Great song and so à propos with the VA’s new Appeals Management Act (AMA). It seems no matter how hard I try to use the correct forms for filing, some VA jackwagon with a room temperature IQ and zero English comprehension will inform me it’s the incorrect form and insist I refile using what he purports to be the correct one. Well what the hey? There are only two possible forms you are permitted to employ. It gets humorous when you refile and they tell you a second time it’s still wrong. Today I’ll also tackle another quandary that upset me greatly and allow you all to vote on how arrogant I am (or appear to be).
WHICH FORM TO USE
With the inception of the AMA, VA has dumbed down the filing system so even Mojo, Homer Simpson’s pet monkey, can do this. Or so we thought. I’m a member of NOVA. They have a private page for us to
communicate rant about our problems on all matters VA. One plaint I see over and over again is the one I mention above. It seems incongruous that we advocates are now always out of lockstep on what VA wants. As I mentioned, there are really only two choices now. The venerable VAF 21-526b has been relegated to the dustbin of VA history. Using the VAF 21-4138 was outlawed March 25th, 2015 (see §3.155). Amazingly, I see VSOs were still using this well after 3/15/15 in VBMS with little or no flak from VA Poohbahs. God forbid we VA ambulance chasers tried to do this. It would have been instantly rejected. We’re supposed to know better.
The 526EZ-Yes or No?
As of February 19th, 2019, the only form permitted to be used to file an original claim-i.e. a claim you have never ever filed before- is the VAF 21-526EZ. I wish to thank that Secretary who reduced the 526 from it’s original 26 pages down the present 5. It’s still a bit unwieldy when you are filing it (again) for the Veteran’s fifth new, original claim. Let’s be serious. How many times do you need to capture the data of when you entered, when you separated, which branch you served in and whether it was active or reserve? Trust me when I say if you forgo even one of these metrics in spite of numerous prior submissions of same, it will come back like a boomerang in a week. And, dear Lord, please be sure you annotate each time that you have not been a prisoner of war. Apparently, they need to constantly update the c-file just in case you disremembered that hard time you spent at the Hanoi Hilton back in ’70-’73.
The 20-0995-Yes or No?
Conversely, if you have ever filed for a “condition” in the past and been denied, you must absolutely use the VAF 20-0995 Supplemental Claim form to “reopen” it. Likewise, if you have ever asked for an increased rating for a service connected (SC) condition, you may only use the 995. This gets interesting when I file for a brand new secondary to the original SC condition. The VA compensation gears come to a screeching halt and they reject the 526 as the incorrect form. Where this all gets terribly distracting is when you refile with the 995 and they again reject it by saying you already filed a 526 for this and can’t file twice. I call that the Joseph Heller response (Catch 22).
I think I’ve found the repair order for this and don’t mind sharing it. Due to the impaired IQ of the VA intake chowderheads, we apparently need to instruct them on why we are using the form we are submitting. I do this by including a little blurb in Box 13A under “Specific Issue(s) on the 995 or Section IV, Box 16 on the 526EZ stating:
“Veteran now files his supplemental claim for _____________ condition on the prescribed VAF 20-0995. Veteran filed for this on _/__/____ and was denied.” Or…
“Veteran now files his supplemental claim for for an increase for his _____________ condition on the prescribed VAF 20-0995. Veteran previously filed for this on _/_/____ and was denied (or granted).” Or…
“Veteran now files his VAF 21-0526EZ for ________. This is a brand new condition which has never been filed for and VA requires it be filed on a VAF 21- 526EZ by operation of law.”
This forms insanity doesn’t stop here. VA came out with a new VAF 21-22a in 2018. It’s ever so slightly different than the older 2015 version. Woe betideth any who use that older form. Yes, folks. They will reject it. This also creates a damning domino effect on your attorney/client fee agreement. By law, if you don’t file both documents within 30 days of one another, the fee agreement is null and void. Oddly, your POA representation will remain intact. You’ll discover this problem when you win on appeal and VA refuses to hold back the 20% and pay you. At this point you are at the mercy of the client as to whether you were working for free or get paid.
I confess. I went to an all boys Preparatory School- Vermont Academy. It’s a good thing they didn’t go coed until after I graduated or I might have married early on. By the same token, I guess I’m condemned to being one of those indicted for White Entitlement. I disagree. I was incarcerated there for three years because my father went to Vietnam and my mother refused to let me reside with her. I graduated 59th in a class of 64 so no one can say I was trying to be snooty. I never did get to go to college for a number of reasons so no one can call me uppity or over-educated. In a word, I’m like the majority of my fellow enlisted Veterans. My only claim to something unique was an excellent education and a multilingual mother (French). It gave me a broad, multisyllabic vocabulary. A good education should not, in and of itself, condemn you to being considered arrogant or prideful. Being smarter than the average bear is not a crime.
I have learned over the years that being able to articulate and convey what you seek is essential to VA litigation. As we all know, you can file for DM II and cite to peripheral neuropathy in all four extremities. With the new AMA, chances are you will receive a denial that it wasn’t in your 1970 STRs and you would have been required to file for it within one year of leaving Vietnam. Aruu?
Recently, I was on another Veterans website where I offer advice. I was politely (as possible) trying to explain the difference between asking the VA to fix an obviously flawed decision versus filing a CUE claim. In a nutshell, you cannot file a Motion to Revise a “live” claim. A motion to revise can only be filed in conjunction with a finally decided claim. The operable word here is final. As in dead in the water. As in unappealed or past the one-year suspense date. Do you think I could communicate that concept to the parties I addressed? I was summarily informed I am rude, abusive, lower than whaleshit, arrogant, overbearing and not one soul likes me. Apparently, the others who find me distasteful were just too polite to say so. In fact. I am so despised there that I should roll up my prayer rug and go home. Well shoot. I apologized for coming across that way and begged for forgiveness but was thence informed that my apologies were shallow and meaningless, my advice was incorrect and I shouldn’t hold myself forth as an attorney. The list was far longer but you get the drift.
Here’s the gist of what began this. I attempted to teach CUE but was met with a refusal to accept my interpretation of §3.105(a) Revision of Decisions. Granted, when someone offers advice that is incorrect, I tend to step in and fix it. If the offender is is ignorant of the law and insists on propagating his errors, I sometimes become sarcastic:
[Redacted] states: “I have to respectfully disagree, if I would have followed this advice verbatim I would not have filed my CUE and won it.” Sure you would have. You could have sent in a letter and said “You screwed up my rating decision. Please fix it-pronto.” Calling the color red black doesn’t make it black just as calling an error CUE doesn’t make it -ipso facto-CUE.
I read over your entire thread, sir. You mentioned that the award “correction” failed to mention the phrase ‘CUE’. This is exactly what I am saying. It is not a true CUE until it is poured in concrete (unappealable). That is why there is no mention in your award letter of any admission of CUE. It is also why [redacted] will never see any admission of CUE-if and when he prevails. VA makes errors all the time. We all know that. Are they CUE? Yes, in a colloquial sense but not a legal sense.
As for the comment our esteemed contributor [redacted] submitted in [redacted]thread : “38 USC is built on 38CFR which is built on Public Laws.”, you may want to go back to law school, sir. I, too, got a good belly laugh out of that chestnut. I also liked your comment about the “First Circuit” (We also know the BVA, CAVC, and First Circuit frequently take a dim view of that habit.). I’m going to assume you mean the Federal Circuit which is identified as “F.3d” on legal cites. Do tell. Where do you come up these legal revelations, sir?
I have said this repeatedly but it bears reiteration. Any here who essay to offer legal advice with no legal training can make matters worse. The legal axiom for doctors is “First, do no harm.” [Redacted] (and many others of you) have learned quite a bit of VA law and some are even well-versed in CUE. I admire all of you for that. All of you are also free to disagree with me and I take no offense but I do ask that we compare apples to apples and not oranges to orangutans. I will repeat- [redacted] did not have a CUE. He had an adjudications error that was subsumed by a corrected ratings decision granting his TDIU. That, folks, is not a Motion to Revise. You cannot cite to §3.105a. The error was corrected before the appeal period expired. In VA law, as in any kind of law, proper semantics (i.e. legal terms) are the defining rule. One who files a Motion to Revise is not a Veteran, a claimant or an appellant. S/he is a “movant”. Feel free to bandy about the term “CUE” as much as you want but simply realize that until your time to appeal a decision runs out, it’s an “adjudication error” and nothing more. You can always resolve it just as [redacted] did-without resorting to a CUE filing under the auspices of §3.105(a). And for the record, I strongly advise no one to use a HLR for anything-even an attempt to “fix” an incorrect rating.
VA will accept a CUE filing but may not CEST (VA term for “claim established”) it if it is not a true CUE. It depends on the rater and the VARO. Most will now, after the new AMA inception, refuse it and tell you to use a 996 HLR. Best of luck and I mean that sincerely. If I could, I’d represent everyone on this forum before the VA. Unfortunately, I do not have the time. Besides, there are quite a few VA Agents in-the-making here who should apply for accreditation. Any one of the regulars here has 10 times the knowledge of a VSO service representative.
This provoked a contributor to opine on my obtuse personality:
“we all know you are proud of yourself. you make that plain. you also spend an inordinate amount of energy trying to belittle others, be intentionally insulting, prove (apparently to yourself) that you think you are smarter or better than others, and of course extol the (self-believed) superiority of AskNod.
It is unattractive and unhelpful. In fact many of your attacks on other posters are childish and down right harmful.
If you don’t want to be helpful that is your business, but attacking others needs to stop.
As I understand it the focus of this site is to help and support other veterans. Your bile is the exact opposite.
Have a nice life living in your self aggrandizing echo chamber.”
Well, anyone who knows me would understand I couldn’t just let that one slide on by…
I did apologize in a round about way…
I apologize if I came across as superior in any way. I have a sarcastic streak and it appears it offends some. I have studied how to win claims for 30 years. I have been bringing that knowledge here free to all who ask for it now-both here at Hadit and my own site- for over 10 years. I am not proud of myself. I chose to help other Vets the best way I knew how. I chose to learn VA Law and become a litigator rather than just sit here offering advice. Don’t confuse pride with commitment. The only thing I’m proud of is being admitted to practice at the CAVC without a Juris Doctorate. Only 46 have been accorded that honor. I’m proud of my three combat V’s for Valour above and beyond the call of duty in less than 2 years. If anything, I’m proud I managed to survive two tours back-to-back in Laos and Vietnam. Many of my friends didn’t. That’s why I predominantly serve Vietnam Veterans before the VA. If you (or anyone) offer bogus advice, why sure, I feel it needs to be challenged. Do you suggest I just let you keep on misleading Veterans by pretending to be knowledgeable about VA law? In your own words sir- As I understand it the focus of this site is to help and support other veterans.
Let’s cut to the chase sir. If I offer poor legal advice to my client and act on it causing my client to lose, the OGC will revoke my accreditation-forever. If you offer poor legal advice and the Veteran uses it to his or her detriment, you are free to just enter a new claim thread and continue offering more of the same. In short, you suffer no censure or consequences. My attempt here was to clarify what is, and what is not, CUE. I merely try to correct that error using real legal cites and precedence. I will continue to gladly suffer your insults if it helps even one more Veteran succeed.
I helped over 750 Veterans attain a minimum of TDIU or 100% before I became accredited in 2016. Free. No charge. I did all the work and wrote the legal briefs-and not because I’m proud of myself. It’s satisfaction in a job well done. And, might I add, correctly done. As we live in America, you have a right to your opinions but you do not have a right to recklessly interpret VA law incorrectly. That is the crux of your problem with me. This isn’t about pride.
It saddens me when someone runs out of legal or logical arguments and finally resorts to hurling insults. That generally indicates they have no more cogent rebuttal to offer. Accept my profound apologies if I upset you. Were you to familiarize yourself with VA law, I wouldn’t need to correct you nor apologize. I respect you as a Veteran and my motives are simple-to ensure you and others win. My advice was aimed solely at that metric. By my estimation, you are positive you are right. Had you been right, [redacted]rating narrative would freely admit a clear and unmistakable error had been made in his decision. VA is not adverse to admitting CUE. See attached below as proof of my statement.
When CUE exists, it is recognized-not glossed over or ignored in a VA ratings narrative. If you (or [redacted]) think the VA examiner just “forgot” to include the CUE discussion in [redacted] decision, you are sadly mistaken.
These rejoinders below, to me, indicate a possible medication management problem. I try to avoid a knock down, drag out fight when dealing with Veterans suffering from MDD. This is why I generally try to be gracious and apologize. This gentleman wouldn’t have it…
It saddens me when someone runs out of legal or logical arguments and finally resorts to hurling insults.
yet you do it with regularity.
I have a sarcastic streak and it appears it offends some.
it offends almost everyone, and you know it.
free to all who ask for it now
in this thread no one asked you. but you chose to start insulting the OP and then others in the thread.
I apologize if I came across as superior in any way
you come across as arrogant, angry, tiny, insecure and as a bully.
my own site- for over 10 years
i [sic] have tried to read your ramblings. The constant barrage of insults, snark, and down right arrogance make it difficult to get through more than a paragraph at a time.
become a litigator
litigator is a term typically reserved for attorneys, but your choice of that word fits into what is an apparent desire to have the title of Esquire without going to law school.
Do you suggest I just let you keep on misleading Veterans by pretending to be knowledgeable about VA law?
I have mislead no one. you however keep trying to apply the rules of the BVA and CAVC to a claim at the RO. You like to throw around terms like RIPE yet it appears nowhere in the rules of the RO and how claims are adjudicated at that level.
You cannot produce a single RO level CUE that was rejected for not being Ripe.
If I offer poor legal advice to my client and act on it causing my client to lose, the OGC will revoke my accreditation-forever.
yet you are not allowed to offer legal advice to non-clients as you frequently post to dodge answering questions….so what you offer here could not be legal advice or you would be endangering your own credentials.
If you offer poor legal advice
I am not offering legal advice. I am offering an opinion on structure, format and content. If you had actually read and comprehended what I wrote…where your ego did not get in the way…you would have noticed that….but then that would not allow you to justify your attempts to bully and brow beat others as you crow about your own ego.
I helped over 750 Veterans attain a minimum of TDIU or 100% before I became accredited in 2016
Like one of Trumps claims, there is only your grandiose claim. I am sure you have had good suggestions for others who have been successful, and that is good. Your ego and your mouth however detract from any good you might once have done.
right to your opinions but you do not have a right to recklessly interpret VA law incorrectly. That is the crux of your problem with me. This isn’t about pride.
once again an incorrect pronouncement by King Alex. I have not interpreted any VA law. I have said I believe he has a CUE but I don’t have time right now to review everything he posted. I also suggested to the OP that he file his appeal now, and work to perfect his CUE… note to your ego IT IS HIS CUE. not yours and he is not your client.
The crux of my problem with you is I don’t like bullies.
That generally indicates they have no more cogent rebuttal to offer
yet as your wrote this you searched for more ways to insult people. You remind me of all those people who like to stir up drama and then claim their innocence. Beyond being a bully you are dishonest about your own intentions and actions.
Accept my profound apologies if I upset you.
Your apologies are as shallow as the way you present yourself in your postings. But be aware of a real fact. You don’t have the power to “upset” me. All you are is an irritant, like a flea.
Were you to familiarize yourself with VA law, I wouldn’t need to correct you nor apologize.
You have no idea what I am familiar with and as for correcting me it is not your job, nor is it your right to insult people and expect they will not respond. All your complaints amount to your ego being bruised and like the beaten junk yard dog you want to bite something.
My advice was aimed solely at that metric.
your advice amounted to insulting the OP, others, and then me. You tried to use non-applicable terminology and standards not appropriate for a CUE at the RO. Under your claimed finality rule no veteran would ever be able to file CUE at the RO until they reached SCOTUS or let their claim go for a year so the decision became “final”, which under AMA would mean they lose any chance at an EED for the claim under the normal Appeal Process.
By my estimation,
that is a fatal and flawed tool at the very best. You demonstrate your lack of skill in that arena every time you try and insult people and then cry about how you are only sarcastic.
Had you been right, [redacted] rating narrative would freely admit a clear and unmistakable error had been made in his decision. VA is not adverse to admitting CUE.
Considering he got is [sic] claim, this line is a joke. VA is most assuredly adverse to CUE or it would not keep touting it as a “rare” event no matter what the CFR says.
If you think the VA examiner just “forgot ” to include the CUE discussion in [redacted] decision
I don’t believe they forgot, I just questioned why it was not there. Your claim is the rankest speculation on your part. You don’t know either.
Let me be clear Alex, you might have something to offer, yet you bury in vitriol and childish bullying. Your attitude and ego are on full display. Your arrogance is abominable.
This post of your is just more proof you are not man enough, adult enough or reasonable enough to just get out of your own way.
If you don’t agree with things I post, that is fine. Say you don’t agree. Just don’t have temper tantrums and insult people for your own self-amusement. it is unhelpful to other veterans and just demonstrates what a tiny, arrogant, bully you can be.”
This gentleman claims to be knowledgeable about VA law. He claims he’s a combat Veteran. Looks like a job for “This Ain’t Hell but you can see it from here.”
So, this tiny 5’9″ arrogant bully asks you. Here’s a poll. You folks vote on it. I don’t even care if you stuff the ballot box Chicago-style. I’m sure not looking for sympathy. I started wearing big boy pants early on. Give me your unvarnished opinion. If I am a total dick, at least have the decency to let me know. Hell, you can even leave in-depth comments on how horrible I am at the bottom below this post. I’m on a “Mission from God” to help Veterans (to plagiarize John Belushi). The man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it (to plagiarize a Chinese proverb).
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.