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Untainted Vba Employees: Let Us Hope They Remain This Way

George Patton
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I have been with the VBA maybe 1-2-3-4 years and am still learning / discovering new things. However, there is this push to get raters out of formalized training too soon in order to make VBA appear to be diligently working on disability and compensation claims. Some of them are going to make awful and “costly” mistakes and, in some cases, unforgivable mistakes. They will miss an item or two, which for some veterans can mean receiving proper health care or not, paying rent or living in a shelter, purchasing food or obtaining it in other ways, etc. In other instances, the raters will want to grant an issue, however those damn time constraints may prevent them.

I see this new generation made up of young and old, energetic people coming into the ranks of VBA with fresh ideas, open minds, and an understanding of justice as fairness. However, the organization does not embrace these employees, mentor them, or offer much guidance. They ask many questions, yet receive few honest and legitimate answers. Soon they will grow tired of trying to do the right thing, delaying a claim until it is fully developed, and examining every single medical record in that four volume GWOT claim and actually calling the veteran whether than defer his or her claim by instructing a VSR to DTA a specific issue—further delaying the claims process. There numbers are small, and there influence minuscule. To most, they go unnoticed, or when perceived are brushed away. “They having put in enough time.” Why are you asking me ‘all’ these questions”? “Sorry, I don’t have time right now.” “If the vet does not mention it, do not go looking for it.” “Yes, he is an in-country Vietnam vet, however he only claimed PTSD, he did not tell us he had been diagnosed with diabetes, and so pretend you did not come across it in his VA medical records.”

There are people within VBA that have been rating claims for 30 years. They can review a new claim, a reopened claim, or a claim for increase and discover the smallest things that were missed in a DTA letter, prior decision, or SMR’s. “She was diagnosed with diabetes before …, so we can actually grant s/c one year retroactively from the date of claim.” Some of these geniuses can quote the rating guide forward and backward and recite VBA fast letters word for word. It is unfortunately that these people are not made available to the new employees coming into the agency.

There are people out there that show up to grant, grant, grant—and in some instances stay beyond their eight hours. And, as you all know, there are those employees who show up to collect their check and exit, and maybe reluctantly rate a few cases, while ignoring any evidence that may hold up the claim.

“We cannot always prepare the VBA for our new employees, but we can prepare our new workers for the VBA.”

Someone, long ago, said something similar to this.


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Great post George. I like your perspective.


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