Matthew Hill: Hello and welcome to the Hill and Ponton VA video blog. I’m Matthew Hill here with Carol Ponton. Today we’d like to talk to you about heart disease and depression. We have a lot of veterans, especially Vietnam era veterans who are not only suffering from it service connected for heart disease and … well it’s a fascinating statistic Carol, tell us about the correlation.
Carol Ponton: The statistics show that at least 50% of these veterans that are suffering with heart disease also have depression. And they don’t know why, but they just know it’s very, very common. And the sad thing as our veterans will be rated at 30 or 50% for the heart disease, but not know to file a claim for the depression, which they all have. And when I talked to them about it they say, “Yeah, I’m depressed. But what does that have to do with it?” It has everything to do with it because if a service connected problem causes you to have another problem that’s secondary service connected and you’re entitled to benefits for that. And this also makes it much easier for them to get 100%.
Matthew Hill: Right. The ratings for the … your rated on your “METS”, basically for your heart. And the VA, I’ve just found those can be screwy how they decide those. And somebody’s getting a 30% that should get a 60 or a 10% who should be getting a 30. With the depression you can show that something like this keeps you isolated. You can’t really go out anymore because you don’t have the …
Carol Ponton: You can do all the things you love to do. Sports, be out with your children, grandchildren.
Matthew Hill: Your life is as you know it’s turned upside down. So even if you ended up having a 30% rating for your heart, it’s more likely than not that you’re going to have a 50 maybe even 70% rating for the depression itself. So it’s extremely important just to be aware. You know, you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease. Well, how has that changed your life? Has that change been negative to where it’s impacted who you are?
Carol Ponton: And if you’re not sure. Ask Your spouse.
Matthew Hill: Yeah. And they can usually tell.
Carol Ponton: They’re going to tell you the truth. And they probably may not have said anything because they don’t want you to feel bad. But if this is something you’re truly suffering, for one you need to get treatment for, and two you need to be compensated for it.
Matthew Hill: Right. You earn these benefits by representing our country. And even if it’s not fun to admit, you still need to file these claims to get the benefits, medical and the monetary benefits you deserve. Thank you for joining us.