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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Guest jangrin

Vike 17- What Exactly Is The Process?

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Guest jangrin

Vike 17,

It is fairly apparent that you have had or currently have exposure and experience in the VA claims process. It would be really nice if you would take a few minutes and explain the claim process (ideally the process) the typical claim takes through the VA maze and the steps it takes to be processed and granted. Start to Finiah.

I understand that their are many problems and things don't go smoothly, but having an idea of what happens and typically how long it should take and how many different people are assigned to each file and who makes the detrmination.

You know what I mean, the flow chart of a typical claim. It would be most helpful. And please who are those people who answer the 800# and the IRIS inquiries. Why so many different answers to questions that contradict each other? Help us out here maybe with some addtional knowledge we can be more productuive and help unclog the VA claims systems by doing our part more completely or something.

Thank you

Jangrin

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Vike, I think 3.103 is clear. The purpose of a hearing is to allow a CLAIMANT, in person, to present argument etc............. VBA will not normally schedule a hearing for the sole purpose of receiving argument from a REPRESENATIVE. I think the intent of the law in this area, since it is concerning the claimants due process rights is that the VA will and must meet with the CLAIMANT for any purpose, however, if a howdy doody VSO just wants to argue some point, oh well.........................

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Ricky,

The majority of the time when a veteran requests a hearing, their VSO attends it with them. Now, I'm sure everyone and their brother will come back and rebutt this by saying "I don't have a VSO and I was denied my rights to a hearing ect....."

The fact of the matter is, whether or not a claimant or SO request a hearing, they have to present evidence with "respect to the facts and applicable law." Many times this does not happen and a hearing becomes very subjective.

Vike 17

Edited by Vike17

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Guest jangrin
Jangrin,

While it is true a veteran can request a hearing in front of the decision makers at VA at anytime during their claim process, the VA, however, "will not normally schedule a hearing for the sole purpose of receiving argument from a representative" The purpose of a hearing is "to permit the claimant to introduce into the record, in person, any available evidence which he or she considers material and any arguments or contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law which he or she may consider pertinent" Now, you may say this somewhat contradictory because the regulation states that the purpose of the hearing is "...any arguments or contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law," but then states that a hearing won't be scheduled for the dole purpose of "receiving argument." What this means is the VA won't schedule a hearing if the veteran is just going to argue, for example, why he/she thinks a certain IMO should be afforded a certain amount of weight in the rating decion. The VA should schedule a hearing if the veteran has evidence or arguments that have a certain "applicability to the law." The words "with respect to the facts and applicable law" are the key here.

I suspect the reason why VA doesn't schedule many hearings while the claim is in its initial process, is because the veteran just wants make an argument as to why they think they should be awarded service-connection and not actually submit any pertinent evidence that have any bearing with the law. Most of the hearings would probably be really subjective in nature and not really accomplish much except for getting the blood pressure up of the veteran and giving the RVSR a headache!

The regulation for hearings is §3.103©;

"© The right to a hearing.

(1) Upon request, a claimant is entitled to a hearing at any time on any issue involved in a claim within the purview of part 3 of this chapter, subject to the limitations described in §20.1304 of this chapter with respect to hearings in claims which have been certified to the Board of Veterans Appeals for appellate review. VA will provide the place of hearing in the VA office having original jurisdiction over the claim or at the VA office nearest the claimant’s home having adjudicative functions or, subject to available resources and solely at the option of VA, at any other VA facility or federal building at which suitable hearing facilities are available. VA will provide one or more employees who have original determinative authority of such issues to conduct the hearing and be responsible for establishment and preservation of the hearing record. Hearings in connection with proposed adverse actions and appeals shall be held before one or more VA employees having original determinative authority who did not participate in the proposed action or the decision being appealed. All expenses incurred by the claimant in connection with the hearing are the responsibility of the claimant.

(2) The purpose of a hearing is to permit the claimant to introduce into the record, in person, any available evidence which he or she considers material and any arguments or contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law which he or she may consider pertinent. All testimony will be under oath or affirmation. The claimant is entitled to produce witnesses, but the claimant and witnesses are expected to be present. The Veterans Benefits Administration will not normally schedule a hearing for the sole purpose of receiving argument from a representative. It is the responsibility of the VA employee or employees conducting the hearings to explain fully the issues and suggest the submission of evidence which the claimant may have overlooked and which would be of advantage to the claimant’s position. To assure clarity and completeness of the hearing record, questions which are directed to the claimant and to witnesses are to be framed to explore fully the basis for claimed entitlement rather than with an intent to refute evidence or to discredit testimony. In cases in which the nature, origin, or degree of disability is in issue, the claimant may request visual examination by a physician designated by VA and the physician’s observations will be read into the record. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))"

Does this make sense?

Vike 17

Vike 17,

Thank you for your response to my many quaries. I do understand the right of the veteran to request a hearing. I do understand the difference in a hearing to clarify an issue or to submit evidence to support ones position as opposed to arguing the rating.

I do think that Berta might be one who could really benefit from this entitlement as she could request the hearing (to submit the IMOs that have not been officially recieved and documented as part of her evidence.

Do you think that this would be something for her to do to get official recognition of her evidence?

I suspect I may be too optomistic but what I really wanted to know is why the claims adjusters and raters did not work with the veteran when there is a question about records or the aduster is confused? Wouldn't a simple phone call or letter to the veteran to clarify or help the adjusters in sorting out the claim, dates, time, etc. It seems that the raters would rather deny a claim than ever actually ask a vet or have personal contact with the vet about the claim.

It seems that the adjusters have a duty to assist as long as they don't have to actually have any contact with the veteran. Why is it that there seems to be such animosity? Also why do we get such false information from the IRIS and 800# people. It seems the answers are always in conflict with one another from hours to hour. and one day to another.

I realize you have had access to this system from the inside and I admire the fact that you come on Hadit to help the vets. Your information is reliable and accurate. But you opinion on the VA system and the inner workings could be as revealing as understanding the regulations. You obviously know how it is suppose to work, but what I was asking is "how does it really work" and why the seperation rather than a true joint effort to make the process more user friendly?

Thanks Vike 17 I appreciate the time.

Jangrin

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Vike 17,

I suspect I may be too optomistic but what I really wanted to know is why the claims adjusters and raters did not work with the veteran when there is a question about records or the aduster is confused? Wouldn't a simple phone call or letter to the veteran to clarify or help the adjusters in sorting out the claim, dates, time, etc. It seems that the raters would rather deny a claim than ever actually ask a vet or have personal contact with the vet about the claim.

Jangrin

Jangrin,

I submitted a claim for multiple secondary conditions to my husband's DMI. Since I have received two VCAA notices. The first one was about 20 pages long. The second notice was a little more precise of the evidence and particular conditions that they needed clarification or more information on. One of their questions even said to provide more information on a particular condition and then later in the letter actually said something like: "It seems or are you claiming this condition is secondary to your service connected other condition?" With this statement they actually told me that the second conditon they had already deemed was service connected because it was one of the new conditions we claimed! I guess my point is that they were asking specific questions about my claims that they were trying to understand.

I think sometimes it depends on which office you are dealing with. So far, whoever is handling our claim seems to be doing things by the "book", in supplying us with the notices with info on what they still need to decide our claim, etc.

Brandy

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Surprisingly enough, the VARO in St. Louis contacted my buddy by phone last week. The previous week he had gotten a letter awarding increase for PTSD but deferred Sleep Apnea secondary to PTSD and TDIU.

The guy said he was the rating officer and wanted to know more info or if he had any medical records for the Sleep Apnea. My buddy told him he had sleep studies both by VAMC and IM sleep study, that the VA gave him the CPAP and showed him how to use it etc. along with the C&P and had sent them all that last May. The RO said he did not have those records and asked that he mail them to him attention his name and also stated he was going to fill out some request form to OPM for the TDIU.

So this one did actually contact the veteran and was interested in getting his claim resolved completely.

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