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Compensation claim


Michael Enriquez

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Here's one I could really use some help on. I started a claim for a variety of symptoms ( about 8) in January 2014. I realize now that it was a big mistake to do that. My claim is now in the gathering of evidence phase with a projected date to completion of 8/2016 - 1/2017. Prior to that it was in the pending decision approval for 3 months 12/2015- 3/2016 where it went to preparation for decision where it stood for a month and a half to get to the point that I am at now. I've checked with the 1-800 number and get the standard response about workload and backlog. I've asked to have my claim decided with the information available, tried to get it expedited due to hardship and these haven't worked. My case is being handled by the Denver Regional. Update or maybe could be additional information. During the time I have been waiting, I have been granted Social Security Disability. One of my claims is for IU. I sent that information to the VA. Will this help on my claim and by doing this will my claim be delayed even longer?

Edited by Michael Enriquez
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I don't feel ebenefits dates are always reliable.

If you have given VA the evidence they requested on the 5103 letter, there isn't much you can do at this point in my opinion, but to wait.

Do you have a vet rep? Was this a TDIU claim? You filed in Jan 2014. With the backlog it is not unusual to still be waiting in 2016 for a decision.

One of my claims took from 2003 to 2012, and was set for BVA transfer but I got it resolved favorably when it was sent to the Nehmer division ( AO claims) 9 years

It still stuns me how long that took and addition claims I filed in 2004 were with it. Also awarded in 2012. 8 years

My evidence was impeccable.

Another claim I had was filed in 2003 and awarded in 2009 from a BVA decision and then I had to fight for them to pay me the retro (it was a refund technically) 6 years, almost 7 until refund came.

My evidence for that one too, was impeccable.

I am the survivor of a deceased veteran and not a veteran myself but during the whole time I waited for those above claims to be properly resolved I continued to seek evidence, even though I felt I had already sent them enough.

Waiting is miserable. I remember ,on the day my husband died, (he had been told to call the RO in Oct, as  they would have a decision by then, and he called only to find they had not moved on the claim at all in many months) he was upset and said to me he almost wished they would deny it, so that he would not be waiting anymore..... as it was, those claims took about 3 years more  to resolve and he never saw the award letters because he was dead. At least he wasn't waiting anymore.

They could have resolved both claims in his lifetime.

I am sorry you are waiting so long and many others here are waiting too long too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually having more items in your claim can be an advantage. The workers in the regional office are under time constraints to get work done. You are more likely to get partial approval and deferred items so they can close out temporarily the claim. I had 35 items one time. They called me and asked how we could close some of the claims. All were valid claims.

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Sounds like your case may have been involved in what the VA refers to as "Challenge". This is where VA "trains" new VSRs or Raters, and it generally takes anywhere from 2-4 months depending on whatever VA Central Office guidelines are right now. That usually explains a lot of the bouncing status updates. I know for a fact the training is being conducted right now (and has been for a while) for VSRs and Raters.

It could also be that your case was being handled by a new employee (already trained) at the Regional Office. They do their work which changes the status, and then their work gets checked by a mentor who likely annotates errors and send he case back which changes the status again....

Now, I have heard from a LOT of Veterans the line of: "Well, why is my case with someone that's new and doesn't know anything?" They are understandably upset about this, but all I can say to that is that this is how VA trains their new employees. Yes, they work "Live" cases, and yes it takes longer. It's something that I've opposed for a long time, but it's not going to change anytime soon.

And I agree with waccamawwild that VA employees are under time constraints (VA calls it "suspense") to get work done. However, those time constraints don't mean much at all to VA employees, and claims are often outside of or past the suspense dates that have been set.

I also want to add that if you do have a lot of issues as waccamawwild points out, then you are only somewhat likely to get a partial decision and deferred elements. When the VA defers issues it does not temporarily close out the claim. It closes the issues that were decided, but the claim stays open and pending for the issues that were deferred.

VA attempts now to not defer anything because overall claim timeliness is so important to Congress. They do still defer things, but it has scaled back a lot. They also make deals like the one that waccamawwild sites in the post. Be careful of this though because there are a lot (a whole lot) of VSRs AND Raters out there who are only looking to scale back their pending workload. The deal is not always the most favorable for the Veteran.

 

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