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slangpdx

Vet Rep Is Gone

Question

I just called the Oregon vet affairs office after not hearing from my rep for several months. I have had a request for reconsideration pending since August with an IMO, new evidence including two determinations of disability by different state agencies and a psyche test done by one of them which was what the IMO doc (themselves a former VA examiner) used as the basis of their opinion on top of my active duty records, which had substantial helpful info.

I just learned my rep is gone, my case has been reassigned to someone else "based on the last 2 of my ssn" (in other words randomly) and it will take them over a week just to request my file. I was told that the VA regional office would notifty me independently of them of a hearing date, so that if I have received nothing in the mail that I have not missed a hearing. I hope that is the case.

So how crucial is having a competent or knowledgeable rep at the hearing? Do I need to hire a lawyer (who may or may not know anything)? Ask my IMO doctor to appear? Ask someone else, counselor etc. who knows me appear? This has been on appeal since April after a February C&P and denial, changed to reconsideration in August. Needless to say like every other vet I have a lot riding on this.

Just need to know how crucial the rep is and I really don't have time to look for another one. I have been working under the VA compensated work therapy program for the past six months, I go off that status onto W-2 employee next week.

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slang,

As the organization told you, someone else will be taking over your claim.

This happens frequently, usually quarterly for some organizations.

Yes, if I had a rep I would want one at my Hearing.

My question is - if in fact you will have a Hearing, did you request a Hearing ?

A Hearing does not come automatically just because we submit a NOD or

a Request for Reconsideration.

From what I have seen personally, not many doctors will attend a Hearing to

provide testimony on a claimant's behalf.

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On Sept 8 my former rep emailed me saying he had "asked for a reconsideration and DRO hearing to resolve the issue".

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"I have had a request for reconsideration pending since August with an IMO, new evidence including two determinations of disability by different state agencies and a psyche test done by one of them which was what the IMO doc (themselves a former VA examiner) used as the basis of their opinion on top of my active duty records, which had substantial helpful info."

What was the claim for?

Did they follow the IMO format here in our IMO forum?

Is your inservice nexus solid?

Is this a PTSD claim and if so does it fall into the new PTSD regs?

The new regs Require a VA MH PTSD diagnosis.

Does your evidence completely overcome their reasons for denial?

"So how crucial is having a competent or knowledgeable rep at the hearing? Do I need to hire a lawyer (who may or may not know anything)? Ask my IMO doctor to appear? Ask someone else, counselor etc. who knows me appear? This has been on appeal since April after a February C&P and denial, changed to reconsideration in August. Needless to say like every other vet I have a lot riding on this. "

If your medical evidence is solid , all you need if possible is a friend with you to hold your paper work- and hand it to you as needed. It should be in manila folders and they should be clearly tabbed and then you should have a list of the folders so you can ask the friend to hand you specific ones.

None of this is required for a hearing but this is basically what a rep should do if they are there.

I had DRO hearing because I asked them to CUE themselves on a decision-I got the hearing fast and felt confident my vet rep could handle it without me.Hs office was right near the RO.

I went over with him what he was to do and say and give to the DRO (it wasnt very involved) prior to his going into the hearing.

He buggered it all up (as my SSOC shows) and has since been demoted for some reason.

The best asset you can have there is you and the evidence .

I also suggest to have a typed up list of the evidence you bring and give it to the DRO for the record so they dont overlook any of it.

You can do this alone if you have to. These hearings are nothing to be intimidated by. It is a very good way to insure your evidence is in the record and will be considered.

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Slang them changing reps is NOT unusual it seems to be a normal practice in all of the vets groups and nationwide, most hearings are you the vet rep or SO and the DRO and your spouse or maybe a brother or grown child they are in my experience very informal and it is a chance for you to look the DRO in the ey and explain why you think your claim should be rated the way you feel and present new evidence if you have it I handed the DRO the copies of the general Cort Martials the VARO had been telling me they could not find for over 2 years (I called DA JAG in Alexandria VA and a real nice lady used my name as a witness and found the 4 mens names that had been convicted and sent to Leavenworth for attempted murder and robbery of me on 5 Feb 1975) that was when they finally stopped saying I did not have a verifiable stressor and after the DRO hearing and they left me and my SO with the implication that my PTSD would be rated at 100% and my CAD approved they turned around 3 months later when we actually got the award letter and they low balled my PTSD at 50% and denied the CAD again I filed the NOD the very next day at the RO and got it date stamped stating my medical records showed that I should be rated at 100% for PTSD as I was unemployable according to my shrink just based on my PTSD symptoms and I was still fighting for the CAD related to the toxic exposures at Edgewood Arsenal, my lawyer is the one who changed the theory that my CAD was secondary to my SC PTSD and stopped talking to the VA about the Edgewood experiments since they did not want to address the human experiments issue the lawyer was right in the long run as the BVA Judge did grant my CAD and hypertension secondary to PTSD in April 2009 after 7 years of being on appeal

the DRO hearing is an added chance to settle the claim at the local level rather than wait 2-3 years for the BVA hearing and the BVA hearing was a little more formal with the Judge and even then it was me my wife our lawyer and the Judge and the Judge was more concerned that I "felt I had a fair day in court" and that I had the chance to ask him to address any other issues I wanted him to look at I told him my lawyer had documented the issues and evidence very well and the new IME she had me get in Jan 2009 spoke for themselves and I was very happy with her representation of the case in the BVA award the Judge finally brought up the Edgewood Arsenal experiments and the toxic exposures and the fact one of the IMOs I had was from one of the Army doctors who had spent nearly his entire Army career doing experiments on enlisted soldiers at Edgewood. The VA, DOD, the Army etc do not like this issue as they are now being sued over it by some of the "test vets" in a federal court in San Francisco oh well they deserve it we haven;t like being ignored or lied to since 1975 either

Most veterans do not spend much time with their SOs until the day of the "hearings" and then they might spend 10-30 minutes with you going over your case to us our case is "special" to them it is a duplicate of other cases they have already argued before the only difference is the names and the dates there are some issues it seems that the VAROs do not want to settle and they want to be forced to make the awards by the BVA and sometimes the only way to prevail is to appeal to the BVA but you will know more where you stand after the DRO hearing and if there is any new evidence you might need to find between the DRO hearing and the time if you appeal that your case is heard by the BVA you can submit new evidence at the BVA hearing you just can not add new evidence at the COVA level

DRO hearings are an additional chance to settle it before you have to appeal to BVA and if you can NOT get it settled to your satisfaction then you learn a little bit more about how to perfect your appeal to the BVA good luck

sometimes getting a NEW SO can be a good thing

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At my DRO hearing my DAV rep was out of town. A new guy went over my file with me for about 30 minutes. My wife, me and new DAV rep went in and presented out case. Rep mostly handled the presentation for me. My wife and I chimed in and clarified a few points. The hearing officer shut of the tape recorder, told me what I needed for her to approve it. I was able to get that for her and my claim was approved.

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