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Veteran Groups Sue Va For Ending Informal Disability Claims Process



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Well, yes, I agree. Can you imagine having your application denied because you did not fill out the right form, such as you put it on a 21-4138 instead of the new "intent to file"? This is not a "claimant friendly" non adversarial climate. Vets advocates used to say you could apply for benefits (informal claim) on a napkin.

In one way, I can also see "the other side" of this. You see, if you go to the doc, under certain circumstances, this can be an "informal claim for increase". The water gets muddy here, very quickly, because VA says you have to show "intent to file for benefits" because the VA assumes when you go to the doc you are seeking TREATMENT, not benefits. So, you have to do something to "show intent to file for benefits". And, what better way to show intent than to fill out the form?

Here are a few problems with this: First, this assumes the Veteran seeking benefits knows ALL the rules of VA, and mostly they do not, except in rare cases. When Vets seek benefits, they are hurting..often financialy..many are homeless..some are very very sick, mentally or physically. Should we turn these Vets down because they dont even know what a "VSO" or an "intent to file" means? Or, what if the VSO did not keep up with the rules and failed to file an "intent to file"?

Isnt the requirement to file a completed 21-526 enough paperwork burden for the claimaint, without an "intent to file" additional burden?

Further, most Vets dont get benefits unless they file an I-9. Why? because most Vets are turned down on the first go (less than 50 percent are awarded on the first go, Ask nod says its closer to 85% denial rate). So, lets add up the required forms:

1. 21-526

2. Intent to file

3. Notice of Disagreement (mandantory within a year of decision)

4. Election of DRO or BVA (Im sure a lot of sick Vets know what those mean..yea right)

5. I9 (within 60 days of receipt of SOC. )

6. Unless the Vet wants to wait much longer, he also needs to file a "Waiver of RO consideration"

Now, remember, all these forms are necessary, as well as the applicable time limits for about 85% of FIRST TIME CLAIMANTS. But wait, there is more! If the Veteran dies in this multi year process, then his widow must know she must file:

1. A "substitituion of claimant" AND

2 All of the above.

The VA claims process is far, far to complex and needs to be simplified, not made more complex with still another form that, essentially means:

"A Form where I intend to file 5 more forms"...that is what the intent to file is.

These are all required to get benefits. But Wait! There is more!

1. Evidence. The Veteran must provide "evidence of a current diagnosis", a verified event in service, and a nexus.

2. He has the burden to find his SMR's.

3. He must supply his dd 214.

4. He must supply a release of information to release medical records so VA can verify everything.

5. He must keep copies of everything and resubmit it if VA:

a) loses it

b) shreds it

c) puts it in another Veterans file;

d) or, even if VA fraudulently alters the Vets evidence to pay a lower benefit, the Veteran must prove it with an original.

Notice: There are no time limits for VA, the Veteran is burdened with time limit contstraints, but, "because every claim is different", the Va can take 20 or more years to process the Veterans claim, and, the VA does not even pay interest when that happens.

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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  • Content Curator/HadIt.com Elder

I am helping with my father's claims. I plan to fill out the VA's form of choice, but then say "see attached documentation".

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Out of curiosit. What forms can be used to file ssa or ssd or ssi benefits? If denied how do you reopen? Do you fill out said forms agai or can you just write in.? I haven't filed but I would assume they would require forms too? The vas excuse is that they are trying to get on same page as other govt facilities. Kind of like going to dmv and never having the correct forms

Edited by JT24usn (see edit history)
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The VA is caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand they are trying to streamline the process and make sure "the specific nature" of what the veteran is doing is understood.

However; there are a lot of older veterans whom are not computer literate and don't know how to access forms for specific purposes.

I think filing forms will eventually help the VA process get better, but I wish they would have a longer adjustment period and even more clear the backlog of old claims filed by the old standard (on a napkin).

The real issue with the VA appears to be some bad managers whom are either negligent or have poor organization skills.

Also, veterans not fully understand VA procedure is equally responsible (backlog, bad claims, missing medical information, etc).

The managers must be replaced. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Veterans have to understand the VA puzzle.

a. Get your medical records and contact a VSO

b. Have a current diagnosis and treatment notes of what you are about to claim.

c. Is the issue or similar symptoms of what you plan to claim in your service medical records.

This is the foundation of filing a claim. How you feel about having something wont cut it.

And please don't file for something if medically it hasnt been diagnosed.

Medical information is the key.

Diagnosis by a approved medical means (blood tests, x-ray, ct scan, clinical evaluation, mri, hearing tests, etc).

The battle can be won, but veterans have to help themselves.

If you see a veteran whom doesn't understand, try to help them understand the basics of getting started.


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I seriously don't see this as an issue at all. We all claim the VA process needs to be fixed. But when the VA attempts to fix it everyone still complains.. I'm sorry, but if you sumbit your claim on a napkin then I can't take you or your disability claim seriously

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I seriously don't see this as an issue at all. We all claim the VA process needs to be fixed. But when the VA attempts to fix it everyone still complains.. I'm sorry, but if you sumbit your claim on a napkin then I can't take you or your disability claim seriously

you need training still

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Propaganda to the contrary, It seems to me that the changes are for the benefit of the VA, and the government, not the veteran. The original

processes favored the veteran more than the VA was happy with. (And also required that a VA RO be actually able to read.)

The change is quite typical of many others made in the past. Much propaganda and bally-hoo, then it becomes obvious that the changes

were really more for the benefit of the government & VA. And, that's the reason behind veterans groups historical opposition of many proposed changes, even when they

have the appearance of benefiting veterans.

Just look at the choice act, and how the VA actually implemented it.

It can take longer to get approval for and outside care than the previously existing VA fee paid system.

Neither process is very time efficient, since both require VA administrative approval.

Getting the approval if a veteran lives within the 40 mile limit of any capable or not VA facility is a real killer!

Just because the VA hired an outside company (specializing in HMO's) to do the paperwork does not mean

that they are any better time wise than the VA.

I believe that the Medicare approval and payment process should be used, with the VA paying the deductibles, out of pockets, and co-pays.

The VA will (if it hasn't already) vehemently oppose such a thing, if for no other reason that it gives another agency control,

while the VA looses it tight grip on veterans treatment and payments for treatment.

Edited by Chuck75 (see edit history)
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I don't have a problem with the VA changing a few things, if it means a good thing for us down the road. I guess we will wait and see. Enough with the bad words between the two of you. We all are grown and have a right to Vent or Give an Opinion.

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