Vietnam Vet Seeking Help/Advice

DrewVietnam196869

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Oct 10, 2017
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#1
Hi - I am typing on behalf of my father, who is 70 years old and was drafted in to Vietnam in 1968-1969. My father has been receiving disability payments for a number of years (ear drum blown out by a grenade, diabetes from agent orange, PTSD, and many other issues related to his service). As his comorbid diseases worsened over the years, today he takes approximately 30 medications, is cognitively impaired (as in, he can't manage his own medications, remember why he is in the hospital or drive but still able to feed himself and shower) and has been in the ICU (not in a VA hospital because he is an hour away from the closest one and there is never time to get there) 4 times for various issues related to or a result of his diabetes. Recently, he applied for an increase in his disability benefits and the VA scheduled him for some kind of "exam". I have not been able to figure out exactly what happens at this exam from my parents. Unfortunately, the week of the exam as scheduled by the VA, he ended up in the ICU for an emergency heart surgery. My mom called and told them and they said to let them know when hew as better. About 3 weeks later, they received a letter stating that his issues/percent disability will remain "unchanged". The explanation they cited for each of the issues say that they evaluated various documentation from 2013 and he didn't show up for an exam!

The letter states that they can appeal the decision via the Notice of Disagreement (NoD) up to 1 year from the date of the letter. The letter also states that additional evidence can be provided whether or not we choose to appeal. Can anyone tell me how to go about submitting documentation without the appeal? Is that wise? Is it better to appeal? Also, what is the personal hearing? If my Dad is cognitively impaired, will they let my mother come and speak to his condition also? The letter recommends contact a VSO - does anyone know best place to find someone local to their area? I see that the VSOs are on the VA website, but any thing we should know about picking one?

Also, does anyone know what happens at the "exam" that they originally scheduled? Is it purely a physical? Is it an interview?

My Dad has always explained this as "getting a 100%". I honestly don't understand a lot of this but now that he is not able to really manage this on his own and my mother finds it all confusing, I am trying to help. Any insight is appreciated. Sometimes I am glad he doesn't really know what is going on because I feel like he would be so disappointed and overwhelmed with this whole process. He has suffered for so many years and now he we are afraid that he is one hypoglycemic episode away from dying. Someday soon, he may need to be in a nursing home or something too and they can't afford to pay for that out of pocket. It is all very upsetting.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

Ocean

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#3
Hi Drew,
Sorry about your father...I understand the frustration you and your family are dealing with...please follow up with the VSO as suggested by Fowler but also cut and paste the same information you provided at this site, and contact your Senator office with a request for assistance. In your explanation of events it sounds as if your father is home bound and in need of assistance...if that is the case please let your Senators office know that as well. Another thought; My mother is a vet and currently in Hospice I reached out to the VFW ( Veterans of Forgein Wars) where my mother’s claims were previously processed...so find out who your fathers VA claims were previous filed with, they may be able to pick up where he left off...For example in my mother’s case, if the VBA wants to request an exam they will have to go to her bedside...so it is my understanding if the Veteran is seriously ill the VBA can review the medical records or go to the Vets beside vesus schedule a medical appt that the veteran is physically unable to attend. Hope this helps blessings to you and your family....