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VSO


JWegg

Question

I've been appealing my claim since 2010 and now ebenefits shows  it's with my VSO ( DAV) since 1/2016.  At first I couldn't get  a return call from the regional office so I emailed the HQ office. So I received a call from the regional telling me that she couldn't give a timetable of when my appeal might be sent back  to the board. This appeal has  been one thing after another. I never received the decision packets  that  ebenefits shows were sent as each step of the appeal being completed, so I filed a FOI for  them still  no packets ebenefits shows that my request as overdue of being filled.   I want to file another claim but I'm wondering if that claim would be slowed up as well as delaying my appeal further. Do  VSO's have any timetables whenit comes to appeals?

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JWegg:

I wrote about my negative experiences some time ago with my American Legion VSO as I was a novice concerning VBA Disability processes, the law,  how to formulate a good disability claim. What I found was the "Forrest Gump"  Experience in terms of filing for disabilities. The VA disability process is like a "box of chocolates", you never know what you are going to get-when selecting a VSO-that is! For me, my VSO was just an input clerk and had very little knowledge of the VA disabilities process nor did she even try to learn? She liked to shoot from the hip and speak as an authority but after closer inspection her answers were only correct about 50% of the time. So to educate myself, I watched a really great Video on YouTube about the VA Fully Developed Claims (FDC) Process. So, when I came back and met with her about my own strategy for processing my first claim to ask questions, I was floored that she did not know much? So, I did a lot of research about VSOs and learned that there are some very good ones and also some very bad ones? The main thing is that there is no VSO education or formal certification process, so just about anyone can call themselves a VSO? Unfortunately, my VSO gave me a lot of bad advice which I'm still paying in terms of denied contentions that I'm trying to correct. The "stick that broke the camels back" is when I turned in my disabilities package "hard copy" to her and it sat on her desk for almost a week? So, I asked why and she said she was busy but every time I went by the office, singed-in and waited  a long time for her, I could hear her gossiping with someone in an outer office?  So, I said "please let me have my own package back" and I fed-exd it to the VBA Regional office.  Frankly, that's when I decided to fire her to took back control of my own case because I knew that she was not going to be much help. This was the smartest move I could make.

So, I started doing extensive research and work in terms of reviewing the VA/VBA  regulations for  disability filing requirements and viewed hadit.com and Youtube whihc were a godsend for me. I attribute a lot of my success to many of the regular contributors to hadit.com. As a result,  my first claim was 80% which quickly turned into 90% and I'm working towards 100% now-getting to 100% is very tough. Anyway, I showed my disability package to a Chief C&P doctor and he said that it was one of the best packages that he had seen in 25 years?  But I learned that it all takes hard work and a great deal of personal perseverance and effort to be successful and the process is very stressful. Let's face it no one is going to care more about your claim than you do?  Also, there's no question that there are also a lot of excellent VSOs out there that are aggressive, educated and highly motivated. But I can only say action speaks louder than words and putting your fate into someone else's hands is a big deal. So if you pick someone (VSO), do your homework and make sure they are good and check multiple sources. Frankly, the way it works for most is that you go to to the VSO Office, sign in and then they randomly get assigned someone for you anyway. So, it;s just the luck of the draw of whom you get -but may have a big affect on the final outcome of your claim? For instance, if you get someone that is way overworked and has "piles of files" in their office, you'll always be behind the power curve and your claim may take a very long time as they get a chance to work on it when they can?  

My advice, take your fate into your own hands now to get educated and go to the Vet forums like hadit.com, Asknod and a host of others to find the disabilities  discussion forums that match your own disability contentions and learn as much as you can about them. Most vets have had the same issues over and over again that you are going to face anyway, so learn from them and ask questions if you need help? Otherwise, you could find yourself in a long up hill battle for years trying to get what you already deserve in terms of medical care and compensation. Also, you need to learn specifically about range of motion (ROM) and how it is measured for different body parts and with regard to painful motion. This is an area that I have had to fight myself. Also, never-ever give up, it's a long road and many just give up and blame the "system" for their misfortune -those who don't usually win in the end. 

Anyway, Goodluck and Godspeed Rootbeer22

 

 

 

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 "it's with my VSO ( DAV) since 1/2016" He ort someone else is preparing a 646, I assume.

The 646 is useless most of the time.

This is a VSO's chance to raise more argument and mention any evidence the VA has ignored.

However the BVA hardly ever mentions any 646s that impacted on their  decision.

Rootbeer is right. There are many good VSOs out there. They are overwhelmed and overworked and many burn out fast.

This is a remand I assume?

Have you been able to help satisfy the remand yourself with any evidence for what the claim was remanded for?

 

 

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I believe that I have and yes this is a remand that back to the regional to appeal board then to my VSO. Everytime I check my file location it shows it as being with  my VSO at the board. All the document I sent to the AMC shows as being unsoliciated. But  since I haven't  received  anything from VA or DAV since then I'm lost about my claim.

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E-Benefits never seems to have the most correct status's for claims. A lot of the time, it is just wrong.  I am a CVSO, I log into the systems and in SEP or VVA, I can see who looked at the Efile last, where it is, and what is going on. I will NEVER be able to tell you anything, when it comes to a timeline as the VA has no timeline.

 As a CVSO, I advise and assist. I don't work at the VARO, so I cant speak for the VSO's at the VARO's but the AL, VFW and DAV folks there are very much so overworked. Many of them are great but if you want someone who can dedicate 20 or more hours on just your claim, you need to go to a CVSO or someone else. They don't have the time to dedicate that much time in one sitting and as such, it takes a long time to get all of the research done.

 2. MOST vets just bring us a page or two OR several hundred pages of medical records and say they want to file a claim for something and they left the service more than 20 years ago. AYFKM?  You want ME to do ALL of the work?  These claims, I will sit on. I will work them when I can.  YOU as a vet, should go through your medical records and pull out the pages that are pertinent to your claim. You should also go ahead and already have/have requested the records from NON VA care. I cant start your claim and then wait for you to get them...whenever... and then dedicate all sorts of time finishing it. Bring me something at least partly done. This will save me considerable time. You know your injuries and what happened in service far better than me.

I will never put less than my maximum in claims preparation. However, if your claim requires a weeks worth of labor, it might take a while as I have TONS of other things to do as well. You are your best advocate but you also need to be responsible for your stuff as well.

NO VSO knows everything....we are trained in most things. the rest, we learn as we are exposed to it. No two claims are identical and require significantly different things, even if both are 'ischemic heart disease' they will still have everything else different.

Yes, some VSO's are better than others and the good ones have stacks and stacks of files on their desk and in their drawers. If you want an excellent claims prep, you need to do some of the busy work yourself first. We can look at what you have and help by making changes and telling you what you should find or how your doc should write your nexus or current diagnosis letters. But your doc and I cant talk about you to each other. This is where you need to take charge.

 

Your successful claim is just as much your responsibility and time as it is your VSO's. If you have unrealistic expectations, ie. they will dedicate ridiculous time to you alone, then you already lost your claim. am I a jerk..yes. Do I sit on some claims? yes. they take time and with a 0966 filed, I have a year to get it in. Will I put best effort into your claim? YES!. Can you, the vet, help? You MUST...     I'm good, I get claims passed (~60%). BUT...Many are denied. I can only send in what you give me. If you give me garbage and expect a miracle, you will be disappointed.

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