VA’S AMA–I THINK I’M TURNING JAPANESE AT LEAST I THINK SO


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.

Arrogance

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:

Thread

 

[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…

On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

It saddens me when someone runs out of legal or logical arguments and finally resorts to hurling insults.

yet you do it with regularity.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

I have a sarcastic streak and it appears it offends some.

it offends almost everyone, and you know it.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

I apologize if I came across as superior in any way

you come across as arrogant, angry, tiny, insecure and as a bully.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

  On 8/18/2019 at 3:28 PM, asknod said:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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28 Responses to VA’S AMA–I THINK I’M TURNING JAPANESE AT LEAST I THINK SO

  1. Calvin Winchell says:

    Knowledge can be interpreted as arrogance and possibly is, but you know what you know! Utilizing that knowledge to help others navigate thru a hostile system like the Veterans Administration is noble and, sarcasm often times is the means to get their attention. For the years I have been acquainted with you I see a dedicated veteran doing a damn fine job!
    Nobody works for free… happy your here

  2. Vicki Foley says:

    Listen, it’s very simple. You can’t call a formal CUE on a decision that is not final. You can only do so if the appeal period expires after 12 months from the decision date. The veteran can use the phrase in trying to correct an error before then and the VA may very well correct it, but it is not a CUE unless the decision is final. There is no way around that.

  3. Mike says:

    Buckwheat……..I think that Pete may be God himself! I just shit myself thinking I haven’t confessed my sins in quite a while. Let the dude vent! Pete, forgive us our sins!

    Speaking of confessors, did you hear the one about the VR&E Officer who previously had a career as a priest. A local bishop went public last September regarding priests accused of sexual abuse! Turns out the VR&E Officer had more than counseling in mind when he offered a rehab plan to several young boys in the diocese.

    SOB resigned his SES gig with the VA the following day! Thank you God! I’ll try to get to confession real soon. And God thank you for giving us Buckwheat. Finally, God, I know that VR&E Officer fucked me but thank you for not letting him penetrate me!

    Data Digger

  4. jeffrey says:

    Asknod, you are fighting a losing battle. Pete appears to never be satisfied with your answers and will disparage you no matter what you say. If I might suggest, deal with the people who need you and respect you; do not spend anymore time on someone who will never give you quarter.

    • Pete L says:

      All I am asking is for Alex to be upfront. He used to pretend that he was providing his services for free. Now, he kind of pretends to satisfy his ego. He brags about loaning money to vets to “buy” an expensive IMO because the vet doesn’t have the money to buy it. Who cares? I don’t. Eventually, Alex will get his investment back, one way or the other. That’s the way he rolls. Do I go around bragging about all the charity work I do? No. Do I brag that yesterday I visited this dispatcher from Mathis Texas in need of a hospital bed and will buy it for him because he can’t afford one? No. I don’t need nor want admiration for those things I do out of the goodness of my heart without expecting anything in return. Alex used to be like that. I want that Alex back.

    • Pete L says:

      Alex’s favorite saying pretending he was providing his services for free: “So many Veterans, so little time.”

  5. Pete L says:

    Alex, arrogant people who carry a big ego on their shoulders will never admit they are wrong. They tend to only surround themselves with followers who will agree anything the Messiah says. Don’t get me wrong, you have a lot to contribute and I admire your knowledge. However, when I disagree with someone and they threaten to post my personal information, there is something wrong with that person. Yes Alex, you did it to me. Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Listen to what your wife says because she sees the real you. You often say that there so many veterans and so little time. The Alex of old expected nothing in return. Today, that Alex is simply doing his job and expecting to be paid, just like any other person in his profession. The truth hurts and wish you were more like your father. You were kind enough to share the true philanthropist he was and you were that way……at the beginning. I have said enough and probably too much. By the way, there are some of us out here who help veterans as much as we are able to, free of charge, gratis, and have not even accepted a free cup of coffee. That’s my idea of truly helping veterans. You, my friend, are simply doing what they are paying you to do.

    • asknod says:

      I may well have done that. As Sylvester Stallone once said in a movie “they drew first blood”. Additionally, as you know very little about how I arrange my finances, you could never know that I donate a large share of my “winnings” to charity. You could never know of the Veteran living in his car in winter with a starving dog in Sioux Falls to whom I donated money to for food. When he won, he sent me back the funds. I tore up the check. I finance the IMOs of my most destitute clients. I don’t even mark up the cost of the IMOs as do other attorneys. I pay all their postage for the Priority mail filings. I could go on but you would just say that’s arrogant bragging. This is why you will never read of my charity exploits on these pages. Your opinion of me is based on absolutely nothing but pure conjecture and an experience you, yourself, initiated.

      With the little time I have left, I help Veterans. I do not mouth platitudes and pretend to walk the walk. I could give you a list of all my successful clients but it wouldn’t be enough to dispel the thought that my real focus was monetary gain. Your mind is made up. I see you just voted and agreed with the naysayers about my character. Fortunately, I do not censor the comments as some sites do if they disagree. My arrogance is reserved for VA examiners and DROs.

      Most folks do not realize we are paid nothing if we file a claim and the Vet wins at the regional level. I do that here in my community of Key Center Washington frequently. Ask the Postmistress. Ask the log hauler. Ask the home inspector dying of cancer. Everyone suddenly seems to know my inner thoughts, my motivations and my base instincts but none who opine have ever met me. It appears all my detractors have been imbued with ESP.

      And, like anyone, if I am attacked unjustly, don’t be surprised if I strike back. You seem to be acquainted with that concept, sir.

      P.S. Perish the thought but just think if I didn’t have an online presence. Trolls like you would have no place to hang your hat and complain.

      • Pete L says:

        What am I trolling for? Paying customers? Remember, I don’t charge for helping veterans. What is it exactly that I am complaining about? You charging 20% for your services and pretending that you are providing a service for free? Wake up and smell the coffee and admit that you are the troll you accuse other of being. You troll [redacted] in hopes of snagging a poor Vietnam veteran exposed to Agent Orange for an easy 20% win. Easy peasy. You shy away from Thailand Agent Orange vets because they didn’t get the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange like the Blue Water Navy vets. I used to admire you for the service you provided to vets but now realize that you are simply in it for the money. I know you probably won’t approve this post since I am not one of your “yes sir” minions. You imply that you are being attacked “unjustly”. Really? You actually believe that? Incidentally, you are mistaken, sir. I am simply stating the facts. Your buddy, Pete.

        • asknod says:

          Hold on, Pete. Here comes a shit ton of logic. I don’t need to troll anywhere for customers. I’m on the VA’s OGC list. I get 100 potential clients a month. I have to turn most down or refer them to others. Your lack of knowledge of how many Vets are chasing so few VA reps is shocking. If you prefer, I’d gladly send the overflow to you. Please send me your accreditation documents so I can confirm that. I don’t censor here and never have nor do I close down threads because I don’t like what I hear.

          Let’s do some transactional analysis. Pete states he reps his folks for free- for not so much as a cup of coffee. His stated gripe is I (and about 4,000 others) charge 20%. So let’s do a hypothetical. Let’s say Petey lives in Texas and has a client in San Diego. I live in Seattle and have one in Oakland. They get denied. The clients both ask for a live Travel Board (TB) hearing. What happens? Does Petey fly out for free to San Diego at $800 for the round trip and book a room In the Hyatt Regency for the TB the next day at $225? I doubt it.

          The difference is I do fly to Oakland. And DC. And Salt Lake City. Or wherever. Free is a nebulous term. Vets have two clear choices of representation. Free or by an agent or attorney. We are not allowed to engage in VA ambulance chasing. It’s illegal. Vets have to call me for representation. I’m forbidden to seek them out. Obviously Petey didn’t know that. Free representation is wonderful. I admire Petey. I wish I could do this for free, too. My Vets ask me to win their claims. I honor their wishes. Petey needs excitement in his life so he comes here to complain. Sorry, Petey. This isn’t Facebook. If Petey thinks he is my friend, he must be smoking some excellent shit or enjoys verbal abuse from his alleged friends.

          This site was created in 2008. You’re suggesting I created it well in advance to ensnare clients knowing I would be accredited in 2016? If this is a Vet fly trap, where is all the high gloss advertising for VA representation? I could get $3,000 a month here but whoa, bubba. Where is it? Go to other sites and see who is advertising. Follow the money. Pete. It isn’t here.

          Westlaw costs $59 per minute to garner cites. $8000 Konica Minolta copy/scanners plus the maintenance and paper do not grow on trees. Wait. What about accreditation and the required Continuing Legal Education (CLEs) to learn the latest VA law? A new addition of the Veterans Benefits Manual every year? NOVA membership dues and travel/hotel at conference sites? You do all this free, right? $1500 IMOs? Why of course. Doctors just hand them out like Mardi Gras beads on Fat Tuesday. Your comprehension of what is free in life sounds suspiciously like what is being hawked on the 2020 campaign trail.If you do it for free and are wildly successful, please share your particulars on how Vets can get in touch with you. Don’t be coy and hide behind a typewriter, my friend. If you have a better mousetrap, why not share it with us? Your friend Buckwheat.

          • Pete says:

            Easy Tonto. “I use what time I have left to help Vets”. You forgot to add “FOR ONLY 20% OF THE BACK PAY THEY GET”. You need to remember not to forget to add that every time you make that statement. YOU ARE NOT DOING THIS FOR FREE. YOU CHARGE 20% OF THE VET’S BACKPAY. No, I don’t need nor want your backflow of VA’S OGC list. The discarded ones. The ones that will be a waste of your time because there is no money involved. I have enough of those on my plate that I am helping for free. But thanks for asking.

  6. Dennis Selby says:

    An OUTSTANDING, enlightening and educational post! IMO, your “arrogance” translates to knowledge and confidence. AND a wicked sense oh humor. If a person is so thin skinned or insecure that they have to resort to ranting and raving to prove that only their interpretations and advice are correct, and will not accept that they might be wrong about something, they have no business representing ANYONE, let alone our veterans!
    Keep up the good fight.

  7. Jeff says:

    I want to sincerely thank you for all that you have done for Veterans. This website and the information you have provided on the other website has been a Godsend. You cut through the BS and provide the most accurate information to help Veterans and their families. Your record speaks for itself. What amazes me is how you are able to break the court cases down into language that we can understand. Keep fighting the good fight, and thank you again for all that you do!!! It is truly appreciated!

  8. Gary Butler says:

    Personally with your website I find no need to go there. However, just for chucks and grins I went to the root of the website. Maybe its just me, I clicked on every single hot topic and every one took me back to Google with a search on Tinnitus… Anyone get the same result as me? Spend your time here 😉 it is a much better source of information!

  9. youngwillyd says:

    I love it. Got a really big belly laugh about this one. You are doing GOD’s work here. Keep it up. Don’t let’em get you down.

  10. Jack Stermer says:

    Alex……As Shakespear said; “Me thinks thou protest too much”. I mean, come on. You gotta know that referring to an adversary as having an IQ lower than room temperature hardly advances an argument or demonstrates that you have the deeper understanding of whatever issue is being debated. Howerver, it is a good line and did make me laugh. So, Kudos for that. But seriously, might be time to rethink how you frame your arguments & decision critiques – just don’t stop making them. So let me ask you this. You have a pretty good talent in crafting the written word. So, how would you draft a critique involving the issue at hand without using any of the personal put downs? Could you do it? After all, wouldn’t you rather convence your adversary to consider (and perhaps accept) your point of view? If so, insults (no matter how cleverly worded) ain’t gonna do it. But I’m guessing you know that and (maybe?) don’t care. In any case, for whatever it’s worth, let me offer up a point of view attributed to the Dalai Lama: “Whenever possible, be kind. And it’s always possible.”. Give it a try….or not.

    • asknod says:

      Dear Mr. Stermer, I do not set out to offend. I recite the law. If someone disputes that, I expect cites, not their emotional responses. You do not win arguments with words. You win with facts. As much as I pointed to the law, I got a convoluted argument in response which cites to nothing but their druthers. This isn’t about me. It’s about a Veteran I attempted to give advice to until I was rudely interupted. Go to the thread and copy and paste here where I said someone had a room temp. IQ. The gentleman’s legal comprehension is shallow. Somehow, that’s my fault. If I apologize and it is refused, what more can I say?

  11. Lettie says:

    This is my first writing to your post. I would like to refer to the 20-0995 supplemental. I have only used those for denials, and it states on the 21-526d’s to use for new and increases. Can you please let me know how you’re has turned out. Mine have worked out find with a full explanation on the 21-4138. Getting decisions within 90 days of sooner. I am accredited 2years and work with veterans in my area for over 15 years. Free then. Free now

    • asknod says:

      Dear Lettie,
      When you say you are “accredited”, do you mean you sat for the VA Agent’s exam with the VA General Counsel and passed it with a score of 75% or higher? Accredited can also mean you are a Veterans Service Officer who is allowed to represent Veterans under the oversight of a National VSO supervisor who has taken the Accreditation test. I applaud you if you do it for free. My copy machine costs $7000 and Westlaw is $59 a minute to look up legal cites.
      The new VAF 20-0995 is now used to cover denials and increases. In spite of what the VAF 21-526 instructions say. The current 526 is a 2018 pre-AMA document. VA is now rejecting claims for increases on the 526. The new AMA says if you have ever filed for anything (denied or increased) then you must use the 995. As for the 4138, it is still accepted as a document to record information of submit lay testimony. Many VSOs were still trying to file claims for increase or NODs on them after the forms revision of 3/25/2015 and the inauguration of the VAF 21-0958 NOD.
      As of today, 8/22/2019, if you file for an increase of an existing rating on a 526, it will be rejected with a note to refile using the “correct” form -i.e. the 0995.

  12. Todd says:

    [Redacted] only had ad hominem attacks which have little meaning beyond showing how thin skinned he/she is. Keep up the good work, I for one, have benefited from your posts. When I first got started on this fluster kluck you helped me with simple explanation of how the VA system worked. I am now at 90% on my own (except for you and Hadit). I have “been” to the BVA twice and CAVC once. Still fighting waiting for my 3rd time to go back to the BVA if the RO will ever get off their duff. Maybe I’ll get there before my wife has to be my representative.

  13. Chris Dellinges says:

    Alex,
    I read that exchange when it first appeared. My thoughts at the time were why is this person taking up the space and time to try his best to entice you into an argument and furthermore bring forth a plethora of insults for you to defend. With someone like that, you are probably better served by ignoring them but doing so would have left some Veterans misinformed, which you could not do.
    You have a very unique way of writing and speaking. Some of your motions boggle the mind with their clarity that could not have been formatted in any other tone to better bring about the favorable result for the Veteran that you were seeking. My hat goes off to you. Please don’t change the way you write, the way you speak, the way you argue Veterans positions, the way you represent Veterans and the way you inform Veterans.
    The most knowledgeable of the Veterans Advocates who advise on the forums have the utmost respect for your knowledge and advise and constantly refer to you and compliment you. Take their advise, not that of the (redacted) commenter.
    In the time he wasted arguing with you, you probably could have helped another Veteran. He gets to live with that, which I am sure does not bother him.
    Thanks for all you do for all of us.

    • asknod says:

      Chris,
      In retrospect I would probably not engage the gentleman. His stock in trade, judging from a plethora of his posts, is to get a strike like a small mouth bass and run with it. Sadly, I fell for the ploy. File this one under idiot’s delight. I see the poll results show exactly three votes condemning me. Obviously, there are some with contrary opinions as to my shortcomings.

      My daddy once said after Miranda was decided, “Son, We live in the greatest nation on earth. Fortunately, everyone has the right to remain stupid.” I don’t think I’ve seen anything since that contradicted him.

  14. jeffrey scott ward says:

    I read the entire posts on the said website. Do not take that gentleman to heart please. He himself is arrogant and likes to dissect other’s statements and belittle them. Carry on doing a very fine job sir.

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