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About firemoth

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    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 12/15/1983

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. I have a question. Can an Attorney and DRO come to a decision on my appeal before the DRO Hearing? They’re also looking at combining my other NOD/Appeals, I didn’t know that was possible Also, finally received the notice of my rescheduled DRO Hearing today, the day it was originally supposed to occur.
  2. I called the 1-800. It was rescheduled, but they didn't inform me or anyone. The attorney called this morning and agreed to represent me. They feel like we'll most likely have to go before the BVA court to present, but we're still going to try to "win" at the DRO Hearing. It's going to be tricky because the VA keeps saying I have a "lack of evidence of having ever submitted a claim". But just because they can't find it, doesn't mean they were never sent. I have officially retained the services of Julie Glover, of GloverLuck, LLC. I have received positive reviews of her, including from other attorneys. Here's hoping we're nearing the conclusion to this battle. I feel like for the first time I can actually breathe a little easier.
  3. And the story continues. Received an email from the attorney I had been working with for over 2 years, but still not retained. They indicated that my DRO Hearing has been rescheduled to Sept 25th, at 10AM. Indicating to me that they actually called and checked with the VA. (YAY!) It's funny though because they found out about the reschedule before I did. I've not received a call from the VA, and when I checked ebenefits this Monday, it was still scheduled for the 6th of Aug. I checked today, and it does indeed reflect the 25th. I had also been referred to another attorney in the Houston area by a fellow colleague (who knows the District Attorney in Dallas), and spoke to him. He seemed very helpful, and his bio on his website was quite impressive. Not sure which route to take. The "first" attorney also asked a bunch of details regarding my other NOD not directly associated with this Appeal, which gives me hope they're seriously considering taking my case. Regardless of all these developments. I'm beyond ecstatic that I have more time to prepare. Thank you all for your immense help and support. It really feels good being able to speak to people who have been through the ringer a time or two.
  4. All I know is he said his first name was “Joe”. He wouldn’t give me his last name.
  5. Discharged injuries occurred on Feb 26, 2006 with an ALCM/ACM (Nuke) Missile Test stand fell while I was carrying it. 498lbs came crashing down and I tried catching it to prevent it crushing my legs and torso. Causing Discs L1-L5, and S1 to compress and bulge. Saved my legs, permanently injured my spine. Anyway, almost all injuries started by or after that date. I was in Basic when Saddam Hussein was caught, technically a time of war. I worked on Tactical nukes, and was not allowed to deploy. Not sure how that applies to my current case, but I was discharged via MEB/PEBLO a year later, 12/4/2007. On Nov. 1, 2007, during my mandatory Transition Assistance Program attendance, I, and 18 other individuals were visited by the local DAV VSO, on behalf of the DVA, to conduct our mandatory VA Benefits counseling (not on behalf of the DAV). The gentleman had all of us file our 21-526, and he submitted them on our behalf, to ensure that we would not miss our entitled benefits. I received a call from my former state's VAMC for my CP&E, after I had already moved to my home of record. Informed the VAMC Rep, who then informed me that my c-file (they just called them my "records") would be sent to the Dallas VAMC, and I should receive a call from the Dallas VAMC in roughly 45 days... 45 days came and went, I then called the VA 1800 number, no record, then I called the Dallas VAMC, no record. At that point, I assumed I had to refile, so I did. March of 2008. With the Hood County, TX VA Rep......anyway... 5 more 21-526s would be filed before the VA would even register that I had filed.... and yet they still lost the 6th claim. .... I can go on, but I'll save it for my DRO hearing. Thank you so much for your advice, and words of encouragement. I am taking everything to heart. I am going to go into the hearing swinging like my life depends on it, but assume I will lose the battle... I, however, refuse to believe I'll lose the war. This has been going on for almost 12 years. I will not give up.
  6. That's exactly what I think they're going to do. They've had all my files since April and May of this year. They've definitely had the time to look at it. I'm going after 6.5 years (78mo) of retro at 90% SC. So there's plenty of monetary gains to be had, depending on how much evidence the attorney thinks I have. My case being as convoluted as it is. Evidence wins, but in my case, there's a severe lack of evidence, due to mismanagement of the VARO, and my exwife. I was hoping to find some legal precedence that I could use to prove to the VA that files, not even my claims, that should be in my C-File are missing, which makes for clear plausibility that my claims DID exist, but only missing due to shreddergate and the like.
  7. Well good news, kinda! The Attorney emailed me this morning saying they are furiously reviewing my case, and apologized for the lack of response. Apparently they've been in hearings non-stop the last few weeks. They didn't promise to defend me, and I'm going to proceed as if I'll be on my own regardless. However, they did say that they would prep me even if they don't take my case. Which is re-assuring.
  8. I actually have 3 copies, and each copy received from the VA is different. (First was a paper copy, last two were CDs). The paper copy was 48 pages longer than the second digital copy, the 3rd digital copy was 6 pages shorter than the 2nd digital copy. Besides my claims and 5 years of records, my paper copy was also missing parts of my STR that I had actually submitted to them in 2013, before they digitized my C-File in Sept. 2015. I've tried demanding the St. Louis Records Dept send a copy of my paper-cfile via FOIA, but I only received a PDF of what the VARO let me see. Not that it would do any good. My 1st C-File was in relative chronological order. My digital files look like someone dropped the bundle then just scanned it as it fell. Nothing is in order. I was hoping this would be useful as proof of negligence by the VA. But my VSO said it won't have any bearing, and the WACO VARO Rep said pretty much the same thing, adding that "well the VA didn't actually do the scanning, a 3rd party was responsible..."
  9. Hello all, A few years back I posted a couple stories regarding the VA losing my claims from 2007 to 2012. (Awarded 90% on May 2016 for claim filed July 2014, NOD Filed May 2017 for EED of 12/04/2007 (Date of Discharge) First claim filed Nov. 1, 2017. VA Requested my STR on Nov. 19, 2007). It's been a very long road. TO summarize, through the VARO and my VSO, we discovered that not only are my claims missing, but ALL RECORDS from my C-File from 2007-2012, even records from my treatment at the Dallas and Fort Worth VAMC during the time period in question. The only claim they have prior to 2014, is an Intent to file on Jan 3, 2012, but they can't find the formal claim. The DRO called for an informal phone hearing in May 2018, indicating that they found the file box that my paper c-file was stored, along with the c-files of 6 other vets. The DRO said his supervisor would allow him to go through the 6 vets' files to look for my missing paperwork, but only if I would accept the Informal Hearing as my DRO formal/final. I rejected it, because it felt like a trap and extortion. I consulted with the a Dallas Veterans law firm, and they pretty much confirmed my suspicion. I thought that perhaps I should retain an attorney, given the complicated nature of my Appeal. I submitted everything I have to the attorney for review. The attorney's I have been speaking to said they would go through everything and make a decision on whether they would represent me. On July 6th, I received a letter that my DRO Hearing has been scheduled for August 6th, at 1000 in WACO. I immediately contacted the law office, left several messages, voicemails, and emails, and they've never returned my call. I did speak to their receptionist/paralegal last week, and they indicated that my messages have been forwarded to the attorneys. It is now 9 days until my hearing, and I can't get a hold of ANY attorney. (I've called 4 in the DFW area, no one has returned a call). I haven't resorted to panicked phone calls yet, as I don't want to appear like I'm a lunatic, but I am getting extremely worried. As it is, I feel like I'm going to have to represent myself in the hearing, but I don't have a report with anyone at the Waco VARO, and I don't know what I should or shouldn't bring up during the hearing. My TVC VSO here in Dallas has been pretty useless in advisement, he said I shouldn't even use an attorney, but he didn't have any advise as to how to prepare my evidence or what to do once I'm at the table.
  10. Just another update, after a year requesting my C-File, I finally received it in Jan. Not surprisingly, it was actually missing files that I had already received from the VA on a previous records request. My 1 year deadline to file my NOD is aproaching fast, and I'm trying to locate the "act" or ruling that Bush passed to afford Vets the benefit of the doubt in rulings during the time periods of 2005-2009, AKA "Shreddergate". As previously mentioned, I filed 5 claims from my exit in 2007 to Nov. 2009, yet the VA only has evidence of an incomplete claim filed Jan. 2012. They gave me an Effective Date of July 2014. Does anyone know/remember what that Bush Era form was? I've been waiting this whole year trying to dredge up more documentation, but now I feel like I'm further behind from where I started.
  11. UPDATE: So, amazingly enough, my Claim for Compensation has been completed and approved. 80% Combined, 11 out of 22 conditions claimed, ironically, 5 of them for stuff that I didn't think were really service connected but was instructed to file anyway, and the ones that got denied were some that I actually had PROOF were service connected in my claim, but were completely ignored. Also the language the C&P Doc used were pretty much outright lies. "Is pain present? No." Um, yeah dude, pain is constant. TMJ due to injury caused by USAF Dentist, constantly locks, and he said no movement issues present. (I have no teeth due to 1 part cancer and 2 parts them failing to treat it effectively, so he couldn't do the measure test). .... But I digress, I will take what I have, my primary issue is that in Jan, when this threat was started, I submitted a FOIA request for my entire C-File. This is what ebennies says (yes I know, don't look at it, but the VA Rep pretty much just echo'd what it says): Submitted: 01/13/2016 (Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act Request) Estimated Completion: 10/14/2017 - 12/20/2018 The only reason I want them, is to bolster my claim that I DID File multiple claims 8 YEARS prior to this "first" one. So I have two issues. Hope my records come sometime in the next year and file a NOD, or file a Request for Reconsideration now, but with only 3 documents that will "help" my case. Also, the VARO told me my FOIA request of my c-file will only be the electronic copy, which I have already seen, and doesn't really help. When I filed the FOIA my attorney indicated that I should have put "paper C-File".... Further more, I actually spoke to some "director" at the St Louis Facility and he even VERIFIED that I still have a Paper file, saying he actually shows it received last Sept. So why, when doing a request for "ALL RECORDS" will they not include the paper-file? Finally: The VA shows that the very first record in my file is Dated: November 19, 2007, and is a Request for STRs. My attorney AND the VA Rep said that a Request for STR will ONLY be initiated when a Claim is received. If that's the case, then how can they say I "never" filed a claim? Unfortunately I'm in a waiting game, as my attorney pretty much said there's no point in filing any sort of NOD or Appeal until I have my FULL Records in hand. She also suggested I file ANOTHER FOIA explicitly requesting my "Paper Claims File located at the St. Louis Facility." or some such..But run the risk of the 1yr expiring.. I'm pretty mentally exhausted from this whole ordeal, and have contemplated just taking what I have now (received 21mo Retro, paid off 85% of all the medical bills I accrued while waiting for the VA to do their job. With $1000 left over. ) EDIT: I forgot to ask: If I filed another FOIA Request for a "Paper Cfile" while my previous one is still in the "GoE" stage, will that delay it or cancel it outright? Is there some way I can submit a letter to the FOIA request already in progress that explicitly requests the PAPER file? And, would it even be worth if to send a letter to my congressman asking him to put some pressure somewhere?
  12. Greetings all, I started a new thread because I felt this topic was a separate issue from my last post, but was a factor regardless. I will try to keep it brief. I was PEB/MEB'd from the USAF in Minot, ND on Nov. 2007 for DDD and Osteoarthritis (four herniated/bulging discs). The week prior to separation, I was mandated to attend a TAP Briefing (Transition Assistant Program), where a Veteran Affairs Rep briefed us on the importance of filing a claim, and had us fill out from 21-526. They indicated that we should receive a phone-call regarding our C&P Exam in approx 30 days. And sure enough, on December 22, 2007, I received such a call from the Fargo VAMC calling to schedule me for my CP&E. However, I had already returned to my Home of Record (Dallas), and they informed me that my claim/records would be transferred to the Dallas VAMC, and that I should call the Dallas VAMC in 30-45 days if I do not receive a call. 47 days pass, and I call the Dallas VAMC. No record of me, at all. So I call the Fargo VARO and VAMC. Also no record. The Waco VARO had no idea where my C-File was, and I was instructed to file another claim. So on March 26, 2008, I filed a claim with Hood County VA Rep in Granbury, Tx. Did the mandatory wait, checked back, NOTHING. This continued a few more times until I gave up and just used my Private Insurance for all future MRI/Treatment of my conditions. I made so many mistakes in the beginning, got apathetic towards the middle, and now I'm down right pissed when I should have been years earlier. Complacency is Deadly. So my question is, would it be possible, or even worthwhile, to request Special Handling as my issues fell squarely in the timeline of Shreddergate? The VA has ZERO record of me from 2007-2012. No claims, calls, or STRs prior to Jan. 3rd, 2012.
  13. Update: I received a Phone call on Friday (Jan 15, 2016) from Joseph, Supervising Director/Manager of the VA Records Mgmt Office Call Center. I communicated to him my issue, and he said they will proceed with a re-scan of my paperfile in the event that something was missed, AND he would check with his "Chief" on the legality/possibility of having my Paper C-File sent BACK to the Waco VARO to permit me the opportunity to view it in person. He said both issues would take some time, but that he would get back to me with an answer. I won't hold my breath, but it was refreshing to actually receive a callback with some what good news. And another update. The VA finally updated the status of my Claim, and have now estimated that it will be completed between March 26 and August 19th. (A bit of a far cry from the 3-6 weeks they quoted me last week. I also spoke to a VA Phone Rep today (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016), to check as to ANY call logs that I made to the VA from Nov. 2007 to Jan. 2012. Rocquell informed me that their new system does not go back before 2012 unless the VA Phone Agent at the time actually left a note. And since that's the case, she was unable to find ANY call log prior to 2012 of me calling in. I was hoping that there would be at least some sort of a phone record that I could use to validate my case when I file my NOD, and head to the BVA. The VA Rep at the VARO was adamant that, "Don't you think there would be SOMETHING that would indicate you filed? I find it odd that there is ZERO proof.".... I was like "Thanks for essentially calling me a delusional liar." And to answer his question, I said, "Not if who-ever digitized my file dropped it, or miss-filed it, or any number of human errors that are rampant throughout the VA." He didn't like that much. So now I'm pretty much stuck until they finalize my claim. This entire ordeal makes me want to become a VSO, or join the VA Call Center so I can help other vets avoid this. Maybe become a Lobbyist for Veteran's Rights.
  14. Regarding the FOIA request and in-process claims. I asked this exact question three times while at the VARO yesterday. Since my C-File is now accessible online for all organizations, there is no requirement for the claim to be pulled out. Even more so since I filed a Fully Developed Claim via their online submission process, they already have all the documents they need (ignoring my obviously missing claims), to process the claim. So any FOIA request that comes through now will be processed CONCURRENTLY to any Benefits Claims in process. Now, if you only had a Paper C-File, then yes. The FOIA request would interrupt the claims process because they would have to physically locate, and ship-off the C-File to St. Louis, or one of their other Records Management facilities to scan and ship you your request. At least that's how it was explained to me.
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