Why can’t a Veterans Disability Attorney teach you some of the basic things you can do to improve your own VA Claim?
As long as I don’t give legal advice in your specific claims, I can’t see why a Veterans Disability Attorney can’t help you understand the VA Claims process and law.
So – I won’t give legal advice about specific claims. There is no substitute for legal advice from an accredited Veterans attorney, and this post is NOT legal advice.
What I’m trying to do here is share with you more information about how the VA Claims Process works – I see it much more than most Veterans, and I have figured out a thing or two working as a Veterans Disability Attorney since 2007.
Let me know if you like the concept, and how I can make it better in the comments section below.
Veterans Disability Attorney Q&A.
I can’t see a reason why a Veterans Disability Attorney should not teach Veterans how to improve their own VA Claims.
So, in today’s post, I’m going to answer a few questions that have come in through MailCall lately.
(I do edit or shorten the questions to make them more clear, to delete out private information, or to change the name of the Veteran if the question is particularly personal. Otherwise, these are actual questions from actual Veterans)
Just remember – nothing in this post is intended to be specific legal advice.
Veteran Romon F. asks: “Have you had a case for OSA that was secondary to depression medication causing weight gain which affects ones OSA?
Answer: Yes, we have. While only one of the 3 dozen conditions that are known to have a causal connection with Sleep Apnea, weight gain or obesity can easily cause sleep apnea.
And if the medication you are taking for a service connected condition (i.e., depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, etc) is causing the weight gain that is causing the sleep apnea, then you will need to assemble the medical evidence that shows this chain of events to prove your claim.
I am actually working on a case right now where the Veteran (who was a pretty avid weightlifter in service) who experienced weight gain that caused sleep apnea.
The weight gain in his case was caused by some pretty significant knee injuries during a training exercise that forced him to stop lifting weights and working out.
In my Veterans Law Guidebook “Put it to Rest! Your VA Sleep Apnea Claim”, I go into great detail about how to prove “nexus” between a service-connected condition and sleep apnea.
I’ll also teach you what medical evidence you need to support this claim, and I’ll show you how to “Put it All Together” by walking you through the 4 Most Common Sleep Apnea scenarios in service connection claims.
You can learn more about the Sleep Apnea Guidebook, (pictured to the left) download an individual copy of that book – or get a discount on the Sleep Apnea Guidebook packages – by visiting this page.
Veteran Krystal M. (we changed Veteran’s name for privacy purposes) asks: “I have been fighting for PTSD related to MST in the military. My commander forced me into a sexual relationship or he would force me out of nursing school. The VA is stating I was only in the military 90 days and never reported this to anyone so it could not have occurred. I’ve been divorced twice, suffer severe migraines, depression, anxiety, insomnia and have lost my second marriage. How do I prove this event occurred?”
Answer: So many military sexual assaults go unreported, and these are the hardest types of claims to prove.
The culture inside the VA is still very Neanderthal: those that claim rape or sexual assault in the military are often required to prove their own credibility. Perhaps its because the same people committing the assaults are deciding claims based on Military Sexual Assault.
To prove that a sexual assault occurred where there was no contemporaneous report – for the purpose of a VA Claim – you are going to have to look to corroborate your statement that it occurred with what are often called “Markers” of Sexual Assault.
By the way, the Veteran pictured to the right is a victim of Military Sexual Assault, who has turned into an advocate for fellow victims. Her post on how to survive the VA claims process is pretty powerful, if you ask me. I hope you click on over and take a moment to read it.
Also, I’m writing a Veterans Law Guidebook specifically designed to help the victims of Military Sexual Trauma navigate the VA Claims Process. If you’d like, I can send you an email to let you know when the book is being published.
Veteran Russell M. asks: “I am 55 years old. I have a 100 percent rating for MDD/PTSD (April 2010) and a 70 percent rating for feet, wrist, shoulder, knees and Hep C (1999). I go to VA every week for mental health treatment for 7 years now. I have tried all the medications for depression and none of them worked and had very bad side effects. I know nothing is permanent in VA ratings but in your opinion will I be safe at current rating?”
Answer: Russell, as your claim passes through certain time periods, it becomes more and more “stable” – meaning that it becomes harder for the VA to reduce the rating.
I’ve written an entire post on this topic – how and when the VA can and cannot reduce a rating – which you can read by clicking here, or on the image to the left.
I see the VA do 2 things wrong in reduction case – over and over again:
1) They fail to provide the Veteran with notice of their intent to reduce a benefit, and,
2) They base their decision to reduce the benefits on just the most recent exam, instead of looking at the WHOLE picture of the Veteran’s disability.
I once saw the VA propose to reduce a Veteran’s 100% rating for a particular cancer because he was in hospice – meaning he had less than 6 months to live – and the hospice nurse wrote that his situation was “stabilized”.
The VA thought that meant the cancer stabilized – not the pain that the Hospice Nurse was treating. The Veteran died of service-connected cancer while the VA was fighting to cut his benefits.
Shame on them.
Learn when the VA can reduce your benefits, and when they cannot – and learn how to fight these claims. It’s really hard to find an attorney that can help in these types of claims.
A lot of folks think its because the attorney isn’t getting paid – and this is flat out untrue (at least when it comes to the Attig Law Firm).
My Firm doesn’t take reduction claims unless we are already working with the Veteran on other appeals – we have such limited time and resources to help that we try to focus on the types of cases that we have a particular affinity towards.