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HOW DO I SUBMIT A FORMAL COMPLAINT ?


63Charlie
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Question

How does one go about filing a formal complaint against the VA alleging wrongful destruction of medical evidence in my claims file?

I have documents showing tampering in my claims file which substantiate my allegations that a VA employee had blacked out a clinical diagnosis I submitted into evidence.

I was harmed because the VA wrongfully denied benefits due to the VA destroying the only clinical diagnosis I have for the above-styled disability.

An unfavorable DRO decision was rendered which states that I have no clinical diagnosis for the condition as the reason the VA is denying the claim.

 

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63Charlie This sounds pretty serious, but I would suggest you consider a CUE. Ms. Berta probably could assist you the most on how to go about it. Hopefully, she can assist if she has some time. If your evidence is sound, we sure would like to know about it.

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Before I answer, I must ask a question. Is your motive for filing a complaint "revenge" or do you think this destroyed evidence could/would/should result in additional benefits or retro due to you?  

You probably wont get that revenge...we probably wont find out "who" shredded your evidence.  But, I can tell you that happened to me, and "EVENTUALLY" I won those benefits anyway, even with quite nearly "proving" it happened.  

In 2008, I sent a letter to VA alleging they "mishandled" my evidence and I requested "Special handling due to mishandled evidence" as directed by the VASEC.  

 

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A BVA judge is currently reviewing this disability on appeal.

 

I do not know if a decision for this disability has been rendered on my appeal because the VA.gov info for my BVA appeal is very limited 

I didn't remember having a clinical diagnosis for this condition, or that I had faxed a copy  to the Evidence Intake Center.

 

BTW: As stated, the evidence wasn't shredded.

The relevant evidence was obscured by a VA employee blacking it out. 

 

Blacking out technique is a practice commonly used by the US govt. when they decide to redact sensitive information in certain documents.

VA redacts(blacks out) ALL SS#s and the names of decision makers as seen in my most recent copy of my claims file for privacy I suppose.

 

My motive is SOLELY to be awarded the benefits for the disability.

 

I messaged my attorney about today's discovery and will see what his opinion is on the matter.

What he says goes.

 

 

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Unless you can actually prove an individual did this destruction it could really backfire. Years ago I was speaking to a VA supervisor and while we were speaking, he was called out of the office. Since he was out for a while I got up to stretch my legs and I saw my file sitting on his desk. I thought maybe a decision was made and he was reviewing my file.  After that time all my claims were denied.  He informed me that I had absolutely no chance of getting service connection.  I had took my personal copy of my SMRs to a senior DAV representative and he asked me why didn't I medically retire.  Of course at that time I had no clue of what they were talking about. I started reading 38 CFR part 3 and 4 and began filing my own claims. I had another VSO help me out until he suggested to me I should not appeal one of my claims. I then went on filing my own claims and reached 100% scheduler P & T.  Not long after that I got a phone call from VA asking me since I was rated 100% scheduler P & T, did I want to withdraw my appeal. I said no, I recently won an EED back to one of my original claims to 1998.  Each and every time I filed a claim I submitted evidence from my own personal SMRs. I can't/couldn't prove that that supervisor shredded my evidence.  I can't/couldn't prove he removed documents from my C- file.  What I did prove was evidence existed prior to my original denial that was date stamped by VA and in their possession.

So the point that I am trying to make is, If you have that non-redacted evidence, submit it.  If that evidence is not redacted then you win.  If that evidence is redacted, that evidence is somewhere else not redacted.  If you have a copy or if the government has a copy of it then request it or have VA to request it.   Evidence doesn't lie people do. You don't want to accuse someone and ruin their credibility or damage your own by not being able to prove he/she redacted your evidence.  Yes, in the eyes of VA all veterans are liars but if you submit this non-redacted evidence you win and VA loses.  Remember what you really want is to be granted service connection for your condition/disability.

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Since you have an attorney, he is in the best position to advise you, in no small part because we cant see your file, and we dont know if the information "redacted" was "material" in winning your case.  My guess is that its not critical, otherwise, your attorney would not have agreed to represent you.  

My advice would be for you to wait, follow your attorney's instructions and, remember your attorney "is" doing you a favor by representing you, and it will likely result in retro for you.  How do I know this?  Because I have had 3 different attorneys represent me and I made money with all 3.  NVLSP, Glover Luck, and Chris Attig.  All total, I paid less than 1000 dollars for ALL 3, EAJA paid most of my attorney fees. It was a great decision for me to hire the attorney, and I assume yours was a good decision likewise.  

Its ok to call your attorney once in a while to get a status, but dont be calling him 3 times a week with your latest entitlement theory and your latest gripe.  I spoke with my attorney probably 3 or 4 times in a year.   They made it clear they were not my psychiatrist, shoulder to cry on, nor were they my law intructor.  They were their to win my claim and not to hold my hand.  

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 I sure hope you kept a copy of this document?

Looks like to me if you have this evidence in your possession and its not black out  then use that to prove your point./or claim

I don't think I would file a complaint if you can work this out  with your sound evidence. 

 if something is not RIGHT in our C-File or not there  and the veteran has this same document in his/her possession   then veteran wins every time  I mean how can they dispute that?  Also (see your C-FILE) for this document of record that you allegedly mention the VA ''BLACK OUT YOUR DIAGNOSE

If you file a complaint  then your asking for problems on down the road .

 if you don't have this evidence  then you got big problems, there's no way you can claim someone at the R.O. BLACK out this diagnose.

I would be asking for these records A.S.A.P.  BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BE ANOTHER HARD COPY FLOATING AROUND SOME PLACE IN THE VA CRACKER BARREL UNTOUCHED

set back take a couple days to rethink your thinking  your peed off right now and that's certainly understandable  but do not lose your cool.

This is just one of many reason Veterans should make copies and extra copies of sound evidence  incase something like this comes up/....Make those copies.

(jmo)

Edited by Buck52
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