If you are otherwise unoccupied tomorrow evening 2/25/2021 at 1600 HRS on the Left Coast, tune in for some interesting discussions on the recent about face of the Veterans Administration on equitably deciding claims. This process, since shortly before the election, has been turned on its head. It’s so bad, you could get your hand blown off by a B 40 with 20 platoon members witnessing it, be awarded a PH and a CIB and still lose your VA claim. Folks, you may think I’ve been smoking some killer Mantanuska Funderthuck but I have the proof.
Better yet, in the same vein, I’m seeing a nefarious process where a Vet finally wins a claim back to 2002 and the VA Examiner carefully make sure he’ll somehow just barely miss being over 50% in order to be able to collect both his retirement pay as well as a VA disability compensation (CRDP). Or, how about finally acknowledging the Vet is entitled to SC back to 2004 but give him a 0% even though he couldn’t walk without a cane and a knee brace. I could go on and on but I’ll save it for the show.
I’ll give you all some tips on how to build your very own personalized punji pits for the VA raters to fall into when you get to the end of your claims fights. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Under Secretary for Benefits (USB) sent out an email saying “Holy shit. We’re out of money. Deny everything until further notice. Quit answering the phones. Turn off VBMS.” They didn’t send out any email that said it explicitly. They just lost that loving feeling.
I’m waiting for them to start putting blurbs in their denial letters like
“Please take a moment to share the denial with the Veteran and let him know we strive for equity in all our endeavors. Our motto to our frontline raters remains Grant if you can. Deny if you must. We encourage the claimant to refile in the future when he or she has further evidence that might support his claims. Please also thank him or her for their service.”
Here’s the link to online version:
Unless I’m mistaken, the telephone number to reach this gig is
If you just intend to listen, do not dial one to share your dog barking at the Amazon Delivery guy. Dial one only if you desire to talk to the person to whom you wish to speak.
1900HRS on the East Coast.
Radio Documents for Discussion of VA’s New Adversarial Adjudications Posture.
Redact Korea 10% Vet is 10% for residuals of encephalitis from 1953 to 2009 and then 100% for s/p encephalitis but VA says he he has nothing wrong with him. Okay. Then why give him the 10% from 53? the 100% from 2009? But not 80% from 1953 for 50%/DC 8100 headaches, 30% DC 9411 and 10% DC 6204 as individual ratings under §4.124a?
redact RD 2-10-21 Vet wins knee back to 2003 at 10% and then 20% from 1/2020 but he needed a knee brace and a cane to walk in 2003. So why the refusal to grant his initial claim at 30% under DC 5257 (2004) and 10% DC 5260 (DeLuca pain) back to 2003? SMC S from 2003 is a big chunk of change VA is not going to cough up without a fight.
This is a redo for a Blue Water Vet. He filed in 2003 for IHD, DM II and PN due to Shipboard Hazard and Defense (Shad) but lost. I refile in 2020 under Blue Water and it’s now retirement pay PLUS VA comp (concurrent receipt). VA gives him a Fenderson staged rating and dang if he missed that 50% by thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat much. But, VA forgot about the 2003 C&P where they connected his depression to the Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) but denied the CAD.
redact RD 2-19-21 Here I submitted 12 pages of medrecs showing a Ejection fraction of <20%= 100% for IHD. VA tosses the medrecs and says I submitted a §5103 saying I had nothing more to submit and dated it 2/11/2021-the day I filed it. They had to go find a §5103 dated 1/06//2021 and stick it into a claim filed 36 days later on 2/11. So how do you file a 995 with no N&R Evidence?
I refile the depressive disorder as a CUE of the redo on the 2003 §3.816 look back and they cancelled it twice. I called… well, I called someone in DC I know and today bingo- they reinstate a cancelled claim and grant it but not as a CUE. They feel it was raised on 12/02/2020-the day I filed the CUE. Make your own rules up if you want to. Any old rules that you think will do.
(a) General. Except as provided in § 3.300(c), disability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected. When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition.
Here, we’re dealing with Harris v. Derwinski and inextricably intertwined claims. If they deny a claim in 2003 and then grant it due to AO updates, anything that was part of it then is part of it now. When you grant a CUE, you have to put the Veteran in the same position he was in before they committed the CUE. VA contends this isn’t a CUE but granted it without my filing a 995 or 526 to reopen it. Ergo, it’s a CUE grant with the wrong effective date.
VA is not only screwing up at a record pace. They are purposefully denying or granting in such a way as to give the Vet the very least they can and then see if he objects. They grandly state “This is a complete grant of the benefit sought.” Yeah, well percentage-wise but not effective date-wise. Granted, as the comments below imply, VA has always screwed up our claims. But why now, suddenly when a lot of Vets are in deep doo doo with the Coronacrap and lost jobs, decide to be extra speshull assholes? What internal memo was circulated? What FAST letter was dispatched to all HHCs for immediate dissemination? You have to have a very high SES rating to be instituting this level of havoc.
P.S. recent Pickles entertainment with her Wingman Widget.
I was recently awarded 100% for DMII and PN. It was a bizarre decision, but I finally made it from 90% to 100%. I was already getting TDIU for the last 20 years, but I wanted to keep up with my DMII worsening so I filed a claim for an increase. LHI did the exam. It was in my favor but weird. I don’t argue with weird if it is in my favor. The process mystifies me even after all these years.
I’ve found once you have a couple of 100% ratings and are nigh on to 20 year protection, they’ll grant anything as long as they know it won’t cost them anything. I kept going back to the feed trough after I had SMC S and they handed me another 60 and 30 no questions asked. Not even a c&p. Makes you wonder, John. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a pre-programed poker game. Heads I win, tails you lose.
You are so right. It is only when the VA thinks they will have to pay out some more money that they get cranky. My getting from 30% to 70% TDIU was a monumental chore. Now that I have “S” the only way to get more that I know of is to become an amputee or be bed ridden. I am hoping that never happens. We never really get compensated for the pain and suffering we all endure from our wounds and illness. I get $3800 a month which is really chump change for being 100% disabled.
Alex, respectfully, you should lay off the conspiracy theories about this having something to do with the election. The issues you describe have been going on long before the election and you know it. Please leave politics out of it as it reflects poorly on our profession.
Point well taken, Jim and I apologize if anyone imports an insinuation that I’m implying this has anything to do with politics-i.e. which political party took control. Absolutely not. What I will confirm is that the very last decision that seemed logical and conformed with nonadversarial processes was late August. On 9/29/2020, I witnessed a prolonged delay for a dying Blue Water Vet blossom into a horrible miscarriage. VA subsequently canceled my(his) 12/02/2020 CUE motion as well as another contention on a separate 12/29 995 to repair the 9/29 decision. Cancelled, Jim. Not deferred. As in “we no longer get One decision on appeal.” Last week they took a solicited 1/05/2021 §5103 acknowledgement and turned it into a 2/11/2021 submittal 36 days later on a new 995 saying we had no more evidence to submit. At the same time, they “neglected” to upload my brief and the N&R Evidence. Poof. Gone with the wind.
I began my claims career in 1989. I’ve seen a lot and been denied a lot but no one ever cancelled one of my claims or falsified the evidence. Conspiracy? No. I apologize if I misspoke. That was an extremely poor choice of word. A conspiracy would be do to it surreptitiously. VA is making no effort whatsoever to hide their machinations. So, absent an unofficial new (recent) policy of denial, what is your law office’s official theory of what’s afoot? The NOVA board echoes what I’m experiencing-in spades. Surely you do not mean to tell me you haven’t personally witnessed this pronounced adjudicatory “aberration” in recent decisions in your practice?
We too have seen a whole lot more ‘stupid’ from the VA over the last few years. Our experience has been that the AMA has resulted in quicker, but far more error-prone decisions. The only good news is that we can get them fixed faster.
My pending claim seems like pickles looking for the snowball… snow blind and SOL as they say… well, not even a snowball chance in hell of prevailing by the look of things? Will tune in tomorrow evening as the show must go on…. unless they run out of money?