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Dealing With Houston Varo

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Well, I had another experience that further demonstrates the run around the VA can give you.

I had, a should be simple problem to correct. After receiving my 80% rating, I sent in the form to switch from my Navy retirement to VA compensation which is required.

I sent it twice return receipt required, which I got back signed. So, I know they got it. After waiting a few months and still no VA compensation, I tried and tried to get through on peggy line, no luck. I left info for call back, did not receive one. Sent IRIS message, after 3 weeks, still no response. I tried to send followup but now IRIS says my identification info belongs to someone else and blocks me from sending any further messages. I tried their work around (so they know it is a problem), but it would not work.

I was also applying for CRSC, so I called the NAVY to see if they got that paperwork and if they had finished the audit yet. They told me they could not even start processing my request until I was switched to drawing VA compensation and dropping my Navy disability retirement pay. I told them I had filed the form with the VA. They said they would followup and only got back a message that the VA had not received the form.

My last resort was to drive the 200 miles to Houston. I got there and checked with the information guy on where to turn in the form AGAIN. He pointed to a line and told me to get in it. I eventually worked my way to a window with another person sitting there who ask me if she could help me. I told her I wanted to turn in this form again and had a few questions while I was there. She said "you need to see a counselor and gave me a number to sit and wait. Eventually I was able to see a counselor. (another name for roadblock)...I attempted to explain that I had sent the form twice, she ask for my C# which I gave her. She was on the computer about 2 minutes and she said "we have the form". So I started asking then why had it not been processed when she overrode me with I don't want to hear it. I can't help you. It will be processed with the open claim. I tried to tell her it was NOT part of the open claim. It was a separate form to start my benefits from a previous completed claim. She said well it is in with the pending claim. They will process it when they process the claim. I again tried to tell her, That claim will take two years, why can't that form be removed from the claim it doesn't belong there. Again she said nothing she can do and ask if there was anything else she could do for me. I informed her she has not yet done anything for me. I ask if there was anyone in the VARO that could get the form out of the file and process it. She ask me why I sent the form in for my pending claim. I told her, I just sent the registered envelope with a number of forms/evidence for different contentions all in the same envelope. So she says (implying now it is my fault that it is stuck where it is), because I put it all in one envelope. She says they open the envelope and put it all in the pending claim. So NO ONE even looks at what is in the envelope, they just open it and stuff it all in the one claim folder. I again ask if there was someone who could get the form and process it, that I could not get benefits ALREADY AWARDED until that form was processed and it had nothing to do with the pending claim.

The best I got out of her was she handed me a blank lined form and said just write out your request and I will staple a copy of the form and give it to my supervisor. By this time she was getting extremely irritated at me. I filled out the request to have the form pulled from the pending claim and processed and started my 200 mile drive back home feeling I had wasted 12 hours of my time and 50 bucks worth of gas. It is so obvious that the" in person experience "at Houston is about the same as PEGGY 800 #, a totally dysfunctional system used to deflect Vets from getting to anyone who might be able to do something or provide correct information. What a cluster @$#%.

So for anytone sending anything to Houston, I guess if it is for separate things you have going on, Put each one in a separate envelope and maybe put a LARGE PRINT cover saying what you want done with the info. The trained monkeys are unable to utilize more than 2 braincells at one time. My opinion of Houston VARO just dropped another 20 points. They now sit somewhere below lawyers, who sit somewhere below used car salesmen.

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So for anytone sending anything to Houston, I guess if it is for separate things you have going on,

Put each one in a separate envelope and maybe put a LARGE PRINT cover saying what you want done with the info.

This goes for all VARO's.

Different departments - do different things and if you submit things that go to

different areas in the same envelope - yes it will be a mess.

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Thought I would give an update...suprise, surprise, surprise. The trip to Houston was on Thursday..and as I had mentioned, I had little hope that the person I talked to would even do anything with the note she had me write. Well guess what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday early afternoon, I get a call from the VA in Houston. They wanted to verify some info on my Dependency claim. Seems when they scanned it into the computer, they scanned the form only and not the attachment I had with it. The attachment had reference to items covered on the form which I ran out of space. So what she was looking at was incomplete as she just had the form.

I gave her the information, she said she would add it to the form and was processing it. She also said she was processing my request to be shifted from US Navy retirement to VA compensation which was the form I went to Houston about that they claimed the did not have, but the did. SOOOOOOO, even though the person I was talking to showed an attitude as if she could care less, at least she did give it to her supervisor as she said she would, and the supervisor got someone on it right away. they said everything should be complete within 2 weeks. I noticed it has moved from "received" to notice of completion by 3pm this afternoon (monday), Very happy with that...Just maybe I can get some money coming in by the first of the year and maybe within a few months after that the retro. I do know the Navy is very cooperative and is waiting patiently for the VA to get me switched so they can process CRSC and audit from their end. After I suggested it to them as an alternative of getting the form to the VA to be processed , of having me send it to them and they would send it to the VA through their direct channels. Can't beat that with a stick for willingness to help move things along. So there is hope.

But, really didn't want to give everyone at Houston a black eye because someone is moving on it now.

And Yes, by all means, if you send multiple things to Houston, or any other I guess, if items are for more than one specific purpose, place each separate item into different envelopes for different reasons with the reason printed in large print on the outside of the individual envelope, then put all in your big envelope and mail certifed return receipt required. It might help get things to the right people.

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Great news Confusion, hope we can all have an Early Christmas.

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