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Q54:  When I was discharged from the Army in 1985 for medical reasons, I was diagnosed with a severe back injury, I received 10% Disability for years, later my condition worsened and my percentage rate increased by another 10%. Now that I'm much older, I'm experiencing even more complications from pain. I also had a protruding belly button at the time, and didn't know that it was a hernia. Eventually, I had to have surgery on my belly button which went terribly wrong, I also had to have corrective surgery a couple years later, the VA Doctors removed my belly button, and replaced it with a wire mesh. My question is, if I could produce the copies of my initial surgery and my reconstructive hernia surgery will I be able to increase my disability compensation? And/or receive any back pay for the pain and suffering I have had?

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A1:  There is no back pay for pain and suffering. The regulation says you are paid from the date of claim or the date of the diagnosis, whichever is later. Producing more documentation won't help. There is only so much you can be paid per the 38 CFR. If you feel your condition has worsened you can file for an increase. When you do, the VA can always evaluate you for a reduction. Be careful.   (AP)  5/25/18