease during
service may be rebutted by absence of medical treatment for,
or related complaints about, the claimed condition for a
prolonged period after service. See Maxson v. West, 12 Vet.
App. 453 (1999), aff'd, 230 F.3d 1330 (Fed. Cir. 2000).
Thus, the absence of treatment for several years after
service weighs against her current testimony of continuity of
symptomatology.

Nonetheless, the VA examiner's opinion can be read as placing
the evidence in equipoise on the question of whether the
current headaches, back, neck, and wrist disorders are
related to service. Destruction of service medical records
creates a heightened duty on the part of VA to consider the
applicability of the benefit of the doubt, to assist the
claimant in developing the claim, and to explain its
decision. Cromer, 19 Vet App 215 (2005); Russo v. Brown, 9
Vet. App. 46, 51 (1996). With these considerations in mind,
and resolving all doubt in favor of the Veteran, entitlement
to service connection for headaches, recurrent lumbosacral
strain, cervical spondylosis, and bilateral wrist tendonitis
is therefore granted. 38 U.S.C.A. 5107(b).


ORDER

Service connection for a disorder manifested by fatigue, as
an undiagnosed illness, is granted.

Service connection for a disorder manifested by bilateral
knee pain, diagnosed as fibromyalgia, is granted.

Service connection for a headache disorder, variously
diagnosed, is granted.

Service connection for a disorder manifested by back pain,
diagnosed as lumbosacral strain, is granted.

Service connection for a disorder manifested by neck pain,
diagnoses as spondylosis, is granted.

Service connection for a disorder manifested by bilateral
wrist pain, diagnosed as tendonitis, is granted.

______________________________________________
Mark D. Hindin
Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

END

...my case is almost exactly like hers, except I have more documented symptoms that were "medically unexplained" that are recorded in my medical records from the last 4 years. How could I get an approval on my claim without having to go through the appeals process like the above had to do? How could I use her case to benefit mine? I personally think I should hire a lawyer from this point on, but am completely open to suggestions and advice so please share your knowledge and experience.


#4 pete992

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:06 PM

what symptoms do you have? I would suggest that you do all the research you can do on the difference between FM(Fibromyalgia) AND cfs/cfids(chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome).

#5 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:10 PM

what symptoms do you have? I would suggest that you do all the research you can do on the difference between FM(Fibromyalgia) AND cfs/cfids(chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome).


Thanks Senior Chief. I have done the research and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is the one. I was aware that FM was similar, but found that CFS shared most of my symptoms. Symptoms include the following:

Severe painful headaches
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Joint Pain
Inability to Focus
Cannot Concentrate
Memory Failure
Sleeping Problems
Cannot Work
Bedridden Most of the time
Sore Throat
Minor Fevers
Neck becomes tender
Energy problems

IMO Diagnosis over the last 4 years (only time that I've had medical insurance):

Chronic Daily Headache
Bipolar
Chronic Depression
Pain Medication Management Plan
GERD
Chronic Rhinitis
Skin Cysts (developed during the end of tour and had surgery right after to remove some. Many still exist)
Exophoria (Eyes deviate outwards)
Leg Pain
Sciatica - Nerve Pain
Lower Back Pain
Joint Pain
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Allergic Rhinosinusitis
Upper Facial Weakness
"ABNL Finding on EKG"

END

I was in the Persian Gulf in 1996. The fatigue and headaches and the GERD are the most dominant symptoms still to date. Can I add Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as another reason for filing for disability compensation even though I filed the "formal" form about two weeks ago? Right now I just received the first letter stating that they are requesting my service medical records and they asked me to sign a release form so they can get my Kaiser records from the last 4 years. I contacted Kaiser and have those records printed that I plan on sending them that proves everything. More than likely my MSR's were destroyed because I was discharged in 1996. Agree on that assumption? How should I proceed senior chief?

#6 pete992

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:26 PM

You will need a current diagnosis of all your conditions, I would say within the last six months to a year of being treated. Some times the VA C & P(Compensation and Pension) Exams go against the veteran, so having your own medical opinion within that time frame will greatly help your claims. You can also apply for SSDI/SSI(Social Security Disability Insurance/Supplemental Security Income) if you are not working. Make sure you request and get a personal copy of your SMRs and your Kaiser medical records. Also you need to try to get a PCP (Primary Care Provider) at the VAMC (VA Hospital) and try to get some treatment. If I missed something others will chime in.


Edited by pete992, 07 April 2011 - 10:26 PM.


#7 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:35 PM

You will need a current diagnosis of all your conditions, I would say within the last six months to a year of being treated. Some times the VA C & P(Compensation and Pension) Exams go against the veteran, so having your own medical opinion within that time frame will greatly help your claims. You can also apply for SSDI/SSI(Social Security Disability Insurance/Supplemental Security Income) if you are not working. Make sure you request and get a personal copy of your SMRs and your Kaiser medical records. Also you need to try to get a PCP (Primary Care Provider) at the VAMC (VA Hospital) and try to get some treatment. If I missed something others will chime in.



Yes, all those diagnoses that I mentioned below were diagnosed by Kaiser doctors over the last 4 years and most of those items are also listed as chronic like the headaches, muscle pain, gerd, and fatigue. So now that I have that sitting right here in my hands, can I just contact the regional office and have them add unexplained chronic illnesses or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I need to figure out how to proceed because they are waiting for me to respond to the letter they just sent me and I really need this to go through right away as I really need that "compensation". Thanks for your help.

#8 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:43 PM

Also, I will be filing for SSI as I am not eligable for SSDI. Should I wait until a decision has been made on the disability compensation claim or do you think I'm good to just move forward with the SSI application now? Did I read an accurate statement online that the Wounded Warriers Org. can put a "Expedite" label on the SSI application so it could get approved in about 2 months? Sorry for all the questions. Noob.

#9 pete992

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:56 PM

You need to send VA a copy of everything you have and send it certified return receipt and make sure someone signs for your records because records do get lost at the VA. I am not sure what type if symptoms you have noted in your SMRs, so you may want to cover your bases by requesting directly related to your service or by undiagnosed/unexplained chronic Illness. You should also request for the maximum rating allowed for your conditions. If you can not work due to your military conditions you should file for TDIU(Total disability Based on Individual Unemployability).

http://www.vba.va.go...21-8940-ARE.pdf

#10 pete992

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:00 PM

Also, I will be filing for SSI as I am not eligable for SSDI. Should I wait until a decision has been made on the disability compensation claim or do you think I'm good to just move forward with the SSI application now? Did I read an accurate statement online that the Wounded Warriers Org. can put a "Expedite" label on the SSI application so it could get approved in about 2 months? Sorry for all the questions. Noob.


File as soon as you can do not wait for VA because it could take up to a year for your decision. I am not sure about expediting SSI claim but you can ask social security when you call them or go to them.

#11 pete992

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:02 PM

We are here to try to help, ask all the questions you need and someone will try to answer them.

#12 tdunford

 
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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:17 PM

You need to send VA a copy of everything you have and send it certified return receipt and make sure someone signs for your records because records do get lost at the VA. I am not sure what type if symptoms you have noted in your SMRs, so you may want to cover your bases by requesting directly related to your service or by undiagnosed/unexplained chronic Illness. You should also request for the maximum rating allowed for your conditions. If you can not work due to your military conditions you should file for TDIU(Total disability Based on Individual Unemployability).

http://www.vba.va.go...21-8940-ARE.pdf


Can I file for TDIU even though I just filed for disability compensation and haven't even been given a disability rating yet? How long will it take to at least get the disability rating? Or is that also given right when the make and inform me of the decision? Because I have the skin disease with the cysts and all the other CFS symptoms, I don't have to have anything diagnosed while I was in, correct? Because they know that I was in the persian gulf and they know that those symptoms are common from gulf war vets? I did have the bipolar, fatigue and sleeping problems diagnosed in my SMR's. Will that be enough in my case to justify service-connected. Plus these diagnosed illnesses that were diagnosed by a Private doctor within the last 4 years:

Chronic Daily Headache
Bipolar
Chronic Depression
Pain Medication Management Plan
GERD
Chronic Rhinitis
Skin Cysts (developed during the end of tour and had surgery right after to remove some. Many still exist)
Exophoria (Eyes deviate outwards)
Leg Pain
Sciatica - Nerve Pain
Lower Back Pain
Joint Pain
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Allergic Rhinosinusitis
Upper Facial Weakness
"ABNL Finding on EKG"

But I did and still do have more of the CFS symptoms that was not diagnosed by the IMO during the last 4 years that include:


Severe painful headaches
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Joint Pain
Inability to Focus
Cannot Concentrate
Memory Failure
Sleeping Problems
Cannot Work
Bedridden Most of the time
Sore Throat
Minor Fevers
Neck becomes tender
Energy problems

Once again, do I have to tell the Regional VA Office who now have my disability compensation claim that I want them to "add" unexplained illnesses or CFS or all the other diagnosed illnesses listed above? I just thought that they would see those diagnoses from my private doctor from the medical records so didn't list them all. That was probably a mistake, but can that be corrected yet. They haven't even got my signature yet to even order my private medical records and only a week or so ago requested the SMR's. Or do I simply send them my private medical records the method you described and everything else should be good to go? I just want to make sure that this goes fast and without having to appeal? So if I need to do something to make that happen, then please let me know because I need to take action now as I'm sure you realize. I made the stupid mistake of just going in the VA office and filing for disability compensation without doing the research first. I didn't even know about chronic fatigue syndrome until after I submitted the application.

And, finally, does the VA tend to make a decision on a claim faster if they know that a lawyer is representing you? Once again, all your help is greatly appreciated!!!

#13 carlie

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:07 AM

[quote name='tdunford' timestamp='1302230440' post='241098']

Should I get one of those free lawyers to help me so I don't have to file again and waste a lot of time? I need assistance right away so I really need to know the fastest way for me to get compensation.
tdun - you can't use a lawyer until you get your first denial.
ALL CLAIMANT'S want "the fastest way to get compensation".

I have my medical records from the last 4 years that chronicle my chronic headaches and bipolar. I did not have medical insurance until 4 years ago, but I was diagnoses with bipolar in the military and was having fatigue and sleeping problems that they also will see in the records.

Did you ever file a claim for bipolar ? If yes, what was the decision ?

How could I get an approval on my claim without having to go through the appeals process like the above had to do? How could I use her case to benefit mine? I personally think I should hire a lawyer from this point on, but am completely open to suggestions and advice so please share your knowledge and experience.

See the above regarding a "lawyer".
IMO - you have a bit to travel before you will have any resolve.




#14 carlie

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:11 AM

More than likely my MSR's were destroyed because I was discharged in 1996. Agree on that assumption?


I disagree, SMR/STR's are not to be destroyed like private medical records.
They become part of the complete C-file.
JMHO

#15 carlie

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:15 AM

Also, I will be filing for SSI as I am not eligable for SSDI. Should I wait until a decision has been made on the disability compensation claim or do you think I'm good to just move forward with the SSI application now? Did I read an accurate statement online that the Wounded Warriers Org. can put a "Expedite" label on the SSI application so it could get approved in about 2 months? Sorry for all the questions. Noob.


tdun,

IMO - since you were discharged in 1996 I do not feel you would be eligible for
anything related to Wounded Warrior.
I sure could be wrong on this but I do not think so.

#16 carlie

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:30 AM

[quote name='tdunford' timestamp='1302239821' post='241116']
Can I file for TDIU even though I just filed for disability compensation and haven't even been given a disability rating yet?
You also asked this question here:
http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/43275-filling-for-iu-before-disability-compensation-application-gets-approved/page__pid__241126#entry241126
Try to ask the same question in only one place.

How long will it take to at least get the disability rating? Or is that also given right when the make and inform me of the decision?
It takes as long as it takes - they don't have a time frame they must meet. Could be 12 - 24 - 36 months.

Because I have the skin disease with the cysts and all the other CFS symptoms, I don't have to have anything diagnosed while I was in, correct? Because they know that I was in the persian gulf and they know that those symptoms are common from gulf war vets? I did have the bipolar, fatigue and sleeping problems diagnosed in my SMR's. Will that be enough in my case to justify service-connected.
There is no way to tell.


Plus these diagnosed illnesses that were diagnosed by a Private doctor within the last 4 years:

Chronic Daily Headache
Bipolar
Chronic Depression
Pain Medication Management Plan
GERD
Chronic Rhinitis
Skin Cysts (developed during the end of tour and had surgery right after to remove some. Many still exist)
Exophoria (Eyes deviate outwards)
Leg Pain
Sciatica - Nerve Pain
Lower Back Pain
Joint Pain
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Allergic Rhinosinusitis
Upper Facial Weakness
"ABNL Finding on EKG"

But I did and still do have more of the CFS symptoms that was not diagnosed by the IMO during the last 4 years that include:


Severe painful headaches
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Joint Pain
Inability to Focus
Cannot Concentrate
Memory Failure
Sleeping Problems
Cannot Work
Bedridden Most of the time
Sore Throat
Minor Fevers
Neck becomes tender
Energy problems

Just because a claimant has symptoms and/or a diagnosis does not ensure SC.
To get SC granted you must have:

1) an in-service injury, illness, disease, event. <br style="min-width: 0px; ">2) a current disability. <br style="min-width: 0px; ">3) a nexus (medical connection linking the two above)


And, finally, does the VA tend to make a decision on a claim faster if they know that a lawyer is representing you?

No, having a lawyer on record will not in any way help your claim issues to be adjudicated any faster.


You might want to read the full link posted below.
http://www.hadit.com/veterans_self_help_guide.html


Also - check out the information on Hadit's homepage.
http://www.hadit.com/
JMHO




#17 carlie

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:30 AM

[quote name='tdunford' timestamp='1302239821' post='241116']
Can I file for TDIU even though I just filed for disability compensation and haven't even been given a disability rating yet?
You also asked this question here:
http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/43275-filling-for-iu-before-disability-compensation-application-gets-approved/page__pid__241126#entry241126
Try to ask the same question in only one place.

How long will it take to at least get the disability rating? Or is that also given right when the make and inform me of the decision?
It takes as long as it takes - they don't have a time frame they must meet. Could be 12 - 24 - 36 months.

Because I have the skin disease with the cysts and all the other CFS symptoms, I don't have to have anything diagnosed while I was in, correct? Because they know that I was in the persian gulf and they know that those symptoms are common from gulf war vets? I did have the bipolar, fatigue and sleeping problems diagnosed in my SMR's. Will that be enough in my case to justify service-connected.
There is no way to tell.


Plus these diagnosed illnesses that were diagnosed by a Private doctor within the last 4 years:

Chronic Daily Headache
Bipolar
Chronic Depression
Pain Medication Management Plan
GERD
Chronic Rhinitis
Skin Cysts (developed during the end of tour and had surgery right after to remove some. Many still exist)
Exophoria (Eyes deviate outwards)
Leg Pain
Sciatica - Nerve Pain
Lower Back Pain
Joint Pain
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Allergic Rhinosinusitis
Upper Facial Weakness
"ABNL Finding on EKG"

But I did and still do have more of the CFS symptoms that was not diagnosed by the IMO during the last 4 years that include:


Severe painful headaches
Muscle Aches
Fatigue
Joint Pain
Inability to Focus
Cannot Concentrate
Memory Failure
Sleeping Problems
Cannot Work
Bedridden Most of the time
Sore Throat
Minor Fevers
Neck becomes tender
Energy problems

Just because a claimant has symptoms and/or a diagnosis does not ensure SC.
To get SC granted you must have:

1) an in-service injury, illness, disease, event. <br style="min-width: 0px; ">2) a current disability. <br style="min-width: 0px; ">3) a nexus (medical connection linking the two above)


And, finally, does the VA tend to make a decision on a claim faster if they know that a lawyer is representing you?

No, having a lawyer on record will not in any way help your claim issues to be adjudicated any faster.


You might want to read the full link posted below.
http://www.hadit.com/veterans_self_help_guide.html


Also - check out the information on Hadit's homepage.
http://www.hadit.com/
JMHO




#18 Pete53

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:33 AM

tdunford:

What you probably will need is a Doctor's opinion that diagnoses you with CFS that links it to your service. You may win your claim with what you have already submitted and the medical records available to Military. I served 1968-70 and all my medical records except my basic and AIT training were in the records.

If you lose at the first level you probably will need to get a complete copy of your C file. Right now asking for it could slow them down not that the VA needs an excuse. If you can go to the VARO you can request an opportunity to review your C File and with an appointment you can go through it fairly quickly. Most of the VA Councellors are helpful and may even make a few copies of important info for you.

If you win your claim you should also request a ful and complete copy of your C file you never know when you will need it.

Other records that are important to request are the records the VA Hospital you go to especially the progress notes.

Good Luck on your claim

#19 Gulfvet45

 
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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:47 AM

If you have the symptoms then you file for the symptoms, List each one out out like this. " joint pain, muscle pains, chronic fatigue ----- due to may service in the gulf as per to CFR 38 section 3.317 / possible chronic fatigue syndrome."

There is a very good site on this at
http://vets.yuku.com...ulf-War-Service


I just filed for disability compensation and they are in the process of getting my medical records. I know for a fact that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was medically, honorably discharged in 1996 and was in the Persian gulf. I was told that I would not quality for VA assistance so haven't persued it until recently. I was approved and put into Priority Group 3 as service-connected. I haven't been given a rating yet as I just filed for disability compensation. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms since the end of my tour. The last 4 years have been the worse with chronic headaches and joint/muscle pain. I had Kaiser and haven't been able to afford to keep it because I haven't been able to work in over 4 years.

I have 9 of the 10 symptoms of CFS and it is all documented in my medical records which I have right in front of me and will be sending to the regional office in support of my claim. I did not claim disability compensation due to CFS because I only recently heard about it and learned that I have it because I have had all of those symptoms for 15 years. I have been diagnosed as having chronic headaches and joint problems, GERD, concentration/memory issues, throat problems, etc... all of which are documented in my medical records.

My question is: What do I do now? I already filed for disability compensation due to the 4+ years of chronic headaches and also for bipolar which is what I was diagnosed with in the military. Should I get the CFS diagnosis somehow? And, if so, how do I go about getting the diagnosis? Can I simply add on to the disability compensation claim that I just turned in and add CFS to it or should I do something else? I learned that if I was diagnoses with CFS and have been unable to work for 4+ years that I would get a 100% disability rating which I should have in my opinion because it's impossible for me to work. Or, should I file for unemployabiltiy. I just don't know which direction to go and what order to do it in and I need asistance asap. What do you all suggest?






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