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Hearing At St. Pete/bay Pines


mags1023

Question

I received a letter from VA stating I am scheduled for a hearing and it will be conducted at the VARO by one of their personnel. I believe it is about them calling a CUE on themselves for pyramiding Carpal Tunnell with Cervical Radiculopathy. They are trying to take away the Cerv Radiculopathy and reduce me from 90%-80%. I have Dr's appointment scheduled for the 25th and will hopefully get him to say the right thing. He agrees that these are 2 separate conditions and my cervical radiculopathy affects or is caused by more than just my median nerve. Is that what I need him to say?

My other issue is whether I hire a lawyer or not. I have a reputable firm that will represent me, but they want 30% of my retro from appeals I have on file with effective dates of 12/2006. I don't trust the VA/Regional Office and would hate to lose to them. The American Legion sent a letter saying they will represent me at the hearing, but they probably don't know any of the facts and will only look at my file an hour before the hearing. I know the math of 70% being better than 0%. Does any one know if the lawyers normally prevail over the VA reps??

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Since your DRO Hearing is an informal hearing in front of a senior claims examiner and you already have an IMO/IME I don't think it matters as long as you get the facts out there. Your lawyer is there to make a legal argument for you. If you get denied by the DRO then consider hiring a lawyer if you think you are going to have a real fight on your hands that will go to the BVA and beyond. Since you are fighting a CUE the VA called on themselves the burden is on them. Lawyers representing vets should only take 20% of the retro so I think you can do better. Where did you get this lawyer? \

I think if your IMO says the CTS and the neck are separate issues with separate causes I don't think you will need a lawyer, but stay tuned. What kind of doctor is your IMO?

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My other issue is whether I hire a lawyer or not.

I have a reputable firm that will represent me, but they want 30% of my retro from appeals I have on file with effective dates of 12/2006.

I don't know that the above is legal.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Most of the lawyers agree on 20% plus any EAJA payments. (Actually, the EAJA payment "should" be used to offset the 20% that the VA deducts from retroactive awards.) Next, they should only be asking for a % of those appeals that they are actually involved with.

A DRO hearing is not an appeal. You can file a NOD or even possibly a CUE on a DRO decision, at which point it becomes an appeal.

There are some details involved in properly reducing or severing an existing SC'd condition. I haven't recently refreshed my memory on them, so I'll leave that to others. In essence, the VA supposedly has to do things in a certain way, and they have been known to not do so. This is where a lawyer comes in handy.

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The law firm is Bosley & Bratch and I got the paperwork yesterday. I talked to the lawyer about them only getting 20% and he said they have the veteran agree to 30% (in the contract). I also noticed they mention charging for copies, attorney travel.......blah, blah. I am not sure what you all mean by EAJA???

I think I am going to steer clear of these guys for now. I appreciate the advice. It does sound informal and I got a letter from my rep at St. Pete asking if I will make it and that he will represent me. But isn't a CUE strictly a legal issue?? I am going to try and call my rep to see how he comes across. I would hate to show up and he more or less says "oh well, we can't really fight this".

Like I said, I would hate for the VA to just make this arbitrary CUE stick when they should be deciding on my appeals that have been in longer than the decision they made in 2010 that they are trying to change now. They rely so strongly on the C&P examiners opinion in denials, but now this rating specialist is trying to reverse the opinion he used based on my medical information??? They should be busy doing other things than this......

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I have a lawyer who is doing my CUE. If you want I can give you his name and number. You might just wait and see what happens with the CUE and what the DRO says. If you lose at the DRO then hire a lawyer for BVA. I had a lawyer at my DRO. I was denied. I had a lawyer at my BVA Hearing. I lost. Now I am at the CAVC for the second time. I don't think this is my lawyer's fault but a hard nosed attitude at the VA. By the way, the "contract" with the lawyer is all that matters. Whatever they tell you outside the written contract is not worth a damn.

John

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