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Are We Better Off Without So's?

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I have come to position of asking myself what good are SO's. No doubt there are some good ones but the bad overwhelm the good by such a wide margin that it is a shame. Called my DAV SO Wednesday asked about my claims and Appeals. Filed new secondary claims and reopened claims in February of this year. She told me that Appeals could take up to 2 to 3 years, which I knew this, but then she said the new claims and reopened claims could take the same length of time before I would hear anything on them also. I thought that I heard somewhere that new claims are usually acted upon within a year so I called the 800# and the Rep told me that new and re opened claims are usually responded to within 8 months. I don,t really know who is right , that is why I turn to the knowledgeable people here. Another thing why everytime you call your SO they say they were just looking at your file?

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I feel that if a claimant files or re-opens a claim and does not have anyone as POA- the VA feels they have no one as their back-and if the vet themselves fully believed in their claim they would have given an SO their POA.

I think everyone should have a SO or vet rep.

But the claimant is always their own best SO-these vets reps have hundreds of claims- you have one-

The VARO in Buffalo that I deal with has awarded NSC to 100% in 3 -4 months, 100% Sec 1151 in 4 months, and then other equally probative claims- like some of my past claims- in 3 years.

Other personal claim matters I had were awarded within 3 weeks on NODs.

Some of my vets have waited for over a decade-VARO,BVA,remand, VARO

I know the VA doesnt pick and choose-they do go by who is next in line- it then depends on the individual who picks up your claim.

Vet reps and SOs- there is another situation- I think some of them pick and choose who they will help the most.

If you were denied and had to file a NOD -request a DRO review-

Buffalo is at 1 1/2 years from DRO request and NOD date on their DRO review shelves.

I have been in the VA claims system again for two and a half years.

I am in the De Novo review process.

Past experience shows me that this is not an unreasonable time I have waited at this VARO.

BUT had my medical evidence been read in 2003 and 2004 -my claims would have been resolved by now.

I am sorry that this is how it goes-

what VARO is this-

yes they should do something within 8 months after the claim is filed-

that something is usually the Duty to Assist letter confirming receipt of the claim.

Edited by Berta
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  • HadIt.com Elder

I am with Berta and believe that evey claim needs an SO. First of all they have access to stuff that is helpful to a claim. Secondly for many claims they do know the basics of what is needed and they also will provide the Vet with help at Hearings.

For the most part the SO's a Vet deals with at the RO are professional and at least frame the claim to where it has a chance with the VA and they can also go down the hall and see what is going on.

As mentioned the claim is still the Vets responsibility and needs to be followed by someone who has some idea what is going on. Anything an SO tells you should be double checked and verified.

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Well as usual you are right. For one thing I live in North carolina and the wheels turn slow slow on everything here it seems. Not only is the VARO slow to process but the SSA takes an average of 19 months just until you get your ALJ hearing.

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One thing that I personally do when filing claims with the VA and SSA is to understand the medical requirements for their ratings. I have serarched the VA system for each rating and I apply that to the reports from the DOCs. Actually SSA is easier. Got to www.ssa.gov. Look under the search engine for diseases and conditions for adult. It spells out the guidelines you are supposed to meet. SSA is instructed to turn down all applicants who do not meet the guidelines. One thing is for sure. No SO can help you if you know more than he does. Thats why this site is number one.


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I don't care for SO's because if they truly did their jobs they wouldn't be needed. Essentially, if the SO's would fight for veteran's rights on a national level they wouldn't be needed to fight for vets on the local level, because the VARO's would actually have to follow their own regulations.....if the VARO's followed their regulations 99% of vets wouldn't need to spend years appealing claims that are cut and dry.

The fact that a vet can have several evaluations for something like PTSD that give GAFs of 30-40 and sharp wording like "the veteran is unable to work", yet the RO can rate them at 30% should have every SO in the country filing law suites....but they don't because that would put them out of a job. It's kind of like the welfare system..they give just enough to keep vets coming back for more, but not nearly enough to fix the system and allow vets to stand on their own....it's a horrible system.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

In my experience some service officers do discourage vets from filing appeals. It has happened to me. I still use a VSO, especially if you are going to a hearing. You need someone on your side. Without an attorney or VSO I don't think your claim will get any respect at all. I always appeal a denial because I don't like hearing "NO" from some incompetent VA official.

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