JUSTICE DELAYED IS NOT
(JUST MOST OF THE TIME)
I like this one. Not because the Vet died. That I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I like this because it illustrates how being patient with the VA and assuming they will do the right thing is going to cost you dearly. In 2007, my VSO (MOPH) actually told me the truth (once). VA is not your friend. Of course, Capt. Obvious went on to say that tattoos were willful misconduct but no one is right all the time.
Good old Johnny Vet from the PR (Puerto Rico) filed in 1994. He was denied across the board for all nine claims and appealed. Noticing he was still stuck to their shoe in 2002, they threw in a denial of his PTSD in addition to continuing the denial on the other 9 (again). In 2004, still on appeal, the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) remanded his claims to be readjudicated (again). Another round of denials followed and Johnbo went up to have a word with the boys at the CAVC in 2006. The VA Secretary’s law dogs apologized for their stupidity and begged for a Joint Remand to fix all this. Lather, rinse, repeat.
VA continued to delay and deny again and again. Apparently, the Johnnymeister wasn’t very adept at this and didn’t have everything he needed to prevail. Vets are so dense sometimes. It’s hard for VA to figure out what it is they are saying.
As most diseases are inclined to get worse over time, he added Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) in 2007 which is extremely prevalent in us Vietnam Veterans-especially those of us who brushed our teeth with AO. All of this was ongoing. In other words, his claims were still the original ones from 1994 with newer problems piled higher on the cart as time progressed. Johnny wasn’t dumb. He was doing it right by the book. Lather, rinse, repeat.
All of the issues that had been remanded to the RO in the June 2004 Board Decision/Remand and the June 2007 Board Remand were merged back together and returned to the Board for review. In March 2010, upon reviewing the evidence obtained as a result of the two remands, the Board concluded that it still did not have all of the information needed to adjudicate the issues on appeal. Hence, the claim was once again remanded to the RO for development. The claim has since been returned to the Board for review.
A review of the claims folders reveals that In February 1998, the appellant proffered testimony before a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) who conducted the hearing at the RO in San Juan. That particular VLJ subsequently retired from service in the federal government and the appellant was notified of that fact. As a result, the appellant was given the opportunity to provide testimony before the undersigned VLJ. Said hearing occurred via a videoconference hearing in June 2009. Transcripts of both hearings were prepared and have been included in the claims folder for review.
Yeppers. That’s what happens after 20 or so years. Them fellers up at the BVA retire. Poor Johnny had to “re-judge”. This time the HCC and VA won.
I admonish the Veterans of the Southwest Asia Olympics to file as they vote in Chicago- early and often. Be prepared for the lather, rinse and repeat treatment. This is probably even more true in light of the intractable backlog which was/is on the precipice of disappearing soon in
1814 1867 1899 1920 1947 1956 1977 1994 2003 2009 2015. Lather, rinse , repeat until death. Relax. Nothing has changed nor will it ever.