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Disability Stories - In Their Own Words


Learn what effects V.A. policy and rules have had on veterans’ rights to representation.


In 2001 I filed my first claim for Diabetes II because of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, along with CAD and Hypertension as secondary to the Diabetes. CAD and Hypertension were denied and Diabetes given 20%. Along the way other claims were filed (PTSD, Hearing, Back problems, etc.) and in 2006 got rated at 100% unemployablility.

Then comes the presumptions of IHD, Parkinson’s disease and one other that I don't recall at this time. I again filed for IHD/CAD. In 2009 I had Coronary bypass surgery. I was granted 60% post bypass surgery retroactive to the 2009 day of the operation. At the present time I am waiting for an video hearing in St. Louis, MO and looks like I will be representing myself. I had acquired a attorney from Quincy, IL., but she withdrew when the Chicago RO  called me and wanted to know if I would like a hearing in July 2013. Now I can't get American Legion or VVA because they say their policy is to not take anyone on or take them back because the claim is in appeal. I had American Legion before as well as VVA, once apiece but went to the private attorney on somebody's previous experienced advise. The attorney had already filed the Form 9 for the video hearing in St. Louis. The claim is for an earlier date on the IHD. I have doctor statements saying the IHD was likely there for decades and most likely than not secondary to the Diabetes II. Well, that's my story, if you're not totally confused by now.  Any input or help, please advise.

- James L.