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Appeal Frustration And Lost And Confused


demeat

Question

Fellow hadit followers,

 

I am not sure where I could put this post because while I would like it to be a victory, there has been some bumps in the road.  I am trying to find out if there is something or someone that I could talk to who would be able to help me speed up an appeal that has been pending since 2007.  I have been informed as of recently that the reason that it keeps getting pushed back is because I have had other claims that was out and those seem to take precedence over an outstanding appeal. 

 

To speed forward, I have flat feet and have surgery on my left foot and I am in need on surgery on the right, plus they have to go back into my left foot to remove the pin in my ankle (that is now starting to protrude out).  At the present time I am not able to afford to be out of work for an extended period of time to have the surgeries but at the present time my ailments have put hindrance  on my day to day life.  The issue with my feet have not escalated more to my knees and cortisone shots and pain pills are not helping.  My private podiatrist keeps stressing that I need to have the surgery, but I am trying to hold out as long as I can.  I have contacted my local service organization (not sure if I can put the group down), as well as the VA case management in DC.  I am continuing to hear the same thing time and time again.  I am in the last stage of waiting for a date for the travel board hearing in Atlanta, but I don’t know how long that would be.  The last word I got was that I should hear something within the next 6 months, but I am not sure if that is some more of the VA stringing me along or accurate information. 

 

If anyone can help me with my dilemma, please help.  Also any additional information that is needed from me, please feel free to contact me. 

 

Thanks in advance !

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Demeat

First, I will let you know most of us have "been there" with the delays. It really is not right the way they treat Vets. This is what I would recommend.

You need to find out "where" your appeal is. Has it been "docketed" at the BVA? What is the docket number? I recently got a BVA decision (my second trip to the BVA) and my docket number was "09" meaning it was docketed in 2009, which is what the BVA is working on now. (3 years from docket to decision). If your claim has not been docketed, then you need to get to the bottom of "why". A DRO review or hearing should not take 5 years.

Did you look on ebenefits? Do you have an ebenefits account? While Ebenefits is not all that accurate, it can be better than nothing.

If your claim is "not moving" and making progress after you get to the bottom of this, you can file a writ of mandamus, tho it will likely be denied, it still will likely light a fire and let them know you are serious and the VA cant just wait until you die.

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Broncovet is right

This is the main BVA phone number:

1- 202- 565- 5436

Also this is the email for the BVA ombudsman:

bva.ombudsman@va.gov

I assume you are talking about a formal I-9 ,filed on denied issues ,that are separate from what else you filed for..

When you contact the BVA, if the appeal has not been docketed yet, ask them if they can possibly tell you whether or not a 646 has been filed by your vet org yet.

You could also ask that question of IRIS and ask for a complete status of the appeal.

Ask IRIS too if their PC shows that a I-8 has been prepared yet.

The lack of a 646 can hold up a BVA transfer.

This link explains what a 646 is:

And I am sure the SVR show is still available here in our SVR radio archives.

Go to http://www.va.gov/, click on the Contact Us button up top, Then click on Ask a Question and you will be directed to the VA IRIS email system.

I kept a good watch over my BVA issues years ago by calling the BVA and emailing the ombudsman, as soon as I got the docket number..

I used IRIS for a status of my other pending issues as well and also advise getting a email or snail mail response from IRIS because, by phone, they can say anything.

I actually used copies of IRIS responses ,as evidence, to rebutt some bogus stuff I got from the VARO two years ago.

Also when my AO IHD claim was lost, it was IRIS who informed me of that,when I requested a status of that claim.

By my raising a ruckus they managed to find it , (it was at the Togus VARO-I live in NY WTF?????), and they then sent it to the Nehmer division.at the Philadelphia VARO.

We have to keep control of where all of our stuff is.

Broncovet is is right about ebenefits too.It might be better then IRIS.

I wish widows could use ebenefits too but we cant. VA told me it is because DOD has no info on us.

Yeah right.

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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When you contact the BVA, if the appeal has not been docketed yet, ask them if they can possibly tell you whether or not a 646 has been filed by your vet org yet.

You could also ask that question of IRIS and ask for a complete status of the appeal.

Ask IRIS too if their PC shows that a I-8 has been prepared yet.

The lack of a 646 can hold up a BVA transfer.

This link explains what a 646 is:

Berta,

You are so on target - it just makes me sizzle when I see a vet rep

and VARO has sat on these for freaking years !

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Berta

Once again, you supplied some information in your posts, and they are always worth reading.

I did not know if you could use copies of IRIS emails as evidence to rebut stuff..and I am ON that like white on rice!

I keep copies of my IRIS emails (the VA quits giving you access to them electronically in a year or so).

I found out, with the IRS, if you call them and ask an IRS employee, for example, "Is such and such deductable?" Based on this employees response, you deduct your such and such. Two years later, the IRS says, "Oh, such and such is not deductable. Your recorded conversation with an employee who told you it was deductable is meaningless. This employee was wrong, now pay your interest, and penalties, or we will garnish your checking or savings accounts or anything else you own of value>

I figured the same thing happened at the VA. We know that advice we are given by VA employees is often off base. They are either working on their BS license, or they say..."Oh, lets confuse this Vet. We will tell him he has to be service connected to collect pension"....that will throw him off for a while.

Still, there is a "presumption of regularity" for Va employees. It is assumed they are competent and to their job properly unless rebutted. In other words if the VA says, "I mailed your notice"...then its is your responsibility to prove they did not mail it or that you didnt get it. Good luck with that.

On the other hand, the Vet has no presumption of regularity. If the Vet says, "Oh I mailed that NOD" then you better be able to prove you mailed it, with a post offfice receipt, and that the VA signed for it.

I can not understand why the courts feel that Vets are all liars, while VA employees are do gooders, and never make mistakes. Of course, I get that Vets "have a dog in the fight" while the VA does not.

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Demeat,

From what you have described it sounds as if your appeal has not been certified and forwarded to BVA.

If you have claims pending (never adjudicated not an appeal), they will prevent(because VA can't walk and chew gum) the local RO from certifying previous items on appeal until the pending claims action is complete. I have an appeal from 2007 that still hasn't been certified. In the 2006 claim for increase(decided 2007), Detroit did not address secondary conditions. After the NOD they indicated those secondary conditions had to be worked as new conditions/claims, and bit-by-bit we have been working through them (again, they can't identify multiple issues and adjudicate them, they have been doing them one at a time). I don't expect that all of them will end up docketed and heard until sometime in 2016.

Are your foot problems SC? If they are, and they cause you not to be able to work it should be considered for TDIU, but again you have to not be working and then you have to be prepared to wait two years for an initial decision that will most likely be wrong.

They do expedite for some reasons, but that usually is for financial hardship (forclosure/bankruptcy) or terminal illness. It is unfortunate that VA won't expedite to prevent a fiscal calamity, you essentially have to be in crisis for any consideration and even then there is no predictability in what they will do.

If you haven't even been certifed to BVA there is still a multi-year wait.

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Hello everyone,

Thanks for the information that I received and I am trying to get my appeal moving as of right now... I have contacted the VA in DC and have gotten word that I would still have to wait to hear back from the regional office hear in Atlanta!!! 😥😥. Also I have contacted my local congressman here and I am waiting to hear some word from them.

The DAV told me that my docket number was 9 (not sure what that means) and I should be hearing something by the end of this year to early next year. I have been informed not to file anymore claims or appeals until this one has cleared up due to all the confusion that I am going thru with this one.

So at the present moment I guess the wait continues while the health decreases 😥. As I hear more I will continue to add to this post .. Thanks for the great and wise wisdom

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Hello everyone,

Thanks for the information that I received and I am trying to get my appeal moving as of right now... I have contacted the VA in DC and have gotten word that I would still have to wait to hear back from the regional office hear in Atlanta!!! ����. Also I have contacted my local congressman here and I am waiting to hear some word from them.

The DAV told me that my docket number was 9 (not sure what that means) and I should be hearing something by the end of this year to early next year. I have been informed not to file anymore claims or appeals until this one has cleared up due to all the confusion that I am going thru with this one.

So at the present moment I guess the wait continues while the health decreases ��. As I hear more I will continue to add to this post .. Thanks for the great and wise wisdom

D -

When did you file your appeal? What is your date of appeal according to the VA? I was told the same thing by the DAV over a year ago. I switched VSOs earlier this year, and still haven't seen/heard any motion. I was also told there were only 9 DROs in the ATL VARO (I asked for a DRO review) and I'm trying to at least get a better sence of when my appeal will be resolved.

Thanks!

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Justrluk,

I contacted the congressman in my area and just found out yesterday that the Atlanta VA isn't doing anymore scheduling anymore appeals for the remaining of the year. I was informed that I would be coming up on the first quarter of 2013 so hopefully this will happen!!!

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The info is helpful, but disappointing. I'm so tired of the process of working through the VA systems being a part-time job. I'd rather have a colonoscopy prep than continue to deal with the VA appeals process. If I didn't have much at stake here, I'd kill the two I have on file. No more energy to deal with the buffoonery. Sorry for whining.

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Justrluk

Hang in there! Is there any money left on the table in your appeals you might just look around for a lawyer to take it from here and hand it off to him/her. I could never have done my CUE without a lawyer. The VA appeals process would have just tied me up in knots. If you beat the BCMR then I think you can win with the VA.

John

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John,

Sorry; had a bad morning and the big "D" took over. I should have gone home for the day to re-group, but didn't have vacation to do it. Called the psych and he helped talk me out of the tree. The meds mix isn't working the way it should - too many valleys and the peaks are happening again. I sent you an IM, but again thanks. Sometimes even those of us that have been in the system for almost a decade (can't believe it's been that long already) get hung up once in a while.

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Justrluck..

I LOVED your post. (about the colonoscopy the VA gives us when we file claims...I wonder why they need to look "up there" for reasons to deny us?). I also loved you referring to the claims process system as "buffoonery".

Its too bad we cant just email the VA a picture of our rectum so they can analyze that, instead of sticking a colonoscopy scope "up there", to try to find an excuse to deny.

After all, that would eliminate the infections caused by sticking their head up our rectums looking for an excuse to deny.

Maybe, as you said, you were depressed, but, as Berta said it, if you dont have PTSD you will by the time you get done dealing with the VA.

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