Jim's Mailbag

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Jim's Mailbag
October 31, 2012

Jim, I'm needing some help getting a nexus letter for my VA claim. Please send me information.

Reply:
I've published the basics on my blog. Have a look at:
   https://www.vawatchdog.org/How_To_Write_A_Nexus.html and http://www.vawatchdog.org/imo-ime-medical-opinions-exams.html

That should give you most of the information you'll need to get a good nexus letter for your claim.  There's a lot of other data about how to be successful with your claim spread throughout the pages of the web site. I suggest that vets who have claims for benefits spend some time perusing it all so that they are better prepared overall to deal with the VA in the future.  Check it out. I'll be here for specific questions if you have any.

Jim's Mailbag
October 29, 2012

Dear Jim,

Thank you for being there for us fellow vets. I have a question I'm hoping you can answer.

Situation: - Put in PTSD claim back in Dec 2010 - Slowly snaking its way through the crazy VA system (I'm at peace with that..ha ha) - Certifying my stressor with the JSRRC was completed. They were to verify I was deployed to a location which was the source of my stressor. {JSRRC - U.S. Army & Joint Services Records Research Center} - No one will tell me what the JSRRC's findings were or not. Did they find it legit or not? No one will tell me.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2012

Jim,

keep up the fantastic work your doing for all the veterans of all the wars and conflicts . they shud build a statute of you by the vietnam vets wall . my question is im taking glyburide 5 mg for diabetes 2 my doctor increased my medication to take METFORMIN HCL ER 500 MG TABLET TWICE A DAY (THATS 1000 MG ) IM RECEIVING 20% FOR DIABETES FROM THE VA AGENT ORANGE RELATED. CAN I GET AN INCREASE IN BENEFITS FOR INCREASE IN MEDICATION ?

Jim's Mailbag
October 23, 2012

Jim.

Thank you for all your blog postings regarding VA disability questions. The information you provide is very helpful.

My question - I am 80% service connected. I have several other conditions for which I may be successful in getting ratings. Of course, it will still take sometime for me to reach 100% s/c. My DAV rep is recommending I apply for 100% IU and, if successful, cease pursuing additional service connected ratings. If I am successful in getting 100% IU, will I still be allowed to seek ratings for my s/c conditions or should I just give up doing so.

Jim's Mailbag
October 23, 2012

Jim,

I am former USMC Staff Sergeant stationed in Vietnam during Agent Orange. I was diagnosed and treated surgically for prostate cancer in 2008. I just found out that prostate cancer is considered presumptive disease for Agent Orange. I am starting to file a claim, but a VA rep told me verbally that there will be no retroactive compensation. All I will be doing in filing a claim will be putting on record the fact I had the condition for future medical purposes, but no retroactive compensation is available because I did not make a claim within one year of diagnosis.

Jim's Mailbag
October 21, 2012

Jim,

I'm a VFW service officer, Still following you on Vawatchdog, and I have question. A vet I am helping had a C&P done a few years back for an increase in his PTSD rating related to increase in symptoms, job difficulties, increased outbursts, the gambit of things increasing...So of coarse it was denied, he appealed, and has been waiting...in the meantime he was fired from his job and denied unemployment (worked 52 years/never filed before)...

Jim's Mailbag
October 5, 2012

 Jim,

I seem to be spinning my wheels lately trying to get answers to some questions I have about Rating Decisions etc. Does the VA ever deny a claim but at the same time, on their Rating Decision, give a 0% rating anyway? It doesn't make sense to me, but in finding the Rating Decision from 1968, someone wrote 0% near the bottom, right near what appears to be a 4 digit code of some kind. It might mean nothing at all but I am puzzled by it. Would you care to take a guess?

Jim's Mailbag
September 30, 2012

Jim,

This week I was awarded 100% Service - Connected P & T Disability and I want to put my spouse in CHAMPVA for med coverage. The VA disability ($2769) plus social security are my only income. My questions regards the "Declaration Of Status Of Dependents" form 21-686-c (box 13) www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-686c-ARE.pdf which asks "How Much Do You Contribute Monthly To Your Spouse's Support?" My spouse is employed full time. What is the correct answer to box 13?

Jim's Mailbag
September 30, 2012

Jim,

I am 100% service connected and have been for 20 years, since I was 29 years old. My question is does the VA stop paying the 100% rate when a vet turns 65? I've heard the VA calculates what may have been a pension rate and pays the veteran that instead. Is there any truth to this?

Reply:

No, there's no truth to that rumor. As long as a veteran is rated at 100% she will be paid that rate.

Jim's Mailbag
September 29, 2012

Jim,

I served during the Vietnam era and honorably discharged and the only medical I can afford is the VA benefits at my local VA hospita.  My service dates were May 1960 to Sept. 1964. My medical classification is almost on the bottom of the totem pole but I used to get very good care at least twice a year and the Physician Assistant was thorough and caring.

Jim's Mailbag
July 13, 2012

Jim,

I have a question on my findings from my C&P examiner. I am at maximum rating with (2) 100% service connected P&T ratings as well as several others from 10%-50% all service connected. I also receive Aid & attendance and SMC (R) ratting.

My C&P examiner stated in the C&P exam that I have Fibromyalgia and in his opinion it was service related and service connected. The VA gave this a 0% ratting and stated it was non service connected.

Jim's Mailbag
July 13, 2012

Jim,

I am working with a friend who was a navy corpman Iraq. He is currently rated at 30% for PTSD and 10% tinitus. He was granted in Feb 2010 and appealed the decision in Apr 2010 for a higher PTSD rating. His condition has drastically worsened and I thought it might be a good idea to file for an increase. When I ran this by the VA and the VFW, I was told that he is unable to file an for an increase while there is an open apeal for the same issue. Do you agree with this?

Jim's Mailbag
July 13, 2012

Jim,

back in 2006 and 2007 I was getting 50%. In 2006 I put in a claim that was denied and I appealed it. I recently had a medical appointment and VARO approved the claim as service connected, which upped my disability back from the date of appeal to 60%. I even got a letter from VARO saying it was approved and that my percentage in 2006/2007 is 60%. In jan 2008 I received 80% with UI. So the bottom line is that VA owes me the difference between 60% a month vice 50% a month (CDRP) for the two years with 3 dependents, and it comes to a little over $5,000.

Jim's Mailbag
June 26, 2012

Jim,

How goes it? Well I'm writing of course because I have a question. I have recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My VA Neurologist has suggested I put in a claim for it seeing as it causes me many physical issues and well will only get worse as time goes on. Anyway, I have been gathering my medical records and waiting for certain tests and whatnot to come back that why I have more supporting evidence of the diagnosis of MS which should help support the claim. I have an appointment 10May with my Neuro doc to go over some tests (EEG and spinal tap) those were the last two things I was waiting on. Then I will go get my claim started.

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?