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Suggestions needed for new Representation


Ronc531

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Would like to change the person that is representing me, not happy at all with him.

I live in Alaska so limited local choices, any recommendations? I know it will depend on the person I get but I am sure some places are better than others. 

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Many of us have learned, as claimants, that WE are the best vet rep we will ever get.

I went over briefly your last post and this might take an IMO/IME , but by all means appeal the decision and tell them why you feel they are wrong.

Go to the VA Schedule of Ratings link in the topic list, first, and check the ratings for the diagnostic codes they gave you- to include the scar ratings, and if your evidence warrants a higher rating by all means appeal it and refer them to the VA SRD info.

11 surgeries?????   were they all for the knee problems?

BTW I hate to recommend costly IMO/IMEs- but I do not advise that without having done that myself. I spent 4,000 bucks and then even paid for 1,400 or maybe that was more, for an additional opinion, but the award came before the additional opinion was done.

I won all of my claims at the RO level except that one.(BVA) and like MANY claims, at the BVA,  it could have been won at the RO level.

An Independent Medical Opinion from a specialist is often the most thorough reading of your medical records that you will ever get.

 

 

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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15 hours ago, Berta said:

Many of us have learned, as claimants, that WE are the best vet rep we will ever get.

I went over briefly your last post and this might take an IMO/IME , but by all means appeal the decision and tell them why you feel they are wrong.

Go to the VA Schedule of Ratings link in the topic list, first, and check the ratings for the diagnostic codes they gave you- to include the scar ratings, and if your evidence warrants a higher rating by all means appeal it and refer them to the VA SRD info.

11 surgeries?????   were they all for the knee problems?

BTW I hate to recommend costly IMO/IMEs- but I do not advise that without having done that myself. I spent 4,000 bucks and then even paid for 1,400 or maybe that was more, for an additional opinion, but the award came before the additional opinion was done.

I won all of my claims at the RO level except that one.(BVA) and like MANY claims, at the BVA,  it could have been won at the RO level.

An Independent Medical Opinion from a specialist is often the most thorough reading of your medical records that you will ever get.

 

 

Thank you for your advice, yes all of my 12 surgeries were for the same service related problem on my rt knee. 

For many years I just felt lucky that they took responsibility for my knee and paid for all of the surgeries. I was only rated 10% for 40 years but happy they took care of my knee. My knee was bad for so long it has caused a number of other issues that need to be addressed.

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I started my claim in 2002 (17 years ago) and I learned a few things on the way.  (By the way its not done yet, but Im appealing only the effective dates and SMC.  I have my 100 percent, since 2004.  

   Change your rep only with caution.  You would need to have a compelling reason, since you are in the middle of claims.  

   Dont go in with high expectations from your VSO.  They probably wont read your file.  And they certainly wont return your phone calls.  I had 2 VSO calls returned out of about 20 over 17 years..about 5 percent of the time they return calls.  

   As Berta said, be your own VSO.  You have much more interest in your claim than they ever will.  

   My advice unless there is a compelling reason..keep your representative.  If you get a new one, you will likely get a rookie, or an old pro with a poor reputation.  You see, the experienced ones with great reputations will be so busy they will have to pass you to someone else.  You will be trading one set of faults for another.  At least, it sounds like you know what this guys faults are..and the new guy..well you wont know his faults yet.   You will find out his faults, however, soon enough..the hard way. 

     Now, if this guy is throwing away your documents he was supposed to submit to VA, or other compelling reasons, you can switch.  

    At my VA, there are a "row" of VSO offices in my VAMC.  DAV, VFW, etc.  I think there are 4 or 5.  So, if you do go to a different VSO, dont bad mouth your old one.  They may be friends.  Just tell him you want a new VSO because you cant get a hold of the last one.  (If that is the case, which happens 95 percent of the time).  

    Give him your POA.  Then, do most of the stuff yourself, and let him get credit for it.  That is what they want.  

     If you have a choice, get a rookie VSO.  Few of them know how to tie their shoes anyway, but they probably will try hard.  

     The old disgruntled pro with the poor reputation is your worst choice.  There is probably a reason why he has a bad reputation and you dont want to find out that reason by costing you money.  

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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There are 10 (so far) "multiple knee surgery" claims at the BVA filed under Section 1151.

https://www.index.va.gov/search/va/bva_search.jsp?QT=1151&EW=multiple+knee+surgeries&AT=&ET=&RPP=10&DB=2019&DB=2018&DB=2017&DB=2016&DB=2015&DB=2014&DB=2013&DB=2012&DB=2011&DB=2010&DB=2009&DB=2008&DB=2007&DB=2006&DB=2005&DB=2004&DB=2003&DB=2002&DB=2001&DB=2000&DB=1999&DB=1998&DB=1997&DB=1996&DB=1995&DB=1994&DB=1993&DB=1992

11 surgeries for the same knee is highly suggestive of VA malpractice .

There is considerable info here under our FTCA and 1151 forum-I am a successful FTCA/1151er -

and I suddenly became involved yesterday with a major malpractice issue-not here---so my time here will be quite limited.....for the next few weeks---

Others here can help you on this- The 10% sounds ludicrous.

You need to claim all of the complications and disabilities this knee problem has caused you.

Are you willing to consider getting an independent medical opinion?

It could be costly but then again, if this is preventing you from working, a section 1151 award could help reimburse the cost of an IMO.

Unfortunately many vet reps and VSO do not have a clue on 1151 issues and claims.

I am sure many here, by now, do have a clue.

Here are the 1151 regulations:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/38/1151

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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Hi there, sorry to hear about your VSO experience.  I'm a VA accredited attorney based in Washington, DC.  Happy to review your situation, feel free to reach out to me directly.  If you're already represented by an attorney then please disregard.    

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This is a granted 1151 claim  for knee surgery:

"ORDER Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151 for a left knee condition is granted, subject to the laws and regulations governing monetary awards."

https://www.va.gov/vetapp11/files4/1138513.txt

This decision shows what I mean about secondary conditions:

"The record indicates that the veteran has long-standing 
complaints of discomfort in the low back.  While a VA 
examination conducted in 1994 diagnosed only a history of low 
back pain, a diagnosis of lumbosacral strain has also been 
rendered by VA physicians and a private chiropractor.  In 
addition, a physical therapist who conducted a recent 
evaluation of the veteran's orthopedic disabilities on behalf 
of the VA strongly suggested that his low back disorder was 
aggravated by his service-connected knee disabilities.  
Moreover, VA physicians and the veteran's private 
chiropractor have indicated that the veteran's low back 
symptomatology is causally related to his service-connected 
knee disabilities.  Since that is the case, secondary service 
connection for a low back disorder is warranted.  



ORDER

Secondary service connection for a back disorder is granted."

https://www.va.gov/vetapp99/files3/9925908.txt

This was not a 1151 claim, but instead a claim -(an option you also have),  filed for higher rating of the knee problems and secondary conditions that are related to and caused or aggravated by the knee situation.

 

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Ronc- by all means please contact the attorney who just posted here-

Attorneys know all about 1151 and FTCA. 

Some of the best people I ever dealt with at VA were the attorneys at OGC- handling my FTCA issue-

they were very tough- but so was I.  Attorneys know how to READ!  And they love evidence!

Thanks rsm, for your contact info.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Ronc531 said:

Thank you for your advice, yes all of my 12 surgeries were for the same service related problem on my rt knee. 

For many years I just felt lucky that they took responsibility for my knee and paid for all of the surgeries. I was only rated 10% for 40 years but happy they took care of my knee. My knee was bad for so long it has caused a number of other issues that need to be addressed.

You only been rated for 10% on your knees for the last 40 years? 

As other have mention file increase  show medical  documentation your condition as got worse  also check into if  your knee condition may have caused  other conditions to arise  like back problems foot problems ect,,,ect,,  you will need a IMO as Ms berta mention...I am supprised you have had this Knee condition for the last 40 years.at 10%and no other Claims filed?

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Buck, thanks for helping this vet-I think you realised as I did, this might well be a serious 1151 issue-

I cant help because I will be away from the web site for a while-

But all the info I know about 1151 is here in the FTCA and 1151 forums.

You are right, that there could also be many secondarys direct due to the 10% knee problem.

He has the lawyer's contact info from member /attorney  rms esq but he has not been denied yet-

we dont even know if he has filed a new claim on all this.

 

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12 hours ago, Buck52 said:

You only been rated for 10% on your knees for the last 40 years? 

As other have mention file increase  show medical  documentation your condition as got worse  also check into if  your knee condition may have caused  other conditions to arise  like back problems foot problems ect,,,ect,,  you will need a IMO as Ms berta mention...I am supprised you have had this Knee condition for the last 40 years.at 10%and no other Claims filed?

Thanks Buck52, yes only 10% for 40 years. I did file for increases a couple of time but was declined, they made me feel like i was trying to take advantage of my knee.

it's my fault, but like i said i was happy they were picking up my medical for all of the surgeries, i regret that now but to late to do anything.

it all seems so complicated and very time consuming. they guy helping me now is not very good. my wife had to tell him that I qualified for 100% after my knee surgery and even had to give him the code.

I have a number of conditions now that I am older and would like to get coverage and full medical.

Although I did complain about some of my problems, the doctors didn't document any of them so it doesn't look like they have been an issue for long. 

Edited by Ronc531 (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, Berta said:

Buck, thanks for helping this vet-I think you realised as I did, this might well be a serious 1151 issue-

I cant help because I will be away from the web site for a while-

But all the info I know about 1151 is here in the FTCA and 1151 forums.

You are right, that there could also be many secondarys direct due to the 10% knee problem.

He has the lawyer's contact info from member /attorney  rms esq but he has not been denied yet-

we dont even know if he has filed a new claim on all this.

 

I have filled for my secondary issues and i just got the notification, that's why I just joined here. I was hoping to get some advice.

They gave me 20% for each foot/chin, i have neuropathy for both legs. they gave me 10% for left knee extension but denied everything else. I don't understand how they can take responsibility for all of my scarring after 12 surgeries but deny any compensation. 

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17 hours ago, rsm-esq said:

Hi there, sorry to hear about your VSO experience.  I'm a VA accredited attorney based in Washington, DC.  Happy to review your situation, feel free to reach out to me directly.  If you're already represented by an attorney then please disregard.    

Thanks, i am going to talk with my wife about changing and see how she feels. how would i get a hold of you? I don't have any money so wouldn't be able to pay much.

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I am going to have to check my notification here, I didn't see any notifications of the new replies to my post.

thanks everyone.

is it best to start new posts if I have other questions or should i just stay on my original post and ask new questions?

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Like I said before it all seems so complicated, I can see why people just give up. so many forms and in's and outs, and appeals to getting your rating. 

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It does get complicated...I suggest you hire an EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY or VA ACCREDITED CERTIFIED CLAIMS AGENT.

seems like they have low-balled you.

Did any of these surgery's keep you from working  or any other condtion's these surgery's possible caused?and are you still working   ect,,,ect,,

Request your C-File first thing and your military records  in-service and medical records, look on Myheathevet for any  notes the VA Dr's have written up in there medical reports  that may help your claims.

you may want to check on the 1151 claims   after 40 years and your only 10% something sure don't seem right.

Seems that knee surgery would complicate things  for you for secondary claims?

I will be gone most of the day  at the VAMC  but other members on here can help you  broncovet and Vetquest are very good with helping veterans and have experienced some of this that you are experiencing .

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9 hours ago, Ronc531 said:

Like I said before it all seems so complicated, I can see why people just give up. so many forms and in's and outs, and appeals to getting your rating. 

If you notice, in the lower left hand corner of your post or reply, there is a little circle and an x and next to it Notify me of replies. Check the x and you will get an email whenever there is a reply to your post. I can really appreciate your feelings of being overwhelmed by the complication of this claim stuff. I originally filed in 1978 and was turned down, felt humiliated and ashamed that I'd even applied. That was a big mistake on my part. One thing I've learned with the VA is never give up. I too hired an attorney, and surprisingly after I did, I was awarded 50%. I'd been turned down before. I did have to pay out of the settlement I got, but it's better paying 30% than getting nothing. Good luck!

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16 hours ago, Buck52 said:

It does get complicated...I suggest you hire an EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY or VA ACCREDITED CERTIFIED CLAIMS AGENT.

seems like they have low-balled you.

Did any of these surgery's keep you from working  or any other condtion's these surgery's possible caused?and are you still working   ect,,,ect,,

Request your C-File first thing and your military records  in-service and medical records, look on Myheathevet for any  notes the VA Dr's have written up in there medical reports  that may help your claims.

you may want to check on the 1151 claims   after 40 years and your only 10% something sure don't seem right.

Seems that knee surgery would complicate things  for you for secondary claims?

I will be gone most of the day  at the VAMC  but other members on here can help you  broncovet and Vetquest are very good with helping veterans and have experienced some of this that you are experiencing .

Thanks Buck52, yes I am working. some of my surgeries were scoped and i was off work for a couple weeks some they had to go in and lay my knee wide open to get all of the tumors out, thoughs laid me off work for a while, but in my younger days always tried to bounce back as fast as I could.

Part of my problem is that a number of my surgeries were done by private doctor in private hospitals and honestly I don't remember some of their names. I was surprised that the VA can't find my records since they authorised and paid for everything. All i have been able to find is what I had done in Alaska at the VA hospital. 

I moved around a lot in my younger days so I had things done in different towns and different states.

I have neuropathy in both legs, a bad rt knee, bad left knee, my thigh is numb and i have been told that is probably my sciatic (sp back thing) nerve, diabetic, sleep apnea, and bad arthritis in my hands.

I do think this is all connected to my rt knee. I had to faver my knee and lean on my left knee for years, and having a hard time being able to workout i am overweight and diabetic which is one of the causes of neuropathy.  the arthritis in my hands may not have anything to do with the rt knee.

Sorry for rambling on here but helps to get it out sometimes.

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my wife had to tell him that I qualified for 100% after my knee surgery and even had to give him the code."

Did you actually get the temporary convalesence 100 %  pay? 

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if you have both Knees service connected  you need to find all your medical records that you have had private and VA..you need to call the VA s and the private sector and request your medical records...medical records is our evidence as to what we may claim as a condition that disabled us  sort-of -speak !!

so  am assuming your knee or both knees was service connected 40 years ago?

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On 5/10/2019 at 2:53 AM, Berta said:

my wife had to tell him that I qualified for 100% after my knee surgery and even had to give him the code."

Did you actually get the temporary convalesence 100 %  pay? 

Yes, for 13 months now

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