Alright Marines, here's the scoop. Earlier this year I was med-boarded and retired. While I was still active duty, I had my VA physical where I noted I was having shoulder problems, the VA simply took an x-ray and listed it as mild tendonitis. However, I have the documentation from the orthopedic department at the Navy Medical Center San Diego, and of course the pre and post surgical notes from my surgeon stating that I had extensive damage to my shoulder which resulted in major surgery. During my surgical recovery, I submitted the paperwork to the VA to ensure my claims would be covered and they would recognize that my "tendonitis" was much worse.
So, today I get some paperwork in the mail and the VA still views it as mild tendonitis. Apparently the 4 screws in my arm and the reduced range of motion and a complete orthopedic workup from a Navy doc don't mean squat to the VA.
Here's where I'm kind of lost. I'm not asking that my disability ratings be changed or anything, I just want the VA records to reflect my actual records so that if down the road my shoulder gives out again that I'm covered. The shoulder injury was service connected and of course fixed by Navy doctors. I'm starting to get an inkling of why the VA is such a headache... Thanks in advance Marines.
I'd recommend that you also post this under VETERANS ISSUES on the Military.com forums.
I have asked a few questions over there and gotten satisfactory answers.
|"A Marine on duty has no friends."|
If service connected by VA you should be "covered".
If VA says it is service connected, what is the problem?
You should read some regs to get spun up on the VA. It may help you later down the road.
The problem isn't that the VA doesn't see it as service connected, I just want to ensure that the VA sees it as the correct issue. Obviously I wouldn't have required the surgery I got for something simple like tendonitis, which is why I sent off copies of all my surgical notes to the VA.
When I had my first post-retirement physical at the La Jolla VA Hospital, my doctor was shocked to see the inconsistencies between my VA medical record and what was sitting in front of her.
Again, just trying to cover my azz.
You do still have copies of everything right.
Contact you County Service rep, They know how to deal with the VA. It can be a pain. If you cannot find the County service rep you may need to use a service like the DAV. But I do not reccomend them as I have not had good luck even contacting them.
|Vietnam Marine Tanker|
I too would seek out your county's VA representative.
You may or may not know that every state has its own way of dealing with VA issues and every state has their own VA system. Also every state has state-paid County VA Reps for just about every county. Some of these people are pretty effective...while most are simply government-paid beuracrats. Unfortunately the one that I have to deal with in my county is not much better than the DAV, VFW or MCL reps. They do a great job shuffling paper but they tend to get little or no substantial results.
REMEMBER: The VA is not your friend. You have to watch out for yourself. Keeping up on your personal issue is the name of the game. The VA wants you to give up...the less vets that they have to deal with, the better they think that they are doing. The less money that they have to spend is a good thing to them.
Dealing with the VA can be a pain in the ass, and dealing with Vet Reps can almost be as big of a pain in the ass. I found when I was going through the process of being med boarded that you have to essentially interview your vet rep. It's alot easier process when you like your vet rep. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Vet Reps who are terrible at their job.
If you plan on going with a county rep, ask to speak with the director. They usually know what they are talking about. I started with AMVETS and my vet rep was awesome. Once he retired I went with my county rep, due to the fact that his replacement was never in the office.
I have been fighting them since 1992 on my shoulder injury. I have made lttle progess. But I will say they are better today than in the 90s. Don't give up.
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