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Firing Your Lawyer?

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I wouldn't have even gone to a lawyer except I thought it was needed at the CAVC. She has a ton at stake. Were talking 4 service connections back to 2000 for increases. My back is on appeal from an original 20% rating. Ton of ignored evidence I provided from outside providers, etc. I think she wouldn't want to give up her $$$$. I may just be jumping the gun. Getting the joint remand from the CAVC with explicit instructions from the AMC to the RO I thought maybe something would actually happen. They gave me higher ratings from 2013 when I was already 100% and said the examiner did not provide opinions on my conditions prior to her 2013 exam. When I got the 28 page exam report for the eight service connections on appeal to my dismay the RO did not ask the examiner to make an opinion prior to 2013 as instructed. So I assume it's another 2-3 years at the AMC. She submitted a rebuttal but I don't know.

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I just had my CUE that involved potential 30 years of 100% denied at the CAVC. I worked on that CUE since 2005. I had two lawyers at my hearing. The court panel just denied every single argument we raised. It is depressing. Even if I were to appeal this to the federal court and I won I am not sure I will live long enough to collect a dime. Without a lawyer my claim would have been chicken$#@!D years ago. I don't think it is that difficult to fire your lawyer, but if you lose often enough they will probably fire you. You can have the best lawyers and great evidence and still lose. All you can do is appeal or just walk away with what you have. Considering the investment we both have made who wants to give up?


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Sorry to hear John. I often feel I will die before getting my claims settled also. I really thought with the joint remand and instructions from the BVA on how to consider rating me higher was actually going to do something at the RO. You'd think after 18 years of fighting these guys I'd know better. Yeah I know your Army bro but I'm laughing at these clowns like really? I was a Marine and I'm Irish. I'm stubborn as hell! Never giving up. Thanks for your thoughts and everyone else too. John - I know you've been out here for years and you help a ton of people. I fall off the wagon because I come here and think of my case. Thanks for your time!

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Hi all I am new to the forum. I can across this as a link somewhere on this site, in a different topic.

Section (f) (1) say that "A power of attorney may be revoked at any time, and an agent or attorney may be discharged at any time". I have no idea how that will affect the claims. Although I think we should read the entire document.

§14.631 Powers of attorney; disclosure of claimant information.

(a) A power of attorney, executed on either VA Form 21-22, “Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant’s Representative,” or VA Form 21-22a, “Appointment of Attorney or Agent as Claimant’s Representative,” is required to represent a claimant before VA and to authorize VA’s disclosure of information to any person or organization representing a claimant before the Department. Without the signature of a person providing representation for a particular claim under §14.630 of this part or an accredited veterans service organization representative, agent, or attorney, the appointment is invalid, and the person appointed to provide representation is under no obligation to do so. The power of attorney shall meet the following requirements:

(1) Contain signature by:

(i) The claimant, or

(ii) The claimant’s guardian, or

(iii) In the case of an incompetent, minor, or otherwise incapacitated person without a guardian, the following in the order named—spouse, parent, other relative or friend (if interests are not adverse), or the director of the hospital in which the claimant is maintained; and

(iv) An individual providing representation on a particular claim under §14.630 of this part or an accredited veterans service organization representative, agent, or attorney; and

(2) Shall be presented to the appropriate VA office for filing in the veteran’s claims folder.

(b) VA may, for any purpose, treat a power of attorney naming as a claimant’s representative an organization recognized under §14.628, a particular office of such an organization, or an individual representative of such an organization as an appointment of the entire organization as the claimant’s representative, unless the claimant specifically indicates in the power of attorney a desire to appoint only the individual representative. Such specific indication must be made in the space on the power-of-attorney form for designation of the representative and must use the word “only” with reference to the individual representative.

© An organization, individual providing representation on a particular claim under §14.630, representative, agent, or attorney named in a power of attorney executed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section may withdraw from representation provided before a VA agency of original jurisdiction if such withdrawal would not adversely impact the claimant’s interests. This section is applicable until an agency of original jurisdiction certifies an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals after which time 38 CFR 20.608 governs withdrawal from representation before the Board. Withdrawal is also permissible if a claimant persists in a course of action that the organization or individual providing representation reasonably believes is fraudulent or criminal and is furthered through the representation of the organization or individual; the claimant fails to uphold an obligation to the organization or individual providing representation regarding the services of the organization or individual; or other good cause for withdrawal exists. An organization or individual providing representation withdraws from representation by notifying the claimant, the VA organization in possession of the claims file, and the agency of original jurisdiction in writing prior to taking any action to withdraw and takes steps necessary to protect the claimant’s interests including, but not limited to, giving advance notice to the claimant, allowing time for appointment of alternative representation, and returning any documents provided by VA in the course of the representation to the agency of original jurisdiction or pursuant to the claimant’s instructions, to the organization or individual substituted as the representative, agent, or attorney of record. Upon withdrawing from representation, all property of the claimant must be returned to the claimant. If the claimant is unavailable, all documents provided by VA for purposes of representation must be returned to the VA organization in possession of the claims file. Any other property of the claimant must be maintained by the organization or individual according to applicable law.

Note to §14.631©: Written notification to VA may be submitted via hand delivery, mail, electronic mail, or facsimile.

(d) Questions concerning the validity or effect of powers of attorney shall be referred to the Regional Counsel of jurisdiction for initial determination. This determination may be appealed to the General Counsel.

(e) (1) Only one organization, representative, agent, or attorney will be recognized at one time in the prosecution of a particular claim. Except as provided in §14.629© and paragraph (f)(2) of this section, all transactions concerning the claim will be conducted exclusively with the recognized organization, representative, agent, or attorney of record until notice of a change, if any, is received by the appropriate office of VA.

(2) An organization named in a power of attorney executed in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section may employ an attorney to represent a claimant in a particular claim. Unless the attorney is an accredited representative of the organization, the written consent of the claimant shall be required.

(f) (1) A power of attorney may be revoked at any time, and an agent or attorney may be discharged at any time. Unless a claimant specifically indicates otherwise, the receipt of a new power of attorney executed by the claimant and the organization or individual providing representation shall constitute a revocation of an existing power of attorney.

(2) If an agent or attorney limits the scope of his or her representation regarding a particular claim by so indicating on VA Form 21-22a, or a claimant authorizes a person to provide representation in a particular claim under §14.630, such specific authority shall constitute a revocation of an existing general power of attorney filed under paragraph (a) of this section only as it pertains to, and during the pendency of, that particular claim. Following the final determination of such claim, the general power of attorney shall remain in effect as to any new or reopened claim.

(g) If a request to substitute is granted pursuant to 38 CFR 3.1010, then a new VA Form 21-22, “Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant's Representative,” or VA Form 21-22a, “Appointment of Individual as Claimant's Representative,” under paragraph (a) of this section is required in order to represent the substitute before VA. If the substitute desires representation on a one-time basis pursuant to §14.630(a), a statement signed by the person providing representation and the substitute that no compensation will be charged or paid for the services is also required. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 5121A, 5902, 5903, 5904)

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0321.)

[43 FR 46535–46537, Oct. 10, 1978, amended at 53 FR 52421, Dec. 28, 1988; 61 FR 7216, Feb. 27, 1996; 68 FR 8546, Feb. 24, 2003; 73 FR 29873, May 22, 2008; 79 FR 52983, Sep. 5, 2014]

Supplement Highlights references: 83(3), 111(1).

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I'm aware that you can change your agent under good reasoning. My case is currently at the BVA. I have decided I no longer want representation as I am doing all the leg work myself. Also, I have already had my BVA hearing and then after, brought on the attorney on. There is really no point to have them since I am catching VA mistakes on my claims and I am submitting evidence on my own. Can I just submit a new 21-22a and appoint myself as the agent? Can anyone advise on the path I should take? Thanks in advance!

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    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
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    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:

      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis

      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.

      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 


      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.


      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

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