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I was an All American in high school and Jr. College track athlete and joined the Navy to compete in Navy sports. I trained constantly, running, playing basketball, wrestling, doing squats with 250-400 lbs. on my shoulders. I competed on the interservice track team as a high jumper. In my six years in the Navy I won first and second places every year I competed. My only competition was from a former Olympian on the Army team. I competed on two CISM ( competition between NATO teams) teams for the USA in Brazil and Algeria where I finished third in the world. I once went to the base clinic with a backache and was told I had a strain. Years later I had two back surgeries about ten years apart. The latter was a spinal fusion.  I’ve been trying to get compensated since the 80’s, a few years after my six years was honorably served. The first time I tried, everything was fine till I told the guy how I was hurt. He tossed my paperwork in the round file and I never heard a word from the VA. I tried a few times over the decades unsuccessfully. Today I’m 100% SSI disabled. I just don’t have enough proof for the VA who paid for my second surgery. I hate to keep giving up, but I’m 65 now and can’t find anyone to help. Any suggestions?

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A1:  At these events, there had to have been others that were competing or someone you complained to about your back? What you need is a ?Buddy Letter?. I would try for Presumptive Disability Claim. There are several different kinds of Disability Claims. Good Luck.  (SS)  4/20/19

A2:  I keep hearing the same thing. What I find is most vets don?t read the DBQs and and keep pushing the original claim to the big VA court. Most stop at the first part of the paperwork and most don?t file the NOD right away. Then after that process starts you have to follow through at filling all paperwork as you case is reviewed. Have your lay statements done by you, your wife or anyone around you that knows the issures you have while in and out of service. Then get an out side doctor to write you a note in a medical record starting that your activity could have happened most likely that not.  (DK)  4/20/19

A3:  First and foremost, from one Veteran to another - thank you for your service to our country. The Navy is certainly responsible for your injuries - and you should be compensated by the VA. As such, I highly recommend contacting Attorney George Sink - a former U.S. Marine Captain and Vietnam Combat Veteran. George Sink handles VA cases for Veterans across the United States and he has the largest law firm in South Carolina. There is no charge for his firm to handle your case, and they will only charge $6000 (as allowed by law) from any backdated award you might receive from the VA (which sounds like it could be a lot for you). When you contact his office, ask for Victoria Gorby Rose - she is the attorney who handles the VA cases in his office... 1-843-569-1700. Best of luck sir!  (MS)  4/20/19

A4:  Get in touch with a DAV NSO they work wonders with the 'right' information.  (RR)  4/20/19

A5:  Get a copy of your surgery record from va. dav will help you,  (WP)  4/20/19

A6:  Sorry for your troubles. Was in the Navy too. You might try either your County Veteran Service Officer. In my state (Wi.) these are Can Do folk. Or as I've been in the Legion for years your Legion Department Service Officer. Both these folks have only one job. To connect you with someone who can help. Finally look at your Rep[s in Congress and Senate. Regardless of party they have staff who know everyone. I wish you fair winds my friend.  (CO)  4/20/19

A7:  Have you written to a congressman about it that might help. Is anyone you know that competed with and against you still alive and able to do a Statement in Support of Claim from each. The ones working on strengthening and such getting prepared for competing. Your lucky your getting SSI and worked enough to get it whereas for me did not get enough quarters in but was in Vietnam. They will most likely try to take the 10%unemployablity away when I reach 70 this year. I will then be taking them to court for I am unemployable due to my diabetes type 2 and all the conditions are aggrevated and or caused by Agent Orange Exposure. Do a search for buddies you had and know what was going on. There should be records somewhere or news records showing you competing and if you can make copies of those you would or should have your case. Don't expect the VA to help you for they will back stab you every change they get.They want you to stop trying then they win and save the government when they wanted you to compete and make it sound so good and when your down because of it shaft you for doing so. You should have the proof of when you won would be a start to prove you competed. Good Luck and keep fighting them for I have fought them since 1981 and being paid at 100% even though they gave me 90% then put in for unemployability. My conditions are getting worse and if they take the 10% away then that cuts the income in half or close to it. If the VA paid for your second surgery they know your entitled to more and that a surgery does not do away with the pain only reduces it sometimes slightly. If you have outside medical insurance use it to get a second and third opinion as well.  (JRM)  4/20/19

A8:  1. Get your navy base medical records showing the back strain diagnosis.
2. Get your VA medical records surgical report.
3. File a claim for service connected disability & compensation with the VA and follow all of their instructions. Your navy clinic record will prove service connection & your VA hospital record will prove the duration & severity of the problem.
4. You are your best advocate & lawyer. If you want something done right do it yourself.  (EC)  4/20/19

A9:  You need a nexus and dbq from your doctors to support your claim and hire a Atty to help as well.  (BP)  4/20/19

A10:  Get an independent Medical Exam. a Great place is Ellis Clinic Okla City see on the web and go to Hadit forum many answers hope this helps The money is well spent for the Exam.  (DH)  4/21/19

A11:   Go on line to find yourself an attorney to defend your case. Good luck.  (WB)  4/22/19

A12:  Are you aware you can now use attorneys who will represent you on VA claims like you have been on Social Security disability claims for years. This is something relatively new because when I was working to get my VA disability I was told you could use a lawyer but there was a Federal law that restricted them to charging $1.00, though I never saw that in writing. It took me years to get my VA disability using the DAV. The DAV is another option but, the last time I tried to meet with the DAV in Atlanta I was told I could not meet them without an appointment and it takes six months to get an appointment, and I am a LIFETIME member of DAV!  I don't know what the lawyers charge but it is probably similar what they charge for handling Social Security Disability Claims, 25% of any arrears Compensation they get for you, at least that is what it was when I used one for my Social Security Disability.  Good luck!  (JM)  4/25/19

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