This is my situation right now. I was rated 100% for service connected MDD, GAD (w/agoraphobia) and panic disorder in April 2005. I went thru a crappy divorce several years ago that left me in financial hardship. I had a minor son at the time and a ton of debt from the marriage (he was the sole provider). I needed to be able to take care of us and had to go back to work. I have worked for 2 years at the same job. I missed 9 weeks of work the first year of working and 14 weeks of work the past year due to illness. I recently was able to sell my house and have been thinking about leaving my job due to my mental health. I am riddled with anxiety daily and my depression has gotten worse this past year.
I received a proposal of reduction from the VA last August, they reduced my rating for MDD, GAD and PD to 70% which left me at a combine rating of 90%. I am at max rating for other conditions; such as, SC lower back injury/pain & migraine h/aches. I also have fibromyalga and IBS that they are presuming is related to the Gulf War since I served in that area. Even with the max rating for those two additional conditions I still won't be back to 100%.
I appealed the proposal for reduction in rating and had my hearing with the DRO yesterday. I presented my case and my work history. I had time sheets from the past 2 years that showed the amount of work I have missed. She implied that I should leave my job and apply for TDIU, which she said "by law I qualify for if I"m not working and that she has to follow the law." My only problem is that she also said I need a letter from my VA psych supporting my decision to leave my job. So, today I asked my VA psych that has seen me since 2002 if he would be willing to write me a letter to support me leaving my job based on my mental health. His response was that he would support me leaving my job but he can't write me a letter. The DRO said that without his letter she can't do anything for me. I don't understand what i'm supposed to do from this point. I am exhausted both mentally and physically.
If I quit working I won't be able to make it financially, if I keep working I don't know how much longer I will be able to keep doing it before I have a break down, which has already happened this past year, hence the 14 weeks of missed work. Can anyone offer advice on what my next steps should be? I know there are folks out there of the mindset that if you can work you aren't TDIU, I know this but I also know that missing 14 weeks of work and not getting paid for over half of that because I had to take time off without pay due to my mental health doesn't make sense either.
Thank you all for the information and advice and input.