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NEWS FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

(from Jeff Schrade's email Senate.gov-)

“VICTORY FOR VETERANS” AS COURT BRINGS BACK JUDGES

Pending veterans' appeals backlog will be reduced

September 6, 2006

Media contact: Jeff Schrade (202)224-9093

(Washington, DC) Chief Judge William Greene, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, has called up two retired federal judges to help the court deal with an unprecedented number of pending appeals. The decision has earned the praise of the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

"I’m hopeful this will help cut down on the record number of cases before the court and help the court keep up with the record level of incoming cases," said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). "I commend Judge Greene for his leadership in making this call. His decision is a victory for veterans who would otherwise wait too long for a decision to be reached. Veterans shouldn’t have to wait and wait and wait to receive a final determination."

Just two years ago there were about 2,700 cases pending and the court was taking in less than 200 new cases per month. But the court is now taking in over 300 new cases per month and the number of pending cases has grown to over 5,800. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is in the judicial branch of government and reviews decisions rendered by VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals, which is in the executive branch of the federal government. Most of the court’s decisions deal with disability compensation.

"At a hearing this July, I cautioned that if trends continue without action, such as bringing in more judges, the number of pending cases could reach 10,000 in the next five years. Hopefully, by bringing in the retired judges, they can cut the backlog down and give all veterans a timely decision. That’s what veterans deserve," Craig said.

Other federal courts regularly recall judges, including the U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, but this is the first time the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has taken such action since it was created in 1988.

In July of this year the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs conducted a hearing on the backlog issue, and Craig and other senators pushed the court to recall its retired judges. Under current federal guidelines, the retired judges receive the same pay as active judges – currently $165,200 a year – and can be called back to work if needed.

The judges being called in are John J. Farley, III, and Donald Ivers. They will serve a minimum of 90 days reviewing cases and rendering decisions. In addition to the two judges who have been called back into action, there are presently seven full time judges on the court.

"At the end of the 90 days, if the number of pending cases hasn’t been reduced significantly, I hope the Chief Judge will recall other retired judges to help keep the backlog down to size," Craig said.

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See this release online at: http://veterans.senate.gov

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Hmmm, I wonder if in this July hearing ole devil eyes made any mention as to how this increase has happened? I do not perceive that the court is not doing its job - the root of the problem is at the begining of this NON-ADVERSIAL process. The rating of clear cut claims by the RO that appear to have been made by a small child or monkey. Followed by a carbon copy of such decisions by SENIOR LEVEL monkeys which are then sent to a board and reviewed by never before heard of attorneys who only work for the government because they can not get a job with a real law firm. Then this review is remanded back to the monkeys two, three sometimes four times for their failure to follow U.S. Law or Federal Regulations. Once the remands are completed the unheard of attorneys are so confused they rubber stamp 70 percent of the decisions made by the monkeys and senior monkeys which causes the vet to seek the help of the judges. Once ruled on by the judges, who can only say that maybe a legal error was made because they themselves are only baby judges within an ADMINISTRATIVE NON-ADVERSIAL SYSTEM, who can not force their legal opinion on anyone in the NON-ADVERSIAL system. This causes the never heard of attorneys to scratch their head and once again remand the claim back to the monkeys and senior monkeys at the RO.

What ole devil eyes should have fought for was trained RO employees, both legal and administrative action against those SENIOR monkeys at the RO for failing to properly oversee the monkeys continued failure to properly apply the regulations and laws to claims. Then once he was able to clean up the RO maybe he should have fought for adding more competent RO raters. At 165,00 a pop working or not, he could get four or five trained competent raters, therefore, we would not need so many judges.

Ooops forgot to add - 165,000.00 salary working or retired - holy bat sh-t batman. I want to be one of them. No wonder the VA budget gets eat up. I'm on the phone first thing in the morning to call the VA and offer my services to the judgeship. I have a masters in VA bullsh-t so I should qualify.

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This is good news-

Hopefully the Senate Backlog Comittee under Chairman Craig- will do something now about the BVA situation-

The BVA has 459,312 cases. They are only up to the 3rd part of 2004-

That means a case is going to sit there for 2 years without a decision

and if the veteran did NOT get proper VCAA Notice the case will more than likely be remanded-

There are 344,073 Remands at the BVA as of this AM.

If you were denied at a VARO and did not get a VCAA Notice nor any specific statement as to how to support your claim-nor signed and sent back the election notice- even you you sent them medical evidence that a proper notice should ask for- regardless- your claim is probaby doomed.

If your DTA Rights were violated under the VCAA and your vet rep stood by and let this happen without questioning the lack of RO sending you the proper VCAA Notice,write to:

Chairman Larry Craig

U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs

412 Russell Ave

Senate Office Building

Washington, D. C. 20510

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