Jim's Mailbag

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Jim's Mailbag
June 26, 2012

Jim,

I have VA health benefits due to disability compensation for prostate cancer. My rating is 60%. I also have Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance through my spouse. Am I supposed to advise the non-VA hospital where I was recently treated for a partial bowel obstruction that I have VA medical coverage? Can BC/BS try to bill the VA to recover the medical costs? Thank you for your help in this matter.

Jim's Mailbag
June 20, 2012

Jim,

a friend of mine was in the Navy for four years and got out with an honorable discharge. Subsequently, he submitted various claims to VA and was ultimately granted 100% disability. In his case, since he is 100% disabled, is he authoriized to get a military i.d. card? Thank you.

Jim's Mailbag
June 20, 2012

Jim,

I have a question in regards to the difference between aid and attendance, housebound, and special compensation. I have been rated by the VA as 100% service connected. I have TBI. PTSD , plus a multitude of other (sc) injuries. My wife helps me with my medication some of which I take three times a day. She drive me to my doctors appointments, cleans my CPAP machine, makes my meals, and dispenses my pain medications. Without her I don’t know how I would function daily. Without knowing my case in depth my question is do you think we would qualify for any of the special allowances for the extra care my wife gives me. If we do how can we insure the VA will approve the claim?

Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2012

JIM,

THANKS FOR YOUR PREVIOUS HELP.

SIX MONTH AGO I WAS AWARDED 100% DESABILITY RELATED TO AGENT ORANGE. I LIVE IN THE SEATTLE AREA AND INSURED MY WIFE THRUE THE WASHINGTON STATE HEALTH PROGRAM.( IS VERY HARD TO FIND A DOCTOR TO ACCEPT THIS INSURANCE) .I TRIED CITI , BUT PROGRAM DEPENDS ON AVAILABILITY. ANY SUGESTION ON HOW TO ENROLL MY WIFE IN THE CITI PROGRAM IN THIS AREA. ANY HELP WILL APRECIATE

Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2012

Jim,

You have a great website, thank you for all of your advice. I have been pouring over your website and I still have a few questions. Let me explain.

First: I am a US Army veteran from ‘79 – ‘82 and was stationed in West Germany at a Pershing Nuclear Missile unit. I am trying to get myself rated as disabled as a result of my time in service. Here are my issues:

1. Flat feet: I have very flat feet (almost bell shaped arches) that cause me to have very painful muscular/bone aches on a very regular basis. I did not have the flat feet prior to my time in the service. (Is this a valid claim, in your opinion?)

2. Exposure to a known carcinogen, Trichloroethylene (TCE): During my 3-years in the army, I regularly came in contact with a cleaning solvent, TCE. This is a medically known carcinogen and has been linked to immune diseases like Parkinson’s, etc. (See the VA Appeal to Chemical Exposure which is attached). Even though I currently have no signs of an auto-immune disease, I feel as though it is just a matter of time before something shows up. (Is there any claim here?)

3. Unable to donate blood because of my overseas time: I am unable to donate my blood possibly because of me being exposed to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease by being stationed in Europe during that time. (No blood issues have resulted, just that I cannot donate blood. Is this a valid claim, in your opinion?)

Should I focus on one of my issues or try for all three?

My objective is not monetary compensation from the VA, instead I am more interested in in getting a rating with the VA so that I can classify my business as an SDVOSB (Service-Disable Veteran-Owned Small Business). Should I even mention my focus being on a rating and not $, when I go visit the VA this week?

Several months ago, I tried calling into the VA and they told me that I earned too much money and a s a result did not qualify for any VA benefits. With the economy being so bad, I have taken a HUGE hit financially and I am sure I qualify now. Any thoughts on what I have mentioned above?

Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2012

Jim,

I have applied for sleep apnea secondary (OSA) to hypothyroidism in Jun 2011. I retired in Jan 2001 and was diagnosed with (OSA) eight months later. There is no mention of (OSA) in my SMR, however there are symptoms after thyroid removal in 1996. I gained 30 LBS one year after thyroid ablation and documented fatigue and throat closing sensation in my previous SMR. I know OSA is not a presumptive condition and will not be considered so if diagnosed within 1 yeat of retirement, however I have read in appeals cases it is considered probative on behalf of the veteran if it is diagnosed within 1 year. I am currently service-connected for hypothyroidism and have continuous use of C-pap to date. My current endroconologist provided a nexus letter and hypothyroidism and OSA are linked to each other. I feel this should be approved, however I also know the VA is not predictable. What do you think? Thanks for your time.

Jim's Mailbag
June 12, 2012

Jim,

I went to my doctor "army" about 5 months prior to retirement. He put in my medical record my complaint of sleep problems by me and my family. He claimed possible osa. He referred me to Walter reed for a sleep study. The appointment was never made by Walter reed. I retired in sep 10. Mar 11 I was diagnosed by a civilian doctor after sleep study with mod osa. This is well inside 365 days. Do I have a claim with va? Vso Amvets says do not waste my time.

Reply:

Jim's Mailbag
May 24, 2012

Jim,

Excellent website. Very organized and easy to navigate.

Jim's Mailbag
May 16, 2012

Jim,

I have read where you say you can not track your claim. Does that mean if I find extra evidence to support my claim and I turn it in that it will not be added to my claim because they can not find it. Any help would be greatly appreciated

Jim's Mailbag
May 16, 2012

Jim,

I am receiving ssdi and tdui 100% p&t no future exams schedulded. It will be 2 years in January 2013. They are for multi skeletal problems an secondary depression. Should I relax and send in my yearly report and feel safe that I will not lose my ratings in the near future.

Jim's Mailbag
May 14, 2012

Jim,

I finally had a DRO hearing on Wednesday (31 months after submitting my VA-9), and I had a chance to get my 2¢ in, as did my DAV SO.

For the 1st time in the 9-year history of my case, I felt someone at the VA actually listened to what I had to say.

Jim's Mailbag
May 14, 2012

Jim,

This is the old discussion on why VA is so slow in processing claims:

It still goes back to "money"! I was wondering how many of the current outstanding claims for disability are valid? If they are granted then how much money would the government have to provide to the veterans? With Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps on the chopping block why should we expect VA disability to be fully funded.

I guess what I am saying with the "austerity budget" that is being promoted why spend money to automate the claims processing?

Jim's Mailbag
May 9, 2012

Jim,

How important is the last employment to the VA when applying for IU disability? What is ask of veteran?

Jim's Mailbag
May 9, 2012

Jim,

I’ve been reading more and more about Veterans on IU who are rated as permanent being called in for re-evaluations. Have you seen this trend? Being on IU P/T for a little over 10 years and over 55 years old and not planning on asking for an increase on any SC disability do you think I would have any reason to be concerned? I also have no earned income.

Jim's Mailbag
April 30, 2012

Jim,

I have a basic question about the initial VA claim procedure:

Should I file each injury separate (e.g., one for right knee, one for right hip, one for left heal, one for left Achilles' tear, one for right Achilles tear, etc.) or should these be placed on one claim for everything? And, should I submit all my files with the claim or wait until they request them (e.g., accident report, profiles, physical therapies, history of medications for pain / anti-inflammatory etc.?)

Jim's Mailbag
April 30, 2012

Jim,

I am a 59 year old veteran living in Florida, currently rated at 30 %. I am rated because of injuries to my right knee and hip and hypertension. I also have hearing loss in my left ear (currently unrated) but also service connected. Additionally, I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. The situation with my knee and hip have gotten worse and my quality of life has gotten dramatically worse since my last evaluation. I an unable to stand for long periods of time or walk any distance without having significant pain my my lower extremities. My other knee has started to give me a problem and I believe that it is directly related to the original service connected injury to the bad knee. The VA has told me that the bad knee could not affect the remaining knee and that I cannot claim a connection between the both knees. My civilian doctor says there could definitely be a link and one could have caused the other to deteriorate.

Jim's Mailbag
April 30, 2012

Jim,

I am at 100 percent rating. How can i get my id on base what will i need? Also can i still work? THanks for your help.