VA disability claims

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by aubrygreen, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. aubrygreen

    aubrygreen New Member

    I searched the board and I couldn't find anything on this, so I hope it's not a duplicate topic. Anyway, here's my problem:

    I am a US Army veteran who was medically discharged for what turns out to be fibromyalgia. I put in a disability claim for fibro (well, it started out as back pain, but I was diagnosed with fibro and that's what it says on my disability paperwork now) and also a stomach ulcer (which I may or may not have- there's something going on there but I don't have a diagnosis). I got 40% disability for my fibromyalgia, which pays about $500 a month, but I got 0% disability for my stomach problems. I want to appeal the 0% decision but I'm not sure how to- I certainly can't afford private medical examination on $500 a month, so I don't have any actual medical records to wave at them. All I have is my statement that I've missed work several times because I was vomiting, and I have no idea if they'll just take my word for it.

    Does anyone have any advice for how to deal with the VA? I'm not sure how to go about this. Do I just write them a letter describing my symptoms or what?
  2. HELLO! I'm a disabled veteran as well, from the Indiana National Guards, I'd been a combatmedic for 25 months, when I became (apparently) permanently ill. I have over 15+ diagnosis, including MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, bulging discs, CFS, pancreas, stomach, and bowel problems out the ---well, LOL wazoo.....

    I was also told by a very highly educated neurologist & author of 3 books on neurological diseases, toxicities, & brain injuries, that, while in the service, I had a heat stroke, (was told it was "2nd degree sun poisoning, & poison ivy on top of it----OUCH! both hands are noticibly (when they are cold) scarred.

    The NG KEPT calling me until about last month, telling me I was in "the Individual Ready Reserves" a different person each time......apparently their computers do not share the info that I was honorably discharged due to medical reasons, 2-2-01.....well, thx to many friends on MS chat, who are also veterans, I'm told that if you are diagnosed with MS within 7 years of discharge, you can file for disability it's considered now, (hmmm, very peculiar) a type of duty "injury"!

    Not to mention, when I was in training, I was hospitalized for dehydration & migraines, and at that time had a CT scan--1999 no mention of any brain lesions--2002 my dr orders an MRI I show two brain lesions, in "typical MS areas(size, shape, etc also) and report said "due to lesion location, and patients age (24 at the time,) MS should be considered...

    Also, one lady who called me, about the IRR (NG) TOLD me I should qualify for 100% disability!!!

    She had come home from the Gulf War, and said every single bit of her hair fell out, and when she would sweat, it burned all over the areas!!!! The military told her nothing wrong, all in her head.


    Now, I have NO idea how to start the process of filing, my medical records are ALL over indiana, and a small bit, in FLorida(that neurologist) I've seen about 35 specialists, surgeons, doctors....

    Any advice....I'm afraid I've decided to file for what I'm entitled to a little too late? I was just so devastated & depressed by my illness, I just didn't stand up for myself....

    Any advice on how/where to get started, I desperately need more/better medical coverage, and am so--confused, and wary of Medicare Part D--I don't need more money TAKEN from me! ugh!

    Thanks in advance for any comments or help you might have...

    Laura, aka-aintAsGoodAsIonceWas

    (And i'm so sorry you have this DD too. (d**ned disease)

    As far as the 'ulcer' problem, you really can't do much without tests to prove one(or more) even exist.. otherwise, anyone could say that, or some other ailment, they definitely won't reconsider until you've had an endoscopy (scope) done, or at least some barium tests (X-rays,etc)---

    Since you now do have VA disability, Any of those tests/ procedures should be done for free?? Correct? At a VA hospital? Also, they can do a (MAYBE) cheaper blood test, for H. Pylori (Helicobacter pylori--a bacteria responsible for upto 40-60% of stomach/bowel ulcers)...


    I hope that helps you any! Sorry,
  3. aubrygreen

    aubrygreen New Member

    I had barium x-rays and h.pylori tests done and they came back, you guessed it, inconclusive. hooray. I went in to the VA about a month ago to get more treatment/tests done, and the damn doctor didn't even listen to me at all, just stuck me on a pill, which she described as for 'side-effects of over the counter medication' I take. So I'm getting some (inadequate) treatment for my stomach based on my stomach being torn up from all the painkillers I take. So theoretically I could demand more tests or whatever, but I'm sure this doctor won't listen to me, and with my luck it's probably just really bad IBS anyway, and won't show up.

    Anyway, no matter how long it's been since you were discharged, you can still apply for benefits. If it's been under a year, they assume your conditions are service connected; if it's been over a year, you have to prove that you were affected while you were in the military, which you should be able to do if you were medically discharged. To apply, there's a form you can fill out online that's pretty easy to do. You will probably need most, if not all, of your civilian medical records sent to them... I'm not sure how to do that, as I have no civilian medical records, but I think you can just write a short letter to your doctor asking that a copy of your medical records be sent to the VA. The VA's address should be on their website.

    The whole process is a pain in the ass, but it's not really hard- just tedious. They will probably want to duplicate all the tests that have been done on you, so hopefully you live near a VA hospital that can do them. Good luck with everything. VA medical care isn't as good as civilian, but you can't argue with free! :)
  4. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Hi Aubry and Laura!

    I had a 30% disability at discharge after 6 years; for migraines, IBS, precanc uterus (removed by Army),and COPD.

    I filed for higher disability about 14 years later, after Fm and Cfs diagnosed, but I had OLD medical records that showed FM and CFS Sick Call visits...with no diagnosis, of course.

    I wrote on the copies I sent them: "Classic symptoms of FM and CFS" and I was approved for 100%! They even mention them both being "service connected"! Floored me to see that. (Must have been a mistake, LOL). I took the money and ran, HA!

    They will send you to a dr. for a physical...I refused it and said my medical records from all my care at the VA were sufficient, to get them...then they sent me to a dr. at the VA and HE approved me for the 100% consideration.

    It works best if you get as many diagnoses as possible into your records at the VA, and use private diagnoses to ask them to be added to your records there.

    I used a rep from the office at the VA hospital to send my first application, but he did NOTHING; I sent everything I found in my old files directly to the VA Regional Office considering my case. I won my case myself.

    Go for it: the money is soo helpful, and they pay you back to the time of you application! If they turn you down, appeal; its just like S.S., the more info you send them, the better your chances.

    Good luck to you...
    findmind
  5. I am so sorry that you are having so much trouble, aubrygreen, i'm not sure which is better/worse when it comes to VA vs Civillian, but like you said, at least VA is free!

    Since you have had tests done, (btw I truly* think words like "inconclusive", and "borderline" should completely be taken out of the (at least MEDICAL) vocabulary!)Then yes, I guess (since I'm totally new to even filing for VA) that you should maybe even keep a symptom journal/log and just let them know that there IS something SERIOUSLY wrong, and disabling, with your digestive tract...


    Findmind, ty sooo much for that valuable information! I certainly have A LOT of doctors here to contact, sure wish the VA would do it instead, LOL

    I also have sick call reports, etc from Ft LeonardWood, Ft Sam Houston (I was on crutches for 8 wks! in physical therapy 5 days a week in the mornings while everyone else had PT, I hobbled 5 blocks on crutches to Phys Therapy! (Gee, thanks for the ride jerks!) I never got breakfast..it was very rough on me in Texas, (April-july) HOT!

    Also have records from annual training at Ft Polk La. Those should be* with my unit in Edinburgh, IN....but our "desk jockey" was a miserable person who hated the job, so WHO KNOWS...

    Will the VA be able to get those records? SSDI shocked me when I saw they had gotten my medical records from Texas! I had no idea.

    Also.....should I tell anyone, that...my recruiter withheld information about my health in the first place, that would have gotten me denied entry? I have a disease called Malignant Hyperthermia, and in 1996, was denied entry into the Army. When I told my NG recruiter this, he said "SHHH! I didn't hear that, dont tell anyone that!"

    I also had 1 arrest in my life, age 19 for "minor in possession" from a bottle of boone's farm strawberry hills that was in the backseat of my car, without my knowledge...and he got the county clerk to stamp a paper, that basically said I did NOT have any arrests...

    I never knew a misdemeanor charge like that mattered, but he got back in the truck and said "that minor in possession charge, that wasn't you, was it?" I said..embarrassed..."yes, it was..." then he repeated himself, and kind of looked at me like "wink-wink--get what i'm saying, no it wasn't" He also tried* getting someone in who failed their drug test....etc he was really trying to hit his quota, HARD. Took me & my two friends in. My mom had called him, upset about my health when I was in boot camp, he barely spoke to her.

    Should I say anything? Indiana got into major trouble the following year, for recruiters & the inprocessing stations letting people in, who basically, like me, had no business going in, and tons of soldiers were "breaking down" and getting sick... They cracked down on them hard...

    (MH, or malignant hyperthermia, is a genetic disease, that, means --if i were to need emergency surgery, it could be trouble--it is a potentially fatal reaction to general anesthesia. My surgeries have to be planned ahead of time...can't have the gases--)

    They have also found out, that extreme heat can potentially cause febrile seizures (fever induced) and an athlete running a marathon died suddenly, and several 12-13-14 year old boys have died suddenly on football fields in the summer heat----and were found to have malignant hyperthermia--they've learned that our bodies ph balance does not recover like a normal persons after exercise (in extreme heat especially) and that we should not be in hot tubs for long amounts of time, over 105* (I think it was 105*)


    All these years later, I'm still so angry at myself, for being such a sheep. Military, though, just runs all through my family, and I wanted so badly to travel, study, be a soldier/medic.... :-( just didn't know what the outcome was going to be.

    Always listen to your mothers! Mine cried & begged me not to go, she had a feeling.

    Anyways, thanks again,

    Laura
  6. findmind

    findmind New Member

    NO! Do not mention conditions you did not put on your entry exam, period.

    Also, your misdemeanor means nothing now; its after the fact, so forget it.

    Yes, it is vital that you have all your records yourself...even the VA ones; also, before you file, get as many appts and diagnoses as you can get...MANY things are considered service-connected years after the fact.

    I was at Walter Reed, Brooks AFB and Ft Sam Houston over 6 years. Loved S.A., but boy, could it get hot! But I never ever had any kind of P.E. after I got pneumonia in basic, so I lucked out greatly. Got a Meritorious Service Medal for service at Walter Reed, and I was only a secretary!

    Was 33.5 when I went in!!! Only weighed 98 lbs and was a secretary and cancer registry NCO and then worked as NCO for Flight Surgeon. Loved it, then got too sick to stay in.

    Get all your records together; make copies of your copies, then go thru them all and highlight in yellow all the conditions you were seen for while in service, esp. if any problem at all now: you never know what they will consider!

    Best of luck...
    findmind
  7. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    they will represent you and get more for your disabilities than the va will give you if you go through the v.a.....

    my ex used the d.a.v out of oakland, california..

    you should have one in your area...they have advocates for you...

    also have you applied for social security yet? do so, if you have not yet...

    not sure if you are working or getting retrained..but use all of you resources everyone that has been in the military..

    you are owed it....

    ex-military wife of a uscg man..

  8. Regarding getting all my records...I'll have to give an address and my drs will "fax them" or *possibly* (I doubt it!) mail them to whereever, but they WILL NOT give u your records, or they charge you $.25/per sheet of paper, I once paid $22.50 for neuro records, and was furious that they only gave me MAYBE 1/5 of my records, the majority (like 13 pages) were my spinal tap results, which meant not a whole heck of a lot, none* of my POSITIVE test results were in there. just dumb doctors notes, I was furious.

    As for Brooks Army Medical Center, and ??? the hospital/Troop medical clinic at ft leonardwood (don't even know the name!) how do I get those records sent to ME? to make copies? and I hope MY unit has the records from the 2nd degree sun poisoning/poison ivy I got at Ft Polk La.....?? I'm definitely going to look for a DAV rep, to help me out, where to start, & be an advocate for me....this will take a long time, hunting records, but, well worth it, to win, however long it takes. My ssdi just covers my monthly meds....maybe.


    thx all you're wonderful, will let you know how this goes..
  9. aubrygreen

    aubrygreen New Member

    As far as getting your military medical records, you're supposed to be able to get a copy if you just write to them and tell them you want one. I did that today- you can fill out the form online even, but you have to mail them a signature page. The form is on the VA website, there's a link to the actual department that does records.

    I've heard it can take up to two years to get them, though, so we'll see.

    anyone have any ideas as to where to go to get in touch with a patient rep or someone to help me with my claim?
  10. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    when you were dischaged, or before you were. that would've helped.

    but please i urge you people to go to the department of veteran's to help you w/these issues...free legal help...

    they will get more of an entitlement that what the v.a. will.

    i know the paperwork is a bit of a hassle, but they will be there for you to do it and help you along.

    you can look up dav.com i think that was it. i will check it out and repost.

    my son get's 48 months college tuition and books paid for and a monthly stipend when he goes to any college in california.

    his dad was rated at only 30%.

    and he works full-time as a steamfitter now. and has worked in the past as security in bars. while getting his va disability benefits.

    plus they will help get you people re-trained and pay you if you want to.


    dav.org

    they have an office in portland or.

    and you can look up in your government pages for you local chapter where you live...and online you can research where you local office s on dav.org

    i can't stress how important dav is for our disabled veteran's.

    jodie[This Message was Edited on 10/16/2006]
  11. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    to apply for disability ratings...

    my exhb's friend got medically discharged...had chrohn's disease.which he had prior to joining the navy. which surprised me they took him at all. especially since he had a big scar on his tummy. but anyways he first went to the va in detroit.

    only got like 10%, then exhb and i said go through the dav, he got alot more of a disability rating that way.

    jodie
  12. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    i am glad you did use them.

    i was hoping aubrygreen and the others here remember to use them. they will take your application and get the ball rolling.

    it's too bad military spouses can't apply, if it weren't for me to be home watching our son. then he would've had to remove himself from uscg years ago. i worked and went to college among support our troops and our nation.

    he should add bipolar/and borderline personality to his list of illiness, but he won't do it. he likes his manic stages and well that is why we are divorced. he won't get the treatment he needs. so one day i always expect the phone to ring from the police. you never know when or what they will do.

    i know they wouldn't pay for him to got through the apprenticeship for pipefitter/steamfitter, because they said he would not be good for his elbow and back. which were some of his claims. and his bad feet. plantar facisitis.
    he could get more now for all of that but he doesn't like to go do paperwork or go to the dr's. so thankfully i am still on that life insurance policy. cause now he has high blood pressure and he doesn't want to take the medication.

    so i am tired of hearing about his ailments and woes when he will not do a darn thing about it.

    he needs serious helped mentally, sad thing is he can get some of the best doctors out here in san francisco area out of standford university.

    jodie
  13. I went to DAV site (actually tons of veteran's sites,) and, there is only ONE chapter listed for Indiana! :-( I just have to find out where mitchell county is now, I'm in Jackson county (seymour)... and no way to e-mail, just contact address & phone #, but maybe if I call those 1-800 numbers listed in this thread, they can find me a rep/help nearby...if not, well, Mitchell county will be where I go/write to for help with this..

    Part of the reason, if not all* I believe that my knee kept causing me to fall, due to buckling, was not MS, but, rather a severe fall I took marching to KP duty in the dark in winter, at Ft LeonardWood, the sidewalks there are HORRIBLE! ALL BUSTED UP! and my boot caught, sent me flying, tore my knee allll up, inside & out.. I also have records as I mentioned of dehydration, hip problems, bronchitis, conjunctivitis(gotta love barracks living.) And had complete bone scan, where they noticed I'd broken my left clavicle previously in a car wreck. A scan also said "left kidney prominent on todays scan" and said what it might be...then suggested further studies, they never did....I have adrenal dysfunction now, never know if it was adrenal gland issue on the scan, nothing, or a kidney issue... anyways, bone scan showed mild, moderate, and severe stress reactions in knees, hips, ankles, pelvis, & feet.


    Lord I hope I can do this. I'm too sick to fight, and have no other choice at the same time... and owe it to my husband to help us out any way that I can.


    Thanks again,

    Laura
  14. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Yes, I remember the part about being "aggravated by service" now...

    Thank you so much for all your valuable information...and I belong to the DAV and used another counselor across the hall from them, and thought I was using the DAV...it was another org that did absolutely nothing for me after I signed the initial papers.

    So many good brains here....

    findmind