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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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    • 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/ 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Mental Illness Claims


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Hello All.

I am working with a young man that was discharged from Air Force in 2006 after 3+ years of service. His records show that he was diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder and that he was discharged for Personality Disorder. Dr. report claims the Dysthymic Disorder was pre-existing. I reviewed his entry physicals and there is nothing there for mental illness so that is bogus.

He has since been diagnosed Paranoid Schitzophrinic for which we filed VA claim for.

I've read his files and it shows an above average to exemplory performance up until 2005 when it all went backwards. He has been seen in our town by mental health facility and documentation has been forwarded to VA as evidence.

My question is wether or not we should submit an addendum to include Dysthymic Disorder along with the Para Schitz. or should the Para Schitz be secondary to the Dysthymic Disorder? I have found document study's that mention that DD is connected to and is a pre-cursor to Schitz.

We have all the evidence to show this started in the service so I'm confident he will be SC. My goal is to achieve 100% for him since he has been deemed incompetent by the Social Security Admin already.

Ironically his mother 54 was also diagnosed while she served back in 1978. She was also discharged. She was also Sexually Assaulted. I talked her into filing as well. She had been told back then by family that she should keep her mouth shut and move on. I am treading new waters her but evidence is overwelming that I cannot see how the VA can deny a claim. I've put her in for the Schitz and PTSD.

Thanks

Mil T

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6 answers to this question

Posted · Report post

I was discharged for a PD by the Army after 28 months and then SC'ed for schizophrenia within one year of discharge by the VA. The Army rode me out of town on a rail called a personality disorder. It took them 28 months and a tour in Vietnam to discover the PD. Years later they changed the DX to bipolar disorder and PTSD.

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Posted · Report post

The fact that the veteran has a current diagnosis of schizophrenia will be the dominating issue in the claim. They can make a diagnosis of personality disorder based on the subjective history and veterans actions observed by the doctors while he was in the military. Like other mental conditions, symptoms of personality Disorder may not first occur until the early 20’s. The reason they can say it predated service is that Personality Disorders have been determined to developmental and there is long standing regs stating that personality disorders cannot be service connected. The Dysthymic disorder is a different story. They would need evidence collected in a clinical environment to establish that the Dysthymic disorder pre dated service.

If you get a qualified clinician to review the entire medical file including the SMR and back up the contention that early symptoms of the schizophrenia better explains the diagnostic picture and the veterans symptoms of schizophrenia first occurred proximate to military service, such a statement would be about the strongest evidence you can get.

The VA should schedule a C&P examination to reconcile the diagnostic picture. However, and this is a big “However”, John’s getting service connected as fast as he did is the exception. I have dealt with many Personality Disorder claims in the last 14 years. Many were successfully re-diagnosed and service connected. It was a battle. The first decision in most cases is a flat denial without even scheduling a C&P exam. You might need to get an IMO. If you get denied send me a personal message and we will hash out what to do on the hadit board. It has been several years since I have seen this type of claim on the board and the subject matter could benefit from being refreshed.

About two years ago a veteran I assisted filed a claim for “anxiety disorder”. The RO denied the claim saying that he did not have a current diagnosis of “anxiety disorder”. The current VAMC records in possession of the RO showed that he had a diagnosis of “Panic Disorder” made by five different clinicians over the five year period prior to the denial. Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder. We amended the claim to include “Panic Disorder”. I attached some literature showing that “Panic Disorder” was an “Anxiety disorder” which resulted in an immediate 930 review. Point being, that there might be a benefit to amending the claim. However, they still denied the claim. It took an IMO to win what eventually was a slam dunk claim.

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Posted · Report post

Hoppy

If you consider that I spent two months in a military hospital for depression, anxiety and drug abuse after Vietnam it makes me wonder why it was so easy for the army to discharge me as a PD. I was taking stelazine right up to the time I was discharged. The army shrink who said I was a PD never even spoke to me. They wanted me out and the only issue was unsuitable or unfit. I then spent 2 weeks in a VA hospital a few months after I got discharged. The VA DX'ed me with schizophrenia and after I filed a claim I got 10% for schizophrenia, but the PD was still hung around my neck. Getting a PD dx removed from your profile is a difficult job. The VA even tried years later to sever SC due to the PD dx, but I had been SC'ed for over ten years. They tried to deny my CUE pretty recently harkening back to the PD dx some other VA doctor cooked up about 25 years ago when I asked for an increase.

The PD motivated discharge routine is a scandal.

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Posted · Report post

John,

I did not hear about them re-evaluating you ten years later. They are ruthless. The disgnosis of PD can wind up in the trash. The problem is that there are adversarial clinicians within the system who do not have a clue as to how to make a differential diagnosis and they shoot from the hips with their BS reports.

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Posted · Report post

The fact that the veteran has a current diagnosis of schizophrenia will be the dominating issue in the claim. They can make a diagnosis of personality disorder based on the subjective history and veterans actions observed by the doctors while he was in the military. Like other mental conditions, symptoms of personality Disorder may not first occur until the early 20’s. The reason they can say it predated service is that Personality Disorders have been determined to developmental and there is long standing regs stating that personality disorders cannot be service connected. The Dysthymic disorder is a different story. They would need evidence collected in a clinical environment to establish that the Dysthymic disorder pre dated service.

If you get a qualified clinician to review the entire medical file including the SMR and back up the contention that early symptoms of the schizophrenia better explains the diagnostic picture and the veterans symptoms of schizophrenia first occurred proximate to military service, such a statement would be about the strongest evidence you can get.

The VA should schedule a C&P examination to reconcile the diagnostic picture. However, and this is a big “However”, John’s getting service connected as fast as he did is the exception. I have dealt with many Personality Disorder claims in the last 14 years. Many were successfully re-diagnosed and service connected. It was a battle. The first decision in most cases is a flat denial without even scheduling a C&P exam. You might need to get an IMO. If you get denied send me a personal message and we will hash out what to do on the hadit board. It has been several years since I have seen this type of claim on the board and the subject matter could benefit from being refreshed.

About two years ago a veteran I assisted filed a claim for “anxiety disorder”. The RO denied the claim saying that he did not have a current diagnosis of “anxiety disorder”. The current VAMC records in possession of the RO showed that he had a diagnosis of “Panic Disorder” made by five different clinicians over the five year period prior to the denial. Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder. We amended the claim to include “Panic Disorder”. I attached some literature showing that “Panic Disorder” was an “Anxiety disorder” which resulted in an immediate 930 review. Point being, that there might be a benefit to amending the claim. However, they still denied the claim. It took an IMO to win what eventually was a slam dunk claim.

Hoppy. Thanks for the offer of assistance. I will take you up on that as I will be trying to do the right steps to try and stop the VA from sending it off to never never land. I have a lot of back up in the vets files with diagnosis etc. from the Air Force shrink so that may help. The vet also started seeing mental health specialists here in our small town not long after he was discharged. I will get those records and see what they say. I'm still wondering though if I should have all my bases covered with amending the claim to add the Dysthemic Disorder since that is what the Air Force actually diagnosed. This might be the perverbial monkey wrench that could sidetrack the claim if I dont' put it on there.

Mil T

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Posted · Report post

I agree with Hoppy. There is case law that suggests that Veterans have continuity of SYMPTOMS, not continuity of treatment. The docs can, and do sometimes change diagnosis and treatment. New pills, new research. This is why mental illnesses are all rated the same. There isnt separate ones for PTSD, another for MDD another for Schizo, etc. You are rated on symptoms, not which of these maladies mental disorders you have.

Further, since Veterans are rarely competent medical authorities, they can neither diagnose, nor treat their own illnesses. The VA wont award me benefits based on the fact that I think I am depressed.

However, the VA courts have repeatedly ruled the Veteran is competent (unless shown otherwise) to report his symptoms. A Veteran is not qualified to say "I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea", but he is competent to say..."I snore real loud" or "I fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day".

These are symptoms of Sleep Apnea. The Doc normally does a sleep study to confirm a diagnosis of OSA. Not only did my doc do a sleep study, since it was obvious to the sleep technician that I had apnea events, the also tried a CPAP mask, and observed how much air pressure required to releive me of apnea events.

In a similar way, the doc has tests available for mental illness. He can choose to order these tests, or not, and make his diagnosis based on his observations. But you have to have a docs diagnosis to get SC.

I think Vets make a mistake trying to diagnose their own maladies. If they make a mistake, or if Doc A differs from Doc B's diagnosis, then the Vet will have trouble making his application for Doc A's diagnosis stick. This is why I think its better to apply more generally for mental health disorders, than to limit your benefits to MDD, PTSD, etc. You may think you have MDD but your doc may diagnose you as Schizo. The VA likes to deny these, and make you start over. I dont want to start over.

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