In what appears to be a humorous stab at Christmas cheer, Under Secretary for Veterans Benefits Alison A. Hickey prematurely announced that in addition to ratings (and denials) handed out this December, all mailings of the “Big Brown Envelope” will contain a candy cane. Later, the Under Secretary explained that due to funding issues, inclusion of the candy canes this year wasn’t feasible. She indicated VA will ask Congress to include additional funding for this new endeavour in 2013. Implementation is expected to commence in the December 2016 mailings as VA gears up for this exciting new venture.
In other VA news, a new addition to the M 21 Book of Denials mandates Rating Veterans Service Representatives (RVSRs) will henceforth be required to actually read the C-file and certify in writing they have done so prior to issuing their denials. Tho old practice of simply stamping “DENIED” on it and sending it up to Steno for typing is right out. This is rumored to endanger the new target date of
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 for resolution of claims in 125 days. Accuracy, however, will not be affected and remains at its current level of 89%.
Hickey also announced the 2013 Human Resources Conferences will be held June 3-6 and July 22-25 to take advantage of mid-week specials on airline flights. The choice of a backwater town called Papeete on the island of Otaheite was cited as an opportunity to keep the conferences small, discreet and centrally located. Recent public outcries over extravagant spending have given VA a black eye and the Under Secretary felt this was the appropriate response to downsize the get-togethers and still maintain cohesion in training. VA has set aside a paltry $8 million for the training in an attempt to assuage hard liners in Congress. Training sessions, including Rap Karaoke, will include rhyming CFR couplets to make assimilation of the regulations easier. VA has hired several famous look-alike Rappers for this including Ddevil, 10¢, and 2kool4school. Ice-carving sculptures and cheese/wine tasting venues will remain unchanged due to their immense popularity in earlier years.