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HorizontalMike

First Class Petty Officer
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About HorizontalMike

  • Rank
    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

Profile Information

  • Interests
    100% TDIU Dec 2015

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
    70%
  • Branch of Service
    Navy

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. I am at just over 4.5yr on my appeals (+6.25yr on original claims so far). The appeals were already in the BVA Judges hands in Sept. 2018, but then were inadvertently pulled into RAMP incorrectly. Had to "convince" my attorney to to double-check on BVA status after receiving 3 (Three) denials from three different Regional Offices. Not to mention that all appeals published on eBenefits and VETS.GOV are still incorrectly showing all my appeals as "complete". If the VA can find a way to delay/deny, they will do just that. It takes a long time...
  2. Bingo on that! I went through TWO VSOs (Texas Vets and DAV) before finally hiring an attorney. I personally experienced just how ineffective VSOs actually are. And I had already written a 158 page NOD on my original claim before hiring my attorney. Definitely listen to ASKNOD's advice.
  3. I am RE-POSTING here because the then new RAMP subcategory did not exist at the time. I feel this is very timely because several of us have been appealing our claims for years, only to forced into a TOO NEW system that appears to be a rapid denial system aimed at making the VA LOOK good in "catching up" with disability claims. I hope that I am the only one,... BUT ___________________________________ IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN LEGACY APPEALS PROCESS,... THEN PAY ATTENTION! My legacy appeals were actually AT the BVA and being handed out to judges. This new "RAMP" thing erroneously "PULLED THEM" from the BVA! My FORM-9 was filed 2-1/2yr ago! This could be YOU, so pay attention to what is happening to ALL of your appeals! IMO, this "RAMP" thing is way too new to be trusted. I already have a corncob where I don't want it, and I am NOT smiling about a Dxxxxxmn thing! HorizontalMike _________________________________________________________ From: XX Xxxx Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:49 AM To: ME Subject: FW: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP I never received a response to my initial inquiry so I had to escalate my issue up further. I just received a response last night. See below. XX Xxxx Attorney at Law From: ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:54 PM To: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Subject: RE: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi XX, I am really sorry this happened. Actually, the issues were still properly before the Board, but the RAMP processing station erroneously included all issues within the initial RAMP letter that was sent. After that, the Board updated the database to place all issues in RAMP, thinking that the letter was correct. Instead they should have adjudicated the issues and notified the AMO of the error in the letter so we could instruct the RAMP processing site to send a corrective letter. I would recommend filing an NOD with the Board as well as a motion to advance on the Board’s docket due to administrative error. I will also reach out to the Board from my end to explain the situation and tell them to look for your motion. Please let me know if that works for you. ZZ From: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:06 PM To:ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH <@va.gov> Subject: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi ZZ, I am hoping you can help me out with this situation. My client Michael YYYyyy (abcd) had claims for sleep apnea, depression, and increased rating for TBI that were at the Board (activated) and were already with the judge and his staff attorney ready to be adjudicated when all of a sudden the claims were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP. We elected Mr. YYYyyy’s claim for TDIU into RAMP but that was the only claim that was eligible for RAMP since the others were already activated at the Board. However, it appears that despite being ineligible for RAMP the other appeals were put into RAMP anyway. Now rather than being with the judge waiting for a decision Mr. YYYyyy’s claims for sleep apnea, depression, and TBI are no longer at the Board. Will you please have someone look into this and reactivate the claims at the Board so that we can get a final decision? Here are a few important pieces of information that I have been given from the Board concerning this matter: The claims for TBI rating and service connection for depression went to Judge Kxxxxzz on September 18, 2018. There were then assigned to staff attorney In on the same day. They were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP on September 24, 2018. The claim for service connection of sleep apnea went to Judge Tyyynnnxx on September 18, 2018. The claim then went to staff attorney P on September 20, 2018. It was pulled from the Board and into RAMP on September 24, 2018. Thank you so much! XX Xxxx Attorney at Law
  4. IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN LEGACY APPEALS PROCESS,... THEN PAY ATTENTION! My legacy appeals were actually AT the BVA and being handed out to judges. This new "RAMP" thing erroneously "PULLED THEM" from the BVA! My FORM-9 was filed 2-1/2yr ago! This could be YOU, so pay attention to what is happening to ALL of your appeals! IMO, this "RAMP" thing is way too new to be trusted. I already have a corncob where I don't want it, and I am NOT smiling about a Dxxxxxmn thing! HorizontalMike _________________________________________________________ From: XX Xxxx Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:49 AM To: ME Subject: FW: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP I never received a response to my initial inquiry so I had to escalate my issue up further. I just received a response last night. See below. XX Xxxx Attorney at Law From: ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:54 PM To: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Subject: RE: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi XX, I am really sorry this happened. Actually, the issues were still properly before the Board, but the RAMP processing station erroneously included all issues within the initial RAMP letter that was sent. After that, the Board updated the database to place all issues in RAMP, thinking that the letter was correct. Instead they should have adjudicated the issues and notified the AMO of the error in the letter so we could instruct the RAMP processing site to send a corrective letter. I would recommend filing an NOD with the Board as well as a motion to advance on the Board’s docket due to administrative error. I will also reach out to the Board from my end to explain the situation and tell them to look for your motion. Please let me know if that works for you. ZZ From: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:06 PM To:ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH <@va.gov> Subject: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi ZZ, I am hoping you can help me out with this situation. My client Michael YYYyyy (abcd) had claims for sleep apnea, depression, and increased rating for TBI that were at the Board (activated) and were already with the judge and his staff attorney ready to be adjudicated when all of a sudden the claims were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP. We elected Mr. YYYyyy’s claim for TDIU into RAMP but that was the only claim that was eligible for RAMP since the others were already activated at the Board. However, it appears that despite being ineligible for RAMP the other appeals were put into RAMP anyway. Now rather than being with the judge waiting for a decision Mr. YYYyyy’s claims for sleep apnea, depression, and TBI are no longer at the Board. Will you please have someone look into this and reactivate the claims at the Board so that we can get a final decision? Here are a few important pieces of information that I have been given from the Board concerning this matter: The claims for TBI rating and service connection for depression went to Judge Kxxxxzz on September 18, 2018. There were then assigned to staff attorney In on the same day. They were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP on September 24, 2018. The claim for service connection of sleep apnea went to Judge Tyyynnnxx on September 18, 2018. The claim then went to staff attorney P on September 20, 2018. It was pulled from the Board and into RAMP on September 24, 2018. Thank you so much! XX Xxxx Attorney at Law
  5. PING! I still want someone to answer the OP question, because it sure appears to me that the ROs are gerrymandering any and all excuses to undermine the definition of what it means to have your BVA Appeal "Activated" at the BVA. Geez, mine had been there for over two years and the ROs STILL claim that they could/can/did withdraw my legacy BVA appeals, with docket numbers, and "merge" them into RAMP. Surely I am NOT the only one seeing what is happening here...
  6. BOTH, got new C&P that stated "as likely as not" but the RAMP folks quit with the OLD C&Ps and denied everything! Geez, they even replaced the original DRO with a new one that HAD NOT been in the original DRO meeting. They did NOT record that meeting, BUT I DID. +6yr and counting...... IMO, this HOLE (and NO I did not misspell) RAMP thing is just another iteration of the VA Denial Machine. They stop when they can find ANYthing that works for them, and then they IGNORE other existing pertinent information in the record that would grant the claim/appeal. Smoke & Mirrors... and nothing more. Sad, very sad...
  7. After the above, I contacted the BVA DIRECTLY through the ask the the BVA a question with my BVA Docket Numbers. Well, the Board of Veterans Appeals has failed to respond. Instead, a Regional Office of VA responds and claims they "merged", my already activated legacy BVA appeals,into the only recent appeal that was "RAMPED" (for TDIU retro date). My council is and has been also failing to respond as to why this is. After all, the lawyer thought and believed that the RAMP inclusion and exclusion parameters were in fact true. I guess that this whole BS about RAMP has been rigged from the beginning, to be nothing more than a "DENIAL MACHINE" and they don't even follow their own rules/regulations. https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/3076 Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) Who is eligible for RAMP Published 05/14/2018 09:12 AM | Updated 05/14/2018 09:42 AM Who is eligible for RAMP? Appellants who have a disability compensation appeal pending in one of the following stages at the time of election are eligible for RAMP: - Notice of Disagreement (NOD) - Form 9 - Certified to Board (not activated) - Remand Compensation appeals certified to the Board and "activated" through formal placement on the docket are excluded and will remain pending in the current appeals process. If you elect to participate in RAMP, VA will process all eligible appeals under the review lane you select. As of April 2, 2018, Veterans are no longer required to receive an invitation to participate in RAMP. VA will accept a RAMP Opt-in Election from any Veteran that meets the eligibility requirements noted above. _______ By Mail:Board of Veterans’ Appeals P.O. Box 27063 Washington, DC 20038 By Fax:(202) 495-6803 By Email:For a status report on your appeal before the Board, click Ask a Question. In your email, please be sure to include your name, file number, and specific request. PLEASE NOTE that we respond to emails in the order in which they are received. We may request additional information to verify identity in order to protect the privacy of our Veterans.
  8. FORM 9 filed May, 10, 2016... Received at least two docket numbers from that date (16xxxx and 16xxxx) ..."When the case is received at the Board, the appeal is activated or reactivated and formally placed on the Board’s docket..." (according to the BVA Report of the Chairman of 2011) And then... Lucky Lawyer filed a more recent Oct 2017 FORM 9 opted for a RAMP decision on this one alone , since all other appeals had docket numbers and were already "at the Board". Then my local Houston RO errantly sends us a notice that ALL appeals have been combined into RAMP, and that all my appeals at the Board have been withdrawn (acting as if they/RO was unaware that my docketed appeals were actually AT the Board. Vets.gov and eBenefits gets posted as everything COMPLETE and denied. Lucky Lawyer gets that corrected for about a month... Then, this crap happens again. An RO, this time in Winston Salem NC, sends a Rating Decision Letter denying all appeals, even the retro date of the original claim of 2012. And AGAIN Vets.gov and eBenefits gets posted as everything COMPLETE and I have zero access to WTH is going on. Lucky Lawyer emailed me that he would look into this nearly a full month ago: "...I believe this is just an RO trick. It seems that whoever processed the decision at the RO probably has just marked everything as complete. That should change as the decision goes through the quality review process once the quality review team realizes that your appeal is active at the board. Again, the RO there is no reason for the RO to have issued a decision so I am perplexed as to why it did. I have a hearing on Monday and Tuesday but I will see what information I can find out. .......... Talk to you soon,... Lucky Lawyer..." I have not heard from council since, even though I am/have and are trying to contact same. IMO, though I don't know for sure, my council may have made the mistake of opting the last/recent appeal into RAMP and thus causing the above meltdown. I am not really angry about this , HOWEVER, I need to know what steps have been or are being taken to correct this mess. BTW, my claim and appeals are now over 6 years old and counting. And CURRENTLY posted on va.gov: "...Compensation appeals certified to the Board and "activated" through formal placement on the docket are excluded and will remain pending in the current appeals process..." https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/3076 According to everything I can find, even from va.gov, the above crap should NOT be happening! Am I missing something here?
  9. PING.... Again, still wondering what this RAMP criteria means... What does it mean your appeal was activated by the board?
  10. All I know is that I JUST received (as in today 10-26-2018) a RO denial of my ALREADY FORWARDED TO BVA in Washington DC appeal, that was/is a total denial. And that is even against the friggin' LAW! Got denied for MDD connected to TBI even though the VA's own regulations mandate it.... §3.310—Disabilities that are proximately due to, or aggravated by service-connected disease or injury (D), (1), (IV)……….. Geez, just don't let me die before I correct these blatant A-Holes! And I am already +6yr into this appeal! I swear!..... 8-(
  11. HorizontalMike

    Newbie question...

    Boy isn't THAT the truth. At every MH appointment with my VA Psychiatrist I consistently bring up my TBI/MDD induced "lack of motivation" or my need to "increase my motivation." NONE of that gets into my VA NOTES medical record. Just as if it never occurred/occurs... And, about +3yr ago, after my sleep study showed my sleep apnea at a +10/hr level, the VA Clinic noted that I "...was offered..." a CPAP machine. And as I NOW understand more about how the VA is trying to eliminate SC'd sleep apnea, they are apparently requiring a formal diagnosis that a CPAP "...is required..." and does not accept that it was "offered." As my +6yr disability claim and related appeals marches on, ever so slowly...
  12. HorizontalMike

    College Degree Myth

    I agree wholeheartedly! I earned three college degrees (that included a PhD from Texas ATM), and I got 100% TDIU P&T on the first attempt. Granted, I had +150 pages of the +35yr of past work related demotions, firings, assessments, etc. Once I became unemployable, I HAD ALREADY EARNED MY PHD. I am NOT bragging about this, just pointing out that TDIU ratings are based on the highest education/training/qualifications that the veteran has earned before/when applying for TDIU. In other words,... I was NOT forced to look for nor accept a burger flipping job as "gainful employment". IMO, this is a point worth remembering.
  13. OK, I'll see ya' that and raise you Major depressive disorder (SCT 370143000) Geez, I'll even add in History of traumatic brain injury (SCT 88611000119100) ... Ain't it phunn' guestin' what it means when the VA's mission is CONfound and CON-phuuuuzzz...? BTW, 6-years into the "system" and just getting acclimated to the environment...
  14. Everything Broncovet says is +10 on this issue. Especially about how attorneys find little but important things that the veteran never thinks of, that are good for the veteran's case. During my first DRO appeal, which I taped, the DRO insisted that we(my attorney and I) must file a new FORM #8940 (that was NOT required at the time and was just being introduced into the VA system) that form was a "request" for an "increase" and NOT part of the APPEAL. My appeal was then processed as a "new claim" incorrectly. This is what my attorney (same firm as Broncovet) explained to me back in 2015: "...The IU claim should be processed as an appeal. The reason it is showing as a “new” claim is because the VA now requires a form 8940 to be submitted before the DRO can decide a IU claim. What makes things confusing for the Regional Office is that the form 8940 is used to initiate a new claim for IU so many times it is logged as a “new” claim even though it is just a formality for consideration of the issue on appeal. This issue was brought up at our hearing and in our written arguments to the DRO so I don’t think it should be confused for a new claim. However, in the past with other claims at the Houston RO, we have seen the appeal get processed by one DRO and the IU claim (also on appeal) get processed by a different DRO. It doesn’t make any sense to me as to why they would do that but it’s the VA so most things they do don’t make sense to people like you and I..." And THAT was exactly what happened, our DRO appeal was treated as a "new" claim and only backdated to the most recent C&P date, for retro-compensation. And that is why we are now at the BVA with out TDIU retro and SC for other appeals. It should have been backdated an additional ~30month$ in retro. Never put anything past the RO, and particularly the Houston RO. I recently got an incorrect RAMP letter withdrawing my BVA appeals FROM THE RO! The RO had already certified and activated my appeal to the BVA and the RO is out of the hierarchy if and until a remand. This was the second time the RO has tried this stunt! Ridiculous but true, so watch out for all actions and pay attention to where they are actually coming from.
  15. IMO, don't let the VA bastards win! Stay focused as best you can, and if you have not lawyered up yet, then do so IMO. They can help maintain your sanity, knowing that lawyers take this crap in a different manner/mindset and are better prepared to react to such "attacks". If I ever get asked those questions in the future, I will just respond that THAT ANSWER is in my medical record... Didn't you(C&P examiner) read my medical record?! Why not?! ETC...
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