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At the end of June, I noticed a claim had been opened for my SC’d PTSD, currently rated at 70%.
Little background, I was rated at 70% for Major Depression back in 2010. I filed for TDIU and it was granted later that year. The VA re-examined the Major Depression in 2015. They changed my diagnosis to PTSD with Major Depression, but continued the 70% rating. IU remained intact.
Fast forward to present day, the VA decided to reevaluate the PTSD (just shy of 5 years since my last C&P). I attended an exam, it went well. Doc was nice and made me feel comfortable, which was a relief because I hate going to those things.
I received my packet yesterday with a decision. The C&P exam showed my symptoms had gotten worse, but not enough to warrant an increase. They continued my 70% rating and kept the IU intact.
Here’s what did change: it states that I now qualify for basic eligibility to Ch. 35 benefits due to my disability being considered permanent and total. I was under the impression that you needed to be rated 100% scheduler to qualify for this, but apparently they consider TDIU P&T equivalent to the 100% scheduler rating in this regard. I did not know this and thought TDIU simply “paid the same rate as 100%.”
There was no information regarding the need for future exams. In the past, there was always a closing sentence that stated I could be re-examined. Since they changed my status to P&T, does this negate the need for reexaminations in regards to the PTSD? Just not totally sure how this works. What I do understand is that if I opened a new claim or filed for an increase, a C&P would surely follow of course.
Here’s another area that makes me uneasy. I have held off on filing secondary claims related to the PTSD, such as ED and IBS. I’ve also considered filing for tinnitus. But something tells me that I may be asking for trouble if I do so. Some have told me that because I’ve been granted 100% TDIU P&T that I shouldn’t worry about filing new claims in hopes of reaching scheduler status. These opinions are mixed, some say go for it, others say “don’t push it.”
While they are valid claims, not sure what I should do. The only benefit I see to scheduler, aside from dental, is that I could “work” with no income barriers and not have to worry about risking my benefits if I make too much. Currently, the little work I do is hobby- based and only nets a few thousand dollars a year. I file taxes every year showing this income. BUT, I do have ambitions toward expanding this into a small operation someday to earn a little extra income for an IRA. Retirement is one of my biggest fears. But at the same time, I don’t expect to be making anything beyond marginal income in this lifetime, regardless of an expansion.
So much to think about…I suppose I should be grateful I’ve made it this far…I wish I could say my doubts, fears, etc have dwindled, but unfortunately, I feel no different. As we all know, the VA plays by their own rules after all.
I WOULD like to say thank you to all those that helped me reach this point. I try to help others on this site as a way of giving back. This community has been a godsend to me for many years.
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At the end of June, I noticed a claim had been opened for my SC'd PTSD, currently rated at 70%. Little background, I was rated at 70% for Major Depression back in 2010. I filed for TDIU and it was granted later that year. The VA re-examined the Major Depression in 2015.