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Old 10-29-2014, 10:34 PM   #85
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Moonrover,
Why would they need medical records for Agent Orange Presumed conditions? You service record should indicate the periods in NAM and that constitutes Boots on the Ground. Something just doesn't jell.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:30 PM   #86
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Moonrover,
Why would they need medical records for Agent Orange Presumed conditions? You service record should indicate the periods in NAM and that constitutes Boots on the Ground. Something just doesn't jell.

The canned reason given for denial of the spinal problem is that they can't find medical records from Nam doctors. The reasoning for denial of the presumed conditions is that I presently do not have side effects. Possibly meaning that I'm not in the final stages of dying. However the VA has been given reams of scanned civilian medical record information concerning treatment of my cancer.

Wayne, we both know that the mission of the VA bureaucracy is to reduce the claim backlog as well put a squeeze on disability benefit outlay. The boiler plate inserted verbiage in my lengthy denial indicates to me that they routinely churn out denials.

Where to go from here? Well, first, I will go to the three scheduled medical exams. They are scattered out at different VA facilities, I presume because that's where the specialized doctors are located. After the exams I will file a rebuttal with the VA and ask for them to reevaluate my claim now that they have the results from their medical doctors.

It was a blatant error for the VA to deny PRIOR to having medical results from their doctors. It's a clear indication to me that the whole denial process is a rubber stamp affair. Some bureaucrat just jumped the gun and pushed the buttons a couple of months too soon. Unfortunately there may be more "denial buttons" than I have days remaining above sod level.
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Old 10-30-2014, 12:29 AM   #87
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^^^ I am sorry to here it went this way. I don't remember if you said before or not - but do you have the DAV or someone representing or assisting?
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Old 10-30-2014, 09:32 AM   #88
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^^^ I am sorry to here it went this way. I don't remember if you said before or not - but do you have the DAV or someone representing or assisting?

Early in the application process (over two years ago) I was being assisted by a VFW representative that had an office in my VA clinic. Things were slow, but he was getting stuff going. Then I didn't hear from him for two months, so I checked in to ask how it was going. Found out that he had quit his job and taken off to parts unknown. My application was still in the VA system but being bounced around, as I've mentioned in previous posts.

Since the VFW rep leaving, I have done all the dealings with the VA myself. Along the same timeline, the VA was whizzing up their infamous on-line application system. It has undergone some morphing, but finally settled down to the standard government style "user not-so-friendly" format. At least through that on-line system I was able to upload mountains of scanned medical documentation as well as military records.

Lots of back and forth between me and the electronic VA. I did make a few personal visits to the VA offices in Columbus to attempt to fire up the process. Trust me ... it will die if the applicant is not a hell-raising PITA. Bureaucrats ignore you unless you are noisy.

Fast forward to now ... as you've noticed ... I'm the recipient of a standard VA denial. Having chatted with many other applicants both via the Internet and personally in the VA waiting rooms, I really was not shocked by this initial denial of my application.
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Old 10-30-2014, 09:45 AM   #89
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I don't know where you live but here in Dakota County, Minnesota the county has a VA rep that works for the vets and she is Great! Your really need a VA rep from some origination. Be it VFW, Legion, or local govt. Going it alone is really tough.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:37 AM   #90
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I used the DAV rep at the Houston Hospital and they were great.

I just don't understand denial of presumptive conditions. Your military service record will show you were in VN. Just the fact that you had boots on the ground grants you the presumptive conditions for AO.

As to the crashes, did you have any medical treatment after you left VN for the spinal injury.

I'm just talking out loud. I know you have researched all this to no end. I hope it works out for you.
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Old 10-30-2014, 06:24 PM   #91
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I used the DAV rep at the Houston Hospital and they were great.

I just don't understand denial of presumptive conditions. Your military service record will show you were in VN. Just the fact that you had boots on the ground grants you the presumptive conditions for AO.

As to the crashes, did you have any medical treatment after you left VN for the spinal injury.

I'm just talking out loud. I know you have researched all this to no end. I hope it works out for you.

Attempting to understand the VA determination is mind-boggling. It appears they are leaning on the fact that currently I do not have aggressive cancer symptoms. However, I did have surgery and cancer treatment for both of the presumptive conditions listed for AO. To me THAT is irrefutable proof that I DID have not only symptoms, but active cancer.

Now the spinal problem remains persistent, and I have provided medical records for the VA to read. I scanned records and reports from three orthopedic surgeons. Matter of fact my initial VA medical medical exam doctor looked over the records that I carried along. She spent at least 30 minutes reading then entering notes into my new VA medical file. My military medical records should support my claim, but surprise ... the VA can not locate them.

The VA denial is without question a standard tactic. After re-reading each paragraph, I can spot the generic "boiler plate" response. Sort of like each block is a one size fits all style.

Yes, I will take the advice mentioned here. I'm going to look for an advocate (DAV, American Legion, etc) who will stand with me during my appeal process. I'm not exactly a novice myself when it comes to battling bureaucrats.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:29 PM   #92
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It is so troubling to hear of others that have had, or are having these problems. In my case it was a no brainer. I used the DAV advocate and I only had to show up at the different contract doctor's offices on the appointed day to be evaluated. I never had to go to the VA Hospital itself for the evaluation. I never received a denial for any of the presumptive diseases associated with AO. I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

Keep at it. Eventually it will come through and I hope it is with all back pay.
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:35 PM   #93
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I agree with Wayne. I'm sure many have had problems with the VA. I have COPD and my claim was processed very fast. They asked for more info which I didn't supply only because I had none. I served from '66 to '88 and was an acft. Maintenance technician. I don't know if my AFSC and assignments aided in their positive decision. I never served in VN but I was in the PI working on c-130's which hauled AO. All in all I guess vets claims are at the mercy of individual processors. Uniformity in evaluations would help. For those that gave been denied, don't give up as eventually ones claims may hit the right evaluators desk.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:42 AM   #94
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I have continued reading the replies that have been given to Moorover and I subscribe to the views and statements made by Wayne M , toneumanns and others. I think we all agree or most do that dealing with the VA can be the biggest humping Sam can give you. Just so everyone knows to deal with the VA on your own will give you heart brake at best. Do yourself a favor and get someone from a service organization to assist you. I'd suggest the DAV the majority of the time. here are also other organizations out there that will assist you as well . The VVA has some goo folks as the American legion has who all have good knowledge of the issues of claims on AO. The VFW also can to some extent assist. My first choice because of the knowledge base that they have is the DAV and the number of successful claims that they have submitted over the years.
It's a bit like what they say about the court system..."Only a fool defends himself" , I did not make that statement to offend anyone but more so to point you to getting down to business in a less emotional way. The VA knows damn straight that they can usually frustrate the hell out of most folks who go it alone because most folks let emotions get into it. Using a service organization puts it on a level of no BS review the claim and let the doctors decide the claim based on fct not BS. The claim specialist is not a doctor and probably could care less if your claim is ever approved all they want to do is close out the claim and get it off the desk they sit at. There has been some talk around that due to the back log on claims the VA was giving sort of a bonus out to speed up claims and processing. To me as for being a retired Federal Employee this incentive comes down to deny the claim to get rid of it and clear it from the system back log. If you appeal with in the year time frame the clock starts all over again and becomes a "new" claim not counted in the back log. So most would deny and dump the claim and the back log gets smaller and the incentive is paid out to the claim specialist...make sense to you? The IG and the Congress put the heat on the claim problem of back log in the VA and let the VA come up with a way to speed up the processing...nuff said! Your DD214 will give you the info you need as to where you were assigned and stationed and the "Boots on the Ground" is the ammo needed in most claims. All the Dr will do at the COP exam will be to gather medical information and do a physical to determine you have what you are claiming. The claim specialist has to follow what the info they are given by the Dr. The claim specialist will follow what is written and the claim and what the VA states as far as what they have on the list of illnesses and side effects of the herbicide exposure from AO and other defoliants. If warranted based on fact from the medical exam and the Boots on the Ground a percentage will be assigned and compensation will be given.
So to end it tonight...don't go it alone, use a service organization to assist you, look at your DD214 to see if it states Vietnam and you should be good to go. Medical records are the VA's problem. If they lost your records that is not your fault or problem. Also if you can get your own Dr. to give statement on your illness and if they think it could be from that exposure include that info. That's it and don't give up...it's just a waiting game so have at it! Good luck! You will win in the end and don't forget to get your Congress or Senate person involved (they ain't doing any thing else for America now days!!!
Oh and if you think the VA is messed up check this BS out...the USAF finally got my good conduct medal to me....it only took them 42 freaken years to do that...how nice of them!
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:51 AM   #95
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Agent Orange

I applied in 07 I believe it was and took about a year for me to get my 100%
I had a service rep that was not sure of what he was doing to I call the Detroit VA office and found a good knowledge able individual said he was blind and knew the ins and outs of the VA. In less than 6 months I was getting my disability, thanked the guy and said not necessary "I know how they work"
Shortly afterwards I had Prostate cancer, bladder cancer and a bad heart valve now COPD. but I cant get any more out of them just keep updating the VA.
Keep after them you may mention Congressman and Senators some times that moves them in view of the past investigations the VA dont want or need any more.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:34 PM   #96
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Also, if they are requiring medical records for incidents that happened in VN and they are not available, try some affidavits from people you served with and know you had problems. A stack of them should help some, I think.

My belief is in the DAV reps. And you don't have to be a DAV member.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:06 PM   #97
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The military, especially the Army has a record of having very few records for those in VN in the early 60's. I was there in 63 and there were records of the shots given before leaving the US but that was it. As for "some affidavits from people you served", not many made it back!

Vitenam was a tough place to be when it was MAAG "Military Assistance Advisory Group" and assigned to the Mekong Delta area. Everyone I new died there but I was lucky. I came home and was fortunate when I put in for disibility some 35 years later I had little trouble.

I hope things work out for you, many paid a very high price for their service!
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Old 11-10-2014, 02:50 AM   #98
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I guess I'll join the discussion and add my 2 cents. After being told by friend Vets I should apply for disability for my hearing loss. I had no idea that was even an option. I finally did visit the DAV office in Portland, Or and found them very helpful. Everyone I talked to said I should have a "slam dunk" claim since my job was ADJ (jet engine tech) and made two carrier cruises. Well it's been anything but a slam dunk. I started my claim Sept 2011, one hearing exam done by VA audiologist find serious hearing loss with Tinnitus but concludes her report that in her opinion it wasn't service connected. How the hell she could come to that conclusion if don't know. May she's clairvoyant. I'm sure that killed my claim because I received my first denial. I appealed and provided some additional information how jet engine level DB levels will damage hearing even with the use of hearing protection. Still denied so started the final appeal. Since then I've been diagnosed with prostate and bladder cancer so I've added that to my final appeal. I'm told by DAV and VA that if I spent any time on shore in Nam I would qualify for AO. I was flown off the USS Midway on chopper that landed in Danang for a couple hours and DAV says that qualifies since late ruling by VA. Of course where they get the out is telling me I have to prove service connection with evidence which of course I can't do. I suspect it will be another year before I get my meeting with the judge to find out I've been wasting my time. I wrote my Senator asking if I should trust the VA in giving my claim adequate attention. His reply was "he'd contacted VA and they said my claim is receiving the attention they all do". Thats comforting since they all get the blow off. Good luck to you all and I for one do appreciate your service.
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