I was told I was 0% disabled by the VA and I accepted it. I, like most Veterans, was trying to get my footing in the civilian word and really see where I fit. I was struggling in college, going from doing Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning in the Air force to an informatics degree at a major college. I just did not see the value in fighting the VA. As time went on, I graduate from college, got a job, had a family, and then physically my body gave out.
I was in the
This realization triggered me that I must get past the mindset that I’m not disabled, and I don’t deserve VA disability. I was never in combat, why do I deserve the disability? I don’t want to take something from someone else who needs it. I decided to step into the ring and battle the VA for what was rightfully mine.
First stop, my old VSO. Called up my VSO told him my situation. He
I called my VSO and asked him, what should I do next. At this point, he questioned me “Richard are your disabilities really getting worse?” I thought to myself; this guy has no idea what I’ve been through and is not a medical expert. After the call, I decided to use my resourcefulness and go about this myself. I studied Military Disability Made Easy, talked to other Vets online and finally submitted a claim on my own on ebenefits.
My VSO called me and was pissed, I filled a claim behind his back, and he threated stop representing me. At this point, I was thinking what did he really do to help me? The answer was clear, nothing. So, I fired him, I was taking back the control on the claim. I called the VA sent in a statement saying I will represent myself and a month later he was no longer my VSO.
(Just so everyone knows, I’m not anti-VSO, VSO’s serve a great purpose and I’ve met several who have a passion for helping Veterans. This was just my experience with one VSO)
During this time my claim was still going on and I got a call from the VA for a C&P exam. I was well prepared to just use Military Disability Made Easy and nailed the exam. I went from 0 – 60% for just the increases and all my new disabilities were denied. I knew at this point I could win in my battle with the VA. Now began my journey into where to get the medical evidence I needed to get be successful in my claims journey.
The final portion of Richard’s story is available here.
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