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First Class Petty Officer
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OldJoe last won the day on June 11 2016

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About OldJoe

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    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

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    puttering around tinkering

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  1. OK, now I am both confused and scared... I was just contacted by the DAV in St Louis that the VA needed clarification if I was going to go the "supplemental" route because they were combining my appeals. One of which is for a denial for a CUE, the other is for secondary condition relating knees to back. The CUE is a classic textbook of what a CUE is defined as. VA did a classic denial of my CUE without even reading the supporting material (couldn't have, the it was as plain as day, exactly the way the regs spell it out). My other is for my on going appeal (NoD) for my knee which they are in the process of denying my appeal. Their specialist outweighs the nurse practitioner that wrote one of nexus letters for weakness in my lower legs (claim for knees, lack of flexion and all that other medical lingo). Though that said I have a letter from a specialist (Dr) concerning my knees and that the arthralgia may have been related to the military. So, if they are working my CUE, they are not allowed to use any supplemental information... But if they are working my knees they are using supplemental information. Right now I have a call in to the nurse practitioner to get her letter rewritten or at least endorsed by a Dr. But because their records have it that they had the knee specialist write the letter they are kind of running around confused (I got her secretary straightened out and they found the original letter). Man, why is my claim sounding more like a frigging soap opera staring the keystone cops as everything progresses forward. Do I need to start waving arm and hands frantically to get things straightened out? Is everything kosher? Or am I doomed to reenact the sinking of the Titanic?
  2. Another question concerning this and the new "RAMP" rules. Any idea how this is all going to work out? I already got a feeling from reading other post(s) about this that this seems to be a new way for the VA to stop us Vets dead in our tracks when it comes to fighting them even when (like in my case) the commit an obvious CUE.
  3. Thought it best to start a new post since my other one had become so long and probably fairly confusing with all of the twists and turns that my claim has taken. It seems as though the VA is about to deny my NoD for my knees (or has I guess since the DAV rep told me about the Dr opinion). Should have seen this coming a mile away when the nurse practitioner wrote the nexus connecting for my knees to my back. I just called her office this morning explaining that I needed a Doctor to basically endorse what she wrote so I could resubmit it. In short I interpret this as they simply got a Dr to opine their stance and since a Dr out ranks a nurse practitioner so the VA specialist's word stands. The DAV from St Louis also mentioned that from the VA that in the Dr's opinion there isn't any medical evidence to support the claim (a quick google quickly proves otherwise, but I know this doesn't mean a hill of beans in their eyes). Other than that is there anything else I can do? The other twist to this is that they are combining my CUE with the NoD for my knees. Thoughts opinions now that this is all new and improved "Ramp Based"? Backstory: My side; I have scoliosis (noted in SMRs), I was awarded service connection for back condition (based on records they had in possession at the time of original denial back in 1997 (yes big time CUE). Any quick google will bring back a plethora of material linking the two, not to mention almost any Dr will confirm that there are links between the two. My CUE; well after faxing material to Mr. Spickler's office evidently they routed it for a DRO review (included all pertinent documents). My CUE concerns the fact that they used the information in my SMRs to approve me for my back that they had in their possession at the time of my original claim back in 1997. My CUE claim is basically a textbook case of what a CUE should look like and how it should be decided. Instead they didn't even wait for the ink to dry before they denied it (actually couldn't have sat on the raters desk more than a week, this includes time in inbox). Since I had the other in RAMP I went and had this converted over to RAMP as well. My thinking is that if they are going to deny me under a DRO review then they might as well deny me quicker under RAMP instead of waiting 6 months to a year. If you are interested in reviewing the past history of my ongoing claim (now in appeal status) you can find it here (be forewarned it is long and can be quite confusing, though you might glean a few things of what not to do):
  4. One other issue, in the last C&P exam they didn't conduct one test that they had conducted in my original C&P back in 1996/97. Hip and thigh flexion (it's bad). I would have thought they would have conducted the same measurements they had conducted back then, evidently I was wrong. What is the best way I should handle this create another claim, or when this whole mess is over with (if they don't include hip/thigh flexion measurement in this new C&P) submit another NOD? The only thing I have seen that could support the NOD avenue is I have seen in an old VA pamphlet/document that the measuring hip/thigh flexion is one of the methods of diagnosing the seriousness of spinal injury. Thoughts... Opinions...
  5. Update. Apparently RAMP has been approved for the C.U.E. So, spin the roulette wheel and let see if this all pans out for the best. As far as the appeal on my knees, well, they have gone and scheduled another C&P exam (found this out when I called DAV in St Louis). I already know what the results are going to be without doing any of the exam. Even if I were to "push through the pain" my range of motion puts me in the 40 - 50% alone. End result should be a scheduler rating of 100%. But a question about the "with pain", as I sit here writing this I am in pain. At the moment about a 3 (depending on what part of the body you are talking about). How do I handle this with the examiner in a "nice" manner without coming across as someone with a bad attitude (have heard where that has turned a whole exam sour). Or, is it another case of spin the great wheel of chance and just hope.
  6. Update... Not sure if this means an eyebrow got raised or what but the documents sent to Mr. Spickler via fax (14 pages worth) were added to my claim. I received a letter from the VA stating that my claim is currently in DRO status and was scheduled to be completed between June 2019 and January 2020. Didn't know if this was in regards to my appeal in for my knees which is going through the "RAMP" process or what. So, called DAV in St Louis and they informed me that the DRO review was concerning the CUE. Went to the "local" DAV and applied to see if it could get moved to the "RAMP" process too. The worse they could say is no and that I am stuck with the standard DRO process. Any thoughts?
  7. Well, an update... Back to the old hurry up and wait... If you have both a C.U.E. and an appeal pending do they roll them up together, or do they get processed separately?
  8. Wrote letter to Chairman Spickler as suggested by Senator's veterans' advocate. Though probably not the best example of how it should read hopefully somebody will be able to use this in the future for ideas on writing such a letter. Any constructive criticism is appreciated so future individuals can learn from the suggestions. This will be part of an 14 page fax. (After printing 3 times I realized I misspelled his name and had to reprint it yet again) 12 November 2018 Chairman of The Board of Veterans Appeals PO Box 27063 Washington, DC 20038 Mr. Spickler, I am writing to bring to your attention to an issue regarding the quality of the “accuracy rate measurement system” as outlined in the “Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017”. In particular a rating dealing with a Clear Unmistakable Error (CUE) I recently claimed. The error was in my initial claim made back in 1996. They had all pertinent service medical records in their possession at the time that demonstrated a direct service connection to my back condition. This evidence met the criteria to rate me for scoliosis at the time which was and still is 20%. I filed my original CUE 19 October 2018 explicitly outlining the nature of the error and how it fulfilled the requirements of title 38 CFR 3.156 and also how CFR 4.6 may have been violated. On 29 October I received the “unofficial notification” from the DAV stating that they had denied my CUE for an earlier effective date for my service connection for degenerative arthritis. I followed up with the DAV who, having more access to the VA system than I, read to me that the VA’s reasoning for the denial; that they had made the correct decision based on all the medical evidence available at the time. If so, then this is a violation of CFR 4.6 regardless of intent as framed by the argument in the previous paragraph. I have since submitted a new CUE (02 November 2018), this time on the initial decision with an effective date of 1996. What should have been a textbook example for how a textbook CUE should have been dealt with has become a textbook example of how the VA routinely incorrectly rates veterans. The only item that may have needed to go before the board is my reference to having a letter stating that the VA had received my claim for benefits in September 1995 and were working the backlog as quickly as possible. I left the service June 1995. This would change my effective date of my original claim due to being within the presumptive period for service connection. Please look into this matter expeditiously so that my claim doesn’t waste anymore valuable resources than it already has. I have included for your examination: · my declaration of CUE (used for both CUE claims) · cover letters for each CUE prepared for me by the DAV (1st and 2nd) · page from DAV’s “unofficial notification” · evidence supporting service connection o record of having no prior back issues o record stating scoliosis · letter stating that the VA was in possession of my claim for benefits Respectfully,
  9. Um, are there any examples on how to compose something like this so I don't sound like a complete blithering idiot?
  10. Thank God for people who above and beyond for vets. Just got a response from the senator's office. There maybe a course of action I can take... What she wrote: " OK, you may want to file a complaint with the Chairman of the Board of Veterans Appeals, David C. Spickler, JD., Executive in Charge/Acting Vice Chairman Board of Veterans Appeals. https://www.bva.va.gov/docs/Chairmans_Annual_Rpts/BVA2017AR.pdf This is a link on the internet for the BVA Annual Report for FY 2017. Go to page 15 and read about “Quality” on that page. It speaks to accuracy rate. This would be the address for the Board: By Mail:Board of Veterans’ Appeals P.O. Box 27063 Washington, DC 20038 By Fax:(202) 495-6803 I would suggest you write to him and outline your issue." I will be posting rough drafts of letter To Mr. Spickler. Any help will be greatly appreciated. I know his office probably get thousands of these every day so I have to make this count and not waste his time.
  11. Well, called the number OIG gave me, was pointless. As soon as I heard the prerecorded message state my options I knew the only one I would get was "Peggy", who would't have been able to do anything but parrot what she saw on the computer screen. Granted some Peggies (sp?) are better than others but in this case of legal questions I do not think there is anything she would be able to do. (Correct me if I am wrong.)
  12. Yes, Hadit has the permission to turn this, and related threads, into a made for TV soap opera. Might be worth a couple of chuckles. You think they could get Tim Allen to portray the vet?
  13. Just got a reply from senator's office, she said: " The issue could be that your claim goes before the Administrative Law Judge for approval or denial and they should know the law. I will do some research. " Not knowing anything legal, she is probably right. But, I tried, who knows, maybe something will pan out.
  14. OK, maybe I did mis-state the wrong reg, at least in part... 38 CFR: 4.3 (reasonable doubt) 4.6 (deals with evaluating evidence properly) 4.13 (effect change of diagnosis, wasn't arguing the current diagnosis but calling CUE on original 20 year old claim) 4.21 (application of rating schedule) 4.22 (aggravating preexisting issues) Others that are interesting to read (but totally unrelated to my claim as I see it): 4.17a 4.23 (maybe hard to prove without witnesses) Thoughts; as this goes forward?
  15. OIG's response: They don't get involved with the veterans' claim process. I need to call 844-698-2311 and/or talk the the regional office itself and complain about it. (Um, like that last part really will help. I can just see it now, operator answers phone and as soon as they identify the topic being described forward the caller to an automated line with programmed periodic responses of hmm, uh-ha, i understand, ...; and after a predesignated lapse of silence by the caller responds with "thank you, we will look into it as quickly as we can"...) I did send an email to senator's office telling them what happened and if there was something different I needed to do. I don't expect much in response, unfortunately it seems as though the only real benefit a sentor's office can give is act as an sympathetic ear to the vet, and make a few more squeaky noises that the VA may try to silence quicker. Bottom line, what did it hurt to try? What was the worst they could do and or say? But at least everyone here can know what happened and learn from my silly antics. OK, maybe not so silly, but maybe I will hit the right combination of things and end this merry go round without wasting another 3 to 6 years in the process. Will post update, but not expecting much.
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