|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 cancer. Specifically prostate cancer. We represent a lot of Vietnam veterans.|
|Carol Ponton:||A lot.|
|Matthew Hill:||The VA has conceded that one of the diseases that exposure to Agent Orange causes is prostate cancer. A lot of times when we see a case it’s when the veteran has been reduced by the VA. They had a hundred percent rating for prostate cancer and then the VA came in and said, “You no longer have prostate cancer and therefore we’re going to reduce you.”|
|Carol Ponton:||Or you’re no longer receiving treatment for prostate cancer.|
|Matthew Hill:||We have veterans come to us and say, “Well, we want our rating back.” Or “I want my rating back and how do I get it back?” Just in general when the VA is rating cancer cases it’s an all or nothing deal. Either you have an active disease process, or you don’t. If you have an active disease process you’re hundred percent, if you don’t, you’re zero for the cancer itself. What the VA is supposed to look to if you don’t have an active disease process is the residuals of your prostate.|
|Matthew Hill:||The residuals of prostate can be a touchy thing because they typically revolve around urinary frequency.|
|A lot of their veterans are missing out on significant benefits because they’re embarrassed about this. They don’t want to talk about it. Typically, we see veterans that because of the radiation, they’re incontinent.|
|Matthew Hill:||Which means?|
|Carol Ponton:||They can’t control their urine so they have leakage. They have accidents. It could be bowel, it could be just bladder. You need to realize this is where you get your rating back. It’s a significant rating but you have to be honest with the VA and with yourself. If this is going on, I have veterans who just don’t leave the bathroom, they don’t go anywhere, they stay right by the bathroom, they constantly have to change their underwear, throw it away. The VA has a way to rate this and if they realize you’re going to need pads, you’re going to need something that’s going to help you with this incontinence. They rate you according to how many pads you use a day. They give them to you free. This is a way not only to take care of this problem but also to get the rating that you’re entitled to. This can give you a hundred percent.|
|Anyone who … if you have to change pads more than four times a day, that’s a sixty percent rating just for that. How can you work if you are having to change pads, if you’re having accidents, if you’re having to change your clothes? This is how you build your claim. It’s going on. You’re living with this. You just need to make sure the VAs aware of that. When you go into see your VA doctor and you say, “I have terrible leakage. I have to change pads five or six times a day.” Ask the VA and they will mail you the pads free.|
|This is the way that you prove. That’s just one of the things you can do.|
|Matthew Hill:||You need to be honest with the VA and tell them. As far as getting back to the hundred percent, though, that is not going to happen overnight. You have to build the case. You have to get the rating first. As Carol said, a lot of clients we have, there’s no way they can work because they have to close to the bathroom, they’re constitutionally having accidents and frankly they’re constantly thinking about that. They’re not able to focus on their work.|
|Carol Ponton:||It’s depression. You should file a claim for depression. This changes people drastically. I’m not telling you anything if you have this. A lot of times there’s erectile dysfunction, there’s inability to have sex. Just the worry every time you go out of the house, am I going to have an accident, am I going to be embarrassed, causes a lot of depression. You need to make sure that you file a claim for depression if that’s what you’re having. File a claim for the incontinence and then unemployability. They all go together. It’s not an automatic hundred percent just like you got when you were diagnosed, but it’s a hundred percent nevertheless. You just have to make sure you’re asking for the right thing to get it.|
|Matthew Hill:||Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you on this space again soon.|
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