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Back in 2009 I filed a claim for foot and ankle disabilities. I am working on having those claims reopened citing 35 CFR 3.156 but am waiting for my C-File before I submit it. I want to make sure I take a good look at everything before I do. I was looking at some case law concerning secondary service connection disabilities and that is what led to my question.
Are we required to designate a disability as secondary when we file our claim?
Nothing I see actually specifies this as a requirement but I can’t find anything that say you do not have to make claim that way either.
When I filed I claimed foot and ankle disabilities. My foot issues of Pes Planus and Plantar Fasciitis are clearly documented in my medical records. There are no issues in my SMR’s pertaining to ankle issues. When I made my initial claim I had no clue as to the distinction from service connection and secondary service connection. They denied my foot issues saying it was not in my records. I have proof contrary to that hence the reopen. They denied the ankle issues for the same reasons and that is accurate because I was not seen for any ankle issues while on active duty but I am experiencing serious issues due to my flat feet and that is why I made the claim. I can see the justification for the denial for the ankle because of nothing showing connection.
Broncovet did address this in part in another thread dealing with my entire claim and here is what he said about it: “Its a little different if seeking secondary conditions, however. You need not concern yourself with an in service event, because that will already be documented with the primary condtion. Dont, however, close the door and insist its primary or secondary..again let the VA rater do their job and decide whether its primary or secondary. Ask for both to ocver your bases, if there is ANY doubt.”
What Broncvet said made perfect sense but in my case a service connected disability that could be tied to my ankle issues is yet to be awarded. Everything I have researched whether it was on case law or BVA decisions actually mention a veterans claim for secondary conditions and that is why I have the question of it being required or not. I believe on e-benefits you given the option to choose secondary but I don’t think that option was given when I originally filed more than 10 years ago.
I am going to be honest here. Most of my questions are gearing towards making sure I have all my ducks in a row for when I file my appeal. I am not confident in any VA rater going in my favor unless they absolutely have to.
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Back in 2009 I filed a claim for foot and ankle disabilities. I am working on having those claims reopened citing 35 CFR 3.156 but am waiting for my C-File before I submit it. I want to make sure I take a good look at everything before I do.