FROM THE MONTGOMERY WARD
CATALOGUE RO IN ALABAMA
Here’s one that will take a while to be docketed at the Court. VA will play “Fish on! for a few years. The most common modus operandi is to stick your appeal for a higher rating at the bottom of the in-box pile repeatedly. Ten seconds before the BVA is ready to pronounce you’ve won, VA grants again. Unfortunately you’re keeling over with near constant and debilitating symptoms and they’re thinking …more than 30 days a year but less than 3 months of the year–hmmm– 40%, right? If he was sick, he’d go to the doctor every day and it would be in the records. He’s only going every three weeks so 52 divided by 3 is 16 and something. We’re rounding up to thirty days. What’s the beef?
Leroy Macklem, as most know, got a TKO on his CUE claim due to VA accidentally sending out a “You’re a Winner” letter. They quickly tried to erase the evidence by shipping the Veterans Service Center Manager to the Philippines VARO and everybody else to Puerto Rico. This leaves fingerprints. They did some other Bozo no-nos and finally ran afoul of the already-rescinded Excessive Awards Program (EAP). VASEC appealed it up to the Fedup Circus for a do over. He actually wants them to remand it all the way back down to the RO for a new haircut. Well, gosh. Do you think they’ll see their CUE reversal was CUE? There goes Leroy’s 1951 rating. VASEC swears it will be an above board decision fully supported by law regardless of who prevails. He sure isn’t lying about that. That decision will have more fingerprints on it than a 1957 pin-up of Marilyn Monroe.
Here, Leroy’s lookalike from Good ol’ Alabamy put in a claim back in 1977. He kept at it but VA performed due diligence and denied. He even infected his wife with it and her contemporary records were there at Noble Army Hospital (Fort McClellan) from 1978. Finally he gave up in 1979.
Once again, he tried to scale Mt. Impossible in 1997. He lost repeatedly through to 2007 and then finally prevailed. In 2008 and 2010 RO decisions he started riding the ratings hamster wheel. Here, in 2012, he has finally adjudicated himself into a 1977 effective date due to good ol’ VA stupidity and a propensity to never finish that which they started back in the early days. Being a closed shop like a union, attorneys couldn’t get their foot in the door to help us. Daryl is sporting the American Legion on his bumper sticker but my guess is if he’s attempted this before, he’s probably getting pretty savvy on it in his own right.
VLJ Keith W. Allen has written the Gutenberg Bible and torn the claim apart like DEA drug agents disassembling an automobile at the Mexican border looking for black tar heroin. There’s simply nothing there to support finality and Daryl has shown he’s pursued it non-stop. He’s into it 15 years on this latest voyage without touching the shores of Indiana Ave. NW. Almost a course record in VA intransigence, no? There almost ought to be a “last man with the oldest claim reversed” trophy or some Ceremony to honor his patience.
These cases turn up with horrible regularity so they cannot be anomalies. Few of us have the guts to keep on trudging through the swamp of denial for decades. That those who do are almost always vindicated speaks volumes for the quality of the decisions regarding our claims. Based on 85% denials, it bespeaks a culture on ne’er do wells bellying up to the bar for a free drink. Knowing you’re going to be associated with riff-raff and malingerers tends to cast a chill on otherwise legitimate Veterans filing. That, and the risable amount offered as “compensation” at the lower percentages is a strong deterrent in the minds of many who might feel the urge to file. I say this from personal experience in the late 80s and had no idea what they were paying because I never got past the ice creme cone with two scoops of 0%. I’m hoping to change that, too. That’s why this case has so much resonance to me.
Now that you have all the principal characters identified, the plot takes a boring turn. Yes, patient reader, the story will become a yawning litany of lather, rinse and repeat. A plea to raise the rating to TDIU, will result in 15 months in an increase to 60% sans the IU. This will necessitate yet a new NOD to protest the failure to adjudicate the TDIU which apparently is deemed denied. You don’t know because it wasn’t mentioned and your VSO is on Spring Break. More medical records will be submitted and another 15 months will go by. The claim will once again be poised on the lip of the Form 8 trebuchet for its inevitable launch to Vermin Ave. when Touche- TDIU is granted. Its now 2019 and you’re shopping a new liver. You won, Daryl. A grateful Nation turns its lonely eyes to you and salutes you for your patience and stamina. The American Legion will very soon be in touch and want a picture of you for their “trophy wall”. Go to a Halloween shop and see if you can find some of those black and white striped prison outfits. I wonder if they’ll catch on to the analogy.
Leroy Macklem and the “Last Man with an old CUE Win” club. (circa 2008)