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    • C&P Examiner Pushed Me...FORCED
      If you feel your C&P was not evaluated correctly or the Examiner did not meet the qualifications you can request a New C&P from RO. They usually set you up another exam   However it may take longer. jmo .....................Buck
    • Miss Figured EED?
      Questions regarding EED? Vet gets denied claim for  SC 1997...Refiles claim, 1998 vet gets Service Connected  but 0% . Now in 2001 vet refiles claim and is increase to 50%...  (from 0% to 50%)  2003 vet files for increase and has C&P  after the c&p...c&p examiner sends VA letter saying this vet should not been S.C. because he never had any of this disability while in service  or any medical records showing documentation he was seen for it while in service.and furthermore vet was given an exit exam  from military service and was consider healthy and not what he is claiming .  I recommend this Veteran be reduced  at 0%compensation and with draw his Service connection Completely......Sign Dr  xxxxxxx  30 years experienced Medical Dr.  2003 Vet gets letter of Proposal to Reduce him, vet files NOD Request DRO Hearing at his RO, vet goes to his DRO Hearing  with new &material evidence, and letter  from Private qualified Dr receives a favorable  IMO  & letter from Voc rehab declaring this vet unfeasible to retrain because of his S.C. Disability, vet gets notarized lay statements from family and friends...and Veterans own statement! DRO Agrees with this Veteran and sees his disability in person, and initiates an expedition and ask VSO to file TDIU Claim for veteran and is awarded an 10% & 60%  increase to his disability  and with a 90%combined increase  using the  CFR Extra scheduler (b)  Vet is Awarded IU with P&T  and no future exams schedule this disability is of chronic and of nature  an increase is warranted and not  decrease  the examiner that proposed a decrease will not be warranted,  veteran has proved his SERVICE CONNECTED Disability  and  it goes on and state what te DRO used as evidence and with a rating specialist at his hearing  it is Obvious this Veterans disability is REAL. Question  they gave the Vet EED Back to when he filed for increase in 1998 the year he was Service connected? instead from the increase dating back to 2001? ??? After a S.C. is established  don't the EED begin at that date  even if a 0%?? Altho they have is 50% rating at  effective date1998! ...Shouldn't they have went back to 1998  the date the vet was Service Connected?  
    • PTSD Denied NSC - Schizophrenia NSC
      Berta - Here is the rating decision.   We will accept the disabilities granted for his battle wounds, but disagreement is with the PTSD and Schizophrenia being declined as service connected.   They were completely mute on the Agent Orange symptoms we claimed.   The C&P exam performed in April was not included with the VA papers.   I don't know what the Examiner said about his physical and mental condition.   Need help on this: Do I indicate acceptance of the 40% SC ratings decided on his battle wounds and also indicate we're filing a NOD with the NSC decisions for PTSD and Schizophrenia on the same "Statement in Support of Claim"? I need to get an expert involved for our NOD and a new claim for Agent Orange since they completely overlooked that -- A rep at American Legion wants to take it on.   Do I go this route or go to an attorney? Will QTC give me a copy of his exam?  Or do I need to go through the Request for VA treatment records again through Saint Louis Records? I need to get him another dr exam to show evidence of his current Agent Orange symptoms.  Should i get an IMO ? I want to make sure I am chosen as his Fiduciary -  there is a form for this that I presume I send in on line. Rating Decision 5-16-16.pdf
    • C&P Examiner Pushed Me...FORCED
      understand totally i was treated the same way.  does anyone know anything about the c & p ortho doctors in san antonio tx
    • C&P Examiner Pushed Me...FORCED
      understand totally i was treated the same way.  does anyone know anything about the c & p ortho doctors in san antonio tx
    • Sleep Apnea Claim
      Original poster  the VA Should give you a C-PAP to use and all the equipment  hoses.Mask..you need to use distilled water. Anyone that has Sleep Apnea /OSA  needs to be using a C-Pap/Bi-Pap machine. For some  reasons the VA is turtle slow on getting VietNam Veterans their C-File....but some do get their C-File within 3 /4 months. I guess the C-file for us Vietnam Vets got lost in the mail room.  Next Month (June) will be a year for me and I requested it twice during this last year...and not a word from them..I do have the greencard receipts I need my C-file bad  I wonder if it has been didtized and on CD?  Could I make an Unexpected Visit to RO? And  ask for it that way? jmo ....Buck
    • Increase of MRSA from 0%-? unknown, having c&p exam on tuesday
      Do they go back to the date of the original claim? im just curious, ive had this infection, since i was in the army, and it was and is horrible, losing jobs, and such. thanks in advance
    • Osteoarthritis in right knee
      Never say never, but here is your dilemma. In order to get service connected you need either a presumptive condition, which osteoarthritis is not a presumptive condition.Or, you need the following: A service related event or condition, a bridge from that service related event or condition to a current diagnosis that is severe enough to be determined to be disabling. So, if you can get a private doctor to fill out a disability benefits questionnaire  VA FORM 21-0960M-9 then you might have a shot. It would be very helpful if the doctor inserted remarks that stated he believes the condition is directly related to your military service. Even then I wouldn't be surprised if it was denied. As you stated the osteoarthritis is mild. Mild is usually not considered disabling, but all they can say is no.  One other unrelated point, but one worth mentioning. You cannot receive compensation pay and retirement pay at the same time. For example, let's say you get $1100 a month in retirement pay, and $200 a month in compensation. Then you get $900 a month in retirement pay and $200 a month in comp for a total of $1100. The benefit being the $200 is tax free. Now, if you can get the $200 comp as CRDP or CRSC then you could get both the retirement pay and the comp at the same time for a total of $1300 a month.
    • My C&P Results and why i'm disturbed
      In 2012 I EAS from the USMC and began a career in Law Enforcement. Like many of us I started the process of VA disability claims where I had issues which nagged me. Shoulder, knee, and back. I had 2 shoulder surgeries while active on my left shoulder and have been babying my right shoulder due to inflammation issues and restricted ROM.    I met with the VA in Dec 2013 for my initial C&P examination where I explained the symptoms of my issues and conducted a ROM examination. I was provided with a 10% rating for Patello Femoral Syndrome in my Left and Right knee. 10% for my right shoulder and 10% for c-spine bulging disc. This is the minimum rating for pain.    I just recently started a new claim for an increase and was examined a couple of days ago. My initial exam was as follows Knee  Date 2013 a. Right knee flexion Select where flexion ends (normal endpoint is 140 degrees):  [X] 100 Select where objective evidence of painful motion begins: [ ] No objective evidence of painful motion  [X] 80 b. Right knee extension Select where extension ends: [X] 0 or any degree of hyperextension (check this box if there is no limitation of extension) Select where objective evidence of painful motion begins: [X] No objective evidence of painful motion No limitation of extension c. Left knee flexion Select where flexion ends  [X] 90 Select where objective evidence of painful motion begins: [ ] No objective evidence of painful motion [X] 90 No limitation of extension Shoulder a. Right shoulder flexion Select where flexion ends (normal endpoint is 180 degrees):[X] 60  b. Right shoulder abduction Select where abduction ends (normal endpoint is 180 degrees): [ ] 0 [X] 5 Based on the above, I should be at a higher rating for both shoulder and knee. But, I was provided the minimum of 10% for pain. My most recent exam is as follows.    Knee Date 2016 Left Knee --------- [ ] All normal [X] Abnormal or outside of normal range [ ] Unable to test (please explain) [ ] Not indicated (please explain) Flexion (0 to 140): 40 to 55 degrees Extension (140 to 0): 55 to 40 degrees   Shoulder  a. Initial range of motion Right Shoulder -------------- [ ] All Normal [X] Abnormal or outside of normal range [ ] Unable to test (please explain) [ ] Not indicated (please explain) Flexion (0 to 180): 0 to 70 degrees Abduction (0 to 180): 0 to 40 degrees External rotation   I don't know why I was provided the bare minimum. But it is extremely disturbing. I hope they make things right by increasing my percentage this time around. I may have to stop working because I am constantly out due to issues with my knees and shoulder.   

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Tbird

113. What Will The Dro (decision Review Officer) Do?

Question

113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

After reviewing your file, he will issue a decision that is called a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will allow your claim, modify the decision, or affirm the decision. This should contain the Veterans Affairs Form 9 to appeal the decision to the Board.

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29 answers to this question

113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

After reviewing your file, he will issue a decision that is called a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will allow your claim, modify the decision, or affirm the decision. This should contain the Veterans Affairs Form 9 to appeal the decision to the Board.

Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC? I thought I read something like that elsewhere. I ID'ed the rating contested and submitted evidence with my NOD.

Thanks...

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Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC? I thought I read something like that elsewhere. I ID'ed the rating contested and submitted evidence with my NOD.

Thanks...

No when they make the decision good or bad they will send a SOC or a supplemental SOC. My first DRO review told me to piss in the wind, my second DRO review raised mine from 50% to 100% and P&T, made my 100% retro 1 year, Im fighting for the other years

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No when they make the decision good or bad they will send a SOC or a supplemental SOC. My first DRO review told me to piss in the wind, my second DRO review raised mine from 50% to 100% and P&T, made my 100% retro 1 year, Im fighting for the other years

Among other observations about the VA, I've noticed there seems to be a lack of standardization between the various VAROs, at least when it comes to decisions and timeliness. I am already becoming cynicial.

Thanks...

Edited by Manitou Sprgs

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My greatest difficulty concerning my VA Disability Apeal has been me, not the VA.

I find it harder and harder to concentrate and to stay focused. I have to stay optimistic and believe that someone, somewhere in the VA does care- because if I don’t, I easily lose hope.

Everyone has had their successes and failures with the VA- I reflect upon all of them and just grit my teeth and continue to slog along. It has now become my second career.

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Maniou,

I have found in some DRO denials that I have studied, they read like a carbon copy of the prior

denial, made by the VA.

As to your question,

"Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC?"

I have received a DRO decision (partial decision) that did indeed change an issues previously denied by VA, to a grant. I later received an SOC that discussed the granted portion of the claim along with the denied issues.

Hope this helps a vet.

jmho,

carlie

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My DRO appeal was denied effective 2-19-2008 on my CUE claim. I just got it in the mail today. I have a lawyer who is supposed to be working on the case but nowhere do I see that they sent him a copy of the denial. The DRO denial was a carbon copy of the original denial except it had even less of my evidence listed. All the listed was a in-service hospital report. I am trying to contact the lawyer because I know if I have to go to the BVA I will have to make a pleading. I am going to send him a copy of the DRO denial. It was from our friends at the ST. Pete VARO. A piece of trash that was run off my a copy machine. I asked for a Hearing and only got this Review. I wonder if I should write a NOD and send it in on this before I talk to the lawyer which could take days? I am worried that my time limits will run out while said lawyer does nothing. For some reason his office was closed today. I will send him a copy of the decision by certified mail with a letter asking him to appeal. I just wonder if I could go ahead and ask for a personal hearing. There is no way the VARO is going to award my CUE without a slug fest. That is why I hired a lawyer. No matter how many times you get denials like this it always makes me angry. You know they did not even read your appeal but just rejected it.

John

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I filed a NOD in Jam 2008 had received one letter saying they had received my request for Compensation well

I received a letter today the one that says we are still processing your application for Compensation, however in with this letter was a pink letter VA Form 4107 "Stating your rights to appeal our decision" this seems sorta of odd since this is a NOD and I haven't received anything else from them. I was under the impression that I would receive a SOC. Don't really know what to think about this, "are they saying that my NOD has been disapproved or what" Anybody got any suggestions on this. Sgt D

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I filed a NOD in Jam 2008 had received one letter saying they had received my request for Compensation well

I received a letter today the one that says we are still processing your application for Compensation, however in with this letter was a pink letter VA Form 4107 "Stating your rights to appeal our decision" this seems sorta of odd since this is a NOD and I haven't received anything else from them. I was under the impression that I would receive a SOC. Don't really know what to think about this, "are they saying that my NOD has been disapproved or what" Anybody got any suggestions on this. Sgt D

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Sgt ID,

You did not indicate whether or not you have a veterans service organization (VFW, DAV, state supported group) assisting you. If you do, you need to contact them to check up on it. Most veterans service groups submit their clients' claims with a transmittal letter or cover sheet, that must be stamped by the VARO mail room. Once the letter is stamped 'received', it is your proof that VA got your correspondence. If you mailed it yourself then they can lose it with impunity because you have no proof they got it. This I know from experience working as a VSO for 20+ years. If you can work your way through the telephone machine answering menus to actually talk to a living person, I suggest you try that route to see if that person can make a search. Keep in mind that the person you talk to on the phone can only tell you what his/her computer says. Contrary to long-lasting rumors, the VA phone councilor does not go looking for your physical file. In most VAROs it is forbidden for them to do so. But you need to try in order to keep your claim alive. VA must receive your response or NOD no later than one year from the date of their original decision letter. Unless you can prove that you were physically and/or mentally incapacitated for that one year period, they WILL NOT entertain any request to extend your appeal filing period.

As a bit of advice, again based on hard-learned experience, a veteran who tries to go it alone without the aid of a veterans service organization is no different than a person having themselves as their lawyer, no matter how much you think you might know about the VA system. I am retired from that line of work, therefore, I am no longer certified to work VA claims for anyone else; yet, I still retain the services of the state VSO organization I worked for as if I knew nothing myself. The group that represents me is the Missouri Veterans Commission. I don't know what state you live in, but you might want to try the state VSO organization where you live to see if they can help you clear up your problem. Sorry this is so long, but another thing I learned on the job, there is no such thing as a short question and/or short answer when it comes to VA claims and benefits.

Good Luck,

Sgt. Bill

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Nothing To Lose after an NOD, by participating in a DRO review before an Appeal for VA Disabilty?

With regard to choosing a VA Decision Review Officer (DRO) to review a decision which denied a disability claim or an otherwise unsuccessful VA Disability claim versus proceeding directly to a traditional appeal, I remain hesitant about accepting the validity of frequent blanket statements advising everyone to request a DRO review, on the assumption the claimant has nothing to lose by doing so (except for the additional time lost before an eventual traditional appeal will go fourth if still necessary.) By the way, I don't know the true statistics, but by some accounts, 98 percent of "DRO" reviews are non-productive for the Veteran Claimant and fairly or not, have become synonymous with another description known as a "RSR" (rubber stamp review.)

While touted as a benefit for Veterans with the goal of reducing claim backlogs, I suppose the DRO process may help the VA reduce Appeal backlogs to some extent, but a DRO review actually extends the entire experience for a Veteran even longer, for those who ultimately do proceed with a formal Appeal, unless of course the DRO process succeeds by reducing the number of formal Appeals more significantly than perhaps as little as 2 percent. However, keep in mind, along the customary route and lengthy time table from an initial claim to a final decision by an Appeal Board, many claimants simply give up and of course, since we are speaking in terms of years, obviously some claimants even die before their claims are ever resolved. So, without a doubt, DRO reviews or anything else inserted into the middle of the claims process will have some effect on reducing backlogs, but not necessary in a manner that is actually helping veterans.

While we know the DRO process is designed to help the Department of Veterans Affairs reduce backlogs, if the DRO process is so beneficial for individual Veteran Claimants too, why doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs exert any more effort to entice claimants to participate in the DRO process with statistics to back up the advantages? The answer is simply because Veterans are already being herded unwittingly like cattle through the DRO gate with advice they have nothing to lose! But is that really true???

To offer an analogy, proceeding with a DRO review is not much different than playing 5 stud poker with an opponent who gets 10 cards. Thus, before a claimant proceeds to a formal appeal, the local VA claims office gets a second chance to clean up their first decision, correct any errors and counter any substantial issues the claimant may have raised with their Notice of Disagreement (NOD) which otherwise may have been more ripe for the Appeals Board to decide and possibly with a better outcome for the Veteran.

In theory, the goal of the DSO is to arrive at the same conclusions as can reasonably be anticipated an Appeal Board would ultimately do and thus avoid or reduce the need for formal appeals, but if that is all that is accomplished by a DSO review, it seems the claims process might be more efficient for perhaps 2 percent of veterans, while the entire length of the claims process from beginning until the end and through the Appeal stage when necessary, is just extended with another layer of bureaucracy which really does become nothing more than a refined rubber stamp for the other 98 percent of claimants who elect a DRO review.

The DRO process should offer more of a balance of improvements to be shared by both the VA and the claimants with some clear evidence that DSO reviews have at least some better track record with successful claims than what is demonstrated historically by Appeal Board decisions, otherwise, why should a claimant ever set fourth their grounds for an appeal to be scrutinized by the same office that denied there claim in the first place if the likelihood is 98 percent the claimant will end up having to Appeal anyway. In some cases, an initial denial of a claim at the local level may be so faulty, there is even a better chance of prevailing in a direct formal Appeal, than there will be after a DRO has a chance to clean up their mess.

To be sure, there are some claimants to be found who may prevail through a DRO review and therefore word spreads that a DRO simply adds an attractive second chance for claimants before proceeding to what may have been a needless traditional appeal, but don't forget, the DRO offers the VA local office a second chance also, to shore up their defenses against any arguments you may have raised about their initial decision and you could easily find yourself on even weaker ground when and if you finally do proceed with an appeal.

I believe the only way the DRO process will ever evolve to help more veterans, is by fewer veterans participating in the DRO process until such point in time when the Department of Veterans Affairs finally has some incentive to prove to Veterans, that the DRO process offers Veterans a better chance of prevailing statistically, than what a formal Appeal offers. There is a long history of Veterans traveling the maze of long winding roads through the VA claims process only to arrive at a dead end years later, but the added curve in that maze of long winding roads known as the DRO review, needs a guard rail.

Nothing to lose??? Maybe!!!

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I have just about always, had some success with the DRO Hearings I have had.

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113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

(note the original timestamp on this topic thread)... Has to be a world's record, here at Hadit.

You raise a few good issues and questions about this level of review, 7thSFG.

JMHO...If it works right, it could be a big help.

However, I have a feeling the wait time is going to get a bit longer...just saying.

Cmdr. Bob

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It is the very first chance you explain your case and meet your accusor in person. Up until then there are faceless people who are not reading all the evidence, and purposley keeping you in the dark. You get to tell them, in person, the facts they obviously missed and refused to read... and after you meet them, and tell them, they can no longer say they did not know, or did not see the evidence... because they were shown in person, face-2-face.

The first 2 years they just rubber stamp everything 'NO!"..

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It is the very first chance you explain your case and meet your accusor in person. Up until then there are faceless people who are not reading all the evidence, and purposley keeping you in the dark. You get to tell them, in person, the facts they obviously missed and refused to read... and after you meet them, and tell them, they can no longer say they did not know, or did not see the evidence... because they were shown in person, face-2-face.

The first 2 years they just rubber stamp everything 'NO!"..

Well stated, 'retiredat44'.

Face to Face...

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I'm going to throw my twenty dollars worth in on this one.

First - I do agree that the face to face hearing, whether it's with a DRO at your

local VARO level, or with a BVA Judge at the APPEALS level, can be beneficial

towards advancing our claim issues. I feel compelled to follow up on this

with a big . . . .

BUT

We get a rating - file a NOD or a Form 9 and request a hearing in person.

Then we wait and wait . . and wait . . and wait . and wait some more, then

magically we receive notice and a date for our face to face hearing, where

we are lead to believe - finally someone is going to listen, going to care

and going to ensure the right thing is done.

So ........ you go to the hearing, again - it doesn't matter which level it is at.

You usually have one hour - and yes they will tell you that if needed they will take more time,

but the goal is the same - get you in and get you out, if you have enough issues or your

claim issues are complicated, keep your cool, stay nicey- nice and they will probably allow

some additional time.

When the hearing is being concluded, while it's still being recorded,

they will look at you, they might smile and they will ask point blank -

"Do you feel like your issues have been covered to your satisfaction ?"

This question somehow feels like it comes out of left field - and you answer -

yes, and maybe a thank you.

BOOM - that recorder is off and within 60 - 120 seconds your mind is thinking of more stuff on your issues,

questions are going thru your head and suddenly you find yourself - in the parking lot.

We wait forever for these hearings.

The hearing master DOES NOT WANT TO UPSET YOU IN ANY WAY DURING THE HEARING !

After all they are in a closed room with you, right across a desk, usually within arms reach.

There is no security person in the room with you, although there might be a panic button.

They truly present themselves as being there to help and listen.

Remember now, it is a non-adversarial process (until you get to COVA).

During your presentation - always keep in mind:

ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

If you feel you will be nervous - write everything down and just read it word for word,

clearly and slowly into the record.

If you need to stop at some point - do it - but return to reading aloud, your information,

and your argument, disagreement, why it should be granted - due to what evidence

and why the evidence used to deny (or whatever) was/is for some reason, incorrect

or insufficient.

Yes, this hearing officer, DRO or BVA Judge, sits there with you face to face

for an hour or so - then you part company.

Your C-file is returned to a little cart on wheels and off it goes.

This DRO or BVA Judge will more likely than not, have no more association with your file

for an extended period of time, for possibly several reasons.

1) They are still working on claims ahead of yours.

2) They are diverted from adjudication to do some training of other employees.

3) While the hearing was taking place, they probably made some notes,

Example : return to development for C&P exam, VCAA letter has not yet been provided

to claimant, send claimant ROI for SSA or private health care records, etc.....

These are only a couple of reasons that they will not be working on your claim issues

in a timely manner, after your hearing was held.

By the time they do get back together with your file, they have held another 20 or 30 (WAG)

in person hearings. They may try to remember your face, what you had on, something that will bring

you to mind as a person.

They may not remember you at all.

In all cases they will purely go by, ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

At least if they do their job - they will.

The in person hearing does help with another bite at the apple, but once the hearing is concluded

claimants return to being faceless claim numbers - end product codes to be entered into a data base.

JMHO

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I plan to use my DRO face to face time to connect the dots... To submit excerpts & pages of my c-file that seem to have gone unnoticed for decades, and shed light on aspects of my record that were overlooked or omitted by the rater. I have a double-wide c-file that that needs to be reviewed, and an hour of DRO time to condense and confirm my claim. Then if need be, move the DRO hearing record, and the claim up to the BVA.

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When I had my face to face with the BVA judge over my CUE my lawyer stated and restated that we were not asking to reweigh evidence. Plus he handed the judge a brief. I think it is important to really get some issues firmly in the mind of the DRO or judge, or you may find your claim denied. It is bad to get denied on your actual claim without the VA denying it on an issue that does not represent your claim. It is so easy for these guys to get the issues mixed up that if you can hammer it into their heads what you are trying to do it is worth the wait I think.

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When I had my face to face with the BVA judge over my CUE my lawyer stated and restated that we were not asking to reweigh evidence. Plus he handed the judge a brief. I think it is important to really get some issues firmly in the mind of the DRO or judge, or you may find your claim denied. It is bad to get denied on your actual claim without the VA denying it on an issue that does not represent your claim. It is so easy for these guys to get the issues mixed up that if you can hammer it into their heads what you are trying to do it is worth the wait I think.

My plan B,if I don't find satisfaction after the DRO hearing, will be to find a lawyer, to take it from there..

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CB,

Do you have a date scheduled yet for your DRO hearing ?

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CB,

Do you have a date scheduled yet for your DRO hearing ?

The DRO hearing was suppose to be last month, however it was postponed because the VA failed to send me "Proper Notice". The VA sent my hearing notice to an incorrect address. I found out about it by phone the day before the hearing. My NSO rep. discovered it by chance, and gave me a call. It all sounds suspicious, because my address hasn't changed for almost three decades. LOL... After waiting for over two years, my appeal almost was denied because of my failure to report to the hearing... LOL. The DRO requested another C&P exam and rescheduled the hearing for sometime in the future. . .???

The VA corrected my address, sent me to VAMC for a new C&P( wrong date, long story) , and now I am waiting for the new DRO hearing date.

What a joke... Just glad we caught it in time...

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The DRO hearing was suppose to be last month, however it was postponed because the VA failed to send me "Proper Notice". The VA sent my hearing notice to an incorrect address. I found out about it by phone the day before the hearing. My NSO rep. discovered it by chance, and gave me a call. It all sounds suspicious, because my address hasn't changed for almost three decades. LOL... After waiting for over two years, my appeal almost was denied because of my failure to report to the hearing... LOL. The DRO requested another C&P exam and rescheduled the hearing for sometime in the future. . .???

The VA corrected my address, sent me to VAMC for a new C&P( wrong date, long story) , and now I am waiting for the new DRO hearing date.

What a joke... Just glad we caught it in time...

Thank God your NSO rep found it!!

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Thank God your NSO rep found it!!

Thanks John, Carlie, cooter and all, for your support and insight. Yes cooter, and thank God my NSO rep found it the day before it was suppose to happen!! ??

Sometimes I have to laugh at my whole absurd adjudication experience, or it would become so bizarre and frustrating, I would throw my hands up and get an aneurysm (insert exploding head here).

There is a dark side to this so called due process, that simmers just below the surface of mistakes and incompetence at the VARO level. Obvious questions, like, How can my local VARO, Veterans Service Center have my correct address in 2008 and not in 2011 ?? It's not like the DRO's secretary was sitting at an old Remington Rand Typewriter, and simply made a mistake with my address.

Being the inquisitive person, that I am, I learned that due to the tsunami of new claims, the appeals department staff was recently reduced to a skeleton crew, and the rest of that section was moved over to handle new claims. Could this mistake just be another arrogant ploy to thin out the herd of appellant vets, by an out of control bureaucracy, without the legal checks and balances, or due process protections we find outside the VA? I feel this is just another small example of a larger problem.

C.B.

Edited by Commander Bob

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Nothing To Lose after an NOD, by participating in a DRO review before an Appeal for VA Disabilty?

By the way, I don't know the true statistics, but by some accounts, 98 percent of "DRO" reviews are non-productive for the Veteran Claimant and fairly or not, have become synonymous with another description known as a "RSR" (rubber stamp review.)

Wow! I was impressed with that line of reasoning and had those same questions regarding giving them 'Advanced Notice' as to my battle plans and how that would affect the appeal process.

Pretty much everyone who had a different opinion, based on their personal experience, relied on the fact that it was the first chance to put a 'Face' with the claim. Would I be right in assuming, from what was related, that if a appellant did not want to appear in person on any appeal that they are doomed to another failure?

Are there any actual statistics on DRO Reviews success/failure that I can reference?

Edited by wdroberson

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At the end of my DRO hearing the DRO person asked ' why do I feel I deserve disability compensation' ? (paraphrased). I had to explain that I went into the USAF as a healthy person and got sick on active duty many times ans was also forced to work with the same type chemicals the doctors had treated and removed me from every working with again in the USAF. And further that the USAF went against the doctor's orders and sent me to anew job again working with those chemicals, hence me getting sick all over again, causing me to lose my 2nd job due to illnesss on active duty. Then the illnesses caused by the chmicals exposure caused me to never be able to work again and suffer from several life threatening illnesses. All, as stated in my Appeals.

My wife also gave her life with me as a dsiabled vet, who has only bene able to lay in bed sick most the time and wasn't able to be part of my family's and daughter's life growing up, because of my bad health. She cried the whole time.

I was applalled the way the question of why I deserved the bneenefits was sprung on me (both my wife and I), unexpectedly towards the end of the hearing.

Also, you must understand I have file cabinets, boxes of medical records as both an in patient and out patient. Also the records from active duty, and the VA has access to them all. The VA knows, but it's deny, deny, until they die!

I'm going to throw my twenty dollars worth in on this one.

First - I do agree that the face to face hearing, whether it's with a DRO at your

local VARO level, or with a BVA Judge at the APPEALS level, can be beneficial

towards advancing our claim issues. I feel compelled to follow up on this

with a big . . . .

BUT

We get a rating - file a NOD or a Form 9 and request a hearing in person.

Then we wait and wait . . and wait . . and wait . and wait some more, then

magically we receive notice and a date for our face to face hearing, where

we are lead to believe - finally someone is going to listen, going to care

and going to ensure the right thing is done.

So ........ you go to the hearing, again - it doesn't matter which level it is at.

You usually have one hour - and yes they will tell you that if needed they will take more time,

but the goal is the same - get you in and get you out, if you have enough issues or your

claim issues are complicated, keep your cool, stay nicey- nice and they will probably allow

some additional time.

When the hearing is being concluded, while it's still being recorded,

they will look at you, they might smile and they will ask point blank -

"Do you feel like your issues have been covered to your satisfaction ?"

This question somehow feels like it comes out of left field - and you answer -

yes, and maybe a thank you.

BOOM - that recorder is off and within 60 - 120 seconds your mind is thinking of more stuff on your issues,

questions are going thru your head and suddenly you find yourself - in the parking lot.

We wait forever for these hearings.

The hearing master DOES NOT WANT TO UPSET YOU IN ANY WAY DURING THE HEARING !

After all they are in a closed room with you, right across a desk, usually within arms reach.

There is no security person in the room with you, although there might be a panic button.

They truly present themselves as being there to help and listen.

Remember now, it is a non-adversarial process (until you get to COVA).

During your presentation - always keep in mind:

ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

If you feel you will be nervous - write everything down and just read it word for word,

clearly and slowly into the record.

If you need to stop at some point - do it - but return to reading aloud, your information,

and your argument, disagreement, why it should be granted - due to what evidence

and why the evidence used to deny (or whatever) was/is for some reason, incorrect

or insufficient.

Yes, this hearing officer, DRO or BVA Judge, sits there with you face to face

for an hour or so - then you part company.

Your C-file is returned to a little cart on wheels and off it goes.

This DRO or BVA Judge will more likely than not, have no more association with your file

for an extended period of time, for possibly several reasons.

1) They are still working on claims ahead of yours.

2) They are diverted from adjudication to do some training of other employees.

3) While the hearing was taking place, they probably made some notes,

Example : return to development for C&P exam, VCAA letter has not yet been provided

to claimant, send claimant ROI for SSA or private health care records, etc.....

These are only a couple of reasons that they will not be working on your claim issues

in a timely manner, after your hearing was held.

By the time they do get back together with your file, they have held another 20 or 30 (WAG)

in person hearings. They may try to remember your face, what you had on, something that will bring

you to mind as a person.

They may not remember you at all.

In all cases they will purely go by, ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

At least if they do their job - they will.

The in person hearing does help with another bite at the apple, but once the hearing is concluded

claimants return to being faceless claim numbers - end product codes to be entered into a data base.

JMHO

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During the DRO session, are you able to ask questions pertaining to how or if certain ratings may apply to the evidence?

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During the DRO session, are you able to ask questions pertaining to how or if certain ratings may apply to the evidence?

jmho. Your DRO time is limited.

I know the waiting can be tormenting, filled with imaginings and questions... Try not to distress yourself.

I would ask my VSO representative such questions.

My most positive thoughts are with all who are waiting...

Cmdr. Bob

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I have found in some DRO denials that I have studied, they read like a carbon copy of the prior

denial, made by the VA. CARLIE

So true, mine read word for word as my initial SOC did in the DRO denial .

Sgt Sandman

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113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

After reviewing your file, he will issue a decision that is called a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will allow your claim, modify the decision, or affirm the decision. This should contain the Veterans Affairs Form 9 to appeal the decision to the Board.

I have 6 issues,, after the DRO hearing, an SOC and Supplemental SSOC were sent to me for for 3 out of 6 issues. I never received an SOC for the remaining 3 issues. I know I already stated this and got some answers, but I am trying to say is that after the DRO hearing, it looks like you may not get an SOC for some claims,, and in my case, I am just waiting for something,,, not sure what, as it is going on 8 months since the dro hearing. I hope that not getting an SOC at all, on 3 issues, means they are going to approve those 3 claim issues sometime soon... (and the ones that got the socs must mean those 3 are going to the BVA). What other reason could there be for 3 issues to not get an SOC. And, as far as not getting anything in almost 8 months for those,, makes me wonder what the hell they have been doing al this time... after all... it is going on 3 years since I filed for these 6 conditions. One of these conditions was origianlly filed for 15 years ago, but was denied. I let that expire, but after more illness and surgeries, I reapplied. So, this whole thing has been going on a very long time. WTF can these claims people be doing for 8 months without a word on those issues?

I digress, this thread was about the DRO and the SOC. I just wonder what it means when they don't issue an SOC after the DRO for issues in the claim. So,. you may not receive an SOC for al issues, and just left dangling forever without an explanation. BTW, I have a VSO, and they have no clue either what takes so long.

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I have 6 issues,, after the DRO hearing, an SOC and Supplemental SSOC were sent to me for for 3 out of 6 issues.

I never received an SOC for the remaining 3 issues.

Were all 6 issues, separate and clear to the DRO ?

Did you get a copy of the transcripts from the DRO hearing ?

Have you read all SOC's and SSOC's over completely about 4 or 5 times ?

I have to do that because several times I will not see something mentioned and after

reading through several times I will finally find it.

And, as far as not getting anything in almost 8 months for those,, makes me wonder what the hell they have been doing al this time

WTF can these claims people be doing for 8 months without a word on those issues?

Where I am at, and many of the claimants I talk with I don't think the 8 months after a DR hearing, to get an SOC & SSOC

is that long - but you're the one doing the waiting not me :-)

Don't forget also that the Nehmer claims have priority for now.

I digress, this thread was about the DRO and the SOC. I just wonder what it means when they don't issue an SOC after the DRO for issues in the claim.

So,. you may not receive an SOC for al issues, and just left dangling forever without an explanation.

BTW, I have a VSO, and they have no clue either what takes so long.

The VSO couldn't tell you anything about the remaining 3 issues as to if they are approved,

denied or deferred ? If not then is the VSO going to try and find out ?

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