We see this ploy more and more now as resources become more dear. Someone higher up has finally started paying attention to funding and realizes the VA is getting ready to get slammed with a lot of claims that the Vet will win. Response? “Well, hell, Bubba. Let’s you, your rep and me have a little off the record talk back here in my office. Coffee? We’re prepared to give you 100% on the brainfuck, 60% on the Ischemic Heart Disease from the AO and SMC-S of $320/ mo. and you drop the hep claim, the TDIU and everyone goes home happy. We’ll remand back to the AOJ and you can take up the earlier effective date of 2006 with them ’cause we don’t own that one. So, whatdya say? We got a deal?”.
When you matter-of-factly pull out the Claymore, slowly and securely anchor it into place, check one last time that you have correctly positioned the “face this side towards enemy” and start laying out the wire for your actuator you suddenly get their undivided attention. At this point they wish to start a “dialogue” with you.
The VA has long had the General George Armstrong Custer habit of Dieing on the Hill for no good reason. When defeat is inevitable, they will soldier on as one to the end. This monolithic, stoical behaviour is futile, economically unfeasible and generally results in a lot of appeals these days. Veterans as a class have become more and more savvy the older they get. With the advent of the internet and access to the bowels of the VA’s ratings habits, we are discovering, like the Emperor, we too have been naked all these years.
The VA, in splendid isolation from the public, has been getting away with judicial murder for decades and more. With the exposure the internet provides, they can no longer do this. I suspect you will see a lot more of this in the future where Vietnam Vets are concerned. The writing is on The Wall.
Right after I posted this, I came across another example. The Vet below is AO exposed. He’s sick and will not be around for a lot longer. The tradeoff is simple. The VA is sick to death of this HCV vs. jetguns controversy. They can see some inevitable writing on the wall, but are trying to stave off disaster financially. What better way than to divert attention away from it? The expedient thing to do is to grant for the Prostate issue w/ a high % rating which he will win anyway and give him the wave off on the Hep. Vet gets $ and VA gets closure (denial) on HCV claim. Win-win for VA.
One thing Vets can take away from this decision is another way of being able to prove boots on the ground in Vietnam. VA is fond of denying squids and wet foot Marines for AO based on their never touching land or not being able to prove it. This may be true if they sailed over from America on the U.S.S. Mayflower, but not all did. Some traveled by air and landed at our favorite airpatch (Tan Son Nhut) in Saigon and then deployed to the fleet. All Brown water squids did this. So keep that in you bag of tricks if they try to sandbag you. Chances are you didn’t sail on the S.S. Minnow to Sydney for R&R either. Most of us flew there- from the Saigon Airpatch. And that, gentlemen, is boots in that sweet, red clay which means presumptive exposure and an invitation to join the Nehmer party (already in progress.).