VA Plan To Eliminate Appeals Fights Backlog?

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Appeals

Benjamin KrauseVSOs supported Fully Developed Claims, coupled with Disability Benefits Questionnaires, I believe these are clearly geared toward disrupting due process rights of veterans. So now what?

There are some snags in this process of getting access to your benefits that are more problematic now than ever. The most problematic of these are veterans targeted for benefits reductions. If you get a proposal to ‘reduce’ based on a disability exam you were perhaps not present for, you can object, and start the appeals process.

– Part 1 – Your mental health exam and the dubious DBQ

– Part 2 – DBQ scheme shifts cost burden to veterans

– Part 3 – Veterans denied rights of ancient Magna Carta

Yippie! So, VA gives you the option to jump into its hamster wheel at its own choosing regardless of law or science or your legal notice to even appear for an examination. In that hamster wheel, you may lose access to your benefits as you appeal to the Regional Office for however long that takes. But this apparently is the calculated sick benefit of the newly developed program.

There goes the backlog.

In this scenario, the next step is the 3-5 year wait to get the matter before the Board of Veterans Appeals Docket. There your case will be remanded back to the RO for a new examination because the DBQ was flawed. Meanwhile, you did not full develop your claim because you followed the Fully Developed Claims scheme numerous veteran organizations support.

The appeals process is an infinite loop that will keep you away from the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.  That is sad.  It is sad because only the Court can overturn the VA’s insistence that an exam can be performed that does not adhere to the Federal rules of evidence.

In the previous 3 parts, we have shown it is clear VA is moving to eliminate any kind of backlog of appeals by eliminating access to records or an appeals process. Think that the VA is not above remanding your case to keep you away from the CAVC?  My interpretation of the process as it evolves is as follows:

(3) There is consensus among all stakeholders that the best idea to reduce appeals is to not have appeals.

I do not know about you, but as a veteran, I am a stakeholder in the VA claims process.  This consensus is not a consensus I personally agreed to.  I bet that if you are reading this blog, you don’t agree either.

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35 Comments

  1. We have to protect our wounded vets. I think a vote for Trump would get financial problems in order. We do not need political correctness.

  2. I give up….I have tired to post something on here a suggestion 4 friggin times and it gets deleted before I can post the suggestions.

    • John, keep trying. I’m having the same problem. Don’t know why, but I can take a wild quess.
      Ben used to have the saying, this site may be hacked, or something like that. It doesn’t have it now.

      • I have been having quite a lot of difficulty in posting here and ONLY here as well. A few weeks ago, my computer’s Norton 360 was giving me messages that this site was potentially unsafe then my computer actually went totally wonky and took a good part of a day to get back to normal…it’s this site that’s being attacked so perhaps the VA has spent a few Billion on outsourcing some hacks or something because as I have read in several places, the VA IT Dept. is woefully inept and reason the VA outsources everything regarding technology.
        I let Ben know about it then but has been happening from time to time since and I do not even use social media and keep a rather small electronic footprint.
        I too, am confused about this DBQ and how it may or may not affect those already been receiving VA Disability Compensation at 100% P&T. Need some clarity as this has induced a bit of extra anxiety and imagine with others as well because I personally so not know if I can or even want to go through any of that “hamster wheel” again in this life…with each day’s health issues a “gift that keeps giving”, I surely have enough on my life’s platter.

  3. Ben, does this also apply to veterans who have been receiving benefits (@ 100% t & p) for more than say 5, 10 or even 20 years?
    Is VA going to try to lower disabilities and compensation on us?
    Your blog from yesterday and today confused me on this issue.

  4. Ben, what exactly is the “legality” of the VA moving to these “DBQ’s”? How is it exactly legal when according to one of your topics last week where a Judge was even questioning the use of the DBQ when he rightly stated that the Veteran Appeals as well as BVA do not even use them and REQUIRE the Independent Medical Opinions and other “Evidence” from Veteran to support and show nexus of Service Connection?

    I am totally confused about this as do not think it’s been fully explained how we arrived at this point? Did Congress “sanction/approve” of the VA’s language where they state if a Vet is not or cannot be present for an ‘exam’, the VA can just go ahead and do their own thing, placing a Vet, his family, life, completely upside down even longer?

    I see this as a stepping-up of the VA and their game of being adversarial toward Veterans, nothing less. I just do not understand this new way to screw Vets as it seems the VA just came about these DBQ’s from a “winning contest from within the VA”…please correct me if wrong but I thought Congress had to approve such drastic changes.
    Lastly, are you proposing that Veterans that have ALREADY gone through whole process and for instance, has already received 100% Svc. Connected P&T Disability Compensation without need of any appeals due to solid case, may now somehow be subject to the VA suddenly doing a DBQ and reducing said example of Veteran already won claim, trying to later reduce their benefits? Or, are you implying those that have existing pending Claims and Claims in Appeals are subject to the scenario you have proposed?
    I honestly do not think I can endure any additional stressors like that and just want to live my remaining days best I can, one day at a time.
    Thanks.

    • >>I too, am confused about this DBQ and how it may or may not affect those already been receiving VA Disability Compensation at 100% P&T. Need some clarity as this has induced a bit of extra anxiety and imagine with others as well because I personally so not know if I can or even want to go through any of that “hamster wheel” again in this life…with each day’s health issues a “gift that keeps giving”, I surely have enough on my life’s platter.

      ditto. “hamster wheel” or “VA blackhole”, both the same to me regarding VA/Disability-Benefits, and not in this life either do i want to be put through that gauntlet. and some of those VA employee’s loved the [email protected]#$ they put us through. nor do i wish that on any veteran! when one comes out the other-side from the proverbial “hamster wheel”/”VA blackhole”, you never get your bearings back quite right.

      Ben, can you or another attorney file some suit against them for this? Can you get someone in your state news channels to broadcast a segment regarding this hoping a political candidate will carry the this torch to public awareness? Got to protect those already on disability and the newly young veterans needing their current claims protected.

      and what’s up with these VSOs? most of them are disabled too. what, they didn’t see this could/would backfire on them too? yeah well, most VSO orgs are umbilical-tied to VA anyways, so what did i expect? never-mind.

  5. the last election (2014) over 66% of voters DID NOT VOTE. TheyOay have thought they “…were sending a message toPresidentlected officials!” Well, it didn’t work. It’s the same old B/S. “Business as usual”. Screw everyone, veterans, taxpayers, small business owners and more.
    If the voters continue on this path. What will change?
    Many on here are too young to remember Pat Paulson of Laugh In. One night, on the show, he “joked about running for President” against Richard Nixon. Guess what, he won! He had to come back on the show and tell the people it was only a joke. Nixon, on the other hand, wasn’t laughing. There’s a White House recording on this. Nixon was extremely upset!!!
    So, y’all see, “the Power of the People” is, and can work against Big Government. It takes us getting out and voting for someone who IS WORTHY of a position in a government which has, in the PEOPLES opinion, overstepped their authority by leaps and bounds…..
    So, by the time the next election comes around, let’s think of someone who will be worthy of that highest position…….How ’bout it folks???

    • Just in on Channel 9 news, WFTV, Orlando, Florida. The military is reducing its size by 40,000 troops in the next two years. Who came up with this idea? Three quesses and the first two don’t count. Our All Volunteer Military is already weak. How much more can it take with the current (war) climate? How many more “tours of duty of being put in harms way can our troops endure?”

      It’s taking me a long time, and many tries, to post this. I hope no one is violating my Constitutional Right of Free Speech!!!!

      • That 40,000 number is JUST for the ARMY…the reductions in other Branches has yet to be announced.
        You are correct, in a time of being engaged in War(s) the LAST thing ANY Country should do is ANNOUNCE they are reducing their numbers…I think our Gov’t. has forgotten about that essential ingredient at a time of war or even peace time…strategy…the type of stuff that made The Cold War Era cause our military to be the strongest it had ever been, save from WW1&2. WHY announce via the SAME News our enemies are watching?
        It baffles me how the Main Stream News is fed and announced almost every operation in these failed current wars save from the Black Ops attack in capturing Osama Bin Laden…it actually surprised me they did not announce that before it happened.
        Russia was brought to their knees and hi-tailed left, along with ALL their military equipment, from Afghanistan and Middle East and it contributed highly to the break-up of the Soviet Union…and to date, history has shown NO ONE has been able to win against these barbarians we are engaged with in several countries now…learning from History seems to have been put on a high out of the way shelf and forgotten by our so-called leaders.

        It’s along the same lines that the USA refuses to call these current wars what they are exactly from the enemy’s strong view…a Religious War. The USA wants to keep things all Political Correct as to not call these barbarians what they are and now…the very Muslims in this Country on so-called Political Refugee Status, getting more benefits than ANY American for free, these very people are being recruited to do harm either within the USA or overseas…anyone else see the perversion in this?
        My City has over 70,000 of these refugees and I know Minneapolis has almost 100,000 of them, if not more. Sorry for the rant, but we have people running these wars that seemingly are sympathetic to the very enemy…that includes Obama, whom I firmly believe is a Muslim Sympathizer…his strategy thus far and all but destroying relationship with Israel sheds even more light on this.
        Have a great day everyone.

  6. I THINK THE MURDERING OF 22 VETS PER DAY IS HIGH TREASON

    This is why 22 Veterans are MURDERED per day via suicide. We all heard of “suicide-by-cop” but in our world as Veterans it’s “suicide by DVA”. Instead of complying with the SCOUS-FDM the controlling law over the and now a question before the 4th Cir., the only way I see it for change is for the millions of Veterans and families being denied the constitutional rights we served to protect and defend for all … must be a show of force at the US Supreme Court steps to compel these 9 so called Justices to revisit their Feres Doctrine decision and obtain judicial review for RICO Act crimes and untimely deaths of Americans who never faced any enemy abroad as we do right in the DVA by robotic type sinister public servants who have injured and killed more Americans and destroyed more families’ then all enemies since the American Revolution. As of this day since the filing of the civil rights action/RICO Act high treason lawsuit of February 28, 2012 the total number of dead Americans by suicide [at DVA figures of 22 per day] equals: 26,994. In only three-years the DVA high treason and corruption has murdered nearly half of all combat dead in the Vietnam War [Nov 01, 1955
    – Apr 30, 1975]. A check of the so-called “War on Terror” figures During the illegal invasion of Iraq to take out Saddam and former agent of the US totals: 4,475 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan, 2,165 have been killed as of 2013 figures. see more at: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/security-military/us-military-casualty-statistics-costs-war-iraq-afghanistan-post-911#sthash.mrVicdpT.dpuf

  7. EVERYTHING THAT COMES FROM THE VA, IS TO VA’s BENEFIT!
    This the rule!
    NEVER TRUST THE VA!
    It is Sad how this country treats its Veterans
    VAM

  8. 07/08/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause and the Public,

    The VA Organization is out of control and is operated by criminals.

    The behavior is nothing but Criminal.

    The Ethics violations according to those who study Medical Ethics state, the VA has violated every known ethics in the book [AMA].

    The term “Gomer” [highlighted in 1978, and again in the movie Article 99 in 1992] is offensive and should never be heard in any hospital.

    So if the Organization has no Ethics or Law—–any contract arrangement is moot and illegal.
    I told a Lawyer at Morrison and Foerster to use the RICO Act.

    “They are not treating the vets they are Medicating them”—–Daily Caller has this on video from a Top Official—totally Medically Unethical—-grounds to shut down all Hospitals and Clinics until the issue is resolved.

    What an American Disaster! And nobody wants to talk about it—“it is so negative.”

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

    • Don, I’ve seen the video you mention. I’m considerably concerned (actually pissed) over a ‘High Ranking VA Employee’ spouting an “act of sedition against veterans”! The people who work for the VA are no better than the British were in the 1770’s!
      I have read the “Declaration of Independence”, “Constitution” and the Bill of Rights”! I have also read “Common Sense”, by Thomas Paine. fyi, did you know that “Pamphlet” was one of the top reasons why the “Colonies” went to war with Great Britain?
      Where are the likes of such “Patriots” today. Their names are drummed into our minds at an early age. We know them, and what they stood for. What has happened? When are the PEOPLE going to “STAND UP AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
      We today have a “duty”, “as American Citizens”, to insure our country is run according to the “LAWS” set down by our “Founders”. Not the other way around. I am ASHAMED completely of our government (elected and appointed officials). Our country has become a laughing stock of many countries. It’s not going to change unless———-

    • D.Karg, is accurate. A certain vet, now deceased told me, the VA was ORG.
      That stands for organized crime. I will refrain from mentioning the gory details.

  9. All of this just goes to prove that you can’t trust these people, (VBA). They know the (CAVC) has remanded on a lot of their decisions. What better way for them to make it as difficult as possible for a veteran to appeal than to ensure that the claim won’t ever get beyond the (BVA). It causes veterans to give up and quit, thereby reducing their backlog and making those adjudicators and VA executives looking picture perfect and getting them a big increase in their bonus every year..

  10. It appears that the VA has turned it motto to just money, money and more money and health care for the veterans is just overhead and in the last row of priorities. Looks to me that the money to run this mockery is ‘blood money’. If it wasn’t for the veterans the VA would not even exist!!!

    • After all that $$$$$ which was given to them this fiscal year, what did they do? They ran out by June. Then they had to go and ask (beg) for more, ($2.6 BILLION)! What happened to all that damn money? Where did it end up? Who’s pocket (or pockets) did it end up in?
      There’s so many questions which need answers. I”ll bet no one would be willing to take the stand, under oath, if they were threatened with prison time.
      I would pay to see that “circus”, how bout y’all?

  11. Love that MR. TRUMP, some body that does not have to take a bribe to do the right thing. Too many corrupt politicians taking bribes.

  12. The civilian doctor in the news this week, that criminally and deliberately told dozens of patients they had cancer, but he knew they did not, is expected to receive a long prison sentence. Hopefully this case will be used to go after the VA too. (I bet the VA would be more likely to say someone doesn’t have cancer when they actually do have cancer.)

    • Either have a disease you don’t really have AND CHARGE or a disease they won’t acknowledge for treatment. BOTH make and save money depending on who’s charging or who’s paying out.

  13. It appears that our government has some folks working in it and under minding it all. This is why our legislators should be listening directly to the American people and not special interests who are interested in getting their undue share of federal dollars on bogus data that they spew out, called marketing spin and it is called EVIDENCE BASED or IFFY BASED. It is is so time for the truth to be told from real citizens to our legislators. We need direct access to our legislators and not a mazes of obstacle courses to keep us from getting what we deserve like Redress, Due process, Justice and Restitution.for all Americans. Those that deliberately undermine for federal dollars have effectively under minded our constitutional rights.

  14. We need to fight back viciously. Go after every doctor doing these exams in the state they are licensed in for medical malpractice. Go after individual employees via civil rights color of law litigation. Seize a house or two and watch them pay attention.

    A great place to start? Indianapolis VBA Director Michael Stephens and his fiduciary scam. It is not about the banning of vets with guns. That is just a liberals icing on the cake. Follow the $$$$. They appoint a fiduciary and they keep 4%.

    1000 vets 100% disabled and that is 120k a month. Three times that for r2 or SMC T. Stephens controls the fiduciary $$$ for 14 states. Who is he appointing? Even Congressman Lee Zeldin didn’t know they keep 4%. And, he can’t find out who it is going to. On the veterans affairs committee and is still afraid of the VA.

    Add in kick backs from people they steer vets to. “need a dentist? Go see this guy and we will send a check”. Dentist kickbacks to fiduciary.

    Yet, NO ONE seems too concerned. And, they think it is about the guns.

    Let’s get Michael Stephens under oath in interrogatories and on the stand. Let’s get a top to bottom audit and see who the appointed fiduciaries are. Who they are writing checks to.

    Publish what these scum are up to. And, it starts at the top. Allison Hickey Robert MCDonald and Robert Reynolds are all guilty. Of nothing else turning a blind eye.

    Facebook page Desk Commandos of the VA is my start.

    • Mr. Mitchel

      “A great place to start? Indianapolis VBA Director Michael Stephens …”

      Agree with your assessment!

      NEVER have I seen an agency of the Federal Government continue to leave their most incompetent employees forever in place.

      Stephens is a SES and with a stroke of a pen VA oversight can replace him.

      Look at the number of Indy’s weekly claims ending in ‘Appeal’. Over 100 Notice of Disagreements are filed monthly and end in the Appeal and Delay for decades maze.

      The current Veterans Administrations’ leadership is: Anti-Veteran and needs to be replaced.

  15. I do not understand why nothing is being done about the V.A. knowing what it is doing to veterans, they should be audited and made to pay back everything they owe the veterans, onoe way or another, make them personally responsible for all the have stolen, then disband the V.A..
    Yours for God and contry
    Frank P. Calderon

  16. i post this to help Ben and his veteran users.

    your site has some issues:

    0). Cross-site scripting (XSS)

    1). your site should ensure HTTPS too as connection your site is not encrypted.

    2). though your website does not supply ownership data, it wants data from user’s browsers, such as HTML5 canvasing of image data. not good.
    –note that malicious websites can grab & learn an array of data which it can then use to fingerprint, thus be able to uniquely identify user/machine.

    • So, someone is spying on Ben’s site. Then they can get mine, yours and everyone else’s info? Basically this site may be hacked, right?
      Is this the reason why it’s difficult to post a comment? But, not to log on?
      I’m computer illiterate when it comes to these modern gadgets, lol!

    • That’s exactly what I have been getting from my really great security program for my PC…am constantly getting notices the site is not only NOT encrypted, but viewed as being a serious security risk.
      I think this may be occurring to try to impose and take advantage of already ‘fragile veterans’, and have no doubt the VA has something to do with it and it’s unfortunately making me want to be more of a “lurker” rather than posting here.

      Plus, I MUST add that I really believe MORE information needs to be given regarding this recent topic of the “DBQ’s” as today’s very topic has not been healthy at all for my own anxiety/PTSD issues…and that’s way before the security issues on this site. Something to consider at least, as without any qualification, the subject topic suggests that the VA may use these new forms to try to reduce those of us that have already gone through and are currently receive 100% P&T Svc. Connection…and this very kind of disruption is what the VA relishes in or they seem to…rant over. Just wanted to state this.

  17. How about eliminating the V.A. and promote Veteran rights instead, that’s what I think would be better, it would make more sense.

    Yours for God and Country
    Frank P. Calderon

  18. I hear you Ben, the claims process is convoluted and corrupt beyond belief; it makes even me want to give up, and I’m tenacious.

    **************************************
    “There your case will be remanded back to the RO for a new examination because the DBQ was flawed”
    **************************************

    See, I was hoping spouse’s claim would get to BVA and get a different person to look it over. But we will probably get effed with a remand just like you suggest. While his DBQ’s are strong, they don’t count–the RO has sat on their thumbs, ignored the strong DBQ’s (and nexus letters!), and found every excuse under the sun to stall, delay, obfuscate, and just generally jerk spouse around and give him a hard time. They have their examiners look at spouse and bam, it’s all over. His only hope comes from an outside Dr.’s exam, and wouldn’t you know it? The VA doesn’t listen to the outside Dr.’s opinions we bring before them. It will probably be a cold day in hell before spouse sees his due benefits–the VA is counting on it–but I want to help spouse appeal his claim all the way to the top (CAVC) just to make their numbers look worse and bust their chops over this. If they want to haggle us, they deserve to be haggled back.

  19. The solution, in part, to claim backlog is to give the VA, at all levels of decision making, the option of declining to decide a claim for lack of new and material evidence received. The Regional office can make this call, but the veteran can disagree and this begins an appeal that is going nowhere, taking up time and space with zero chance of success. If the BVA could decline jurisdiction it would eliminate another file there. But, every case where the veteran, or other appellant, has perfected the appeal is thus guaranteed final review by BVA. Those cases that are refused BVA review could be eligible for the Court under a special appellate provision.

    Just because someone believes the case is worthy does not make it so. I always take heat for defending the VA system and this will not be an axception. I just believe, after more than 20 years as an accredited claims representative working inside VARO’s, that the ability of veterans to perpetually attempt to reopen claims, and then appeal, without offering evidence to prove entitlement, is responsible for the great majority of claim backlog. If we veterans had to satisfy the VA, with the same level of proof as with a court of law, a significant percentage of claims would be turned away as frivolous or not meeting statutory requirements, thus preventing much backlog. I used to tell clients I could build a case with just a little evidence and a lot of time developing, but without any evidence of probative value I could do nothing. Too many times after hearing this a veteran would say he wanted to submit the claim anyway. Maybe a different VA employee would see it his way. That outcome never happened.

    • “Just because someone believes the case is worthy does not make it so.” I agree with this statement and understand what you are saying, eric; however, I think letting the RO stop a claim in it’s tracks (even if it is frivolous), opens the doors for potential corruption. The RO’s need oversight, perhaps more than they have right now. It is my firm belief that, while they sometimes make good decisions, they are corrupt. I have seen claims that are meticulously solid and nexus’d just get kicked back, ignored, crapped, on at the RO. For instance, what gives the RO the right to ignore a veteran’s private doctors opinions on a medical condition (some of whom are even VA PCP’s)? I’ve seen this happen. This is where a little bit of follow through, filing, and stubbornness on the veteran’s part is needed to get the claim to go to the BVA, and sometimes, the CAVC.

      While meritless claims convolute the process and sometimes go on to those levels, the ability for a vet to go to those levels is often NEEDED so they RO has oversight when they (I won’t pull punches here) try to screw a veteran. Because it happens.

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