|Matthew Hill:||Hello and welcome to the Hill and Ponton VA video blog. I’m Matthew Hill.|
|Carol Ponton:||I’m Carol Ponton.|
|Matthew Hill:||Today we want to talk to you about filing a claim and what we would call filing a complete claim. What that means is when a veteran files a claim they typically file it for one disability. Let’s say for diabetes. A lot of disabilities like diabetes are almost a gateway. In that, that disability is a disability in and of itself but it causes, one, two, three, four, five other ones.|
|Carol Ponton:||The veterans, when you file your claim if you file for diabetes than the VA is going to say, “Okay great, do you take insulin? Do you not take insulin? I’m going to give you ten, twenty, maybe forty percent.” The real problem with diabetes that you know is that it causes so many other problems. You can have no feeling in your fingers, your arms, your feet, your legs. That’s the peripheral neuropathy. You have to put the VA on notice that this is what you’re filing for. “I don’t have any feeling in my feet. I can’t pick up my foot. I step on nails. I have ulcers in my legs.” What if it’s affected your kidney. There are so many things that diabetes does to you. You have to file for all of those things. The VA is supposed to look. They’re supposed to. They’re busy.|
|They look at what you ask for and that’s what they deal with. It’s really important that you make them know what’s going on. Erectile dysfunction, do you have that because of diabetes? Do you have depression because of diabetes? Make sure that you list. A lot of times it’s good to ask your spouse or your significant other, “What problems do you think I have or should we list because of this one thing?” Let’s talk about the back. You have a back problem, but maybe that means you have foot drop. You can’t pick up your foot or if you have a neck problem. Does that affect your hands and being able to use them? Think about what the problem is and all of the other problems it causes you. Make sure you list every single one of those on that claim.|
|Matthew Hill:||This can be overwhelming. Think about it. I would suggest a place to start would be to get a copy of your medical records. See what your doctor has diagnosed you with. Talking to your doctor about this, what he thinks is involved with diabetes, asking him what are the other issues? If you can’t do that get a copy of your medical records and see which ones are related. Carol was talking about the orthopedic issues. Frankly if you have a back problem and you’re suffering from anything else, a knee, an ankle, a hip you should probably file for that too because there’s a strong likelihood that they’re related. When I say they’re related. You can get secondary service connection meaning the knee was never a problem in service. There was never an accident from the knee. If the back either caused or aggravated the current knee injury they need to compensate you for that.|
|Carol Ponton:||They will. It’s just making sure that it’s clear, what you’re asking for.|
|Matthew Hill:||That’s just a word of advice when you’re filing a new claim. Take the time to sit there and think about what all this claim encompasses. How this affects your whole body? One we don’t see enough is that when the veteran does have a back claim and their legs don’t work and they lost their job because of it. One thing they don’t put down, which after talking to them a lot of times you’ll see is depression. They’ll be depressed just because their whole life was altered by their disability. Again it’s a total body, total system review you need to do before you put down a claim because as we know and you probably know as well these claims don’t get solved right away. You want everything in there.|
|Carol Ponton:||So that when you get your benefits and go back to the day that you filed your claim. Remember you can look at the rating decision. The highest rating most people get that we know for diabetes is usually 40%. There’s a higher rating, but most people don’t get anything higher than that because the VA has already done another rating for the peripheral neuropathy, for the loss of kidney function. You’re going to get higher ratings by getting all of those included in that rating.|
|I would want to say one thing about diabetes that over and over again most people that have diabetes and have a kidney problem don’t even know it. You need to learn to read your blood labs. If you have a BUN or creatinine problem it could be related to diabetes. Most people don’t find that out until its really really late. Ask your doctors, learn how to read those labs. That’s a 60% rating just for your kidney function if you’ve had that. Most of the time when my clients have it, it’s news to them. Make sure you know what’s going on.|
|Matthew Hill:||Thank you for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you again on this space.|
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