Thanks Dave, I am currently at 60% witht he VA. 30% Anxiety disorder, 20% arthritis (10% each Knee), and 10% Fluid on the Brain. With SSDI I am 100% with the Anxiety disorder alone.
So must have 40%, takes me out from that also.
I currently have arthritis from the neck down with the exception of my hips, and they have signs of starting now. This has started after I was discharged, so they are not currently sevice Connected, but One Civilain DOctor has related them to be caused by a Service Connected Disability, (Fluid on the Brain) but I can not get the VA Doctors to see it that way.. Next month I should be getting a second Opinion, Moving to a different VA Hospital, due to my current move. TO a VA not many know of. Manila Philippines.
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I have known several retirees who went to that VAMC in Manila, all said it was good. However my last contact was with a fellow VSO by the name of Lewis (his last name slips my memory), in 1994 or so.
The key thing when visiting the VA doctors stay focused on your service connected conditions. Keep linking your symptoms to the service connected conditions. If the VA rating specialists view the problem related to a non service connected condition, they will deny your claim.
Men most often minimize their symptoms. The macho stuff needs to be left at home when you go to the doctor. When asked the question "how are you today?" Don't say fine, or OK, state clearly "my service connected _____ condition is worse, the pain is worse, jabbing, numbing" or words to that effect. Relate the problem to your SC disability. The doctor only knows what you tell, they do not automatically see the pain. Use words such as pain, never use the word discomfort. I have watched many a doctor breeze by the word discomfort.
If you look at a VA pain chart with the smiley faces, you will see the frown does not begin until a 6. If you have pain it must be at least 6! Otherwise it is not pain (a frown). Make sure the provider logs the correct score. I review these charts with my clients and they are often stunned to see the provider listed a 3. On 4 and higher a form needs to be completed by the provider, many feel they don't have time to do.
Make a list of your service connected conditions before you visit the doctor. On that list, put your symptoms under each of your SC disabilities. While seeing the doctor use the list, you are allowed notes. As it used to be said on a TV commercial by Karl Malden, "don't leave home without it!"
What I am trying to say my Non service connected is caused by a service connected.
The Fluid id pressed up against a nerve that causes me to walk in the incorrect gate. This wearing out my joints. Reason being my feet first (93), then my knees in 94 went bad on me. Since everything from the neck down.
That is exactly what I did. I was medically discharged in 84 as and E-6 with Reiter' sydrom which can cause degenerative disc disease so the docs at the va said it did and rated me last year at 60% for that and 30% for depression associated with it.
I had the appointment the other day and I had pain all over and could not bend over or turn which was worse than last year. Then I went to the shrink and he said I was very mean and boring. My wife is now on depression meds cuz of my depression and the doc noted all of that and it was the same doc as last year.
Hopefully I will get rated higher. I am now a total of 70% but 100% IU but want to get to 100% rated. I think with all these guys coming back from IRAQ most with have PDSS and I don't want to get kicked out of my disability payments since that is all I rely on since I can not work.
I gave up making 200K per year before I got sick so I can not go back to work at all and I am always on morpine and always in pain
RM, Do not give up.
I prefer to work, but since I can not I need to be able to support my self and my future family.
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Make sure you relate that information to your doctor.
Q; Can you work with a VA rating of 100%?
A: It depends on how you get to 100%.
If you are rated 100% for a single or for various disabilities then working will not have an impact unless any of your ratings are based on your ability to work. For example, migraines which has a 50% rating if the headaches cause severe economic inadaptability. Working tends to prove otherwise.
If you are rated 100% for unemployability, then you cannot have substatial employment, however they define that.
100% UI can be applied for if you have a single condition that rates 60% or multiple conditions that rate 70% provided one of these conditions rates 40% by itself.
No Plan's to do that. I am still 70% but 100% un-employable at this time. Just looking to go to 100% rated. For peace of mind at least. No plans on working and can not work... I am 53 so it only gets worse with DDD
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Sorry, Mike and Dave,
I disagree. Granted, I'm not a VSO, but I am the Eligibility Clerk at the VA where I work, so I do have a bit of experience with these things. Here's the way I see it: You can apply for IU if you are at 60%SC and at least one of your service-connected conditions is at 40% or higher. If you are 70% or higher, no other "qualifying" percentage needs to be considered.
Also, someone above asked about re-opening his case when he's already at 70% with IU. This means you are already drawing 100% money even though you are only rated combined or overall at 70% (yeh, I know, semantics here.) My advice (and I've heard others say this, as well) is that each time you open your case you give big VA another chance to look at what has already been done and you, therefore, give them a chance to reduce something already rated higher. I believe there is nothing to be gained by trying to upgade a particular condition to 100% by itself if you are already drawing 100% overall or combined. There's no money increase, no prestige, no fancy words are added to your Veterans Identification Card (VIC), etc. Why risk it?
Another note: Many a time a vet has come to my office and told me something like, "I just saw my PCP and he said I'm not 100%. What the h*** is going on here? I've been 100% for many years!" (Usually said in an angry, loud voice.) There is a difference between being rated at an overall or combined percentage and being PAID at the 100% rate. Many, many VA award letters will explicitly state; "You are rated at 80% combined or overall." Then later say, "Because you are considered to be unable to work there will be no future appointments." And/Or: "Your dependents are eligible for Basic Educational Assistance." Admittedly, there is a lot of confusion in this area but I always try to get the veteran to understand it is semantics, i.e., both legs are not the same. "Combined or overall" means your schedular number; "no future appointments" means you are considered to be "Permanent and Totally disabled." "Basic Educational Assistance" means you are "Permanent and Totally Disabled." "Because you are no longer able to work" means you are "Individually Unemployable." No matter what your SC percentage (60, 70, 80, or 90) if it says Permanent and Total or Individually Unemployable you are going to be paid at the 100% RATE even though you could still be combined or overall at only 60, 70, 80 or 90%.
And one more note: If you want to know the exact conditions that apply for a veteran to be given a certain percentage for a certain condition, go to 38 CFR and find out what it says. Then if you later on wonder if you can get an upgrade to the next level look at it again. It will tell you exactly what conditions must be met in order for a certain percentage to apply.
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Sorry you disagree, I am positive of my statement. You need to read the regulations again. In order to get individual unemployability with 60%, your disability must be rated 60% (from the same etiology) and prevent you from working. If you are service connected at 70% your conditions must be the reason you are individual unemployable.
Examples: from the same etiology a veteran is service connected at 20% for diabetes mellitus, 20% for peripheral neuropathy lower extremities, 20% for peripheral neuropathy upper extremities, plus 10% for diabetic neuropathy, using VA math is 60%. However they are of the same etiology the diabetes condition. So that rating is considered one condition, a veteran may be 60% service connected and still denied IU, based on the non service connected issues, in the opinion of the rating specialist are more disabling than the SC issues, a veteran may also be 70% service connected and denied IU, based on the non service connected issues, in the opinion of the rating specialist are more disabling than the SC issues.
Annually I do 20 to 40 BVA hearings and win almost all of them. When a veteran is denied IU, it is going to be appealed almost every time. The exception is when it is obvious, the non service condition total disability, pre-existed the issue of IU. I have yet to have a Veterans Law Judge, rule against the veteran in a case of that nature.
So like you, I also have a bit of experience with these things.
I am not here to debate CFR 38. I give my opinion based on my experiences, my record speaks for itself.This message has been edited. Last edited by: DaveBarker,
Hey everybody, don't forget about "extra-schedular" ratings for IU. (38 C.F.R. 3.321: I think, I'm trying to recall it from memory, and therefore might be a little off) I know a guy with IU that has a 10-percent disability rating based on an extra-schedular rating. ALTHOUGH, THAT IS VERY RARE.
Here is what VASRD 4.16 states:
§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual.
(a) Total disability ratings for compensation may be assigned, where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities: Provided That, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, and that, if there are two or more disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. .......
Bear in mind UI provisions are VA policy, not law so it could change with a mere change in policy.
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It is Individual Unemployability or IU.
You are quoting a part of a regulation. I will repeat the above segment:
"In order to get individual unemployability with 60%, your disability must be rated 60% (from the same etiology) and prevent you from working. If you are service connected at 70% your conditions must be the reason you are individual unemployable.
Examples: from the same etiology a veteran is service connected at 20% for diabetes mellitus, 20% for peripheral neuropathy lower extremities, 20% for peripheral neuropathy upper extremities, plus 10% for diabetic neuropathy, using VA math is 60%. However they are of the same etiology the diabetes condition. So that rating is considered one condition, a veteran may be 60% service connected and still denied IU, based on the non service connected issues, in the opinion of the rating specialist are more disabling than the SC issues, a veteran may also be 70% service connected and denied IU, based on the non service connected issues, in the opinion of the rating specialist are more disabling than the SC issues."
Bear in mind UI provisions are VA policy, not law so it could change with a mere change in policy.[/QUOTE]
You are incorrect. Regulations are administrative law authorized under the executive branch, and subject to judicial reveiw. Also 38 USC 1155 states in part: "The ratings shall be based, as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations." See also 38 USC 1163. These statutes could be said to codify IU regulations. Therefore, eliminating them would be violating statutory right . . . as passed by congress, and therefore outside the jurisdiction of VA.
Mr. Barker is absolutely correct in his analysis of the IU regs, the issue is so rock solid, there is no room for debate regarding the schedular requirements. . . Except for extra-schedular, that is.
Dave, How does someone go about getting a "reduction" in their 100% if at least one of their disabilities has shown some improvement? This disability would affect the percentage to drop below a 100% to about 80 or 90%. Before I received a 100% the VA wanted to give me the IU rating but I refused it because I felt that I could get back into the work force someday. I have a combined rating with one disability being 50%, another being 60% and several 20% and 10%. The 60% has shown some improvement recently and I want to have it removed. I just don't know how to go about it.
Thanks for what ever info you can provide me with.
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After you discuss with your medical provider your condition has in your opinion improved, you need to advise the VA in writing, of the improvement. By submitting a copy of the progress note showing improvement, you will assist the VA in speedy processing your request for reduction. It is important to remember that the rating schedule determines the percentage, not how you feel physically.
In reference to my policy v. law remark:
As I understand it, legislative law does not specifically codify the percentages and policies used to determine UI. The VA has determined these provisions under their authority as an executive agent implementing the law (administrative law). Tomorrow they could decide 90% or 10% is the right level for established UI percentages. Yes, there would be gnashing of teeth and no doubt court cases leading to court rulings (judicial law).
This issue has come up in VDBC in the past due to the expansion in the number of UI cases. The UI provision could be low hanging fruit for anyone wanting to quickly reduce VA expenditures as no change in legislative law is required. I am sure any change would be challenged and most likely rectified in Congress and/or the Courts.
I have seen DoD do this many times to reduce Title 10 disability benefits:
It was DoD, not Title 10, that determined that only conditions DoD/Services determined unfitting have to be rated.
It was DoD, not Title 10, that determined DoD/Services could "redefine/interpret" established criteria of VASRD to lower ratings. Narcolepsy, for example.
It was DoD, not Title 10, that determined numerous conditions, to include certain forms of anemias and mental disorders, were not to be considered service connected disabilities and thus not compensated. Such individuals are adminstratively separated if found unfit.
It was DoD, not Title 10, that determined many disabilities with genetic components would be treated as EPTS conditions even if they did not manifest prior to entry.
Without going into a debate on each topic . . . DoD establish "instructons" (DoDI) that each service then uses to establish thier own regs. But the bottom line is that if any of those instructions have limited or narrowed the scope of the statute (title 10) then the DoD would lose in Court. For example, title 10 binds the DOD to follow the rating schedule (VASRD); if DoD determines that a condition is unfitting, it must rate that condition in accordance with the VASRD. I'm not saying it follows that rule. They usually get away with bending the hell out of the law. But part of that is because the military disability system is set up to intimidate young service men and wemon and damn near make it impossible to take a military ruling all the way to federal court. But if one could take the right case all the way to the federal circut, DoD would get its "you know what" handed to the by the court. You would see DoD regs being invalidated left and right. Nobody can over rule the statute, but it will never be addressed properly until presented properly.
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