thVBMS is truly going to take Veterans Claims up a notch and make them faster than a speeding bullet. VBMS reputedly can jump across town at a single bound-in a day if necessary. The VBMS server is more powerful than a locomotive and can almost accommodate 29 VAROs at once. Soon, it will be nothing short of the derniere cri in computer claims processing.

I get the impression that GEICO® and AllState® are not flocking to 810 Varmint Ave. NW 20420 to get in on the ground floor. Quite the contrary. The automobile claims folks I’ve spoken with, once apprised of how it works, admit it’s the cat’s pajamas from the corporate standpoint. But then the ‘what if’ s begin to crop up like unwanted house guests and the whole construct goes haywire. Trying to emulate the auto insurance model and convert their claims processing technique into Veterans claims is an abject failure. GEICO claims processors occasionally run into handwritten documents and convert them to a format their computers recognize. VA made no provision for this anomaly and their raters are not equipped to do the same.

What if:

you served before 1990? It’s important to know that if you have contemporary hand-written records by a doctor or lab, hell, anything- even military files- then VBMS is a non-starter. Word-searchable .PDFs do not recognize anything but the type-written word. It can be hyphenated, capitalized or lower case-even misspelled occasionally- as long as the mistake is incorporated as a default for another spelling of it. In short, a .PDF is the neatest thing since the wheel for Vets claims right up until it isn’t. The majority of claims coming in now are from the Iraqistan War Games. VA raters only encounter typed documents.

va CLAIMSKnowing how hard it is to get the bait under VA’s nose-let alone  get them to strike- it seems adversarial to older Vets-especially my Vietnam Brethren with Agent Orange Presumptives- to electronically fence us into a pasture with no gates. VA Raters’ proclivity, their very propensity in fact, is to top sheet a claim. The in by Ten and out by Two pressure on them has been to get the backlog down to the magic 125-day duration. Figuring out how to bullshit your way through to a 98% accuracy percentile for a second signature on the denial is the only roadblock. Regional Office Directors have no qualms using this ‘Gimme 2 ratings a day or else” technique on the staff to attain the Holy Grail by the end of 2015. I hate to say it but USB Allison Hickey stepped in that Tar Baby with Rep. Filner and then with  Rep. Miller all over again. She is the inadvertent, unwitting author of the new “develop to deny” assembly line technique. For us old guys now, any claims depending on the written word for a nexus or proof of disease/injury in service are automatically denied because the round evidence doesn’t fit in the square .PDF hole. Knowing this ahead of time gives you the opportunity to repair the probative evidence to make sure it is reviewed.

Conversion Zone

Fortunately for all of us, doctors with atrocious handwriting abound. Whether due to lethargy and sleep deprivation when a resident, or just a laissez faire attitude towards patients in general, their notes often have to be decyphered by wordsmiths and made whole again in typewritten form. But it’ll cost ya. Yep, depending where you live, if you go local (think NY City) it will be steep. Fortunately for us again, in this new electronic VA poker game, we google medical transcription service and voilà! – there you go. A marketplace teeming with competition for your dollar.

We’ve seen this pay-to-play phenomenon developing for years on Veterans claims since Mario Caluza threw his hat in the ring back in 1994.  It’s no secret we have Dr. Craig Bash and  the Dr. Ellis’. They provide a valuable service for us and get remunerated for their work. They are the perfect counterfoil to your win. Not all do. It’s difficult to be a jack of all trades and master of one or two. VA looks on you as a Witch Doctor who unfortunately possesses a valid MD after his name. We have slightly more success with Dr. Ben Cecil on our Hepatitis C claims but that is simply because it’s his specialty. It’s hard for VA to argue with a noted gastroenterologist as well as a pioneer hepatologist in the field of HCV. For AO skin claims, I have my secret PA-C weapon in the Fortress of Solitude on the East Coast. These are real Veterans or sons/daughters of Veterans who pay it forward.

Doctors who you hire for this Independent Medical Opinion  purpose usually have the contemporary service medical records typed and certified as true and correct copies of the originals so help you, God. They are then notarized and given the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. When introduced into the .PDF the VA is building, they finally become probative evidence in your favor.


Thus the teaching moment is simple. All you gomers like me from the stone age are going to pencil whip this computer thing and become VBMS scholars. Sit tight. I have to wait until my appeal is over so I can begin the second book. Nevertheless, there’s certainly no reason I can’t teach this for free in the interim.

Your children or even grandkids are already computer whizzes now by the sixth grade. You’re going to get them to take you where you need to go to send things using the eBenefits platform. Technically, you can sit at home, mail out hand-written records to be converted, or just as easily send them via a cloud service like Hightail or Dropbox electronically. You can pay via credit card the same way- via your new computer knowledge. Next, you can file the new and material documents at the eBennies site or mail them in the old-fashioned way. The important takeaway is that everything be in typewritten format for Mr. Ratings Ranger and his word searchable lasso. It uses no gasoline so if you have Greenpeace in your blood, it’s planet-friendly.

I know it isn’t pleasant to find you have to start paying to get what you need to win at the VA. I get that. The only difference in what I teach and practice versus what a Veterans Service Organization service officer does is how to win. VSOs do it for free and have no knowledge of the ins and outs of VBMS. They are nothing more than the VA’s mailman. You will never be told this simple truth. We’re heading into a new era and every technique VA  utilizes can be turned around and used against them to your benefit.

Think of asknod as the LRRF looking for chinks in the VBMS armor to exploit. What if…….

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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  1. USMC VET says:

    In a way Ebenefits can be a green card unto itself if you upload each document individually with a descriptive title as well as a evidence list. If you just upload Doctors notes and lump them all together and they only consider 3 of the 8 its hard to argue. if you upload each individually “St Johns Health Center – Dr Ringo Starr – 2015 Aug 21 – complaints of migraines” then “St Johns Health Center – Dr Ringo Starr – 2015 Aug 25 – debilitating headache- prescribed verapamil”

    Its not perfect but thats how i do it right now plus green card via claims mistake center

    • USMC VET says:

      I left out i take a screen shot of all the uploaded documents. what is needed is a electronic green card where they email you a “we got it” reply to yourself for every document you upload.

  2. hepper74 says:

    The major drawback is the fact that you are missing the green card and we all know how easy it will be to “accidentally” hit delete by mistake.

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