February and March have been fortuitous months for wins, apparently. I haven’t been on a roll of this magnitude in years. We began with Leigh’s win and Kelly’s was right on it’s heels. My Writ compounded it with interest and almost immediately I heard from Miz Vicki telling me of hers and her husband’s long battle to the Big House for justice. Writing that book is beginning to have a financial impact on VA. Concepts like nexus letters and credibility determinations are now becoming household terms in Veterans’ lexicons.
We can only wonder how it is that our VSOs disremembered these important ingredients all these decades we have fought for service connection. I read a DAV honcho had stated he had 16 (sixteen) months of training in the field of 38 CFR and considered himself an expert yet he was unaware of any bump in the SMC if you had an additional 100% rating above and beyond the first one. Sixteen months, ladies and gentlemen. I want to see their chapter on providing IMO/IME/nexus letters and a careful briefing admonishing the Vet filing to make sure he obtains one. Seems that chapter is AWOL and always has been. One quick look at recent BVA decisions reveals they’re still holding that knowledge captive like the ILP entitlement. Here’s a recent example:
Anyway, let’s rejoice for Vicki and Phil. A long journey into the night has finally concluded. It’s all over except for the rating. That will take some time as the BVA hates to be the loser. After they finish pouting for a few months, they’ll get to work.
Vicki and Phil have been fighting this as long as I fought my claim for hepatitis and AO-1994. Twenty one years of denials and obfuscation. So much for the CAVC and BVA’s admonition of RFN. VA most assuredly marches to the beat of their own deaf drummer boy.
Here’s another claim to put away in the win file cabinet. By now they are too numerous to count. Strangely, that is satisfying. I do know we have only had three that lost outright and I still hold out hope for a win on Malcolm “in the Middle” Melancon. He has an excellent shot at a CUE claim for VA’s and Navy’s mismanagement of his separation while still jaundiced with active HCV (misdiagnosed as HBV) in 1990. All in good time.
Vicki and Phil’s big remand win.
For your reading pleasure. Curl up with an ice cold IPA and read of Miz Vicki’s adventures in VALand. They had an able law dog in the person of David E. Boelzner, Esq. We hope his phone will be ringing off the hook with breathless Vets in search of his expertise. You can reach him at:
Actually, Alex, we’re not quite done. We still have appeals at the Board that it had remanded back to the VARO that were since returned to the Board but are still pending, appeals that have not yet been heard at the Board on the first go around, and a few appeals remanded back to the Board from a previous Court (JMR) remand a few years ago that are still pending. I’m not sure how the Board will respond to this latest Court remand, but we’re grateful for the decision (2 out of 3 ain’t bad!) and for David Boelzner (and also Daniel Krasnegor, both with Goodman, Allen & Filetti), who have provided the benefit of legal counsel to my husband since 2005.
Vicki, here, we count a remand as a win. It is far different from the Court saying “Affirmed”. It’s another bite of the apple. It’s another job for VA. Remember the squeaky wheel theory. At some point it becomes more advantageous to settle with you to make you go away. That’s often the essence of this game and a big part of my game straegy. I personally do not believe they should have awarded me 100% all the way back to 1994 for the Hep. Legitimately? 40% with a Fenderson staged to about 2004 and 100%. They opted for 100% and it’s now over 20 years and protected. The Porphyria, on the other hand, has been 100% since 1994 ( 1992 actually). That is a battle worth fighting for now to benefit by the bump accorded you when you are bedridden. It’s a rather dramatic difference in SMC compensation..
Smiling ear to ear. I think I may be next at bat 🙂 hoping so anyway.
Smiling here too Vicky. There is a lot to keep track of isn’t there? And a great deal of fortitude.