First off, a prayer for 11 Bravo 20 Eddie who passed last Sunday. I had him in for an upgrade to R2 and he fell prey to the old delay, deny until he died. I’ll be helping his surviving spouse pick up the flag and move forward on a substitution for the accrued and DIC. We offer that to any of you I represent without asking. Eddie married a Swift Boat client’s daughter. Both he and Doug (father-in-law Swifty) served in the ‘Nam at different times and wouldn’t come to know each other for another 20 years. I reckon there’s quite a few of us like that. My dad served from June ’66 to May ’68 at TSN-including the Tet. I didn’t get there until May ’70. The picture is at Doug’s funeral April 26, 2019 over at Tahoma Vet’s Cemetery here in western Washington.

The reason I write this one today is about SMC N. It’s an odd bird. Either you resemble a 50 gallon oil drum with a head and neck sticking out of it and two arms whacked at the elbows or you’re blind/eyeball-less with no light perception at all. Oh yeah. And one leg right at the torso. You get the idea. But, as with anything having to do with SMC, there’s more ways to skin a VA cat than you can shake a stick at. Meet Jim who still has all his fingers and toes.

Jim’s first mistake was to join the Marines in ’69 and run into the Training instructor from Hell. He escaped with his life-just barely. I’ve helped a lot of disabled folks but the blind really tear me up. It’s possibly the most limiting of all disabilities that can happen and the most mentally devastating as well. In Basic, Jim was up about 20+ feet near the top of one of those thick-ass ropes you shinny up when he seized up. We all do at some point in our lives. He just needed about 30 seconds to collect himself before descending. The TI didn’t give him that luxury. He scrambled up the adjacent rope and began screaming, Then he reached over and struck Jim causing him to fall and land hard on his left side-including a whing dinger of a good thump on the left eye and chest. Sgt. TI continued his tirade for a few more minutes before he noticed old Jim wasn’t responding with enough verve. A day or so later everyone realized there was a lot more wrong. They frog marched him over to Balboa and shoved him in the neuro wing. Everyone concurred he was no longer hitting on all eight cylinders. Before you could say boo, he was on his way home.

Jim’s second mistake was not getting a 214 before he waved goodbye a few weeks later. That would consume a lot of time to even prove he was ever there. The Marines weren’t very forthcoming. After all, one of their TIs almost killed him and then they desperately tried to cover the whole thing up by conning him into stating he wasn’t “cut out for this”. What the hey? If they’d just issued the 214  and let him go, I might not be writing this.

Jim was a real scrapper. His c file is over six hundred pdfs strong. He fought the good fight and got his TDIU in ’15 and then a true 100% schedular and finally SMC S in 2018 or so. As with all of us 70-ish warriors, some of our important parts and pieces quit working and there aren’t any replacement parts like at the NAPA® Store. Jim’s left side diaphragm had collapsed over the years from the fall and he was 100% for that alone. His eyes began to give out and he filed for them. VA started telling him he could see just fine but you can’t lie about that. By 2015, his VA psychmeister was noting that he was downright depressed because he couldn’t drive anymore or watch TV unless he sat about 2 feet away from a big screen.

Bingo. All that’s in the VBMS file. There was a lot more. A lot. In 2021, he had a c&p and they noted he couldn’t see much more than light in the SC eye and, because they’re paired organs, when the SC eye goes t— up, and the non-SC one follows suit, it’s ratable too. So they gave him 60%. Boy did that stick out like a sore thumb. Where was the SMC K for it? SM what? Never heard of it.

Jim finally came to me last fall and said these VA scalawags refused to say he was blind. I dug in and did the dumpster dive into the file and found all kinds of goodies. I decided to play along and filed him for an increase on the PTSD and the need for a&a for his now-bilateral “legal blindness”. I didn’t call CUE. Hell, no.  Instead, I affixed my “DUPLICATE IN VBMS” ink stamp and yellow highlighter to all seventeen pages of the 2021 c&p DBQ  declaring light perception OS and 5/200 or less in the better eye (OD).

And lo and behold, today dawned sunny at the Seattle DROC shop. Some poor overworked rater had to put his John Hancock on this and pray they don’t make him do telephone overtime on the Crisis Line during the three-day Memorial Day Weekend. I got everything he’s been fighting for since 2018. That psych note about him not being able to drive and thrive in 2015 is going  to be the effective date for aid and attendance soon. Seems if you’re gonna screw a Vet, you’d be smarter than to leave all the evidence out there to get busted. The inoperative adverb here is ‘smarter’.

redact RD 3.10.2023

Redact CS 3.10.2023

redact SMC calculator.

With the exception of mistyping SMC ‘M’ instead of ‘N’ on the Code Sheet, they got it right. They gave him the 100% for blindness and the bump up to SMC M from L for needing a&a. Then they gave him the second bump up to N for his brand new extra 100% for his PTSD. I’ll have him up to R1 before you can say Rip Van Winkle. You watch and see. He still has a spare 100% for the diaphragm fall injury. Time for some more of that old timey SMC Voodoo.

About asknod

VA claims blogger
This entry was posted in All about Veterans, Milestones, SMC, VA Agents, VBMS, VBMS Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. RAC says:

    Quick note – There are no “TI’s” in the U.S. Marine Corps. We only have “Drill Instructors”

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