How many of you have applied for an increase after about 10 years and they run you through the new c&p gamut of what would appear to be a normal physical with a side order of closer examination of an extremity or joint claimed? You were in there for 40 minutes tops and if you had access to VBMS, you’d be surprised to know you just attended no less than six or seven exams by no less than an orthopedist, a endocrinologist, a cardiac specialist and quite possibly a proctologist masquerading as a neurologist. If you’re lucky, most of them have PA-C or ARNP after their name but most will be sporting a FNP. They wouldn’t know the difference between Paralysis Agitans and myoclonus but would be willing to put their John Hancock on a document swearing they do.
I want to talk about that and what I get to see behind the VA Wizard of Oz’s green VBMS curtain. Considering there are about 5,000 of us who do VA claims, very few of us have gone throught the idiot treatment to be allowed to access the VA’s computer remotely. By the number 5,000, I do not mean to say these folks do VA claim exclusively. I’d say only 2,500 do this exclusively. I believe the last time I checked, there were 475 claims agents active. Of that number I’d guess there are fewer than 900 with access but more gaining it daily. This could be wildly off but I talk with other law dogs and some are still waiting two years now after the Corona lockdown.
I don’t want to spoil the whole show with the punchline on how to defeat this but I do want to give you an idea how these folks can ingratiate themselves to you like Snake oil salesmen or Aluminum Siding contractors.
John and Jerrel give me a valuable platform from which to preach from. I’m not interested in writing another book. I’m like a fighter pilot. I want to be in the cockpit in combat, not training other pilots. Teaching others via a radio program over a good single malt and an old extra sharp cheddar is my next best idea of passing it on. No pay walls. No BOGO offers. Teaching the right way or the newest technique to follow is enjoyable after the legal brief writing is over for the day. But more importantly, knowing I’m teaching it without the cacophony of 30 other Veterans not similarly situated offering their uneducated subjective advice that may condemn you to an eternal hell of denial. And I’m not talking about tinnitus or pes planus here. I’m referring to the highest levels of SMC after you get your 100%. VA law is dynamic rather than static. VA denial techniques metamorphose slower than the seven year itch but metamorphose they do.
In this business, there is one boilerplate maxim. No two claims are ever alike. You can never draw up a template on how you’re going to win until you do the dumpster dive on every single document in a Veterans c or e file. A simple 8 digit c file number tells you the Vet filed before 1972 or it would be a SSN for his file number. If the STRs are not in the cfile, it’s more a matter of finding out where they are. There are a lot of military hospitals around the world and some must have incredibly large amounts of STR storage space because I find them there fifty years later. Roger that. They’re supposed to purge the files back to the NPRC but I’d be unemployed if they ever managed to figure out how to do that.
Another subject of concern is the newer VA propensity to reduce a handful of ratings from 40 to 20% and grant a few new ones at 10-20% and end up with a net push on your comp. check. Now why do I see so much of that? I’ll explain that directly on Thursday night. It’s ugly so put on your helmets and take your protein pills. VA says you cannot fight it via regulation but they fail to consider those reductions in the context of §3.344 and, far more importantly, §3.350.
Lastly, yes. I am going to Cincinnati for Fall NOVA but have been told the Ohio is off limits for fishing even assuming arguendo there were any unpolluted fish still in there to catch. Orlando has been announced as the Spring 2023 site for NOVA. Good deal. I kinda have a hankering for Saint Petersburg because they have the East Coast DROC over there. We could have Karaoke contests in the evenings after our CLEs with all their VBA folk there and self-actuate to achieve our maximum human potential. Real honest to god Kumbaya circles with evening campfires on the beach passing around the talking stick to signify who is the Alpha talker. I’d really like to meet some of these VA SMC far thinkers and discuss their mental capabilities… or lack thereof. Peacefully, mind you. Equitably. We could even share our pronouns. Maybe we’ll discuss that Thursday, too. Wouldn’t that be speshull.
As usual, unless John changed it, the telephone call in listening option is:
The computer link is here:
The time is 1900 Hrs on the East Coast and variously staggered over the interior of the fruited plains to 1600 Hrs on the Lefterly-most portion of our great Nation. Please do not hesitate to press one (one) on your devices and enter the conversation or ask a question. After all, that’s what we’re here for-to win. Justice at VA is merely an incidental byproduct of winning.
P.S. A Public Service Announcement:
The complexity of dealing with these folks Is so difficult not to mention the endless waiting it makes one dizzy… thank God for law dogs like you Alex… you remain the man!
Keep on trucking. Bob. LSB NHA BE