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SamMcGowan

MyVA Saga

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Here is my VA saga. I was awarded a 40% disability for II diabetes and complications in 2006. Around 2008-09 I started noticing pain in my legs that I assumed were arthritis. In 2010 I was in San Antonio for a PLA - whatever they call it - and ran into Bob Antoline, who I knew from Naha. Bob has II diabetes and is having major leg problems. I realized that my pain was probably related to my diabetes so I filed a claim. Later that year I experienced severe pain and decided to go to the VA for medical treatment. Previously, I had been going outside the VA because I was still flying and had take FAA-approved medications. After I went to the VA, I filed for hearing loss and got an additional 10%. To make a long story short, the VA denied my request for an increase for neuropathy because they said it wasn't "severe." They also denied a claim later for sleep apnea, which the VA says I have. I filed an appeal after I got the denial and it was denied. That was in April of last year (2014). I  requested a board hearing. Since that time, I have yet to receive any kind of correspondence from the VA regarding my claim. Last September I went on my eBenefits page and saw that the claims had been closed and a letter had been sent. I have never received such a letter. I wrote a letter and got no reply, but my record shows that they looked at it and denied it. I contacted my Congressmen early this year and have been working with a girl in his office. She hasn't received anything from the VA but has talked to them. A few weeks ago I went to the regional office since I had a medical appointment at the DeBakey hospital. By the time I was called, I only had a few minutes. The counselor told me the claim was closed because I was a "no show." I asked WTF for and he said I hadn't filed a Form 9. He had a letter in my record that plainly showed that I had enclosed two Form 9s with statements. I had my paperwork with me so I looked and found a Form 9. I found another one when I got home. What happened is that I made copies and sent the copy with the statements instead of the originals. (The girl in my Congressman's office says that makes no difference.) I joined the DAV yesterday and asked for representation but have received no reply from the Houston office (I had emailed them before asking for representation but got no response,) They don't answer the phone. I called the national office and was given the number of the regional supervisor. I was told that the Houston supervisor is on medical leave and was given a number to call in DC. I got a voicemail. So far, no one has returned my call. I believe my buddy Tom Stalvey is right - the VA keeps denying claims while hoping the veteran will die and they want have to give them compensation.

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Update - I finally was able to get through to the VA and also signed up with the DAV for a VSO. In March 2016 I had a "hearing" with a VA rep that lasted about 5 minutes. They at least sent me to a VA neurologist for a new C&P evaluation. She decided the neuropathy in my legs is moderate and mild in my arms. The VA upgraded me to 60%. A couple of weeks ago I got a letter awarding me Unemployability. The appeals are still on-going. I filed them in 2012 and asked for a board hearing in 2014. At least I'm not getting 100% pay - and Texas doesn't require disabled vets being paid at 100% to pay property taxes. That's all good news. We'll see what happens with the appeals. I should be at least at 70-80% and possibly 100%.

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