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Would Like Some Opinions About My Iu Situation


Hey Guys and Gals,

Thanks for giving me a bit of your time. I'm currently in the process of an IU upgrade claim with the VA.

A quick version of my back ground.

Iraq 05-06... I started having problems in late 07 with rumors of a redeployment. Suicide attempt in Nov 07. Notified my guard unit at our annual med screening and had my medical discharge started in 04/08. I initially went to VA for a mental health screening and it was a total disaster. I was thrown some pills and "sent on my way." I had an appointment it a mental health specialist that they wouldn't even let me see him without a lot convincing. Oh ya, and it was a 3 hour drive from my house to the VA office. I had a local retired CSM that helped me get some private therapy sessions paid for through the army one source. I fought for the next 5 years and 2 months to get my discharge completed. My unit and state dropped the ball in so many ways it's hard to even talk about it. I had to get the JAG, state IG and even state CSM to get my discharge packet back on track. During these 5 years, I only saw private doctors and therapists because I knew I wasn’t going to get the help I needed from the VA. Also going through private doctors and therapists, I knew that I would be able to get much better documentation.

I have not been able to work since mid 2008. My wife supported us for the first several years while we lived with her parents. For the next I was paid month using the INCAP program through the national guard. It’s an interim disability payment while you are going through the discharge process. My wife quit work in early 2011 to stay home with me full time because she was so afraid that I was going to hurt myself.

I was finally discharged in April 2013 with a 70% rating with the Army and also the VA. With the new system when you are discharged, they work with the VA so you have both ratings when you are done. My 70% rating is for Major depressive disorder, recurrent. I currently suffer from major depression, insomnia, anti-social behavior, anxiety problems, suicidal ideations and daily tension and stress headaches.

After my initial rating, I immediately disagreed with the decision and it was declined but they were also working off medical evidence from two years prior.

Right now I am under the care of two different doctors, one medical for my prescriptions and another with a PHD for my therapy. Both have been extremely helpful and I honestly feel I wouldn’t be here today without their help. The MD is a prior VA navy doctor and the other has a long history helping military members, current and prior. From day one, neither has felt that I am capable of holding gainful employment due to my condition. I also have current letters from both stating that strongly that i should not work as it would only aggravate and worsen my condition.

After my immediate rating disagreement, I put in for an official appeal with a De Novo review with a DSO at my regional office. After filing the initial paperwork for the De Novo review it was back to waiting as I was instructed not to send in any additional evidence until I was instructed by a letter in the mail.

Here is where I’m quite confused and upset. I received my letter in the mail in early April. It was dated, APRIL 7, 2014. In the first page of the letter it states I needed to reply with VA Form 21-8940 and my additional evidence within 30 days. 30 days, so that would mean by MAY 7, 2014.

On May 1, 2014 I mailed in the VA-Form 21-8940. I mailed priority, certified with return receipt. I made sure every single paper had my case number on it so they would never doubt what case the paperwork went with. It was signed for at my regional office on May 5, 2014.

Well yesterday I received a packet in the mail from the local regional office saying my De Novo review decision was to stay with the original 70%. This letter was dated May 7, 2014, and stated that they did not receive any response to their April 7 letter. So this means even though it was signed for at the Regional office, apparently no one attached my 21-8940 and additional evidence to my packet.

I am sitting here tonight no knowing what my next step should be. The entire packet I received yesterday was to start the next formal appeal to the BVA. What do you all suggest I do? Do you think there is any chance of getting another De Novo review since I can prove they jumped the gun and didn’t give me the full 30 days to get them my VA 21-8940 and additional evidence?

Up until this point I have done all the paperwork myself and have not got had a VSO rep. If the BVA is my only option, I’m not quite sure I even want to get a VSO rep for this.

What do you guys think?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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"What exactly does an IRIS Complaint do?"

I got a fast double DRO review in 2005 with an Iris complaint.

I got my 2010 AO IHD death claim, after a ludicrous denial in early Dec 2011, totally reversed within weeks with a proper award letter due, in part to an IRIS complaint.

I was so pissed off however, I pressured other VA entities on that as well as filing the complaint.

I also have an IRIS complaint pending now filed last week.

Unlike a regular IRIS inquiry, the complaints go to VA Central Office.

The VA is so snafued and fubared ,particularly with the latest vet death scandal, that it might take time for you to get this matter resolved.

If they made a decision without considering the evidence they had from you,they have violated 38 CFR 4.1 et all and you can also request them to cue themselves on that denial.

There is a template and probably a copy of this type of claim I filed in our CUE forum. I call it a GCY claim (Go CUE Yourself VA)

In my IRIS complaint of Dec 2011 as above, I made a formal GCY request in the IRIS (and faxed the CUE request to the VARO as well) and when VA Central called me, I explained to them that our rights are violated from the git go when VA makes a legal error in a decision and can correct the error in the appellate period, unlike a regular CUE claim.There are no regulations for this type of maneuver...I made it up......and it has worked for me and 2 other vets here have used it with success.

One thing for sure...you need to take action right away.

You certainly should find a vet rep with an office in or near your VARO building. If they are on the ball they can fix this right away.

We also have a list of VARO fax numbers here somewhere under a hadit search.

That might be a way to get it resolved...but in these situations we claimants have to act fast...otherwise we are forced onto the hamster wheel of a long ridiculous and unnecessary process , all because the VA is capable of ignoring and/or losing probative evidence.


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Do you think i should wait to file an IRIS complaint until after I meet with a local VSO?

So does the IRIS complaint force them to look over your files/appeal again, or by another person that helps with the approval? Or is it just the IRIS complaint in itself just a huge thing looming over their head that the just approve things to get it to go away?

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I have an appoint with a local VSO on Tues 5/20 so hopefully they will be able to help get things straightened out and get me pointed in the right direction.
I will update after my tuesday meeting.

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You asked:

"So does the IRIS complaint force them to look over your files/appeal again, or by another person that helps with the approval?"

That was my experience in the past.with 2 or 3 IRIS complaints.

However my recent IRIS complaint has not produced any response at all yet.

"Or is it just the IRIS complaint in itself just a huge thing looming over their head that the just approve things to get it to go away?"

IRIS complaints get documented at VA Central.

The thing about an IRIS complaint is that it has to be short and to the point, with specific references to exactly what the complaint involves.

For example ,part of my recent IRIS complaint is

what happened to the 2 claims I filed in 2012 that the 800 rep told me were not there anymore. vanished , gone,. lost, destroyed??????

Both claims had been verified as received and I did get a status over a year ago on both of them.

The next part of my IRIS complaint is that the VA told me they are working on my" DIC claim, in appeals".

Say what? I filed for DIC in 1995 and they awarded it long ago, under three separate bases.

I sent the IG a complaint on that one too.

Obviously I have evidence at VA that renders a DIC award.

But who will get the check?

DIC recipients only get one DIC check.

I made the questions very brief and to the point.

By the time I ever have gotten to filing an IRIS complaint (compared to a status IRIS request ), it meant I was definitely fed up and I had to carefully word the complaint , as if they were 10 years old, in very strong terms but without anger, and I always added why my complaint was valid.

An IRIS complaint should never be a long rendition....

just state the problem , and state how they can fix it, if you have developed a solution.


Edited by Berta

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I met with a VSO from the American Legion at my local VA Regional Office on 5/20.

He was very friendly and knowledgeable. I was very nervous going in after reading about different VSO stories online. He quickly made me feel at ease and the meeting was very good.

He looked up my appeal in the system and found I had done everything right up to this point. That was a HUGE relief. I had become concerned that I had appealed to go from 70% to 100% instead of applying for or appealing for IU. In fact I had done both by accident.

Since the De Novo review had already happened, and they were waiting on my official answer for the official appeal to the BVA, Form 9. After talking through the options we agreed that the best option would be to choose a DRO hearing at my local Regional Office. He said this would be the fastest option for me to finish up everything.

I told him about the paperwork, Form 21-8940 and additional evidence that hadn’t been seen yet and he said that it will just be reviewed at the hearing.

He said they had hearings at the Regional Office about every 60 days.

So long story short, I did everything right up to this point and filed my form 9 on the spot for the official appeal and DRO hearing at my local Regional Office.

Once I get word on the official hearing date, I will meet with my VSO again before the hearing to discuss more details about my case and for him to help me be more familiar with process for the actual hearing. He said the DRO hearings are pretty informal, at least at this Regional Office (SLC UT).

I will update again after my next meeting with the VSO prior to my hearing.

I want to thank everyone for all your advice and answers to my questions. I felt much more prepared with lots of specific questions when I met with him than I would before I started this thread.

Thanks again,


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