BVA–13 YEARS AND COUNTING


Here’s a decision that immediately catches your eye. Our patient Vet from Jackson, Mississippi is now into this over thirteen years and counting. It’s unclear when he filed other than that he was denied in 1998. What is clear is that his claim is being remanded yet again and it’s September 2011. I suspect he won’t see any resolution to this before 2014 unless he’s extremely lucky.

http://www.va.gov/vetapp11/Files4/1133927.txt

Our patient Vet served in Vietnam during his first enlistment. Judging from the economic climate in 1971, I’d say he elected to re-up about a year after his separation. I noticed he listed his MOS as cook so chances are the job market wasn’t all it could be for ex-Vets with his educational achievements. At any rate he finally parted company in 1983. Records reveal he had some negative claims issues such as drug and alcohol abuse. This is history he supplied himself, so there is nothing here to compromise his credibility. The drug history may or may not sink his claim because it’s risks outweigh presumptive risks that were not willful misconduct. That is not the bone of contention here. All this evidence has pretty much existed and been incorporated into the records over the years so there isn’t much to debate.

One thing that VA has overlooked in their headlong rush to judgement is his service connection for PTSD. How he contracted it, what induced it and its ultimate effect on his psyche are irrelevant. What is paramount is whether the PTSD caused him to abuse drugs in the first place. If that is true, then he cannot be guilty of drug abuse. Self-medicating yourself with a cornucopia of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs is excused when you are not in your right mind. This is as it should be. People do strange things when they are not in their right mind. Mind you, I don’t sanction it. I merely point it out as a matter of law. Fortunately, VA recognizes this and comprehends the consequences of it.

The thing that concerns me and should bother all Vets is the lengthy time consumed in properly adjudicating this claim. Were we to view this from the perspective of the VA, we’d consider it to be “unfortunate” but that the Vet will get a fair shake. No stone will go unturned in an effort to accord him that which is his due. The reality from our perch is an adjudication that is rapidly turning into a Gutenberg Bible in size if not in age. The VA has been well aware that this gentleman is service connected for bent brain syndrome for years. This isn’t some major revelation only recently uncovered. A remand to examine this theory for SC is long overdue and should have been accomplished during the 2008 remand.

This makes me ill when I read it.

The Board notes that the Veteran is currently 
in receipt of service-connected benefits for 
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  As 
the Veteran's hepatitis C has been associated 
with the Veteran's use of illegal intravenous 
drugs in service, the Board finds it necessary
 to obtain an opinion regarding whether the 
Veteran's use of illegal intravenous drugs in 
service was an attempt to self medicate for 
his symptoms of PTSD.

You know you’re getting the bum’s rush when you read things like this:

In March 2008, the Veteran was notified that 
the Judge before whom he had testified in 
March 2000 was no longer employed by the 
Board.

Chances are this gentleman may prevail before he reaches room temperature. Or not. I have faith in the system and know that he could pass away before any resolution is reached. A trip up the ladder to the Court will put him into old age and possibly set some record for delay. Assuming he was 18 in 1967, he’s now about 63. I foresee him blowing out 65 candles before his new VLJ signs off on this-pro or con. He’ll need sunglasses to avoid blindness with all the birthday candles on the cake he blows out, if and when he goes up to 625 Indiana Ave. NW. In any event, I will print a map from their website to show him how to get there.

See the blue “M” above and to the right of the Grand Army of the Republic? That’s where the Court is located. This town is my old stomping grounds. I was born at the George Washington University Hospital where they took President Reagan after Hinkley attempted to impress Jodie Foster.

About asknod

VA claims blogger
This entry was posted in BvA HCV decisions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.