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  #1  
Old 7 December 2018, 19:34
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Degenerative disc disease (hip)

I just received my VA decision on the OP title. 20%. I'm curious if this is a typical rate. My injury was very severe. Thanks in advance for your advice.
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  #2  
Old 7 December 2018, 20:49
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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ramz,
While on a/d and it was between two physicals, between 1993 and 1997 I lost over an inch and a half in height. The military Docs Dx said DDD associated with repetitive mechanical trauma most likely caused by airborne duties. (In fact, jumping had little to do with it, static line landings are a bitch. ).
VA didn't even open my medical jacket and originally rated everything "0" with a "gift" of a 10% rating.
VA lowballed everything so I appealed. With what was in my records the appeal resulted in my cervical with herniated disc at C-5/6 with discectomy and fusion (and radiculopathy bilaterally), ended up rated at 30%. Thoracic spine with stenosis and 3 bulging discs, got a rating of 10%. Lumbar spine with 2 fractures in the record associated with jumps and the sciatica bilaterally and stenosis and a bulging disc, came back as 60%.
My humble suggestion is to get in the VA web site, read Schedule IV rating disabilities and find in that what all you suffer from as the result of DDD; and then appeal. VA is difficult to deal with, but if your Doc has documented in your records what all you suffer from after all those years, VA will have to deal with what you claim.
Again, the neuropathy secondary to your DDD down your arms and legs is a bitch, and VA won't rate it until you claim it. VA has a duty to infer, to assist. and to develop issues, but they rarely do what the law requires.
You got to lead the horse to water, and make him drink it. get a good VSO and appeal.
v/r
fkl
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Old 7 December 2018, 21:01
Steve788 Steve788 is offline
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I've got DDD, rated at 0%.
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Old 7 December 2018, 21:12
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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The best way to get a decent rating is on "incapacitating episodes". Has to be bed rest, Dr ordered. If you get jacked up like I do, go to your doc, have him put you on bed rest. It's difficult to get a decent rating on ROM alone. Don't waste time getting notes putting you off work. They don't give a shit if you miss work. No "bed rest" no dice.
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Old 7 December 2018, 22:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
VA has a duty to infer, to assist. and to develop issues, but they rarely do what the law requires.
fkl
So F'ing true. My settlement was the appeal. My VSO filed it under Duty to Assist. This is a powerful process for claims where documentation is scarce.

38 CFR 21.1032 spells out the rule fairly well.
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  #6  
Old 8 December 2018, 12:59
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gsniper View Post
The best way to get a decent rating is on "incapacitating episodes". Has to be bed rest, Dr ordered. If you get jacked up like I do, go to your doc, have him put you on bed rest. It's difficult to get a decent rating on ROM alone. Don't waste time getting notes putting you off work. They don't give a shit if you miss work. No "bed rest" no dice.
Another option is to present VA with objective evidence in the form of nerve studies documenting neuropathy secondary to the DDD. Whether that goes down one or both legs (sciatica) or the arms (sometimes as radiculopathy) the neuro complications can be rated (easier in my opinion) than incapacitating back episodes. My back surgeon (a civilian) laughed when I showed him the VA criteria for backs, he said the only time he prescribes bed rest is when a patient is in traction or on a ventilator.
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Old 8 December 2018, 13:06
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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You are correct FKL. What I did was took in the criteria to my civvie PCP, explained to her that all the surgeries and shots and being off work made no difference, what I needed when I got down was to be prescribed bedrest and she worked with me on it. It's pretty shitty it has to be done this way, but it's their game and their rules. Your back MRI can look like a jigsaw puzzle, you can miss weeks of work, etc and they don't give a shit. ROM or bedrest.
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Old 8 December 2018, 18:44
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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After I retired from the Army as a JAG I went to work for an Attorney Generals Office as a MEDICARE fraud investigator. I was in and out of public assistance offices all the time. What really gets me, is that the VA has claims examiners that say "no" and a system of 600 VA lawyers to fight the Vet tooth and nail.

I saw people apply for public assistance, and the people at the desk would counsel the claimant, we'll get you food stamps (now called SNAP), we'll sign you up for section 8 housing, here is your MEDICAID application, here is your application for training, here you can get assistance with day care, we can get you a cell phone subsidy …. and it would continue.
Vets who served the nation have to figure out how to navigate the VA and get rated for combat wounds and injuries in service; public assistance applicants got a silver platter and claims examiners that asked what can we do to make your life easy? The system is upside down.
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  #9  
Old 8 December 2018, 19:18
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I volunteer a lot and I've been horrified by the number of Vets here on EBT cards (cash and food stamps). I'm glad they are getting help but service-connected veterans in that shape is a terrible thing.
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Old 12 December 2018, 15:56
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gsniper View Post
The best way to get a decent rating is on "incapacitating episodes". Has to be bed rest, Dr ordered.... They don't give a shit if you miss work. No "bed rest" no dice.
Today I was in the exam room waiting for my oncologist. There was a book on the desk, "Classic Anthology of Anatomical Charts, 7th Ed. Vol. II Pathology (c) 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health.

I am reading the section Treatment and Management of issues associated with back pain and read, "Physical activity; staying in bed can make back pain worse and weaken muscles." I am with my cancer specialist so when we are done, I ask the Dr about the treatment and he said bed rest is the worst thing you can do for a bad back.

Now why do you suppose that when it comes to rating your back, the VA demands you get bed rest prescribed?
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  #11  
Old 12 December 2018, 17:09
Devildoc Devildoc is offline
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Can I go to the VA (which is across the street from the hospital in which I work)? Yes. Will I? No. Emphatic.

@Fu King Lawyer, I have my mits in the back pain/ortho/treatment world, yes, bed rest and inactivity are very outdated recommendations.

FWIW, many of our attendings are on staff at the VA, they say they have to leave the 21st century behind when they cross the street because the VA is consistently 25 years behind.
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  #12  
Old 12 December 2018, 18:09
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Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
Another option is to present VA with objective evidence in the form of nerve studies documenting neuropathy secondary to the DDD. Whether that goes down one or both legs (sciatica) or the arms (sometimes as radiculopathy) the neuro complications can be rated (easier in my opinion) than incapacitating back episodes. My back surgeon (a civilian) laughed when I showed him the VA criteria for backs, he said the only time he prescribes bed rest is when a patient is in traction or on a ventilator.
It's a high possibility that guys who were denied a claim even with documented, bad injuries on .mil time, were also diabetic and had neuropothy. So the C&P doc's write ups can give the old "the neuropathy is just as likely to have been cause by the diabetes as it was the DDD", or words to that affect. Being Type 2 diabetic can screw up a body pretty badly. Any chance the VA gets to assign diabetes as the problem they will, as it also carries a huge amount of secondary issues.

Bed rest is horrible. Hell, even on the occasional lazy weekend if I lay down too long the atrophy starts giving me a backache!
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  #13  
Old 12 December 2018, 19:23
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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[QUOTE=ramzmedic;1058768122], were also diabetic and had neuropothy. So the C&P doc's write ups can give the old "the neuropathy is just as likely to have been cause by the diabetes as it was the DDD", or words to that affect. Being Type 2 diabetic can screw up a body pretty badly.

Raz, If you got a VSM and can prove "boots on ground", type II is Agent Orange presumptive. "F" the VA and their likely as not. fkl
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  #14  
Old 12 December 2018, 21:47
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Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
Today I was in the exam room waiting for my oncologist.
Im hoping it was as routine as last week, and that everything is GTG...
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Old 12 December 2018, 22:09
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Im hoping it was as routine as last week, and that everything is GTG...

PM inbound....
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  #16  
Old 15 December 2018, 10:39
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My DDD is between my L4-L5 and into my coccyx (service connected injury). The VA has me at a combined rating of 60% (back, hearing, other). The back has gotten progressively worse, and the epidurals have increased in frequency. I filed for an increase last July, and the expected date of case closure was Nov. :roll eyes: That's when they scheduled the first stenosis/radiculopathy/atrophy review. Still waiting on a reply.
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