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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Sergeant G

Letter To Regional Office Regarding Missing Retro Payment

Question

Hi,

I was just hoping to get some feedback on a letter I am planning to submit to the Boston Regional Office on Tuesday.

Here is some background information: The BVA awarded a partial grant of benefits last November and I am still waiting for the retro. On January 15, 2013, I went to the regional office for a status check and was told that my file was on the VSCM's desk awaiting his signature. (I am expecting over $25K in retro.) So he has had my file since at least this date and the delay continues. As I explain in my letter, I should have had the money by December 12, 2012.

Anyway, here is the body of the letter:



"The Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) awarded a partial grant of benefits to me in a decision issued on November 16, 2012. My individual unemployability effective date was changed from July 16, 2009 to December 11, 2007. Accordingly, I am entitled to a retroactive payment of benefits. It has been almost three months and I am still waiting for the funds to be deposited into my bank account.


In its decision, the BVA also remanded a matter to this Regional Office. As you know, matters remanded by the BVA must be handled in an “expeditious” manner as required by law. While this term is not defined, the VA Adjudications Manual M21-1MR (Manual) provides that pon receipt of a remanded appeal…the DRO, VSCM, or his/her designee ensures that review and development of the remand are initiated within 15 days from the date of receipt.” It further provides that it is “important” that “[t]he VSC should implement BVA’s grant or partial grant of benefits in any favorable decision before initiating development of the remanded appeal.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “should” as the past tense of “shall.” When used in the context of laws, regulations, or directives, the word expresses an action that is mandatory. A copy of the relevant page from the Manual is attached for your review. In addition, VBA Fast Letter 10-02, which I previously submitted, requires partial grants to be implemented “immediately.” I find it compelling that the author of the letter, Bradley G. Mayes, happens to be the Director of the Boston Regional Office.


The Regional Office received my file from the BVA on or before November 27, 2012; therefore, development of the remanded matter should have been initiated by no later than 15 days, which was December 12, 2012, and the retroactive funds should have been disbursed prior to then. According to the eBenefits website, my appeal has been in the “authorization review” phase since December 6, 2012. As you know, BVA decisions are final and binding on the Regional Office. As such, I am puzzled as to what is left to authorize and review and why there has been a significant delay in implementing the BVA’s order. I received retroactive payments on multiple occasions in the past and each payment was deposited into my bank account within a week of my receipt of the rating decision. It is ironic that now it is specifically required that the grant be processed expeditiously and yet I continue to wait.


Considering the foregoing and my Statement in Support of Claim dated December 6, 2012 (including the attachment of the above-referenced fast letter), I respectfully request that the retroactive payment be deposited into my bank account of record by no later than February 19, 2013. Thank you for your assistance."



Thank you to everyone for the feedback.

P.S. Should this letter not have any impact, I may contact the BVA Ombudsman's Office for assistance. Has anyone dealt with this office and what were the results?

Sergeant G

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Sargent G

Let me know how the letter works. I am in the same boat...I got a partial grant in August and still no money. I am wondering if the VA is broke.

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If what your wanting now is the cash that is due from the BVA grant,

I would keep it real short - not even mention the remand part except that I am

sure they are taking action on it - and just quote the fast letter showing that

the retro is supposed to be provided asap - prior to action on the remand.

This is your legal property right and they damned sure aren't paying any interest

that you have been accumulating during these months.

It doesn't take this long just to get the second danged signature.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Veterans Benefits Administration Washington, D.C. 20420
January 6, 2010

Director (00/21) All VA Regional Offices and Centers
In Reply Refer To: 211B Fast Letter 10-02

SUBJ: Implementation of Board of Veterans’ Appeals Decisions

Purpose
This fast letter provides clarification of the existing procedural guidance for implementation of Board of Veterans’ Appeals Decisions. The instructions provided in this fast letter supersede all prior guidance on this issue.

Background
It has come to the attention of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) and the Compensation and Pension Service that there is inconsistent processing of claims involving implementation of BVA decisions with partial favorable findings.
It was determined that some regional offices (ROs) were delaying implementation of these BVA partial grants until expiration of the 120-day period within which a veteran may appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Delayed implementation of favorable BVA decisions is inconsistent with the Department’s long standing pro-veteran position and unnecessarily delays payment of benefits to the claimant.

Procedures

Grants and Partial Awards
ROs are required to review all files returning from BVA to determine the type of action to be taken.
ROs must expeditiously implement favorable decisions rendered by BVA in all cases, including those decisions that may also contain unfavorable findings subject to appeal with CAVC.

For processing purposes, a partial grant or an increased evaluation less than the schedular maximum available is considered a “favorable decision.” Partial grants rendered by BVA are subject to expedited processing.
Although a claimant may elect to appeal the evaluation assigned by BVA and continue to pursue an increased or total evaluation for the same disability before CAVC, the partial grant should still be implemented immediately.

In many instances, the claims file will not be required to complete the grant or partial grant of benefits ordered by BVA.
If a decisionmaker needs the claims file to accurately comply with the BVA mandate, he or she should follow the instructions regarding locked CAVC files provided in M21-1MR, section I.5.J.48.e.

Denials
Denials of entitlement to benefits rendered by BVA should continue to be processed in accordance with the procedures outlined in M21-1MR, sections I. 5.G.33.c and d.
Questions
Questions concerning this fast letter should be e-mailed to VAVBAWAS/CO/ 21FL.
/S/
Bradley G. Mayes Director Compensation & Pension Service

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Ah wouldn't life be a whole lot simpler if the VA actually followed the rules!

It only took 4 years, but i just received a copy of a records C&P where the VA examiner has found it is at least as likely as not that cardiomegaly, multiple bulging disks (7), and taking diuretics for hypertension and cardiomegaly may actually cause increased urinary frequency!!!

My last award they took 104 days to pay it out.

Hang in there, they have to pay, i wouldn't send the letter right now, they could use it as an excuse to delay as they look into your complaint. They shouldn't but they may, if they do, what can really be done about it?

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I've know veterans that waited up to 14 months to obtain their retroactive pay. I hope that your letter works for you!

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I've been waiting since Nov 2012 for two years of retro pay. O/A mid-Jan 2013, DFAS sent required documents back to VA.

Hopefully retro will be deposit soon. Based on previous threads on this topic; maybe VA is waiting for additional funds.

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