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Shawnkatt1

Should we seek legal representation?

Question

In February,  2017, my husband had a video conference with a Decision Review Officer out of Huntington,  West Virginia regarding his appeal. 

He's seeking to overturn a Raynaud's denial,  and increase his Fibro rating.

We have a Nexus letter supporting both,  and his C&P clearly states the Raynauds is related to the  fibro, and "was more likely than not,  related to his service in the Gulf War."

He was "represented" by his appointed VA rep,  who is the only choice for our area.  The rep showed up with an empty file folder with my husband's name on it.  I'm a paralegal by trade,  so I had two,  5-inch binders of records that were tabbed and indexed - needless to say,  we felt poorly represented,  but fortunately we were prepared.

The DRO that was to hear the case was out sick.   The hearing was 2 hours late in starting. 

At one point during the hearing, the officer asked my husband "what it would take as far as compensation to make him happy"... naturally he was caught off guard and said he wasn't prepared to put a $$ sign on his disability. 

Is that type of question normally asked during hearings?  

She also indicated she might "require" him to do another C&P exam.  I inquired as to why he would need another C&P, and she really didn't have a solid answer. 

Can they require another C&P? Especially if a prior C&P supported his claim? 

The hearing was bizarre in my opinion - so I wanted to get the transcripts (written,  and the recording).  We sent the proper FOIA forms in,  return receipt of course,  and they were received by the VA in May of 2017. A copy of our request is showing in my husband's file,  but we've received nothing. 

Does anyone have experience with requesting transcripts? Should we have received them by now (6months since requested)?

We've obviously heard nothing about my husbands appeal,  and the only thing the rep has told us is "the Huntington office has put aside all regular disability claims and appeals to focus their attention on those vets that have elected to use RAMP."

We have elected to not use RAMP.

We're considering an attorney at this point,  but I'm not sure what,  if anything,  they could do considering where we are in the process. 

Any suggestions,  and guidance would be greatly appreciated! 

 

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An attorney can only help you so much, they can file a writ of mandamus if your case is being stalled.  That said I think I might consider an attorney when you have been so misused by your rep.  They keep 20% but 80% of an award is better than 100% of nothing.  I used an attorney after the VA started pulling shenanigans in my case.  They got my case moving when it was stuck in the mud a couple of times.  It helps when they can just call the BVA, something your rep will not be able to do.  The second C&P if they already have a positive C&P is illegal, they cannot get a C&P to give negative evidence against a good C&P.  You should have received your transcript by now I believe.

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Shawnkatt 1,

WE NEED MORE INFORMATION OR A MORE CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT ALL HAS HAPPEN WITH YOUR HUBBYS CASE?

As I understand your hubby was scheduled a DRO Hearing at his  VA Regional Office or via Video Conference....either way

When you guys got there  OR HOOK UP TO VIDEO & found out the DRO that was to hear your hubbys case was out sick ect,,ect,,

,2 hours later they found a DRO??

Anywayz

If your DRO was out sick and it took 2 hours for the Hearing to begin..sounds like they found another DRO to hear your case and it sounds like to me this DRO never read your hubby records or your C-File...if so he should have rescheduled the Hearing at a later date to have time to read about the case.

 And no the DRO is not suppose to ask your hubby how much compensation would make him happy?.

unless he/she was speaking off record and just being silly as in general conversation ,if he/she was serious  then that's not being a professional 

to continue the hearing

He should have introduced him self and ask questions as for as if you are Represented or Not and by whom.? how the hearing will be conducted, ect,,,ect,, and he needed to let you know he has or as not read your hubby case  and will use your evidence in making a decision or rescheduled the hearing at a later date so he can read up on your hubby case  ect,,,ect,,

They are there for a reason and that's to look at any evidence you have and read any existing evidence  and make a decision based on the evidence alone and to see the veteran in person as to Identify his disability up close.  if its a physical disability and not mental.

DRO's have the Authority to render a decision then and there , if they can find the evidence in favor for your hubby.

If you never recieved a decision then your case is still in appeals .

if you did get a decision then SOC should be sent with the decision, along with the reasons and bases of the decision  or What We Decided''.

a copy of the hearing transcript should been sent with the decision.along with instructions as to how to continue the Appeals process, usually at this stage  Form 9 to the BVA.if denied.

if you never received anything?  from the VA, maybe its time to seek a law dog and explain your situation with all your documented records &  with the C&P Favorable report.

if your hubby has not sent off for his C-FILE I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU GUYS DO THAT ASAP. and review it closely.

This case looks like it can be a CUE...a good Experienced Attorney or Experienced VA CLAIMS REP like Alex Graham can help you guys.

you can check with Alex at Asknod.org..I don't have his business  email address sorry.

Edited by Buck52

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If  I  were you I would file an IRIS complaint. There is a recent IRIS topic here on how to do that.

If that fails to bring any results as to the transcript- then

I would call the White House hot line-

1-855-948-2311

I cued my VARO ( via IRIS) in 2005 for a double dro review-because the DRO did not read my IMO, and it was never listed as evidence

My vet rep showed up for the review and I told him to get my IMO (which he had copy of) into the record.

I got the same DRO for the double DRO review, he handed her the IMO and she handed it back to him and said she couldn't read it.

I was furious when he told me that- ' but' he said, I did get another C & P ordered for you' 

I said, if the DRO could not read an IMO how the hell could they read another  C & P exam result?

I got another lousy C & P exam, another IMO to knoclk  that down ,ignored again and I decided to let it go to the BVA.I was in college at the time and had enough lengthy battles with them in the past as it was -

The BVA can read. They awarded the claim.

These days however I would continue to call CUE on them-for anything similar and have done that many times since.

I dont see this as a CUE at all yet. 

But can you scan and attach their Reasons and Bases for the denial? And the evidence list they used?

(Cover C file, name, address prior to scanning it)

There could be a CUE in the denial. And this "dro" might have been someone without DRO qualifications.

That would not surprise me-

after all -unqualified C & P examiners opine on our claims all the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Berta
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Altho Im a big fan of attorney representation having won tens of thousands of dollars paying almost no attorney fees, this isnt a good time for you to hire one.  At the VARO/DRO level, an attorney wont help you much.  I suggest you do as Berta and Buck suggested.  

The best time to hire an attorney is right after a BVA decision.   Reason:  At the cavc, the veteran almost always gets his attorney fees paid by eaja.  Since you are only talking about 1 or 2 years retro, it will be hard for you to hire one.  An attorney does not want to repesent Veterans for peanuts, then take a chance he will never get paid if the claim fails.  

Read the nexus AGAIN.  Did the doc say he reviewed your file (if not, its a poor nexus)?   Did the doc doing your nexus specialize in this type of medicine?    The VA does not want the opinion of a phd in basketball for your back pain.  

Check the other 2 caluza elements (diagnosis . and in sevice event or aggravation).  Also check your pre service physical to see if you said you had that malady prior to service.  Your pre service physical, even tho it may be wrong, is given the presumption of regularity.  

You can get help here on hadit.

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Ha slice and 63Charlie, 

you are absolutely right. All of you have been right. I believed the Army, then the VA, then the VFW in 1983, then the POS DAV, and dumped those (undercover VA employees), after their lies, then I went back and thought maybe the VFW was smarter than it was in 1983. NOPE-NOT AT ALL.  They are practically useless, but stock a lot of forms instead of getting them from the internet. 

When I get over this illness, and if I can, I will actively seek legal representation. The scumbags have ruined so many lives, and there is no wonder the country is a mess. The whole GD Government is totally corrupt. They took advantage of us less informed and trusting believers, but f them. They told too many lies. I think I am done bitching and am moving on to litigation. Thanks to everyone. 

Victor ray

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