VA TBI Examination

Department of Veterans Affairs is sending new VA TBI examination reprocessing letters to veterans entitled to new exams due to VA’s failure to use qualified doctors.

The examination notice letters include language highlighting that veterans run the risk of a rating reduction if their traumatic brain injury (TBI) claim is reprocessed. No doubt luminary (sarcasm) Under Secretary Tom Murphy had his hand in that one. But they do get the point across.

Act now. If you do not, you lose out.

RELATED: VA “Greatly Regrets” Using Unqualified Doctors

Veterans receiving the notice letters have one year to opt in for a new examination. If the qualified doctors confirm a previously undiagnosed TBI, they could be entitled to significant health care and compensation benefits.

VA TBI SCANDAL BACKGROUND

For a little background, VA repeatedly failed to follow its own policy standards for examining veterans for disability compensation who reported TBI. As a result, many veterans were misdiagnosed due to VA using unqualified doctors.

After being outted in the press (first by me to NBC), VA Secretary Bob McDonald made an equitable relief decision to grant the nationwide re-examinations.

One of my clients was “patient zero” and we busted VA through the press starting in spring 2015. What unraveled was a huge 24,000 veteran scandal spanning almost a decade. McDonald did the right thing by announcing the equitable relief resolution.

RELATED: NBC Special On TBI Scandal

VA NOTICE LETTERS

The letters initiate the one-year notification deadline whereby you can get a re-examination.

The letters are quiet on exactly what VA will do if the veteran receives a higher rating regarding the earlier effective date. My best guess is VA will provide an effective date of when the TBI claim was initially made in the record, but we will need to wait and see.

RELATED: Congressional Hearing On VA TBI Scandal

Here is the boilerplate language:

NEW VA TBI EXAMINATION LETTERS

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has conducted a special review of traumatic brain

injury (TBI) examinations completed between 2007 and 2015 in support of disability compensation claims for TBI. This review revealed a number of initial TBI exams that were not conducted by a neurologist, psychiatrist, physiatrist, or neurosurgeon. You are receiving this letter because your initial TBI exam was not performed by one of these specialists, and we are offering you the option to undergo a new TBI exam by an appropriate specialist.

To ensure that you have the opportunity to fully support your prior TBI claim, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has exercised his authority to permit reprocessing of your prior TBI claim if you undergo a new TBI exam conducted by an appropriate specialist. If you would like VA to reprocess your prior TBI claim, you must notify VA within one year of the date of this letter. Upon receiving your request, VA will schedule you for a new TBI exam by an appropriate specialist and, once the exam is completed, VA will reprocess your prior TBI claim. You may also provide copies of medical evidence from private physicians for consideration as part of this review.

If you request reprocessing of your prior TBI claim and are currently service connected for TBI and/or any residuals of TBI, the new decision may result in an increased evaluation, a proposal for a reduced evaluation, or continuation of your prior disability evaluation.

Important: Please note that you have one year from the date of this letter to request a new TBI exam and reprocessing of your prior TBI claim. If you submit a written request, please state that “I am requesting reprocessing under VA’s special TBI review.”

DOWNLOAD: VA TBI Reprocessing Letter

If you are a veteran who does believe you are entitled to such an examination but have not received the letter, you may want to fax VA a notice that includes the above-quoted sentence to get the ball rolling.

“I am requesting reprocessing under VA’s special TBI review.”

That is what you write. Then fax it to the Janesville VA location – 844-531-7818. Keep a copy and check in here to let us know how it went.

49 COMMENTS

  1. “The examination notice letters include language highlighting that veterans run the risk of a rating reduction if their traumatic brain injury (TBI) claim is reprocessed.” <—– VA Passive-Aggressive PsyOps at work here essentially telling sick Vets that, yeah, you can TRY but know we will be looking for OTHER WAYS to reduce your ratings if you cross the mighty VA.
    VA Under Secretary Tom Murphy's opening punches. Will Tom Murphy issue these Vets Agent Orange Snow Cones as rewards for coming forward with a proper exam? What as ASS.

  2. Let’s see, the way I read this is; you could,

    1.) receive compensation,(?)
    OR

    2) it could stay the same, (?)
    OR

    3.) It could go up, (?)
    OR –

    #4.) You could see a –

    “possible reduction” (!)

    Me thinks this is VA’s way of saying; “You should have left well enough alone!”

    Here’s my ‘thought for the day’!

    With the Republicans, and some Democrats, ‘calling out the corruption, waste, fraud and abuse which IS VA!’
    I have a sneaky suspicion things are going to get real bad for us veterans for the next few months, and possibly longer! Especially since VA has been ousted for the corruption!

    For example: The VA is like a spoiled child, who has been caught doing MANY things wrong for years. Yet, instead of going after the ones who ‘called them out’! They strike back at the innocent victims – the VETERAN! (The ones who can’t protect themselves against this governmental juggernaut!)

    Think about it. The VA can’t retaliate against the ‘law makers’ running for office. Because those in “higher political power” can really screw over them!
    So, who can they retaliate against? Answer – the very veterans they are mandated to serve!

    This “letter” actually kinda proves my point! Basically – don’t screw with anyone in the VA! Especially the upper echelon of VA!

    • Here’s another aspect we veterans, and especially the taxpayers, should be angry about.
      In 2014-15, Congress, (both houses), passed a bill. Which was signed by POTUS. Disallowing VA employees a bonus in 2015 and beyond.
      Yet, in late 2015, someone, in violation of said law, in VA gave out bonuses.
      Which is not in compliance with federal law!
      Therefore, would it not be safe to say – any and all VA employees who received a bonus ARE complicit in breaking the law?
      Why hasn’t anyone addressed this issue?

      • Probably because the inmates and AFGE Thugs are running the asylum called the VA. They already wiped their asses with the mandate for Accountability…

      • to Crazy Elf– That info needs to be forwarded straight to Trump! These VA infiltrators have been going way too far… been getting away with way too much. I wonder how many more vets are going to be typed in as non-human medical subjects, as well as a score of other criminal deeds. Thank you, Ben, for keeping us well informed.

    • I agree the VA will never comply with their Duty to Assist a vet in this process, but in my opinion I believe any veteran with a TBI should be re-examined, and carefully be aware of what should be examined and who should do it.

      If nothing else, if done by one of the named specialists, it will establish a valid baseline of their function as of a specific date. Then, at some point in the future if a vets condition worsens or other conditions manifest, they can then re-open their claim for an increase in their current condition, and point to this baseline to show the difference.

      Given Ben’s knowledge of TBI, I believe he might continue helping TBI vets by writing and publishing a short 2-3 page guide on TBI claims.

      If you are diagnosed with TBI and X is a result of TBI and your function is Z, you should be rated at T percentage.
      If you are diagnosed with TBI and C is a result and your function is J, you should be rated at M percentage.

      I suspect that guide would make it harder for the VA to lowball the ratings for TBI vets because we all know how C&P examiners ignore details of a medical condition which results in lower ratings.

      • I forgot to add, even if the VA ignored evidence and reduces a percentage, it would still give the veteran the ability to appeal that decision and point to the evidence the rating official ignored.

    • I would think that from a legal standpoint it would make sense to include that. I believe the problem is Congress who only care for their political careers and not really vets. They withhold legislation and funding and have had oversight for decades. Wish we could fire most all of them. My bet would be that the VA continues a rush on to see implementation of what they have been trying to do for 2 years.

      • Perhaps we can be realistic about this minor issue elsewhere in VA;

        “Veteran should be aware that participating in VA healthcare may improve the condition, or may not improve the condition, or may kill or maim the vet. In any case the vet alone will be responsible for coping with the harm done by VA staff and should update any exisiting end of life directives before proceeding.”

        How about we place that info bubble on every appointment card mailed out, every voice mail greeting, and every prescription mailed to vets? Perfectly true, completely informative, and horrifically alarming. Why not toss this item out there too? If America cares so little about the individual who is suffering, then why not discard pleasantries and just shoot it straight in all cases?

        Maybe when vets stop feeling needless pain, anguish, and suffering at the hands of a disinterested and apathetic VA then it would be time to disregard them as something less than worthy of Americas protection. Until then I say we treat them like men and women who need help and hope, not threats. VA is a machine. Men are flesh and blood. VA doesnt cry; men do. VA doesnt die, hurt, feel, or care. Men do. Why don’t we treat them like that?

    • “The VA is like a spoiled child, who has been caught doing MANY things wrong for years.”

      I disagree. Certain members of the VHA believe that folding into with the low standards of corruption is the best way to gain a stronghold on one more government pension.

      It’s the result of poorly trained and motivated personnel. Resulting in a fostering of more corruption. One a bigger scale than most organized crime rackets

  3. I want to thank you Ben for spearheading the assault on this issue for America. Each individual in the war on VA atrocities and abuse plays a vital role. There is no army of one. That only works in the movies. Your role has directly influenced this nation and is noteworthy.

    It seems I have a pet peave with everything VA. This issue unexpected hit ine. Who would have guessed lolz?

    The TBI letter showcases the terrible choices vets have to make regarding care. My pet peave? That little reminder that IF the patient elects to have a proper TBI screening for ANY reason, then the possibility that the determination COULD ruin the vet financially through a reduced rating is presented to the mentally ill vet.

    Bullshit! America screwed up AGAIN by trusting VA but monethheless it was our screw up. This reminder that we present an opportunity to correct the wrong at was done to vets only if the possibility exists the vets disability paycheck will be reduced or cancelled if they avail themselves of Americas corrective action.

    America only does this to veterans. If a non VA vet is mistakenly mistreated at a medical facility, the correction takes place in a court rather than countless man hours like Ben invested in this matter. Have you ever heard of a malpractice suit informing the victor that if they take te remedy there is a statistical chance that the loser of the suit will take all your money? It is bullshit to tell a sick vet that has ALREADY been harmed by Americas indiferrence to their plight that should they try one more time to let America get it right, that America might stab them in the back again.

    I have seen this comment on my own forms. Not the ones from SSDI mind you because those forms are for non veterans too. Only VA makes this threat against Americans.

    Dear Vet,

    We are so sorry that our staff consistently and knowingly violated multiple federal laws, statutes, ethical concerns and congressional mandates in your case and that it has taken years to resolve. We have been informed that this is wrong. VA concurs.

    VA would like to give you one full year to make it right by golly! You will be entitlted to allow us to give it another try! We double dog promise that tthis time our boys and girls are gonna get it straight.

    VA would like to remind you that if you are already receiving compensation for injury while serving our great nation, that there is great news! That comp may go up!!! VA would also like to remind the taxpayer that there is great news!!! That veterans comp may also go down or be terminated!

    VA is a leader in providing great news and studies suggest that the news veterans receive from the VA is better news than any other outlett in America (RAND 1987). We look forward to continuing to serve as your tool in accessing earned benefits. VA is a great tool (RAND 1964).

    Regards,
    Dr. Dewey Cheatum Andhow
    VA, Phd, DBC

      • That is absolutely not what Veterans have a actually experienced. I have talked to many Vets that have had the VA hack away at their Disability Rating, regardless of the year count. Please provide a reference in Title 38 that states after 3 years the VA cannot reduce ratings. Please surprise me with some fresh horse hockey to back this up.

      • I can show you several rating letters that state, including my last one that ratings over 3 years old could not be reduced. (usually referring to my 20% hearing loss.

        So have you read any rating letters or are you just issuing fog.

      • You did not answer the question with a specific reg. that supports that as a fact. YOU seem to be issuing VA Fairy Dust Fog.
        Again, please provide a reference to a Title 38 Rule that supports what you wrote. BTW, I have known a Vet in recent past that had a % rating for Tinnitus and after going through later C&P’s that Vet was told by the VA his Tinnitus was….”all in his head”, literally. And yes, he had THAT rating removed and replaced with some other %…the VA will go to all lengths to decrease a given rating but not so much on increases.

        Show the Reg. in Title 38 as I seem to be incapable of finding this in searches and I would like to be wrong but your statement could easily be taken erroneously by a Vet on here only to find out they get screwed by the VA. Your “FOG” is dangerous unless backed-up by Title 38 Rule supporting it, not various rating letters…the VA does not hold itself to that letter and you know it or we would not be fighting to make the VA a much better place would we?

      • I have zero doubt that these vets will maintain their current rating. My cynical post was speaking to the kick in the teeth it is to tell a sick vet who has been fighting ANYTHING in life that there is a shot they will lose everything.

        Proof that this is a disservice to America is the immediate posts by fellow vets picking up on this. If your information is accurate, Lem, then why include that jack ass statement on a veterans letter at all?

        My concern is based on personal experience. I suffer severe PTSD and am treated, but untreated and at the end of a mans “rope” severe PTSD can be a hair trigger. TBI presumes PTSD for me so I assume America sent my fellow vets a PTSD trigger in warning them (PTSD says threatening them) that they might be homeless if they avail themselves of VA remedy for wrong.

        My anger in this regard is that America screwed the pooch again and in a RARE case a man like Ben and his charges succeeded where untold legions have failed and gotten a tacit VA reversal of wrongdoing.

        My point Lem, was why is America barring its fangs at sick vets through thes irresponsible words written ostensibly for a mentally ill patient to digest on their own? Why do we need to frighten vets?

        Lem, I understand your comment and agree with it however it maks me uneasy to dismiss the details that America has turned a blind eye to for too long. For me, I cut the VA no slack. Not one inch.

      • PTSD has never been considered a permanent disability rating. For individuals with an intact brain it is a temporary condition.

        Check your medical history. Subtle brain injuries occur even with a “bell ringing” that didn’t result in long term unconsciousness. Also any prior to service injury may make the recovery from PTSD difficult to impossible. In that case PTSD is an aggravation of an old injury and is permanently compensable.

        If you wrote home about a “bell ringing” in boot camp hand to hand combat training it would be enough. Or getting TKO’d in a smoker.

        You can’t expect a damaged brain to have normal functions.

      • I have to disagree with you on this matter. I was shot in the head and it followed me for 40 year’s and even with medication I wake up due to nightmares.

        I knew something was wrong and the VA refused me any care. Just because I did not have a service connected disability on paper from the regional office.

        Due to the lack of care. I was forced to live with a traumatic brain injury and suffered with severe migraines.

        PTSD. Is not temporary and veterans are killing themselves left and right.

        Veterans are staying in seclusion and it makes the family member’s wonder why the veterans are so jumpy and why they cry when they see other people getting killed or bombs going off. !

        The VA. Makes light of soilders like me and could care less if we off our self. !

        Why are you for one. That would even make a statement like that. !

        Veterans with PTSD are Fed medication after medication and if that don’t work. They the VA will feed them thorizine and the veterans shuffle around and drull and are in left field. A vegetable. !

        The VA use to do brain surgery and dumb them up.

        Anyone that says PTSD is temporary and or has a mild traumatic brain injury has never been where many of us have (hell) !

        PTSD. Will never go away and veterans with it will never have it go away. !

        Though you were smarter than that and that goes for anyone else that says it’s temporary. !

        Rant over

      • I have been assured that in less than 50 years I will no longer need treatment for PTSD. VA defines temporary as any pre death time frame for any given vet. All botched VA operations, therefor, only harm the Vet on a temporary basis.

        This far exceeds the performance metrics of non VA healthcare.

        Thanks Lem! VA is a great tool, but
        I would say that today you take the cake as the best tool!

        Semper Fi!

      • “Lem” must stand for “Lemming”. The VA also concurs.

        PTSD is not something you “just get over”…severe anxiety and depression tied in a knot called PTSD is not akin to the common cold.

        What’s next Lem? HIV/AIDS does not really kill? The VA concurs with Troll.

      • I will make sure i bitch out my shrink for my ptsd is not temporary and after 40+ years I should just be able to “get over it” according to you Lem.

        If the va concurs with this temporary condition why is my rating Total and Permanent?

        People who do not know what they are talking about should either gather the facts before spouting off or just shut the hell up!

      • Here. Here those statements set off my PTSD and your right if you don’t know the facts shut the hell up.

        People like this need to be dropped of in the middle of our enemies and let us watch. How they act. !

        Once their circled. !

      • I think it’s amazing veterans with a TBI could be rated at 0 percent. !

        How do They come up with this. How do They measure it. !

        Do they know everytime you have a bad day. Is it the PTSD or is the TBI that’s effecting the veterans.

        Do they count how many drinks a veteran had to drink to fall asleep. !

        Do they look at all the arrests the veterans got from actions caused by the PTSD or was it the TBI acting up.

        How is a TBI measured to say the veterans are better. I have had many brain scans and I get the same story. The TBI has not changed and I have never been told. I had a mild TBI or anything else about it.

        They keep saying that I was hit in the head with a tear gas canister.?

        My military records show that I was shot in the head and I seen the ?. Two feet away and it was a ?.

        I was knocked out. I should have been killed at point blank range. I woke up in the back set of a German ?. Covered up with a blanket and could hear people speaking a foreign language. !

        I thought they were going to take me somewhere where they could finish the job. !

        When they removed the blanket. I hit the first person I seen and they held me down. Saying in broken English. No no your at a doctor’s office.

        I don’t remember anything else only after they completed about the third rating did I discover that I was taken to a German hospital and then to an American hospital. !

        I applied for disability after my local VA told me I could not be treated until the regional office issued a disability in writing.

        The regional office lied and denied me the disability. Stating your record’s were destroyed in the saint Louis ? !

        Only after hiring a lawyer and 40 year’s later did they magically reappear. My records were like the bird Phoenix and came out of the ashes.

        My question is how do They measure how bad something is in another person?

      • A few weeks ago there was quite a discussion on the VA is Lying FB page over ratings being reduced. Someone posted a good explanation of rating reductions which I took to be factual. It was posted after several reported reductions in their ratings.
        From what I read, there are 2 kinds of descriptions of a medical condition, static, which means unchanging, and another term that I dont recall which meant the condition could improve.
        From what I read, a rating could change up to 20 years after the rating was given. After 20 years, it was considered permanent and can’t be changed.
        The law also says a rating can only change based on medical evidence showing improvement over several appointments, and NOT based on a single appointment or exam.
        Based on what was being posted by several it appeared the VA was proposing a reduction based on a single exam.
        Wouldn’t be the first time the VA ignored the law.

    • Your comment redturtle brings a question.

      Say you are a TBI vet currently rated at 60%, then get get this re-examination and the VA in this infinite wisdom claims you should have only been rated at 40%.

      What are the chances the VA would claim a veteran was over compensated for their TBI disability, and withhold disability compensation to recover that 20%?

  4. The VA and our cuŕrent leadership is a discusting mess.

    I would like to slap that 17 year old kid who to me to enlist.

  5. It is not just unqualified PA and NPs. Even when done by qualified Neurologists and Neurobehavorial psychologist the exams are rarely done according to VA Regulations. Supposed to be done over weeks at different times of the day and under working conditions.

    I had one that was done according to regulations and my TBI was diagnosed in 1985 following a referral by a psychiatrist doing a C&P for PTSD

    • Just because the VA has a historically spotty record in regards to details like integrity, professionalism, legality, or ethics is no reason for you to toss doubt that the VA will not comply with regulations.

      By my calculations 75% of the truth is told by less than 33% of the diagnostic technicians 26% of the time. VA concurs. This adds up to 134%. RAND confirms the addition of the numbers to be accurate, based on reports done which themselves reported on data that was reported on decades ago. Decades of recycling old contradictory and useless data, makes the data useful again which PROVES the VA IT department is on track recycling data. VA is adopting green data policies to comtinue recycling efforts keeping America green. In that same spirit, VA rewards the efforts at historical obfuscation by recycling for America some of that same green. VA loves green.

      VA is proud that the overall percentages of honesty within the walls of VA tabulates to 134% of a possible 100% score (RAND analysis).
      VA concurs and is proud to offer 134% truth to America when non VA care can only offer 100% proving again that Vets get the best deal no matter how hard it is.

      At VA, they know what veterans need and are committed to giving it to them good and hard…

    • Troll Spray for TROLLS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Where do these people get their facts from, a garbage can?
      According to my sources, and maybe Ben can clarify this issue of concern among us.
      “…after ten years, VA can not take a disability rating (%) away. On the other hand, they can lower the compensation, ($$$)!”
      AND then, “After twenty years, VA can not take the disability rating (%) or the compensation away!”

      On the other hand, VA does what it wants. We all know that by what they have been caught doing for decades!

  6. Here’s my HOROSCOPE for today;
    “ARIES” (March 21 to April 19) “Your not Sheepish when it comes to asserting your opinions on what you think is right or wrong. Be assured that your being heard, and something positive will follow.”

    Folks, we ARE being heard. Look at how VA is digging in for a fight. Their losing, and they know it!
    We MUST keep the pressure on them. The more people who learn just how corrupt VA is, the better!
    The RNC is telling the world what we know to be true. That “message” is not falling on deaf ears. Additionally, more taxpayers are learning about VA and their corrupt ways.

    Next week the DNC has their convention. Does anyone really believe Hillary will discuss the corruption in VA? Remember, she believed all the negative news articles were not true. That it was “…not as widespread…” as reported. Basically, saying it was “…a right wing conspiracy theory!” Isn’t that the ‘excuse’ she uses for everything that doesn’t fit her agenda? What a complete pile of dung!
    I guess veterans dying, as in ALL the wars prior to Benghazi, Libya. All of Iraq. Now in Syria. And lets not forget Afganistan or anywhere else on this globe. Could be characterized by her exclaiming those famous words – “What difference, at this point, does it make!”
    Remember those famous words, when she was being interrogated, under oath, over the MURDERS of our BROTHERS in Benghazi? Then she had the audacity to lie to the family members. Then she called the family members liars. All this from a female who wouldn’t admit to lying ever!

    Rant over on this subject for now! Yet, as a “Combat Vet”, I will never forget or forgive her for what she, and anyone else involved, did on those days!

    • Crazy elf, that the DNC is going to have the “Gentle Giant”, Mike Brown’s mother speak during the convention should tell you all you need to know about their priorities and whether veterans will even be mentioned.

  7. Off topic. Someone on here asked me about the Choise program and I gave them the wrong number to call 1 8883368262 that’s the correct number to the Denver vamc choice program. Sorry for the error. I have them the regional office.

    In the TBI situation. The VA threaten veterans by saying if you reapply. Your rating could be lowered. !
    You know that veterans Will read this and not reapply. Because if their10% they know or are worried they would loose that 10% and they should be worried.

    VA past record. Proves that. Fight like hell to deny veterans of their disability and then fight like hell to take it away. !

    They will give the majority of veterans a 0 percent rating. Even if it should be at100 percent. !

    It’s their ? or they think it is.

    The VBA. Is not veterans friendly and Graves and other’s like her. Will do anything to ensure veterans don’t receive their deserved disability.

    Next Graves and her personnel friend needs that money for future moves. Like to Hawaii or France or Monte Carlo. !

    They want to use ISIS tactics. Fear.

    Veterans that had their disability claims denied for tens of year’s should get back pay from when they were discharged. When they were lied to about their records being destroyed and later found out it was not true. !

  8. According to acting assistant undersecretary for disability benefits David McLeanChen once service connected for TBI any doctor can examine you to reduce it or deny aid and attendance under SMC T.

  9. Question for you Ben. Would every TBI veteran, even living in another state, still fax their request to the Janesville VA?
    I ask because that would make it a typical VA disaster by design.
    Why overload a single location with so many requests? VA seems to do this on issues affecting many vets, and in my opinion, it’s done simply to make it harder on vets living elsewhere to get proper information from that location, and especially hard because it removes or seriously hinders that veterans ability to have their Congressman or Senator inquire into the status of their request.
    Years ago, the VA ignored or screwed up claims from Gulf War veterans such that it created a massive backlog. Congress demanded the VA get their act together, so VA came up with the scheme to created “Tiger teams” at a few VARO’s in the country. So, if your claim had been on hold for months, it was shipped off to one of these teams in another state.

    It made it significantly harder on vets to get information on their claim, and the VA on these tiger teams did’nt give a damn about congressional inquiries.

  10. I wish my case went as unbelievably as good old Lem’s did. The VA is very passive aggressive. My fear is the quality of any Doctor who is hired by the VA. I have been going to, and fighting with the VA for over 40 years. I can’t remember seeing a Specialist at any VA. I don’t trust the VA.

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