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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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  • 0

Question Regarding Claim(S)

Question

Posted

Hello there :)

I have a question regarding some claims I am putting together. I have one currently that is still "gathering evidence" with my C&P exam completed on 4/29/13. I believe I have done all I could for this claim and SHOULD (but we all know the stars must perfectly align) come out favorably with a min of 60% - if they actually go by all my records. This is for hypothyroidism.

Now my question is regarding claims following this. Hypothyroidism causes depression (is a symptom) and I have been diagnosed by VA with Major Depressive Disorder (back in 2006). This is before I really became aware of the hypothyroidism problems and service connection to it. On active duty, I was given Paxil (in my medications list in records); however, I can not find the "sick call" slip for that date/time nor can I locate any dr's notes regarding that prescription. From my research, this drug is really only used for psychiatric disorders so it is odd that I can not find any doctor notes or anything relating to it.

Anyway, after I was seen in 2006 and diagnosed with the depressive disorder (I lost my job after this episode) I was given Prozac. I haven't been to the VA in a very long time - I believe 2006-2007 was the last time. I thought I would just manage on my own (yup that worked out beautifully). My family care doctor (civilian) now treats me for the thyroid (unsuccessfully) but doesn't pay attention to my symptoms.

I decided it was enough (I have been cycling the depressive episodes now for 4 years) and registered with my VAMC here where I currently live and requested a PCP. That appointment isn't until July (gotta love it) and then I know they have to refer me etc... so it will take a bit. This current episode has been the longest which is going on about 15 months now. Luckily, I have kept my job but have missed quite a few days because of it (I am in the hole PTO wise).

My question relates to filing a claim for the depressive disorder which I would guess should be secondary to the hypothyroidism? I am pretty sure the tie can be made to that but just wanted to be sure I was heading in the right direction. Do I wait and file the depression AFTER the thyroid comes back or do I attack it now (I can - I am in no rush and got nothing but time)? If I wait, would it be recommended to see the therapist at VA for a while before filing?

Thanks - appreciate any help.

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11 answers to this question

Posted

I would definitely wait until you receive your rating decision for Hypothyroidism. Then you will have a SC disability. Then submit a claim for depression, secondary to Hypothyroidism. It would assist greatly if you had a nexus from your doc stating that your depression is a result from your Hypothyroidism condition. Don't ever take anything for granted from the VA!

Then submit a claim for depression. Obtain copies of all your medical documentation to support your new claim and submit with a VA FM 21-526ez. This is a fully developed claim, which are being adjudicated a lot quicker than other claims.

IF you receive 60%, you can also file for TDIU using VA FM 21-8940. Submit this with the depression claim.

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Posted

Hmm if you have been DX'ed by the VA then they surely will see it and go from there in a perfect world. Have you looked at the ratings for your hypro does it state anything if depression is one of the ratings factors? The reason I ask in having my heart SC there are a number of different levels.

I don't have the time right now but I might take a look later.

Good Luck Stillhere

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Posted

7903 Hypothyroidism

Cold intolerance, muscular weakness, cardiovascular involvement, mental disturbance (dementia, slowing of thought, depression), bradycardia (less than 60 beats per minute), and sleepiness 100

Muscular weakness, mental disturbance, and weight gain 60

Fatigability, constipation, and mental sluggishness 30

Fatigability, or; continuous medication required for control 10

The only thing I am missing from the 100% is bradycardia... I get the opposite where my resting heartbeat is over 100bpm and if I try to do any cardio by rate will exceed 190bpm.. so not a good feeling.

Hope I answered your question ..

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Posted

I would definitely wait until you receive your rating decision for Hypothyroidism. Then you will have a SC disability. Then submit a claim for depression, secondary to Hypothyroidism. It would assist greatly if you had a nexus from your doc stating that your depression is a result from your Hypothyroidism condition. Don't ever take anything for granted from the VA!

Then submit a claim for depression. Obtain copies of all your medical documentation to support your new claim and submit with a VA FM 21-526ez. This is a fully developed claim, which are being adjudicated a lot quicker than other claims.

IF you receive 60%, you can also file for TDIU using VA FM 21-8940. Submit this with the depression claim.

Thanks Meg... I would appear then I am on the right track. I have all my medical records since I was doing the thyroid so I will just sit back and wait. I will be seeing the PCP in July and will ask for a referral to mental health again then. I will see if they can make the tie or if the PCP can. If I get impatient (which happens frequently) then I will just use my EAP (employee assistance) and go to a civilian mental health.

I am tired .. literally and it is becoming too much.

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Posted

Here is an appeal from the BVA that puts it all in:

A rating of 60 percent may be assigned for muscular weakness,
mental disturbance, and weight gain.

A rating of 100 percent may be assigned for cold intolerance,
muscular weakness, cardiovascular involvement, mental
disturbance, brachycardia (less than 60 beats per minute),
and sleepiness.

The Board found, in its September 2005 decision, that the
veteran's hypothyroidism was manifested by muscle weakness
and mental disturbance. The Board remanded the case for VA
medical examination to determine whether the other criteria
for a 100 percent rating (cold intolerance, sleepiness,
cardiovascular involvement, and brachycardia) were shown.

The veteran had a VA medical examination in April 2006 during
which the examiner noted the veteran as having complicating
factors including sleepiness and cold intolerance. However,
the examiner noted the veteran's pulse as 77, and made no
notation of any cardiovascular disorder.

Thus, the veteran is shown to have four of the six symptoms
that the rating schedule associates with the higher (100
percent) rating. He is not shown to have brachycardia or a
cardiovascular disorder associated with hypothyroidism.

The Board notes that in view of the number of atypical
situations it is not expected, especially with the more fully
developed grades of disabilities, that all cases will show
all the findings specified; however, findings sufficiently
characterized to identify the disease and the resulting
disability, and above all coordination of rating with
impairment of function, are expected in all instances.
38 C.F.R. § 4.21.

Further, symptoms listed in the rating criteria are simply
examples of the type and degree of the symptoms, or their
effects, that would justify a particular rating; analysis
should not be limited solely to whether the claimant
exhibited the symptoms listed in the rating scheme. Mauerhan
v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 436, 442 (2002).

The Board finds in this situation that the veteran's symptoms
more closely approximate the criteria for the higher (100
percent) rating. The Board notes that the VA examiner stated
that the veteran had ceased working in July 2005 because of
fatigue associated with thyroid disease; the fatigue was such
that the veteran was unable to drive for fear of falling
asleep behind the wheel.

The Board accordingly finds that the criteria for the higher
(100 percent) rating for hypothyroidism are met.



ORDER

An increased rating of 100 percent for the service-connected
hypothyroidism is granted, subject to the law and regulations
governing the payment of monetary benefits.

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Posted

thanks for that info... I really figure they will do the 60%. For me, the cold intelorance is the most unbearable. I have pictures of my body temperature dropping down to 96 degrees and falling. Once I get to that point, I can't get warm and every joint, surface, and spot on my body starts to ache. My hands turn purple when I am outside in below 70 degree weather. The depression.. well that just manifests and cycles.

Right now - it is bad. I never want to leave my house, force myself to get up for work. I am a girl and just don't care to wear make up, dress or fix my hair (I just wake up and pull it up into a bun daily). I swear I am in pajamas more than I am in regular clothes.. it sucks.

I went for more bloodwork today so will get those results next week. I am already Vitamin D deficient as well (by a lot) so start that replacement therapy next week as well.

--again thank you for all the info!

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Posted

Considering that depression is a symptom noted in the rating schedule for the thyroid condition, a fully developed claim assuming the veteran is applying for a maximum benefit under the law would require in my book that they address any notation of depression in the medical records as it relates to the thyroid condition. In essence a claim for a thyroid condition would be inclusive of depression. Unfortunately, the raters do not always fully develop claims. It were me I would have filed the original claim as “thyroid condition with depression”. This would make it more likely that they would fully develop the claim.

At this point if the C&P exam was not inclusive of a psych exam I would file a statement in support of the claim requesting a psych C&P and note that the rating schedule for the thyroid condition is inclusive of mental symptoms and depression.

I have been involved in numerous psych claims where the VA contracts with psychiatrists who invent false diagnoses to deny the veterans claims. These diagnoses include personality disorders and substance abuse disorders. Basically they say things like “veteran does have minor symptoms of depression. However, the diagnostic picture is dominated by symptoms of a borderline personality disorder”. Unfortunately raters give weight to these bogus diagnoses and deny claims. These false diagnoses can be rebutted and there are many veterans here on hadit who got these bogus diagnoses thrown out and later prevailed with their claim. It is best to get a copy of the C&P before the claim is adjudicated and rebut false diagnoses as early in the process as possible. Let’s hope this does not happen in your claim. If it does let hadit know.

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Just wanted to take a few minutes and update this topic (will kind of be my journey log through the process).

My appointment with my new PCP at VA kept getting pushed back and I finally got to see her 9/3/13. She was an excellent doctor and of course is leaving the VA in November *sigh*. She ordered a whole slew of bloodwork (10 vials when I went in) and made notes on everything (they are in my file). I forgot to even ask about the mental health depression issue but she picked up on it and made the referral herself. She noted everything including how easily I bruise now down to calluses on my feet lol She has ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid which I will have in October. FINALLY someone listened. I am keeping a log for her daily of how I feel and what symptoms I have because I tend to forget. Hopefully I will get to see her one more time before she leaves.

As far as the claim goes, it is over a year old now and still processing. I have more documents to send them this week. I don't care how long it takes at this point just as long as they pay attention. I am waiting on my new lab results before I send in the paperwork. Once this one is done and hopefully service connected, I will send in another one for depression. I wanted to ensure that I got to see the mental health at the VA before tying those two up. I believe in her items and notes she notated the depression link to the thyroid.

I still read here to prepare myself for worst and how to battle it. I have spoken to Ask NOD through email and he helped me with the path on my paperwork. I feel like I am doing the right thing so far. I am more relieved someone paid attention and maybe at some point I can just feel better!

ETA: My C&P exam was actually good and that doctor (civilian) contacted me after (on the sly) to let me know that my thyroid test results were abnormal and to go back to my doctor for meds and recheck. She had also told me not to worry as she stated it was connected to service since they left me untreated since 2001.

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Posted

I agree with Hoppy and would make the claim issue for thyroid with depression.

Perhaps VBA will go ahead and do this on their own when evaluating the thyroid condition,

if found to be SC'd.

JMHO

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I think I am just unclear on how to update the claim itself to include. Right now, the only info I have tying the depression I have to it is my recent medical visit and the DBQ information my civilian doctor completed (he is not mental health in any way). My VA doctor was talking to me about the fatigue and depression. She wasn't sure if it would be all rated together or if I should just but out a long list of effects...

Thyroid issues are so confusing :blink: I at least wanted to see mental health doctor here first before sliding into that base - at least they can see I have been making an effort to be seen since April of this year. I can send that information tho.. After reviewing my VA file and the diagnosis for the depression disorder (back in 2006 and earlier), they never related it back to thyroid and I was oblivious back then about my disorder. They figured it was due to money, family etc... which it isn't. Hard to explain I suppose ... I figured I couldn't set that record straight until I met with someone now :(

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Posted

a lot of suggestions here, but I would wait until you receive your rating decision before submitting an additional claim for depression. I believe that your C/P examiner may have done it for you. the more documentation that you keep sending and sending will only prolong your claim.

Wait for your current claim to be adjudicated and when you receive your rating decision, that will explain what the VA did or didn't do. Submit a claim for depression secondary to the thyroid and request your effective date to be the date of the rating decision you received for your thyroid.

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