Hurricane Irma

What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?

Hurricane Irma

Veterans have waited for years and years and years for an update to disability compensation rating criteria.

Who would have thought VA would release those new ratings the same day Hurricane Irma, one of the biggest hurricanes in modern history, made landfall in Florida?

How is that for timing?

And like the chaos caused by a real hurricane on human lives, I have no doubt the change to ratings will cause chaos for many veterans affected by the new interpretations.

What I am talking about, for those a little confused, is the VA Schedule for Rating Disability, called VASRD, which has not been updated since 1945. Imagine how much has changed over the past 70 years. Yes, that is also how different I expect the new ratings to be with updated terminology.

Since at least 2012, VA talked about changing the regulatory language of its ratings. The change was scheduled to happen last year, but given the politic and policy climate these past months, I can certainly understand they VA needed more time.

Though, I would add the timing could have been a little better than hurricane season. Better late than never.

As of September 10, 2017, VA was set to roll out the changes starting with dental and oral conditions. Claims pending will be able to take advantage of both versions of the regulations, depending on which benefits the veteran more.

A word of caution, VA has consistently failed to consider both versions of the regulation when adjudicating anything, so do not hold your breath on this one.

Here is what VA had to say about it:

Since 2009, subject matter experts, including physicians, reviewed each of the 15 body systems that make up the VASRD. This effort is part of VA’s continued commitment to improving the delivery of disability compensation benefits to Veterans and modernizing our systems.

On Sept. 10, 2017, the first of 15 body systems will be modernized. Disabilities related to dental and oral conditions will contain updated medical terms, include diagnostic codes for conditions previously rated under other conditions, add or change disability levels where needed, and combine some diagnostic codes. No existing dental or oral conditions were removed.

If you have a claim or appeal pending for a dental or oral condition before Sept. 10, 2017, VA will consider both the old and new rating criteria when making a decision. All claims for dental or oral conditions received by VA on or after Sept. 10 will be rated under the new rating criteria. It’s also important to know that if you are already service-connected for a dental or oral condition and submit a claim for increase, your disability rating may increase (or decrease) based on the new rating criteria. However, VA will not change your disability rating just because of the update to the rating criteria.

In the coming months, more body systems will be updated until all 15 are modernized, ensuring VA provides the most accurate ratings for disability compensation claims based on modern medicine.


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  1. The homes and business after Irma will be rebuilt. The destroyed Veterans will remain destroyed. Everybody in the system can look for less, because I president know the “Art of a Steal”.

    Personally, I am already downsizing even though I am 100% Service Connected with the (30%) unemployable. I filed my claim for 100% after the President signaled that they were going to screw everyone who receives unemployable after they reach Social Security Age 63 or 64. I am 60 and my rating is supposed to be untouchable after age 55.

    Veterans should start saving their money and sell their house and buy a trailer, because it is better to have a trailer that you can afford, than a house that will be foreclosed.

    Military Police Corps

    1. Don’t hold your breath – my DOC says unemployable, the VA PCP says unemployable, VA voc rehab says unemployable, VA C&P says unemployable – VA compensation says denied employable without a cited reason – appeal pending

  2. Curious. The new criteria will be used to rate a claim after Sept 10th…based on an examination that occurred up to a year prior.

    Can a vet request a new C&P exam based on the new criteria? If not, why not?

  3. Hmmm. I think most vets would just like to have an accurate rating the first time around using whatever criteria rather than being rubber-stamped denied, or have an actual specialist perform the C&P exam rather than a general practitioner.

    What the hell does it matter how updated the criteria is if they don’t fix those two things?

    1. You have to wonder with BVA Agent Orange Denier Murphy at the Helm, will this “update” conveniently omit Agent Orange Presumptives, burn pit and other environmental toxins of the war machine and it’s maintenance?
      I’m thinking any “updates” will be in ways to combine ratings, reduce, and the entire new mess will not be compatible with the old mess, different systems, and IBM Watson quit and killed himself in a swimming pool in an electrical display of desperation only Tesla could appreciate. 🙂

      In a mood.

      1. Environmental toxins adds an interesting mix to this. If the VA is updating criteria for ratings, will they include medical conditions caused by exposures to environmental toxins?

        A lot has been learned about exposures to toxins since 1945. If the new criteria does not contain ratings addressing these conditions, then we know the VA has no intention of helping veterans with this change.

    1. With the added benefit that at least a hurricane has a termination point. The VA only becomes an even larger moving train wreck and hungry black hole for $$$ and continues to spread like herpes on a shared chapstick at a cheerleading camp. 🙂

  4. What does Hurricane Irma have in common with the VA?
    Both are destructive and kill people slowly!

    1. @Crazy elf- Are you guys now in Irma’s eye up in Georgia, where you escaped to from Florida?
      If you head South now, you may miss more crappy weather, LOL. Hope all is well.

      1. namnibor,
        It didn’t get bad at all up in Thomasville Georgia!
        We just got back home today in Florida at about 1:30pm (12 Sept) and had power!
        My neighbors said power never went off!
        We definitely dodged a bullet on Irma. Where we live, there were plenty of downed trees. Only no one was hurt!

        Thanks for the concern brother!

  5. Ben, what do you make of this? The skeptic in me says that overall, VA is trying to reduce the compensation it pays vets. However, it says “VA will not change your disability rating just because of the update to the rating criteria.”

    My own interpretation so far is that VA won’t touch current veteran disabilities but is putting a new system in place that will reduce future veteran disability payouts to future generations of vets.

  6. What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?
    I would have commented earlier but am up here in the ISS and we had a massive CORONA injection [BEER]
    but I am back in the Cupola now and from what I can see they are both moving around a lot of air from both ends

  7. Maybe we can build on this!!! The idea of updating regulations just might work!!! I have an idea…..

    Under my new idea, the regulations governing the way the Disruptive Behavior Committee grants awards to veterans in need of social corrections would be updated. Under my plan the veteran who had earned these awards could choose the legal standards most likely to benefit them during the installment of the award. We can call it the DBC Choice Progam (DBCCP) with the most likely options being “bent over” (BO) or “prone and lubed” (PAL) as a standard subset of options applying according to veteran preferences.

    Shit, its so crazy it just might work!

    1. “Prone And Lubed” (PAL), would have to have some measure of separation from “Patient Advocate Lubrication”, also (PAL), unless of course, the PAL is administrating the DBCCP. It might just work.

    1. If you reread the quote, it states they will not change any current ratings unless you apply for increase. Then they will be affected by the new law and your rating can increase or decrease based on the new law.

  8. What Hurricane Irma has in common with VA Disability Ratings is this: After the storm blows through and destroys everything that was built before, things must be pretty much rebuilt from the ground up.

    As the VA/AFGE/VSO conglomerate has failed so miserably at looking out for the true needs of this nations veterans, perhaps it is time for “Hurricane Pyssed-Off Veterans” to hit Washington D.C.

    I believe that it is high time for some real leadership at the VA. Leadership that speaks truth publicly about how bad things have really gotten. Leadership that develops solutions to take better care of ALL our nations warriors.

    Leadership that recognizes that when they are doing a good job – – – it will be veterans singing their praises, rather than the VA needing a PR Agency to put out “Fluff Pieces” to mislead America.

    Current VA leadership has their Brain Housing Group the size of mice and their Hearts no bigger. It is about TEN YEARS PAST TIME TO FIX THE DAMN BROKEN VA:

    1. Recognize the problems inherent in the VA are SYSTEM-WIDE, not just limited to a few locations.

    2. Fire all the Lazy No Good Workers. Fire EVERY single AFGE/SES Employee.

    3. Sell off all the VA facilities. Alternatively, they may be converted into housing for homeless veterans.

    4. Issue all veterans a card that allows them to choose their own doctors within their community that they can TRUST.

    5. The United States Government will PAY those doctors promptly (Within 45 days) for the care they provide veterans.

    6. ELIMINATE the “Federal Protection” Umbrella for incompetent QUACKS that the VA sends to other states to practice other than their own. Going to practice in Hawaii? You need to be LICENSED in Hawaii. Same applies to all other states.

    7. Any claim a veteran submits to the VBA that requires more than 90 days to adjudicate, is automatically found to be in favor of the veteran. If a VBA claim filed by a veteran is found to be a false one designed to scam the system, the VA will have to prove in civil court that a false claim was intentionally submitted.

    8. All veterans will be allowed to seek/retain the services of a Veterans Rights Attorney from their first initial contact with the VA.

    9. No AFGE, nor any other Labor Union business will be allowed to take place in any Federal Workplace. Conducting Union Business during working hours will be STRICTLY PROHIBITED, and will be STRICTLY ENFORCED. Should any government employee be found violating this provision, it will result in IMMEDIATE LIFETIME DISMISSAL FROM ANY/ALL GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYMENT.

    10. Attorneys for appeal will be retained at the former employee’s PERSONAL expense. U. S. Taxpayer’s will not be subject to payment of legal bills for incompetent or dishonest personnel with regards to Governmental Employment.

    You have my contact information Mr. President and Mr. Secretary. Call me anytime. I have a lot of ideas to discuss that will help you improve the services provided to my fellow veterans. I will not hesitate to speak up at all.

    For my fellow veterans who have been ill-served by this CLUSTERFUCK of a train wreck called the VA over the last few decades:

    Our battles overseas were far less stressful than our war here at home. Never Cruel or cowardly. Never Give Up. Never Give In. We are on the Righteous path.

    POTUS Reagan broke up PATCO in the ’80’s. It is now time for POTUS Trump to break up the AFGE. Most of our current Congress Critters do NOT have Veterans Interests at heart. Perhaps their replacements will. VOTE OUT all these WORTHLESS INCUMBENTS.

    Give their replacement’s one term to take care of Veterans who put aside their own personal lives to answer this nation’s call when she needed them. Many of those Veterans suffer the remainder of their lives for doing what most of their countrymen had not the courage to do.

    If they cannot MUSTER THE STONES to do it properly – – – vote their worthless asses out as well. Party should NOT MATTER. What SHOULD MATTER is their VOTING RECORDS ON VETERANS ISSUES.

    Rhetoric is cheap. Congressional Voting Records speak louder than words.

    NO Combat Veteran should be surprised when the next McVeigh or Congressional Baseball Team Incident occurs. Bound to happen. Just a matter of time . . .

    We have now reached the next accelerative phase of our country falling apart. Country before Party. Principles before Personalities. Always.

    Want to REALLY fix the VA? The next SecVA needs to be a former Enlisted Man with a few serious axes to grind against the VA and the AFGE. Apparently, Former Flag Officers and SES appointed Civilians can’t cut the mustard . . .

    Maybe a SINCERELY MOTIVATED Gunnery Sergeant or Chief Petty Officer CAN.

    Disgruntled Veteran
    1973 – 1976 USMC
    1978 – 1993 USN
    Wounded Warrior
    Honolulu, Hawaii

  9. Let me gather my thoughts here for a moment before I open my contextual mouth. Ok, I’m ready. How come that the VA makes the rules for Veteran compliance, to feel like it is on the verge of being heartless? And, why are the rules for compliance for a VA Employee, seem to feel so warm and welcoming?

    I don’t get it. This type of bullshit makes the VA services for us Veterans to be stagnant. The VA can make a tweak here, a touch up there, but this only causes more problems. Want to know why?

    You can’t build on a base that can’t the new load. The new VA programs to try to fix that and this, is not of the same format of the original VA platform created for Veterans. The so-called NEW VA, both claims and medical, will be stuck in this quagmire. What’s the fix?

    A Audit, and a total VA overhaul. Reformation and Re-Organization. Once this accomplished, then a clean start can be performed. Shootz, I’m tired of this shit already. Wipe it, flush it, wash up, move on. – – – Nutter.

  10. This is big. Not because it is beneficial in a direct sense but because it open’s the door to the CAFC.

    TBI ratings are limited to October of 2008. However, I filed a case in the Central District of California on March 3, 1988 re “organic brain syndromes” from TBI, malaria, and other causes.

    I’m in contact with a Pro Bono Attorney group for Veterans and will broach the subject with them. They may be able to get the date back to my March 3, 1988 filing. I was right on all three instances in 1987 letters and the 1988 filing per recent NIH studies. TBI, p. falciparum, multiple trauma affecting the brain, and gunnery concussions from out going and incoming.

    We’ll see what happens.

    1. Anything that was changed can be challenged for insufficiency under the Constitution (14th sec 4(d)) and the general guarantees of making the veteran “as whole as possible.”

      1. Lem, what do you mean by, “TBI ratings are limited to October of 2008”?
        Also thank you for the info in your second post.

      2. Those of us who were diagnosed with 8045-9304 prior to October 23, 2008 but were under rated can only get rated back to October 23, 2008. For instance if you were level 3 rate able at 70% in one of the categories by a neurobehavioral exam done in 1985 and were only rated at 30% you can only get the 70% back to October 2008. See note (5) below which is under the diagnostic code 8045 which is under 38 CFR 4.124a below:

        “Note (5): A veteran whose residuals of TBI are rated under a version of § 4.124a, diagnostic code 8045, in effect before October 23, 2008 may request review under diagnostic code 8045, irrespective of whether his or her disability has worsened since the last review. VA will review that veteran’s disability rating to determine whether the veteran may be entitled to a higher disability rating under diagnostic code 8045. A request for review pursuant to this note will be treated as a claim for an increased rating for purposes of determining the effective date of an increased rating awarded as a result of such review; however, in no case will the award be effective before October 23, 2008. For the purposes of determining the effective date of an increased rating awarded as a result of such review, VA will apply 38 CFR 3.114, if applicable.”

        I have to put in a request to be re-rated and then have it taken back to my 1988 civil case in the U S District Court and my continued fight since being unemployable since 1985. I have a case to get it back to my first TDIU claim in 1987.

        The 14th Amendment Sec 4(d) guarantees veteran’s benefits. It doesn’t grant Congress the right to put limits not intended by that guarantee. The statement that Congress should put the section into practice doesn’t mean unreasonable take aways in a wink to Wall Street, lower taxes for billionaires, while putting it on the backs of veterans with a nod that they did something to put the section into practice.

  11. BTW– I absolutely loathe this day, 9/11. Just a pause for caution: we are STILL @ war and manufacturing new Veterans and Survivors each and every day. These new diagnostic rating guidelines are sure to come with a proctologist’s thrust as strong as hurricane Irma’s wind gusts.

    Rant Out

  12. “What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?”

    Real World Storm Term: ‘Storm Surge’
    VA Goobly-Gook-Speak: ‘Records Purge’

    Wind Gusts/Proctologist Thrusts @ any VA
    Wind Sheers/VA Industrial Shredders
    Flooding/Records Storage @ any VA
    Storm Surge/Records Purge Opportunity @ any VA
    Rats On Rafts/VA Employees needing rescued
    Eye Of Storm/VA OIG Conveniently Blind Brown-Eyed Assholes.

    Also worth noting that with most VA employee’s linguistic dialects and accents, the name of hurricane IRMA is way too close phonetically to ENEMA.

  13. RE: If you have a claim or appeal pending for a dental or oral condition before Sept. 10, 2017, VA will consider both the old and new rating criteria when making a decision. All claims for dental or oral conditions received by VA on or after Sept. 10 will be rated under the new rating criteria.

    Translate that gobbledygook to :” We’ll use whichever set of standards will screw you the most…”

    1. Real World translation: It will be Sept. 10, 2065 before raters are trained on the new criteria anyway, so your claim will still be denied, yet you can still get modern medical treatment at the VA for that sucking head wound using leeches.

  14. VA always has so fucked up acronym, that VASRD sounds like the new VA is absurd. Just like the OIG is the Office of the Infected Genitals.
    New language , new VA dictionary.
    It would be best if we can create a VA dictionary with words from all the users on this site. Have it published with sponsorship from Kare 11.
    Of course the proceeds would go to a good , true veteran cause.

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