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Texas (Tx): Houston


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  • HadIt.com Elder

This topic was created to try to help veterans who use this regional office. It is designed to offer a way for them to possibly help each other or band together to possibly get services improved.

When commenting in this topic, please try to do so constructively.

1. Mention reason for interacting with this regional office;

2. Give your pro/con on this interaction;

3. Without betraying private information, try to offer information or warnings that might be helpful to others when dealing with this office.

4. Please do not give names, phone numbers or addresses of specific persons at this office. If you do so, the post will be deleted.

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  • 1 year later...

Yes you are right. still waiting since June-2010, no news here. Hopefully the new claims processing they been talking about will apply to some of the older claims.

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Part of it is that the Houston VARO has become such a giant monster. I don't know how many veterans have actually been there, but I went there once. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to get the full-blown premium eBenefits account set up, and a year or so ago, the only way to do that was to physically go to the VARO and sign some paperwork. I drove the couple of hours it takes to get there, and was amazed at how huge the VAMC and the VARO buildings were, and even though there looked like thousands of parking spaces in the multi-block grid that this VARO encompasses, there were "NO" empty parking spots available.

I realize that it was the middle of the day, but the VAMC and the VARO are literally a quarter mile from each other with parking lots in between. Amazing. I parked a few blocks over in some commercial parking area, and walked there, only to find an hour and a half long line of people waiting to see one person, so that they could get directed to somebody else.

I had already driven two hours, circled another thirty minutes, and was bound and determined to get my piece of paper, so I waited in that line too. The actual sign-in process only took about 15 minutes when I finally got to the front of the line.

While I was in the line, I heard and shared stories of military experiencees, good/bad VSO experiences, bad VA experiences, what to do and what not to do, what to file and what not to file, etc. It was good talking to all of these veterans from different eras and services, but we all felt like a bunch of immigrants waiting in line to get tagged at Ellis Island before entering America.

I think that Houston's VARO is need of some gigantic multi-level parking garage for one thing, something that can take up at least some of the parking burden. I saw some cars that had given up and parked up on the grass, only to be followed by some dude in a cart who was actually writing them some sort of tickets. That amazed me too. A veteran goes to the VA for help, can't at least find a decent parking space, and then gets ticketed by the VA. Wow.

Second, I haven't been inside the VAMC yet, so I can't ponder what goes on inside that hornet's nest, but it looks wild just from me passing the entrance upteen times while I tried to find parking.

Finally, I think the VARO needs to be upgraded to provide multiple personnel available for bank-teller type services, whereby the line can be handled with greater effeciency. One or two people sitting together at a help desk while a third of Southeast Texas huddles up in a line is not a wise idea.

Oh, and one more thought, the VSO's are securely locked away behind security doors, and only come out to get a Veteran when they are reached via the magic black telephones (that are badly in need of sanitizing btw). I think that there should be a much greater presence instead of just one or two representatives of each veterans service agency that can handle this. I have found that calling my VSO at the Houston VARO is nearly as bad as calling the VA 1-800 line. Usually these VSO's are gone to meetings, conferences, out of the office for this or that, and when you do reach one, they don't remember who you are, what your conditions are, and have to pull you up, and then tell you to wait another month or so, and then if nothing happens, call them back and they will send a request to find out what's going on, or request a C&P be done. They are always nice and professional, but can't wait to get you off the telephone. I would suggest more staff, and additional trained clerical personnel with the ability to access a veteran's records in the event the actual "VSO' is gone to lunch, meetings, conferences, vacation, sick, etc. Most of us are only wanting an answer, and maybe a little help. Getting a voicemail that somebody will be out of the office for a week isn't that heartwarming.

Just my two bits worth.

Mark

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I really do not think anyone is surprised at your post. If, you look at it deeper, it is probably worse.

Papa

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