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Congress' Solution? Beg For Your Benefits


Jonah1
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Question

I am thoroughly disgusted. Having a lot of claims to process is no excuse for not helping a veteran whose original claim was "screwed up" by a Veterans Service Officer.

A Chapter 31 representative, submitted a TDIU claim for me on or about the summer of 2013. Around May of this year, I reopened, myself, a claim for an increase in another benefit, separate from my TDIU. To my surprise, two weeks later, I received a call for a Comp and Penn appointment. I was told that since I already had a "100%" claim in the system, that my appointment would be for both. When I went to the appointment, the doctor only checked me for my newest filing, that is, the one for an increase. When I asked him if he knew anything about my TDIU, he had no idea what I was talking about. So I called the 800 number and a representative informed me that the VA had my claim filed as a TTD, instead of a TDIU. I explained that I had not put in for a TTD, but a TDIU. Within the same week I received a letter from the VA, directing me to send in proof that I had been hospitalized, in order for the TTD to be approved.

I got in touch with the VFW and explained that somehow my TDIU had turned into a TTD. After some research, the State Service Officer (SSO) declared that someone had "screwed up", but assured me that the claim would be corrected. We kept in touch for about two weeks. He then called me and advised that I needed to fill out a new application for TDIU and fax it to him. Trusting him, I did that and waited once again. I heard nothing. I finally took a trip to the Regional Office and found out he was on vacation, but his representative assured me that some "big meeting" had taken place in which my case was one of the several urgent cases that had been discussed as the handling of such had been deemed unacceptable. She said that the SSO was trying to fight for my back pay. I then explained to her that back pay was nice, but I needed to be able to eat, pay my bills and live, right now. She then said that she would make my case a hardship. I went home feeling relieved.

About a week later, I received a decision from the VA not on my TDIU, but on the TTD and such was denied. The letter stated that I had not sent proof that I was hospitalized.

I made phone call after phone call to the VFW trying to find out why it wasn't fixed. No one returned my calls.

To be on the safe side, I just filed a whole new claim for TDIU, myself, electronically, so this time I, myself, could keep track of it.

As a last resort, I went to my Congressman and explained what had happened. Although I explained that I was 70% for Major Depressive Disorder, and that the extreme stress of the situation was aggravating this disability, she responded that as the "screw up" was not the VA's fault, the only option she had was to "beg" the VA to expedite the new claim I had just filed. She explained that the VA would not want to hear anything about anyone "screwing up" my original claim and as far as they were concerned, it was over and done with and I just had to wait on the new one.

A month went by and as of last week, the Congressman's office informed me that they had heard back from the VA on the inquiry they had submitted. The VA's answer was that as my new claim was already a FDC, it was already in an expedited process and as such, it wasn't getting anymore expedited than that. I had been very patient and understanding up until that point, but I guess I had reached my boiling point. Trying not to get too upset, I pointed out again that I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and not being to able to eat, do anything thing or even pay my bills or provide for my kids was taking its toll on me. I told her that I really needed some resolution. She responded very plainly, pretty much, "I've done all that I can. What else do you want me to do?"

I finally cracked. Feeling hopeless, I logged onto the veteran's suicide chat. The person I was chatting with was responding as if she had an SOP in front of her and had a phony, predesignated answer, for everything I was telling her. She then asked if I wanted someone to call me, to which I responded would be a waste of time, as whoever I spoke to wouldn't be able to help with the claim, which was the trigger of the suicidal episode. She urged me to speak to the person she had on standby, but said "No promises"... The guy called me but gave me a very cold "suck it up and drive on" speech. He didn't refer me to anybody. He didn't even take down my information to make sure he could keep track of my welfare.

Today, my new file on Ebenefits is still in the "Under Review" status. It hasn't budged from there for two months.

I had read several postings online of other veterans complaining of horror stories concerning their claims, but had felt fortunate that I had none to tell. Of course that has changed.

There is no excuse for putting the VA's workload before a veteran in a crisis, nor should I , or anyone else, have to "beg", for the benefits we deserve for serving our country. It is only by the grace of God that I am here to share this with you all.

From the VA's handling of claims to its handling of veterans in dire need, even in my case, which could have meant life or death, it really is a disgrace.

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Yes, I agree wholeheartedly you should email Robert McDonald. He's the only one that can help expedite your claim. In the subject line of the email, you may want to say, SI caused by VA

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Guess what Veteran. It is mostly impossible for a veteran to sue the VA besides a Medical Malrpractice or Tort claim but I have some good news for you.

You have asked the VSO to get the mistake straightened out and you are getting nowhere. The mistake has cost you money in the form of a denial based onthe misinformation.

That my friend can be called harm. Veteran Service Organizations are not the VA. You can go after them. Just find a good attorney and bust their backsides wide open. If that doesnt remove their heads from their anus, then nothing will. Remember, confusion leads to Chaos. The poor veteran is the recipient of the adverse action that Chaos causes.

Go get them.

Basser

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Jbasser is Right!

If the TDIU is awarded ( you might get a favorable one year extra EED on that,if it is still an FDC claim) but the retro is wrong, you can sue the VSO for the difference in what his screw up cost you in benefits.

You might want to email the Secretary as well..robert.a.mcdonald@va.gov,

This is a DISGRACE!

And even worse than the way your claim is being handled is the response (or lack of response) from the Suicide hot line. Tell the Sec about that too.

Maybe you should email the VA IG hotline as well.

But I also thimnk you should file a IRIS complaint.

Go to www.va.gov and then to the Contact Us thing and then seek the complaint pop down.

It might help to tell them you intend to go to the press as well.

That got me fast attention via IRIS some years ago...

"About a week later, I received a decision from the VA not on my TDIU, but on the TTD and such was denied. The letter stated that I had not sent proof that I was hospitalized."

If you sent the proof and have proof of mailing or any proof they got it you can ask them to CUE themselves under 38 CFR 4.6.

I have info here under CUE forum on how to do that.

I try hard not to say bad words and find I have said plenty of bad words already today ...all due to the royally F--ked up VA.

Many here can relate to your situation.

Edited by Berta
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"A Chapter 31 representative" .........I almost missed that

Are you in Voc Rehab or has Voc Rehab turned you down for services solely due to your SC?

If Voc Rehab documents that ,solely due to their SC disabilities , Voc Rehab is not feasible for a specific vet, this is very good evidence for TDIU.....

If that is the case tell the Sec that too.... I assume this is why the Chap 31rep told you to file for TDIU.

But I could be wrong.

And if this is the case make sure the VARO knows that as well.regarding the Voc Rehab turn down,.

Edited by Berta
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Thank you so much for your advice Berta and NavyWife. Berta, I did an IRIS and strangely, someone from the VA called me on a Saturday, just to tell me that it wasn't their fault and that I still had to wait the FDC process time. What is an EED? To both of you kind ladies, I will definitely contact the Secretary. I had tried calling the I.G. but they gave me a toll free number that just rang continuously.

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