a deeply magnanimous gesture of charity to the two-time war veteran,
sources confirmed today that a truly beneficent U.S. military generously
sends a bounteous $800 in monthly benefits to John Callins, a former
combat soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan who wakes up every night
screaming in a pool of his own sweat.
“In order to compensate those who
live with service-related disabilities, the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs offers veterans and their families a monthly tax-free monetary
VA spokesman John Warner said of the noble and unbelievably
selfless program, which provides 800 whole dollars a month for the man
who withdraws into himself every morning after ingesting a cocktail of
antipsychotic and antidepressant medications to control PTSD symptoms,
social anxiety, and a host of other debilitating and ongoing mental
disorders that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
As a citizen who enjoys the freedoms provided by our men and women in
military uniform, it is very clear to me that we must do
more as a
nation to help those who are returning with Traumatic
As a medical professional and a person who has experienced the
effects of TBI through personal injury, it is impossible for me to
idly by when so many of our returning heroes return with injuries which
forever change the very ways they think and process information.
VA Compensation and Pension Regulation Rewrite Project
Subject: VA proposed rewrite of Comp and Pension regulations
Wow! Just started to look through it and it is not pretty. I
immediately see proposals to put a limit of a single hearing on any
issue at AOJ level and to only give a veteran 30 days to request a
Heaven knows what other little gems are
buried in this massive bureaucratic release. Its gonna take some time
to wade through it all.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to
reorganize and rewrite its compensation and pension regulations in a
logical, claimant-focused, and user-friendly format. The intended effect
of the proposed revisions is to assist claimants, beneficiaries,
veterans' representatives, and VA personnel in locating and
understanding these regulations.
I open my email each day looking forward to making new friends. Since 2006, I've communicated with thousands of you...veterans, family members and friends.
I need your advice on two issues:
I served for 20 years in the military. Approximately 3 years after I retired I was diagnosed with high blood pressure by the VA and put on medication. I reviewed my medical records and found numerous records where my blood pressure was high (146/100, 138/98, just to name a few). During my exit exam with the VA my readings were 122/87; 125/88; and 124/88. At no time during my service career or even during my exit exam was I cautioned about my pressure being high, to keep an eye on it, or anything to indicate that I was prehypertensive or anything of that nature. I was subsequently diagnosed with HBP – this was about 3 years after I retired.
I applied for disability for HBP and was denied because they could not find any service connected disability.
The second issue deals with sleep apnea. I have had numerous bronchial challenges throughout the military; bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, etc. I usually received medication for it, and was generally given allergy meds to take. When I returned home from Iraq, I had problems sleeping and snored loudly (according to my wife). So much so that she kicked me out of the bedroom and sent me to the man cave. One day, approximately 4 years after retiring, I was sleeping on the couch and stopped breathing. My wife saw me stop breathing and shook me to wake me up. She told me I needed to go to the doctor because I stopped breathing – it freaked her out terribly. So I went to a civilian doctor and he ordered a sleep test and came back and diagnosed me with sleep apnea. I went to the VA with this information and they performed their own sleep test and confirmed that I had sleep apnea and issued me a CPAP. I applied for disability for sleep apnea and was also denied because they could not find any service connection.
I went back to my civilian doctors and had 2 nexus letters written after they reviewed my medical documentation. For the HBP, the doctor completed the DBQ and annotated that the hypertension was back since 1999, which was the first date of the high blood pressure in my records. He also provided a letter stating that it was more likely than not that I had the condition while on active duty.
The other civilian doctor also reviewed the medical records and provided a letter stating that it was more likely than not that I had sleep apnea while on active duty. My wife also wrote a statement indicating that she moved me to the man cave when I returned from Iraq because I snored excessively loud and it kept her awake.
They came back and again denied the claims.
I understand the difficulty with these claims, but can you shed some light on what I need to do? I never went to the doctor because I was snoring (who does that anyway). I was always sleepy and tired, but I didn’t go to the doctor for that either (who does). Consequently, there really isn’t anything in my medical records other than bronchitis and URI; oh and I have a herniated disc in my neck and plantar fasciatis. Also, a friend of my said that I should not have filed a claim for hypertension and sleep apnea, that I should have requested an increase in my benefits for hypertension and sleep apnea since the VA did eventually diagnose me with these, even though it was after I was out of the service. Is this correct? This whole process is so confusing.
Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Your claim and the issues you confront are so typical as to be textbook presentations.
the hypertension (HTN) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are conditions
many of us develop as we grow into our 40's and that we ignore and
minimize. Whether we are active duty, retired or veteran, our bodies
don't care and things begin to happen.
If we get the diagnosis of either HTN or OSA while we are still active, the service connection is simple.
we have documentation of symptoms while active but no firm diagnosis of
a named condition, but we file a claim within a year of our end of term
of service (ETS) we can usually establish service connection.
that year has passed, and each year after, the chances of winning a
claim like these diminishes very quickly. The VA logic isn't hard to
understand...you're aging and stuff happens. Most of us, civilian or
military member, will become somewhat hypertensive and have some degree
of OSA as we age. We'll also develop arthritis and aches and pains in
places we didn't know existed.
When a physician makes a statement
like the one you cite, "it was more likely than not that I had sleep
apnea while on active duty" he or she must have some scientific basis of
record to support that. I'll assume this doctor based the statement on
your recollection and your wife's testimony. If he didn't know you then
or if there aren't medical records to support the statement, it's very
weak. Your wife's testimony doesn't carry much weight...she isn't a
Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is even more elusive. VA defines it like this:
or isolated systolic hypertension must be confirmed by readings taken
two or more times on at least three different days. For purposes of this
section, the term hypertension means that the diastolic blood pressure
is predominantly 90mm. or greater, and isolated systolic hypertension
means that the systolic blood pressure is predominantly 160mm. or
greater with a diastolic blood pressure of less than 90mm.
sort of a record would occur when a physician was trying to diagnose you
for the potential of HTN and subsequently treat you. That you don't
have service records that would match the VA definition is a problem. It's most
likely that VA would say that these were isolated events and that you
weren't diagnosed or treated for HTN until later in life.
Can you pursue these claims? Yes. I'll suggest that you click and read;
I were you, I'd run all this past 2 or 3 veterans law attorneys. If you
find someone you like and they agree to take your appeal, great. That
means the attorney believes your appeal has merit. If you speak with a
couple of lawyers and they won't take your case, you have to wonder if
further attempts will have a different outcome?
Why is this
important to you? Both HTN and OSA can have a negative effect on your
heart and you have an increased risk for vascular disease elsewhere in
your body. If you establish service connection for HTN, the secondary
effects of the condition will also be service connected. Even a 0%
service connected rating for HTN can result in a secondary service
connection for heart disease or stroke later in life.
are nearly 25 million veterans living in the United States today.
These brave men and women who defended our nation deserve compassion
and care. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for
providing health care and other benefits to these veterans and their
dependents; however, in recent years a number of veterans
associations and regulatory groups have drawn attention to
substandard care and conditions at many VA hospitals.
epidemic of substandard care can have a detrimental effect on the
victim’s quality of life, and may even result in permanent injury
or even death. If you believe that you or someone you love may have a
VA hospital medical malpractice claim, the lawyers at Hodes
Milman Liebeck Mosier can help.
Our experienced team has
the knowledge and resources to assist you in taking legal action
against the Veterans Administration under the Federal Tort Claims
Act, a process that can be unduly confusing and complex without the
guidance of an attorney
particular experience in filing malpractice claims on behalf of
VA malpractice is medical malpractice, and victims
are entitled to appropriate compensation for their hardship and
The American Legion
challenged the accuracy of online statistics from VA’s Monday Morning
reports, claiming they were not consistent with the Legion’s review of
recently adjudicated claims; of 260 claims examined, 55 percent
contained errors. “This statistic is in stark contrast to the
approximate 90 percent accuracy rating in claims adjudication indicated
by (VA),” the Legion stated.
According to VA data, Hearn noted,
the Nashville VARO had a 95.1 percent accuracy rating for the previous
three months. Yet when American Legion experts reviewed 22 of the
claims, they found seven with errors. “Our review paints a far dimmer
picture of Nashville’s accuracy than indicated in the Monday Morning
Workload Report,” Hearn said.
Lauren Price, a retired Navy petty officer and representative of Veteran
Warriors, told the subcommittee that the Department of Veterans Affairs
“is not doing business properly. I could sit here for hours and give
you statement(s) of egregious behavior, wrongful denials - in some
cases, deliberate malfeasance.”