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Dro Hearing, Any Tips, Etc?

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My DRO hearing was rescheduled for Oct 24th (was supposed to be Aug 16th but I was out of town).

My service rep (NYS Vets) is pretty useless so I guess that I am going to go in and make my own case. I guess I am looking for any tips on what to do, say, ask, etc.

My VARO is Buffalo and the hearing is there.

My issues are:

Gain service connection for IVDS/DDD back problems.

Get my knee properly rated for chrondomalacia, atrophy, pain, weakness, etc. and my % raised to the 20% for moderate impairment that it should be.

Address a possible CUE over my original 0% rating since service for my knee and SC for my back as VA failed to contact me properly in 1994 and notify me of my "failure to appear" for C&P exams back then.

I have IMO/ Nexus statement from my Dr. saying my back should be SC. I have IMO from Dr. Bash supporting SC for the back and 20% for the knee. I have records from my knee Dr. stating the condition of my knee.

My Cfile is HUGE as I have had to submit evidence 3 and 4 times. I have no problem bringing every document that I have with me. I guess I am looking at the one hour time period and the lack of knowledge by my service officer to see how I can make sure everything is covered properly.


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Jason- as you know dear veteran -I too deal with this RO- what a mess and if you mean NYS Division of Vets Affairs -the BVA is deciding if their revocation of my POA was legal with good cause and the Oin DC GC is still working on my complaint against them.

Another rep I named has recently disappeared from theie employ (or they shipped him to ja-pipsville)Along with the former director I named-

The BEST thing you can do is to have the evidence in manila folders tabbed and with a list you can refer to- such as Exhibit one - file with your IMos

Exhibit Two, their last decision

Exhibit three- a list of all other significant evidence.

etc etc-

Keep the CUe folder separate -

And have a cover letter one for you and one for the DRO that covers every single issue you have and that again lists all of the evidenmce they have not used yet or used improperly.

I had to send them my husband's autopsy 12 times and they have gotten my IMOs many many times too- I still am waiting for them -after Jan 2003- to READ my evidence.

Buffalo VARO-

then again I have seen them, make some super fast awards too-and they did grant all of my last claims in the late 1990s.(AFTER a major battle)

This gives you the opportunity to get them to clearly identify and acknowledge their receipt of ALL of your evidence.The DRO can ask questions and so can you.

Sometimes face to face is the BEST way to get claims resolved.

Dont be nervous because the DRO is probably more apprehensive then you are.

The regs re evidence I just posted here today and the DROs job description is here at hadit too.

They have to follow their MOS and certainly consider your evidence properly or at least weigh it and determine it raises to Benefit of Doubt.

With all the evidence I had -my rep first said he though he would get an award that very day-DRO conference- he failed however to even get ANY of my evidence into the record.The reason he gave me was so bizarre that I didnt tell the OGC until a few weeks ago because it was too bizarre to believe.

Then again the evidence I had from this matter shows either he lied to me or the DRO was completely illiterate.

There are some GREAT people up to the Buffalo VARO-

you might get one of them-

actually once they sign off the award letter they are all great!

I wish you didnt have to wait so long for this hearing.The hearing request itself might prompt them to give the decision a new look- hard to depend on that though.

(my rep had never even heard of Dr. BAsh before he got my IMO-shows you how some of this reps are so clueless that the VA can walk all over them)

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I would focus on the Evidence and Reasons and Bases Sections of the

Rating Decisions that are involved.

Be sure they have considered all of the Evidence that you have records of.

Good Luck !

Also, just a suggestion - don't hesitate to ask the DRO what evidence is needed

to get your issues granted and be prepared to hand it to them.



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Berta and Carlie, both great replies as always and a big thanks!

I didn't think of breaking it all down by denial and having it all outlined. Good idea!

Berta, we have talked about NYS Vet reps before... I agree. I got the letter a week ago and haven't even received a followup call from them to verify that I got a copy. All the more reason to plan on going this route alone.

I'll have to get the bin full of recprds out and start organizing!

As a side note Berta, I went with my mom to Buffalo VARO last week to have a VA empoyee explain in person what exactly the benefits are of her adopting my niece that has lived with her and my step-dad as far as the niece getting ch. 35 benefits as a child of a deceased (due to SC) vet. So who do we get????? BERNARD! Uh......... I felt badly when I saw him because he is definately a disabled vet (but to hear that voice call us over.... well my mom had heard of him from my step-dad and she also said that Bernard looked like he recognized me from my calls to the old 800 #. Suffice to say that although I appreciate his service to the country (as I do every vet), his service in person was the same as on the phone, only he didn't yell at or hang up on me.

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Just remember to be very relaxed everthing I have every won so far had been at the DRO level. The young lady who was ny DRO was about my daughters age I would have guessed 24. Its very informal you the DRO and your VET rep. I had more stress in a traffic court for a speeding ticket

Good luck


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