I’m sorry I’ve been remiss. I have been a slave to the typewriter attempting to cure the misguided proclivities of VA raters across our rapidly fruiting plains this spring. It seems there is something in the water or left-handed tobacco has been legalized and they aren’t being dope-tested. Jez, where do I start today? Ahh, of course. All of you folk must be into that new business gig  LinkedUp®, right? About six times a day, I get an update to “Congratulate Bob on his reaching 90 days sober at Astin Mechanical.” My new influizers (sp?) are Honey BooBoo and Michael Avenatti. I was searched for 5 times last week by huge corporations who might want to buy me?  Cupcake signed me up on LinkedUp™ so I have no idea what she said about me. Look me up. I’m in the icloud somewhere. I have accountants who pay for it all.

Pickles has now doubled in weight to 11 lbs this AM. Puppy breath is still there.


I got my ass whipped by a couple of losses I didn’t see coming but this is what  we have to endure at the regional level. Always remember this is an insurance company. The  VA’s fisc is a clear responsibility they look at like the Huns (Veterans with alleged disabilities) at the Gate.  I draw the line when they start coming up with the following sleight of hand. Imagine you’re rated for two separate things-in the instant case here- TBI and PTSD. They’re two separate “disorders”- DC 8045 @70% and DC 9411@50%. They might share one or two overlapping symptoms but they generally have two entirely separate sets of “conditions”. Remember those descriptive nouns for mental “issues”.

Now grant some other increases to a banged up body like 50% for headaches and 10% for tinnitus for TBI they somehow overlooked for 50 years and…oh-oh…jez, he’ll be entitled to SMC S. Can’t have that. Quick, conflate two ‘disorders’ into one and disappear the PTSD into thin air. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. A rater pulled off this amazing trick of prestidigitation and then had the balls to say the VA, in its munificence, wouldn’t be filing to recoup the overpayment to the Veteran for the last 4 years.

Actually, the language in DC 8045 says rate the TBI shit under TBI and rate the bent brain shit under PTSD. That’s to avoid pyramiding. And here, the rater gets points for trying to bullshit a bullshitter. He gets plumb amusing for attempting to”reintegrate” two disorders into one. Reintegrate?

Well, hush my mouth. I thought it was a sub silentio reduction in rating.  I went on a writing jag and cranked out the most excellent rebuttal to an SSOC in all my years. Most times I wouldn’t get all in a tizzy and just take it to the BVA. Welcome to the new AMA folks.  That’s what we’re doing now. This was written, not for the 70 IQ GS 13 Booth Bitch in Jackson, Miss but for the edification of a learned Veterans Law Judge and his staff counsel.

Rebuttal of SSOC redacted

Now, if that wasn’t the biggest error they hoped no one would ever unravel, how about the same story in a different town a month earlier. This time, the Vet has a mess of 10s, 20s, and 30%ers along with a total loss of rt hand. The army operated on it to fix a finger. Five surgeries later, the hand was a feeder claw like on a lobster. The army sent him packing with 60% for the hand instead of 70%. Uh-oh. 1993 CUE. Well, they ignored the CUE and took away a 26 year rating of 10% and a 9-year rating of 10% (20% total) saying it was, well, nonsymptomatic dude and we can’t pay you if the boo boo got all better, now can we? And besides, we gave you 30% for your hip right before we took the 20% away. Since we really didn’t reduce your rating by 86ing the antique rating, you’re still at 80% instead of 90%. And oh, by the way, that TDIU? Nope. We tried but we couldn’t swing it with you only being 80% rated and all.

If you go down into the Go To Work section in the VBMS, you see the deferrals flying back and forth.

Rater #1: Increasing hip to 30% with increase in Left ankle results in 95% combined rating. Refer back to coach.

Coach: Add scars up. Do they equal 6″²? o%. Also. we have a problem. Veteran’s agent has access to VBMS and can see we’re fixing to screw him on a protected rating. You have my authority to promulgate. Screw the agent.

So here we go. The VA rater blithely takes 26-yr. old antique painful scar rating(s) and conflates all the scars into square footage. Uh-oh. You need six square inches to get to 10%. Way missed it by thaaaaaat much.

As for that pesky CUE, he’s right All the PULHES scores at entry were 1 across the board. The exit has a 5 on it for upper. Screw it. Call him left handed now and confirm the rating of the non-dominant (formerly right handed) hand at 60%. Next?

I can’t make this shit up. This is what happens when you have to crank out 10 decisions a day or get demoted. Or, God forbid, screwed out of your bonus Performance Pay Incentive Allowance.

Here’s my answer to dufus in Houston who has no idea how to spell 38 CFR:

Redacted CUE NOD pdf

Remember, if you are the CUE guy, you are a “movant. Otherwise you’re a claimant or an appellant. When you file an Ex Writ at the Court, you are a petitioner.

P.S. Here’s a little something  you and your buds could cook up this weekend.

About asknod

VA claims blogger
This entry was posted in 1154(b) combat presumptions, 3.156(c), Agent Orange, All about Veterans, C&P exams, CUE, Earlier Effective dates, Humor, KP Veterans, Reductions in rating, SOCs and SSOCs, VA Agents, Veterans Law and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charlie says:

    Go get’em Alex! The reply to the SSOC is a veritable “tour de force” (sp?) Anyway, it’s damn good stuff. Keep swinging Alex!

    Charles E. Brown, Attorney

    Member: Michigan, Georgia, and California State Bar Associations

    Accredited by Department of Veterans Affairs; VA POA: 4M8

    Member of National Organization of Veterans Advocates

    Law Offices of Charles E. Brown PLLC

    16245 Diamond Bay Drive, Wimauma, FL 33598

    Office: (248) 891-1331; Fax: (813) 419-4064


  2. david j murphy says:

    have the same situation regarding attempted joining of seperate ailments. Seems they fly up a trial flag to see if someone catches it. Attempting to lump hep c and liver transplant under one roof. The topper is trying to state residuals from transplant to not fit to justifiy a seperate rating. There are no residuals listed for transplant, either 100% or 30%. cue filed and waiting in line. t

  3. John says:

    Pickles looks like she would love to have a small chew on that tool bag or sneaker. Better get that kind of stuff off the floor or in closed space. Labs are notorious for object chewing until they are a year old or so. Can cause a blockage if she ingests enough. She is cute.

    Gotta say at Roanoke VARO you are at the mercy of lazy or incompetent raters (and DAV “assistance”) until you appeal at the DRO level. My last appeal took 3 years, it was a bound 30 page quad chart format that took my health status from date of entry through 20 year retirement. I reiterated everything from awarded claims to stuff they chose to ignore and indexed it to my C-file. Hard to ignore facts when the VA files are at hand. Put me at 100% P&T.

    • asknod says:

      I’m teaching Pickles not to eat things. It’s easier to do than move every pair of shoes and electrical cords above danger level. She’s my fourth lab so I’m pretty familiar with the Lab ‘diet’. This new aberration I shown here is a recent development over the last few months. M 21 is pretty clear on reductions without proper notice. These, however, were not reductions. They were carefully planned out-as in strategy. I’m sure they would have sailed right over most VSOs’ heads. I’ve been doing several TBI appeals recently so I knew you couldn’t conflate §4.130 symptomatology into §4.124a unless you had no rating in the first instance. As for 86ing 26 yr old ratings, that’s a brand new ploy.

  4. jeff Ward says:

    I would have loved to see VBMS when the RO declared my 50% migraines to be invalid because they declared my migraines to be familial and therefore not service connected on an SC that was over ten years old.

  5. Ed says:

    I wrote you a few years ago about an appeal to my Anxiety/Depression claim denial. You thought it would be iffy for me to prevail. I got a law dog, Hill and Ponton, and went for it. After 4 years waiting for my number to come up in the BVA line, the judge granted my claim and I got a 100% total and permanent disability rating for aggravation of pre-existing PTSD during service, effective date starting the date of my original claim filing. What turned it around for me was a favorable IME and also my treating VA psychologist had done a favorable PTSD DBQ, both of which the judge cited as more probative than the VA Examiner’s report.
    It took me a total of 7 years and a lot of suffering/hardship during that time to get where I deserved to be. You’re advice about getting a law dog and an IME was critical to this outcome. Thank you!

    • asknod says:

      Ed, I teach ‘Win or Die’ as most know. VA raters call me Grambo behind my back. Naw. Just kidding. They still call me Buckwheat. Seven years to turn it around is pretty good. Without Matt Hill and Co. you’d probably still be shooting holes in the air. Good to hear you prevailed sir. Success stories seem to abound here.

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