Jim's Mailbag

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Jim's Mailbag
August 5, 2013

Jim,

I just found your website and thank you very much, I found it helpful.

On the WEB I have been following the development on OSA and the VA seeking to change the disability rating, but don’t know when that will take effect. I have OSA and use a CPAP, diagnosed on AD three years ago. I have not had my VA exam yet but intend to retire next year. What do you hear about this topic and when might it be officially changed? Are they already denying new claims?

Reply:

Jim's Mailbag
July 31, 2013
Dear Jim, While deployed to Iraq, I was living close to a burn pit and sometimes in charge of it. We burned everthing from batteries to body parts. We not only breathed the smoke but sometimes covered in soot from it. How can I get the VA to acknowledge that those burn pits may have contributed to several of my symptoms and illnesses? What can I do to help the VA see that burn pit exposure does cause health issues?
Jim's Mailbag
July 31, 2013
Jim, I will start with much thanks and gratitude. Your obvious dedication and knowledge is greatly appreciated. I filed in Jan./13 and began studying your sight shortly thereafter. I have a supposed VSO but don"t believe he is worth my time. I am currently awaiting my decision letter. I have three claims, one of which is for tinnitus that I am confident in. The others I expect to appeal and plan to follow your explicit directions of filing a NOD and seeking legal representation.
Jim's Mailbag
July 31, 2013
Jim, I received a ltr from my RO in New Orleans requesting evidence in support of my Claim. Evidence was mailed RRR the same day, then my wife checked the mail and noticed a ltr from Janesville, WI asking for the same information, is this the normal sequence of operation, and do you think I should send evidence to Janseville, WI? Reply: VA routinely sends out form letters requesting evidence in support of a claim whether they need to or not.
Jim's Mailbag
July 31, 2013

Hi Jim,

After waiting for 2 years for my husbands PTSD claim to be decided, we got a letter yesterday saying that it was "withdrawn" per our request.

We would never do such a thing, that's crazy! What we DID do is withdraw a dependency claim as we had separated but got back together. We called the 800 number and spoke with the rep who said that she had changed it and reopened the claim.

Jim's Mailbag
July 21, 2013

Hello Jim,

I have been my Husband's Caregiver for the past two years - he is currently rated at 60%.

"Mental Health Provider" number four decided to change the way my Husband was taking his (not pain related) medication which resulted in a number of awful things and eventually his first attempted suicide. I had called her repeatedly informing her of the negative side effects. She dismissed my concerns.

Jim's Mailbag
July 21, 2013
Jim, Is TDIU considered a compensation or Pension benefit? Thanx! Reply: TDIU is a disability compensation benefit. Disability compensation is a benefit that may be awarded to veterans who have service connected disabling conditions.
Jim's Mailbag
July 21, 2013
Jim, Perhaps we are starting to see how the VBA is reducing the back log; I’m a 20 year veteran of the Army, Retired senior NCO, and a VA (VHA) employee. I have claims accepted due to injuries sustained in Airborne Operations and I have had two claims pending for quite some time, (nearly 2 years) one for hearing loss (I was in Airborne Infantry units most of my career and wear bilateral hearing aids supplied by the VA) and the other Agent Orange exposure with subsequent Prostate Cancer. I was recently diagnosed with DMII but haven’t made any claims for that. I had never been on “ebenefits” until last Friday, but went through the process of signing up and found both claims closed due to my failure to respond to two requests the VBA says they mailed me. I have never had any problems getting VBA mail sent to me at my locked home subdivision mailbox before (they send medications and the bills for medications there all the time) I have always kept copies of the letters, responded within a few days, and filed both the letter and the response here in my desk at the VA for future reference. Those letters in question never came, and consequently I never responded.
Jim's Mailbag
July 21, 2013

 Jim,

I am a vietnam vet, navy corpsman that served with the marines in 1968 until wounded.

My question is I am 100% for ptsd total and permanent. A lot of vets I know are 100% ptsd and are IE. What is difference between the two?

Jim's Mailbag
July 21, 2013
Jim, I just talked to a vet who got a DRO decision granting an increase. He is owed roughly $20,000 in back benefits. The 1-800 VA people told him the retro would not be issued until he either submits a Form9 to continue to the BVA or lets the 60 day period lapse and ends the appeal. This is a new one to me. No matter what he does, he is owed the retro now. What am I missing?
Jim's Mailbag
July 3, 2013
Jim, I promise not to take a lot of your time.I really like your website. I like how it gets directly to the problem. It addresses the issue of P&T in very clear terms. It has been a big help to me and a place to go and read and calm my concerns. I feel like somewhere out there, something makes sense. I just today received a letter from the VA. They tell me I was denied a benefit and they tell me why...VA file evidence does not show that my dependents have been assigned Educational Benefits. But they don't tell specifically why and they don't explain what part of the machine I need to look at. Just that there is the big machine and it has not assigned Educational Benefits. I am sure you can relate to that analogy. OK, it has been 16 years since I was given 100% with IU. I have never been to another review of my condition in all those 16 years. My condition is one of mental health. Although by now with my bad knees, heart condition, and other physical issues perhaps that 100% could become a non IU 100%.
Jim's Mailbag
June 24, 2013

 Jim,

I have a question regarding filing a claim with Veteran Affairs. I currently receive 20 percent disability for left knee. I’m having surgery on August 12 to replace the knee for degenerative knee arthritis.

Will the VA approve for temporary 100 percent disability. And should I have the VA perform this or my Orthopedic Surgeon?

Reply:

Jim's Mailbag
June 24, 2013

Jim,

With regards to any benefits on getting an STD while in the service.

This will be a short story that shows truth is stranger than fiction. 1971 Phan Rang AFB Vietnam. Received penicilin shot for VD. Had an immediate negative reaction from the shot.

Jim's Mailbag
June 24, 2013

 Hi Jim,

I came across your website and I have a question for you.

I was just recently awarded 100 percent service connection for PTSD with proposed financial incompetency and this really scares me because I don't quite know what they mean.

Jim's Mailbag
June 24, 2013

Hello Jim,

I was just awarded 100% and unemployable. The Va is proposing to find me incompetent and I am owed a retro pay of over $60,000.00.

This is from the letter from them and I quote "the examiner stated that you do not appear to exhibit any cognitive difficulties that would prevent your handling financial affairs during your evaluation, however you expressed no desire to handle your financial affairs. And that you reported that Social security found you unable to handle your financial affairs."

Jim's Mailbag
June 14, 2013
Jim, I would like for you to recommend an attorney as I have received enough and returned enough denials via the VFW. I am rated at 160% receiving 80% disability. The VFW is suggesting I file a IU, I am getting nowhere and I am not going to give up before I die. I am not about to throw in the towel and do an IU. I am a proud Marine, a Viet Nam Veteran, fought for my country because I wanted to defend her.
Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2013
Jim, I was told in a letter I didn't qualify for a VA pension because I started receiving Social Security Disability four months later. I was homeless at the time. I was applying for VA disability around the same time. So I thought. Not sure why I didn't qualify at 55%. I am a Vietnam veteran. I have seen from searches that you can collect both SS and VA disability. Is that correct? If I was diagnosed at 55 % how come I was not given disability? I am still confused today. Thank you for any and all advice:
Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2013
Jim, I am writing you to see if you can offer any assistance or guidance and perhaps a solution to an issue I am having with the VA. (A little background) It is in regards to the Caregiver Support stipend; I am 100% disabled due primarily to a blood disorder that I have that gave me 100% rating and a combination of several other service connected issues as well. While I was still on active duty I was a part of the Wounded Warrior BN at Camp Lejeune and received SCADDL to assist financially because my wife is unable to work due to my illness and her part in taking care of me.
Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2013
Jim, I have had a knee replacement, service connected from the VA. I had 100% disability. Recently, I got the letter stating it will go down to 30%. I am in the process of sending my NOD. My question is, can I apply for the UI? I am 53 years old and have made attempts to look for work, however, even the local supermarket won't hire someone who hasn't worked in 3 years. What would be my first step in applying for UI? Form 21-8940 or 21-4140-1?
Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2013
Jim, I have e-mailed you before and you like always spot on. My wife was crying one day last week and asked me a question I could not answer, there may be more veterans like me out there but are afraid to ask. What does she do if one day she wakes up and I have passed away? who does she call and in what order does she call. I am a 60% disabled 22 year Air Force retiree. That question has bothered me ever since. Do you have any thoughts on this. I read the watchdog every day and enjoy what others are going through and I do appreciate your comments on this.