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What is the best method to solve a problem at VA?


broncovet

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Im asking this question especially for Meddac, as many, many Vets have an unsolved glitch in their benefit claim.  

A great example is what to do about an unreasonable delay, where little or nothing is happening on your claim for an extended period.    Some possible optiions, for example, if your claim is more than a year old and never adjuticated:

POSSIBLE WAYS YOU CAN SOLVE A PROBLEM AT VA: 

1.  IRIS email.  Ask status of your claim, and inquire why, when Alison Hickey resolved to get one and two year old claims completed, yours has not been completed.  Be respectful and dont "attack". 

2.  Send a 21-4138 asking for status of claim.

3.  Contact your VSO.  (This is not easily done, as many simply do not return Vets calls). 

4.  Call your RO.  Again this is often an exercise in futility.  "Calling Peggy"..the 1-800 number is so useless I dont even have the number anymore. 

5.  Check ebenefits.  Make sure you dont even think that ebenefits is accurate or reliable.  

6.  Email Bob, or the undersecretary who filled in Allison Hickeys position. 

7.  Contact your congress critter.  Most Vets advocates say this rarely works. 

8.  Berta has a list of many phone/fax numbers for various RO's.  

9.  I personally have the email of my RO director, referred to by Allison.  For me, it was pretty much ineffective.  He did push some things along, but pretty much nothing positive came of it.  It mostly resulted in denials, but it was at least finally went to the Board.   Even a denial is better than endless delay..at least you can appeal, and get somewhere.  

10.  Go to your RO.  This was also largely ineffective for me, but others have gotten things at least moving by showing up.  

11.  File a Writ of mandamus at the CAVC.  This drastic measure should only happen if everything else is tried and fails.  

12.  Something else not listed above.  

 

Edited by broncovet
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I will comment, here, that I do like Robert McDonalds "ask Bob" idea, EXCEPT that this should happen at each RO.  We should have the email of each RO director, where we can email him/her with our problem, and he should have the ability to at least solve it, tho I understand its not always gonna be the result we wanted.  

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Do all the above and then start over and do it again!   There is no way to fix anything at the VA except to be a thorn in their side.   Just keep bothering them until it is easier to deal with you than to brush you off.   The VA is not there to serve vets.  It is there to give jobs to people and to point to and for politicians to say "Look what we are doing for our veterans".   It is a waste.    Just get your maximum money and get out down the road.

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3 hours ago, broncovet said:

I will comment, here, that I do like Robert McDonalds "ask Bob" idea, EXCEPT that this should happen at each RO.  We should have the email of each RO director, where we can email him/her with our problem, and he should have the ability to at least solve it, tho I understand its not always gonna be the result we wanted.  

BV, I agree with what you said 100% "Bob" is there for the Veteran.. But he's only one man dealing with the same people we do...  Only when he says "jump"  they do.   If we had a "Bob" at each RO,, there would be no backlogs.

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 Hey broncovet,

Like John999 mention

Keep pestering them until you get some answers or approved....

you may even drive to your RO and ask to see a supervisor in claims  and see if they will let you and talk to him about what all has happen to you during your claim process....

just be nice and Ccourteous 

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You've listed a number of options for dealing with unreasonable delays at VA.

1. Being respectful and not attacking is a good one because so many different hands (or eyes) touch a claim nowadays (and it's not usually the IRIS people). In our conference calls with Allison Hickey you would have been amazed at the defunct crap that she said constantly. She once suggested that we take individuals from the RO and go sit in each department of the VA hospitals to make sure that the waiting rooms were full and that people were being seen. That idea would have taken resources away from the Regional Office (although now some ROs are overstaffed and could do that with ease). She also suggested that VA orthopedic exams should be completed by video. When asked how the doctor could get accurate results especially on ROM she got angry. She never came up with any ideas on her own. They were always suggestions from people outside her office.

2. A 4138 asking for a status will likely not get answered. It gets scanned into an electronic file, and there could be 30 people who see it and say "someone else probably answered".

3. VSO is a good choice if your VSO knows what they are talking about. I am currently assisting a Veteran who's VSO said they are unaware of any way to get a local hearing requested when your case has just gone to BVA without notification, and you actually wanted a DRO hearing.

4. You can call the RO if you have a good number for someone. Most of the employees simply don't answer the phones if they don't recognize the number. And yes, the 800 number is mostly operated by people who read from scripts and have little idea of what you are talking about.

5. eBenefits is what I'd refer to as the Tinker Toys that keep Veterans busy while "Mommy and Daddy" talk. It's hardly ever accurate, and only really serves to raise anxiety levels.

6. You can email Bob's office. You MIGHT get a spark from that. Don't hold your breath though. I have dealt with Bob, and my opinion of him is very low where Veterans are concerned. You can also try the Acting Undersecretary, Danny Pummill, but good luck there too. He seems to be embroiled in the scams going on in the upper management involving "moving expenses" for Kim Graves and Diana Rubens. The Deputy Secretary, Sloan Gibson, will also do no good.

7. Congressional Inquiries... I hold no dog in the political fight, but I can tell you first hand that this is truly futile. They still want your vote though after you get a canned reply from their office that says "VA is diligently working on all claims in the order of receipt" or "VA is attempting to gather all needed evidence to make an accurate decision on your claim". BS....all of it.

8. Berta may be your best suggestion of all.

9. The RO Director is, in all of my experience, a political hat. We had one that might have actually looked into your case but he has long since retired into private life. The current Director here is honestly a waste of space with all of his talk and absolutely no action.

10. Going to the RO in person is a shot in the dark. Some live too far from their RO for one, and you never know exactly who your going to deal with when you do go.

11. A Writ of Mandamus... If you have an Appeal pending and a private attorney then the threat of one of these will some action. May not be what you want, and it may not end up to your satisfaction though.

12. Is there actually something "not" listed?

When I was in a tight position with a claim that I could not get moved personally (from another team) I would simply give out an email and phone number to someone located at Central Office. They weren't a high ranking person, but they would get tired after about 2 or 3 calls, and an email would come down from CO to move a certain claim along as swiftly as possible. I also made certain not to give that number out if the end result at that point would be detrimental to the Veteran.

I still have access to plenty of numbers and emails as well as indirect access to the VBMS system that VA uses. I believe I can still have requests made through DPRIS (Defense Personnel Records Information System) which is what VA uses to obtain personnel files for Veterans who were released after certain years.

The short answer is that if you are having an unreasonable delay with your claim at VA then there are very few things that can be done short of being listed as Terminal, having ALS, Winning the Medal of Honor, or being a Former POW. I can't even guarantee that those things will move your claim along anymore. I know for sure that being Homeless is losing effectiveness.

As I said in one of my shows, there is no "Magic Bullet". If your RO is the Waco or Boise office then I have direct ties that I can try in order to help out. I can help with the other offices too, but in a little more limited capacity. The VA is not in the business of helping Veterans anymore. They are in the numbers business. It's a song and dance game now , and one of the reasons I got out when I did.

I now I have notes on legal pads all over my little home office (third bedroom) that I use to constantly help Veterans. For now I am batting a .600, but there could be a slump at any time.

 

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