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Gale
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We've had a few more new members to join our group asking some very basic questions. I've updated the Newcomer's Advice post now to include a lot more information than previously. I hope this helps our new members in finding some of the information they need in their healthcare and claims. Of course our older members have a lot to share as well, so feel free to post your questions in the forums. --Gale


Obtain a large notebook to keep buy your phone and to take with you to your doctor's appointments to keep notes of what you need to discuss with your doctor, names, phone numbers, etc. This will help you keep track of important information you will need from time-to-time.

1. If you served in the theatre of operations, you need to register in the Gulf War Registry Program through your local VA.
Persian Gulf Registry. Find the closest VA/Environmental Agents near you for an evaluation and to get put on the Registry here: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/eh_coordinators.asp
This program is now referred to as Gulf War Registry Program (to include Operation Iraqi Freedom as of March 7, 2005: http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1574
Familiarize yourself with the latest (2008) VA/RAC Report on Gulf War Illnesses, as well: http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWIandHealthofGWVeterans_RAC-GWVIReport_2008.pdf
And the 2012 Findings and Recommendations:
http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/docs/Committee_Documents/CommitteeDocJune2012.pdf

2. Gather previous medical records to include any private doctor's reports you may have.

a. http://www.archives.gov/veterans/ or, http://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/index.html

b. http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/services.html

c. REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM CLAIMANT'S RECORDS http://www.forms.va.gov/va/Internet/VARF/getformharness.asp?formName=3288-form.xft

d. If you have a compensation file (C-file) already and wish to obtain a copy of it, see this link for instructions: http://www.hughcox.com/V_CFILE_foia.pdf


3. If you feel you need help in your claim, choose a service organization and officer:
Directory of Veterans Service Organizations http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view

4. Familiarize yourself with the VA's healthcare protocols and claims policies derived from Title 38 laws for Gulf War Illnesses.

a. VHA Handbook: http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000120 or, http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1574


b. Compensation and Pension Examination for Gulf War Guidelines: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm25.htm

c. Establishing Combat Veteran Eligibility: http://www1.va.gov/environagents/docs/VHADirective2005-020_June_2_2005.pdf


d. SUBCHAPTER II--WARTIME DISABILITY COMPENSATION: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1110

e. M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section E
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part4/subptii/ch01/ch01_sece.doc
Section E. Claims for Service Connection for Certain Disabilities Associated With Gulf War (GW) Service Overview

f. M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section D
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part4/subptii/ch02/ch02_secd.doc
Section D. Service Connection for Certain Disabilities Associated With Gulf War (GW) Service Overview

g. Contact info for Environmental Agents in your area: http://www1.va.gov/environagents/docs/EHC_Directories_September_2008.pdf



h. Rating criteria for CFS, FMS, and IBS:
FIBROMYALGIA http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_71a.DOC

The diseases under diagnostic codes 5013 through 5024 Will be rated on limita¬tion of motion of affected parts, as arthritis, degenerative, except gout which will be rated under diagnostic code 5002.

5025 Fibromyalgia (fibrositis, primary fibromyalgia syndrome)

With widespread musculoskeletal pain and tender points, with or without associated fatigue, sleep disturbance, stiffness, paresthesias, headache, irritable bowel symptoms, depression, anxiety, or Raynaud’s-like symptoms:

That are constant, or nearly so, and refractory to therapy 40

That are episodic, with exacerbations often precipitated by environmental or emotional stress or by overexertion, but that
are present more than one-third of the time 20

That require continuous medication for control 10

Note: Widespread pain means pain in both the left and right sides of the body, that is both above and below the waist, and that affects both the axial skeleton (i.e., cervical spine, anterior chest, thoracic spine, or low back) and the extremities.
-------------------------------------

IBS http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_114.DOC

7319 Irritable colon syndrome (spastic colitis, mucous colitis, etc.):

Severe; diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress 30

Moderate; frequent episodes of bowel disturbance with abdominal distress 10

Mild, disturbances of bowel function with occasional episodes of
abdominal distress 0

(See also discussion on digestive system here:
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000169;p=1#000000 )
-------------------------------------------


CHRONIC FATIGUE http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_88b.DOC

6354 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS):

Debilitating fatigue, cognitive impairments (such as inability to
concentrate, forgetfulness, confusion), or a combination of other
signs and symptoms:

Which are nearly constant and so severe as to restrict routine daily activities almost completely and which may occasionally
preclude self-care 100

Which are nearly constant and restrict routine daily activities to less than 50 percent of the pre-illness level, or; which wax and wane, resulting in periods of incapacitation of at least six weeks total duration per year 60

Which are nearly constant and restrict routine daily activities to 50 to 75 percent of the pre-illness level, or; which wax and wane, resulting in periods of incapacitation of at least four but less than six weeks total duration per year 40

Which are nearly constant and restrict routine daily activities by less than 25 percent of the pre-illness level, or; which wax and wane, resulting in periods of incapacitation of at least two but less than four weeks total duration per year 20

Which wax and wane but result in periods of incapacitation of at least one but less than two weeks total duration per year, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication 10

Note: For the purpose of evaluating this disability, the condition will be considered incapacitating only while it requires bed rest and treatment by a physician.

5. EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR GULF WAR AND IRAQI FREEDOM VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU)

a. http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHandbook1303122304.DOC and

b. http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1158
See also,
c. http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc

d. http://www.pdhealth.mil/downloads/DU_Clinicians_Guide_09172004.pdf



6. Help and information in treatment and filing a claim for PTSD:

a. PTSD CLAIMS FAQ (FROM A TO Z): http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000043

b. IRAQ WAR CLINICIAN GUIDE:
http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/war/iraq_clinician_guide_v2/iraq_clinician_guide_v2.pdf

c. Military Veterans PTSD Reference Manual:
http://www.ptsdmanual.com/

d. Nation Center for PTSD :
http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/topics/war.html

e. VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206.pdf

f. INSTITUTING GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTION (GAF):
http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html

g. §4.130 Schedule of ratings-mental disorders.
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC

h. Vet Center Eligibility - Readjustment Counseling Service: http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm

i. Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings: http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC

j. Mental Health Program Guidelines: http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094

k. Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers: http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/

l. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: See
Initial - http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm43.htm
Review - http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm56.htm
Mental - http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm37.htm

m. VHA MENTAL HEALTH INTENSIVE CASE MANAGEMENT (MHICM): http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=78

n. VHA PROGRAM GUIDE 1103.3 MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM GUIDELINES
FOR THE NEW VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094

o. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 1154): http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKB/PART3/S3_304.DOC



If you did not serve in the theatre of operations during the Gulf War, but feel you may have had adverse reactions to vaccines, you will need to read up on this:
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000026

Everyone concerned about vaccines (deployed or not) can read the latest on vaccines here: Milvacs. org http://www.mvrd.org/

We have a Library of Useful Links you should consult when looking up information on most any issue regarding healthcare and claims:
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=14

See also, our list of VA links of resources: http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000001


If you suffer from an undiagnosed illness such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or irritable bowel syndrome you will find these links helpful:

1. Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPG http://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm

2. Compensation & Pension Examnination for Fibromyalgia: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm22.htm

3. CFS/FMS : http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=14;t=000049

4. Title 38 regarding chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=14&t=000077



SOCIAL SECURITY

If you are totally disabled and eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you should file for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). You may use your VA medical documentation for evidence, if you wish. Filing for SSDI can be a long and difficult process (much like for VA benefits), so you may want to seek the help of a Social Security Lawyer who will charge you only if and when you win your case (usually around 30% of your award).

If you are totally disabled and not eligible for SSDI you may be eligible for SSI (Social Security Supplemental Income), which is a form of welfare and weighed against any other income you receive.

See this page for helpful links in learning how to file for SSDI and SSI benefits:

Social Security Disability Coalition
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000017

[ October 01, 2012, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Gale ]

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HONOR OUR VETERANS WITH BETTER CARE AND BENEFITS

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justtracks
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I am brand new and you answered almost all my questions! Thanks!
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Gale
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 -

Welcome, Justtracks!

If you ever need help, just ask someone in the forums. We have several knowledgible folks who help where ever they can. We also have a Library of Useful Links for your review with many resources: http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=14

Make yourself at home!

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HONOR OUR VETERANS WITH BETTER CARE AND BENEFITS

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justtracks
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T-anks again! It looks like you're going to Alaska!!! Have fun there... I have always wanted to go. I hear you may need mosquito repellent...
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macat
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Hi Gale,
I tried the link you provided for us, so that we could get signed up for the Gulf War Registery, but I got the following message when I clicked on it, "File not found."

http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1232

Is there somewheres else we can go to?

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Gale
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Macat,

Looks like the VA has been moving URLs around-- again. Here's another link to the Registry:

http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWOIFHANDBOOK062007.pdf

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HONOR OUR VETERANS WITH BETTER CARE AND BENEFITS

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phritzie
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Gale, Thanks for posting the info (consider yourself computer kissed). Ive used information from this site before but just joined. Is there a specific place for new folk/new claims? The SS disability coalition is where Im headed next.

--------------------
Sarchasm is deep dark dry humor.
I may be crazy to you but I'm sane to me.

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dusternc
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Thank you All that have contributed to this sight. I can see,I have been away to long,little over 16 years scene I registered with Gulf War Registry. I have spent this time taking care of my two children by my self and letting my needs lay to the side. Now that i have one almost in college i can now concentrate on my issues. this sight has been very helpful for me gathering information and where to go to get my records updated.
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michael/3/8/cav
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Thanks Gale, I thought I might update my status. I put in for the Gulf War Registry and included some of the info that I downloaded and printed out from this site. I sent it in last week, it was about one inch thick. I am told to expect the exam to last about 4 hours. They have moved the c&p clinic across the way from the VA center. It is now in the Nortway Mall. I was up there on Jan 20th to see Dr. Linan who They scheduled me to meet with about my headaches, no exams results on that yet. Anyway after this GWR exam and what they say are the reasons for some of my ailments, will I then have to re apply for additional exams based on the results of the GWR exams? And submit a request for an exam for each illness? I hope this time I might have time to run into Bob Nelson. If so I will be sure to discuss this with him also. Thank you and everyone that has given advice. I am hoping for the best but you know, expect not much. But I will have more in my records at least.
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husker65
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hi i have a question my claim been in the rating for about 20 business days. about how long should it take? to receive the answer for 100 percent disability

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bigdog

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hardluck
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in my expeirnce every case is differnt after my exam it took around two wks to get my rating then if your rated the letter will say you will have a check in 14 days which i did! but i'm classified as being homeless so the expidited my claim just remember everycase is different good luck! dont give up!
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Testvet
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Husker what are you rated now? I have a feeling to expect 100% out of the gate on an initial claim is very unusual regardless of your medical conditions, they usually lowball the award and might on a DRO appeal raise the award, but you may end up having to appeal to BVA it depends on m3edical evidence and nexus statements from your doctors not print outs on what the VARO calls internet trash or what most of us call official government research from the IOM, National Institute of Health (NIH) and from the VA itself, they have refused in the past to acknowledge their own research as being factual and of susbstance in compensation claims.

I hate to bust your bubble but I have found it's better to expect less and when they grant more you at least feel better rather than depressed because they have screwed you. There is a lot of knowledge here on how to deal with VA claims process, many of us have a decade or longer in dealing with the regional offices and the Board of Veteran Appeals patience and persistence is required also good doctor statements that make statements to the effect "it is more likely than not related to military service" with an explanation on how the doctor played connect the dots.

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husker65
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i was at 70 percent until i coulndnt work any more but the va took my leave of absence as i still able to my job but my employer say no to returning to work so i been waiting for 20 business days at rating and still nothing yet i called my regional vfw person and he said to wait for the decision. if you got any informantion or ideases for me i would really appreciate thanks alot. husker65

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Gale
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I had been told about my rating decision before I actually received it in the mail. So, I called the Benefits office and they were able to see and tell me that I had indeed been rated for a couple of conditions. So, it may be possible to verify your rating by calling your own Benefits office.

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HONOR OUR VETERANS WITH BETTER CARE AND BENEFITS

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Testvet
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all I can say is good luck and leave the politicians alone for now....
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