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» American Gulfwar Veterans Association » Administration » Issues, Suggestions and Help » Newcomer's Advice

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Author Topic: Newcomer's Advice
Gale
Admin IGWC
Member # 4

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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 contribute here. --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: 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=1232

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

a. http://www.archives.gov/veterans/

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

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/EH_Coord_Dir_List_August_2006.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


-------------------------------------------


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

[ June 30, 2007, 12:32 AM: Message edited by: Gale ]

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HONOR OUR VETERANS WITH BETTER CARE AND BENEFITS

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