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Two Year Wait For Dro Review

Question

I just got an answer to the IRIS I sent December 8 which informs me that the reviews on my NODs will be two years after they were received.

"A review of of your two pending Notices of disagreements are still pending. The Department of Veterans Affairs has maintained the dates of the notification you have sent to the Chicago Regional Office.

The Notice of Disagreement for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation which has been noted as being received as of November 12, 2008 with a Decision Review Officer (DRO) is scheduled for November 13, 2010.

The Notice of Disagreement for Helpless Child claim has been noted as being received as of July 16, 2009 with a review scheduled for July 17, 2011.

All notices of disagreements and appeals are worked in order of receipt at the Regional Office."

Ughhhh - two years.......

However, I also received my VCAA Notice in June 2007. It took almost a year to get a copy of the C-file. I asked for an extension of time to submit evidence, as I was not provided with the information I needed from THEM until almost a year after the VCAA Notice.

And actually, I had been specifically requesting a copy of my husband's discharge physical and the Medical Opinion they used to deny my claim (in order to get an IMO) and still have not received those.

However, I did submit my evidence in June 2008 (within one year of the VCAA Notice), as I was not informed whether my request for extension was granted. In that I submitted the evidence within one year of the VCAA Notice, I requested that my claim be re-adjudicated. (In that they adjudicated my claim seven months prior to the one year allowed for me to submit evidence and six months before they had provided me with a copy of the C-file).

The VA denied getting this - though it was sent by certified mail, though I have a signed return receipt, and though I sent an IRIS the day I mailed it informing them that I sent it and the Certified Mail receipt number. (In all the communication back and forth on that IRIS, the VA employee never mentioned that they did not receive the evidence..)

Anyway - I resubmitted the evidence under the Special Claims Handling for Missing Documents.

So do I still have the right to ask that my claim be re-adjudicated - as the evidence should now be considered constructively received by the VA as of the date I mailed it, or the date they signed the return receipt card?

Would it be wise to request this? Or will I just be adding another step in my claim that will make it take longer? (...in that if they don't grant the claim at the initial level - I will have another two year wait for the DRO review.)

And if they do re-adjudicate it - can I still submit evidence to be considered? (i.e. an IMO)or will they only consider the evidence that was submitted within one year of the VCAA Notice?

Thanks,

Free

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Free

It really concerns me that your claim is being treated this way.

On that note, I have a Veteran friend that I am assisting going through the same situation (no acknowledgement of receipt of fast letter reconsideration or evidence that he submitted many years ago) despite the Fast Letter Instructions.

While there are Laws, rules, regulagtions, fast letters, Court Decisions and etc. that supposed to be adhered to by the VAROs, the problem is that there is nobody, to include the Office of Veterans Administration Inspection General, that has a personal interest of the individual veteran.

One Vet informed me that he wrote the VAOIG Hotline last year and did not get as much of a receipt confirmation from the site.

Despite the many substantiated complaints that Veterans make in regards to the treatment of thier claims, there is only temporary solutions that are like short candles that burn out quickly and the veterans are again in the dark.

While these forums are a good place for gathering information on how to best file and track your your claim, it will do nothing to change the VARO claim delays. The reconsiderations submitted under Secretary Peake's fast letter 08-41, is not even being discussed in any particular polictical or for that matter Veterans forums. Check it out if you do not believe me! Fast Letter 08-41 is old news on any internet search engine site.

While the claim is important to you, please do not stress over it to much, that will only keep you stressed out! If you have done all that you can do, my recommendation is to just wait it out-WITHOUT STRESSING LIKE MANY VETERANS DO!

TAKE CARE AND GOOD LUCK!

Lois

Just somebody that is helping Veterans that cannot help themselves.

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Free

While these forums are a good place for gathering information on how to best file and track your your claim, it will do nothing to change the VARO claim delays. The reconsiderations submitted under Secretary Peake's fast letter 08-41, is not even being discussed in any particular polictical or for that matter Veterans forums. Check it out if you do not believe me! Fast Letter 08-41 is old news on any internet search engine site.

Lois

Just somebody that is helping Veterans that cannot help themselves.

lcpmom,

Welcome to Hadit.

For the record fastletter 08-41 IS OLD NEWS on just about any

and every Veterans web site around.

jmho,

carlie

http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-7...%26%26CODE%3D00

http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&saf...5%3Avf35wo-anhl

http://www.vawatchdog.org/08/nf08/nfnov08/nf111708-1.htm

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Carlie

Yes fast letter 08-41 is on these sites but there is no current issues. Just the same repeated old information about what is supposed to happen, but no issues from political interest or VA responding to the mishandling or diregard/delay of Veterans claims that are being requested to be reconsideration under the temporary authority. It seems that noone wants to touch and just want it to go away like past VA issues where the Veterans documents were either lost or mishandled.

Lois

lcpmom,

Welcome to Hadit.

For the record fastletter 08-41 IS OLD NEWS on just about any

and every Veterans web site around.

jmho,

carlie

http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-7...%26%26CODE%3D00

http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&saf...5%3Avf35wo-anhl

http://www.vawatchdog.org/08/nf08/nfnov08/nf111708-1.htm

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Thanks both of you for your answers. I do realize that the Special Claims Handling for Missing Documents is old news. And I know even more now after reading the links. So thanks for sharing them. But I am not quite sure how that applies to my claim.

I am not quite understanding if that was to answer my questions or just to give me information. I apologize, but I think I am missing something.

I do realize the procedure won't speed up the processing of my claim. In fact, my concern was that it would slow it down.

It is my understanding that if you submit evidence within one year of receiving the VCAA notice the VA has to re-adjudicate your claim (if they adjudicated it prior to that time).

I received my VCAA notice June 2007. The VA adjudicated my claim November 2007. I sent evidence to support my claim June 2008 (within one year of the notice). I also asked the VA to re-adjudicate my claim, based on the fact that I had sent the evidence within one year.

They denied getting the evidence (thus the eligibility for Special Claims Handling). They did not re-adjudicate my claim. I didn't think that the special claims handling would speed up my claim - but it should , in the very least, put me in the position where the VA acknowledges that the evidence sent in response to the VCAA notice was submitted within the allowable time-frame (as evidenced by my tracking information, signed return receipt, and IRIS to them when I mailed it).

At this point they have informed me that I have a DRO review Nov. 2010.

A major question I have is - should I just wait for the DRO review in November and skip requesting the re-adjudication again? Or should I request my claim be re-adjudicated - adding one more step to the process - and probably more time - especially as my claim would probably not be re-adjudicated as early as November 2010. There might be two year wait for that. And if it is not granted, that would make it another two year wait for the DRO review.

And if I ask for a re-adjudication, can I still submit more evidence (i.e. an IMO) to be considered at that time.

And if I skip the re-adjudication, do I run the risk of the BVA remanding my case because my claim was not re-adjudicated upon receipt of the evidence submitted in response to the VA notice.

I apologize for being so rusty with the VA procedures. I have been busy learning more than I wanted to know about Social Security the past couple of years.

Thanks,

Free

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"They denied getting the evidence (thus the eligibility for Special Claims Handling). They did not re-adjudicate my claim. I didn't think that the special claims handling would speed up my claim - but it should , in the very least, put me in the position where the VA acknowledges that the evidence sent in response to the VCAA notice was submitted within the allowable time-frame (as evidenced by my tracking information, signed return receipt, and IRIS to them when I mailed it). "

Did you respond to their letter saying they did not get the evidence with copy of proof of mailing?

It appears you asked for DRO review-and 2 years is about right on the average for these reviews-

however you can submit more info at any time the claim is pending.

If their denials have been based on a lack of medical evidence to support your claim- I feel no one should wait to get an IMO as this could turn a claim around- if they read it.

The VA has established a Survivor's office that a survivor can contact via the VA web site.

"Welcome to the Office of Survivors Assistance (OSA). We were established within the Department of Veterans

Affairs in December 2008 in accordance with Public Law 110-389.

OSA's main function is intended to be an advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on all

policies, programs, legislative issues and other initiatives affecting survivors and dependents of deceased veterans

and service members. In addition to advising the Secretary, we have assumed the following responsibilities:

* Monitor the delivery of survivors benefits and services

* Provide internal policy guidance and oversight of survivors benefits

* Provide oversight for directed outreach programming to survivors

* Actively seek information from external stakeholders on survivors issues

* Track and recommend survivor legislative issues

* Charter national databases on survivor programs and services

* Prepare annual and special reports and responses to Congressional inquiries

Although we are not equipped or chartered to be a claims processing organization, we will assist wherever possible

in referring issues to the appropriate VA Department.

As we move forward, we are fully committed to staying in step with the needs of survivors and are prepared to take

on other roles as needed in order to remain a viable advocate for the VA survivor community.

We hope you wll find this site helpful. If you have suggestions about information you'd like to see on the website,

please contact us as OfficeofSurvivors@va.gov.

Jim Hanley

Director"

Although their functions are limited in many cases only to 'monitor' claims of survivors, they were helpful to me recently as they found my situation was one that was so unusual they said they would actively monitor the way it was being handled.

I need to contact them again because the OGC took immediate steps to correct my award when I sent complaint to the OGC and the VARO is finally working on my monetary award and my ancillary benefits.

With this limited monitoring- this is still a big step for VA to take as the OSA will get a picture of the overall way survivors are treated by the VA and how poorly their claims are often handled.

Since you filed the Special Handling request due to the October incident it seems this would be a situation that they would want to monitor and track.

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