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Improper Rating Reduction OIG investigation

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PintoRacer

Question

I am looking for a way or contacts to get the VA OIG to open an investigation in to rating reductions.  I will be mailing this to my U.S. Representatives and any media organization I can get to listen. 

Below is the letter and statistics from the BVA Decision Website that is proof of rating reductions are being done with out observance to the law. 

My Letter. 

August 14, 2019

Re: Unwarranted Reexaminations leads to Improper Disability Rating Reductions for Stabilized Ratings under CFR 3.344 (a) and (b)

I write this letter with some concern of retaliation from the Veterans Administration. While researching a rating reduction on my VA disability claim I found statistically significant data that nearly 70% of all rating reductions are not made in accordance with CFR 3.344(a) and (b) for stabilized ratings. Trending towards 80% for 2019. The data is easily verifiable on the public facing web site for Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) decisions with some simple queries.

In July 2018, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled “Unwarranted Medical Reexaminations for Disability Benefits”. I quote a key statement from that report:


”The reexaminations resulted in proposed benefit reductions for about 3,700 veterans. After the review period, these proposed reductions remained subject to a final decision and an appeal process; therefore, the review team did not make a determination on whether these reductions were justified.”

I felt I was harmed by these unwarranted exams which led to improper unjustified rating reductions for my claim. But what I didn't know was how many other Veterans were also affected by improper rating reductions until I began querying BVA decisions. The BVA, through it's decisions, has confirmed the Regional Office must comply with CFR 38 CFR §3.344 (a) and (b) for Stabilized Ratings the same way it should have been complying with 38 CFR §3.327 for Reexaminations for Stabilized Ratings. A Stabilized Rating is one that has been in effect for more than 5 years. Unfortunately the BVA data reflects the Regional Office has continued the same improper strategy to reduce veterans benefits for many years now. The BVA considers these rating decisions to be improper, made with out observance to the law for stabilized ratings under 38 CFR §3.344 and void ab intio, but only if appealed. The VA gets away with these illegal reductions it if the veteran does not appeal. Please help stop this malfeasance.

In many cases these improper individual rating reductions are made when the overall compensation is not reduced and due process is not required. The veteran may never appeals the individual rating because he or she is afraid and intimidated his overall compensation will be reduced or eliminated with a 5 year wait for the BVA to correct the error. I personally do not believe an 80% error rate is a mistake by the Regional Office. I contend it is a illegal strategy to defraud veterans of their hard earned benefits. I therefore respectively request my U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to request an VA OIG investigation into the improper and illegal reduction in individual disability ratings for stabilized ratings under 38 CFR §3.344.

Respectfully,

My name 

 

BVA STATS 

BVA STATS for 38 C.F.R 3.344 – Stabilized Ratings 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
             
Total BVA Decisions for the past five years. 40997 87917 61245 48547 54511 52538
             
Total BVA Decisions where 38 C.F.R. 3.344 was applied. 554 1080 552 447 572 465
Percentage of Total Appeals where 3.344 was applied. 1.35% 1.23% 0.90% 0.92% 1.05% 0.89%
             
Improper Reductions for Stabilized Ratings            
Query: (3.344 AND "was improper" AND "void ab initio") 103 165 97 63 83 75
Query: (3.344 AND "was not proper" AND "void ab initio") 98 137 80 61 81 34
Query: (3.344 AND "was not proper") NOT (void,ab,initio) 93 204 79 71 75 70
Query: (3.344 AND "was improper") NOT (void,ab,initio) 144 238 98 78 87 71
             
Regional Office Improper Reductions for 5 year Stabilized Ratings. 438 744 354 273 326 250
Regional Office Error rate for 5 year Stabilized ratings. 79.1% 68.9% 64.1% 61.1% 57.0% 53.8%
             
Total proper reductions            
Query:(3.344 NOT "was not proper" NOT "was improper" NOT "void ab initio") 150 367 206 161 227 205

 

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Do you really think your writing a letter is going to help. The the Congress, and I dare say the President or at least his staff knows this information.....I doubt the VA IG is going to be of any help.. the VA published this information, its not like they are trying to hide it... IG's  only investigates illegal or questionable activities... Its my opinion that your just spinning your wheels but I wish you luck... what ever the outcome of your inquiry. 

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I filed for aid and attendance on the advice of my neurologist who filled out the proper paperwork, as did my primary care doctor.  I did not know that filling out that paper work would then send me to new CP exams FOR EVERY SINGLE THING I am service connected for.  As soon as I realized this I was like okay, wanna play that game, I am going to file for the things that I haven't filed for that I should have.  I was IU PT and all my ratings were over 5 years old, most over 10.  The condition my neuro filled out my aid and attendance for I was sent to a general pracitioner for and he also did an exam for a surgery that was also already sc for a finger.  That exam lasted less than 5 minutes, outside provider through I can't remember who.   I as denied any SMC and sent a letter to propose my rating from 50 to 0, which my neuro for over 8 years was saying I needed aid and attendance for??? and this quack was saying is rated at 0% YEAH okay.  I freaked.  Another exam for a new condition I hadn't claimed the examiner at the VA filled it out as if it was horrible and not only fit the rating criteria for 60% but would impact my ability to work.  NOT SERVICE CONNECTED, why?  I had too many babies........except I complained about it in service BEFORE I had children.  I freaked out, I had 2 kids in college using chapter 35, I have severe PTSD and going to a hearing isn't something I can handle honestly.  I got out my evidence of my in service treatement of conditions, my cp exams, the proposal to reduce and I attached them with a very well written and clear email written to every high up person within the VA I could think of and emailed it to every single one of them.  I had an email back within days telling me I would hear from my RO wtihin 2 weeks.  I received an apology, my proposal for reduction was stopped and my mh cp exam was thrown out and I was given a new one by an outside provider, which increased it to 70%, they added the 60% rating as they should have.  They deferred a couple things  and I ultimately did get sc on all but one and I am filing a CUE about  another.  My first objective was to stop the reduction which was clearly bs and not within guidelines.  If I had listened to all the people giving me advice I would have been a basket case honestly.  My VSO honestly after it was all said and done was impressed that I was able to get done something he had never seen before.  I don't bother with my congressman, his staff is useless and they know less than I do and he is a veteran and a physician.  How sad is that?   They actually don't give a crap about us except for talking points and votes, we don't have enough lobbying money to care about.  It is kinda pathetic that if a post 9/11 veteran has their caregiver apply for benefits their entire claim doesn't get opened up and scrutinized but the rest of us, somehow we have to then prove yet again that we are still disabled, for a few hundred bucks.  OH and they still haven't opened up the caregiver program to those Vietnam era vets and older yet, no one seems to be upset about that???? We should be! That was supposed to happen 2 months ago.  They can come up with all sorts of social media crap and apps but not a program for caregivers.  I don't buy it for a second. 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Seminoles, good for you!

You know, Vync uses a saying in his responses that goes "If it's stupid, but works, then it isn't stupid." I kinda like thinking outside the box sometimes.

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2 minutes ago, GBArmy said:

Seminoles, good for you!

You know, Vync uses a saying in his responses that goes "If it's stupid, but works, then it isn't stupid." I kinda like thinking outside the box sometimes.

When you are up against an government entity like the VA that doesn't bother to follow their own rules, well then I choose to do whatever I have to in order to ensure that I don't get screwed.  Plain and simple. 

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On 8/14/2019 at 7:59 PM, Richard1954 said:

I dare say the President or at least his staff knows this information

sorry richard, I seriously doubt that either this president or his staff know this or care enough to learn this.

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22 hours ago, GeekySquid said:

sorry richard, I seriously doubt that either this president or his staff know this or care enough to learn this.

Trust me... they know it... they may not care but they know it....

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