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.
With widespread musculoskeletal pain and tender points, with or without associated fatigue, sleep disturbance, stiffness, paresthesias, headache, irritable bowel symptoms, depression, anxiety, or Raynauds-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. -------------------------------------
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)
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:
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