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This is my first post on here. Some background: I am active duty for another 3 weeks as an infantryman in the usmc. I filed a BDD claim (or the one that you can file 6 months before you get out) with the VA for some of the issues I have. The grunt life has been tough on my body and mind, and I decided I would file a claim for some of the things that started to bother me when I was in. This was in Feb, and I had 3 C&P exams in March (hearing/tinnitus, the one with pain in joints/body, and MH). Overall, I was surprised with the speed of the process and timely nature of the process. I’ve heard horror stories, but none of applied to me so far. I’m a mortarman 0341, and I’ve served and trained as either a mortarman or a riflemen my entire time in. 2 deployments, one to asia (japan and korea) and other to the arctic circle for 6 months (Norway).
Fast forward a couple months to June, and I get a call from the VA. I assumed it was about my GI bill application (I’m slated to go to school in August). Nope, it was for my VA claim. I had filed an extension on my contract because of current events to stay in a bit longer on active duty because of the shutdowns in my state. They just wanted to verify my new EAS date and home of record address to send my decision letter later on in July instead of June. I updated my information and the rep on the phone asked me if I wanted to hear what the raters said about my claim. Of course I did, and what I was told was nothing short of shocking to me. After all I heard about the VA, I never thought I would get much of anything, even being infantry and having obvious pains. I was given the advice of trying to service connect as many of my pains as possible by the VA rep on base, this way when they inevitably get worse later in life (I’m 27)I could get treatment if they were at least 0% SC. So I did. The rep on the phone told me I received a SC for all 10 items I had claimed, and that my likely rating would be 100% scheduler w/ P&T, pending approval of VA HQ or some other “approver” he mentioned. I had expected that I might get 10-40% range somewhere, depending if they took my claims seriously and how the x-rays in my hands came back. The things that bother me the most (my knees, neck) were rated the lowest and the thing that doesn’t bother me as much (my feet) got rated highest. Is this common? An error? I have foot pain and pain in my heel and thing around the arch of my foot, but I can still walk and everything. However, my knees bother me everyday, and my neck pain makes it very hard to get decent sleep, I figured they would be rated higher than my feet…
Has anyone else received a rating much higher than they thought they would get or a lower rating for specific things that seriously bother them every day? What was your reaction? How should I feel?
This is a list of my claim and what the rep told me the rater gave for each condition
50% Bilateral foot pain/plantar condition
50% PTSD with Insomnia (I witnessed my best friend’s suicide in the barracks while I was in, never got to go to combat)
20% neck pain /mobility
10% left thumb pain/mobility (dislocated badly in plt PTd and never healed properly)
10% right index finger pain (caught on a pack strap and hyper extended)
10% each knee
10% left knee strain (separate from other knee award???)
10% left ear hearing loss
0% right ear hearing loss
This is what the guy told me over the phone so I wrote down what he was saying the best I could, I definately wasn’t ready for this. I don’t know how to feel. I almost didn’t file a claim at all, because I hadn’t seen combat. I didn’t get a lawyer or anyone’s help and I accomplished 100% my first go around. I didn’t think I deserved it or rated it over the combat vets. When I think disability rating, I think of people confined to wheelchairs or missing limbs from a war etc or serious life threatening conditions, my uncle was one from desert storm. My wife thinks I deserve it, mainly because she has to deal with my all my sleep issues, hearing loss, complaints of going up steps etc, but I have mixed feelings and am happy and have feelings of guilt at the same time. I thought they would just 0% SC a lot of my issues and wait for them to get worse over my life later on. The reason of my post is this:
Are ratings like this common for non-combat infantry vets? Should I try to appeal for a lower rating so other people with terrible conditions are more likely to get the treatment and care they need? Should I speak with a VSO now or when I get back to my home state and if so, which ones are best? I just feel odd, I have pain in a lot of areas in my body, but I’m still able to walk and run (just not pain free and as fast as before I enlisted). Also, since this rating isn’t official yet, will the “approver” or VA HQ likely reduce ratings from the raters before I get my official decision letter?
I know this is a long post, and I am thankful of whoever is willing to read it all and comment and give me some advice. Have a good one all
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Hi all, This is my first post on here. Some background: I am active duty for another 3 weeks as an infantryman in the usmc. I filed a BDD claim (or the one that you can file 6 months before you get out) with the VA for some of the issues I have.