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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Question

After stagnating for more than 4 years, the Houston RO has informed the veteran that his appeal has been forwarded to the Board of Veteran's Appeals (BVA). This information came via IRIS. Several days earlier, also via IRIS, Houston RO said that the claim had been submitted for a DRO. And just several days earlier, Houston RO, also via IRIS, stated that the claim had been handed over to the Texas Veteran's Commission which has not been the veteran's POA for years. The veteran has received no other communication from the Houston RO what so ever.

Here are my questions:

1. How does a veteran find out exactly where his/her claim file is physically and exactly where it is in the appeal process?

2. Does the BVA confirm receipt of the appeal?

3. Does the BVA send the veteran any type of "package" concerning the BVA process?

The veteran has done the wait patiently thing with the only result being the passage of time. The "last adjudication action" according to the Houston RO was the May 2006 receipt of the veteran's Form 9 appeal including a request for an "in person" hearing with a traveling Board member.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by GuaymasJim

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I think this vet should contact the Texas Veteran's Commission to see what they have.

In the 4 years that have passed already, has the veteran been able to secure more evidence?

If so I suggest he/she send it to the VARO as well as the BVA and to the TVC too if they are still the POA of record.

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Yes Berta, the vet has additional evidence including his MH provider questioning the validity of the C&P results. His appeal is "very old" according the VACO, but we can't seem to get it out of the Houston "appeals team." It "was BVA certified on 07/23/2010" according to IRIS, but BVA has not received it. According to a BVA supervisor, the file and appeal are still in Houston. This appeal is appealing a 2002 decision using "the no verifiable stressor" pretext. The VA finally asked NARA for verification. The stressor was officially verified--then somehow his dx went from PTSD to personality disorder.

With the exception of a hastily arranged C&P exam in March, the vet has a continuous PTSD dx (including two previous C&P final reports diagnosing PTSD and going point by point down the DSM-IV requirements. His current shrink (head of VAMC psych department) diagnosis. The vet has received PTSD treatment and medications since 1999.

We have asked and asked for the file and appeal to be sent to Washington, DC so that we can get a docket number and an in-person hearing before the traveling BVA. We have asked for a copy of the Form 8 certification, but haven't received it. So far all we get is "it's with the 'appeals team.' Sucks!

Dozens of calls, a six month IRIS exchange, and still no movement! The national call center promised that the "appeals team" will call the vet soon. We'll see.

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Requesting a board hearing can add quite a bit of time to a claim.

"This appeal is appealing a 2002 decision using "the no verifiable stressor" pretext. The VA finally asked NARA for verification. The stressor was officially verified--then somehow his dx went from PTSD to personality disorder."

"the vet has additional evidence including his MH provider questioning the validity of the C&P results."

Is it possible they are considering the additional evidence at the RO level?

"We have asked for a copy of the Form 8 certification, but haven't received it. So far all we get is "it's with the 'appeals team.'"

They might not even send it.

If he has a POA the POA might be able to get a copy of it.

-"then somehow his dx went from PTSD to personality disorder."

That is a serious situation-

what medical rationale (in their words from the decision ) did they use to come up with that?

"His current shrink (head of VAMC psych department) diagnosis" is the PTSD diagnosis I assume- is it well documented in hs fle?

When the VA was trying to deny my husband's claim for higher rating for a posthumous accrued award- I had to go directly to his VA doctor (their head psychiatrist) to get copies of his psychiatric records.

He had the results of 6 psychiatric tests, the hypnosis records, and additional other documentation that the VA didn't have in my husband's regular medical record files.

I had fought them for 3 years up to that point, and the SSA had awarded him solely for PTSD but VA refused to get his SSA records.

The VA psychiatrist not only gave me copies of many of his records(specifically the 6 tests results)but also wrote a letter to the VA telling them he was unemployable due to his PTSD and the SSA had awarded him solely for PTSD as well.

Three weeks after they received his letter and the additional shrink records, they awarded posthumous 100% SC P & T for PTSD back to his SSA date of disability.

Does this vet have a copy of all of his med records? Is it possible his psychiatric records are not being associated with his other medical records?

Something is defintely wrong with this claim you are helping with.

Can you scan and post here at hadit their Reasons and bases and medical rationale for the personality disorder diagnosis?

And their evidence list?

Edited by Berta

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I sympathize with your situation here in Houston. I know all too well that once you submit a claim into this system, it disappears into a black hole. It does not surface until some unknown factors are met and you have very few options and only two telephone numbers you can call. The first is the VA toll-free number and the second is your veteran advocacy group. I used to have the DAV, but fired them and now have the Texas Veterans Commission. Not much difference at this point.

I heard that Houston had over 12000 cases pending appeal in 2009 and even more now. This means it has gotten worse.

I am waiting for a local appeal on a 2007 claim and a DRO review. This used to take around 3-6 months, but now it has been 20 months since my request and I am still waiting for the hearing to be scheduled.

Learning patience is ok, but at this point I am becoming a sicker person. I also have counseling and meds from the VA MH for PTSD and MDD and attend AA every day or so to help keep my sanity.

I am actually considering moving to another state to get a quicker response.

Good Luck to you. Maybe you can check in at the TVC and see if they can do anything to help. Worth a try!

-donald

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You don't have to move. This is a true story but I will leave out names but here goes.

Once there was a Veteran who for some reason or another got cross ways with his VARO and they would drag out his claim in fact he got no where for 7 years. He started working with a Veterans advocate and finally won his claim but at a low ball rating. Flush with 7 years of back pay he appealed but he knew he would probably not do well with his VARO one of the worse in country but not as bad as Houston.

VOIP or voice over internet technology he added a line that had a West Coast VARO local number and rented a address using a mail drop with address I think this cost him about 25 to 30 a month and than he notified VA he had moved gave the West Coast phone number and address and appealed his claim. Nine months later he won his claim and he did have to fly to the West Coast and take a C&P.

I am not telling anyone to do this but you can move and still stay where you are.

Pete

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