Vietnam Vet. I Have already gone thru the process of filing for a PTSD, Heart, Bi-lateral hearing & tenitus claim. I just received notice for a rating evaluation. My VFW agent has advised me to answer questions brief and concise, not to elaborate, to look and dress "down" in appearance and to present my self in a distraught mood. I am somewhat puzzeled. Why can I not simply present or state the facts, as they should stand alone? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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Is the evaluation for PTSD or something else? I have always been honest with the examiner. I have never showed up dress up, but in neat jeans and a polo shirt. I am rated for a lung disease.
Your Service Officer could be preparing you for a "Worst Case" scenario with the examiner.
You walk in, the examiner says "God morning, how are you?" Common courtesy and social norms tell you to answer "Fine, how are you?" no matter that you feel like crap...you are socially conditioned to give this answer to what you perceive as a common courtesy.
Examiner report to VA: "Patient says he is fine".
Sometimes you have to show the examiner what your condition is like at its worst..if you have a problem that requires you to take pain medication to get through the day, you might want to consider not taking it the day of the exam so the examiner can see what you have to live with at its worst, not at its best or you at your most medicated.
Do you need to do this with all examiners? Nope. I can say from experience here though that one examiner in town will give you a fair examination based on your statements, medications you take, etc and one up state (next nearest in Sandy, Utah) will give you a rushed, crap exam that seems determined to deny benefits. Luckily, the one in Sandy is well known at the VA for being crap and his exams are always thrown out, if challenged by the Vet or a SO, and a new one ordered (I don't know why QTC keeps him on)
Thank you guy's. My rating evaluation is for PTSD as was confirmed by my VA primary doc and the VA Psych doc which gave me a medical Axis score of 48 which is 70%. I mentioned my heart disease and bi-lateral hearing loss and tenitis because it is also part of the applied for claim.
Sgt. Wilk, Your comments are very similar to what my VFW representative have told me, thanks for the confirmation. I have always been one of honesty and integrity, however, I see your point in order to receive a fair rating. Thanks much. DaveThis message has been edited. Last edited by: hunter1220,
Some consideration will be given to the records from your VA Primary care and Psych, however...
The rating decision will be based on the C&P evaluation primarily. If the C&P says your GAF is higher than your Primary care says, expect them to base a decision off the higher GAF.
Frankly, plan on an appeal...hope for the best, plan for the worst. Make sure that a huge part of your appeal will be based on the information from your regular doctors who see you at your best AND worst and can give an average. The C&P examiner will see you for an hour or two at most and can not give an overall picture of your average. This is probably another reason your Service Officer advised you as he did...he has probably seen you at your low end, he wants to make sure that the C&P examiner is able to see you there also.
In regards to the Hearing loss and Tinninitus, expect to be asked what you have done for work and hobbies since you left the military...when you are talking 40 years +/- since you got out, they are going to try and pin the blame for any hearing loss on anything but your service, unless you noted them on an ETS physical.
Thanks for your input. It seems that an appeal is the norm, wow!
Regarding my hearing loss and tinitis, I have already been thru that process as well as my rating evalulation exam. It has been 4 months since the evaluation so I guess their waiting to receive this next PSTD rating to notify me, or are they totally separate?
Well, an appeal isn't always the norm, but again, hope for the best, plan for the worst.
There is nothing in the world that is more frustrating than to meet with a Vet who filed a claim years ago, was denied and never appealed.
The prime example I use for this is a WW2 Vet I worked with (Ball Turret gunner on a B-17 in 1944 in the European theater). He was initially denied a claim for PTSD in the 70's because he didn't have any awards that were stressor indicators (Purple heart, Silver Star, etc). He DID have a DFC, but that wasn't recognized as a stressor award...claim denied, no appeal filed.
When I met with him 2 years ago he brought in his medical records...including the admission and discharge papers in 1945 (after he finished his Tour in Europe) from a military hospital for "Combat Fatigue". Right there was evidence he never submitted for his claim that proved his PTSD (known as Combat Fatigue in WW2). If he had been working with a Service Officer and had appealed the denial he would have had a rating 30 years ago.
In reagrds to the claims process, generally if the claims were filed together they will be rated together (probably because of the combined rating table). Its very rare to see them rate one part of a claim unless there is going to be a fairly long wait before they can rate the other portion, although stranger things have happened.
Your illustrative true stories are great, it really puts things in perspective for me. Its a shame that so many fellow vets have not received their due benefits because of getting frustrated and not appealing.
I am new to the forum and am grateful for the help and insight provided. I have read many other postings which have also been helpful.
I intend on checking out the Home Page some more, as well as the other info available.
There are many vets who filed claims that were denied. Frustrated, they became more cynical to the point that they did not trust the govt at all!(typical with Vietnam vets). However, with the urging of friends, family or fellow vets who knew what was happening explained that initial denials and the appeals process were part of the game... and if for whatever reason it discouraged them from continuing on, then the govt always wins while he or she, loses!
It's always great that vets on this site as well as others, posts their comments and expertise so vets like I spoke of will not feel hopeless!This message has been edited. Last edited by: ohana10,
Apologies if this question has been asked previously...
I have two C&P exams scheduled this month for back, foot, hip and knee(s) conditions. Both knees are service connected, surgically altered, have pins and are riddled with arthritis; causing me to lean heavily on my right side. I use a cane and VA supplied knee braces. During my last C&P the examining nurse goaded me into extending my range of motion by saying things like "I'm sure that you can go a little bit further. Come on give it a try." I asked her if she wanted me to move the joint in question as far as I could even if it hurt and she said yes. Well I did so to my detriment since she wrote that I had full range of motion. And mistakenly I took my usual pain medications thus allowing myself an extended, abnormal range of motion.
My question is should I be the sole judge of how far I can move my body parts without pain? Do I alone decide when to stop the movement because it hurts? Pain measurement is subjective. I was advised that during the exam I should mentally put myself into my worst day in terms of pain / range of motion; not doing anything that I could not do on my worst day.
Can anyone offer any advice on how to handle this? For example, if my normal range of motion for my right knee flexion is 20 degrees but on C&P day I feel like I can squeeze it to 30 degrees should I stop at 20 degrees because that is normal? My view is that as a VA employee the C&P examiner is not inclined to give me the benefit of any doubt. Thanks.
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