Good afternoon unhappy Veteran campers. asknod here (it, they). I, of all fellers, can honestly say “I feel your pain” without having to manufacture crocodile tears like a certain 42nd President once did. I did my 28 years in the hole. We’ve hit an interesting streak of VA jurisprudence that began around say… mid-January of 2021. No political aspersions here. Just an observation. Inexplicably, the VA dice went cold. There were more deferrals for a new c&p. There were more ‘claim changed from complete to open in VBMS’ where yesterday it had said ‘Claim decision complete.’ The number and quality of the denials was, and still is, atrocious. It’s as if Homer’s monkey Mojo has been given GS-14 VA examiner privileges and turned loose with a VA Adobe 9.5 M 21-equipped cut and paste program that spews out ‘not at least as likely as not’ drivel with a direct link to Janesville.
Well, fortunately, asknod doesn’t do tinnitus and pes planus gigs so we rarely encounter a lot of that. However, we have been getting more than our usual share of those GTFOOH denials that give you the heebyjeebies and make you wonder why you do VA law. I actually had to begin doing HLRs to fix their ratings errors sooner rather than later.
Were it me, in the setting of a big law office (which I do not have), with a JD (which I never got), I’d ask myself why in Sam Hill I wasn’t chasing real, $1.2 million dollar ambulances instead of rickety old VA meat wagons. Of course, being an actual Veteran answers all those questions as it probably does for those who have a genuine desire to help Veterans. As we all can agree, there ain’t no money in VA law unless you hit a Lotto. There simply aren’t very many of those and if you bite into one, you can guarantee it will be a ten-year time alligator. That’s why I love them. Old CUEs? Show me. A new tranche of §3.156(c) records and a 1970 denial for everything you filed on? Come on over here and set a spell beside me and tell us all about that Bouncing Betty and how VA screwed you. Welcome to the Group W (Waiting) bench, Arlo. What took you so long to get here? Did you take a side trip through all those Veterans Help Forums and chase down a gazillion rabbit holes?
Having been 86’d from not just one but two of the most well-read Veterans Help sites (VBN and Hadit), I pride myself not on my litigation successes but on my dogged belief in telling the truth. Truth can be a many-splendored thing. Truth to Vet A can be a complete recital of how s/he won their claims even though no one will ever encounter the same set of circumstances. Truth to Vet B might be the frustration of asking a question and the recriminations for being a FNG and not being up on all the EED and CUE terminology. Worse, no one wants to bring you up to speed and teach you. They just want to tell you their story about how they got here. Who gives a shit? Remember the Veteran? That’s why we’re here. To help the Veteran. This isn’t about us. It’s about finding their repair order. A Veterans Help website is useless if you suppress a point of view-no matter how far-fetched it is. Worse, it’s counterproductive to hand out advice on VA claims when you have no training. Vets are going to depend on that advice and it better be spot on or you could be condemning them to another year or two in the hole. I’d feel like shit if I caused that But then I’d also probably lose my accreditation, too. A well-meaning Veteran probably never considers that aspect.
When I first set out to create a Veterans help site, my immediate urge was to create a Forum like all the others which were all the rage back in 2008. What first hit me was the “Twitter” effect. If your advice or your experience with VA was adversarial, you were not allowed to spew that observation on VBN. It was quickly erased and you were marginalized or thrown out with the baby’s bathwater if you kept it up.
Personally, I don’t have a lot of friends. Why that is doesn’t concern me. My urge, in the short time I have left around here is to convey knowledge. I don’t have time to argue with some dolt about the semantic nuances of CUE in the setting of a truly final claim. If your claim is over a year old and buried, dang near the only way to fix it is to file a CUE. If it’s less than a year since it died, then it can be resuscitated and you keep the effective date. It might be error but it can be fixed without resorting to the arcane rules of CUE. That’s a biiiiiiiiiiiiig difference semantically and where they put the decimal point after the dollar sign. To get kicked off Hadit, I had to take that indefensible position with their resident CUE guruista. The second time was because I mentioned the unmentionable that certain doctors had skeletons in their closets. I guess it’s time to reconnoiter some new Vets sites to garner more bans.
The beauty of a blog site like this is the teaching moment and then a follow-on comments section where you can ask cogent questions without fear or recriminations. Or, I suppose, if you’re one of those Karens from one of the other sites or a unhappy TWS volunteer, you can come argue the misspelling of serve (sever). Either way, you get to talk uncensored. This ain’t a school board meeting in northern Virginia. We don’t cut off the microphone unless you become obstreperous or resort to expletives. This is a quasi-family site. Nasty words just detract from an otherwise informative experience. Guilt trips don’t fly. I already cornered the market on passive aggressive shit.
The last takeaway on the above subject was a comment from Cupcake. She sat down and read a representative sample of both these website forums and was struck by what appeared to her to be the very low intelligence quotient of the moderators. The ones offering assistance in the intricacies of VA law couldn’t even choose the correct form of there, their or they’re. Thank God it takes eight keystrokes to type out ‘You know’ or we’d have to wade through that too. I don’t profess to be Mensa material but boy howdy do I know VA law. I don’t know it solely from my experiences but by thousands of you who came here with situations no one could imagine in their wildest dreams. It’s simple. VA can’t light a fart with a flame thrower let alone figure out where all that methane gas is coming from. This means your denial is more than likely illegitimate and needs to be fixed. After about 500 cases, the denials all seem to say the same thing. Fixing them just gets easier if they have a skinny play book.
In combat, you don’t want a democratic discourse amongst everyone in your Platoon on how to get your dick out of the dirt or how to flank the enemy and surround them. You want some butter bar with an ounce of situational awareness to order it. Make it so, Numbah One! You want a repair order-not a Kumbaya circle feelgood where everyone who ever suffered explosive diarrhea explains how they managed to successfully change their underwear.
I have the hardest time prying the client’s hands off the steering wheel and explaining why the windshield is far larger than the rear view mirror in the VA context. I don’t much give a rolling donut about how you got here. Seems whatever technique you were using didn’t get airborne or you wouldn’t be talking to me. It’s far easier to fix it than to spend a month reviewing the history. The time for discussing the proper effective date of claim begins when you’ve finally won.
As an example, I offer a bouquet of my recent battles so far this month. As for those trite VA phrases like “This constitutes a complete grant of all claims pending”, you have to wonder who comes up with that unicorn crap. It’s over when the asknod fat lady sings and not a moment before. It appears in this new VA unicorn world, they’ve been indulging in too much of the Devil’s lettuce. This seems to provoke a lot of denials. A new appeal (NOD 10182) arrives at the BVA every seventeen seconds Monday through Friday (except for national holidays). Think about that. The backlog for an appeal at SSA is a year. At VA, the same wait for a judge is five years. Dang good thing they hired ten more VLJs, huh? Farsightedness at the VA is a much sought out trait in the hierarchy.
Here’s a daisy. Jimbo (not his name) really wanted me to take this on after I got him R1 back in January. Looked like it had some mustard on it so I did the dumpster dive into the c file evidence and grabbed a good Independent Medical Opinion. Personally, I never had a doubt it wouldn’t be a chicken dinner winner. The question was more a when than an if. File this one under §3.816(b)(1)(i). It’s also one of those cases where a Vet didn’t take his eyes off the rear view mirror. That’s okay. You just have to win the big banana first before you go on safari and hunt down the one that got away.
Here’s one that I began in 2017. Johnny Vet couldn’t get any traction on his Thailand AO claim. I tore it down and rebuilt it with my cookie recipe and we finally got the booth bitch at the David Koresh Memorial VARO in Whacko Texas to concede he really did get herbicide all over him. It happened while burning the classified mission papers on or near the perimeter fence from their daily 7th ABCCC missions over the Plain of Jars. Funny thing is I was down below him back in that summer of 1970 at about 200 ASL on frequency (118.9) calling in requests to him for air support for troops in contact. In fact, their call sign was well know to us- Cricket.
Johnny died of DM II complications back in April 2020 and I had a new mission to make sure they didn’t shortchange his widow. Well, sure as the sun rises, they did. Screwed him out of SMC S from fall 2016 to his passing in 2020. I couldn’t get the BVA jelly brain to grant what was due so we had to take that one up to the Court. Denis the Menace and the OGC choir folded during the Rule 33 conference and it’s finally back at Whacko Texas for the fat lady’s final act of contrition. I reckon I’ll look into A&A for this widow because she’s getting on in years. It’s only another $286 a month but what the hey? I’d do anything to irritate those pukes in Waco. They’re some kind of speshull stupid in my book. Maybe I ought to buy the DRO a one-year subscription to the The Flat Earth Society Magazine.
Life is good. I tested positive for Corona this morning. What’s amazing is it only felt like a cold all this last week. But then I don’t have IHD, DM II or weigh 458 pounds. I’ll survive. Too bad it isn’t like Chickenpox and you never get it again.