December Disability Cut-off

by Levi Newman on October 3, 2011

The VA is exploring options to extend the current presumptive deadline for filing for undiagnosed illnesses related to service in the Middle East.

To piggyback on Audrey’s earlier post on this subject, veterans should be highly motived to receive a diagnosis, or un-diagnosis, as in this case. Currently, your condition must rise to a compensable level in order to be “presumed” to have been caused by exposure to mystery elements in the Middle East. If it does not rise to this level of severity (at least 10% Disability Rating), you will be SOL.

Why is this important?

To illustrate, let’s look at Mr. Pete Veteran. Let’s say Pete has some kind of condition noted in his current VA records. But, the condition is not noted in his Military records. If Pete’s condition is currently severe enough to only warrant a 0% rating but gets worse after December 31, 2011, this veteran will be out of luck. As time progresses, his condition will likely get worse, but he would not qualify for disability benefits unless the presumptive holds.

Another example.

Let’s look at Clint Billybob Veteran. Clint decided to not see a doctor about his fybromyalgia or chronic fatigue while in the military. He has also not seen a doctor about the condition after getting out. Suddenly, after December 31, 2011, his condition gets so bad that he cannot work.

Guess who’s screwed? Not the executives from GE or Goldman Sachs, all who seem to magically benefit from war. No, Clint is the one who is screwed along with all the small businesses that could have used Clint’s help as a worker had he not chosen to enlist in the military.

Two hypos distilled.

Notice what’s going on in these two hypothetical examples. Both veterans failed to get their conditions diagnosed while they were in the service. The beauty of the presumptive is that it allows the veteran to receive “service-connection” for the injury or illness despite the condition NOT being recorded in their Service Medical Records. This is huge.

Once you, the veteran, are outside of the presumptive window, the window literally closes unless you find a medical professional willing to document your condition after the fact. This is hard to do.

My point.

DO NOT WAIT. We were all exposed to a myriad of crazy pathogens, dusts and other chemicals while in the military. God only knows what will happen as we get older. Just look at the progression of Agent Orange (AO). And it took those poor Vietnam veterans years to get a full listing of all the ailments caused by AO exposure.

Don’t be a sucker. Get your conditions looked at immediately. No one knows if the VA will successfully extend the presumptive window to 2018, as is proposed. I learned long ago to never rely on my government to do the right thing. They will do their thing, whatever that is.

There are some blogs, including my own, that help with the disability process and documentation. Here is mine and a couple others I like with free information that has helped thousands of veterans:

DisabledVeterans.ORG

VAWatchdogtoday.ORG

DisabledVet.com

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Blake Mueller October 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Blake Mueller Here. I’m a disabled veteran who served in the Army between 1989-1997. I am a Veteran of DS/DS and have been diagnosed with a number of digestive issues that I believe are service related. I have been to a civilian Doctor and he is reluctant to say whether or not these symptoms are service related. How do I get them in my VA Medical records?

Warm regards,
Blake Mueller

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Levi Newman October 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

You should definitely contact a VA Rep and get their answer on the process of using outside medical sources. They may be able to attach them to your medical file, but you’ll only know by contacting them.

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Wendell November 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Any Civilian records can be introduced as evidence in the claim process and they become a part of the claims file, getting them entered into medical records are more difficult but can be done.

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palma josr October 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

good info. thanks!

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Levi Newman October 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

You’re welcome!

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Dennis M. Henley, Sr October 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Please advise me what to do VA and Militaary records center can’t find my Medical Health record fro Vietnam Service, I went back into the Military after a 12 year break and when I retired I worked at Walter Reed and ensured that I made 2 copies of all my Army Service for 20 years and still have difficulty with weaving through VA protocals and BS, any advise what to do to get a higher rating, I’m still in contact with friends who I served with in Vietnam (USMC) we met several time and one of the friend gave me a ride to Tent after being released from Phu Bai Hospital after 3 weeks in hospital , but they have no records that I had Systoms of Malaria back in 1967-68. Dennis Henley

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Levi Newman October 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I’m sorry to hear about your troubles Dennis. My only advice would be to stay in contact with your VA Rep and get their advice. They are going to be your best bet on your next course of action.

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dann wilson October 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm

i was told all military records were destroyed in a fire where all records were kept, i served from 63-67. took me forever to get disability

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Darrell Rhodes October 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

Thanks for the Infomation. Will Use it to the fullest.

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Tom October 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I am also a vet of Desert Shield/Storm. I have been having digestive issues since returning. I was given 70% disability but was told my digestive issues was “Irritable Bowl Syndrome”. I feel it is from those dang pills we were given to take for Nerve Agent.

Can I resubmit my claim for that? And if so, how would I resubmit?

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Wendell November 27, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Have you been evaluated for Chrones disease? if not that may well be the next step to an upgraded rating for the now diagnosed IBS

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Wendell November 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Any Civilian records can be introduced as evidence in the claim process and they become a part of the claims file, getting them entered into medical records are more difficult but can be done. Talk with your VA doctor and tell them you want to discuss this condition on your next appointment and will be providing them the records to review as a part of that appointment. They should review and comment on them as a part of your medical history this provides a link between the claim file and the medical records but it will not establish the required nexus between the condition and your service that will require a medical opinion from one of the two doctors…The VA doctor may well draw the nexus as a part of his review if there is one there… If not you can always find a new doctor to review entire record and give a conclusion based on the evidence of record and the supporting medical literature or accepted conclusions for that condition

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Carlous Rhodes December 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Who holds the rating officials accountable, they are the ones, according to ebenefits are sitting on the final decisions for claims?

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Tim February 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I am a retired USAF TSgt who deployed to the Gulf region from early 1993 to 1997 to the countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Turkey under Operations Southern Watch and Northern Watch and a year long short tour to Oman in 1995 working with the refurbishing of Harvest Falcon Assets (from the war) to prepare the equipment for storage or reallocation in the AOR.

I am suffering from many of the symptoms related to the “undiagnosed illness” are to include dizziness, sleep disturbances, muscle and joint pain, memory problems, ocassional headaches, respiratory problems, and fatigue. Most of these issues have not been treated. I am unclear if I qualify under the “undiagnosed illness” criteria since I served after the actual war ended.

Can you help clarify this for me?

Thank you for any help you can provide!

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