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#1 RichSal2451

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 05:08 PM

I currently have a claim for TDIU pending at the Minneapolis VARO, which they forwarded to the Washington D.C. VARO, and then to a claims processing center in London, Kentucky. My question is this: I have not yet requested a copy of my C-File, and I am wondering if doing so would possibly set my claim further back on the calendar. Any help is much appreciated.

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#2 Berta

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

It certainly could take some time away from the claim. It might only take 30 minutes for VA to copy it, but getting it to a copier could take weeks if not months.

With the 90% now, they had to consider you for TDIU at the time of that decision. Unless you were employed then.

Is this due to a NOD you filed on the 90% award or a separate claim for TDIU?

The 90% decision gave key reasons (if VA followed the regs) as to why they didn't consider you for TDIU or, if they did, exactly why they denied at that time-which is what you need to overcome now.

I am surprised they even farmed the claim out-I think you mean the AMC (Appeals Management Center) by Washington DC?

#3 Pete53

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:07 PM

I got my copy after I won and I am glad I did it that way. Lucked out as dumb as I was.

#4 RichSal2451

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:15 PM

Berta-Here are your comments and my responses:

It certainly could take some time away from the claim. It might only take 30 minutes for VA to copy it, but getting it to a copier could take weeks if not months.

With the 90% now, they had to consider you for TDIU at the time of that decision. Unless you were employed then. I was employed then, and there was no mention of TDIU anywhere in there decision letter.

Is this due to a NOD you filed on the 90% award or a separate claim for TDIU? A separate claim for TDIU. My back has gotten much worse, and have not worked now since March 22nd.

The 90% decision gave key reasons (if VA followed the regs) as to why they didn't consider you for TDIU or, if they did, exactly why they denied at that time-which is what you need to overcome now. Again, there was no mention of TDIU in the 90% decision letter of 2010.

I am surprised they even farmed the claim out-I think you mean the AMC (Appeals Management Center) by Washington DC? Letterhead says Veterans Service Center in DC. It may have been farmed out because my files are flagged due to being an employee of the Minneapolis VAMC for one year in 1987. I know that issue occasionally comes up when I go in for treatment.

#5 Berta

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:55 PM

“Again, there was no mention of TDIU in the 90% decision letter of 2010.

OK ...they didnt have to mention TDIU because, as you stated, you were employed at that time.

“It may have been farmed out because my files are flagged due to being an employee of the Minneapolis VAMC for one year in 1987. I know that issue occasionally comes up when I go in for treatment.

Yes that is possible and even though years pass after a vet leaves VA employment sometimes they still farm out C &Ps too,to make sure they are not done at the same VAMC where the vet could have been employed.

I hoped you were able to follow advise in the TDIU forum here Rich, as to putting any side affects of the SC meds in the TDIU form ( Under Remarks one can refer them to a separate page for that.) I dont know how you even managed to work with 90%.

If I were you I would try to sit tight on this unless others disagree with me on the C file request as I would hate to see that hold up for you what I would certainly expect to be a TDIU award, based on , I assume, another C & P exam, since it has been about 2 years from the past one.

#6 RichSal2451

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 02:44 PM

Thanks Berta. As far as working while 90% rated, there wasn't much choice. I am now scheduled for left arm ulnar surgery on 7/30 and lumbar back surgery on 8/27-both at the Mpls VAMC. Hopefully this will help my TDIU claim. I am copying the letter from my wife that we sent with the claim that summarizes things quite well, in hopes it will help clarify my ramblings. Your thoughts and comments are very helpful and greatly appreciated.

April 2, 2012

Re:

To Whom It May Concern:

I submit this information regarding my husband, __________________.

Richard & I were married in 1970, while he was home on leave after his service in Viet Nam. He began having problems with high blood pressure in 1972 and 1973 before his tour of duty ended. Due to his young age, Richard’s high blood pressure was treated inconsistently until 1978, when, under the care of a new doctor, his heart was found to be unusually enlarged because of the chronic high blood pressure. Richard has been under doctor’s care for high blood pressure ever since.

Richard has had lower back problems our entire marriage since having a tower blown out from beneath him in Viet Nam. In the early years of our marriage, Richard’s symptoms varied from aching in his lower back, to an occasional “going out.” There was no specific movement or action that consistently caused a problem. In the past, he would lie down on the floor and elevate his legs from the knees down on a foot stool until the pain and discomfort was sufficiently relieved to get up from that position. It would usually resolve over a 6-8 hour period. He was generally prescribed 800mg ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation; not enough to mask the pain, but to relieve it somewhat and help reduce swelling. Richard rarely missed a day of work due to back pain; he learned to live with the constant aches.

About 1985, Richard was diagnosed with herniated discs as the cause of his lower back pain. He was given a series of exercises to do to help alleviate the pain. He continued taking the 800mg ibuprofen for discomfort. It was about this time that his right knee began giving him trouble as well.

In 1987 at the age of 36, Richard had his first heart event. It was in the very early morning hours and he said goodbye before going out the door. To my surprise, he came back in an hour later. He had been sitting in his vehicle the whole time. He explained that he felt terrible, but couldn’t identify what was wrong. He called the Doctor’s office as soon as they opened and got in to see the Dr. later that morning. Enzymes present in the blood test the doctor performed revealed he had had a mild heart attack.

In the mid-to-late 90’s, Richard’s back problems began to noticeably worsen. I had left my career to stay at home and take care of our adult son, Kevin, who was diagnosed with an extremely disabling form of multiple sclerosis in 1993. Ever mindful that he was the sole breadwinner at that time, Richard continued to live with the discomfort of his own back, “taking to the floor” when he needed to, and taking ibuprofen for the pain. He also had a prescription for Hydrocodone for pain, but only took it when he was at home for the evening or weekend and was experiencing considerable discomfort that was not relieved by ibuprofen.
In 2001, Richard was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease. He underwent an atherectomy and had a stent placed in his right coronary artery when a blockage was discovered during his “50-year old” physical. Emergency surgery was performed when the artery was found to be 99% blocked. Since that surgery, Richard’s medical care has included treatment for high cholesterol and triglycerides and carrying nitroglycerin for angina caused by ischemia.

As our son’s disease progressed, Richard was mostly unable to help with some of the more physical tasks, such as transfers, range of motion exercises, and helping to turn and position him. Bedridden and quadriplegic since 2006, our son Kevin passed in June of 2009.

As Richard’s chronic back condition appeared to worsen, in both 2009 and 2010, Richard sought opinions outside the VAMC. In addition to his lower lumbar region, MRI’s were done on his thoracic spinal area. Problems were identified in the thoracic area in addition to the L-4, L-5, S-1 that had always been at issue. During this time, a problem was also identified beginning in the cervical area of the spine. As the pain became more severe more frequently, I noticed some other symptoms appearing. If we were driving an hour or more away from home, Rich would have to stop frequently to get out and stretch. He began to experience more tingling and occasional numbness in his lower legs. There were times he experienced sharp pains down the back of his legs, usually on the right side. It was also about this time he started to experience erectile dysfunction. This has become a chronic problem for which he is unable to take medication.

Richard was diagnosed with Diabetes II in March of 2010, and has been taking medication for it ever since. He was also diagnosed with COPD which he also takes medication for.

Richard has worked as a Project Manager/Electrical Engineer for more than twenty-five years. This requires him to be at customer’s plants anywhere from 20% to 50% of the time on any given project. In 2010, Richard was working for Fluor/Plant Engineering Services at the Flint Hills Resources refinery. Being a refinery, the “field work” included having to climb stairs to the top of storage tanks up to 100 ft. high to obtain existing instrumentation information. Between Rich’s back pain, leg numbness and COPD, this became more and more difficult to do, having to stop several times on the way up and down, sometimes experiencing dizziness. Rich sought other employment in December of 2010 when he felt that his own safety, and perhaps the safety of others, could become an issue if he were to stay.

Richard began work at Malt-O-Meal in January of 2011. In the little more than a year that he’s been at Malt-O-Meal, he has had projects in their Northfield MN, Asheville NC and Tremonton UT plants. In March of this year, while at the plant in Northfield, Rich suddenly experienced excruciating back pain that took him down to the floor. After a bit, he managed to get up with help from a co-worker. The co-worker helped him out of the plant and assisted him with removing the sanitary coverings required to work in a food plant, including the shoe coverings. The pain was still so intense, Rich drove himself directly to the VAMC emergency room, instead of going back to the office.

The emergency room doctor at the VAMC basically put Richard on what used to be referred to as a “profile” in the military….no prolonged sitting or standing, and no prolonged standing on concrete. She said he could go back to work in one to three days, or as his pain allowed him to. I can say unequivocally that this back event is significantly worse than it’s ever been before. The pain and discomfort in his back has yet to resolve. He has been unable to bring his own leg up to rest on the other leg’s knee to tie his shoes, or bend all the way down to tie them; I assist him in this task. It takes a good ½ to 1 hour in the morning for him to stand completely upright after arising. While he has not lost bladder control, when he feels that he has to “go,” it’s urgent. The driveway to our home has a significant incline, and Richard now finds it nearly impossible to go down and check mail as maintaining his balance on the uneven surface causes him severe back pain.

When Richard informed his employers, both Malt-O-Meal and the Contract Engineering Company, of his physical restrictions, they both informed him that they would be unable to continue their working relationship with him under those conditions. All industrial and manufacturing facilities have concrete floors, and if Richard can only stand for short periods on concrete floors, he can longer do the jobs they would have hired him to do.

I have seen this honest, hard-working man work through any pain he may have been in to provide for his family all these years, and it is heartbreaking to now see him unable to work because of it.


Sincerely,

#7 Berta

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:36 PM

Your wife made some good points in that letter.

Vietnam....DMIi and CAD ..ischemia .. are these service connected due to Agent Orange?

I am sure they are SCed by now but it pays to double check.

I forgot to add, are you going to apply for SSDI benefits too?

#8 RichSal2451

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 03:48 PM

Berta-

The DMII is agent orange related. They classified the ischemia as being coronary artery disease secondary to hypertension. Originally rated at 0%, then increased to 10%, then again to 60%.

Applied for SSDI at the same time as TDIU. Was denied in twenty days, and now have attorneys working on the appeal.




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