I logged on to Ebenefits last night to look for progress on my appeal. Lo and behold, someone has been busy. The date of current progress has jumped from January 25th, 2012 to the current one below showing they were up to something yesterday. There are many theories as to what they will do with this.

Date of Current Progress Current Progress Progress Description Date Received by BVA
03/09/2012 Phase 4
With VLJ
Your case has been received at BVA and is currently with a Veterans Law Judge for appropriate action. 05/04/2011
03/09/2012 Phase 4
With VLJ
Your case has been received at BVA and is currently with a Veterans Law Judge for appropriate action. 05/04/2011

Several members have expressed the empty popsicle stick theory. Member Loyal calls this the lollipop stick with no lolly on it. I remember hot summer days in 1959 Virginia when the Good Humor man came by. I was extremely young and  inexperienced in the ways of the world. Trying to enjoy a popsicle by savoring it was a recipe for disaster. They tend to part company with the stick and end up in the dirt.

VA has improved on this and is in the habit of handing out empty sticks from the get go. Many is the decision I have read where the Vet is finally given a “win” for a long-sought claim or a CUE revision. VA magnanimously announces the ol’ boy has prevailed and then pole axes him with a long diatribe about how he has no evidence to support this previous effective date. Some spend their dying last days trying to dig up supporting medical info in the quest for the back pay. As the error is the fault of the VA, the courts are now holding that SSI/SSD reports of your  wages over the years are a pretty good barometer of what your earning abilities were way back when.

My SSI records fortunately support this. VA is going to have a tough time squirming their way out. I even had the foresight to submit all this with the original claim including a detailed description by my wife of my health travails. Nevertheless, I’m betting the lowball technique will be employed initially in an effort to dampen the largesse. The only thing VA hates more than losing is having to part company with large sums of 30 year-old inflated dollars interest-free. I don’t understand their logic. It’s not their money but they certainly treat it as such. They can and do get down in the trenches with you and fight tooth and nail over a 0% hearing rating for years. The same occurs regularly over a Tinnitus claim for $125/month (10%).  You can imagine how they treat an 18 year old claim with 50-60+% that they now have to address. The urge is to find any way short of dishonesty to curtail it.

In 2007 we were introduced to the now outlawed practice of the Extraordinary Awards program (EAP). The Secretary improbably decided he needed a new limo with a bar and heated massage seats. About that time he also noticed the office was looking a little shabby and a new, larger desk with fresh carpet were in order. The VLJs piled on and pointed out that their quarters were cramped and it interfered with the quality and quantity of justice being dispensed. They instituted the EAP and started giving haircuts where possible (read invariably) to retro awards in excess of $25,000.00.

I expect some of you still consider $25K  to be an important financial tool after years of deprivation. VA considered it to be foolish money being given to foolish Vets who would in all probability go out and squander it on foolish pursuits. Rather than try to hold it hostage in some form of trust or fiduciary which they control, they opted to simply “appropriate” it  in a back room trial without you and the jury present. Well, this is against the law in the lower 48 states and it wasn’t long before a VSO caught wind of it and blew the whistle. VA has a much more circumspect method that is sotto voce now.  It’s unwritten, but there is suddenly a new signature line on the forms that requires more than the ranking GS-13 DRO’s John Hancock.

Thus it may come to pass that a rump decision will ensue from all this. Since I actually worked-even for just 3-4 K a year in the eighties, this will become incontrovertible proof  that I could have  worked more but was just gaming the system and preparing for the  eventual filing of my VA comp. claim. Logic will thus dictate that any comp. monies should be miniscule so as not to reward my dishonesty. I can’t wait to hear their tortured rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It may surpass Roseanne Barr’s and Stephen Tyler’s efforts.

Whatever VA chooses, it is axiomatic that it will be their rosy impression from their high perch in D.C. and not based on their equivocating for decades at my expense.  They’ve had it for a year now come April 5th, and it appears they’re not finished with the scissors yet. What always sticks in my throat is the “Let them eat cake” moment when they announce the immortal “Justice delayed is not justice denied” mantra. What they seem to miss is that the 1994 dollars do not buy what the 2012 dollars attempt to nowadays. Absent any interest on the underlying principal, any Vet’s award is woefully inappropriate.

A win is a win-unless it’s a win at the VA. There it’s merely a concession that they did nothing wrong that is actionable. Since it is just an unfortunate mistake that anyone could have made, no one will be punished for their stupidity. All is well that ends well and the Vet lives happily ever after.  The minor fact that this happens fairly regularly (in 60% of all cases appealed) is merely a coincidence and no inference should be drawn as to VA claims in general.

I strongly suspect VA employs a Wheel of Fortune in the Rater’s back room at ROs. Their version is predominately 10%ers, lose a turn, and Bankrupt. There are a few 20 and 40%ers with the miniscule silver $5K wedges that are there for shits and grins. By and large, the outcome is predicable.

What’s behind door #3?


About asknod

VA claims blogger
This entry was posted in All about Veterans, BvA and VARO CUE DECISIONS, BvA HCV decisions, CUE and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to VA’s WHEEL OF FORTUNE

  1. Kiedove says:

    Applying the GAF scores (tab above), where do you place the authors of these cases? I put them here:
    “31 – 40 Some impairment in reality testing or communication (e.g., speech is at times illogical, obscure, or irrelevant) OR major impairment in several areas, such as work or school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood
    21 – 30 Behavior is considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations OR serious impairment, in communication or judgment”
    The language-game at its most chaotic and deceptive expression.

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