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Totally Confused - Need Someone Who Can Explain What Va Is Doing.


georgiapapa

Question

BACKGROUND: Filed AO presumptive claim for multiple myeloma and peripheral neuropathy secondary to multiple myeloma in October 2011. Provided complete evidence package to Atlanta VARO via certified mail with return receipt signed by VA employee. On April 5, 2012, Atlanta VARO indicated they had not received any evidence and demanded evidence by May 6, 2012. Another complete evidence package hand delivered to Atlanta VARO on May 1, 2012. In August 2012 Ebenefits finally acknowledged receipt of some of the evidence I provided. The list of evidence they acknowledged receiving included multiple myeloma diagnosis letter from my oncologist (including supporting lab work), IMO letter from neurologist stating my peripheral neuropathy is "more likely than not" secondary to multiple myeloma, military records showing combat service on the ground in Vietnam. On September 12, 2012 I had C&P exam and VA examiner acknowledged that I have multiple myeloma and peripheral neuropathy and she concluded that my peripheral neuropathy is "as likely as not" secondary to multiple myeloma.

On September 24, 2012 I received letter from Atlanta VARO stating they needed some additional evidence from me no later than October 24, 2012. They requested the following: (1) Evidence showiing continuity of disease (multiple myeloma) since I was discharged from USMC in 1970, (2) Evidence of continuity of disease (peripheral neuropathy) since my discharge, (3) Evidence showing that I have a skin disease contracted within one year of my last exposure to agent orange in 1968. (NOTE: Apparently the Atlanta VARO thinks multiple myeloma is a skin disease instead of a blood cancer). (4) Evidence showing my disease (multiple myeloma) was caused by exposure to herbicides in the military.

All evidence required was provided to the Atlanta VARO twice. I typed up a letter explaining this to the Atlanta VARO and hand delivered it to them on October 1, 2012. In the letter I advised that this was an agent orange presumptive claim which did not require the evidence they were requesting and I explained that multiple myeloma was a blood cancer in the bone marrow and not a skin disease but was on the agent orange presumptive list and I was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam. I also hand delivered a VCCA notice to them on October 1, 2012 stating I had no more evidence to submit and to go ahead and decide my case.

This morning I checked my Ebenefits page and the status has changed from gathering evidence to preparation for decision. However, other new entries I read have me totally confused. Perhaps someone on the hadit forum can make sense of it and clue me in.

Estimation date of completion changed from 12/12/2012-03/11/2013 to 02/22/2013-06/21/2013.

NOTE: This doesn't make sense if they are preparing to make a decision.

There was also a new section which appeared titled "Evidence we have not received." It listed the evidence they requested on September 24, 2012 which I did not provide and explained why in my letter I hand delivered to them on October 1, 2012. It also stated my claims were closed as of December 12, 2012.

I am not sure of what to expect since I didn't provide the additional evidence. Does anyone have an idea as to what is going on and what, if anything, I need to do at this point?

NOTE: I recently submitted an informal claim to the Atlanta VARO for agent orange presumptive IHD and chronic adjustment disorder with anxiety & depression secondary to medical conditions (multiple myeloma & IHD). I plan to submit all of my evidence for the new claims before the end of the month.

All suggestions are appreciated.

Georgiapapa...

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it is an error with ebenefits. mine shows all of the evidence I provided as not recieved also.

You have to wait until you get the letter or your letter generator on ebenefits changes.

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You certainly are right:

Multiple Myeloma is presumptive to” AO, with proven AO exposure:

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp

“ In the letter I advised that this was an agent orange presumptive claim which did not require the evidence they were requesting and I explained that multiple myeloma was a blood cancer in the bone marrow and not a skin disease but was on the agent orange presumptive list and I was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam. “

GOOD! Another case whereby a claimant has to explain an establish regulation as well as the medical evidence ,to them

Been there, done that myself.many times.

In spite of your probative and compelling evidence, supported by VA case law and regs , that should certainly warrant an SC AO award on the myeloma and the C & P exam supported the PN as secondary......

If the VA denies that claim, based on the info you posted here, I will prepare and post here a Request that the VA call a CUE (clear and unmistakable error) on itself, for you to copy and send to them and that should help you stave off a lengthy appeal, if the VA is challenged like that right away.

Worked for me in 6 weeks--- from ridiculous AO denial to award letter and the retro cash.

I am hoping however it is just an ebenefits error .

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Presumptive AO claims usually go fast as long as you can prove "boots on the ground" and presumtive AO DX. I got DMII in about 8 months with PN. I got CAD as secondary to DMII in 5 months. I did have good letters from VA doctors. It gripes my ass that they are causing you stress over this open and shut claim. You will get it.

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John, Berta and Rdawg,

Thank all of you for responding so fast.

Berta,

I am so glad you have returned to the hadit site. Your absence left a real void. I will let you know when I receive a final decision from the VA. In the event of a denial, I will take you up on the CUE request example.

Despite starting my day on a down note, I have been re-energized by my friends at hadit.

Thanks once again,

Georgiapapa...

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Are some here suggesting that procedures should be ignored when it seems convenient and one "knows" what the answer will be? It appears that many here want a decision before evidence. Unlike those here who know absolutely how easy and clear cut all VA claims always are ... here is my take:

All claims are addressed on three bases for service connection: Direct, Aggravated or Presumptive, 'Direct" being the oldest and perhaps preferable (I'll ignore aggravated for this specific discussion). Even if the RVSR might 'know' he/she will be granting service connection on a presumptive basis, the RVSR still needs to address direct service connection based on the actual evidence (or actual lack of it).

The letter was generated by a non-decision maker and was required by the Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCAA); I'm sure that someone here might have heard of VCAA, I'm equally as sure that many here would complain vehemently if VCAA had not been been given, even though s/c had been granted because well, well it is an 'error' and veterans want to point out errors. In an official review, lack of VCAA would be an error even if service connection had been granted with spot-on effective dates and evaluations.

If the veteran "knows" that service connection is going to be granted on the basis of presumption and he/she receives such a letter, there is no requirement for the veteran to provide anything more. Send in a letter/4138 that states all evidence has been submitted and to proceed with a decision.

For the OP ..... WRT (3) Evidence showing that I have a skin disease contracted within one year of my last exposure to agent orange in 1968. (NOTE: Apparently the Atlanta VARO thinks multiple myeloma is a skin disease instead of a blood cancer). ... well, it could be a lack of knowledge, or a mis-type, or ... are you absolutely sure that you never mentioned anything about a skin condition in one of your letters to the RO? If you mention something even without specifically claiming it, is the VA to presume that you are or are not claiming it. Jest sayin'

BACKGROUND: Filed AO presumptive claim for multiple myeloma and peripheral neuropathy secondary to multiple myeloma in October 2011. Provided complete evidence package to Atlanta VARO via certified mail with return receipt signed by VA employee. On April 5, 2012, Atlanta VARO indicated they had not received any evidence and demanded evidence by May 6, 2012. Another complete evidence package hand delivered to Atlanta VARO on May 1, 2012. In August 2012 Ebenefits finally acknowledged receipt of some of the evidence I provided. The list of evidence they acknowledged receiving included multiple myeloma diagnosis letter from my oncologist (including supporting lab work), IMO letter from neurologist stating my peripheral neuropathy is "more likely than not" secondary to multiple myeloma, military records showing combat service on the ground in Vietnam. On September 12, 2012 I had C&P exam and VA examiner acknowledged that I have multiple myeloma and peripheral neuropathy and she concluded that my peripheral neuropathy is "as likely as not" secondary to multiple myeloma.

On September 24, 2012 I received letter from Atlanta VARO stating they needed some additional evidence from me no later than October 24, 2012. They requested the following: (1) Evidence showiing continuity of disease (multiple myeloma) since I was discharged from USMC in 1970, (2) Evidence of continuity of disease (peripheral neuropathy) since my discharge, (3) Evidence showing that I have a skin disease contracted within one year of my last exposure to agent orange in 1968. (NOTE: Apparently the Atlanta VARO thinks multiple myeloma is a skin disease instead of a blood cancer). (4) Evidence showing my disease (multiple myeloma) was caused by exposure to herbicides in the military.

All evidence required was provided to the Atlanta VARO twice. I typed up a letter explaining this to the Atlanta VARO and hand delivered it to them on October 1, 2012. In the letter I advised that this was an agent orange presumptive claim which did not require the evidence they were requesting and I explained that multiple myeloma was a blood cancer in the bone marrow and not a skin disease but was on the agent orange presumptive list and I was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam. I also hand delivered a VCCA notice to them on October 1, 2012 stating I had no more evidence to submit and to go ahead and decide my case.

This morning I checked my Ebenefits page and the status has changed from gathering evidence to preparation for decision. However, other new entries I read have me totally confused. Perhaps someone on the hadit forum can make sense of it and clue me in.

Estimation date of completion changed from 12/12/2012-03/11/2013 to 02/22/2013-06/21/2013.

NOTE: This doesn't make sense if they are preparing to make a decision.

There was also a new section which appeared titled "Evidence we have not received." It listed the evidence they requested on September 24, 2012 which I did not provide and explained why in my letter I hand delivered to them on October 1, 2012. It also stated my claims were closed as of December 12, 2012.

I am not sure of what to expect since I didn't provide the additional evidence. Does anyone have an idea as to what is going on and what, if anything, I need to do at this point?

NOTE: I recently submitted an informal claim to the Atlanta VARO for agent orange presumptive IHD and chronic adjustment disorder with anxiety & depression secondary to medical conditions (multiple myeloma & IHD). I plan to submit all of my evidence for the new claims before the end of the month.

All suggestions are appreciated.

Georgiapapa...

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As to the Procedures theory.

Why did they not ask him if he had served during the Mexican American war, or service in the Philippines, why didn't they ask for all his income and asset valuations (that would be necessary to determine if he was eligible for pension). These are all valid questions that would be needed to be asked to ensure he was given all benefits he could qualify for!

It is clear that this VARO is all about the checklist and nothing about actually READING anything. Until the VA starts putting fully oxygenated brains at all phases of the claims process and working smarter - not harder, nothing will improve and we will continue to get decisions with obvious flaws.

For arguments sake, let me agree with the premise that the question on continuity is required. Wouldn't a clearer communication be something like. Although your current claim seems to indicate service connection is claimed on a presumptive basis, the department of Veterans Affairs can also grant service connection based on continuity of symptomology or in-service diagnosis. If you would also like us to evaluate your claim based on inservice diagnosis or continuity of symptomology, please forward the medical records....

Please note the request in this post stated they "needed" these records prior to date mm/dd/yy. This is incorrect. If a VCAA letter indicates records are needed for service connection that are not - and this additional demand causes a veteran to abandon thier claim, is that not a more aggregious VCAA error than not sending the letter in the first place!!

Plain and simple there is no justification for VA's action or should I say half ----ed action!

Edited by 71M10 (see edit history)
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71M10 & JVretiredvet,

I provided the VARO with a lengthy statement in support of my claims in which I detailed exactly when I first learned I had multiple myeloma. Also, my oncologist medical reports, which were also submitted to the VARO, included a history of my disease from first diagnosis up until date of submission. If the VARO employee handling my claims had read these documents, they would have known that I had not been diagnosed with multiple myeloma until 2010.

Also, I have never mentioned or claimed a skin condition in any communication with the VA. Perhaps the VA employee handling my claim has confused multiple myeloma with melanoma which is skin cancer. If so, this is further proof that the evidence submitted has not been reviewed by the VA.

Also, I provided the Atlanta VARO with VCCA notices in May 2012 and October 2012 in which I advised the Atlanta VARO that I did not have any other evidence to submit and to go ahead and decide my claims.

As I stated in my original post, I also submitted a letter to the Atlanta VARO explaining why I would not be submitting the additional evidence they requested on September 24, 2012.

Wouldn't it be great if a veteran could actually talk directly to the VA employee handling their claims? I believe this would prevent a lot of problems and speed up the claims process.

Georgiapapa...

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Georgiapapa it is not what you sent in in question. I think you did a great job proving you claim. The problem is the Atlanta office.there motto is "deny deny till you die". I also have the Atlanta office as my VARO, and they are lazy, non caring about Vietnam veterans. Sometimes I wished I could select another office to handle my claims. My hearing claims went from 1983 to 2010. So good luck and hadit has your back.

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Hollis,

Good to hear from you again. I am beginning to believe the motto. I worked for the federal government for over 25 years and I interacted with many other federal agencies. There is no doubt in my mind that the VA is the most dysfunctional agency in the federal system. However, this problem could be corrected if the politicians in Washington who are supposed to provide oversight would do their job. I really do not see any real progress in the near future. Hopefully, I am wrong.

Georgiapapa...

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