Legal Question in Veterans Law in South Carolina

VA Service-Connected Disability Quesion

I am service-connected at a rate of 40% for Deg. Disc Disease/Back Pain and 30% for Migraines. As a result of these disabilities I now suffer from such things as Pain Disorder, Depression, and Insomnia. I believe I should receive a service-connected rating for Depression because my Depression is a direct result of my difficulties from my back pain and migraines. I have been treated for Depression through the VA health system since 2002 and currently see a Psychiatrist. Yet, when I applied to receive compensation from the Depression I was denied because, in their opinion, the Depression was not aggravated due to the back pain and migraines. Obviously, this is incorrect as my medical records state otherwise and common sense states otherwise. Do you have any suggestions as to how the link this together? Thank you.

Asked on 3/23/09, 4:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jill Mitchell-Thein Heard & Smith, LLP

Re: VA Service-Connected Disability Quesion

Did they give you a specific "C&P" exam to get an opinion on whether the depression is secondary to your physical problems? Keep appealing if you can and don't let any deadlines pass, because if you do, you will have an even harder time getting the case reopened--not to mention if it does get reopened, you lose your earlier effective date. If there is any way you could get a private doctor to review your records, examine you, and give an opinion linking your secondary problems to the service connected ones, that is the best way to go. It may cost you some money up front, but it should be worth it later. But don't give up on the VA docs either. Sooner or later you should find one who will give you the opinion you need. Now if the medical already makes a clear connection, keep appealing and arguing until they grant it. Good luck, and if you have any more questions, feel free to email me directly.

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Answered on 3/24/09, 7:53 am

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