Can the VA C&P change my diagnosis? BP I vs BP II.

dredscott2000

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19yr Navy, was diagnosed in MAR of 2018 w/ BP I after a 10 day hospitalization (1st BP event was in 2013 but un-diagnosed). After 2 x LIMDU was referred to the IDES w/ BP I, PTSD, & TBI. Just received my C&Ps from the VA today and the VA examiner changed my diagnosis from BP I (most recent episode Manic) to BP II (most recent episode hypo-manic). The MEB disagreed with the findings of the VA, still finding my unfit due to BP I, PTSD, & TBI.

Question to the community is - Does this matter? Will it impact my ratings? Guessing my only recourse would be a VARR post PEB findings, thoughts?

Timeline:
MAR 18 - Released from Hospital diagnosed w/ BP I & PTSD.
19 MAR 18 - 1st LIMDU.
5 SEP 18 - 2nd LIMDU
1 MAR 19 - Referred to IDES.
6 MAR 19 - PEBLO mtg
12 MAR 19 - MSC Appt
3 APR 19 - 1st C&P
30 APR 19 - Last C&P
20 JUN 19 - MEB Complete - PEBLO mtg to discuss MEB findings.

Intent for me is to seek PLD post PEB findings regardless of outcomes (command supports) to extend to 20 and retire. As C&Ps will be over a year old - I believe I will have to go for another C&P assessment, correct?

Thanks
 

Jason Perry

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dredscott2000,

Welcome to the PEBFORUM!

19yr Navy, was diagnosed in MAR of 2018 w/ BP I after a 10 day hospitalization (1st BP event was in 2013 but un-diagnosed). After 2 x LIMDU was referred to the IDES w/ BP I, PTSD, & TBI. Just received my C&Ps from the VA today and the VA examiner changed my diagnosis from BP I (most recent episode Manic) to BP II (most recent episode hypo-manic). The MEB disagreed with the findings of the VA, still finding my unfit due to BP I, PTSD, & TBI.
For clarification, when do you reach 20 years of AFS?

Question to the community is - Does this matter? Will it impact my ratings? Guessing my only recourse would be a VARR post PEB findings, thoughts?
For rating purposes, the change or disagreement about the diagnosis BP I vs BPII does not matter. The rating criteria is the same for all mental health conditions (except for eating disorders).


Intent for me is to seek PLD post PEB findings regardless of outcomes (command supports) to extend to 20 and retire. As C&Ps will be over a year old - I believe I will have to go for another C&P assessment, correct?
It is not very common to get PLD absent very favorable circumstances. I would not count on this as a good plan to achieve your goals. Depending on the time you have until reaching 20 years of active federal service, I might suggest taking all available time to make any elections and to pursue all rebuttals, appeals, etc. I do not advocate just filing appeals for no reason and I don't know what the contents of your case file are, but, it might make sense to ask for an IMR, to rebut the MEB, and to take all the time you can to push for full consideration of all issues in your case. (Again, don't know when you reach 20 years of AFS...that might be a significant issue).

If you are put on PLD and your exams are old, then, yes, you would need to have a new set of exams (or at least a memo stating that there is no significant change). However, my instinct is that this may be a horrible plan, depending on your time until 20 years of AFS. (Also, note, you should get a new MEB/PEB at the time of review upon reaching 20 years should you get PLD- which I have doubts is something likely to get). (Also consider time for unsold leave in making some assumptions.).

My instinct is that you need and should get legal representation as soon as possible (either assigned counsel or via experienced civilian counsel). You have a lot on the line and you should consider a cost benefit analysis and get assistance with the important decisions you face.

I hope all goes well for you! Best of luck!

Jason
 

Jason Perry

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I cannot stress enough how much you should get legal representation soon. An experienced attorney can help you maximize the likelihood you get what you deserve. But, you need to seek help as soon as possible.

Again, I have no idea when you reach 20 years of active federal service. (Reaching that point in time will guarantee that you get at least a length of service retirement and will set a "floor" for your compensation). I have seen dozens of folks with 19 years who make mistakes about how to proceed and end up with severance pay instead of retirement pay.

There are many procedural steps you have to extend the time to finalize your case.

Here are some basic steps:

File a request for an impartial medical review. The file a rebuttal to the MEB. This may add up to 19 days before your case is even forwarded to the PEB.

Demand a formal FPEB. Then after the FPEB, file both a Petition for Relief (PFR) and a VARR. Each of these steps may add months until the finalization of your case. If your arguments are successful, this may net you additional rightfully earned compensation.

Take the maximum time at each step to make any elections.

Please consider all of your options and seek legal help as soon as possible. It may make the difference between achieving a good result or being sitting at 19 years with severance pay.
 
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