Before I begin, let me relay a funny happening. Once upon a time back prior to Thanksgiving in 2016, I wrote a humorous article about cheating on c&p exams. I caught a lot of flak for it because some with reading comprehension deficits discerned it as truth rather than the humor it was intended as. Who would have thunk anyone would actually step outside, discharge a .357 Magnum not just six times in rapid succession, but reload and repeat, saddle up and proceed to the QTC c&p exam for an increase to his service connected hearing loss and that bodacious ringing in his ears? Surely not me. After two years in sunny Southeast Asia, I discovered I couldn’t hear myself think over the ringing. I sure didn’t need to exacerbate it for a test.
The body of the email was a thank you for the advice and how well it worked. I presume “Manny” was relaying a true event. As an officer of the Court, I would never advocate for, nor condone, cheating or purposefully attempting subterfuge to obtain benefits illegally. Perish the thought. The Veterans Administration is my North Star; my guiding moral compass. As we know, they are above board and free of suspicion in everything they do and they would never resort to cheating to deny us our due.
DOUBLE HEADER #1
My firstborn grandson Conner graduated High School yesterday. We’ve immensely proud of him. In this day and age, the very act of graduating is no small feat. I can’t say I graduated without a few “Imperial Entanglements” in my résumé. For the record, it was only failure to heed a stop sign and 65 in a 25-peanuts in this day and age. We wish him success in all he attempts and I gave him a personal wave-off on any aspirations to serve his country. It’s not that I’m anti-military now. I’m not. I’m merely concerned over the recent “awakened” atmosphere and how that can detract/distract one from an otherwise invaluable experience in character-building. He said he’d already managed to get a dose of it via Zoom in the last year. Enough said. He should go where his heart leads him and not be swayed by others with narrow, flat earth-style horizons.
Double Header #2
The long-awaited arrival of our first granddaughter is tomorrow. At 1000 Hrs precisely, Penelope Rose Graham will fashionably arrive, as all know, transported in Mr. Stork’s beak. This will be the first Graham to set foot in this world since Buckwheat Junior arrived in 1988. Three more granddaughter Grahams await future fertilization in cryogenic sleep. He’s going to need testosterone treatment and the patience of Job in a house of five women. Join hands and bow your heads with me now in prayer…
Here’s an update from our Fearless NOVA leaders.
1. Travel Board hearings are set to resume in FY 2021[Legacy- not AMA] Q4. Note that the locations for these hearings will likely be in the smaller locations, with larger ROs being targeted in FY 2022.
2. Just a reminder when you are submitting documents through Direct Upload for BVA to be sure you indicate on the drop down menu that they are intended for BVA. There is concern that some AOD motions are being missed because people are not specifying they need to go to BVA. Also note – checking the homelessness box on the 10182 does NOT trigger AOD treatment. This merely indicates to VA that the appellant has no fixed address; you still need a separate AOD motion.
3. BVA has a goal of 50k hearings for this FY, by end of May has done 14,163, with 97% being virtual.
4. Decision goal is 93,600, by end of May had reached 65,370.
5. AMA inventory at end of May = 51,952 in hearing lane (57%); 22,005 (24%) in direct review lane; 16,706 (19%) in evidence only lane.
6. BVA expects to be at “functional zero” for legacy appeals by the end of calendar year 2022 – this means every legacy appeal has gotten a decision – so still will be Court remands, etc.
7. BVA currently has 93 judges and is authorized for 103; FY 2022 budget would authorize 138 judges.
Here’s another scary update from a fellow NOVA member
Summary: this will be a shitshow if its allowed to go forward…
“Beginning June 11, our Public Contact team will call Veterans to reschedule in-person C&P examinations. If you see an incoming call from 1-800-827-1000, please pick up.
What Are My Options? Let’s do this! I am ready to report for my Compensation and Pension examination. If you tell us you’re ready to report, we will tell the Medical Disability Examination vendor to schedule your exam. All exams are held in facilities that meet strict sanitization requirements just like your dentist or primary care doctor.
I’m scheduled! I already had contact with the exam vendor, and my appointment has been scheduled. Please follow the instructions provided by the Medical Disability Examination vendor that scheduled your examination.
Decide now! I do not want to report for my C&P examination. Please evaluate my claim based upon the evidence of record only. We will review your claim and use treatment records from your claims file including information from your service records, private doctors or VA hospitals and clinics to assess your disability.
Let’s wait! I am not ready to report for an examination yet. I will call VA or my Veteran Service Officer (VSO) or Accredited Representative when I am ready to report.
If you do not respond, we will continue to hold your claim for now. You will need to contact your Veteran Service Officer (VSO) or call us at 1-800-827-1000 when you are ready to attend your exam. If you prefer to call us to reschedule your in-person C&P examination, call agents are standing by to assist you at 1-800-827-1000. Alternatively, you may contact us via https://www.va.gov or https://iris.custhelp.com. Thank you for your service and we look forward to helping you.”
I always put an “Exclusive Contact Required” on all my VA 21-22a POAs I file. VA blithely ignores them all and regularly calls my Vets. I give them all the wave off briefing at the outset and tell them to ask the (800) 827-1000 technician to hang up and call my number. Period. No conversations. Just a ” Uh. Hold the phone, Ramone. The guy you want is at 253 313-5377. And hang up. Well, unless it’s VES/QTC/LMI. You have no idea how illegal it is in the real legal world to go behind your representative’s back and contact the client directly. They don’t have a clue what to say or do. They have no legal acumen that would make the hair stand up on the back of their neck. I’ve had VA RVSRs tell a gal that she had to pick between getting A&A or loss of use of two extremities. If she chose A&A, she’d lose her benefits when she had to be hospitalized. That happens to her every couple of years. Just imagine some VA Poohbah telling you this. Absent counsel, how can you answer these things? Why in Sam Hill should you have to? That’s what my folks hire me to do. VA knows most Vets are vulnerable and functionally ignorant of the claims process minutiae. Hell, they count on it. It’s like stealing from a blind Alzheimer’s patient.
My strawberries are officially back. I’m inherently lazy as all know so I used to just aim the grass chute over the side of the embankment and blow it there when I mowed. Eventually, the grass took over the strawberry patch below, and the plants ceased production. I had our tree and lawn service nuke it with Agent Orange and left a narrow swath at the top which we weeded out. After five years, the fruits have returned. Imagine. It all began when a bird pooped out the first seeds in 2004. Hell, if I plant a Filbert tree I could have both fruits and nuts in my front yard and pretend I lived in California… Not.
Another interesting development is brewing in the Butch Long/LZ Cork case. As many know, I have resuscitated the CAVC appeal and converted into the AMA to preserve the 2015 filing date. My first refile as a supplemental claim in AMA was predictably denied. Instead of just gallivanting up to the BVA, Mr. Carpenter is of the opinion this should be sent through the washing machine thoroughly before going up to the BVA. Hence, I am asking for (don’t laugh) an HLR to get them to acknowledge the supplemental claim is indeed a §3.156(c) claim. I want the HLR reviewer to concede Butch’s new service department records have passed the initial hurtle of relevance as required of §3.156(c)(1) (i),(ii),(2) and now requires a detailed showing of compliance with the secondary requirements of §3.156(c)(3)(4). VA has given Butch everything he’s asked for shy of refusing to employ the tenets of §3.156(c)(3)(4) and grant him his claims back to 1970. Granted, they came close and coughed up a 10% CUE back to then but I want the Big Banana-over 30% for all his four children and Barb.
And, to add a little napalm to the conflagration, since VA says the tranche of new relevant service department STRs they failed to go get in 2015 (which we graciously supplied in 2017) failed to convince them they would have granted in 1970, I came up with the idea of getting a killer retrospective IMO analysis from a Board Certified neurologist. Why not?Presto Mednick Magic. Their neurodoc is on it. Now that’s the kind of shit you want to present at the BVA. Wrap it all up with a nice IMO bowtie…
“Tinnitus? Why yes. That’s fairly frequent in a concussion blast injury setting secondary to perforated eardrums. In fact, that would explain his getting a special Court Martial six months after he got back for being unable to hear and processing information incorrectly due to his TBI. I also agree with the VA’s psychologist that he suffers TBI as a comorbidity superimposed on his PTSD and without resorting to speculation, I’d say they are indistinguishable from one another. The extensive pepper spotting tattoo effect of the shrapnel on the right side of his body from head to toe is testimony to the proximity to the explosion as mere feet.”
PURPLE BOOK RECISION
Last but not least, BVA Board Chairman Cheryl Mason has officially announced the VA’s decision to rescind the Purple Book. As most know, an unidentified Deep Throat disgorged a copy that somehow ended up making its way to my door. I promptly published it (above in my Widgets) and the BVA apparently just as rapidly began the process of rescinding it. I expect it’s time to get a copy of this new ” BVA Operations Handbook”. Sounds like nothing more than an M 21 dressed up in black judges’ robes. If you’re that ignorant of VA law, perhaps the panacea is to read up on CAVC/Fed. Cir precedence-not resort to BVA Cliff Notes™.
Pilgrims, it’s been a rainy, wet Sunday- the perfect recipe for my insane ruminations. Let’s conclude with a warm welcome to my latest Chicken Dinner Winners and brand new BWN members of the asknod Nehmer family-Doug and Judy. He just got his check for $250 K Friday and there’s more where that came from. Nothing makes you smile bigger than pulling out onto Baksheesh Boulevard and going for a cruise… after waiting since 2002…in your brand new Cadillac.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
P.S. This just in off the wire. The VA’s BVA report. Sadly, it just illuminates nothing more than the fact the BVA hires FNG dolts with the JD IQ of 70 as staff attorneys. I can’t complain too loudly. They only make $60 K a mo. in DC and are fresh out of law school-i.e., broke and saddled with ungodly student debt/loans.