DOUBLE HEADER WEEKEND

Before I begin, let me relay a funny happening. Once upon a time back prior to Thanksgiving in 2016, I wrote a humorous article about cheating on c&p exams. I caught a lot of flak for it because some with reading comprehension deficits discerned it as truth rather than the humor it was intended as. Who would have thunk anyone would actually step outside, discharge a .357 Magnum not just six times in rapid succession, but reload and repeat, saddle up and proceed to the QTC c&p exam for an increase to his service connected hearing loss and that bodacious ringing in his ears? Surely not me. After two years in sunny Southeast Asia, I discovered I couldn’t hear myself think over the ringing.  I sure didn’t need to exacerbate it for a test. 

The body of the email was a thank you for the advice and how well it worked.  I presume “Manny” was relaying a true event. As an officer of the Court, I would never advocate for, nor condone, cheating or purposefully attempting subterfuge to obtain benefits illegally. Perish the thought. The Veterans Administration is my North Star; my guiding moral compass. As we know, they are above board and free of suspicion in everything they do and they would never resort to cheating to deny us our due.

DOUBLE HEADER #1

My firstborn grandson Conner graduated High School yesterday. We’ve immensely proud of him. In this day and age, the very act of graduating is no small feat. I can’t say I graduated without a few “Imperial Entanglements” in my résumé. For the record, it was only failure to heed a stop sign and 65 in a 25-peanuts in this day and age. We wish him success in all he attempts and I gave him a personal wave-off on any aspirations to serve his country. It’s not that I’m anti-military now. I’m not. I’m merely concerned over the recent “awakened” atmosphere and how that can detract/distract one from an otherwise  invaluable experience in character-building. He said he’d already managed to get a dose of it via Zoom in the last year. Enough said. He should go where his heart leads him and not be swayed by others with narrow, flat earth-style horizons.

Double Header #2

The long-awaited arrival of our first granddaughter is tomorrow. At 1000 Hrs precisely, Penelope Rose Graham will fashionably arrive, as all know, transported in Mr. Stork’s beak. This will be the first Graham to set foot in this world since Buckwheat Junior arrived in 1988. Three more granddaughter Grahams await future fertilization in cryogenic sleep. He’s going to need testosterone treatment and the patience of Job in a house of five women. Join hands and bow your heads with me now in prayer…

VA NEWS

Here’s an update from our Fearless NOVA leaders.

1. Travel Board hearings are set to resume in FY 2021[Legacy- not AMA] Q4. Note that the locations for these hearings will likely be in the smaller locations, with larger ROs being targeted in FY 2022. 

2. Just a reminder when you are submitting documents through Direct Upload for BVA to be sure you indicate on the drop down menu that they are intended for BVA. There is concern that some AOD motions are being missed because people are not specifying they need to go to BVA. Also note – checking the homelessness box on the 10182 does NOT trigger AOD treatment. This merely indicates to VA that the appellant has no fixed address; you still need a separate AOD motion. 

3. BVA has a goal of 50k hearings for this FY, by end of May has done 14,163, with 97% being virtual. 

4. Decision goal is 93,600, by end of May had reached 65,370. 

5. AMA inventory at end of May = 51,952 in hearing lane (57%); 22,005 (24%) in direct review lane; 16,706 (19%) in evidence only lane. 

6. BVA expects to be at “functional zero” for legacy appeals by the end of calendar year 2022 – this means every legacy appeal has gotten a decision – so still will be Court remands, etc. 

7. BVA currently has 93 judges and is authorized for 103; FY 2022 budget would authorize 138 judges.

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Here’s another scary update from a fellow NOVA member

Summary: this will be a shitshow if its allowed to go forward…

“Beginning June 11, our Public Contact team will call Veterans to reschedule in-person C&P examinations. If you see an incoming call from 1-800-827-1000, please pick up.

What Are My Options? Let’s do this! I am ready to report for my Compensation and Pension examination. If you tell us you’re ready to report, we will tell the Medical Disability Examination vendor to schedule your exam. All exams are held in facilities that meet strict sanitization requirements just like your dentist or primary care doctor.

I’m scheduled! I already had contact with the exam vendor, and my appointment has been scheduled. Please follow the instructions provided by the Medical Disability Examination vendor that scheduled your examination.

Decide now! I do not want to report for my C&P examination. Please evaluate my claim based upon the evidence of record only. We will review your claim and use treatment records from your claims file including information from your service records, private doctors or VA hospitals and clinics to assess your disability.

Let’s wait! I am not ready to report for an examination yet. I will call VA or my Veteran Service Officer (VSO) or Accredited Representative when I am ready to report.

If you do not respond, we will continue to hold your claim for now. You will need to contact your Veteran Service Officer (VSO) or call us at 1-800-827-1000 when you are ready to attend your exam. If you prefer to call us to reschedule your in-person C&P examination, call agents are standing by to assist you at 1-800-827-1000. Alternatively, you may contact us via https://www.va.gov or https://iris.custhelp.com. Thank you for your service and we look forward to helping you.”

At the VA Women’s Clinic after a year of pandemic lockdown…

I always put an “Exclusive Contact Required” on all my VA 21-22a POAs I file. VA blithely ignores them all and regularly calls my Vets. I give them all the wave off briefing at the outset and tell them to ask the (800) 827-1000 technician to hang up and call my number. Period. No conversations. Just a ” Uh. Hold the phone, Ramone. The guy you want is at 253 313-5377. And hang up. Well, unless it’s VES/QTC/LMI. You have no idea how illegal it is in the real legal world to go behind your representative’s back and contact the client directly. They don’t have a clue what to say or do. They have no legal acumen that would make the hair stand up on the back of their neck. I’ve had VA RVSRs tell a gal that she had to pick between getting A&A or loss of use of two extremities. If she chose A&A, she’d lose her benefits when she had to be hospitalized. That happens to her every couple of years. Just imagine some VA Poohbah telling you this. Absent counsel, how can you answer these things? Why in Sam Hill should you have to? That’s what my folks hire me to do. VA knows most Vets are vulnerable and functionally ignorant of the claims process minutiae. Hell, they count on it. It’s like stealing from a blind Alzheimer’s patient.

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Five minutes to pick.

My strawberries are officially back. I’m inherently lazy as all know so I used to just aim the grass chute over the side of the embankment and blow it there when I mowed. Eventually, the grass took over the strawberry patch below, and the plants ceased production. I had our tree and lawn service nuke it with Agent Orange and left a narrow swath at the top which we weeded out. After five years, the fruits have returned. Imagine. It all began when a bird pooped out the first seeds in 2004. Hell, if I plant a Filbert tree I could have both fruits and nuts in my front yard and pretend I lived in California… Not.

 

Another interesting development is brewing in the Butch Long/LZ Cork case. As many know, I have resuscitated the CAVC appeal and converted into the AMA to preserve the 2015 filing date. My first refile as a supplemental claim in AMA was predictably denied. Instead of just gallivanting up to the BVA, Mr. Carpenter is of the opinion this should be sent through the washing machine thoroughly before going up to the BVA.  Hence, I am asking for (don’t laugh) an HLR to get them to acknowledge the supplemental claim is indeed a §3.156(c) claim. I want the HLR reviewer to concede Butch’s new service department records have passed the initial hurtle of relevance as required of §3.156(c)(1) (i),(ii),(2) and now requires a detailed showing of compliance with the secondary requirements of §3.156(c)(3)(4). VA has given Butch everything he’s asked for shy of refusing to employ the tenets of  §3.156(c)(3)(4) and grant him his claims back to 1970. Granted, they came close and coughed up a 10% CUE back to then but I want the Big Banana-over 30% for all his four children and Barb.

And, to add a little napalm to the conflagration, since VA says the tranche of new relevant service department STRs they failed to go get in 2015 (which we graciously supplied in 2017) failed to convince them they would have granted in 1970, I came up with the idea of getting a killer retrospective IMO analysis from a Board Certified neurologist. Why not?Presto Mednick Magic. Their neurodoc is on it. Now that’s the kind of shit you want to present at the BVA. Wrap it all up with a nice IMO bowtie…

LZ Cork- 16 January 1969 (Courtesy of Bob Lockett)

“Tinnitus? Why yes. That’s fairly frequent in a concussion blast injury setting secondary to perforated eardrums. In fact, that would explain his getting a special Court Martial six months after he got back for being unable to hear and processing information incorrectly due to his TBI. I also agree with the VA’s psychologist that he suffers TBI as a comorbidity superimposed on his PTSD and without resorting to speculation, I’d say they are indistinguishable from one another. The extensive pepper spotting tattoo effect of the shrapnel on the right side of his body from head to toe is testimony to the proximity to the explosion as mere feet.”

PURPLE BOOK RECISION


Last but not least, BVA Board Chairman Cheryl Mason has officially announced the VA’s decision to rescind the Purple Book. As most know, an unidentified Deep Throat disgorged a copy that somehow ended up making its way to my door. I promptly published it  (above in my Widgets) and the BVA apparently just as rapidly began the process of rescinding it. I expect it’s time to get a copy of this new ” BVA Operations Handbook”. Sounds like nothing more than an M 21 dressed up in black judges’ robes. If you’re that ignorant of VA law, perhaps the panacea is to read up on CAVC/Fed. Cir precedence-not resort to BVA Cliff Notes™.

Pilgrims, it’s been a rainy, wet Sunday- the perfect recipe for my insane ruminations. Let’s conclude with a warm welcome to my latest Chicken Dinner Winners and brand new BWN members of the asknod Nehmer family-Doug and Judy. He just got his check for $250 K Friday and there’s more where that came from. Nothing makes you smile bigger than pulling out onto Baksheesh Boulevard and going for a cruise… after waiting since 2002…in your brand new Cadillac.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

P.S. This just in off the wire. The VA’s BVA report. Sadly, it just illuminates nothing more than the fact the BVA hires FNG dolts with the JD IQ of 70 as staff attorneys. I can’t complain too loudly. They only make $60 K a mo. in DC and are fresh out of law school-i.e., broke and saddled with ungodly student debt/loans.

BVA2020AR

Posted in 3.156(c), Agent Orange, All about Veterans, Blue Water Navy, Corona pandemic, Corona virus, Higher Level of Review (HLR), Humor, Independent Medical Opinions, LZ Cork, NOVA Attorneys, TBI, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, Veterans Law, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

MD 2021- A FORTIFIED NATIONAL HOLIDAY

I always wondered why they made a wine especially for Memorial Day until someone clued me in recently. Just kidding. I never developed a taste for it-regardless the year of its vintage. I can’t say that about Strawberry Hill or Annie Green Springs. Theirs (when cold) were a fleeting 70’s friendship and one that was a refreshing difference from warm beer or warm T & Ts. Southeast Asia, in my time, was noticeably remiss on creature comforts  like electricity and refrigeration. Fortunately for all, Scotch did not require this treatment. 

This year I received lots of suggestions for subjects to write on but most have been lip-whipped to death by endless politicians who never saw the insides of a pair of boots-combat or otherwise. I take that back. Many of them are avid skiers.

Who woulda thunk Waterloo, as a place name, would ever become famous in America? Why, look no further than 53 years after Napoleon Bonaparte’s fustercluck than Waterloo, New York and the inception of celebrating the memory of our Civil War fallen rather than engaging actively in causing them to fall on the field of battle.

I was always told one of Plato’s axioms was “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  Turns out it was another of George Santayana’s observations-he of the mind that all civilizations forget their heritage every fifty or so years. Boy howdy is that ever true now. I was born and raised in the south – very south I might add- of the Mason Dixon Line. None of us ever thought of ourselves as white or any other color-and certainly not with any capitalization either.¹ About 1965, when I was still 14, blacks were granted total freedom to move about the country. As I had not attained the age of majority, I cannot say I was party to any racism. I served alongside, and lived with blacks in SEA and never considered myself better (or worse).  While I regret what has befallen their lot over the centuries, I didn’t contribute to their misery. Why the 1619 Project? I’d blame the British for that business. We didn’t take over hereabouts until 1785 and sure didn’t write the statutes and regulations back then. Considering we fixed slavery with a Civil War less than 80 years after taking over upper  management actually speaks volumes considering it takes politicians years to bipartisanly agree to even put up a stop sign.

The pursuit of happiness on Memorial Day takes on an entirely unique meaning and not what you think. Those Vets who died defending America, either here or on foreign shores, had a hankering to maintain their right to life and liberty as well and a lot more. We have a wonderful country and are blessed. Sure, it has a few warts and wrinkles that need ironing out but this constant drum roll of denigration about how horribly racist we are suddenly is a bit much. If America was so horrible since 1619, how come nobody mentioned it until recently? Seems if something is that FUBAR, we would have litigated it to death and made it illegal.

America IS great and pretty much always has been- or attempted to be- ever since her creation. We’ve been more than willing to send our warrior class to foreign countries to defend inequities and promote democracy. Hell, we didn’t even charge like the Hessians and other mercenary types do. I do know my readership and I doubt even one of them thinks I’m inherently racist. Just because I’m white-ish colored doesn’t automatically signal political affiliation or affluence. I’m an American-and even more- I’m a Veteran. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve ever done except throwing eggs at Officer Rohrbaugh’s cop car on June 4, 1969. I shook his hand afterwards through the bars of my cell door and let on I had no hard feelings. We’re good.

I admire anyone who joins the military and serves. Having done so, I know the ration of shit they go through. Military service may be getting a bit snowflakey in this day and age but they try.  As for offering sex change operations to fix what these soldiers discover after they sign up,  it’s a bit disingenuous if you ask me. It smacks of ulterior motives for why they joined.

My son just informed me I need to put something down at the bottom of my emails now that tells all the world of my identity and “preferred pronouns”. I, me, my and mine come to mind. I googled it and it sounds a bit schizophrenic. Who wants to be known as “we”, “Us” or “they”. It’s like a heapin’ helpin’ of Sybils to me. I’ve never thought of myself in the third person. Fact is I don’t know anyone who does. Seriously, can you see yourself telling your friends about your LGBTQRS dog and how “we” were overdue for “their” Parvo booster. In the obverse, can you imagine one of your friends doing it? Better yet, let’s back the boat back up to the dock, Gilligan, and spell it “Awake” or “awoke”. Merriam Webster is undoubtedly rolling over in his grave right now and everyone in Oxford is all atwitter (no pun intended).

But I wander afield. Memorial Day is certainly more than the sum of its Fallen. It’s the celebration of being able to celebrate; to celebrate with those of your own color or to mingle with many ethnicities who share one common trait- being Americans; perforce to celebrate with those who share your religion or-gasp- political affinity. America is a composite of well-meaning souls and total idiots. My father said we all have the right to remain stupid. We have the right to be QANON chuckleheads, chemtrail sniffers, white supremacists and Antifa miscreants. I do not advocate for these groups and would not associate with them but, like any openminded person, I certainly do not say they should be reduced to second class citizenship. If New York’s mayor thinks an attempted murderer should be let out on P.R. until his trial, then justice is defective. As the Forest Gump character opined in the movie, a box of chocolates representing life is full of intriguing possibilities.

American Ingenuity in the field

Those are my Memorial Day sentiments. Well, that and I think my Uncle Jay should have gotten more medals than a Bronze Star for the 67-kilometer Bataan Marathon and Fun Run. Or, as our new illustrious President declared last week,  a “Brown Star”. Who knew? They’re handing these out to guys who squared away the Burn Pits in Iraqistan? Awesome. Long overdue.

Ronald Reagan said it best:

“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A Veteran doesn’t have that problem.”

Americans are unique. We are welcoming of strangers if they bear us no malice. Our military is rife with those who seek citizenship via their service. It’s almost like a cemetery-folks are dying to get inside our wire. But, if you piss off the citizenry, you’ll find we remain myopically dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t get between us and our BBQs.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Happy Happy.

¹ Based on the comments below, it behooves me to clarify that I was “pre-literate” inasmuch as I was still unskilled in the art of reading and writing in my formative years between 3 and 8 (1954-1959). Naturally, someone who is “woke” would feel compelled to come here to announce racism abounds among children three years old and older. Oddly, most who complain of rampant racism a) never set foot in the south during those years; b) never set eyes on a “whites-only” water fountain, and; c) are predominantly Caucasian like me. Go figure. As for my political leanings, I identify as “American”. The term “Trumpist” is a pejorative manufactured to describe anyone who hasn’t received their vaccinations, doesn’t plan to, and disagrees with the current, reigning political establishment.

Has anyone ever considered America has existed for over 200+ years and almost all of the perceived ills have only now been uncovered in the last 10? Who would ever think that Martin Luther King’s most famous immortal words (i.e., content of character versus color of their skin) would be rent asunder fifty years later by the very folks who aspire to lift them up? Shades of Mr. Santayana…

Lastly, I would point out that any art or videos presented here are sent in to me by you, the reader. I do not feel they express the beliefs of the readership as a whole. I offer them as entertainment only. I reiterate for the dense- this Day allows us all to celebrate the right to celebrate. Innumerable Veterans died to ensure that right. Any and all who disagree with what I write merely confirm the truth of this axiom. It’s an art form now lost in the rush to wokeism called freedom of thought. Its death was preceded by the death of free speech.

Posted in Humor, Memorial Day, VA Agents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

BVA–ROCK BOTTOM AT THE CHOSIN RESERVOIR

Good Sunday to you all. I have been AWOL for a few weeks due to losing a Vet client and being under the gun to write some bodacious legal briefs. Now, mind you, our highly gifted Attorneys at NOVA counsel us to write legal briefs which are…well, brief. Roger that. I get it. You don’t want to put them to sleep reading your Gutenberg Bible. But sometimes there aren’t enough trees for paper to express yourself to a Board chairman. Besides, I’d like to think my briefs are better than the average bear’s. I don’t mean that narcissistically. I’m lucky in that I had a good upbringing.  My parents  shipped me off to private schools to get rid of me. They didn’t say why and I didn’t inquire. I let them down. I graduated 59th in a class of 64- no small feat. Too bad my draft number was 39. 

So, without further ado, let us say a prayer for Leigh Burch, one of my oldest  acquaintances in the hepatitis C claims world and not quite 62. She came to me from our old HCVets site (HCVets.com). She and her husband fought long and hard to win her claim. All I did was point out that she needed a good nexus letter. That she promptly obtained and moved on to win.

Leigh Ann Burch 1958-2021

Paul E. Burch d. 2016

Her husband Paul and a Marine Vet, sadly passed in 2016. Leigh developed problems with her liver transplant last fall and it went downhill from there. She was denied a new organ this February due to her body being in full revolt against the ten yr. old transplanted liver. It was theorized her immune system would reject the new one out of hand. Seeing’s how livers are kinda hard to come by, she was given a death sentence. She passed April 28th with no one to be substituted in her claim. The kids are all over 21. I hate that when that happens.

 

But that isn’t why I began this missive today. It’s just part of my asknod story. My clients frequently become part of our ‘family’. Once you sign up with me, it’s for life-all the way to R2. I file for the spouse when they pass.  I have three multi-generational claimants-sons and daughters of clients I have served in the past.  They come to visit or pass through and have lunch. When Cupcake and I go to NOVA conferences, inevitably one of our family comes to see us or we travel to them. I know my Vets want  to share their stories because they give me written permission to write these articles. VA has strict rules about divulging person information. Last year, I lost four of you-but not a one to the Kung Flu virus oddly. It’s tough enough to lose a Vet for me but it is tenfold worse when he or she is the last heir in the chain of substitution. Finality is a bitch. It’s the ultimate VA bitchslap.

Elderly Veterans

Rarely do we (representatives) get to represent really old Veterans of World War II or Korea. I have been twice-blessed in this respect. One of my very first clients was a  94 yr old Marine who went ashore in New Georgia (first wave),  a second at another island and lastly at Okinawa. His MOS became Graves Registration after hostilities ceased and his duties as an Infantryman were no longer needed. Boy howdy will that give you a bent brain about a mile wide sashaying down the beach pushing a wheelbarrow  picking up pieces of humans like a Mr. Potatohead™ game. The problem is that fifty years later you’re still watching this movie every night from 2 to 5 AM in living color with Dolby® Sound.

My second one landed in my lap due purely to this infernal pandemic. Their VSO representative (and his office) were closed up tighter than a clam and they were desperate. I get that. When you’re 87 and VA is playing the delay and deny Badminton game with you,  you get antsy. Shit, you get waaaay past antsy. You get frantic. Ray had gotten his BVA remand in August 2020 and VA was looking to hire a proctologist to do a deep dive neuropsychiatric workup despite the VLJ specifying a top dog neurologist. Check it out.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp20/files8/a20013368.txt

I put them on notice via my CMA and via Outlook VA email to the Coach to read the remand instructions veeeery carefully. They ignored me. It must be a power trip thing-like who gets to hold the TV remote.

I called bullshit on the first doctor (an 85 yr. old retired anesthesiologist) who would take 30 pieces of silver from anyone to say whatever they wanted said. I noted in my brief he used my client’s wife’s testimony that Ray’s explosive anger and inability to hold a job was  due to his PTSD. Now shoot, I like Ray’s wife. She can read him pretty good after all these years but psychologist… like PsyD? Not. Fortunately, we have legal cites to point to that says we (both VA or us) can’t cheat and pull that Ben Casey-Dr. Kildare shit.

Doctor # 2 was a real neurodoc. He was also about ten years older than God and 5,000 miles away in Honolulu. So much for a real face-to-face c&p. Worse, both these jokers said Ray had nothing-NOTHING- wrong with him and certainly no lingering 68 year old lingering status post encephalitis symptoms such as the subjective complaints he had been reciting for six decades. Uh-uh. The second dr. was insulted that he even had to put up with this upstart malingerer. He went so far as to say my boy might be a combat Veteran but he was a baldfaced liar. Baaaaaad idea. §1154b carries a lot of weight in front of a real Judge.  If you’re willing to die for your country, it kinda goes without saying you probably have good moral character and might be a credible witness. The regulation,  §1154b, says the Secretary can rebut your contentions with ‘clear and convincing evidence”. That, my friends, is a very high legal bar to surmount.

If the doctors had actually read the claims file (what survived the circular file catastrophe in 1953), they might have realized the Secretary had already granted 10% for the very same things they said he didn’t suffer from. Shoo doggies. That’s what happens when VA tries to cut IMO corners and hire drs. with Alzheimers. Maybe they just need a refresher course from the Evelyn Wood speedreading school. As near as I can tell, they depended entirely on the c file record right up to where they gave him SC back to 53. Whateeeever….(as 16 yr. old say).

Here’s the CUE that opened up this claims Tsunami. It’s a daisy. In 2016, on his second trip to the BVA, a VLJ finally saw the light and granted the CUE back to 1953.   https://www.va.gov/vetapp16/files4/1629124.txt   VA promptly gave him 10% for “residuals” under §4.124a DC 8000. The problem is you have to rate all the subjective residuals like headaches, numb face, loss of smell, anxiety, nervousness, tinnitus and a host of other goodies like insomnia separately. VA was hoping Ray might not figure that out and ask for more baksheesh. 10% from 1953 up to 2009 sounds like a shit ton of a windfall. It wasn’t and Ray came to see me and ask if he got screwed. It felt good like being in one of those telephone booths at the Fair trying to grab all the dollar bills flying around in the windstorm but you discover you got about $26 bucks for a minute of grabbing.

It took my IMO outfit, Mednick Associates, a while to find a good neurodoc who was capable and willing to rebut this latest horseshit. It’s difficult when VA shitcans your original filing in 1953. But not impossilbe. Unfortunately for VA, they didn’t use a big enough eraser. They forgot to eradicate his brand new claims file number and other documents on dependency.

Redact filed 10182 5.21.2021

I explained  to Mr. and Mrs. Ray how Caluza/Hickson/ Shedden and all their progeny worked and set out to get the mother of Nexus letters. A note to the wise here. Never let your IMO author denigrate the VA’s IMO directly. Never use phrases like “the Doctor must have gotten his degree in medicine and practiced at Havana University…in the 1930s because medicine has advanced dramatically in the interim.”

A good nexus letter has to have several ingredients. Here, it was difficult due to the destruction of his c file. Fortunately for Ray though, they never went back to get his NPRC records. When they finally did in 1965, they did ol’ Ray a favor. They prevented them from going up in the  Friday the 13th of July Barbecue seven years later in St. Louis. From those records, everyone can see he was unconscious for over a month and shaking like a leaf on a tree with nonstop convulsions.

Now, if that isn’t enough to kick ass and take names, throw in that Ray was an invited guest to the 1950 Chosin Reservoir Christmas Party and, along with 16 of his 64 men in the platoon, managed to survive to talk about it. Somehow, even though they were all just lowly Negroes, they each managed to snag a Combat Infantryman Badge for their valor. Ray says his MOS was EOD- human minesweeper.

Ray was out of the action for nigh on to three months lounging around at the hospital. They finally sent him back to the front  July 15, 1951, with the ends of four toes (Right) still all messed up from frostbite. Blacks in the segregated Army back then were no deposit- no return items much like used toilet paper. Imagine being used as human minesweepers and ordered to march across a field line abreast while the officers (white) watched and laughed. Yeppers. We’ve come a long way, baby. I’m not banging the BLM drum here. I was born and raised in the South south. I  lived there until I left for the war in 1969. When we went to see The Sleeping Beauty in Albany, Georgia (Turner AFB) in Spring 1959, I asked my mom why there were two water fountains and one had a sign overhead saying  “Whites Only”. Truthfully, I don’t recall her answer. That was the south 6 years after they tore up Ray’s file. Ray was allowed to begin voting in 1965, too. That was mighty white of them, huh.

Ray’s choosing me is a special  honor. His treatment by the VA, not to mention America, resonates with me. I like helping the underdog and if you look up screwed Veteran in the Miriam Webster Dictionary there’s probably a picture of Ray. The Seattle Puzzle Palace has been screwing Ray over for a month of decades. This will be BVA Appeal #4. The last VLJ, God bless his soul (Mike Skaltsounis), recognized the three-card Monte aspect of his 68-year odyssey in search of  justice and how he kept drawing the Monopoly Chance card and getting whacked. He (the VLJ) wrote 6 pages of  very explicit c&p remand instructions.  VA’s two “doctors” who were asked to opine on hs subjective symptoms couldn’t even bring themselves to admit he had anything at all wrong with him of or having to do with s/p encephalitis. Zip. Zero. Nada. No neuro, Pedro. Moat lao. Fini. Pai lao dude. Now that’s a hoot when the most recent rating code sheet says he’s been SMC S for 13 years running with 100% for DC 8000. That kinda pokes a gigantic black hole (no pun intended) in your probative VA c&p findings of fact. Worse, the fact that the VA examiners were willing to put their John Hancocks on them as well says a bit about VA’s benefit of the doubt being slanted crossways. But we knew that, right?

Since Ray is waaaay to hell and gone over 75, this will be advanced on the docket pronto.  I’d sorely like to see this go back to Judge Skaltsounis. I have a premonition like one of them willies that runs up your spine when you’re happy that he’d have afield day with it. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

 

Posted in 1154(b) combat presumptions, CUE, Humor, Independent Medical Opinions, Memorial Day, Nexus Information, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, VARO Misfeasance, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EXPOSED VET RADIO SHOW REDUX

Call us

John and Jerrel have invited me back again to finish the  “Refile for SMC or CUE it” show from last week. We managed to delve through a simpler explanation of SMC and reduce it down to a more manageable concept to digest. Truth be told, after playing VA poker on this subject (SMC) now for about 5 years, there isn’t much for me to glean.  Notwithstanding that,  I know that the majority of Vets who discover this entitlement for the first time are stupefied to find out it’s been here all this time without so much as a peep from their VSO service officer. Boy howdy you don’t think that’s a little queer? It really isn’t. The Poohbahs don’t teach it. Remember who they all work for. Every Congressional charter issued to the 158 VSOs across our fruity plains clearly states

“We promise to help the VA adjudicate the Veteran’s claim(s).”

That’s like a guy t-boning you in an intersection after he runs a red light and saying he can get a red hot twofer from his attorney if both of you use him.

 

SMC is an “ancillary” or inferred entitlement. If you qualify, VA is required to take a gander. If they don’t- which is most often- you get screwed out of it. The best news is you qualify for it the day your medical records say so. No CUEs. No lost earlier effective dates. No “Shit oh dear! I was estoppeled.” You just go in and fix it with the correct evidence to prove your point and get your correct effective date. Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Sometimes I buy a retrospective IMO to guarantee a win. All’s fair in VA War- as long as you don’t commit fraud of course.

Here’s the Mr. Potatohead beginner’s manual:

SPECIAL MONTHLY COMPENSATION–WHAT IS IT?

But we’ll talk about that tomorrow. Pull up a sofa or a comfy office chair and set a spell. Pop a cold one or pour a good three-finger single malt with a TNT back. Take a listen and enjoy life for an hour. We’re not selling anything. Or at least I’m not.

Here’s the computer link:

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/jbasser/11944588/connect/a77067085cbd97498e4ee8483184bd0e10b36b9e

Or, you can call in to listen at

(515) 605-9764

P.S. See attached CUE filing for forgetting to award all the entitlements. I’ll be discussing this tonight.

redact CUE PRELIM 2021

P.S. Here’s a link to the show in case you missed it.

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1494325&episodeId=11944588

 

Posted in CUE, Exposed Veteran Radio Show, Exposed Vets Radio Show, SMC, VA Agents, vA news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

EXPOSED VET RADIO SHOW–CUE AND SMC

I had a good Videoconference Hearing (if such a thing can be had) with Veterans Law Judge Martin Peters last week. Trust me when I say I find no joy in litigating with the village idiots at the local Fort Fumbles across our fruited plains. I’ll be discussing the interesting collision between filing a Motion to Revise an earlier SMC error versus the more lenient legal pathway to accomplish it without the onerous requirements of meeting all the CUE criteria. 

I look forward to explaining the conundrum this Thursday on the Exposed Vet radio show at 1600 on the left coast and 1900 Hrs on the easterly seaboard. Join us for a Veteran-centric view of how to litigate SMC errors without resorting to CUE limitations.

There’s two ways to listen in. The telephone method is still viable at:

(515) 605-9764

Dial “1” if you wish to enter the conversation and ask a question. Or, use this link to view it on your computer.  John and Jerrel haven’t come up with live video yet but I’d guess that isn’t too far down the road in this day and age.

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/jbasser/11941687/connect/528c43c6374cfb990350c0ad20ce98080c8580d9

And while you’re here, view why men have a shorter life span than their female counterparts.

I look forward to you folks joining us and learning how to kick VA ass and take names. As promised to Jerrel, here are a few screenshots of what the VA SMC Calculator looks like on VBMS. First, the view of VBMS showing an SMC calculator entry:

P.S. Here’s a link to the show in the event you were unable to listen live:
http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1494325&episodeId=11941687

Posted in CUE, Exposed Veteran Radio Show, Exposed Vets Radio Show, SMC, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VBMS Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BVA-FORT FUMBLE, VIRGINIA–SMC=SMALL MENTAL CAPACITY

As a foreword, I wish to let my friends know I no longer use FacePlant™ for social purposes-or any other for that matter. I saw an illuminating show about how the good folks at the FB establishment exploit your data and enrich themselves at your expense. I didn’t use it much to begin with but I only publish these articles here on asknod now. My private page est mort.

I had a BVA  video hearing before (A)VLJ Martin Peters yesterday for my Multiple Sclerosis Veteran. Judge Peters is an “Acting” Judge. That means he’ll probably be a full-fledged VLJ one of these days. He’s been acting for a while. I do hope he gets his wings. He’s a keeper.  It’s taken us a gazillion years to get there (the hearing) due to this unplannedemic. Never have I been so thoroughly pleased with my experience. We were scheduled to be in front of another VLJ gal weeks ago. For reasons I’d rather not say, I’m a little gunshy of women VLJs. They tend to be a wee bit more skittish or judgemental around my women Vets for some reason. That’s not to be seen as misogynistic or a woman hater. Perish the thought. It’s just that I’ve had mixed success with them. Women are from Venus and we men are from Mars. I get that but I don’t always perceive right off what it is the Venus people require to grant. Funny thing is I have same problem with Cupcake. It’s a man thing. We will never understand.

While doing my last dumpster dive into all the evidence for this hearing, I finally found the root of the problem-SMC-or more succinctly, the mental incapacity to understand SMC. As I’ve pointed out to any who will listen, SMC is more convoluted than the Mississippi River. It has no rhyme, rhythm or cadence. Just when you think you have it intellectually mastered, it turns around and drops you like a jilted lover. I’m referring to VA raters’  SMC comprehension, not me. I laugh when I talk to VA raters and they point to the SMC calculator like a HAL 9000 with AI. The device is useless if all you do is load M 21 garbage into the front end. Naturally, it’ll regurgitate garbage out the rear chute. That’s been scientifically proven. The mathematical formula is GI=GO.

When doing CUE claims in the past, I always used to gloss over the authority for an action. I guess I figured VA knew how to apply the regs and they wouldn’t baldly cheat and leave behind written evidence of their misfeasance. Boy howdy was I wet all over. I’m adroit at finding the error but rarely do they (VA pukes) cobble together two halves of  disparate regulations and conjoin them into one with a straight face. SMC is so complicated because the higher levels are rarely attained by most Vets-hence the lack of experience yields such inaccurate outcomes. Oddly, every SMC mistake I’ve seen errs in that it deprives the Vet of a higher SMC rating-never an overpayment. Since this is my favorite swimming hole, a misquoted SMC regulation sticks out like a Mount Vesuvius zit erupting on your nose. It would be like being up at bat and the umpire behind you yells “Strike 2! You’re out!” Say what?

So imagine if they awarded you SMC at the (l) rate for the need of the aid and attendance of another under §3.350(b)(3) but you noticed they’d tagged on “while not hospitalized at government expense.” Seriously. I’ve heard of mission creep but regulation creep? That’s against the law in 56 ROs but they get away with it.

Read it here on page 5 in the Narrative and page 4 on the code sheet.

redact 6-19-2015 CUE

redact code sheet 6-19-2015

VA uses a little trick I should share with you. When they decide to give you Aid and Attendance, they’ll try to sweep up every hemorrhoid, every pes planus and every tinnitus ear ring into it. Pretty soon your a&a award has every reason and every 0% disability including the kitchen sink as the predicate. To beat them at this game, you have to control what goes into the maw of the A&A Kitchenaid®.

My MS Vet Suzi (not her real name) has a bunch of things which have no connection to her MS like headaches, IBS and MDD. All these are what we call independently ratable. They come into play when you want to segregate your symptoms into one pile for the A&A and another pile for anything that you can “build onto” for a higher SMC rating.  Suzi started out with loss of use of her right foot but VA “accidentally forgot” to give her the accompanying SMC K . This is important because, well, to begin with, it pays you another Benjamin Franklin coupon every month. $1200 a year extra isn’t chump change- it ‘ll buy you about 12 bottles of Dom Perignon.

But then Suzi’s 3-card VA monte game began in earnest. In 2014, a few years after the loss of foot, which they forgot to rate as SMC K, she  came down with a nasty case of loss of hand in addition to the foot which gave her a second SMC L §3.350(b)(1). Even though the loss of use of the hand/foot was due to MS, the loss is a “condition” as described in §3.350(e)(1)(ii),(3) like arthritis. There are only four conditions that will get you into the SMC Big House-LOU of the feet/hands or a combo of them, bedridden, the need for A&A and blindness.  From there on out, it’s merely how much of each extremity you lose (hand; elbow; armpit) or a combo of LOU and being blind or the need for A&A.

VA makes no distinction about losing the use of, or the actual loss of an extremity, until you get to SMC N. Then it (loss of lower extremities) becomes mandatory. The maximum rate, unbeknownst to most, is actually SMC at the O rate. R(1) and R(2) are merely an enhanced a&a entitlement added on to SMC O. For most of us, the only way to get there is not losing more and more of each extremity plus your buttocks, but to obtain two SMCs between the rates of L and N. Suzi had a new SMC L for LOU of hand and foot plus an earlier award for SMC L for a&a. Bingo. Advance to SMC O and thence to SMC R(1). VA hornswoggled her into thinking if she kept her a&a, she’d lose out and have to pay any time she had to be admitted to a hospital-VA or otherwise. Hogwash. Once you go over 50%, VA give you free medical for everything-even shit that isn’t SC. If you are awarded SMC R(1) and you have to be hospitalized at govt. expense, your award drops to SMC O until you are discharged.

Worse, these little chowderheads in Roanoke urged her to “amend” her own rating. I shit you not. In law, we call this Estoppel. The VA encouraged her to relinquish a high-$ entitlement which would harm her. Assuming arguendo, they convinced you to do it, it would still be illegal even if you agreed to it. Simply put, the actual CUE was to say you’d lose a&a if you had to be hospitalized at a VAMC.

The little rascals also “pre-screwed” Suzi. While they suggested she ought to shitcan the a&a in favor of LOU, the code sheet shows they already had done so.  On page 4 of 5 it says she had a&a from 1/9/2012 up to 9/23/2014 whereupon she “amended” her SMC to LOU of hand and foot forever after. Shoo doggies. She wouldn’t even received the Big Brown Envelope for another five days…

Remember, campers, once VA gives you a rating, it cannot be rescinded unless you cheated to get it or VA stepped on their regulatory necktie and awarded it to you in error. Here, in Suzi’s case, they essentially substituted her SMC L for LOU of hand and foot in lieu of her existing SMC L for Aid and Attendance. Welcome to VA 3-card Monte. Now you see it. Now you don’t.

Judge Peters is a novitiate in SMC and I realized that in the hearing when he asked if we were seeking SMC L for a&a in 2012 or SMC K. He understood it to mean you could not have two SMCs of any flavor simultaneously. Half the hearing was squandered on teaching him how it works-or, more appropriately, how it’s supposed to work. I decided to hold off on submitting my amended brief for the hearing in case they switched back to a Venus person. I had a modified brief in my back pocket just in case. Mostly, I want this 16-page Gutenberg Bible to land on his desk with a big thud.

I find it intriguing to read other attorneys’ ramblings in their briefs. Many experts in VA law teach us to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Others advocate doing it in as few pages as possible. I disagree. I never went to law school. I don’t have attorney brain. Nobody ever told me what I can and cannot do. If it takes 16 pages to explain why there is no intelligent life at the Roanoke Puzzle Palace, so be it.

redact amended brief

The best part was a stab in the dark at getting Suzi advanced on the docket. Sensing we had this fellow’s sympathy for her dire, never-ending plight, I mentioned she was flashed at the RO for terminally ill. I timidly asked if he would even consider giving us AOD. His rejoinder was “Are you formally putting a motion for AOD before me? My rejoinder was Hell, yeah but I need to file it, right? He  said that wouldn’t be necessary and that he was granting forthwith.

I never try to read a VLJ’s intentions and get all giddy about how it went but if I was a betting man- and boy howdy am I- I’d say the Judge already has made a decision. The last time one said ” You understand I can’t grant your claim today but I’ll look into it extensively”, I won. Oddly, it, too, was for R(1).

Financially, this thing disgusts me. Suzi should have been awarded SMC K in 2012. That error was only $3 K’s worth to September 2014. The rest- 78 months  of R(1) – or about $312 K (after  deducting her prior SMC M payola) leaves me embarrassed for VA’s taking so long. 20% of that is a lot of  baksheesh even if I did spend four years on it. I would have done it for far less and if VA had their shit together, it would have been far less.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

NOD was here

Posted in CUE, Lawyering Up, R1/R2, SMC, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Veterans Law, Women Vets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homeless Veterans and the HUD-VASH program

Posted 4/29/21 to VAntage

HUD VASH will not help with housing voucher in West Haven, Ct. Due to I have not been homeless for three years. I came up to help mom from Florida, but she passed. Thus my West Palm Beach Housing Authority Voucher was cancelled. Now six months living in a garage,no heat . Don’t know how long I can hold out.” (Link to comments)

This veteran is in a life & death situation in CT yet West Haven VA sends him away?

I hate the MSM expression “the homeless” because it completely dehumanizes people who are homeless. Consider LA. Over 66,000 unhoused people. One human person without proper shelter is a disgrace to our society but 66K is beyond the beyond. A heroic judge, THE HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE, has given LA until Oct. 1 to get everyone housed.

His statement is not a dull read, especially if you like history texts, the law and common decency, expressed so well.

LINK to injunction–110 page pdf.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CIVIL MINUTES – GENERAL
Case No. LA CV 20-02291-DOC-(KESx) Date: April 20, 2021
Title: LA ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, et al. v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES, et

Discussion, p. 60 >

This Court cannot idly bear witness to preventable deaths. This ever worsening public health and safety emergency demands immediate, life-saving
action. The City and County of Los Angeles have shown themselves to be unable
or unwilling to devise effective solutions to L.A.’s homelessness crisis. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court must now do so.

Specific Actions, dates, etc…begin on pg. 109.

The issues in LA, while massive, are similar to other locations. In the “old” days, towns set up “poor farms” or alms houses. Today, I think it is worse.

This comprehensive injunction can serve as guidance, adapted, for other court challenges to get people sheltered and housed.

HUD-VASH is the VA program. Each state receives a limited number of vouchers. For the veteran posting from an unheated garage in CT (quote above), I suspect he was given misinformation. I hope he will get other opinions:

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET

https://www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash.asp

Criteria is not provided. Vets must call. Case management is a requirement–probably a very good thing if there is proper staffing.

https://www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash_eligibility.asp

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/vash

El Paso. Photo story w/8 pictures. (Link) Here is a caption for one.

Homelessness can happen to anyone. I have I have a College degree from Colorado and a history of 10 years in the military. After I left the military, I ended up doing a lot of minimum wage jobs and ended up being homeless. I stayed in hotels in Ciudad Juarez, outside the bus station, at restaurants until I found the Opportunity Center through the internet. These minimum wage jobs were eating my life little by little. I am now working and living at the Veterans Transition Living Center (VTLC). I have a son and he is my motivation. I want to save some money and to go back to school and I want to take care of my son. Don’t be afraid of us. We are not bad people. With direction, support services and guidance we can overcome homelessness (Stephen).

Housing programs for veterans vary by state. Washington appears to offer some aid (Link). Iowa? Have to go searching on the state website (Link).

Congress funded the HUD-VASH program during the “Great Recession” in 2008/09…and then cut the funds substantially for the last four years–including for 2021. Meanwhile, Covid-related evictions are inevitable. Animal shelters in big cities have had to take in formerly homed dogs due to Covid, job loss, and homelessness. No kill shelters have become kill shelters in places like NYC and Corpus Christi. For humans, the streets are kill streets.

Judge Carter spells it out. There is no defense for everyone who has mismanaged their localities, funding and made lousy policies that helped to contribute to this crisis for years.

Laura (Guest author)

Update: Progressives Jimmy Dore and Ron Placone add information about this situation; they make good observations on the financial and ethical factors and praise Judge Carter’s boldness. (No kind words at the end for Wall Street or Dems if you are sensitive about such things.)

Posted in All about Veterans, Complaints Department, Congressional Influence, Corona pandemic, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, hepatitis A (HAV), HOMELESS VETERANS, Lawyering Up, Legislation, Military Madness, Uncategorized, VA Secretaries | Tagged , | 5 Comments

ANOTHER PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY

I’ve been reading a lot of birth announcements on FacePlace™ recently. It must be Circadian rhythm that brings forth this Spring phenomenon. I’m a product of this with my birthday as well. But how about a Prequel? Indeed, a picture of your new granddaughter, Penelope Rose Graham before her expected 6/18/21 splashdown. I was ecstatic to be so rewarded this weekend. Too bad we didn’t have prenatal TV when we had our broods. I think she favors my side of the family. She has high cheekbones like my Oklahoma Cherokee ancestors…

Check out the ICU2TV:

But that’s not why I started this blog a week or more ago. For some unknown reason, VA went into an introspective state. Nothing of consequence was accomplished across our fruited plains. BVA decisions which were cut-and-paste wins became remands for the most idiotic of reasons. As we all know, every man jack who was drafted back in “our war” still carried a duty to serve another 2 years after separation should the need arise. This is not to say it could ever be mischaracterized as Nasty Guard or Reserve. It was a guillotine hanging over your head which was essentially meaningless.  Now imagine a shiny new FNG acting Veterans Law Judge who remands back and notes the the DD 214 indicated the Veteran had additional duty in the Reserves and the record is incomplete. She wants to see these Reserve STRs to determine if the injury might have arisen during an ACDUTRA or INACDUTRA period of service.

 

Or a denial of a Legacy Appeal on it’s [sic] second SSOC trip back up to the Board and an acting VLJ denies saying she doesn’t have the authority to revise the effective date of a prior grant of injury in a Fenderson staged rating appeal. Gez Louise. What part of original Legacy appeal did you miss in law school, ma’am?

 

Intelligent VA life forms are becoming rare sightings like Unicorns these days. I guess I never saw it happening at the BVA. I can remember the good ol’ days where every rater was a Veteran and familiar with the trials and tribulations that service entailed. Nowadays, you go to AlState© Automobile Insurer rater’s school for 8 weeks and then cross train into a GS-10 VA claims- Examining (VSR) on the VA’s dime to get your wings. In about 10 years, assuming you can survive watching Veterans being hornswoggled and inveigled out of anything resembling due process, you get your Pilot’s star and an RVSR. If you hang around another 5, you might get your Command Pilot wings and promoted to Asst. Coach. You have to be a special kind of team player and willing to climb over your fellow employees by now in your quest for the VA hierarchy. Nothing is beneath you in terms of backstabbing or lying in your journey to the top.

I discussed a case with a prospective client last week. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not above taking on new clients if s/he has a poignant tale of perfidy. This gal was tossing out Clemmons and AB v Brown so she didn’t need me for anything more than vindication she was on the right path to an appeal win. The kicker was the VA’s denial of her MST claim. Imagine reading this in the current era of Womens’ rights after all the trials for the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world.

“Thank you for your service. Unfortunately, we are unable to grant your claim. Your Major Sexual Trauma claim is based on an assault that occurred while you were away from active duty on leave. The individual convicted of this crime was also not a servicemember. Therefore we cannot grant the claim. Had you been on active duty and documented in your STRs, the claim would have been considered service-connected.  However, you are eligible to file for a pension claim as a nonservice connected disease or injury.”

Now, tell my how you pull this chestnut out of your ass? I can’t find any support for it in the M 21 and, of course the 38 CFR regulation tries to couch it in §3.103 as a willful misconduct issue. Won’t fly. It’s ripe for a CUE but she doesn’t need me to carry the water. I’d love to see the VLJ take a gander at the RD and say  Hmmm, there must be something I’m not getting here… I think the thing that disturbs me most is that this denial didn’t occur in 1974 but 2014.

You always see these gems occur with the most godawful cut-and paste semantic errors. Dangling participles, the wrong tense, plural usage where singular was applicable and more are par for the course. If this doesn’t convince you you’re dealing with sub par IQ, nothing will. One presumes these folks proofread their work because they all require two-or in some cases- three signatures. I could even see it if they were working at the Anchorage VA Regional Office and smoking some bodacious Mantanuska Funderthuck on break. When it occurs nationwide, you have to rule out mental aberration or lack of anything higher than an eight grade education.

Really, I don’t mean to dump on VA employees. I’ve met some real gems at the local level who respect and try their damnedest to fix a wrong. But then there are the heel-draggers. Imagine a squid over 75 and dying. He should get the top drawer treatment but my local Fort Fumble hierarchy (the lowest GS working it was a 13) have conspired- and I do not use that word lightly- to fence him out of any meaningful retro pay. I’ve whacked them for $28 K, $8 K and $112 K but they haven’t paid out a dime yet. I have yet another 10182 NOD in the chute to relieve them of another $100 K and they stand like deer in the headlights. They’ve never seen this level of what they consider unbridled avarice and gross adjudicatory aggressiveness.

 

I can’t tell you how many Veterans who recite to me an i-fking-dentical story of how their VSO admonished them to accept a 0% for tinnitus back in 1999 and to come back in 10 years for the 10% “just so you don’t look greedy, see?” Cupcake was out working with a new client in real estate who was rated at 90%. He was thinking of going for TDIU and they discussed that. He was totally unaware-and his VSO had categorically denied-there was any more money after IU/P&T… like, perhaps SMC? Either they are unschooled in the higher ratings for SMC or they are purposefully deprived of the knowledge by National Service Officers so as to not spill the beans to greedy Vets or put ideas in their Walmarket®-addled heads.

 

Due to this malfeasance in properly adjudicating claims, VA is purposefully driving good litigators away from this style of legal practice. The VA generally takes 60 day alone for a holdback on fees and another 30-40 days to release them after they are due and owing. Sometimes, they decide you are not entitled to anything- period- for your work. Sometimes… well, I could go on but the end result is a feeling that traditional law is more rewarding and honest with higher financial rewards. Veterans then become more disadvantaged when it comes to attaining justice. Someone called VA law a target-rich environment. I agree. The problem is getting an equitable decision. If everyone you deal with is permitted to ignore you and purposefully misconstrue what it is you are claiming, you cannot make any headway. You lose that joie de vivre for this practice and move on to greener pastures. That is why I’ll be doing this until the day I kiss the keyboard.

I hope all of you are staying safe and doing whatever you feel is adequate to accomplish same. Some are adamant they will not be seeking a vaccination. I will make no call on that. Everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer. That’s what makes this the greatest country on earth. Never confuse freedom from… with freedom to… It’s a narrow concept-like trying to stand on a razor blade.

Posted in All about Veterans, Blue Water Navy, Complaints Department, Duty to Assist, Legacy Claims, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Conspiracies, Veterans Law, VSOs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The People Vs. Agent Orange (2020)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough is responsible for implementing H.R. 6395, P.L.116-283–the FY 2021 NDAA, which contains the Tester/Harder Amendment. It was passed into law on Jan. 1, 2021. I have not yet seen any updates on the VA website to reflect that parkinsonism, bladder cancer, and hypothyroidism are now presumptive service connection diseases for Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. (Section 1116(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code). McDonough said that he considered this matter “urgent” yet it appears, not too urgent. Not even urgent enough to release the new information on March 29, the National Vietnam War Veterans Day. (Signed by Obama in 2012, it’s such a non-event that I don’t see it mentioned on VVA’s website front page.)

Meanwhile, Agent Orange is an on-going catastrophe for people exposed to it and other herbicides. I have watched this film as an online screening and recommend it. More evidence of generational damage from several points of view.

The People Vs. Agent Orange (2020) Official Trailer HD Environmental Documentary Film

It appears as if this doc will air on PBS in June. The comments on the PBS website provide more examples of suffering from these toxic agents. Sec. McDonough, get the “rules” and AO VA website and outreach efforts, as per law, published. Don’t drag it out until the last possible minute.

Laura (Guest Author)

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, Complaints Department, Congressional Influence, Food for the soul, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, History, Military Madness, research, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news, Vietnam Disease Issues, Vietnam War history | 8 Comments

PLANNING AHEAD FOR CUE

I often preach about CUE as the hardest thing to win. It can be challenging and dicey to eke out a win. Here’s a daisy. My Bluewater Vet got a rotten 19 year Fenderson look back. I knew he would. VA screwed him out of all his retro $ because they kept him below 50% and CRDP until he got his 100%  and DEA for P&T. So… how to fix it became my fixation. 

I cheated. I kept his MDD filing in 2002 on ice when I reopened this to see if they would give it to him without another filing. Fat Chance. They swatted him down with a new effective date of 12/2020 when I filed the CUE. In fact, they refused to call it a CUE and converted it into a request for a reopen of the 2002 denial. Shoo doggies, a Gook couldn’t have built a better a punji pit in my war. The DRO fell right into it.

Paying it forward for your bro.

Now, there weren’t a lot of medical records but I lucked out and got a bunch of old Cardio stuff which got him 100% back to 2014 but this (the MDD)  was the 2002 icing on the cake I wanted to ensure. It makes for a good read. Ol’ Judge Parker was pretty polite in not actually querying the RVSR as to whether he was raised by wolves nor whether he had a like IQ to go with it.

Happy homecoming to all you V Vets. I see yesterday was the only day available to designate as Vietnam Olly-olly income free. What about 5/07/1975 when they were having the “how many Hueys can you toss over the side” contests on all the flattops off Saigon? Or 1/30/1968 on the cusp of Tet offensive? What in Sam Hill does March 29th have to do with anything that happened in the war?  I guess we don’t get “equity” even 50 years later.

Kick back. Pop a cold one and enjoy some good, old-fashioned premeditated justice. I just love it when a plan comes together. I’m evil.

Redacted CUE filed 12-2-2020

redact CUE RD 2-25-2021 MDD

redact filed 10182 EED MDD 3.4.2021

redact 3.29.2021 BVA grant MDD 2002

Here’s a copy of the most recent Code sheet. I’m waiting to see how (and if) they are going to rate at 0% in spite of a  2002 c&p that says 30%.

Redact Code rating sheet before 3.29.21 BVA EED

So, the teaching moment here is simple. Expect perfidy when you deal with VA. Expect to find a hollowed-out loaf of  bread when you get your rating. If they gave you 10%, chances are you were due 50%. In this day and age, I expect my clients to get short-sheeted so I’m upping my game to stay abreast of the tomfoolery.

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, Appeals Modernization Act, Blue Water Navy, BvA and VARO CUE DECISIONS, BvA Decisions, CUE, NOVA Attorneys, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment