Posted on Oct 25, 2023
SPC Nate Lamphier
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Hey all! Been a few "minutes" since I posted....life happens fast right?

Anyways, yesterday I went to my doctor for knee and back pain. Upon examining my knee he asked if I had any VA benefits? He said that the damage is due to all the ruck marching etc that we would do. It has caused me me to have flat feet which then in turn has screwed up my knee and back. Anyways, I'll save you all of that.

My question is this. I know the application "time frame" has been waived. Was curious if it is worth the time to get that filled out and submitted? Or if it is going to be a waste of time so to speak. Part of me is thinking what is it going to hurt...the other part is I don't want to go through all the paper pushing to get a "no".

I appreciate any advice/experience anyone will have.

Make it a great day!
Posted in these groups: D8c95694 Veterans Affairs (VA)Main benefits 1335181026 Benefits
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Responses: 20
Sgt Sheri Lynn
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SPC Nate Lamphier I made the decision to file for benefits due to injury over 20 years after occurrence. And was successful. It was a two year process from "intent to file" to completion. It was quite exhausting at times; however, the disability compensation I am now receiving allows me to be financially stable and get reliable medical care. For me it was worth trying.
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COL Randall Cudworth
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Edited 4 mo ago
SPC Nate Lamphier, there is no timeframe on when you can apply for disability compensation from the VA. You can submit a pre-discharge claim when you're within 90-180 days of leaving the service or you can do a post-service claim for your service 50+ years ago (there is no time limit on a post-service claim).

As the time becomes further and further away from your period of service, the two things that will be affected are the complexity in establishing that your illness or injury is service-connected and when the effective date of your claim is.

If you intend to file a claim, the VERY FIRST thing you should do is (assuming you're not going to do it yourself online) is notify the VA of your intent to file* by mail or telephonically. Once notified of your intent to file, you have up to a year to submit the claim, but the 'claim date' is established by your notification.

If you decide to file online yourself (I don't recommend it unless it is something very clear-cut), the date of the claim is set as soon as you start the claim (just opening it .. you don't have to complete it).

You can have a Veteran Service Organization* (VSO) such as the DAV, VFW, etc. (which I highly recommend instead of going down the road by yourself) do it on your behalf, but all it takes is a call to the VA to notify them. When you meet with the VSO representative, mention that you already contacted the VA and gave them a telephonic intent to file and have them verify that "it took".

Looking at your profile, you left the service 11 years ago. What you'll have to show in your claim is that there is a service-connection for the injuries that you have now. That means your medical records (or other types of supporting records) from your time in the service that showed some indication of a 'pre-cursor' condition that was caused by your service which eventually led to what's happening now.

The stronger the evidence included with your claim when it is adjudicated and a decision is made, the more likely it will be decided in your favor.

To put it bluntly - you can't just say "I did a lot of ruck marches", "those ruck marches caused me to have flat feet", and "the flat feet led to my knee and back issues I have today". It has to be documented that A led to B which led to C.

The "B to C" should be easy (a common result of flat feet are knee and back pain). If you don't have medical records showing that you developed flat feet while in the Army, that will be the harder part as flat feet is a common issue that can develop as you age.

A VSO representative will help you through the process as well as advising you on evidence that needs to be gathered.
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* VA Intent to File - https://www.va.gov/resources/your-intent-to-file-a-va-claim/
* Getting help with your claim - https://www.va.gov/disability/get-help-filing-claim/
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LTC Eugene Chu
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If I were you, I’d contact IAVA and follow up with VA visit. Along with political lobbying, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America also has peer counselors. A discussion with them for shared experience (along with best practices before going to Veterans Affairs) could help with obtaining information for your situation.

https://iava.org/
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SPC Nate Lamphier
SPC Nate Lamphier
4 mo
Thanks for the information Sir.
Make it a great day!
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MSgt Jeanette Evans
MSgt Jeanette Evans
4 mo
Absolutely worth it. Start with a Veteran Service Officer. Adding to what the Col said above.

Statute allows you to file for a disability claim throughout your life at any time after military service. There are certain conditions that have time limits (i.e. MS must manifest within 7 yrs of discharge) and some special laws that allow for earlier effective dates (i.e. PACT ACT).

You need to show 3 things for a claim to be approved (3-legged stool)
1. You must have a current diagnosis of a disability
2. You must show the disability happened in or because of military service
3. You must provide a 'connection' called a Nexus between #1 & #2. (this is usually the hardest part)

Sounds like you already have #3. A doctor's statement saying your knee condition was caused by ruck marches is gold. You need him to put it is writing. You also need to get a copy of the record he created of his examination of your back & knee to include any imaging that might have been done.

Back and lower extremity issues due to heavy rucks is a common claim since Desert Storm and after. VA does recognize this causation of disability. I'm not sure how picky they are getting about proving you participated in those marches but a current VSO can provide that information. It might be as easy as what MOS you were in.
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PO3 Don Slocum
PO3 Don Slocum
4 mo
It's always worth filing, I'd been out 40+ years before I stated to refile it took about 2 years to get a rating I am very happy with, its well worth the work .
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