VA Disability

Posted on July 18, 2010

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The Veteran’s Affair’s disability Rating system has been a joke for many years. The program is sound but the execution is pathetic. First example: I have two friends. One was driving a jeep in Hawaii when it overturned and busted up his arm. When he left the service he put in for VA disability because he can no longer fully straighten out his arm. Since he was on active duty and since the accident happened while performing his duties he was awarded 50% disability. My other friend, while serving in Vietnam was shot three times in his arm. He was reclassified into another career field and continued his service until he retire. Once retired he put in for VA disability because he too could no longer fully straighten out his arm. Since he was on active duty (in Vietnam) and performing his duties (In a fire fight with the enemy) he too was awarded VA disability. Only he received 10%. Both men received the injuries in the same arm (Left) and both had the same amount of flexation in that arm. The difference is man number one received his disability rating through the VA Regional Office in Louisville, Kentucky and man number two received his disability rating through the St. Louis, Missouri Regional Office.

Example number two: While I was working at the VA Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky I noticed a young lady standing in line waiting to be checked in to see her doctor and she was crying. I walked over to her and asked what was wrong. Her sister turned to me and said she get extremely nervous when she gets around this many people.  I walked around the counter and got her records and sent them on their way. I told them from now on when they come in let me know and I’ll get the records and they won’t have to wait. I also asked what was wrong since this young lady didn’t talk. Her sister explained to me that while her sister was on active duty she was raped in the shower and had her head beat into the floor until she passed out.  I found out she was getting 60% disability (which back then was about $600.00 a month). She had one son and her husband left her when she started having seizures. I asked if it would be alright if I got a copy of her records to see what I might be able to do. The VA had based its decision on the fact that she was on birth control pills when she started having seizures and it was the birth control pills and not the slamming of her in on the concrete floor that caused the seizures to start. After studying the records, I saw that she was 5 months pregnant when the seizures started. She hadn’t been on birth control pills for over year. I redid her paperwork, got medical documentation for her Neurologist and refiled her claim. She is now 100% disabled.

Example number three: A young lady while in the service received an overdose of medication (at about the age of 22) which caused her to have a complete hysterectomy at about age 27. On the outside, she would have been able to sue her doctor and receive a large settlement. No so in the Army. Once out of the service she put in for disability for the fact that she could not bare children and because the lack of hormones was wreaking havoc on her. The VA decided that the lack of hormones would only cause her hair to lose color. They based this on a 1933 article in a medical Journal. Upon many hours of research the correct answer was found in the modern day medical journals. Her appeal was sent in. The VA Regional Office in Louisville turned her down. We appealed and went to Washington, DC. We went before the board and when it rendered its decision she was awarded 60%.

Fighting the VA Disability system is nothing new. You only have to do your homework first. When you go in for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) physical you must tell the clerk where you check in that you want as copy of the physical sent to your home address. Fill out the form and wait. When you receive the VA’s decision, if it is not what you think it should be then: Pick up your copy of the physical. Number every page and highlight the numbers. When you see something that they said that you don’t agree with, go through the physical and see if the doctor agrees with you or them. If he agrees with you then put a letter along side of each paragraph on that page. Then number each sentence. Highlight the doctor’s statement. When you write up your appeal put down on page number 7 paragraph C line 6-8 beginning with the word (The) and ending with the word (Opinion). This way you are disputing their decision with their doctors own words. An example is when they say your PTSD is only worth a disability rating of 30% because there is no reason you can’t get a job but in  the physical on page 3 paragraph C line 5 the doctor states that you are unable to communicate with others and you suffer from severe panic attacks and flashbacks, you have proven them wrong with their own doctor’s words not just yours.

I think one of the dumbest thing I ever heard was when a VA official told me that women in Iraq and Afghanistan were not eligible to PTSD claims because they didn’t serve in combat units. IED’s, Rockets, car bombs and the horror of working in surgical facilities were not limited to combat troops.

I am not a Service Representative. I have helped over 20 people win disability claims. The majority of them received the maximum of 100%. I recommend a lot of people to the AMVETS  in this area. The man who works at the AMVETSs in Louisville, Kentucky is the best. Choose whatever service rep you want if you don’t think you can do your own. DON’T try to do your own if you are not completely confident in yourself. Never ever give up. You must appeal all rejections. Giving up should never be an option.

When choosing a Service Organization Representative be careful and check them out. This may have only happened to me but upon retiring from the Army my wife and I joined the Disable Veterans of America (Dav) as lifetime members. My wife had an appeal going before the Board in Washington. On the Thursday before we were to be there on Monday we got a call from the AMVETS saying they would be representing her. When we told them that the DAV was our organization they said the DAV turned down your case. The AMVETs man said there wasn’t any need of us showing up because we didn’t have a chance to win. When asked why he said well these two pages on your case are really no good. I asked him to tell me the page number at the bottom of each page. The first was the cover sheet and the second page had the  number 22 at the bottom. I said well doesn’t that tell someone that 21 pages are missing. The I asked him how many attachments were listed in the last page. He sai 34. I said well don’t that tell someone that 34 attachments are missing. Come to find out the Louisville, Kentucky Regional Office only forwarded two pages to the board. We faxed the rest and went to Washington. While my wife was talking to the AMVET people, I walked over to the DAV Office and I asked them Why since we were life members are they not representing us. I was told that they only represent the case they want to represent whether you’re a life member of not. Meaning they only represent the cases they are sure they win so their winning percentage looks good. I know a lot of Veterans who use the DAV and are totally happy with them. It’s all up to you.

In Vietnam and I am sure it was the same way in Korea, the incoming rockets never once decided where to land based on whether a women was in that specific area or not. From experience, no on will ever be able to convince me that the Nurses, Doctors and other medical staff that saw the wounded come in day after day do not suffer from some amount of PTSD.

 
Bill Frazer
Bill FrazerJuly 18, 2010 at 3:37pm
Subject: VA
I agree with your message. I crashed a helicopter in Vietnam. I was never examined, but I have full records of the “major” crash which also mentioned the injury to my back and shoulder. I flew for four more months until my DEROS barely able to walk.

When I landed in Oakland I had orders for FT Hood, Operation Bootstrap to get my college degree while still in the Army, and early promotion to CW3 signed by Gen. Casey (By then deceased). However, I got caught in a 60 day window that threw me out of the Army for being a Warrant without having two years of college. I was offered 60% disability on the spot, still without any physical. But when I got home four days later, out of the Army and out of work, a letter from the VA was already waiting for me which said I had “No basis for a claim”. I was never advised of my VA rights when released so I figured I just got screwed like so many other Vietnam Vets and thought I had no recourse.

Many years later I found out I could appeal the decision so I started my paper work about five years ago. The Waco, Texas office denied my claim even with tons of evidence plus at least 25 years of doctors records. I appealed and after delaying as long as possible my case went to Washington who told Waco they couldn’t deny me with such overwhelming evidence. Waco stalled again, but finally gave me 10% although I can’t even get out of bed in the morning without help from my wife.

I filed another protest and also added my loss of hearing which is documented, and skin cancer that I’ve had to have removed in several places on my face. Also I have tenitists (ringing in my ears).

My MRI and X-rays, which the VA will not even look at shows old wounds to my back which include a crushed disk that has fused to another, a fractured disc, two disc pushed out of place and up against my spinal cord, and a herniated disc, along with two fractured hips that healed on their own. The back is such a mess that two orthopedic surgeons have said they can do nothing for me. Any operation will probably paralyze me and still not relieve the pain so they just keep giving me stronger pain pills.

The final insult was when after explaining to the VA that I had never been examined by any Army doctors they now want to say that I have no medical documentation in my Army records as proof of the damage to my back.

Waco, Texas is known as the absolute worse office for VA claims.

Bill Frazer

 
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