Hello, I'm new here and I have some questions for people here that may be able to provide some guidance for me.
I was an Infantryman with two 12 month tours in Iraq during 05 and 08...I got out as a short tabbed E5 after a 4 (5 year stop lossed) year enlistment.
I got out of the Army 15 November 2009, and I filed for VA Disability Compensation on 26 Jan 2010. The VA gave me a combined rating of 80% for service connected disabilities.
50% - PTSD (Claimed as Insomnia and Nerves)
20% - Left Shoulder Strain
20- Right Shoulder Strain
10% - Lumbosacral Strain
10% - Right knee iliotibial band tear
10% - Neurocognitive Deficit, Traumatic Brain Injury
10% - Post Concussion Headaches associated with Neurocognitive Deficit, TBI
0% - Right thumb Degenerative joint disease
0% Dyshidrotic Eczema Bilateral feet
Denied - Hearing Loss
Denied - Tinnutus
I received my 80% rating 10 October 2010
PTSD symptoms for me are only getting worse; I deserve a higher PTSD rating (I don't even want to be around people because I'm so fucking paranoid)...Traumatic Brain Injury affects my every day life in such a way that I believe I should have a MUCH higher rating then (memory, speech, visual hallucinations, extreme photophobia, balance)..I disputed my shoulder, back and knee strains because I feel I should be rated higher than what I am for each of these disabilities. I disputed Hearing Loss and Tinnitus because the only reason they were denied is because I missed my appointments for them, even though I have about 10 Army hearing tests that show asymmetrical hearing loss (I get fitted for hearing aids on the 5th of Feb 2011).
I want 100% disability, but I want it to be scheduler. I feel like for me, most of my injuries have to do with my brain in one way or another. Yes, my back, knee and shoulders are hurt, but I'm a tough cat and I'll live from those, but what's killing me is PTSD, TBI and just ALL of them combined. I feel like I should be rated at 100%...But here's the thing. I'm 26 years old! I WANT to improve, but I know that if I do improve, I'll need time, and lots of it.
I'm using the post 911 GI bill because I live in a place that has super expensive cost of living, and without using the GI bill, 80% doesnt do much for me at all, so in order to live, I NEED to be in school unless I get 100%. I don't want to be in school because it's too much for me...Way too stressful right now. I had to go to the ER because I developed pancreatitus from school stress, however, I did do very well in school because that's all I did...I got a 4.0 last semester because all I did was study, literally like 12 hours a day (I have no social life, no family life...nothing...all I had was me and my books, but I CANT STAND being at school because it seems like all the students there are ignorant and sheltered kids...I feel like I have nothing in common with anyone, and I dont want anything to do with them...and because of this, it's so hard for me to make friends, so I have no support channels)
Here's another question; my DAV service rep said that they're going to schedule me to sit in front of a board of VA people to determine my new rating. He said that if they don't give me 100%, I can request that the VA pay me at 100% rate, even though Im only 80%, but then I wont be able to work anymore. Heres my question though...If I was rated at 80%, but I was getting paid at 100% (IU???), can I still use my Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits if I so choose? What about Work Study at the Vet Center or the VA?? I currently do work study, and it is not taxed...It's not considered income because it isn't taxed; instead it is considered an educational grant or part of my GI bill benefits...If i'm 100% IU can I still go to school using the post 911 gi bill and continue to do work study? (all I do is answer a phone).
Thank you, any information or guidance anyone of you have for me would be much appreciated.