Claim Perspective

A buddy of mine retiring from service just asked about how to present claim evidence for his disability, and there is one bit of advice you need.

I wanted to write to you about the mindset I gave him that works well when thinking about how to best make your claim for any benefit including Voc Rehab or Disability Compensation.

This is something I learned from my Northwestern days in its “Creative Non-Fiction” year long writers’ workshop (that Voc Rehab paid for, btw). Law school made me better at it.

THE DEAL WITH CLAIM EVIDENCE

It’s good to think of VA as the Judge and Jury and Prosecutor when you present evidence.

You are the Defense without a lawyer… because the law prevents a veteran from hiring a lawyer at the initial claims stage. (As an aside, veterans are the only population that lost the right to hire an attorney after getting out of the military. Veterans have to wait to be denied due to improperly presented, developed or decided claims before they can hire an attorney. You can thank the collusion between VSOs and VA for that Constitutional violation of your right to an attorney.)

In this scenario, assuming you go it alone or even with a VSO who will not have legal training, you definitely do not want to drop your evidence on the table and expect the Prosecutor (VA adjudicator) to do whatever the heck she wants with the evidence. Believe me, you will not experience the outcome you expected.

Instead, you need to develop your presentation of that evidence to provide the initiation impression and context for that evidence. Otherwise, you risk VA manipulating it, discounting it, or generally turning supportive evidence into negative evidence. It happens all the time. Context is great and it is best to keep it as short and sweet as possible unless you are arguing to the Board on an appeal.

Had I thought about VA this way, I would have avoided a 15-year appeal that ultimately caused my rating to go from 10% to 100% PT. If you want to get it right the first time, you better prepare your evidence with an argument and not expect VA to do it for you. On that note, don’t expect your VSO to do it for you, either.

mary

Ben, Quite right- Spot on! I could not have said it better!

krc
If a Veteran claims, e.g., sleep apnea and have a thousand pages of medical records, point the Rater to the one page noting sleep apnea. If a Veteran claims eschemic heart disease, note that page. Raters having less than two hours, etc. etc. etc. to rate a claim. The whole process is a scam. Because of “The National Performance Standards” established by Diana Rubens and Kim Graves, et al., to rate a claim, it is easier to just deny and… Read more »
krc
Also, it is important, obviously, to associate the claimed condition to time in service. A Veteran can’t associate a sleep apnea diagnosis thirty years after discharge, for example, as an in-service medical condition (the diagnosis must be identified by an in-service medical record and/or within one year of discharge). The trick is to GIVE the medical record to the VA (always keeping a copy) and not expect the VA to collect that medical record (associating the claimed condition in the… Read more »
James Gallegos
I second that. Your dead on. ! Just shut it down. I bet that place is a mess. They said let’s see who has the last laugh. ! I would not trust them period. That’s the problem. I met manager’s that rule with an iorn fist. If you cross them in anyway. They pled the 5th and think it’s over. Someone had an eye on them. Someone needs to keep reporting who. When. Where and how thing’s are being done.… Read more »
namnibor
Above ALL–ensure your ‘presentation of evidence’ clearly shows an undeniable Service-Connection nexus in which it is strongly **more likely than not** to be the case. Anything and everything you send to the VA/VARO you send it Registered/Certified so you have actual evidence of receipt so they MUST sign for it and never ever send originals or sole copies of anything. Have a duplicate of everything and start a file and keep everything chronological. Lastly, I learned all I needed to… Read more »
namnibor
I forgot to add that I had to stress to that VA C&P Examiner at my final C&P that the very medications I have to take for life are so loaded with terrible side-effects that it makes it a toss-up whether the diseases’ symptoms are actually worse than the required medication…and I had to stress that my IMO showed that my particular ‘strain’ is so incredibly resistant that this one, three drug cocktail is my only option due to resistance… Read more »
Berta Simmons
THANK YOU Namnibor for that nice compliment. Hadit’s 20th anniversary is coming up and I have been there daily during most ,maybe all ,of those 20 years. We have helped thousands and, in my opinion, everything a veteran or their dependents or survivors would need to know, is at hadit.com. And most of us are hard core claimants…..denied until we succeeded. Persistence pays off. Ben is right, keep it simple and focus on the Evidence. If they do not list… Read more »
Crazy elf
Here’s two new articles out from “Military.com” & “M” “Daily News”. Both dated 30 Aug. 2016 by the Associated Press. #2 is written by Roxana Hegeman of the AP. 1.) “Family of Marine Who Died at Wisconsin VA Center Files Suit” This concerns the family of Jason Sincakoski. Who was killed by “the Candy Man” at the “Candy Land VHA!” His daughter is named the “aggrieved party” in the suit. There’s no mention of how much the suit is asking… Read more »
Lem

You would think I would have learned after 30 years.

Crazy elf

Lem, it seems many vets would have learned after decades of fighting VA for disability/compensation.
You ain’t alone brother. I went over 23 years to correct a “clear and unmistakable error” in my file, (From 1982 until 2005) And I’m still fighting it today.

krc

The VA is not run by Veterans. It is run by career bureaucrats who could care less about Veterans. The Agency raves about how the workforce is 50% or so Veteran but perhaps the supervisory force is about 10-15%. Most in the Senior Executive Service running the VA are NOT Veterans.

namnibor
And if any of those Senior Executive Service VA Upper Management do happen to be Veterans, it seems all too often they end-up being good ol’ West Point YES MEN or Whatever “gender” they choose these days 🙂 and usually are too flunky to make it to the big DoD Contractors like Raytheon or Lockheed-Marten, and the crap always flows following laws of gravity from those upper mismanagement and micromanagement types trickling down finally to the piss rain on Veterans,… Read more »
Crazy elf
krc, Even the few vets, (?), I’ve met at VA’s or VHA’s don’t even know the term “CONUS”! Which has me doubting if they even served! I’ve actually asked these “alleged” veterans different terms, (ex: “APO”, “FPO”, “ETS”, “NEC” (Navy Job description), vs. “MOS” (Army job description), etc.) after a few times of meeting them. It’s hard to believe them. When they don’t know certain “terms” ALL veterans would be familiar with! It seems, the higher one gets in VA’s… Read more »
krc

Agreed.

krc
Two perfect examples of nepotism and cronyism in the VBA are Diana Rubens and Kim Graves. Diana’s wife went from GS-7 to GS-15 in about 8 years. Ken Graves married Michael Wolcott who was a VA Undersecretary and she became ultimately one of 5 “Area Managers.” There are hundreds of nepotism cases in tge VA but it’s the dirty little secret and a tragedy for Veterans because the best and most accomplished are not running the VA. Lina Giampa, the… Read more »
Roger Taylor
Right on, bro. Except, I think, the part about vets not being able to get a lawyer’s help at the get-go. Unless there’s some other authority, 38 USC 5904(c)(1) says: (c) (1) “Except as provided in paragraph (4), in connection with a proceeding before the Department with respect to benefits under laws administered by the Secretary, a fee may not be charged, allowed, or paid for services of agents and attorneys with respect to services provided before the date on… Read more »
krc
Under the “Douglas Factors” for Federal employees (three demerits and you’re out), the VA doesn’t know how to prosecute a case against an errant SES employee. Diana Rubens has decades of bad behaviors but the VA never collected three demerits against her to fire her. VA lost in Court recently because they didn’t punish equally two others similarly situated nor bothered to find two other bad behaviors to use against her. Diana Rubens (as Undersecretary of Field Operations in charge… Read more »
krc
FYI, the good news now – after decades – is that Congress, as well as Bob McDonald, now KNOW that the senior bureaucrats are corrupt and deceiptful. They just can’t get rid of them quickly. Meanwhile, all the next bureaucrats in line are just as bad as the more senior ones. It’s a travesty for Veterans. I do believe Bob Mc Donald is trying to promote outstanding quality people to run the VA after he’s gone. It’s just going to… Read more »
Roger Taylor

But what about Thomas “Agent Orange is harmless” Murphy, the guy who denied the C-123 guys for years by writing his own non-professional medical opinion disregarding the CDC experts? Bob promoted HIM to Undersecretary for (all) Benefits. Head of the VBA… How is THAT making a better future for vets?

krc

I, personally, haven’t heard anything about how he’s doing. I know with Agent Orange presumptive that Gen. Shinseki opened the gates.

91Veteran

Bottom line, don’t ever believe the VA and whether they have a duty to assist.

Off topic. Washington Times has an article saying Obama and the VA has banned flying the Confederate flag in VA cemeteries.

Crazy elf

91Veteran,
From what I saw on the news, the cemeteries are only banning the larger flag. The “small”, (3″×4″) flag is still allowed, I believe (?).
In my opinion, Obama is really causing a greater division amoung all Americans. His rhetoric is going to cause the Dumbocrats to lose this election – for that I’m grateful!

91Veteran
According to the article, Confederate flags flown from flag poles will no longer be allowed. Confederate flags placed on graves can only be placed on graves for 2 days of the year, then have to be removed. This really bothers me because as a veteran, I can easily see other parts of our heritage or history be erased because someone might be offended, which some places are already doing regarding the US flag. How long before some anti-Vietnam war type… Read more »
namnibor

All part of our Peace Prize President’s “legacy”, no doubt. What’s next? Giving the Statue of Liberty a sculptural facelift and adding a beard because some transgender group is offended it’s only a woman? Yeah, Obama is unraveling our history before our eyes. The libtards are so short-sighted and have no idea their being played.

Seymore Klearly
Hey 91Veteran, “Bottom line, don’t ever believe the VA and whether they have a duty to assist.” I agree but would add; Bottom line, don’t ever believe the VA and whether they have a duty to assist and never ever trust their medical care!!! In regards to Obama and the VA banning the confederate flag in VA cemeteries. The worst day in United States Military History was September 17th, 1862. When outside the town of Sharpsburg, near a small stream… Read more »
Crazy elf
Here’s a question I’ve been holding back on for some time now! Just for sake of argument. IF, and I do mean “IF”, Trump is elected POTUS, could he not use “Executive Order(s)” to hold VA employees accountable? If “yes”, could he do something like Reagan did to the ‘Air Traffic Controllers’ and their union? It seems the union, AFGE, is the main culprit when trying to discipline and fire corrupt VA employees! For example, it was the union who… Read more »
Roger Taylor

Seems it would take something like that, “legal” or no

krc

AFGE doesn’t represent management; it represents rank and file employees. Federal employees have property rights to their jobs. VA Employees don’t go on strike. Reagan fired striking Federal employees.

namnibor
Well, regardless of the AFGE VA Employees not striking, it would seem likely that the entire AFGE could be thrown out with the bathwater of the VA for simply KILLING VETERANS and OBSTRUCTIONISM to Vets. Done. I do believe that *somehow* just because SES Employees are not AFGE that the AFGE does not have hold of their balls as well…because they obviously do. The AFGE NEEDS TO GO….yesterday! Anyone. I mean ANYONE, union or otherwise, that works in ANY capacity… Read more »
krc

Most rank and file employees are not related to someone or protected by cronyism. That’s why they need the Union – as ineffective as it is – against management. If a Veteran encounters an unprofessional VA employee that employee is probably “protected.”

The President CAN enforce accountability and performance standards but the managers grading their subordinate managers are protecting their own. TheRe is no accountability because there’s too much nepotism and cronyism.

91Veteran
There are plenty of things that can be done, but it takes the political will to do so, and support from Congress if legislation is required. PAS, PA and SES appointees all serve at the pleasure of the President. A Secretary appointed to clean up the corrupt SES and management level is needed, with SES managers appointed that have the will to hold lower managers accountable. It’s hard to point at employees when management is so corrupt. That happens when… Read more »
namnibor
@91Veteran- A big AMEN to that. Examples need to be made of at every VA locality across USA so the sting can be felt and seen. No leading by example is still no excuse for lower management’s own corrupt ways. I do agree that a master cleaner that’s an old salty First Sgt./Senior Master Sgt. that’s appointed as VA Sec. to shake the shit from the VA bowels. Yep, one huge enema is needed in the VA G.I. System.
Crazy elf

@91Veteran,
Thank you for clearing that up for me!

krc

The VA doesn’t know how to fire middle-level all the way to top management because the VA lawyers rely on other management to build cases against their own. The lawyers don’t then necessarily know how to build a case and the case given is weak. Hence, no accoubtability.

91Veteran

This could be easily fixed with a central HR staff of just 10 people.

Any manager that was serious about correcting any kind of problem could contact this HR office for guidance on what to do, so they could build sustainable cases.

Other agencies do this.

There just is no will to do so in the VA.

Crazy elf

krc,
Where there’s a way, there’s a will.
Those SES’ers, or GS 13 and above, can be fired IF the right pressure or right steps are taken to get them fired.
Somehow something will be done. I just hope it’s sooner than later!

krc

On the VBA side, senior bureaucrats like Diana Rubens (who epitomizes nepotism and cronyism) had hoodwinked Gen. Hickey – the Undersecretary for Benefits.

Gen. Shinseki was hoodwinked by his lead VHA doctor.

By the time the political appointees realize what’s going on they have to resign. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats stay and can’t be gotten rid of.

It’s all a scam.

Seymore Klearly

krc,

let us be honest here. Hoodwinked or not both Gen. Hickey and Gen. Shinseki both failed to do their jobs! They were not appointed to be hoodwinked.

Both also have remained quite about the problems at the VA. They both were in positions where they now have to know what the problems are yet they remain silent. Like it is no longer their problem.

Both have turned their backs on Veterans!

krc

How do you know they’ve been silent? I’m sure McDonnell has gotten feedback. They were lied to by the bureaucrats and general’s are not used to being lied to by subordinates. They didn’t understand the corrupt culture.

krc

I know enough about the VA culture to know that managers do alot of bad crap to protect each. However, get caught like Diana Rubens got caught and you’re a pariah. I deposed the retired VSC in Philly manager and I witnessed first-hand how she LIED on her way to retirement to protect her own. It is incredibly disheartening to witness such abhorrent behaviors.

Seymore Klearly

krc,

They both failed period!

They both made it to the rank of General which requires a good understanding organizational behavior including a bureaucracy. So there are no legitimate excuses for their failure.

Both have remained silent in the public eye about the problems with the VA. They have both turned their backs on Veterans.

I do not know for certain but assume their silence is bought and paid for.

krc

No gray area in your thought process. Would want you on my jay walking jury. 🙂

namnibor

Umm…either you WERE jay walking or you were not. No gray area. No cell phone. No TV. Have fun. Clank. I hate jay walkers. Inconsiderate and selfish lot. If I hit your selfish entitled ass, then I am in trouble. See how that works? Sure you do not work for the VA?

Crazy elf
This article, on page 6, is from the new VFW magazine, (September 2016) edition. titled: “Total Privatization of VA Health Care Could Cost $450 Billion Annually” By Tim Dyhouse E-Mail – “[email protected]” The article is divided into three, (3), separate issues. All the time using one persons “opinion”, “Carlos Fuentes, deputy director of VFW’s National Legislative Service”! The first concerns the ability of private care vs. VHA healthcare! Quote: “VFW believes that VA health care is not only as good… Read more »
namnibor
All the so-called “Veteran Service Org’s” (VSO’s) have way outlived their usefulness and have ALL lost their path to protecting their cookie jar, the VA. You are correct crazyelf in that there IS NO accountability…the VFW is just like all the others in that they want to…Save The VA…FROM ACCOUNTABILITY. Accountability hurts their cookie count. Too many Cookie Monsters in the VA cookie jar. @crazyelf– Did you see that Obama issued another 100+ prison sentence roll-backs today? That number is… Read more »
Crazy elf

namnibor, yes, I read something about Obama’s releasing more prisoners.
Well, all I can say is, they better hot foot it outta country. And don’t dare come to Florida, Texas or some other state with the “death penalty” and start their shit!
I wish “Ol Sparky” was still operational, lol!!!!!

91Veteran
You know, I could possibly believe the VSOs if they came forward with plans to not only save their rice bowl, but plans to improve it as well, including some serious accountability reforms. They provide nothing other than one self serving VA protection report after another that anyone can read and see is misleading. Why are they so silent on accountability? Have there been ANY VSOs offer any kind of sustained anger or even concern over these continuous scandals? Why… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

It is very clear that Carlos Fuentes, deputy director of VFW’s National Legislative Service does not himself use VA health care. He is trying to keep his dollars rolling in on the backs of Veterans who suffer and die at the hands of the VA.

Carlos Fuentes is a monster willing to sell his own soul for a few dollars.

Seymore Klearly

As long as the VFW has monsters like Carlos Fuentes, deputy director of VFW’s National Legislative Service, working for the VFW. The VFW will be a total garbage organization selling out Veterans at every turn.

Seymore Klearly

As for Tim Dyhouse the author he is another monster willing to sell his own soul for a few dollars and just as big of piece of garbage as Carlos Fuentes. Selling out Veterans to enrich themselves what pieces of human waste.

namnibor

It sounds more and more like the VSO’s have become the monsters the very Unions have been in past to present at times. All about protecting their ‘precious’. 🙂

Reuben Castro Acosta
SILLY VETS @ YO THINK VA DEATHCARE GIVES A RATS ASS ABOUT YO OR YOUR CLAIMS PROCESS GIVES A RATS ASS ABOUT VETS , VETS JUST GO BACK TO YOUR BREWSKIES @ JACK DANIELS PENDEJO VA WILL KILL YO FOR THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ SILLY VETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Crazy elf
Here’s two more articles from “military.com” I just received tonight. 1.) “Vets Suicide in VA Hospital Parking Lot Brings New Scrutiny to Agency” 26 Aug. 2016 Originally a Fox News story. About a Navy Vet turned away from a VHA emergency room in New York! This next article was first published on 25 Aug. 2016 by the Associated Press. It’s about a fraudster receiving disability compensation from VA. titled: “DOJ: Vet’s Purple Heart Lies Cost Government $752,000” This is the… Read more »
namnibor
@crazyelf- Of ALL things to even attempt to lie and commit fraud for, to lie about a Purple Heart, claim you were in combat, is beyond my comprehension…and you would think it would have been something caught before ANY $ were ever issued. Yeah, it paints a bad picture for ALL Vets because the way the media twists it, attempts to raise questions about ALL Vets. I would think it would be incredibly hard to pull a fake Purple Heart… Read more »
namnibor

Here’s a link to the DOJ story on Purple Heart fraud: “”http://bigstory.ap.org/article/947032127d55489cbe9eaeace7fd1d3f/doj-vets-purple-heart-lies-cost-government-752000″”

91Veteran
Spot on. Guys like this make it a damn sight harder for vets that truly need the help, and the VA is all too ready to equate all veterans with this guy. There are always going to be little punks that claim things, but I believe it is rare for someone to pull a scam at the level of this guy…regardless of how common the VA wants to claim. I suspect this guy duped many people into supporting little parts… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
91Veteran, Given he served as chairman of the planning commission in Snoqualmie it is most likely he had help from the Veterans services officer in Snoqualmie. In any case anyone that helped this animal should also be prosecuted. Also there should be a trough review of any other cases the corrupted individual helped. I remember back in the early 90s when disability ratings were being sold in Milwaukee by the DAV. They did it by filing false paperwork on the… Read more »
91Veteran

Was that early 90’s? I moved to Wisconsin in 1996 and never heard about this.

Does it surprise me? Not really.

Seymore Klearly
I am not sure if it ever made the news but I was the whistle blower in that case. Shortly after reporting the fraud that I had witnessed I was attached by a veteran who was involved with the fraud. I was hit seven times in the back of my head with a hammer. The first hit stunned me but when I realized I was being attacked I disarmed the guy who then fled. The police showed up within minutes… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Hey Crazy Elf, The line in the article about the scammer that caught my eye is “They also argue that he obstructed justice when he accused a co-worker in the U.S. Commerce Department of violating his privacy after she discovered some of his wrongdoing.”. So he was an AFGE dues paying member while he was scamming the VA. How many other AFGE members scam the VA this way? With the AFGE and the Veterans administration corruption how could this not… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Hey Namnibor, Thanks for the link much better coverage. Here are several excepts from the article. Note that the Department of Commerce attacked the Whistle Blower in this case and she was forced to hire an attorney to protect herself. I guess the AFGE dose not protect whistle blowers. “Prosecutors are seeking a five-year prison term, arguing that Wright falsified statements from fellow soldiers to obtain two awards — a Combat Action Badge and the Purple Heart, reserved for those… Read more »
Crazy elf
Hey Seymore, I can’t remember the site I found this on. It’s about a DAV National Service Officer and about 10 other people scamming the VA out of over a $1 million bucks. Around 2010, the last two were sentenced to prison. Seems it was just like that scam in your area. The SO gets $X% of the compensation when it arrives. I think there’s a good write-up on it at “DAVReform.org” in the comment section. It might also give… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

Hey Crazy Elf,

I did hear about the DAV scam in upstate New York where they had 11 people involved that were doing the same thing. I did point the information out in several comments on this site several months ago when we were talking about VSOs.

Crazy elf

Hey Seymore Klearly, namnibor and 91Veteran.
This article about that fake Army Reserve punk reminds me of a saying!

“When you sell your soul to the Devil, there’s no turning back. It’s a one time thing!”

Seems like there’s a lot of VA employees, from top to bottom, who’ve sold their souls!
Rot in HELL VA!

Seymore Klearly

It is looking more and more like the moment in time that they sell their souls to the Devil is when they become a dues paying member of the AFGE!!! The they are paying to aid and support the corruption of our government.

Crazy elf

Seymore, As namnibor, 91Veteran and you say, I wonder how many VA employees are getting away with this kind of fraud?
I’ll bet this isn’t an isolated incident!
I also wonder how many are getting to use the Choice Program over regular veterans!?

Crazy elf
Seymore Klearly, the DAV national service officer, + 10 or more fraudulent claimants I referenced, was out of Kentucky, Illinois and I believe West Virginia. The way they were all caught was because one of the ‘claimants’ was an airline pilot. He was claiming his hearing was effected from war in Vietnam. Problem was he just had his hearing test from the airlines he was employed. That’s when things started unraveling. I’m not sure exactly how much all these fakers… Read more »
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