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So I got the news this past Friday that I’ve been awarded 100 P&T after my last series of ratings that were in process (still have 2 deferred items). I’m in such shock that I was able to accomplish on my own (with the help of HadIt/Reddit), especially after being told for several years that without any copies of Service Treatment Records that I couldn’t file a claim. I got out of the Army ~9 years ago just happy to have a DD-214. I attempted to get copies but the shoddy medics at the Aid Station where I out-processed said that I didn’t have anything in my records folder. Over the next several years I sent numerous requests to the Archives that resulted in responses saying that my records weren’t found. It wasn’t until a stroke of luck last October that I somehow managed to find Tricare Online and was able to log in with my eBenefits/VA.gov credentials. Low and behold, a bunch of medical entries ranging from first arriving at Ft. Benning up until my Phase II Exit Exam Physical were there. I immediately printed it out and saved a digital copy! I know it seems silly after the fact since I now know the VA will retrieve their own copies of STRs but it was finding those artifacts online that motivated me to register with a VSO and file my initial Intent to File in October 2018. I spent the next few months organizing my evidence and researching (soooo much researching posts, eCFR, and M21-1) issues that I wanted to claim that others also referenced in their posts on the various Vet forums. In February 2019, I finally submitted what I believed to be my FDC after gathering all my private medical records and organizing them neatly along with a couple private doctor DBQs, my STRs, and several Statements in Support of Claim. There were a few hiccups along the way in that I was incorrectly rated at 0% for a few issues which I submitted a Supplemental Appeal for correction (which was successful). All said and done, my first round got me to 93% with one deferred issue. While waiting for a C&P re-exam for that issue, I decided to file a second claim to cover a few extra things that I didn’t put in my initial claim due to not knowing about secondaries and presumptives at the time. I submitted a couple more private DBQs and had two more C&Ps in August. Shortly after, I received my decision which stated I was 100 P&T and sure enough, I am now able to generate a Commissary Letter and Benefits Verification that both state that I am considered Permanent & Total.
Definitely a hug thanks to all of you here. Without this site, I would never have been able to read all the archives of posts from people with similar claims to try and see how things may play out or how I could better present or position myself during the claims process. A couple of tips to leave everyone while I try to sort out what kind of benefits I’m now eligible for:
Don’t worry about how long you’ve been out for. Only worry about your health, it’s relation to your service in the military and presenting your case in a clear and concise fashion.
A Statement in Support of Claim DOES provide a SIGNIFICANT advantage. I’ve read several places that say the VA dismisses this form. It may or may not be true, but where it has helped me out the most is during my C&P exams. I ALWAYS brought copies of evidence that applied towards my C&P exam that I was at. Each and every time, I was very courteous and let the examiner know that I made copies for them because I know the VA doesn’t always tag all the info to send to them. A well written Statement in Support of Claim helps not only the Examiner be able to check boxes but it also gives you a voice after you leave the exam.
During C&P exams, don’t be afraid to (politely) speak up and ask if you can reference your evidence so that you can give them the correct information. I always made it a habit to turn to the page that I wanted to read from, angle it towards the examiner and trace the sentence, diagnosis, or date with my finger. This usually triggered the examiner to comment on how great it was that I was able to have adequate evidence that supported the exam.
Thanks again everyone and good luck! 🙂
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So I got the news this past Friday that Ive been awarded 100 P&T after my last series of ratings that were in process (still have 2 deferred items). Im in such shock that I was able to accomplish it on my own (with the help of HadIt/Reddit -- my VSO didnt lift a finger to do any work for me),...