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Why I Say- Continue To Fight Them At The Varo Level

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Guest Berta

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(This is only a few positiona and their salaries-

Also-if anyone is interested the 2006 VA Budget is found at :

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/appendix.html

Just click on the Department of Veterans Affairs.

These federal employees are paid good money to do a job properly.

I feel that the VARos- since they have the same legal and medical criteria as BVA and CAVC -should be pressured into doing their jobs right for you all.

The reason for the backlog is due in part -in my opinion- to the fact that they continually have to re-do decisions which could have been properly prepared in the first place.

I know Terry disagrees-and that is OK-

But when you consider these VARO salaries and then add what BVA and CAVC employees get paid-

a valid claim for compensation can be as costly to the federal goverment as it can be to the vet-as the vet waits year after year incurring higher taxes and interest on loans they need to get etc- and when they do finally receive an award it is usually based on money that does not have the same value when they get it-

as it did when they first filed the claim.

Like I always say- it the VA was a business- they would be bankrupt by now.

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12/28/2005 Supervisory Veterans Service Representative (Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager)

The Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager shares responsibility with the Veterans Service Center Manager for directing and supervising the administration of work involving the development, ...[more]

Vacancy Ann.#: 06-C395-VBA-06

Who May Apply: Agency Employees Only

Pay Plan: GS-0996-14/14

Appointment Term: Permanent

Job Status: Full-Time

Opening Date: 12/8/2005

Salary: From 88,772.00 to 115,407.00 USD per year

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration US-CA-Sacramento County 88,772.00+

12/30/2005 Veterans Service Center Manager

This announcement is open to VA Career Transition Assistance Program eligibles only. ...[more]

Vacancy Ann.#: 06-C392-VBA-06

Who May Apply: Agency Employees Only

Pay Plan: GS-0996-15/15

Appointment Term: Permanent

Opening Date: 12/15/2005

Salary: From 108,437.00 to 140,300.00 USD per year

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration US-NY-New York City 108,437.00+

1/3/2006 Rating Veterans Service Representative

This position is open to current employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration. Please read carefully the full text announcement for complete deatils. All applications materials must be received ...[more]

Vacancy Ann.#: 2005-254-AMC

Who May Apply: Agency Employees Only

Pay Plan: GS-0996-12/13

Appointment Term: Permanent

Opening Date: 12/12/2005

Salary: From 62,886.00 to 97,213.00 USD per year

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration US-DC-Washington 62,886.00+

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Guest fla_viking

Dear Berta.

I belive all the mistakes, loosing destroying records, playing mind games with vets is the job the ajudicators are told to do. Secretely these guys who deny our claims are promoted and have good lives. while the vets loose homes familys and there minds.

Every vet must assess to themselfs if the RO is delibert in acting in bad faith claims processing. As time goes on the RO will prove me right over and over again. It will all depend on how much paiin you want to go through before you cut off there acess to you.

Terry Higgins

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I think you are 100% correct in your assesment that things need to change at the VARO. I think the VARO level is THE bottleneck of the system. But, I also think it is well known and recognised by the powers to be, and not being fixed for a reason. It is well known that the AG(whoever has proper jurisdiction) has been contacted and asked to intervene numeruos times over persistant law violations at the VARO level. It never happens. I know for a fact, Senator Craig has been shown several claims from different individuals full of Law violations commited by the VARO, and these are ignored. 83% of CAVC cases are remanded.

The VARO is akin to a group of unruly children that will not behave at school. Their 'parents' have been notified many times to bring their children in line with the rules of the school. The 'parents' have failed to do so. So, we must force the 'parents' to do THEIR jobs, or lose the right to be parents.

I hope that makes as much sence up on the screen as it does in my head. B) But, I'm not sure how to do it, except to make the public aware, as our representatives seem only to respond to pressure.

We all have to fight at the VARO to keep our claim alive, but in doing so, many without the expertise found at hadit or a very good, rare SO, will legally ruin their claim in the process. Thus, no chance of winning past this level. VARO mistakes are easily forgiven and eventually recognised, but veteran mistakes are most often permanent. Hmmm, I wonder why the VARO never gets fixed, and the numbers suggest something way more sinister than human error, by a WELL paid employee wanting to keep a job? NOBODY I've ever worked for would tolorate that amount of error in a part time $10k a year position. 83% remanded. Is this error?

Time

Berta,

I need to say my thoughts are in addition to yours and not opposed. You are correct to pursue the issue as you are and we all should follow suit.

Edited by timetowinarace
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  • HadIt.com Elder

Every time the VARO screws up a claim and denies the government saves money. Since there is no interest paid on backpay why should not the VA delay and deny claims as long as possible? No one in government really wants the VARO to improve or it would.

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One more point I need to make-

I am preparing a Response to the SSOC I got-

it is a piece of cake-

but my point is- if a veteran fails to respond to an SOC or SSOC and of course gets on the BVA docket- in essenese their failure to respond with something back to the VARO means- in my opinion- they are buying what the VA is selling-

Many SOCs and SSOCs are so full of erroneous information and misassessments that - if the claim goes to the BVA without any response from the veteran-

the BVA reads what the VA said -with no rebuttal from the claimant- unless they detail the 1-9.

Unfortunately 1-9s should be the rebuttal to the SOC to have value-

By the time a valid claim possibly gets remanded back to the VARO-

as it sits in Limbo land- many vets have failed to even send in more evidence in support of their claim.

It is astonshing to read BVA decisions- that are denials because the vet did nor adequately attempt to rebutt the VARO decision.

For example- let's say the BVA states that the veterans SMR's are silent for hypertension.

In all that time if the vet didnt look at the actual SMRs themselves- they would not known if this is incorrect.

Or let's say the BVA echoes a VARO statement that the veteran has received no treatment for his claimed disability, therefore there is no proof he has a current disability.Say the vet has had ample documentation from a private source or even VA itself in treatment records yet thought the VA would access all this stuff and they didnt.

Say in all that time the vet has gained SSA award for same condition, and has the nexus established- yet the VARO and now the BVA are unaware of these probative SSA records.

The SO never asks the vet if he gets SSA and the vet- lets face it -they dont tell us anything- did not realise this was medical evidence to support his claim-

I say fight them to the hilt-

draw them out in SSOC responses- they will 'more then likely' put their foot in their mouth (I have received some beauties)or finally award when they see your evidence is solid and you just refuse to go away.

Edited by Berta
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Terry- I have great respect for your opinions-

as you know- and great affection for you-

My advise on responding to SOCs is only my personal advise-

Another problem Terry- whether the claim is at the VARO level or the BVA_ is that VA doctors often render opinions in SOCs that are parsed and often not what their actual report revealed.

Also I have knocked down 3 or 4 so called VA expert doctors already-

but only because the VA itself has forced me to gain some medical knowledge and I can immediately recognise deficient medical statements (often based on limited reports in med recs) in certain

types of disability claims.

This is wrong that any claimant should even have to do this-

we cannot depend that a VA "expert" doctor is in fact expert enough to

opine- and most often they are not only under pressure to go against the claim (as a VA doctor revealed to me)

and not given the very evidence they need-

as in my case with the Med team at VACO.

If these deficient medical opinions that go against the claim are not thoroughly questioned by the veteran in an SOC response or combatted with an IMO-

it doesn't matter whether the claim is better off at the BVA or not-

Sure I have read many successful awards at the BVA- they know how to read in Washington-

but a deficient opinion from some VA quack stands as it is throughout the claims process unless the vet takes steps to challenge it.

These VA "expert" opinions are not the Holy Grail and can most often be successfully challenged.

If a vet cannot afford a good IMO we all know nursing school or medical students-even a good English Major can help see the gaps in a VA opinion-by the way it is written-

I am sorry that vets get the burden of challenging SOCs this way.

If they have probative evidence, the nexus or presumptive situation, and a full belief that they will succeed-they will----

but it takes work-

I have an email vet who still has failed to get his SMRs as he believes the VA would not lie as to what they say his SMRs reveal-

Another email widow -sent to me by one of my vet orgs-

who told them the VA caused her husband to bleed to death-

and she can prove it- still fails to obtain the veteran's death certificate and autopsy results------the Death cert is necessary for the 21-526 application for DIC-

I have dealt with numerous claimants locally over the years who could do so much to support their claims yet fail to-

the new movie "Munich"---

Well I have a local vet who gets SSA for PTSD due to his experience at Munich while in the military during this event.

The VA denied a leg-back claim he had years ago and he refuses to consider filing for TDIU for PTSD. The denial made him feel like VA was calling him a liar when he filed the claim.

Here is a vet with overwhelming proof of inservice event, PTSD diagnosis and treatment, and SSA award-who the VA itself-by their past decision on a different disability- has

caused him not to file a new claim.

I regret men and women -that we all have to be very proactive with our claims-I know how difficult that can be-

some claims fly right throught the system and get awards-

but many dont.

If you do take the BVA route- I do suggest that as you wait out the years it will probably take to get a BVA decision-

do not delude yourself that it will be a favorable one -it will be still be based on assessing the same evidence that prompted the VAROs denial.

continue to collect and send to the VA any evidence you can to support your claim-whether at the BVA or not-

Terry- I have great respect for your opinions-

as you know- and great affection for you-

My advise on responding to SOCs is only my personal advise-

Another problem Terry- whether the claim is at the VARO level or the BVA_ is that VA doctors often render opinions in SOCs that are parsed and often not what their actual report revealed.

Also I have knocked down 3 or 4 so called VA expert doctors already-

but only because the VA itself has forced me to gain some medical knowledge and I can immediately recognise deficient medical statements (often based on limited reports in med recs) in certain

types of disability claims.

This is wrong that any claimant should even have to do this-

we cannot depend that a VA "expert" doctor is in fact expert enough to

opine- and most often they are not only under pressure to go against the claim (as a VA doctor revealed to me)

and not given the very evidence they need-

as in my case with the Med team at VACO.

If these deficient medical opinions that go against the claim are not thoroughly questioned by the veteran in an SOC response or combatted with an IMO-

it doesn't matter whether the claim is better off at the BVA or not-

Sure I have read many successful awards at the BVA- they know how to read in Washington-

but a deficient opinion from some VA quack stands as it is throughout the claims process unless the vet takes steps to challenge it.

These VA "expert" opinions are not the Holy Grail and can most often be successfully challenged.

If a vet cannot afford a good IMO we all know nursing school or medical students-even a good English Major can help see the gaps in a VA opinion-by the way it is written-

I am sorry that vets get the burden of challenging SOCs this way.

If they have probative evidence, the nexus or presumptive situation, and a full belief that they will succeed-they will----

but it takes work-

I have an email vet who still has failed to get his SMRs as he believes the VA would not lie as to what they say his SMRs reveal-

Another email widow -sent to me by one of my vet orgs-

who told them the VA caused her husband to bleed to death-

and she can prove it- still fails to obtain the veteran's death certificate and autopsy results------the Death cert is necessary for the 21-526 application for DIC-

I have dealt with numerous claimants locally over the years who could do so much to support their claims yet fail to-

the new movie "Munich"---

Well I have a local vet who gets SSA for PTSD due to his experience at Munich while in the military during this event.

The VA denied a leg-back claim he had years ago and he refuses to consider filing for TDIU for PTSD. The denial made him feel like VA was calling him a liar when he filed the claim.

Here is a vet with overwhelming proof of inservice event, PTSD diagnosis and treatment, and SSA award-who the VA itself-by their past decision on a different disability- has

caused him not to file a new claim.

I regret men and women -that we all have to be very proactive with our claims-I know how difficult that can be-

some claims fly right throught the system and get awards-

but many dont.

If you do take the BVA route- I do suggest that as you wait out the years it will probably take to get a BVA decision-

do not delude yourself that it will be a favorable one -it will be still be based on assessing the same evidence that prompted the VAROs denial.

continue to collect and send to the VA any evidence you can to support your claim-whether at the BVA or not-

Terry- I have great respect for your opinions-

as you know- and great affection for you-

My advise on responding to SOCs is only my personal advise-

Another problem Terry- whether the claim is at the VARO level or the BVA_ is that VA doctors often render opinions in SOCs that are parsed and often not what their actual report revealed.

Also I have knocked down 3 or 4 so called VA expert doctors already-

but only because the VA itself has forced me to gain some medical knowledge and I can immediately recognise deficient medical statements (often based on limited reports in med recs) in certain

types of disability claims.

This is wrong that any claimant should even have to do this-

we cannot depend that a VA "expert" doctor is in fact expert enough to

opine- and most often they are not only under pressure to go against the claim (as a VA doctor revealed to me)

and not given the very evidence they need-

as in my case with the Med team at VACO.

If these deficient medical opinions that go against the claim are not thoroughly questioned by the veteran in an SOC response or combatted with an IMO-

it doesn't matter whether the claim is better off at the BVA or not-

Sure I have read many successful awards at the BVA- they know how to read in Washington-

but a deficient opinion from some VA quack stands as it is throughout the claims process unless the vet takes steps to challenge it.

These VA "expert" opinions are not the Holy Grail and can most often be successfully challenged.

If a vet cannot afford a good IMO we all know nursing school or medical students-even a good English Major can help see the gaps in a VA opinion-by the way it is written-

I am sorry that vets get the burden of challenging SOCs this way.

If they have probative evidence, the nexus or presumptive situation, and a full belief that they will succeed-they will----

but it takes work-

I have an email vet who still has failed to get his SMRs as he believes the VA would not lie as to what they say his SMRs reveal-

Another email widow -sent to me by one of my vet orgs-

who told them the VA caused her husband to bleed to death-

and she can prove it- still fails to obtain the veteran's death certificate and autopsy results------the Death cert is necessary for the 21-526 application for DIC-

I have dealt with numerous claimants locally over the years who could do so much to support their claims yet fail to-

the new movie "Munich"---

Well I have a local vet who gets SSA for PTSD due to his experience at Munich while in the military during this event.

The VA denied a leg-back claim he had years ago and he refuses to consider filing for TDIU for PTSD. The denial made him feel like VA was calling him a liar when he filed the claim.

Here is a vet with overwhelming proof of inservice event, PTSD diagnosis and treatment, and SSA award-who the VA itself-by their past decision on a different disability- has

caused him not to file a new claim.

I regret men and women -that we all have to be very proactive with our claims-I know how difficult that can be-

some claims fly right throught the system and get awards-

but many dont.

If you do take the BVA route- I do suggest that as you wait out the years it will probably take to get a BVA decision-

do not delude yourself that it will be a favorable one -it will be still be based on assessing the same evidence that prompted the VAROs denial.

continue to collect and send to the VA any evidence you can to support your claim-whether at the BVA or not-

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Don't mean to jump in on this thread, but I thought I would add some of my experience with C & P exams. We are at the BVA remand level with several of my husbands claims and a few are new due to these issues being brought up at the BVA hearing and they wanted the RO to review these issues. One of the issues was SC for hypertension. I fought this claim once, some time back, and was denied, based on the fact that there was nothing in my husbands SMR's that showed any hypertension. I tried to show them that his BP was fine when he entered the military, but according to his separation papers, his BP was considered high and should have been watched. No one told him. I even sent in information from the AMA and AHA confirming what I had stated. Still, they denied it because the word "hypertension" was not written next to the BP reading.

Well, since this issue was again brought up at the BVA hearing and the RO was told to visit this issue, my husband was again given another C & P exam. This time, the C & P examiner wrote that due to the BP reading on his separation papers, the fact that he had been seen for many years for his BP and that he was currently on BP medication, that it was her opinion that it was at least as likely as not (50/50) that his hypertension was due to his military service. I was really shocked at the opinion she gave because we did not have a good feeling during the exam as far as her being on my husbands side.

Well, that is what she stated, along with the other evidence we provided. But, we have not, as yet, heard anything back from the RO on this. I'm sure that they will find something to deny it on, as usual. The last two times my husband called the RO he was told that his claims were with the rater and that we wouldn't hear anything until after the first of the year. I am assuming that if it is at the raters desk, this is not necessarily a good sign. Any comment on this.

Also, if they do approve it this time, why was it not approved the first time we filed a claim and had the same identical information that we have now? Go figure.

I do agree with Berta. Every case is different when you decide where to have it decided. We got tired of the Ro and went to the BVA level. We had a great law judge and the hearing went really well. Better than any help we got at the RO level. But, at the same time, I helped another veteran with a claim and we had a BVA hearing on it. The law judge he had spent more time looking out the window and at his watch that he didn't spend a whole lot of time being concerned about the contents of this veterans claim and what he had to say. Well, he was denied. I think we pretty much knew that before the meeting was even over.

So, I guess, it looks as though it depends on who you draw when your claim is being decided as to how it goes. It doesn't matter really if it is at the RO level or the BVA level. It all depends on who you get to work your claim. If anyone feels I am wrong on this, please let me know. This is just my experience.

Thanks for listening.

MSSOUP1

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