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.
Redacted BVA decision for PCT and skin
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.
and the moon walker said….”One small step for Buckwheat….One Giant step for Veterans…”
If you ever cultivate a new generation of stinkweed in your new greenhouse, you can name it after Mark Hindin at the BVA. Great news, Alex. Thank you for staying the course.
Great news, well done. Thank god for your faithful endurance and longevity in the struggle.
Congratulations. You give us all hope.
Bout time sensei!
A shopping we will go, a shopping we will go……..farmer Nod needs a greenhouse…so a shopping he will go..!!
Regardless of what the judge says about precedence, each and every cite to M28 is a teaching tool. VAOGC Precedent 34-97 was only part of the equation. I also focused on VAOGC PREC 6-2001 where it is incumbent on VA to provide a severely disabled Vet certain amenities such that he can access the outdoors safely without endangering his health,
Congratulations and thank you. As an attorney and agent representing vets, and a Vietnam Vet (with several Agent Orange “disabilities”), I have learned from your struggles. Perhaps you will continue to help us all in our struggles against the non-adversarial VA organization (?).
Roger that. I’ve already applied to the BVA for non attorney practitioner status. Just waiting for a test date.
A big yahoo from across the bridge my friend!
We are just about ready to push print on what hopefully will be the last request submitted to Seattle vARO, lest we need to go the BVA route – been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the hat.
Bravo to you once again!!!!’
Well, actually, I have your shirts here
So very happy for you Sir Nod.
About Time, Good Job Man
That’s great news!!!! Congrats!!!!
No more than what you deserve. A disgrace that it took the time that it did. Well done.