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Old 3 December 2016, 16:01
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VETERANS: Parachutists have special evidence for claims

The title of the thread is the same title as the article in the link provided below. Though it specifically mentions Airborne, I suggest anyone read the article and glean from it what you can about filing appeals and what new information you will need, instead of throwing the same turd against the wall and hoping a different part of it sticks each time.

To quote a Veteran Brother, and Veterans Advocate in regard to the article "Awesome article that explains perfectly how to connect something not documented in med recs." It's not a very long article, and though it is from back in July, it is packed with what I hope will be some much needed insight for those going through the often frustrating process of filing claims for service related injuries and other issues.

I am sure many on here will be able to relate in regard to remarks in the article about not going on Sick Call due to the stigma attached, or possibility of termination from your respective unit.

Quote from article: "Many veterans who were on jump status avoided going to sick call while on active duty so as not to be taken off of jump status, or because it was frowned upon by their command.

After leaving active duty, sometimes several years after, they attempted to file a claim with the VA for service-connected disabilities such as knee, hip, feet or spine injuries and are denied because there’s no evidence of a chronic, diagnosed disability in their service medical records (or for certain conditions, within the one-year post-separation presumptive period).

Remember, just as convicting someone of a crime requires evidence of guilt, VA claims require concrete medical evidence to link a current disability to active-duty service."

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/stor...aims/87113342/
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Old 3 December 2016, 17:31
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good stuff to know... I am in the retirement pipeline now and it is good to be armed with knowledge as I go through the process
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Old 3 December 2016, 18:11
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Good info. Passed that on to a few people I know.
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Old 3 December 2016, 18:29
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I had a multitude of injuries claimed and received 0% for all of them. My findings were like the NY Phone book. The last 1/3 of a page read like this:

Your personnel records show you were awarded the Master Parachutists badge, requiring a minimum of 65 jumps. Your total body Xray showed 95% of your joints impacted from moderately to severely with degenerative arthritis. As a result we make the following determination:
feet - 20%
Ankles - 20%
Knees - 20%
Hips - 20%
Back - 20%

For a VA math total of 60%
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Old 3 December 2016, 19:04
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
I had a multitude of injuries claimed and received 0% for all of them. My findings were like the NY Phone book. The last 1/3 of a page read like this:

Your personnel records show you were awarded the Master Parachutists badge, requiring a minimum of 65 jumps. Your total body Xray showed 95% of your joints impacted from moderately to severely with degenerative arthritis. As a result we make the following determination:
feet - 20%
Ankles - 20%
Knees - 20%
Hips - 20%
Back - 20%

For a VA math total of 60%
TFG,
I initially got rated 10% for spine by the VA. Suggest you reopen your claim and ask the VA to rate your spine by segments, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. Also tie in any related radiculopathy/neuropathy/sciatica as secondary to your degenerative spine.
I fought “The Beast” with identical records as yours with my Orthopedic Doc saying DDD (backed up his DX with MRI) throughout spine – once rated by segments my cervical went up to 30% with radiculopathy bilaterally, thoracic was rated at 10% and lumbar 60% with sciatica (bilaterally) and demonstrated deformities (compression fractures).
My experience was that the VA just wants to get a rating out and see if the Vet will simply go away. Your back is effed up - reopen the claim with Doctor's DX and "objective evidence" (in the form of MRIs. Good luck
v/r
fkl
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Old 3 December 2016, 20:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
Your post
Good stuff, thanks FKL!

Another thing people need to consider when filing claims for specific injury; just because you don't get a rating for a specific injury, does not necessarily mean you cannot get a rating for secondary effects of that injury, thus going back at them for the secondary claims.

For instance, one of my injuries involved breaking one of the bones in my big toe with such impact it flipped the section of bone over backwards inside my foot. In order to repair the break they had to open up the entire top of my toe, flip the bone back into position as best they could, then fuse it. I had pins sticking out of both sides of my toe for quite some time, and was on crutches. Now, according to the body chart they use to rate the injuries, or more accurately the result of the injury, I may or may not have gotten 10% for the total loss of range of motion for that joint, I got nothing. However, the loss of range of motion in that joint caused a change in gait, which caused secondary spinal problems, as well as aggravated the already existing problem with the metal rods in the neck of my femur and every joint up my right side. All this is taken into consideration as its own secondary problem, not to include the spinal issues from jumping, and also from an impact that was hard enough to fracture the largest bone in my body, my femur.

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.
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Old 3 December 2016, 23:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
TFG,
I initially got rated 10% for spine by the VA. Suggest you reopen your claim and ask the VA to rate your spine by segments, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. Also tie in any related radiculopathy/neuropathy/sciatica as secondary to your degenerative spine.
I fought “The Beast” with identical records as yours with my Orthopedic Doc saying DDD (backed up his DX with MRI) throughout spine – once rated by segments my cervical went up to 30% with radiculopathy bilaterally, thoracic was rated at 10% and lumbar 60% with sciatica (bilaterally) and demonstrated deformities (compression fractures).
My experience was that the VA just wants to get a rating out and see if the Vet will simply go away. Your back is effed up - reopen the claim with Doctor's DX and "objective evidence" (in the form of MRIs. Good luck
v/r
fkl
Good advice, I do have sciatica that was never mentioned in the findings.

(But my turkish get ups keep it in check)
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Old 4 December 2016, 01:12
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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
Good advice, I do have sciatica that was never mentioned in the findings.

(But my turkish get ups keep it in check)
What most Veteran's for get is copies of the physical Forms when they took there annual physical.

Sometimes the V.A. will be missing the forms. If you don't have a copy of them request them an make sure the V.A. get them on file. make an appointment with a Primary DR an start at the top of your head to down to your little toe.

Also if you were injured in a car accident or play in a authorized sports an got hurt while on active duty, them you can file a claim.

What the V.A. claims sob look at is did you file a claim with in one year of Discharge. If not then you claim has a 99% of be denied.

The Fat Guy the first couple pages on your claim should have stated what you were eligible for, also did it state a % for non-deplorability.

Send me an email if you have an question
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Old 4 December 2016, 10:14
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Last edited by Fu King Lawyer; 4 December 2016 at 10:16. Reason: Double tap
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Old 4 December 2016, 10:15
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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
Good advice, I do have sciatica that was never mentioned in the findings.

(But my turkish get ups keep it in check)
One word of caution - a few years back in 2002, VA decided they were paying too much for back injuries. So they did away with the old schedule, including pain and fatigue and set the new criteria with bad rest My Doc said he only used bed rest for post op patients in traction and any that are on a ventilator. Said the best thing after an Op is to get up and moving.
So, when you reopen, VA will try to apply their more restrictive criteria.

Remind your VSO of M21-1, Part VI para 3.05 Changes in the Rating Schedule.

Bottom line - you have the right to be considered under both the old and now the new schedules and given the advantage of whichever criterion is more beneficial. If you can submit an MRI (VA called it "the gold standard") and possibly some nerve study results, you should have a good chance.

Good luck.
v/r
fkl
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Old 4 December 2016, 10:33
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Originally Posted by Fu King Lawyer View Post
One word of caution - a few years back in 2002, VA decided they were paying too much for back injuries. So they did away with the old schedule, including pain and fatigue and set the new criteria with bad rest My Doc said he only used bed rest for post op patients in traction and any that are on a ventilator. Said the best thing after an Op is to get up and moving.
So, when you reopen, VA will try to apply their more restrictive criteria.

Remind your VSO of M21-1, Part VI para 3.05 Changes in the Rating Schedule.

Bottom line - you have the right to be considered under both the old and now the new schedules and given the advantage of whichever criterion is more beneficial. If you can submit an MRI (VA called it "the gold standard") and possibly some nerve study results, you should have a good chance.

Good luck.
v/r
fkl
The images themselves, or the results?
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Old 4 December 2016, 20:52
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Headshot View Post
The images themselves, or the results?
HS,
The "reads" (reports) on the MRIs is what I used. At the same time, my radiologists always put the MRIs on CDs. I submitted them to the Regional Offices - but for the love of God, those Bozos never forwarded the images to the C&P bozos who were supposed to read them.
I know it will cost you years working up to the BVA (and the CAVC), but get the actual discs with images into the claims file so you can point out on appeal that they were not reviewed by the VA Drs and the VA failed to assist you with your claim.
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Old 5 December 2016, 11:12
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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
As a result we make the following determination:
feet - 20%
Ankles - 20%
Knees - 20%
Hips - 20%
Back - 20%

For a VA math total of 60%
Off the top of my head, without seeing your actual Rating Decision, a 60% rating is incorrect if they rated you as stated above...

I have not calculated the bilateral effect of the above ratings, just used the 20% ratings as stated, and the end rating equals 67%, which the VA would round up to 70% disability.

If you want, PM me with an email address, I'll send you my g-mail addy, and you can email me a pdf of your ratting decision and I can do the numbers properly.

Rating decision math is unique, but understandable once you get the hang of it...

ie:

You start at 100%
you have 5 disabilities rated 20%:

You are considered "whole", 100% at start of rating:

100% minus the first 20% = 80% left "whole" (non-disabled)


The 2nd 20% rating:

Take 20% of the remaining whole (80%) = 16%
The remaining "whole" minus this 16% = 64% remaining "whole"


The 3rd 20% rating:

Take 20% of the remaining whole (64%) = 12.8%
The remaining "whole" minus this 12.8% = 51.2% remaining "whole"


The 4th 20% rating:

Take 20% of the remaining whole (51.2%) = 10.2%
The remaining "whole" minus this 10.2% = 41% remaining "whole"


The 5th 20% rating:

Take 20% of the remaining whole (41%) = 8.2%
The remaining "whole" minus this 8.2% = 32.8% remaining "whole"


Now, take 100% and subtract the 32.8% that remains "whole" and you are left with 67.2 % disabled, which when rounded by the VA would yield a 70% disability rating...


As I said, I have not applied the "bilateral factor" to your rating, which is an extra 10% of the combined ratings of paired extremities...

If they have been paying you at the 60% rate all this time, then they owe you a significant chunk of change as back pay for an incorrect calculation.
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Old 5 December 2016, 11:30
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Do ratings change over time? I was rated at 10% for a busted ankle due to limited motion. Over time the amount of motion has decreased due to arthritis. Does this get re-rated?
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Old 5 December 2016, 11:37
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Do ratings change over time? I was rated at 10% for a busted ankle due to limited motion. Over time the amount of motion has decreased due to arthritis. Does this get re-rated?
If it has worsened you can submit a claim for increased compensation and request it be re-evaluated.
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Old 5 December 2016, 13:08
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I was recently diagnosed with arthritis in my back, filed an intent to file on ebenefits and have started gathering more documentation.

Anyone have a link to a FAST letter or anything for parachutists and back injuries?

Excellent calculator for disability percentage

http://lasestrellas.info/VBN/Hutsky-Star3.xls
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Old 5 December 2016, 15:45
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Here is a link to exactly how the VA has to rate injuries/effects, and will help better understand why someone with a "back injury" gets more than you got. Or why someone who got operated on for the same thing as you might get more because of the length of a scar or some other obscure reason. This is how they MUST evaluate each injury, it's only subjective to the type of person and mood of who is evaluating your claim and what they choose to write in your file.

So, inform them when they are doing the evaluation, don't just sit back and trust or hope they are going to put everything in there. Once the rater gets your file their sole job is to decide if the listed injury is service connected or not, the more that is listed the better, and they will tell you the same. They want as much information as possible in order to make a decision about service connection. Telling them your knee hurts all day and has for years does no good if they can't service connect it somehow. You may have to include a Nexus letter from an ortho or other certified doc who is willing to say "yes, Joe the Ragman did indeed most likely get this issue because of jumping out of everything that flies, floats, and rolls" if you never went on sick call and got an injury in your record, or all the colliding with planet Earth has finally caught up with you.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...#se38.1.4_171a
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Last edited by Headshot; 5 December 2016 at 15:48. Reason: spelling
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Old 5 December 2016, 20:19
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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In line with the above discussions - sixgun has it. Also, Headshot.

A little background: We all know there are real issues with the VA claims system and deserving claimants getting screwed. Nobody on SOCNET would approve of anyone here trying to pull a fast one on the VA. But people here put a lot of hard miles on their bodies and many have tried to negotiate the VA claims system w/o success.

I suggest the following to understand how the VA claims ARE SUPPOSED to work (they don't).

https://www.scribd.com/document/1317...ova-v-Shinseki

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in its Order to Show Cause to the VA (for misconduct) again states the basic law.
The VA claims system is supposed to be: pro claimant; non-adversarial; and, ex parte (you aren't supposed to need a Representative to successfully negotiate the claims system). It just doesn't do that and you will need help.

VA is under a duty to develop and assist you with your claim, but they often won't or don't.

As stated above, you need to demonstrate a current disability, an injury or illness while in service, and a nexus between the service connected event and your current difficulty.

In order to negotiate the VA system, I have found that you need to claim everything, and don't trust the VA to do its job. As earlier mentioned, you can have a bad lower back. Open the link Headshot provided and word search for "5235" to "5243". You will see what the current condition must be to obtain a rating and the table gives the percentages. However, VA is getting very tight on back ratings. So, if you have sciatica (neuropathy) from your bad back and claim that along with a bad back, the VA will have to apply "8520" and you can see that often you will rate more for the sciatica than the back, itself.

Now, if that isn't bad enough, read paragraphs 4.14 at Headshot's link and you will see the VA won't give you one rating for the back, and another for the sciatica due to what the VA calls "pyramiding". However, paragraph 4.7 requires the VA to compare what you rate for the lower back, and what you rate for sciatica and give you the benefit of the higher rating.

Bottom line: What sixgun indicates is that you need to get a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to help you navigate. Also, remember it is always better to throw in all of your symptoms and force the VA to examine and rate each one.
v/r
fkl

P.S. A lot of it is in how you state your claim. If you got nailed by an insect while in the field, suffered anaphylactic shock, and were hospitalized and you claim it. VA will call you in for a physical, look at you, say anaphylaxis, fully resolved. Ergo no current disability and turn down your claim. If you say anaphylactic shock that requires me to carry an epi pen 24/7, then you demonstrate a current disability and you will at least get service-connection (that pays for your meds) and possibly compensation if there are other difficulties associated with the episode. Clear as Mud? Get a VSO....

Last edited by Fu King Lawyer; 5 December 2016 at 20:32. Reason: typoo
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Old 5 December 2016, 20:37
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I have been following fu kings comments...

I think this is a link to a VSO:

http://www.military.com/benefits/vet...-officers.html

v/f

S
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Old 6 December 2016, 08:24
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Always remember that if you request for an increase to your Service Connected Disability it can go both ways. The VA can up your Disability rating or they can lower the Rating. Before you go to the Exam research what you require for an increase. If you do not know where to find this information reach out to me (or a VSO Rep) and I will find the information for you.
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