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Interesting information about legacy and AMA appeals

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Smitty2020

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Decision soon, Your appeal will soon receive a Board decision. Submitting new evidence at this time could delay review of your appeal. If you’ve moved recently, please make sure that VA has your up-to-date mailing address.

So the reason I posted the Decision soon comment off of VA.gov is that this comment is no 20 months old and going on my appeal status. Now, I am not sure what most of you think "soon" means but I believe it means completing something in a timely and responsible manner. My appeal goes back to May 2015 and at the board docket November 2017. December 2018 VA.gov showed that I was awaiting a decision soon, now 20 months later it is still going to be decided soon. The reason I chose not to go into the AMA route is that VA.gov stated that my appeal is going to be decided "soon" so I didn't want to risk moving back. Twenty months and still no hearing scheduled. 

I got a hold of my Fed Representative after two IRIS and several phone calls that only led to nobody even knowing where my appeal is. Literally 1st IRIS stated it was back at the RO awaiting scheduling, and the 2nd IRIS stated that my appeal was still awaiting to be assigned to a judge. Anyway, the info my Rep got was the generic info that all hearings are canceled and only virtual hearings are being scheduled and that i needed to request a virtual hearing. Three times since January 1st I had faxed in the form to request a virtual hearing never hearing a thing back that they got them. I explained to my Rep this and two days later I received a phone call telling me that the board received my form(s). After they blamed me for not requesting a virtual hearing. 

This is were the interesting piece comes into play, as I was listening to the woman tell me about how the virtual hearings work and that I am not on her docket for the remainder of FY20 but likely on FY21 she kept bringing up FY19. When I questioned her about why she kept stating FY19 her stumbled and stated that FY19 is where she sees that my appeal was removed from the actual docket line up and them replaced back into the line up. So my thinking is that my appeal was likely moving forward and since I declined the AMA it went back of the pile, and they never changed the decision soon in VA.gov. Another thing is if you look over the VBA docket you will see that there is very few appeals with a docket date later that FY20 that have been completed in a long time. So if you are a legacy appeal like me, just know they are completing probably a thousand or more AMA appeals to one legacy appeal. This is how they are showing congress they are completing appeals at a record amount of time.  What they are failing to tell congress is that due to their record breaking closure many of us left in the legacy status are being shafted significantly. One last thing, my appeal should of never been a denied claim to start with since it was for secondary conditions that cannot be denied not to be part of my issue. I have systematic scleroderma and my appeal is over St. Louis RO denying my secondary condition "CREST". The acronym "CREST" refers to the five main features: calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia. These issues are directly related to scleroderma, and I have all but sclerodactyly which I didn't even claim. The point is that all the evidence from civilian docotrs, VA doctors and even C and P exam showed this but the refused all areas of CREST and now its been going on six years for a judge. That's my rant and if there is anyone out their with a legacy appeal is going through the same nonsense let me know. 

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I feel for you. All I can say is keep fighting and remember VA.gov isnt always right or accurate. One day mine said i was still 132k on the list and the next day it said the judge granted my 100% unemployable. . That was May 20th and still waiting. After 20 years of fighting. Yep 20 years. If it continues, get a lawyer. Don't keep telling yourself one more year....That one more year may screw you on one more year of back pay.

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Welcome to hadit.  While there is controversy on this, I would have, and did, recommend Veterans opt for the AMA for some reasons you mentioned.  Quite frankly there is little benefit to remaining in legacy.  

I think you probably need to contact the white house hotline..it definately sounds like you have been waiting too long.  

As I have explained, you can not count on ebenefits/VA.gov.  They are notoriously inaccurate.  Instead, you probably should view your VBMS file.  Unfortunately, Veterans can not view their own VBMS file, only VSO's and Attorneys who have jumped through the hoops to get VBMS access can view the file.  

You need to get to the bottom of what is going on, it sounds like you are one of the many in a perpetual hamster wheel ride to nowhere.  

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As soon as AMA went into effect, I opted out of the legacy appeals process and asked for a higher level review. The BVA judge remanded my claims back to the RO because he was skeptical of bases on which the VA examiner denied my secondary service connection.

Although the HLR wasn’t successful, I eventually won using a supplemental claim with a nexus statement from my orthopedic surgeon. Then I had to use another HLR to get the effective dates corrected. 

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