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American Legion Poa



Berta I have been reading about your gripes With your poA for quite a while. At first they were totally FRENCE TO THIS HILLBILLY. The longer I read, the more I learn. I have recently been in the trenches with my American Legion POA. In my case I recently had a secretary making major decisions on what evidence should or should not be sent to the ro in support of my case. I to am very upset, and did not take it setting down. I took it all the way to the top. Ironiclly I ended up saving her , Her job.

I am now being represented by the rep who's office is in the ro.

Only today I was reading the AMERICAN LEGION POST SERVICE OFFICERS GUIDE 2006 EDITION. I am quite sure you are fully aware of there regs. I also know there are many who don't. I personally find it disgraceful that the vet. has to know all of the Va's Regulations, in addition now to also knowing the poa,s rules that they work under.

I have read many times on this sight of the frustrations that people like Vike 17 has stated. ( If the evidence was sent in on the original claim that was won on appeal) the system would not be so clogged up. He is right you know, But is this the vets fault, IN MOST CASES NO. In to many case its PoA-s who are untrained or just simply dont care. As we all know when we file a claim we don't know diddly. We trust the road to handle it for us. Its only after our claims have been botched that we have to start learning why. AGAIN I WILL QUOTE OTHERS WHO WORK AT RO'S- IT'S A VERY SMALL PERCENT OF THE CASES THAT HAVE TO BE APPEALED, WHICH MEANS MOST POA'S ARE DOING IT RIGHT. I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY THAT MOST HEAR ON HADIT FALL IN THE LATTER.

Following I will paste one paragraph from manual mentioned above That gives Berta every right to pursue her case and perhaps some day set a standard in the courts for us all. Hopefully it will get that far.



Post Service Officers should not hold such material.

To avoid delays and potentially lost benefits,

all claims or correspondence submitted to the PSO

should be immediately directed to the DSO at the

VA regional office having jurisdiction over the geographic

area where the claimant lives.

It is also important that no material or evidence ever

be submitted directly to VA. Should a benefit claim

be denied, the PSO should advise claimants to contact

the DSO right away, before initiating an appeal or

taking further action on their claim.

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Sorry I was in the process of editing and accidentally post twice

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Thanks KKP- that info supports what I have been griping about all along to my POAs- they have a mission statement,and then they bragged to me how wonderful they are handling claims and prosecuting them-

but just as this from the AL shows-

even a state org should not have advised me to send my stuff right to the VA-For over 2 years they had no record of numerous appointments I made (against even their own claim handling procedure)and even when I made sure they had copies of my stuff,I bet they still dont even have 3 of my initials claims at all.

My POA outfit seems to be a bunch of old farts,pardon my French-waiting for a state pension with no idea of what is what in the current world of VA -such as Haas-I had to tell them about Haas myself- then again I am willing to believe they have some great reps too- and I sure believe all the POAs have some great ones.

But how do we identify them -they dont wear smart or dumb buttons-

I have not even gotten close to the whole story -might boil down to a man-woman problem????? not appropriate to discuss here---a lot went on there----

in any event-

MANY Claims are WON and won right at the Regional Level-

and we dont know how many are won nor what those claims entailed and we cannot study them-because there is no public info available.

I wont drop my POA with them- I have more power -staying on their POA- to gripe about them. I mentioned this whole matter in my letter to the Task force-to show them what new vets might face with POAs-maybe not now but down the road when they aren't in the news as War on Terror Heroes anymore.

One rep on my POA (my original AO claim rep there) hurt a disabled vet I know-2 years ago-I think he buggered his claims too- if I tell that story regarding his claims I will start to get mad and start to cry-

I can't reach him -no answer at all when I call-and I only hope he hasn't died.

That situation is documented.

I will prevail on my claim-with medical evidence-and in spite of this bunch- that isnt the point-

The point is that these are state paid reps, with offices near many VAMCs and get many vets filing claims who depend on them for help.

Even if one of these reps isnt up to par- that single rep can hurt a vets chances (or many vets chances)to ever get anywhere with the VA.

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I hate to indicate it here. However, Berta, did you know you can sue a National Service Officer. I do know that some NSO's are bonded Nationally if there is something that was misidentifed, promised, etc. Even CSO's can be. This is something I heard from a very reliable friend whom is a Chapter Service Officer. I am told they don't want anyone to know....because we are all aware of the McDonald's coffee suit type. Not to say that Veterans would, however, I am sure that the NSO's would go bankrupt. No NSO should "guarantee" anything.

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You bet I know it- I sued my former DAV NSO.

During the time of the depositions- the DAV lawyer deposed me and then a few weeks later I deposed the NSO-

I sued in a federal court Pro se as I had legal background and knew how to do that.

My claims were awarded, however, one right before the last deposition and then 2 more and my FTCA case-the NSO only knew about one award-he was shocked and seemed to become ill when I whipped out the other award letters.

The DAV lawyer in a personal setting-just me and him advised me to get a law degree -after I deposed the NSO .He was absolutely stunned at the FTCA award and that I got it myself with no lawyers help.He was nasty as he could be to me regarding my suit against the DAV but a real sweetheart when he began to see the whole picture.

The NSO Had told me I never had a chance on any of these claims and that my evidence wasn't goodActually he made fewer errors than my present reps did. His attitude was just unacceptable to me.He treated me like dirt-by phone- it was a different matter when we got face to face.

I had at that point- right before the last deposition- then incurred no damages-I won my claims-

so the suit was pointless to continue.

It is damages in a monetary form that a NSO has caused a vet or widow to lose-that gives the vet or widow the Cause of Action.

Had I lost my claims then the NSO would have caused me financial damages.there is more to it then that-too detailed to put here-

Dont do what I did anyone-

if you sue a vet rep or NSO because they caused you financial damages due to their negligence- file the cause of action in a state court-

in my case I filed this in federal court in Syracuse as a federal issue because the DAV is chartered by Congress.

The judge and I went round and round on that one-

if you argue with a judge make sure you add 'your Honor'a lot when you make your points.

in any event the fed judge did NOT throw the case out of court-

but the awards of those VA claims stopped the basis of my suit.

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Your reference to the McDonald's coffee lawsuit is appropriate, though not for the reasons I think you mentioned it.

In that case, an older woman was handed a cup of scalding coffee with a loose lid that came off and poured the coffee into her lap from the drive thru window. She got multiple second and third degree burns. She asked, repeatedly, for McDonald's to pay for her medical bills, which they steadfastly refused to do. It turned out that was their corporate policy - to deny responsibility in coffee burning claims, which happened with some frequency because of the temperature they sold their coffee at. In frustration, she took them to court. The court, appalled at the disregard McDonald's had for their customer's safety, awarded her medical payments and pain and suffering. All she was looking for was reimbursement for her medical payments but they refused so she had no other recourse.

She was vilified in the press. Made fun of and many people thought it was a frivolous claim and she was trying to take the big guys for all they were worth. I thought the same thing until I read the Wall Street Journal article about it when it was going on. They covered the FACTS of the case and it had merit. In fact, she was representative of many others who had been burned, literally, by McDonald's but they would not accept responsibility for their negligence. Remember, she had second and third degree burns in her lap. Take a cup of water and splash it in your lap and see just how far and wide it spreads on your jeans and imagine having burns covering that entire area of your body. McDonald's stopped serving coffee that hot after they lost the lawsuit.

I see Berta in the same way (not that I'm calling you an old woman, Berta). She has been royally burned by the VA and her POA due to their refusal to take appropriate action for her reasonable claims of compensation. Like the coffee burn victim, Berta may well be made fun of in other circles outside of hadit because they assume, based on their own ignorance of the facts, that hers is a frivlous case (for that matter, after reading another post it seems like there's a lot of the "well, don't be greedy" mentality going around POAs these days). She may well have to sue the VA and/or her POA again to prevail. Hopefully, if that's the case, the VA and her POA, like McDonald's will finally take corrective action. But Berta will carry the scars, just as the McDonald's lady carries hers.

Just thought you might enjoy the analogy. If not, ignore it. I'm not looking to start a thread about the McDonald's coffee incident. We debated that at work for weeks until the WSJ article came out and shut us all up because the woman had third degree burns all in her lap and the popular press was too busy making fun of the lawsuit to actually address the merits of the case. It's just that you mentioned it and I'm not sleeping and my mind went off on a tangent. Thanks for your posts, Spike, I enjoy reading them.

Hang in there, Berta. I believe you are on the right track because it can take one person to stand up for what is right to make it right for every one.


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I got the shaft from an epva rep. I filed a claim for a low back injury in 2002. I was told by other vets that it's best to have a service officer to make sure things are done right. So the epva rep finds out I have ms and he makes that the primary claim. I told him I can't prove I had it within 7 years because the records no longer exist from 1977. The va decision was made on Sept 24 denying ms and lower back. They sent me the decision on Dec 24 2003-Christmas eve! He told me I can't get anything for my back so I dropped him and fought them by myself. Last year I got 20% for my back injury. Since then I found a rep in my county va office who knows how to play the game. 6 months ago he filed for an increase because I was low balled. I found out today I have a c&p exam in 3 weeks. It took me almost 4 years to get a c&p exam on my own. It does matter who you have representing you.

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