A Corpus Christi area veteran’s condition made it necessary for his spouse to become his full-time caregiver. This left both the veteran and his wife without employment and eventually on the verge of bankruptcy and not knowing if they would be able to pay their bills.
The veteran had served in the Army National Guard from December 1982 to August 1987. He developed blood clots in his legs and lungs during active duty for training and was medically retired. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the blood clots caused him to suffer three strokes. “Afraid for his health, and under doctor’s advice, he was unable to retain gainful employment. His spouse became his caregiver and eventually lost her employment for fear of leaving him alone,” said Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Claims Benefits Advisor (CBA) Stephanie Villarreal.
The veteran first reached out to Villarreal in March 2022 to discuss submitting an initial Claim. Villarreal submitted the initial claim for the stroke resulting from deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. In August 2022, the veteran was awarded 10% for the residuals of his stroke (CVA) with left hemiparesis/stroke status post deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome with entitlement to compensation for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism deferred. “A few weeks later, the rating was granted at 60% for pulmonary vascular disease. The VA invited a Claim for mental health after a C&P (Compensation and Pension) exam diagnosed the veteran with adjustment disorder with anxiety and depressed mood. The Claim was submitted but ultimately denied due to not being clinically diagnosed. At this point he was seeking mental health treatment at the VA for depression, anxiety, and vascular dementia.”
The claim was reopened in February 2023. The veteran and his spouse were worried about his rapidly declining health and would email Villarreal about their concerns and their frustrations with the VA Claims process.
“Stephanie patiently responded to each email assuring them everything was moving along as it should. She diligently kept track of the veteran’s claim and informed them of any letters and their meaning before they received them to circumvent additional frustration,” said Rosa “Red” Barrera, TVC Claims Office Supervisor and Navy veteran.
In March 2023, Villarreal submitted for residuals of the stroke to include left side body weakness, neuropathy of all extremities and speech impairment. On April 21, 2023, she informed the couple about his claim completion and the VA granting him 100% for mental health with a special monthly compensation housebound, permanent and total. They received a retroactive pay check for over $21,848.
“The veteran and his wife became emotional as they were on the verge of filing for bankruptcy and not knowing if they would be able to pay their bills,” said Villarreal. On May 19, 2023, his final claim was complete granting him service connection for all conditions applied for and a Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for loss of use of his hands and feet.”
Get effective assistance with Claims at no cost, connect with a TVC CBA at https://www.tvc.texas.gov/claims/appointments/ .