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Old 6 December 2016, 09:35
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Using Good Descriptors When Getting Evaluated For Your Claim

I wanted to start a thread for this as it is of the utmost importance, and so it doesn't get lost in the other threads. I hope some of the others who are more knowledgeable and up-to-date, such as Fu King Lawyer, Stopp700 and others will weigh in on the importance of this.

The quoted portion is from another thread in this forum to save me a bit of typing. You should be the most interested and diligent person where your claim is concerned, don't expect a VSO, rater, or any other person to care more than you do about getting this process completed properly. In terms of the quote below, this would apply to sending a letter in with your claim along with viable medical articles that back it up, and any other 3rd party evidence to help bolster your claims. The people looking at your file will only see what's in front of them and aren't going to take the time to daydream about what it was like to be a ground pounding grunt, they will only see you as what is written and base their decisions on such.

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So, now they have a case laid before them with ample evidence, to include MRI, x-ray, myelograms, and other documentation not through the VA. However, some of the raters were never in the military, so for me to simply put 11B1P as my occupation means nothing to them in reality. It doesn't mean much more if they were to look it up and it said Airborne Infantry. What does mean something to a rater is to put it in real terms for them, such as impacting the ground at 17 feet per second, wearing X amount of poundage, fast-roping descriptions like hitting the ground running in full gear after sliding down a rope that is X feet long, etc.

Putting things in real terms they can put a mental picture with will help a case, including articles that state specific cause and effect related to your claim, and any other evidence. We are trained to take a nuts and bolts approach where checking the boxes and filling out paperwork is concerned, but in these instances you need to be your own Louis L'Amour when it comes to helping the rater understand a day in the life of what caused your x-rays to look like a bucket of Tinker Toys in a bowling alley nursery.
The beginning of the descriptors comes when you are getting your physical evaluation. Don't simply say "my heel hurts when I put all my weight on it", because pain as we know is relative to the individual experiencing it. What does make a difference is to say (and they will put what you say in your file, so remember this) "It feels like someone is shoving a red hot ice-pick up through the bottom of my heel and right into the bone whenever I attempt to put my full weight on it." One of those statements gives the impression you have some sort of boo boo that some Icy Hot might fix, the other screams that you have a major issue that is causing a disruption in your way of life.

This is not the time to show what a tough guy you are, you've already done that which is most likely why you are sitting in the exam room. Be totally honest about your pain, and if they are having you do something that is bringing tears to your eyes then don't hide it. They will be making you do a host of range-of-motion exercises and other things to evaluate you, let them know as soon as it hurts, this is what the rater is going to see in front of them, and if the NP doesn't put it in your file, then you can limp home and wonder why it wasn't included in your file when it gets updated.
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Old 6 December 2016, 11:38
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Another thing (and I am in now way saying to game the system).
Don't take pain meds before your C&P exam, like Headshot said, they will be testing range of motion and looking for evidence of pain (facial expression changing, wincing, etc.etc.) If you take pain meds before the exam it may mask when the motion truly begins to hurt and this will effect your rating since joint injuries (knees,hips, ankles and the back) are rated on limitation of the range of motion.
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Old 6 December 2016, 12:16
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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May I add?

1. Get a couple copies of your service medical records before you get out. One copy to work with - another in a safe place for when everything is lost/destroyed/effed up.
2. Before you get out, get to sick call and list in your records all the stuff that happened while you were deployed (or at Ranger school!) and didn't get into your records because you gutted it out and didn't go to sick call or the records didn't get forwarded back to the TMC.
3. Each time you do a military physical, list everything in the history questions to include pain and swelling, even if it isn't reflected elsewhere.

The above is critical, because as you get old, the arthritis, cancer, ruptures are going to happen, and you need to establish a nexus to the event where you initially got hurt back in the military. There are exceptions, such as Agent Orange presumptive condition - but it is foolish to bet things will turn our for the best.

When you go for an exam: Don't take in a pile of records. The examiner won't look at them. Don't expect the examiner to have read your medical records jacket (that was supposed to be forwarded by the Regional Office) before your exam.

When I experienced that the examiners didn't care, I adopted a "Rule of 3" for the exams. By the 3s I mean is, for a claimed issue that warranted service connection, I brought in 3 pieces of paper. First one was a copy of the treatment record for the event in service.

When the Doc said, for instance, you are here for cervical spine, I would sort of wrinkle my brow, look at one of the pages I brought I and say, "Yes Doc. I had a twisted parachute and my chin got pushed violently into my chest. It isn't in my SMJ because I gutted it out, but for 6 months I had this tingling into both of my arms, and on November 1990 I was sent in by the Battalion Surgeon for an X-ray and the history is on the referral". Generally the Doc would ask if I mined showing him the single piece of paper and I would.
I then explained that the symptoms continued to worsen and that nerve studies showed atrophy in both of my arms and shoulders. He didn't ask to look at the nerve study but had me remove my shirt and visually examined me. I then told him in May 2007 I had to undergo a discectomy and fusion. He didn't look at the op report, but sent me down to X-ray and verified the plate/screws and my fusion. We didn't even go thru the range of motion - he determined s/c and a rate and I got the letter from the VA about 4 months later.

If you don't have the event in your records, but you were injured in combat, your CAR, CIB, CMB, BSM, etc., goes a long way to explain why the event wasn't posted and your official statement (and it helps if you get a buddy who was there to provide a statement) to establishing the initial injury/illness. But you will still need a nexus to what you suffer from now.

If you are already s/c for an injury and seek a new rating, I still suggest using "The Rule of 3". No more than 3 pages. If you are seen by a VA physician, the VA examiner is going to go off of your VA treatment records. You don't need to follow the rule. But if you have (a real Doctor), bring in a copy of your MRI, nerve study, treatment notes, letter from your provider - or whatever, but don't bring in a lot of paper. What seems to work: I tell him, "Doctor, my primary care physician says what I have is called this (pointing to you Doctor's letter wit diagnosis)" and the examiner will generally read the letter. At that point, my Doctor had me go to specialist (or other exam) and they said this (next page).

Along with accurate descriptions of symptoms as cited by Headshot, I always detected the VA examiners were loathe to offer an opinion contrary to your primary care doctor. So, if you can get the VA examiner to just read a page or two, and in those pages it says something along the lines of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities (Headshot gave you the link in the adjacent thread)you are more likely to get rated properly.
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Old 6 December 2016, 12:31
Floyd Floyd is offline
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Just to remphasize get a copy of your medical records before ETSing, the Army lost mine, but my drill SGT in basic told us to keep every scrap of paper the Army gives you and I did.

20 years after getting out I finally decided to file for benefits, thankfully I had my original sick call slip from 1990 when they discovered my cardiomyopathy, I even had kept the wristband they put on me at Walter Reed when I was sent there for tests from Ft Lee, without my documentation my claim would have been denied.

Some C&P exams will cover multiple issues, what I did was organize all my documents in a 3 ring binder with tabs so when the doctor asked about a particular condition I could immediately find the appropriate records. I also made a note page about how the injury affects my daily life (knee giving out, number of occurrences, how it limited my ability to work/enjoy life), these are things that during an exam you may not think about or feel comfortable speaking about, after all we served in the military, we sucked it up and drove on, we improvised, adapted and overcame but during the exam isn't the time to be the stoic soldier driving on to complete the mission, be truthful with the examiner.
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Old 6 December 2016, 12:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
Just to remphasize get a copy of your medical records before ETSing, the Army lost mine, but my drill SGT in basic told us to keep every scrap of paper the Army gives you and I did.

20 years after getting out I finally decided to file for benefits, thankfully I had my original sick call slip from 1990 when they discovered my cardiomyopathy, I even had kept the wristband they put on me at Walter Reed when I was sent there for tests from Ft Lee, without my documentation my claim would have been denied.

Some C&P exams will cover multiple issues, what I did was organize all my documents in a 3 ring binder with tabs so when the doctor asked about a particular condition I could immediately find the appropriate records. I also made a note page about how the injury affects my daily life (knee giving out, number of occurrences, how it limited my ability to work/enjoy life), these are things that during an exam you may not think about or feel comfortable speaking about, after all we served in the military, we sucked it up and drove on, we improvised, adapted and overcame but during the exam isn't the time to be the stoic soldier driving on to complete the mission, be truthful with the examiner.
Indeed! If you are claiming back issues and those issues adversely effect your sex life then you need to speak up and not be embarrassed about saying so. Make it personal for them, "I can't pick up my young daughter or roughhouse with my son" goes a lot further than "It hurts to put my work boots on."
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Old 6 December 2016, 12:44
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
20 years after getting out I finally decided to file for benefits,.
Hopefully, everyone here sees where this is going For those not rated by the VA at the time they get out, life's events will overtake you. Those old jump injuries are disabling. When your Doc wants you to go into a wheelchair, your family shouldn't have to pay for a ramp to your door (disabled Vets can get grants in order to remain in their homes). Most people here drive on and endure, and don't bother wit a claim, but when the time comes you may need help. Sadly, VA often doesn't seem to want to help us. Suggestions here are based on life's experiences and YMMV but I submit Headshot is doing a service to everybody by getting this conversation going.

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Old 16 July 2017, 06:32
Hoggmedic Hoggmedic is offline
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Thank you for this. I've recently started the process.
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Old 16 July 2017, 09:18
Just Another Guy Just Another Guy is offline
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I made most of the mistakes talked about here. Just entered my fifth year and have had my hearing in front of the Judge (VTC). He said it will take about two or three more years for a final decision. I expect to increase my percentage somewhat and qualify for back pay. I agree the individuals on the BVA side couldn't care less.
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Old 22 July 2017, 15:06
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being Airborne Infantry should open The door to a lot of injuries such as tinnitus, hearing loss and back issue. I had a co worker come to me and ask if it is possible for someone to land on their head because she thought it was bullshit. I described what happens when someone steals your air /leap frog or you do a fantastic two point landing (feet/head) of your hit an object on the LZ. So yes it is possible although unlikely the he "landed right on his head" like an upside down dirt dart. I have a lot of co-workers ask me questions like that and I try to set them straight.

For the record, I hit the hammerhead at Polk so hard one jump, I felt myself blacking out.
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Old 22 July 2017, 21:40
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Originally Posted by 10thvet View Post
being Airborne Infantry should open The door to a lot of injuries such as tinnitus, hearing loss and back issue. I had a co worker come to me and ask if it is possible for someone to land on their head because she thought it was bullshit. I described what happens when someone steals your air /leap frog or you do a fantastic two point landing (feet/head) of your hit an object on the LZ. So yes it is possible although unlikely the he "landed right on his head" like an upside down dirt dart. I have a lot of co-workers ask me questions like that and I try to set them straight.

For the record, I hit the hammerhead at Polk so hard one jump, I felt myself blacking out.
It happens to the best; even during a s/l N/CE/MT- - RIP Dick.

http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1990/Hi...c029851283300b


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