CRSC application 4 years after PDRL retirement

maronedp

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#1
I was medically retired at 100% for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia on the PDRL. More and more evidence suggests, burn pit exposures were contributing factors. My 199 and retirement orders say the disability was not caused by an instrumentality of war. Is it worth still trying to submit a CRSC application and making the case that the disability was caused by instrumentality of war.

Median age of diagnosis for my disease is 71 years old. less than 1% of cases happen in 30 year olds. VA now lists CLL and about 5 others as automatically eligible for CRSC for Agent Orange exposure, but there is no mention for OIF/OEF folks and burn pit exposure. Wondering if I should submit an application and see what happens?
 

Warrior644

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#2
I was medically retired at 100% for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia on the PDRL. More and more evidence suggests, burn pit exposures were contributing factors. My 199 and retirement orders say the disability was not caused by an instrumentality of war. Is it worth still trying to submit a CRSC application and making the case that the disability was caused by instrumentality of war.

Median age of diagnosis for my disease is 71 years old. less than 1% of cases happen in 30 year olds. VA now lists CLL and about 5 others as automatically eligible for CRSC for Agent Orange exposure, but there is no mention for OIF/OEF folks and burn pit exposure. Wondering if I should submit an application and see what happens?
In my opinion, indeed, yes since the worst case scenario is the potential receipt of a denial CRSC decision letter after "an average of 12 calendar months to process a CRSC application" for U.S. Army veterans.

On 18 May 2017, I applied for DFAS CRSC via the USAHRC while currently placed onto the DoD military TDRL and I am still awaiting my CRSC decision letter. As such, I am already receiving DFAS CRDP with a FITW exemption (e.g., federal income taxation exemption due to a combat-related injury finding while in the DoD IDES on military active duty).

Albeit, I wondered if the USAHRC CRSC Department would adjudicate a combat-relatedness determination (e.g., via AC, SW, GW or MG combat-related codes) with my numerous other military service-connected disabilities. So, as of today, my wait still continues for the receipt of a CRSC decision letter. Take care!

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer!"

Best Wishes!
 
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maronedp

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
Thanks--I think I will. I'm just hoping they don't look at the 199 and orders and don't give it another thought. There's no way the PEB could have known whether or not the CLL was caused by some combat related factor or not so I think they default to "no". The Vietnam Agent Orange vets know this all too well I'm guessing.
 

Warrior644

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#4
Thanks--I think I will. I'm just hoping they don't look at the 199 and orders and don't give it another thought. There's no way the PEB could have known whether or not the CLL was caused by some combat related factor or not so I think they default to "no". The Vietnam Agent Orange vets know this all too well I'm guessing.
Indeed, that a good plan and you are welcome!

In retrospect, the USAHRC CRSC Department is suppose to review all submitted medical evidence and/or medical documentation prior to making a combat-relatedness determination. Also, the USAHRC encourage veterans to only "submit relevant documentation that explains specifically how the injury or condition occurred within a combat-related or training-related scenario." Take care!

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer!"

Best Wishes!
 

RonG

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#5
I agree with Warrior644 in that you should submit an application.

A brief comment about, "VA now lists CLL and about 5 others as automatically eligible for CRSC for Agent Orange exposure, but there is no mention for OIF/OEF folks and burn pit exposure." As you likely know, the VA does not make CRSC decisions; that is a matter for each individual service. Of course the VA award of VA compensation is a major part of the evaluation.

Per the VA: "VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran's qualifying military service. We call these 'presumptive diseases'." Note: Many of my approved VA disabilities were preemptively caused by exposure to Agent Orange. As you suggested, they were all approved for CRSC by my service (Army). Just an opinion, but I think the same consideration should be given to disabilities such as Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia incurred during other wars.

Good luck,
Ron
 

maronedp

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#6
I agree with Warrior644 in that you should submit an application.

A brief comment about, "VA now lists CLL and about 5 others as automatically eligible for CRSC for Agent Orange exposure, but there is no mention for OIF/OEF folks and burn pit exposure." As you likely know, the VA does not make CRSC decisions; that is a matter for each individual service. Of course the VA award of VA compensation is a major part of the evaluation.

Per the VA: "VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran's qualifying military service. We call these 'presumptive diseases'." Note: Many of my approved VA disabilities were preemptively caused by exposure to Agent Orange. As you suggested, they were all approved for CRSC by my service (Army). Just an opinion, but I think the same consideration should be given to disabilities such as Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia incurred during other wars.

Good luck,
Ron
Thanks Ron--good points. I've found a handful of cases where vets are seeking service connection in order to improve their ratings, but I haven't found much in the way of CRSC related issues as it related to creating the nexus to combat relation. Any thoughts on how to best paint that picture without being too overly scientific or speculative? In other words, I can say, "I was a platoon leader of a horizontal construction platoon and was responsible for building and filling the burn pits pits at the beginning of the Iraq war, therefore I spent all day around them" and "while I was deployed to Afghanistan, a burn pit smoldered all day around my living and work areas. Breathing these toxins compromised my immune system and eventually led to an incurable cancer" The application does say, "in your own words, describe what happened".
 

RonG

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#7
Unfortunately, there are not many examples to use.

Recommend you use your favorite search engine to possibly find similar cases. Terms such as those related to your disabilities and "CRSC" should be included.

I am reminded of what a fellow veteran told me when I filed my first VA claim. He said, "It does not matter how well you write; the evidence must speak for itself." Whether that is precisely accurate remains to be seen, but some of my claims involved only a couple of sentences authored by me. I had ample evidence to support my claims.

Good luck,
Ron
 
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