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Congress Orders Va To Fix It


Berta

Question

“Unanimous Senate Vote Tells VA to Use Texas Model to Speed Processing

This morning we share especially good news for our Veterans and families: On November 29, Senators voted unanimously to order Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to produce a plan to end the delays processing Veterans’ disability compensation claims. Too many veterans have suffered too long through VBA’s delays and denials.

Here is how this important development unfolded in the past two months. On September 21, under harsh questioning by Representatives, VBA testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing that there is no public, comprehensive plan to end the lengthy delays Veterans face when seeking VBA disability benefits.”

http://vetlawyers.co...a-claim-crisis/

The September backlog hearing they refer to in this blog from Bergmann and Moore is here:

http://veterans.hous...rike-force-team

There are certainly things VA can do to alter the backlog. TheTexas Model has been viable but I have some suggestions to the Texas model that I hope the Texas Veterans Commission will consider.

In my opinion, no one is minding the store at many ROs, when a denied claim is certified to the BVA.Many BVA transfers need not even occur,if probative evidence has been ignored.

Denials that totally ignore probative evidence in the decision and Evidence list are not being challenged right away by vet reps and VSO or by the claimants themselves.

But a claim that lacks the evidence the specific evidence that the VCAA letter calls for, will still languish in the long appellate process, although the denials might come faster, if the backlog is reduced.

I am anxious to see the "plan" VA comes up with and wonder how long that will take to prepare.

We, as claimants, need to realize the VA cannot handle a lot of rhetoric in a claim or a response to a SOC.

State things as briefly as possible and refer to enclosed evidence to support your point.

And by all means challenge a decision that contains a legal error by asking them to call a CUE their decision.

This wont stop the NOD clock but this tactic saved me probably a 3 year wait when I used it last year and it produced my award letter very fast.

I used it again, as well, a few weeks ago.

I canvased some vet reps who never thought of doing this but I found that it can work.

In my experience the VA will call a CUE on themselves if they are requested to do that by a claimant if the VA has committed a legal error in a decision during the appellate process that would manifestly change the outcome and the decision , if the error had not been made.

As with a traditional CUE claim filed on a denied and unappealed decision, the medical evidence must be clearly established as this tactic relies solely on legal error in a decision with appeal period still pending.

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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So the Senate is unanimously angry, Big Whoop!

How about some legislation!

Lets create an independant inspector General DIvision that is housed in DOJ(not VA) and overseen by a board of trustees that is recommended by registered veterans groups, appointed by the president, and confirmed by the senate. Maybe an IG located outside the VA might actually prosecute some of the many criminal acts against veterans, commited by the vary government employees charged with serving them.

I could go on and on and on.........

So the Senate is angry.........whew looks like the VA will need another conference or two in Orlando to meet and get this fixed once and for all!

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Sorry Berta, maybe I am being overly dramatic.

They have been ordered to fix-it with a resolution, no change in law, no penalty for non-compliance. It actually gives them an excuse to have even poorer performance in the short term, since they can say they diverted resources and money to try to comply with the Senates resolution.

I was on hold twice with the 800 number today, first time for an hour and twenty two minutes (called at 8:07), had to hang up because I refused to PISS myself in my chair(urinary issues) and I was on a hard wired phone. Second attempt, one hour and fifteen minutes (was told wait would be 39 minutes), at that point I hung up because I knew if a person actually answered, I was so enraged I would not be able to hold a rational conversation.

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The defination of insanity is to do things the same way as in the past and expect a different result.

The VA has not listened to congress in the past, and I dont expect them to do so in the future. The VA will come out with "plan number 228,436" to "help Veterans" and it will be the same old same old....except worse.

I mean, gee, the VASEC already promised to reduce the backlog in 2010, and now 2015...all while going the wrong way.

Why should we beleive the VA's newest promises? Because we have a short memory of the promises they made in the past?

Well, I remember, and I am not buying any more excuses.

We need new management in the VA...the problem is not with employees..its badly managed. The same managers are not going to improve it.

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Broncovet well said as usual. PROMISES don't produce results. CHANGES DO and we need changes. The WW1 vets had to march on Washington to get benefits. I think it's time to do it again.

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Thanks Berta, Hopefully, this time something will be done! I just don't understand why the VA's raters all seem to be against the veteran and try to find reasons to deny. So many claims are no brainers and they still deny them like the funds will be coming out of their bank accounts. Are they trained to deny, deny until we die?? Are their bonuses based on denials and not just all of the packages they work?? My experience with every C&P examiner has been that they examine you, ask you questions and act like they are listening and then when you get your decision in the mail, the C&P examiner states that your conditions have nothing to do with your military service. That is what is broken with their system. It seems like they train all their employees to assume that we are liars and trying to cheat the system. Until they completely change their current way of thinking, we will not see any significant change.

And where is that wonderful internet based system that we were supposed to have by now to track our claims???? I sure hope it isn't Myhealthyvet, because I find that system virtually useless!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I could tell you about some useless things at the VA but it looks like you guys are already upset.

Berta is correct: Many claims that go to the BVA need not go if the RO had not ignored what was in there. The BVA will send it to the AMC where it can sit for years, and then a group of 8 year olds will write a denial based on logic from a magic 8 ball.

There are some folks in leadership that I get the sense don't care about the Vets really, but more about how important they are in DC. There are many Vets in my office and we do care, and see what is happening. I would disband VHA and hand everyone a Blue Cross/Shield card with premiums paid.

Denials happen because it saves the VA money. Your first claim has an 85% chance of being denied. A very small % of those ever gets appealed. So from their POV it makes sense to deny the claim. After I won at the CAVC the BVA decision was written like an ass covering document by the BVA judge. They magically found in my favor. All the evidence was suddenly "valid". Hmmm...

Prior to the case going to the CAVC, I had a phone call 2 1/2 years ago with the Board's General Counsel Mr. Campbell who told me that we were in fact enemies. So I am grateful for the EAJA.

Unless Congress writes a law or the President changes the rules: Nothing will change much.

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Thanks Berta, Hopefully, this time something will be done! I just don't understand why the VA's raters all seem to be against the veteran and try to find reasons to deny. So many claims are no brainers and they still deny them like the funds will be coming out of their bank accounts. Are they trained to deny, deny until we die?? Are their bonuses based on denials and not just all of the packages they work?? My experience with every C&P examiner has been that they examine you, ask you questions and act like they are listening and then when you get your decision in the mail, the C&P examiner states that your conditions have nothing to do with your military service. That is what is broken with their system. It seems like they train all their employees to assume that we are liars and trying to cheat the system. Until they completely change their current way of thinking, we will not see any significant change.

And where is that wonderful internet based system that we were supposed to have by now to track our claims???? I sure hope it isn't Myhealthyvet, because I find that system virtually useless!

I honestly think that the RO's actually try to help us out. i do believe that the C&P doctors (mostly all are PA's) are the ones that really screw us. Case in point. My RO sent an exam back to the C&P doc. She asked if ANY previous injury could have aggravated my injury due to a tank rollover accident. he opined that it couldn't. The initial wording should be if the tank accident caused the injury. This RO took it upon himself/herself to assume that there may have been an injury before enlistment that was adversely affected by the tank accident. She/He actually helped me determine how i am going to pursue my NOD. Just my opinion.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

The ONLY things that will Force the VA to change involve penalties of one kind or another, and changes in the laws.

VA regulations that narrow or restrict provisions in the laws should be invalid.

Time limits must apply to the VA, with penalty when they are breached.

The VA must have time limits that are at least as restrictive as those placed on veterans.

CUE must apply to decisions that are clearly and blatantly improper, regardless of why.

If a veterans claim takes years to be decided, the veteran must have a similar time frame to challenge the decision.

Reasonable lawyers fees must be paid by the VA when it's actions forced a veteran to hire a lawyer.

When a blatantly improper VA action is involved, the veteran must be compensated for any costs and loss associated with the entire process.

When VA lawyers admit the process is adversarial, it is, and it's contrary to existing law.

The law must be changed, or past unfavorable decisions set aside.

Subtraction of work credit for denial reversed by appeal or further administrative actions.

Less work credit for denials than approvals.

Awards of additional retroactive compensation due to delays or improper denials.

Subtract the administrative cost of improper denials from Bonus allowances.

Do not pay C&P Examiners for incorrect or incomplete Exams.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

My theory about VA. They are doing exactly what our government wants. If Congress wanted VA to be fixed it would of already happened. Congress is the biggest bunch of phonies ever assembled and about all that they are beholding to is leadership in their Party and the people who give them money.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Well said, Pete! If the Koch brothers want something done they send an order to one of their monkies in congress who is on the payroll and it gets done. With vets congress stands around, and says how sorry they are for all the homeless, jobless, legless vets, and then the congressmen looks in their mailbox for checks from Crossroads GPS, Moveon.org, or Mother's for Walmart. Our political system is just a whorehouse. No wonder vets get dirty water thrown in their faces. The masters of the universe think we are fools and suckers.

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Well said Pete in the end the VA answers to no one. I personally believe that it’s a money problem. A 70% has to come off the list before they can add 70% and so on. Same thing with the delay in MGIB payments. A-C gets paid on this date the rest later. They are some how robbing one account to pay the other. Just my opinion.

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I honestly think that the RO's actually try to help us out. i do believe that the C&P doctors (mostly all are PA's) are the ones that really screw us. Case in point. My RO sent an exam back to the C&P doc. She asked if ANY previous injury could have aggravated my injury due to a tank rollover accident. he opined that it couldn't. The initial wording should be if the tank accident caused the injury. This RO took it upon himself/herself to assume that there may have been an injury before enlistment that was adversely affected by the tank accident. She/He actually helped me determine how i am going to pursue my NOD. Just my opinion.

Dearman, I am not sure you fully understand what it is that your RO is trying to do! The C&P doctors are receiving instructions from the RO on what questions they want answered, and they put constraints on those answers. A for instance, the RO on a C&P exam sent C&P instructions to the doctor to address my radiculpathy in my right leg, as wheter it was caused by problems in my cervical spine. That sounds all fine accept that I had asked for SC due to the disks that were compressing the spinal cord in my Thoracolumbar spine. The C&P Doc followed the instructions the RO gave him and I had a C&P exam with a medical conclusion that the radiculapthy was not caused by my cervical spine arthritis.

The RO is trying to 1, indicate your problems are from a previous injury. 2, The C&P doctor then has to be able to specifically identify why/how the tank injury excaburated those injuries. 3, your compensation is then limited to the actual increase caused by the accident.

Do not make the mistake that this RO is on your side, only let him in the perimiter fully escorted!!!!

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Dearman, I am not sure you fully understand what it is that your RO is trying to do! The C&P doctors are receiving instructions from the RO on what questions they want answered, and they put constraints on those answers. A for instance, the RO on a C&P exam sent C&P instructions to the doctor to address my radiculpathy in my right leg, as wheter it was caused by problems in my cervical spine. That sounds all fine accept that I had asked for SC due to the disks that were compressing the spinal cord in my Thoracolumbar spine. The C&P Doc followed the instructions the RO gave him and I had a C&P exam with a medical conclusion that the radiculapthy was not caused by my cervical spine arthritis.

The RO is trying to 1, indicate your problems are from a previous injury. 2, The C&P doctor then has to be able to specifically identify why/how the tank injury excaburated those injuries. 3, your compensation is then limited to the actual increase caused by the accident.

Do not make the mistake that this RO is on your side, only let him in the perimiter fully escorted!!!!

thank you for the heads up because i did think that the RO was on my side. I wont let him past the wire though. :)

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