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What Will Iris Inquiry Tell Me?



Will an IRIS inquiry tell me more than what the reps on the 1-800# tell me (which is nothing I cant see on E-benefits)? All they said on the 1-800# is, "your case is in the development phase, we can't tell you anything other than that". I requested a detailed status on my claim, which, according to my VSo already has a decision but for some reason is just sitting in ROE.


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My experience with IRIS has been mixed. If I sent a general question regarding VA polices or procedures which did not require a response from my regional office, I usually received a response within ten days. If I sent a question that required a response from my regional office (e.g.- current status of my claim, etc.), I never received an actual answer to my question in a timely manner and/or the response I received really did not answer my question.

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Yeah, Im kinda getting that feeling because I sent the request in the middle of last week and it said within 5 working days and nothing yet. So, Im expecting a blanket "we're working on it" answer.

From that angle I just dont get the secrecy. I absolutely understand NOT talking to the rater or reviewer of your case for the simple reason that they have a black and white regulated job to do and emotion/persuasion cannot and should not be part of the process.

With that said, WHY can I not get ANY information from the VSO, RO or disinterested people on WHAT they are looking at specifically. There doesnt have to be a rating answer as in "we are proposing 20%". I could see something along the lines of, "the case has a decision made and we are simply waiting on signatures for a few items....your case is with the final reviewer...etc." Instead, they leave you in the dark as if it's a trial by jury or something.

Edited by veteran7796 (see edit history)
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I had an IRIS they took over a year to answer.

Then more recently they responded to me that they were "working on" a claim I have already won.

I asked them to clarify because I already get DIC, and they responded again that they were working on a DIC claim.

Then I asked again for why they are working on a claim I already won.

I was pissed off this time so they responded Thank you for the suggestions...hope you have a nice day or some BS like that.

Not to get into that again here....I sent the IG an email about it.

IG does not get involed in claims issues and will promptly respond to hotline email on that type of issue.and let the emailer know that claims are out of their jurisdiction.

But IG has not responded to me yet at all, because I think they got my point.

My DIC can be awarded on 3 separate basis.( 1151 award, DMII award, and IHD award) but as far as I know I can only receive one check.

VA could easily issue an award but who would get it? I know the IG got my point.but the rest of my hotline complaint is what I think really got their attention.

I have always carefully written my IRISes in Word or OOO and then pasted them into the IRIS thing, so that I could be specific in my questions for specific answers..

Even doing that however can be a real exercise in futility.

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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Are you aware that the IRIS team consists of new hires, lowest pay grade and no experience. The have a script, and answers they give avague and not question specific, in most cases. Example: what is status of my new claim filed on June 29th, IRIS response is to cite the 21 day rule. Duh! It as bee more than 21 working days, but guess they can not count that high, not enough fingers and toes! Ha Ha.

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Im not sure the VA cares if we want answers. LOL!!

But, in a nutshell, I am in a very bad way financially and the back pay would do wonders. I just got my first 30% check in July 2014 because I had to repay my separation pay and that took nearly 2 years worth of compensation pay to complete.

Altogether, even though I have been service connected for one contention at 30% since October 2012, I have never gotten paid (until last month) and rightfully so...I understand the laws and that's the right thing. But as my VSO said, it was a CUE (Error) by the VA and I should have been rated for my neck a long time ago. If they had rated me correctly, I would have started getting paid over a year ago at $683.00 versus the $477.00 check I just started getting in July 2014.

So, with the increase I will be effective back to my original filing date of 5/31/2011 for my neck and by my calculation that gives me about $6100.00 back pay. That would absolutely catch me up and then I could sustain from there financially with the new compensation payment AND increase (what a relief that would be).

But, Im literally on the verge of financial collapse. It's gotten bad the past few months with medical bills, childrens expenses (Im a single father of 3 boys and get NO child support) and I'm just way behind on everything right now.

Edited by veteran7796 (see edit history)
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I have written congressmen and senators, newpapers, IRIS etc. about problems with VA health care. I don't bother asking about claims. I know that is usually a black hole. Nobody calls me back except something unrelated to the issue I raise. I know how to get money out of them, but it always takes planning, evidence, understanding of the rules of the game, and time. I told them I wanted fee base for all my dental care after making me wait a year for a cleaning, and exam because I was sick the day of an appointment last year. They are punishing me for calling in, and trying to reschedule my appointment. In the meantime I have spent $7000 getting implant, and two new crowns. I want to get paid for that, and I know what I have to do. I have to go to fee base and put in claim for "unauthorized care/payment". I did it before but it may not work this time. The VA just refused to do a crown for me, or an implant after pulling one of my teeth. They did such a poor job on one tooth it cracked and had to be pulled since it was already a root canal and crown. I have to get a partial or implants. I do think they want us all just to get dentures so we never come back to have our teeth worked on again. I plan to take my natural teeth to the grave.


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I sent IRIS and email asking why my VARO could not access the documents that i had uploaded in support of my claim. This is the response:

We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries, and are working as quickly as possible to respond to each in a timely manner.

The records indicate we received multiple documents in 2013 to support your claim; we are unable to determine why you could not verify this on eBenefits. To speak with an eBenefits specialist please call 1-800-827-10001-800-827-1000 (when prompted please press the number 7).

Veterans Benefits Management System

Generally, when documents are received they are uploaded into the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). The Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) is one of the new tools we are using to help process Veterans claims faster, and more efficiently. VBMS is a web-based, electronic claims processing portal created to give VA the ability to process Veterans claims paper-free. It is helping us move from a paper-based claims process to an electronic claims process. Unfortunately, the contents of this system cannot be monitored by eBenefits. The programmers are aware of the problem.

The advantage of the VBMS system is we are able to immediately access information electronically and not wait for the information to be scanned into the system. In some cases scanning information into the system is taking up to 75 days.

Unfortunately, at this time there is no means for eBenefits to record which documents were uploaded or display that list. The eBenefits team has plans to enhance the feature to include this capability soon.

After you successfully upload files, the eBenefits system displays a message listing each uploaded file with the file name, file type and date uploaded. You should print this message out, if possible, or save the screen image, for your records, because you cannot see this page again once you close it.

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I agree with info above. I used to have pretty good luck with IRIS and Ebennie. The last year has seemed to be hit or miss though. Good luck either way and keep us posted.

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IRIS is really not a whole lot of help. If I want some status update, I'll call the VSO rep from the American Legion at the VARO. I can usually get a quicker and more adequate answer that the 1-800 number or IRIS.

I do like that if you send an IRIS to the VA, you have some written proof that you have addressed and issue or requested information. (If they put it in your C-File, but at least you have your written e-mail copies.) My own C-File copy, received in July, 2014 (after being requested in February, 2013) had a few of my IRIS questions. I do notice that if you select Service Complaint instead of Question, etc., they tend to respond quicker and will direct it to your local VARO sometimes. I've been called back a couple of times on them.

The Congressional requests/inquiries are pretty much an exercise in futility, and when you get your C-File, you can see why. They send the VA a request for status information, along with a copy of your complaint documentation to them, and then the VA sends them a standard, "We're workin' it!" response, with your name, file number, claimed conditions, etc that pretty much fill up the response sheet to give it some filler, presumably so they won't have to actually write a real narrative.

I did have success with a Presidential in getting my C-File. I became frustrated with not receiving it at all, so did an online Presidential request for my records in late May, 2014 and it arrived in July. This was after I had been previously informed that I could be looking at another 6 months before getting my file, if I was lucky. You also get a cool stationary card from the Office of the President, suitable for framing, letting you know that they are working on it. :-)

You can always try any of these. Lord knows I have. But don't hang everything on getting a response or action.


Edited by MarkInTexas (see edit history)
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