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Is the VA still processing claim during the Coronavirus?


rasceebp
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Hi,

Do you know if the VA is still processing claims during the coronavirus outbreak or if the offices have closed down?  My claim has been sitting in Preparation for Discussion for a week now.

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The VA uses "every excuse" to delay.  Coronavirus is a perfect excuse.  VA got themselves into trouble because they let people take a government laptop home (for work) and then they abused the priveledge and probably played video games on the government computer.  So, now, no laptops can be taken home.  

That has to slow stuff down because fewer people will be working, some will be sick with the flu and stay home, because coronavirus tests are pretty much not available.  So they have to play it safe, every time anyone has a runny nose they send em home.  (I have a runny nose most of the time).  

This said, it sounds like you have ebenefititis. 

Quote

ebenefititus:  A condition where people rely upon what ebenefit says, when they should know its unreliable, inaccurate, and not up to date.  It can cause panic, or poor decisions.  

.

I'm trying to eradicate it through education:  Dont rely on ebenefits.  

Edited by broncovet
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Raceebc Prep for decision can be in limbo for weeks; it isn't always accurate. It can go back to eval evidence, etc. Believe me, a week or two is regular occurence. You could call Peggy, but I seriously doubt they will provide any more up to date status

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  • HadIt.com Elder

They have not slowed down anything. Raters at RO's are still reporting daily IN OFFICE along with all the other people as of today, including me, starting the 30th. There is no reduction of duties. OPM has directed all agencies to authorize telework, including those people that have not done so previously, and those that may have gotten in trouble before, unless its for something egregious. 

 

If you are going to post, at least be accurate and try to keep the "va sucks, va uses all excuses" out of it. Everyone is having issues right now, its not all about you. 

Edited by brokensoldier244th
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First thing first, as far as I know there has been no official announcement about a shut down even though I have been thinking it may happen if something doesn't change.  Second, let's be real, I am quite sure that there will be some employees that will take time off sick or not sick. The it's not about you comment, my personal BVA claim has been finally granted after a twenty year fight and an IRIS response has informed me that a decision has been made, I think any person that works for VA should look at it as a veteran that has been waiting for some time and would like to know what is going on with their claim.  It's just being human.  I don't think I am being selfish.  We must realized that some people aren't getting sick.  Even if a skeleton crew is working at the ROs they could at least process the granted claims. I know I can't and won't get you to change your mind but who is really thinking it is about them by saying it is not about you other than you. So let's agree to disagree and stop promoting that VA is all good, we know better.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Im not "promoting" anything. Im laying it out factwise as I KNOW it to be. If that offends you, so be it. There is no 'skeleton' crew because there has been no work stoppage. If employees have to take time off because they are sick, or they have to deal with their kids not being in school potentially until the end of the the year deal with it. Hell, half the stores in my city are closed- and THAT IS JUST FINE. They need to do what they need to do, and you expecting people to continue to work in spite of the circumstances IS selfish. 

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OK look at it this way, does every VA employee have children that need care taking? I don't think so.  Does having a skeleton crew to come in and work sounds extreme? I don't think so.

54 minutes ago, brokensoldier244th said:

If you are going to post, at least be accurate and try to keep the "va sucks, va uses all excuses" out of it. Everyone is having issues right now, its not all about you. 

As I stated it before let's agree to disagree. There is absolutely no way you can get me to change my mind. I have been in the shoes you are about to try on and you have never been in my shoes as far as I know so by you saying that everyone is having issues doesn't negate the fact that VA SUCKS, VA USES ALL EXCUSES and if you truly believe your post it simply means you choose not to see the damage and suffering  that VA decisions has causes so many veterans.

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Its good you stick up for people that you work with, and you are right that I have only been inside my VARO ONE time.  So, I really dont know.  Of those 18 years, how many of those did you work for VA?  All 18? 

I would love to hear your reasons why it took VA 18 years to process my claim, other than the VA simply doing delay after delay, glitch after glitch.  Remember, when my 2002 claim was granted (in Feb. 2020) in appeals, this means they should have awarded it in 2002, thus the 2002 effective date.  

Well, yes, its "selfish" to expect people to work in very bad circumstances like we have now.  Please tell me, is it "selfish" for VA employees to expect their check to be on time, every time, and every glitch in their check to be fixed "by next payday", all while Veterans are waiting decades, sometimes on their check??

 

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You both are making a lot of unfounded assumptions. All I said is that, at this time, there is no skeleton crew, everyone is reporting to work and is required to do so. 

I choose not to let the experiences of a few create the perception of reality for the VA as a whole. Just because it affects you doesn't mean it affects tens of thousands of other veterans that have no problems with their claims. This site is supposed to be a helping site for veterans. How helpful is it that the first thing they see most of the time is people bitching about how the VA has screwed them over based on something that happened years ago, or based on processes that VA has since updated several times? I don't disagree that VA screws up, and I have never belittled a veteran for their issues when their claim gets screwed up, or not cared that mistakes were made. You can stow that back in your bag and chuck it. 

Yes, VA sucked harder 20, 30, 40 years ago- they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to digitize y'all's records so its not all on paper anymore, they've been farming out claim to different RO's for a few years now to clear local backlog. They cant' just hire another few thousand people thanks to Fed budget policies that took a bunch of their money and used to to create the Community Care program. They didn't alot more money, the President and Congress took it from the VA at large budget and didn't replace it for operations of the Va itself, so local clinics and hospitals all suffered huge cutbacks in available monies for personnel and supplies. 

As for employees wanting their pay fixed (where did that even come from? How is that relevant to the situation?) of course they do, no more than any other employee anywhere in any job. Joe Blow in the office pool or the mail room has nothing to do with your claim problems (raters) so why even bring it up? 

You're right, your mind is probably made up, but im damned if im going to allow the negativity in the face of TRYING to do better go unchecked when vets sign on for help and thats the first thing they see. 

Edited by brokensoldier244th
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I didn't mean for my question to spark an argument you guys.  I signed on for hope and encouragement only.  I am in a bad place and just wanted to know whether there was any sign of hope that processing was still going on.  With that being said, I was contacted by the VA today about an appointment and was told that it was canceled because the VA is closing some departments due to the virus.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

No worries, I just get flamed on here sometimes because apparently Im all gung ho no quit Harry Stamper for the VA. I'm not, but im also younger than some of these guys, so I guess you can chalk it up to A. I came up through VA while they were modernizing and ive done all my stuff on Ebenefits B. Im tech savvy, used to be an IT engineer, so electronically finding my records was not that hard for me, and what I didnt have that way I hand carried out when I outprocessed C. I've not had problems with the VA in 20 years of medical or filing. My RO is in Nebraska, though, and we dont have a huge veteran population regionally as say, California, Texas, or Florida, so things DO move faster here. 

I don't discount that other vets have issues with their claims, for a myriad variety of reasons including them being old enough to have mostly paper records, and/or having trouble navigating the VA in general with a computer or otherwise. Ill admit that there is a lot that the VA puts out publicly on their website but doesn't tell anyone about so you have to go and find stuff sometimes. Outprocessing personnel haven't really had to deal with VA since they are still active duty so for the most part  so what the hell do they know? 🙂 That being said, I try to steer people towards those sources so they can find it, I post links when I can, and in general I advocate taking as much control over your claim as you are able so that VA people dont have to find your medical records, or search through 20 years of active duty paper to find that appointment where the doctor said " blah blah....." that supports your claim. If you have your records, read them, and if you are on MyHealthVet you can read your clinic notes from past visits, too. Print that shit off or save it to PDF so you have it. That way when you file a claim you can attach the document to your E-file, or print it off and submit in on paper. If its in the actual claim its one more thing that supports your contention and one less thing that has to sit on someone's computer desktop waiting to be searched for. 

 

As for the rest, yes, VA medical side is taking various precautions with their clinics and advocating telemed whenever possible. If you have a computer and a webcam with a microphone you can even do clinical visits at home. My last to MH appointments were done this way, and ive found it a little faster to get an appointment that way. Just call your local clinic and ask about Telemed. You may end up getting assigned to a different PCP though, they don't all do telemed. 

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2 hours ago, rasceebp said:

I didn't mean for my question to spark an argument you guys.  I signed on for hope and encouragement only.  I am in a bad place and just wanted to know whether there was any sign of hope that processing was still going on.  With that being said, I was contacted by the VA today about an appointment and was told that it was canceled because the VA is closing some departments due to the virus.

Truth is truth and there can only be one truth.  There are a lot of veterans on this site and others looking for help and insight about how to proceed and win their claims.  From the respondents point of view we post from our experience with no sugar coating.  We are still getting today veterans asking for understand of how VA can deny their claim(s) while they have given VA everything VA needs to grant their claim(s) but for some reason it was denied.  Just read through a few of them.  This is not something new for VA, VA have/has been doing it for years.  Just this week I responded to a post where a veteran just got denied after having their congressmen check on their claim.  I informed them a few years ago I put in for a financial hardship case and my claim was expedited but my expedited claim was denied even though VA had the evidence. I also post that I continued to file my claims until I was granted 100% scheduler and recently won an EED CUE claim back to 1998.  This is the truth and this is current. Twenty years ago when VA denied my claim I did not have a huge file , I would say no more than less than a ream of paper and they have about 500 sheets.  I know my file had less than that so I don't know how VA missed their own VA stamped with a date prior to my denial.  I don't know how the DRO missed it. I don't know how the BVA judge that remanded it missed it after the local VARO rejected the remand and denied my claim and forced me to get a lawyer who didn't miss it and agreed with VA lawyers to remand my claim. You as the OP (original poster) must understand that many people post for different reason and some that say they want to help really don't want to help.  Take it with a grain of salt and check every avenue that will help you understand and get you the information you need.  It's crazy how you can call VA 1 800 Peggy and get one answer and wait about 2 hours and call back and get a totally different answer.  Be aware, be forwarded that everyone on this site and other sites may say they want to help but do your own homework and check the facts. I understand that it is scary out there for all workers but it is even more scarier for veterans waiting on a positive outcome about their claims

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Are VSO's with the American Legion, DAV, VFW, etc still open helping veterans with claims?

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Fat Yes, but of course you have to check them out. Try to get recommendations from your buddies on who to check out. Ask why they think they were any good. Then ask him some good questions specifically on your claim and what you want to accomplish. I always say some are better than others; some are really better than others. Be sure they have a VBMS access also; if they ask what that is, head for the door. Just because a VSO is certified doesn't mean he is really going to be of any help to you.

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On 3/17/2020 at 10:16 AM, brokensoldier244th said:

They have not slowed down anything. Raters at RO's are still reporting daily IN OFFICE along with all the other people as of today, including me, starting the 30th. There is no reduction of duties. OPM has directed all agencies to authorize telework, including those people that have not done so previously, and those that may have gotten in trouble before, unless its for something egregious. 

 

If you are going to post, at least be accurate and try to keep the "va sucks, va uses all excuses" out of it. Everyone is having issues right now, its not all about you. 

Thank you for posting.  It's nice to read some sanity here and real evidence-based opinion vs ranting about VA.  My claim has been in for going on 7 months and though I am anxious, it's nice to hear things are still progressing at the VA, the most sophisticated and integrated healthcare system in the USA.

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We have a lot of RVSRs at my RO based on the seating diagram, and the IT guy was talking shop with me because I used to be in his job somewhere else, and said they bought a metric Crapton of laptops because of all of this. Lots of people that weren’t trained as telework capable (there are are some mandatory classes you have to take) are doing it under new continuity authority and picking up the classes later. 

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I look at the Monday report and noticed that since the RO that services me closed they are actually completed twice as many claims as they had in weeks prior.  I suspect teleworking or not having the other interruptions might make it easier to process claims faster.  I'm an analyst by trade and just looking at the numbers it appears there is a clear correlation between the increased claim completion and the RO being closed (but maybe only if you're past the C&P examination part).

I completed my physical C&Ps in February and I know for a fact the rater and the examiner are communicating with each other, offices closed or not.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I’ve worked in other office/cubicle environments in IT and anecdotally I can agree. Those that seemed the most cushy and hipster actually allowed enough solitude and nonconformity for everyone to get into a workspace groove that suited their own productivity comfort levels. Working from home The last few days we went through two days of hr/paperwork orientation in a day and a half, and are starting training on actual work stuff early. Other than the distance training where they usually send people to other ROs to shadow this telework experiment for all of us that are new and not officially tele work qualified will probably show an up tick in overall productivity. By the time this is over we’ll have as much telework time credit as people who have been here for awhile. Usually you can’t Tele for at least a year. 
 

I had to audit my home setup and internet connection speed, and I’m in a Private subnet at home using their VPN, so security wise there is no concerning issues that I have seen thus far, either.

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Simple answer, Yes.  As of April 1, 2020 VA is still working claims. No, this is not a late April fool's joke.  As for VA being closed that is for walk-ins. Of course there are some employees not working but there are some continuing to work through this time.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

We are all working, other than maybe some support staff/office people. 

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