I am worried about my future exam because I'm not seeing the VA for my mental health issues, should I be concerned?

Jim's Mailbag

Hello Jim. I’m a disabled vet with a temporary 100% rating for PTSD, Anxiety, Major Depressive Disorder w/night terrors with an effective date of 02/13/2012. I have documentation from the VA that I will be re-examined in February of 2020. I see a psychologist monthly for therapy sessions and a Psychiatrist every other month for medication management. I’m on 5 different medications. The issue or question I have is I don’t see the VA for any of my mental health issues. I did in the beginning, but found their treatment to be ineffective and actually found it to be detrimental. So I pay for private insurance and I see private physicians for my treatment. I understand that I will be responsible for gathering my medical records prior to the review. Will seeing private physicians be a problem at the time of my review?  Also, is there anything else I should be doing to help me survive the review? I haven’t worked since 2012 and honestly don’t leave the house much let alone think I have the ability to hold gainful employment. Of course the re-examine date hanging over my head doesn’t help at all and actually contributes greatly to my daily struggle.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.
 

Jim's Reply

From what you're telling me, you shouldn't be overly concerned about a future exam. It's highly unlikely that it's going to be anything other than an inconvenience to your day. You're doing all the right things (such as getting steady treatment) and getting help from civilian doctors won't present a problem with benefits. As far as prep for the exam, i usually advise against too much of that. You're better off just telling your story naturally and truthfully. I'd be organizing copies of my civilian records over time were I you. You don't want to leave the task of retrieving civilian records to VA, they'll mess that up every time. If you were to begin now to request and copy and collate your records, when the exam time comes you'll be way ahead of the game.