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Persistence pays in pursuing claims

A Gulf War Navy veteran in Val Verde County filed his first Claim in 2013. He was awarded for his left ankle; but, denied on a handful of other conditions. He eventually came to TVC for assistance with his Claim and the VA process. This began a journey that included the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) in April 2022, a remand for more documentation, supplemental Claims citing Clear and Unmistakable Errors and more.

photo of Jazmin Garcia

Guiding and advocating for the veteran through all this is TVC Claims Benefits Advisor Jazmin Garcia, pictured.

After his BVA in April 2022, the veteran was informed by the VA in July he was awarded for two conditions, denied for two conditions and one condition was remanded for more information and further review. Granted at 10% disability compensation was right ear hearing loss and also awarded at 10% was Tinnitus. Both were awarded retroactively dating back to November 12, 2013. He was denied a bilateral elbow condition and left ear hearing loss. Remanded for more information and further review was Bilateral Pes Planus, or two flat feet.

The conditions awarded by the appeal gave the veteran an overall rating of 30%, which included 10% for each of the two conditions granted at the BVA, plus already having a 10% rating for his left ankle. The new conditions awarded by the BVA were retroactive to November 12, 2013. This gave the veteran a retroactive payment of more than $30,205, plus his monthly compensation increased over $747.

Regarding his ankle, for which he was already service connected, in August 2022 Garcia filed a supplemental Claim to increase compensation citing a VA Clear and Unmistakable Error (CUE). This was subsequently denied in November. Garcia then filed another supplemental claim March 2023 with additional evidence which was also denied in April 2023. After that, Garcia took the Claim to Higher Level Review by the VA in May 2023 and it was awarded in on Sept. 7, 2023.

The award by the Higher Level Review resulted in a rating increase for the veteran from 30% to 40% with an effective date of November 12, 2013. This provided a retroactive payment of over $26,184 and increased his monthly compensation to more than $811.

Further efforts by Garcia and the veteran for VA compensation included a claim for retroactive payment on a dependency claim filed in November 2022. This awarded the veteran $6,560. Later, in early May 2023, a re-submission of the dependency retro payment Claim was filed with more supporting documents. For this, the Veteran was awarded an additional $4,807.

They plan to continue seeking compensation with a review regarding the Bilateral Pes Planus.

“It’s been a complicated process, but not impossible,” said Garcia. “You have to be persistent.”

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