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Hello everyone, Very new here so bear with me. First off thanks for your service. I currently have an NOD in for PTSD as well as Migraines. I have been seen by both VA Psychiatrists as well as my own Psychologist for a couple years, and have been diagnosed by both with PTSD as well as migraines. I have NEXUS letters for both PTSD and Migraines as well as DBQ’s being performed. Back in November 2016 the VARO requested more information about my PTSD and my Psychologist sent in 38 more pages and it sat. I sent an email out about two weeks ago to the secretary of the VA just on a whim and I received a call on Friday morning from the person at the Philly VARO asking me to clarify some questions about one of my stressors. I didn’t remember the exact date but he seemed fine with that. he then told me the reason my claim was taking so long and why it wouldn’t have been done a while ago is because they lost half of my SMR’s. Of course I had no idea what to say, and he said it wouldn’t even be worth me looking for them because he looked everywhere. I then asked how much longer it would take and he said he was finishing everything and would give the DRO my information on Monday which would be tomorrow. He said it was flagged because of the email I sent, and that it needed to get done. My questions are this, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
1. Is it normal for the VARO people to call for information if they are not going to approve my claim/Appeal?
2. How long do you think I have left? after I spoke with the guy from the VARO, my ebenifits account showed my appeal went from GOE to review of evidence and said Initial review complete. I know that isn’t a big jump, but it is movement.
3. Even though I have all the DBQ’, Nexus letters and VA diagnosis as well as my Personal Psychologist diagnosis of PTSD and Migraines, am I out of luck because they lost half my SMR’s? I am also on 4 different meds for it etc?
Any help or thoughts would really help, Thank you.
Response from one of our members
1. I have been called by VARO early in a claim to verify or clarify contentions, so I don’t believe it would be indicative of a coming approval or denial, but more simply an effort to gather needed evidence (clarification). I am assuming their records search to verify your stressors perhaps came up empty handed or didn’t necesarily correlate directly with your stressor letter perhaps.
2. Unfortunately, not to be a Debbie downer, the question of how long is similar to asking “how long is rope”…..tough when you have anxiety….trust me, I’m with you! But, unfortunately, it depends on evidence, records, C&P’s being needed, etc. I would assume since you needed a stressor letter to be researched by VA that you do not have a CAR/CIB…..if you do, it is considered your stressor (combat action).
3. Worst case scenario, you will be scheduled a C&P…..PTSD is the only mental health issue, that I am aware of, one can file for post service that does not necesarily require “in service” treatment records as it affects can be months, years or even decades after the traumatic event.
If it helps, I think if your stressor can be verified by unit logs, time/place in service, buddy statements, etc and you have a clear diagnosis from an appropriate person qualified to diagnose the condition, then you appear to have a good strong case. Just my .02……but when dealing with VA……you just never really know. I wish you the best…..hope there will be no NOD in your future!