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Dro Hearing



A few weeks back I posted that I was told via IRIS that my requested DRO hearing would be scheduled. Well, well, well, today in the mail I got a ity bity yellow envelop from VA. Inside was a letter, not a form letter mind you, telling me that the hearing would be conducted on the 16 of April with either the appeals team supervisor or the vet center service manager. It was a nice letter, was even signed in pen by the vet center service manager. It explained to me that even if I did have a SO (I don't), I could still attend the hearing alone as it would be such an informal format. It stated at least three times that the hearing was being conducted so that the VA could assist me in being successful in my claim and if not at the hearing they would at least provide me with the information that I needed to collect in order to be successful.

Guess me and the missis will travel the 4 hours to be there. I hope to be able to schedule a time for reviewing my C-File prior to the hearing. If not then maybe afterwards.

I thank each and every one of you guys for the great info that has been provided on Hadit. It is that knowledge that I have gained from each of you that will help me succeed in this game. Even if the hearing results in a flop and only serves to delay my claim that is ok. Just cause I had a stroke in 2005 does not mean I am going on over to the other side soon so all I got is time and then some more time. I admit the waiting is hard sometimes and I often curse the VA beneath my breath but then I take from my daily visit to Hadit and go to bed with a smile.

I will post the results/ins and outs of the hearing (not the claim as I probably won't know about the claim for another 2 years) when we return from Montgomery on the 17th.

Over the next three weeks I will be working on my arguments and gathering new evidence to submit so if I ask one to many dumb questions just slap me back into reality. However, I will start with this: I read in 38 CFR or the M21 that I am authorized to record the hearing myself. I don't remember where exactly so I ask that if anyone knows it off the top of their head to please post it. I fully understand the hearing will be recorded and I can ask for a copy of the trans script, however, I would like to have a copy of the audio for the hearing. Maybe it will help another vet to prepare for their hearing in the future.


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To the best of my knowledge you ARE NOT ALLOWED to record the hearing either by audio or video.

VA is allowed to record it and if you request a copy of the transcript they will send you one.

When you read it you may be surprised at the silly things you will see.


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Just sitting here researching issues and found where I read that you can record the hearing with your own recorder. The 06 version of the VBM page 902 says that the advocate or claimant may and can bring their own recorder to record the proceeding. Hope they know what they are talking about. It says VA recordings may not be of good quality therefore, transcripts may not be accurate.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

the VARO I use will not allow a camera or a tape recorder in the building, the guards at the front check in take them or make you take them back to your car before you can enter the building I think they hate independent evidence that they can't control

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You are correct, in that the 06 version of the VBM, states about the vet taking a recorder,I do not think you will be allowed to do this. There are several other va situations where va states vet or rep can not do this. I would be very interested in knowing how that part plays out, so let us know if they let you record your hearing, they sure wouldn't let me at Bay Pines, Fl. VARO with either a VARO hearing or the BVA hearing.


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Still preparing for the hearing - only a little more that a week to go. If you have read any of my previous post you know that I had a CVA. As a result of the CVA I suffer from Dejerine-Roussy Syndrom which affects the left side of my face and has caused the loss of functional use of my left hand and foot. Where in 38 CFR 38, outside of the combined ratings table area, does it talk about disabilities to each body part resulting from such things as DM and CVA must receive a rating. I have searched both 38 CFR and the VBM until my eyes are bugged. Any help would be appreciated.

Also in reference to back injury ratings - does anyone know the date rating code 5292 went out the window and they started using rating code 5237?


Edited by Ricky (see edit history)
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Just finished my outline for one disability. I am going to try and upload it here for any that wishes to take a look at it. If you get to it by this Saturday before the better half loads me up for the trip to the VARO and the Monday morning hearing all comments will be appreciated. If not then maybe it can be turned into a document that all Hadit vets can use as an example for a DRO hearing. I hope it meets the mark. I hope the opening statement will set the tone for a non-combative hearing, however, I am willing to go either way.



Edited by Ricky (see edit history)
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Please note - the hearing notes are just that notes. They will not be read word for word. They are kinda detailed for notes but I did not want to forget anything. I have no problem presenting them orally without even looking at the paper. At least that is what I think now - just wait until I get there the ole mind will probably go blank hahahahahaha. Nah I will be ok.

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  • HadIt.com Elder


I had a DRO hearing about a year ago. It will just be you, your witnesses, your POA and the DRO. It was very low key and informal. The DRO will probably not make any decision at the hearing, but you might get a good idea of where he is going. If I had a POA I would use him to communicate informally between the DRO and yourself.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

>*The DRO in conducting a De Novo Review confirmed the original rater’s decision.

This is very common Ricky. "Rubber stamped" ratings. I have several.

Since there was absolutely no discussion of any evidence in the reason and bases what evidence is in the file that would out weigh and negate the statements and opinions of these highly qualified medical professionals? There is none!

Another common rating practice. Been there. It knocks the wind out you, once you to realize, just how much of this is business as usual.

THIS, is what CONGRESS allows the VA to call, an honest evaluation of ALL the evidence?

Remember this. If testimony is not given under oath & recorded, the VA does not have to consider the testimony as being," a PART OF THE RECORD".

What isn't part of the record, may be set asside. so if your offered an"INFORMAL" hearing, don't except. Always request a "FORMAL" hearing, followed up with a written reqeust for a paper cpoy of the transcription. You must be sworn in, under oath & recorded at a formal hearing.

Wonder if the VA or NSO's have a recorder vets can use in the VARO buildings?


PS........you may want to write it all down in a signed statement before you go. Than just read the statement during the recording, submit your evidence & give a signed copy to your service rep & another to the hearing officer. After you read it. Ask your questions, & listen to theirs. If you don't hear well or don't understand things clearly, take someone with you to help. It's allowed.

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thanks for the comments guys. I do not have a rep. I attempted early on to get one. When I had a 30 percent rating the state reps told me "thats what wrong with the system - people are greedy - you should be happy with the 30 percent" so I went to one of the big three. The rep for this area was drunk (no crap) at the first meeting so I tried one of the other two. I made 12 phone calls to the orgination without any return calls so I said the hell with this and went it on my own. As of today I do not see any difference in the treatment of my claim than those of my buddies who are and have used the VSO's here.

This will be a formal hearing. I assure you that nothing will happen as a result and it is being conducted due to my continued pressure on them. I asked for a De Novo review with hearing back in Aug 05. The review was completed in 5 months and the hearing was not offered or conducted. That made me peed so I set out on a mission to make them comply with the regs. Two of my issues are in the NOD stage and 7 of them have already been perfected on a VA 9 cause of the time requirements of the system. However, I was determined to have my hearing. All I ask is that the VARO follow the rules just as I have to do.

Since I do not have a rep do you think there will be any time alotted for me to discuss issues with the DRO informally? I hope so. Once again thanks PS do you guys think the notes flow in a logical manner?

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Ricky- sorry for delay- I just cannot get to every post here-

I am familiar with your claim and you presented this all Extremely well!

I can only add a few thoughts-

will the wife be there with you in person?

I would ask the hearing to be taped (I think this is normal SOP anyhow) and I would hand them a request for copy of the transcription as soon as it is available.

Then the only other thing I suggest is to not only have copies of all the evidence- that they might ask for again-so make sure you still have your own copies-

I would not trust them to copy it there unless they do that while you are there-so you leave with what you came in with.

Also I would bring the actual rating schedule from 38 CFR that proves your points and any other VA regs-

they should have this themselves but always best to have at hand everything you refer to- in hard copy too.

If the DRO gets tangential- get them right on track again-

and keep them focused on what you want and why- based on the medical evidence.

If the POA has a rep at this VARO and they still maintain your POA I would insist that one of them show up for the hearing , keep their mouth shut, and at least be there as witness on your behalf.If the wife cant go.

Then again if they still maintain your POA they SHOULD be there anyhow-

unless you get the treatment I got after being repped by my vet reps since 1997 -(and the RO vet rep knew me since 1988 !)-in 2005 just prior to my denovo review----when I told him I expected his support-he acted like Berta who?

But you obviously will do well whether they are there or not.

Dont get nervous-the hearing might well be conducted by a service disabled man or woman-

they will be more apprehensive of you then you should be of them. sounds like they screwed up and you are there to unscrew it all-

and I bet they will help do that!

Focus on what you can do after all this VA stuff is over-

after the hearing plan on a nice dinner or renting some movies you would enjoy-make that a focal point to look forward to- after the hearing-when you can relax.

Not much might happen as far as a decision that day -but this all brings you closer to a decision you can accept.

I think it will go OK for you as you have done enough leg work to support your position and medical evidence is EVERYTHING and they have to fully address what evidence you have that they so far have failed to consider.

Here at hadit I posted many times- basic VA evidentiary case law-

38 CFR 4.3 and 4.6 as well as Allan posted stuff from M21-1 recently.

They know it but if sure pays to let them know you know it too.

You will be fine and I think they will probably be very willing to sort this all out.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

>When I had a 30 percent rating the state reps told me "thats what wrong with the system - people are greedy - you should be happy with the 30 percent"

Unless you hire an attorney to represent you or have the PVA as a service rep, you will likely get low balled. You can expect the guilt treatment, as a tactic to keep vets fron persuing what they are entitled to.

Shake it off

vets are just lazy frauds.

You cant milk the Gov dry.

We're at war you know.

We have others that need the funds.

Too many vets file frivilous claims, clogging the system

You look fit to me. What do you do, work out? Your in great shape........ for having a brain injury, Multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyagia, insomnia, dementia, depression, chronic pain, ataxia, headaches, nausea, bilateral tinnitus & deafness, an arm & leg that doesn't like to move without pain & a leg that I drag & watch jump around when I sit. Hypertention, COAD, and this list goes on.............

>Since I do not have a rep do you think there will be any time allotted for me to discuss issues with the DRO informally?

Don't see why not. At my hearings before the VARO & DRO, both allowed you or them the opportunity to stop the recording & discuss issues & evidence

informally, anytime either party chose.

I've had several hearings and have never met anyone that was rude. They are simply working folks, trying to perform a job under overwhelming circumstances.

Don't expect much to come of it, but it is your best shot.


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