Twenty one years, six months and eight days ago, on March 31st, 1994, I filed for Porphyria Cutanea Tarda and residuals of Hepatitis. Today, my attorney Bob Walsh emailed me to share the good news. Veteran Law Judge (VLJ) Vito Clemente granted my 100% for the Porphyria as analogous to dialysis. He also accepted a last minute request for a ratings increase for the scarring due to the Porphyria. VA had taken my 10% back illegally claiming it was pyramiding.
VA has now competently addressed all my issues and will soon be in the greenhouse construction business. What I will do with all my spare time is anyone’s guess. Maybe I should try out a new vocation like helping other Vets.
I set out to obtain a greenhouse and a computer as my ILP goal. It was a test case of sorts to create precedence. VA must have recognized where I was heading and moved swiftly to CYA. At the bottom of the decision, Judge Clemente clearly pointed out that this ‘win’ only applies to one Vet (me) with an extremely large number of disability issues. It’s fairly clear that they don’t want the whole Veterans population charging through the doors at 810 Yellow Brick Lane NW demanding their own greenhouses, woodworking shops and photo studios.
As for me, I have no more claims up my sleeve to file. VA has given me everything I asked for and then some. It’s unfortunate that they dawdled for so long. VA now will have more time on their hands at the Seattle Regional Office.
Here are the two cases decided in two different decisions.
While not setting out to achieve any specific rating or entitlement, I have amassed two 100% schedular ratings and an additional 60%, 40%, 30% and my 10%. In VA disability parlance, I’m 100% disabled. Using the math from the 38 CFR 4.25 tables, I’m 100+100+60+40+30+10= 290%. VA is forced to round up from 85% like the IRS so its now 290%.
Along the way, I managed to soak up a lot of VA statutes and regulations. I wish to thank you readers for adding to my knowledge and helping me. An especially warm thank you to Jules, my skin specialist, for his insightful nexus letter/Independent Medical Opinion. It provoked VA into promptly granting an increase from 10% to 30% without a big remand. I also wish to thank James Morgan, MD of QTC for his 2008 accidental declaration of total disability in his VA C&P that enabled me to prevail.
I personally think someone on high told the little people to put it to bed. Whatever the reason, my claims filing days are over. I cannot wait to see the sallow poker face my VR&E minder will be wearing soon.
I think his last words were that I would never get VA to grant me a ‘gift’ of this magnitude. He further iterated that funds for ILP were scarce to non-existent. Hoooo, doggies was he blowing smoke. Positive mental attitude is what this is all about. It always helps to be born on April Fool’s Day too. Next up? I’ll be asking for Equitable Relief. That’s always been on the claims bucket list.
P.S. A belated additional thank you to Bruce Almighty, combat medic with 4 tours in Vietnam- the first winner of a mega-greenhouse who coached me on how to do it. I wouldn’t have won without him. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go all the way to the BVA to accomplish it. One small step for asknod; one giant leap for Vetkind. We’re getting there folks. One Vet at a time and one venue at a time.
P.P.S. I spoke far too soon. I was forced to go up to the Big House at the CAVC to make them comply CAVC # 16-2098. More anon.