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Dro Or Bva, Its The Va's Choice..........


elcamino_77us
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Question

I had a claim decided in Nov of 2013 and did a prompt NOD for failure to correctly rate my bilaterial knee conditions and bilateral radiculopathy. I received a letter later asking if I wanted a DRO or BVA and I replied a DRO and sent along extra information. FIVE WEEKS LATER, a SSOC dated 28 Aug 2014 stated that since I had not made a choice that I would go through the traditional route of a BVA. I called up the Atlanta VA and asked about it. After they checked around, I was told that it was a mistake and that they were going to do a DRO. A few days past and my claim disappeared off the BVA Claims List. I have not heard anything from them since.

HOWEVER, today I check my status on eBenefits and behold, They decided my case by BVA on the 30 Nov 2014. I was not given any opportunity to speak before a traveling BVA or anything else.

I have an appointment with the DAV in Atlanta this coming Monday to allow them to start handling my claims and address my many claims issues due to a Poor VSO. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be delighted to hear them.

Bill

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elcamino: If it turns out that your DAV-Rep screwed the pooch regarding your DRO REVIEW (I hope you thought you requested a hearing), you would not be the 1st Vet to have this happen.

Looking at your dates causes me some pause. 11/13 Decision, you or your DAV Rep file NOD about 12/13 and don't specifically request a DRO Review or DRO Hearing. You receive the VARO Acknowledgement of Receipt of your NOD asking DRO or BVA. What DRO choice did you make and how or who notified the VARO by US Mail Cert Rect. Stranger things happen, I guess, but to go from NOD 12/13 to BVA Decision 11/30/14 seems wrong if not impossible. BVA Decisions have been taking 4+ yrs. I don't see where your appeal was Cerified for the BVA and a BVA Docket # assigned.

My theory is, your BVA Rep dropped the ball on your DRO Hearing Request, might have just asked for DRO Review. You sent in some New & Material Evidence that at the very least triggered the VARO Review of your 11/13 Denial giving "Deference" to the Denial Decision or The DRO actually Reviewed your Denial as a De Novo Review taking into consideration your N & M Evidence and continued the original Decision. This same thing happened to a Vet I try to assist. He never had the DRO Hearing he thought his DAV Rep requested and sat on his N&M Evidence thinking "Wrongly" that he would present it at the DRO Hearing. Instead of a DRO Hearing, he got a continued Denial and a SOC and a Form 9 for the BVA. He is currently waiting for a BVA Video Hearing since 09/2013. During this time, he finally submitted (2) pieces of N & M Evidence spaced out a month or so apart. In keeping with VA Regs about N&M Evidence triggering a VARO Review of Denial, he has also received (2) separate Supp-SOC continuing his denial but referencing the N&M Evidence he sent in. I guess his New Evidence wasn't as compelling as he thought.

Keep us posted regarding developments. Remember Trust but Verify! It's your claim, plenty of opinions and free advice available from Vets, VSO Reps and even VA Attorneys. In the end it's all on you.

Semper Fi

Gastone

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I have never heard of a BVA decision just a couple months after the SOC. Mine sat and gathered dust at the VSO's office for a year, and then sat at the BVA office for another year. Something has to be wrong here, but then again, Sometimes denials can occur quickly...it helps their numbers look good. One year for a BVA denial is lightspeed for VA, since most take a minimum of 18 months AFTER its certified to the BVA, which also usually takes another 18 months. Most Vets dont get a BVA decision for about 4 years. This looks like someone denying claims en masse, to make the numbers look good for bonuses, again.

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This is what my appeal showed on ebenefits: 2 decision & claims dispatch. In April when I called the BVA they said it showed I had withdrawn my appeal. I then called my VSO office and asked them had they ever received either of these as I had not. The VSO could not find them. He explained he had just retired last year from the VARO and went to work as a VSO for the state across the hall from the VARO. He agreed with me and on his own contacted the RO. In August they showed appeal pending again.

This is separate from my IU appeal which I just had a C&P Exam and DRO hearing. I believe the DRO was this VSO's wife. He was not the VSO who was at the hearing. It is not hard to understand how strange things with our files seem to happen with this state VSO office.

Date of Progress Progress Progress Office 09/07/2012 Local VA Office Decision RO 01/24/2013 Notice of Disagreement (NOD) RO 02/01/2013 Appeal Pending RO 06/20/2013 Statement of the Case (SOC) RO 09/06/2013 Substantive Appeal (Form 9) RO 10/01/2013 Decision & Claims File Dispatch BVA 02/07/2014 Appeal Pending RO 02/13/2014 Decision & Claims File Dispatch BVA 08/15/2014 Appeal Pending RO

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Prospector: Very Interesting. I was awarded at DRO Hearing 06/14, never made it to the BVA level. I take it you chose the BVA Hearing with your 2/13 NOD? Have you received the VARO 90 day evidence cut-off letter?

Recently I did a cursory review of 2014 & 13 BVA Decisions. It appeared to me that the majority of Decisions had been waiting 4+ yrs, with Remands the rule rather than the exception.

What was the outcome of your DRO Hearing? Any and all details would be of great assistance to other Vets. Thanks

Semper Fi

Gastone

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Gastone,

Claim was first filed 5/2007. Denied 12/2007 I did not file a NOD at that time.

I found new evidence and re-filed in 6/2012 (asked them to reopen original but figured they would not)

New claim decided 9/2012 -50%. I filed a NOD at that time for a higher rate.

They did not show anything until 1/2013 which showed the NOD. 2/2013 they showed appeal pending.

I requested a DRO hearing at that time.

New C&P 6/2013. There was no hearing, but increased to 70% with SOC in 7/2013.

8/2013 I filed a Form 9 disagreeing with the RO' s decision.

I never heard anything until 2/2014 when it showed Appeal Pending. Then suddenly 10/01/2013 Decision & Claims File Dispatch BVA and 02/13/2014 Decision & Claims File Dispatch BVA was added to ebenefits.

I never received anything from the VARO or the BVA during this time. I called the BVA in March and they said it showed I had withdrawn my appeal.

After my call to my VSO (5 months later) the ebenefits showed 8/15/2014 Appeal Pending again. Through all of this from my filing of the Form 9, I did not receive anything from the VA.

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Might want to start a new thread elcamino77us. Looks like this one got hijacked.

For the record, it is impossible to run a claim through to a BVA decision this quickly unless you're a blood relative of Allison Hickey. If you filed a NOD about a year ago, chances are it's either a grant or a SOC. Depends on what was in the NOD. Relax and enjoy Christmas, sir. Worrying about this will ruin the season. But, if you must, here are some ebennies hints.

If you hit the wrong selection at View my status, you may end up reading the wrong result. Here's the status button.

post-12899-0-66876800-1417573282_thumb.p

If you choose #1, the open claims choice, it will take you here and show you the status of an existing claim.

post-12899-0-95674500-1417573381_thumb.p

Similarly, if you chose the appeals function, you find yourself here looking at the slow pace to a docket in DC. Days here in BVA days are measured in Jupiter days.

post-12899-0-05133200-1417573427_thumb.p

Below open claims are older completed ones that often confuse the claimant. If you click on any of those, you may get an erroneous reply showing you are finished there (at the BVA)

post-12899-0-66082700-1417573473_thumb.p

One trick we all look for on claims recently decided at your local RO is the VA payment history. This will often show the check to be deposited in your favor a week or so before you even get any rating paper.

post-12899-0-51303700-1417573943_thumb.p

If it was done at the BVA, it will take several months to get back to your RO for a rating. One exception to the rule is if you gave the BVA a waiver of review. In that case the AMC will rate it and send the decision from there (Eye Street) in DC around the corner from the BVA. We call it the 59th RO.

Ho, ho ho!

Clear prop

Edited by asknod
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