Old 09-11-2008, 07:06 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Military veterans.

I was wondering if any of you have filed for V.A. disability benefits? I am in the process of filing a claim for my PLS and was wondering what to expect? Also, how long did it take from start to finish to get a final response?

I filed my claim back in 02/08 online. Finally, last week they sent me a request through the mail asking for my DD214's, medical release consent forms and an explaination of my claim.
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:34 PM #2 (permalink)
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I have been working on my claim for ALS for 16 months now. To date I've been denied twice. If you haven't spoken with a veteran service organization such as Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or the American Legion you need to do so right away.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:12 PM #3 (permalink)
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How were you denied twice? Did they deny you once then you filed an appeal?

What can those organizations do for me? What do I need to tell them?

What kind and how much proof do they (V.A.) need that our illnesses were service related before they will grant a claim?

Sorry, for all the questions but this is completely new to me.
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Old 09-12-2008, 05:49 AM #4 (permalink)
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You can submit new evidence following any decision. I was denied the first time so I submitted new evidence. They denied me again so I submitted new evidence and now I'm waiting for another decision.

The organizations can help you fill out paperwork get evidence and records, help navigate the system and keep track of everything you've submitted. Call one and explain your situation and what you've done thus far.

As far as proof I don't know that I can answer that question in full. They need proof that the condition occurred during or was aggravated by military service. If you were diagnosed while on active duty and it is documented in your medical records you should be good. If not you will have to prove that the condition occurred while you where in and link it to your diagnosis. I can't answer how to do that because I haven't succeeded yet. I will warn you that to date I have submitted over 500 pages of evidence, 4 letters from Congressmen, a letter from the President, 3 buddy letters and 2 expert opinions and so far I'm not service connected. That doesn't mean you won't be connected immediately. I don't know your situation but wanted to impress that you may have to fight.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:00 PM #5 (permalink)
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Well, I don't have any of the backing that you do. I was not diagnosed during active duty and don't have any direct evidence. I guess all I can do is wait and see.

Thanks
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:44 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default PLS - Veterans

Today I received an e-mail from the ALS Association- Advocacy Department that stated. "September 23, the Veterans Administration will publish regulations officially establishing ALS as a service connected disease!"
It doesn't matter how long after discharge a person develops ALS.
However, I didn't see anything about PLS so I don't know if PLS will be included.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:29 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default PLS Vets

Thought I might add......PLS is thought by some to be a variant of ALS. I don't know how the VA is going to rule on vets with PLS.

"It is often referred to as a benign variant of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." - Spastic Paraplegia Foundation's web site.

"It is the rarest of all the forms of ALS." - ALS Hope Foundation's web site.

"Leonard van den Berg, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands, presented evidence that primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), a disorder of just the upper motor neurons from the brain to the spinal cord, may be a continuum of ALS." - ALS Association's web site.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:33 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default I'm also on the VA treadmill

I was diagnosed with PLS 15 June 2008

I've submitted for service connectedness, I am already considered 50% by the VA prior to this diagnosis, Receiving some initial help thru the DAV. Iím interested in the 2 expert opinions you mentioned.

I worked in nuclear and chemical related areas during my 20 yrs of military service.

I'm also interested in Walter's comments that he received an e-mail from "the ALS Association- Advocacy Department that stated. "September 23, the Veterans Administration will publish regulations officially establishing ALS as a service connected disease!" It doesn't matter how long after discharge a person develops ALS.
However, I didn't see anything about PLS so I don't know if PLS will be included. "

I will be looking for that.

The doctor who diagnosed my condition at Shands, stated his concerns about my 20yrs of working with chronic low level neutron radiation & other nuke and chemical items when he talked with me, but stated that causal linking to the disease was not established.

Had medical meeting with the VA on the 18th the purpose to establish how PLS is aggravating my current disability.

Currently recovering from shoulder surgery caused because of a fall as my walking is decidely unstable do to the PLS.

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Originally Posted by ZenArcher View Post
You can submit new evidence following any decision. I was denied the first time so I submitted new evidence. They denied me again so I submitted new evidence and now I'm waiting for another decision.

The organizations can help you fill out paperwork get evidence and records, help navigate the system and keep track of everything you've submitted. Call one and explain your situation and what you've done thus far.

As far as proof I don't know that I can answer that question in full. They need proof that the condition occurred during or was aggravated by military service. ... 2 expert opinions and so far I'm not service connected. That doesn't mean you won't be connected immediately. I don't know your situation but wanted to impress that you may have to fight.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:58 AM #9 (permalink)
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There is very important news for vets with ALS. I made the post last night. It is simply waiting for moderation. I don't think this will directly help those with PLS but it can't hurt.
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:39 PM #10 (permalink)
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I called the MDA and they referred me to a social worker at the VA Hospital here in Houston. The social worker said the new policy was for ALS only. The funny thing is she didn't even know about PLS or how closely it was related to ALS. As a result, she referred me to the Texas Veteran's Commission for further info. I called the TVC but they were gone for the day.
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:51 PM #11 (permalink)
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Default Alsa Advocacy Email I Received

Yesterday, I received an email from the ALSA ADVOCACY that read: New VA policy as of today, September 23rd, all veterans with ALS are automatically eligible for veterans benefits.

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Old 09-24-2008, 05:03 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default PLS - Vets

I am not surprised that even medically minded people don't know about PLS. I worked as an Registered Nurse for 30 years and never heard of the disorder until I got it.
I am afraid PLS will be left out of the VA's presumptive illness list. There are so few of us.
I just sent an e-mail to a person that works for the VA asking him if PLS will be included.
Keep us posted on your progress with the VA.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:13 PM #13 (permalink)
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My knowledge is focused around ALS but I would think that you can argue that PLS is a motor neuron disease similar to ALS. Since the VA has already accepted ALS it may give you more of a leg to stand on. Any studies you can find linking ALS and PLS or statements from experts will help. I know the ALS presumption doesn't help you directly but it could at least give you an angle of attack.
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:56 AM #14 (permalink)
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I agree it's a start or atleast a foot in the door.

When my doctor diagnosed me he stated, I had "PLS which is basically a benign form of ALS". It will be interesting to see how the VA would deny benefits for PLS when there is such a strong correlation between the two. PLS may not be life threatening but it is debilitating and thats what VA "disability" benefits are for. They do not call them VA "life threatening" benefits.

Just my two cents but I definatley plan on fighting them. I will keep you guys posted on my progress.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:04 PM #15 (permalink)
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I was able to reach a VA counsler at the Houston VA Regional office today. The counsler could not give me any information regarding disability benefit's for PLS other than a medical advisory board would review my case and make a determination. She also referred me to 38 CFR 3.318 under the VA laws which, talks about undiagnosed illnesses. I couldn't see how that related to me since I have been diagnosed.

Other than that it's just pretty much a hurry up and wait game at this point.
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