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Maybe Buyer Is Starting To Get It----

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Guest Berta




Chairman Buyer Foresees Additional Claims Staff For VA

From: Veterans Press <Vetspress@mail.house.gov>

To: PRESS_RELEASES-VR00@ls1.house.gov

Chairman Buyer Foresees Additional Claims Staff For VA

Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, at a full Veterans' Committee oversight

hearing on claims processing at the Department of Veterans Affairs


Chairman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) heard testimony of excessive wait times


claims decisions and clear indications that VA needs more claims


The backlog of pending claims and the time it takes VA's Veterans


Administration (VBA) to process a claim has increased over the past


years. Major concerns cited yesterday beyond the backlog of claims


* A lack of quality in claims decisions;

* A need for medical staff who conduct disability

examinations to have a greater knowledge of health issues specific to


* The perception that some claims processors have


complacent or dismissive attitude about their work.

"Veterans just want to be treated well. They recognize that

something is

not right and they are making a claim. How they are treated is


It is about quality and attitude," Chairman Buyer said.

Dr. William Jones, a retired U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, recounted


own tribulations with the VA claims process system over the past six


Characterizing the claims process, he said, "the process is

programmed to

procrastinate . . . there appears to be little motivation to move the



Ronald Aument, VA's Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits, said that


Jones' case showed how the claims adjudication process has gotten


complex. He discussed VA's challenges to making "timely, accurate,


consistent" claims decisions, in the face of a steadily increasing



"It is unconscionable that some veterans are waiting up to five

years to

receive a decision on the benefits they are entitled to

receive. This must

change. The VA must be given the resources needed to improve the


said Committee Member Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

Buyer, at the hearing's conclusion, asked representatives of veterans


who had provided testimony, including the VFW, The American Legion,


American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and AMVETS, if they

thought that VA needed more claims adjudicators.

Hearing their unanimous agreement that additional VBA staffing would


resolve the claims backlog and problems with quality decisions, Buyer


"the increase in disability claims can be directly related to the


in U.S. military operations abroad. Doing more with less is not a


of success."

"We will need to increase the staffing at both the regional


office level and at the Board of Veterans Appeals to attack this

backlog and

prepare for the anticipated increases in additional claims," Buyer

said. "I

look forward to working with Ranking Member Lane Evans, veterans

groups, and

the Administration to come to a viable solution to resolve this



Testimony provided by:

Panel 1: William B. Jones, M.D., Col., United States Air Force



Panel 2: Mr. Ronald R. Aument, Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits,


Honorable James P. Terry, Chairman of Board of Veterans' Appeals

Panel 3: Mr. Donald Mooney, Assistant Director for Resource


Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission at The



Mr. James Doran, National Service Director of AMVETS

Mr. Brian E. Lawrence, Assistant National Legislative Director

for DAV

Mr. Blake Ortner, Associate Legislative Director of PVA

Mr. Quentin Kinderman, Deputy Director, National Legislative

Service VFW




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Guest allanopie

Maybe Buyer Is Starting To Get It?

Hello Berta,

These guys can do all the flipfloping they want. It won't wash the blood from their hands or make them sleep any better at night.

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Guest fla_viking

Dear Fellow Veterans & Friends.

The bad faith claims tacticts are delibert and used to dely claims. If they were to hire one ajudicator per vet. They would stilll make it last 3 years to get out of the RO. The type of claims work where they just photo copy previous decisions, or just look at what you dont have as a disaboity and deny your claim on that. There is no skill or real examination of our claims going on now. THey have denied our claims even before they get them. For what they do and how they deny our claims. THe staffing now is more then enough. All they have to do is deny my claim so I can take it to BVA. That is not going to change with new ajudicators.

They complain about quality of decisions. That has been an ongoing issue for 75 years. If they really wanted honest reviews of our claims that would have been worked out.

Every few years they throw us vets these bones to keep us quite about the abuses were going through. Vets hope that with patients the VA will impliment these promises and the problem will be resolved. for the past decades its always been the same story, differnt directors.

Terry Higgins

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Although I feel that more rater's are needed to help with the back log of claims, increasing the number of raters will not be of help to the Veteran unless the quality and accuracy of these raters is also improved.

What good are more raters, if they continue to rubber stamp claims with denials, just to show that the backlog numbers are being delt with.

Increase the number of raters, YES! But also impliment some type of oversight authority to see that the quality and accuracy of the claims being decided upon are being improved as well and cite those raters who are not making the grade and replace those who do not.

Supervisors are not doing their jobs in following up on Veterans complaints of poor adjudications by raters and poor exams by examiners. Three strikes a year and you should be out waliking the bricks for a new job like the rest of the population.

No! Numbers is not the only thing to be fixed to make the system better.

Jim S. :)

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I agree with terry, more raters aren't going to fix the problem. Take SS for instance.....their approvals are usually quite quick (for better or for worse) and they do not bog down the process with endless regulations and red tape. It can be difficult to get SS at first, but once you've proven you're need for aid they only care if you're working or not and, generally, take your word for the level of disability. The VA, on the other hand, treats every exam like an inquiry to prove SC, level of disability, ability to work, etc., which grinds the system to a halt.

In my opinion, the regulations need to be changed to better protect established claims....if someone has a disorder that is not likely to get better then C&P and the adjudication process is needless. It should be enough for the veteran to say he/she still believes that the old rating is still valid, rather then treating each reexamination as a new claim.

I bet most of the claims before the VA today are for existing conditions....does anyone have access to records which show how many claims are newly opened and how many are "reexaminations"? I would be interested to see......

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I have been hearing this crap since Bush 1 was President and Derwinski was its Secretary and also cited many times on bad VA Claims handling. It has not changed the waits are just as long or longer. Mine took over 5 years and in my opinion should have been decided in 5 months.

I have not seen one sign whatsoever that the current Administration really wants to settle claims any faster. If anything they have invented new ways to drag them out including DRO's and AMC. More hurdles for many Vets.

Talking about it and doing something are two different things.

Veterans deserve real choice for their health care.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think Buyer and all the rest are hoping the vets will die off and leave them in peace. The main driving force in the VA claims process is delay, delay and then delay some more.

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