Claim Perspective

When Presenting Claim Evidence, Context Is Everything

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.


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.

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  1. 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 scammed out of the VA. I only know the DAV tried their best to cover it up.

    Have you ever been on “”? There’s a bunch of articles you can get where DAV is, in my opinion, the most corrupt VSO around.

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!?

  3. Here’s two more articles from “” I just received tonight.

    “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.

    “DOJ: Vet’s Purple Heart Lies Cost Government $752,000”

    This is the kind if crap we veterans don’t need rearing its ugly head! It hurts all combat veterans!

    1. @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 when there’s Vets out there still trying to prove to VA they were indeed stationed where they were, have the paperwork, but the VA still refuses to assist then assclowns like this Stolen Valor Purple Heart DOJ case comes around slipping through the cracks…wonder WHO he KNEW at the VA that fostered this through?

      Or…is this yet another ‘released’ excuse for the VA to say they need yet more $$ for updating IT at the VA? In other words, I think the Black Hole is hungry! The VA does not make mistakes in a Vet’s favor. Makes me wonder….

      1. Here’s a link to the DOJ story on Purple Heart fraud: “”″”

      2. 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 of his scam here and there, and when presented to the VA, they saw the whole picture he painted.

        Or he had either a helpful VA employee or VSO.

        It reminds me of all the travel fraud posters in my VA sounding as if veterans are ripping off travel pay every day.

        Which reminds me, my VA never got in on the art scam, unless it all ended up in the directors office. I swear there is at least 1 travel fraud poster in every clinic, and 1 or more in each hallway.

        By the way, not defending this guy, but where was the DOJ with Ruben and Graves? With the bonus fraud which likely ran into the millions? With 1 VA hospital losing 30 vehicles?

      3. 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 veterans behalf then charged the Veteran when he got his back payment.

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

        Does it surprise me? Not really.

      5. 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 after the attack, my next door neighbor had called them. While talking to the police office and waiting for an ambulance the moron who attacked me came back to finish what he had started but instead got arrested. I had taken away his hammer so when he returned he came around the corner of my home swinging his tea shirt with a brick inside it screaming I was a dead man.

        Needless to say I was standing there talking to the police officer when he came around the corner. So he was arrested on the spot. He did turn and run and the officer ran after him but other squads were already showing up and they caught him right away.

        The way I found out about the fraud was a friend had called and asked to borrow money to help a friend of his out who was a Veteran having a rough time. I loaned him $400 and the Veteran promised to pay on the first of following month. Six months went by and no repayment so I contacted the friend and told him he was going to have to pay. He then called the veteran and called me back saying that I would be paid during the next week.

        The next week I got a call from the vet who owed me the money and he asked if I would pick it up since he lost his license. We set a time for me to come over and then he started telling me how he had just gotten a lump sum payment on an increased rating for his VA disability.

        I went to his new apartment he had just gotten sharing it with the guy with the hammer. He thanked me for the loan and paid me back. While we were talking another person walk up and I got to meet him he worked for the DAV and was the person who handled the veterans claim for the increased disability.

        He had some forms for the Veteran who tried to kill me to sign and then said he was going to have to run. Before he left he asked the one veteran do you have that for me. He said yes and left and came back with an envelope and gave it to him.

        After the guy from the DAV left I ask the Vet what that was all about. He said that he had to give him half of the lum sum payment. He then tried selling me on the idea of paying for an increase in my rating. Telling me how they file all the paperwork all they need is my signature on some forms and it was a sure thing. I told him I wasn’t interested and left.

        The next day I called Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and reported it. A short time later I am leaving my home and being attacked by someone who is involved with the scam.

    2. 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 have been happening for years. What would be found if the DOJ investigated all AFGE Members receiving VA disability.
      Do AFGE union members face the same system of denial, denial, denial or do they get special consideration when applying for VA disablity?

      Clearly we owe a thank you to the co-worker in the U.S. Commerce Department who reported him to the DOJ. We know the VA would not have reported him.

      1. 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 wounded in action — and then parlayed those medals into a wide range of disability and other benefits, including forgiveness of more than $40,000 in student loans.

        In applications for benefits, Wright claimed to be so severely disabled that he could only focus his attention for five to 10 seconds, and he said he needed a live-in caregiver. In reality, he served as chairman of the planning commission in Snoqualmie, a city east of Seattle where he lives; coached high school basketball; and had held a full-time federal government job in Seattle.

        “Darryl Lee Wright built an entire myth system on these two awards, relying on them to obtain every possible benefit that might be available to a wounded veteran,” assistant U.S. attorneys David Reese Jennings and Gregory Gruber wrote in a sentencing memo. “Every time he won or qualified for a benefit, Darryl Lee Wright used the new benefit to bolster his claims for yet another undeserved benefit.””


        “In addition, they argued that he obstructed justice when he accused a co-worker in the U.S. Commerce Department of violating his privacy after she discovered and reported that he submitted fabricated National Guard orders in an effort to be paid for a week of skipped work.

        The Commerce Department repeatedly tried to punish the whistleblower, Cristina Jackson, who wound up having to hire an employment lawyer to fight off the discipline. The department still has not publicly acknowledged her role in helping uncover Wright’s fraud, though Jennings told The Associated Press her actions were “critical to uncovering the truth.””

        “Wright also claimed Social Security disability benefits, insisting he was frequently bedridden. The VA paid his sister to be his live-in caregiver, though investigators said she performed no such service. By May 2013, the siblings were bringing in benefits totaling $10,000 a month, prosecutors said. The sister later pleaded guilty to related charges.”

        This case reminds me has any one heard anything more about Robbie McDonalds buddy J Thomas Burch and how he and his millions are doing?

      2. 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 “”
        in the comment section. It might also give the site to go to.

      3. 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.


  5. This article, on page 6, is from the new VFW magazine, (September 2016) edition.

    “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 or better than private care but also cheaper and tailored for veterans specific needs.”
    Secondly, “Higher Costs for Vets, Taxpayers”
    Mr. Fuentes states, quote, “Studies have shown that VA care is cheaper, too.”
    He uses the “Commission on Care” report. And, “A 2014 study by the Congressional Budget Office, (CBO), whereas, the CBO report, “…did find that VA care was cheaper.”

    The third part is titled, “VA Must Be Accountable For Care”
    Quote, “Another of VFW’s major concern with total privatization is the loss of accountability and oversight that would occur.” Mr. Fuentes also talks about the “Choice Program” with praise. Quote, “Veterans who have used the Choice Program have experienced firsthand how long wait times can be for the private sector, he said.” He went on to say, “Privatizing VA would lead to veterans waiting in the back of the line to receive private-sector care that is not tailored to their unique needs.”

    Excuse me! There is no “accountability or oversight” by VA as it now stands. Evidently, VFW, along with “Little Marco” Rubio and other elected and appointed officials, didn’t receive that memo.
    As far as if it will be cheaper. Well, think on this. If VA didn’t “waste” taxpayers monies, or “fraudulently” spend taxpayers monies, or “abuse” taxpayers monies, we just might have better health care!
    As far as our “unique needs”, it’s well known physicians in the private-sector are more highly regarded by veterans. Than most of those “3rd world quacks” we have to deal with at VHA’s nationwide!
    Rant over. Feeling better today.

    1. 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 going to be over a 1000+ by time January comes around and we have not even gotten to the Pardons yet!!! Just wait for those names…

      1. 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!!!!!

      2. 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 the hell would any sane veteran want to protect the status quo, unless they have an interest in keeping things as they are.

        It makes me wonder what kind of business dealings they have with others that might have a vested interest in preventing changes. It makes me wonder how many take off a union hat on the weekend and put on a VSO hat and tell war stories of combat in aisle 7 at the PX.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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’. 🙂

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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?

  7. 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 went into Congress and removed the “accountability clause” in “Little Marco” Rubio’s bill.

    Like I said, I’m just asking?!

    1. 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.

      1. 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 with the VA that has stood-by and done NOTHING while seeing corruption float all around them goes out with the bathwater as well.

        “We were just following orders” did not fly well with the upper echelon of Nazi’s at end of WW2 and it will not with VA upper management, AFGE or not. It simply needs to go in it’s entirety from the VA System. Done.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 you have dieticians rise through the ranks to become a hospital director and above.
      GS13 to GS15 employees can have their little kingdoms turned upside down by having higher level managers hold them accountable. One way to do that is directed reassignment to an official willing to hold them accountable. If you want to screw up in Phoenix and not do your job, then you pack up the kiddies and your cat and are reassigned from Phoenix to Washington DC, Philadelphia or Detroit to work in their mail room.

      Some managers may not mind being shipped around the country, but if their lives are made hell by doing so and they choose to resign, so be it.

      You do a few of them and they may think twice about how good of a job they are doing.

      Regarding non manager employees below GS13, firing a few for cause is a good place to start, but the biggest hurdle will be getting over the employee and union favoring oversight boards. They are the ones who protect an employee who beats a veteran to death, while sitting on their hands silently watching a disabled veteran get fired before their probationary period is up.

      Another improvement would be for it to be made clear that any employee at any level violating the law is justifiable cause for immediate firing. Any manager of such an employee not taking action to fire said employee will also be fired for not doing their job.

      1. @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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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 decides that history offends them, and they want no public display of the Vietnam Wall? How long before some refugee is offended by a display of some kind of service in the Middle East?
        It also bothers me because the issue was pushed by a single Democrat Congressman from California. That shows the power a single congressman or senator has that they could use in improving the VA, but they choose to ignore veterans. Unless that veteran is dead and has a Confederate flag on their grave.

      2. 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.

    2. 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 called the Antietam, when the conscript armies of both the Union and Confederate states clashed.

      More than 20,000 American men were casualties, and nearly 4,000 who died that day.

  9. 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 take many years.

    1. 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?

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

  10. 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 of 57 RO’s) caused incredible harm (including a million claim backlog) to Veterans and employees yet the VA until only recently even tried to build a case against her (trying to demote her) and then lost in Court by not also punishing others similarly situated. The VA lawyers DON’T know what they’re doing.

    The senior bureaucrats have run the VA as a fiefdom as the political appointees such as Gen. Shinseki and Bob McDonald come and go for decades. If the political appointees want to hold the senior bureaucrats accountable it has to establish processes to punish them when they misbehave.

    They fire rank and file employees by giving them production standards, put them on Performance Improvement Plans and then target. Yet, the Targeters (management) have no meaningful performance standards. It’s all a taxpayer waste of money and scam.

  11. 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 which a notice of disagreement is filed with respect to the case. The limitation in the preceding sentence does not apply to fees charged, allowed, or paid for services provided with respect to proceedings before a court.”

    So a vet can get a lawyer, even when he or she first files claims, it’s just that Congress has forbidden us from charging anything for it. Until the claims are denied and the appeal (or reopening or reconsideration) process has begun. With the filing of an NOD (Notice of Disagreement)….

    Am I right, or am I right?
    Thank you, sir

    1. That is my point exactly Roger. The term “hire” implies payment for services. Yes, a veteran cannot pay an attorney for services until after VA provides a less than optimal decision usually based on administrative error and / or negative evidence.

  12. 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 long-time HR Manager at the Philly RO has a GED, only. She has no concept of laws and they’re forced by law and executive Order to hire Veterans but her motto is to fire as many as possible within the first year. These Vets give up other jobs to work at the VA having no idea that management is corrupt.

  13. 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.

    1. 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,

      Hell yes, we need WAY more Veterans working at the VA at all levels, not just part time janitorial jobs as it stands.

    2. 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 employees list, it seems the “dumber” they become. One idiot, who stated he served in the Army during the Vietnam “era”, actually said he “won” a “Silver Star” w/”V” “device”!
      When I explained the “Bronze Star” is the only medal with the “V” device for “Valor” AND one doesn’t “WIN” it!
      He almost ran to get away from me and a few other vets! We all laughed!

      Y’all may or may not agree with this. I, along with many other Vietnam Veterans, still don’t like being called “Vietnam Era Veterans”! It’s as though we never served there– “Boots on Ground”. Kind of an insult to our mindset!
      Just an opinion by many of us.

    1. 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.

  14. Here’s two new articles out from “” & “M” “Daily News”. Both dated 30 Aug. 2016 by the Associated Press.
    #2 is written by Roxana Hegeman of the AP.

    “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 for. I hope they break the bank. I also hope the “Candy Man” is forced into testifying!

    ” VA: Former Marine Who Killed 3 in Baton Rouge Did Not Have PTSD”

    This article talks about the two servicemen who murdered police officers.
    There’s some interesting issues not given by the VA in this article.

  15. 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 successfully file and win my VA Svc. Connected PT 100% the first time around from the wealth of info available on website hadit dot com. ALL the Title 38 Regs. and searchable BVA Decisions can be searched there in their database.
    Incidentally, it was much harder for my SSDI Claim, which I did exactly at same time as VA Claim. It took me 3x being denied by SSA and an Admn. Judge decision and my State Senator to win against Social Security and let it be known at least from my experience, the VA will NOT fill out any paperwork FOR Soc Sec. (nada) and Soc. Sec. would not exchange info with the VA. I learned this on hadit dot com but I refused to believe two of largest Federal Agencies could not and would not talk to each other but a Soc Sec. Counselor educated me on that in which she and many others were consistent in showing how these two Federal Agencies might as well be on different planets.

    Even then, when you end-up going to your VA C&P, the VA will try to minimize your various health conditions in verbal tricky ways such as I experienced in this paraphrased example I experienced; “Mr. *****, we KNOW that the military issued you tainted blood transfusion blood products for an emergency surgery BUT you can LIVE OKAY with Hep B and HIV, right?” “Mr. *****, you MAY live with severe anxiety and PTSD…BUT…it’s not REALLY THAT BAD, is it, Mr. *****?” See, how tricky dicky they are with words and trying to get me to minimize my own chronic health issues by somehow getting me agreeing to the C&P Examiner?

    Yes, my jaw about hit the floor, not believing what I heard that C&P Examiner say to me. My response; “HELL NO IS IT NOT OKAY!!” (I came prepared with Independent Medical Opinion of my still private Specialist) “My Medical Specialist states that I am now much more likely to meet my demise from complications of Hep B, even though BOTH infectious diseases were found in short months after botched surgery and tainted blood, as evidenced by the copy of the Red Cross Blood Drive Blood Testing and resulting Certified/Registered Letter sent to me on Active Duty on said Air Base, where the Air Force Dr.’s completely missed it because never tested for it, but The Red Cross did!!!”

    If I did not have civilian Independent Medical Opinions and years of chronic health crap leading-up to finally making a claim in which that civilian medical paper trail had not existed as well as a solid 10 years in Psych Therapy, I firmly believe I would have been worm dirt years ago.
    Morale of true story is…be aptly prepared for anything and everything. The VA does not play nice nor fair even when it’s evident THEY are in the wrong. Stand Your Ground.

    Hope this helps but one Veteran. I owe a lot to hadit dot com. A wealth of info over there and it’s free.

    1. 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 in all other ‘Classes’ of meds, and all three meds also keep the Hep B in-check, as evidenced by the Genotype and Phenotype stating so. (the VA HATES Independent Medical Opinions so make them great ones)

      I added the above because the VA will NOT volunteer ANY info and you as a Vet are considered “guilty” until YOU prove your health conditions are indeed…Service-Connected. Yes you heard it correctly, the BURDEN is upon WE VETERANS, and the VA does not assist in any way aside from the hell and stress they will easily dish-out. Stand strong and do not give-up.
      I approached it as a full-time job for those years and that tenacity surely helps. The VA expects Veterans to give-up…seriously, do NOT give-up.

    2. 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
      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 probative evidence and simply ignore it, and deny, then tell them to CUE themselves under 38 CFR 4.6….worked for me…and/or try to get an IMO/IME to combat a negative quack opinion.

      I too wrote to Shinseki years ago , as someone else here did ,and my letter was used as testimony by the Sub Committee H VAC, during Shreddergate, telling him things would get worse at VA ….and they sure did.
      I sent the HVAC copies of 53 bright green and white USPS tracking slips of 53 pieces of evidence they had refused to read ,so they could deny my claims….a futile gesture ,because I finally won them all anyhow.

      Vets , now is the time to get the spouse up to speed on DIC. Or at least give them a good idea of how the DIC claims process is. And hopefully they are already internet savvy.

      All of my claims were as a surviving spouse.
      VA does not discriminate against widows/widowers-they treat us as crappy as they treat you veterans.

  16. 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 record to time in-service) because the Rater simply doesn’t have enough time – under the production requirements – to properly adjudicate the claim.

    Many a Veteran Service Representative’s and Rater’s career have been destroyed unless they make their daily production points and scam the system by cheating because of the “National Performance Standards.”

    I identified years to Gen. Shinseki when there was a million claim backlog (before they just denied claims to get the backlog down) that in my department we had 17 supervisors who DIDN’T process claims and did nothing all day but target and harass employees and sit in useless meetings. It hasn’t changed. It’s ALL a scam and most VA work environments are hostile because management (unless one is related to or sleeping with someone) could care less about Veterans but simply interested in protecting their prerogatives and salaries.

    I reported 42 cases of nepotism in the Philly VA Regional Office and was targeted and fired illegally twice and won both times. Federal Agency employees only have a 1.7% chance of prevailing in Court against an Agency. Nobody to this day cares about the rampant nepotism. It is extremely disheartening for an employee not related to someone working his or her ass off whilst sitting next to an employee receiving special consideration and advancement.

    1. 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.

      I fill sorry for those employees. Whom speak out. Some of the higher management really need to be looked into

      Thank you for the truth

  17. 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 have the Veteran file an Appeal (if he or does file one) than to properly adjudicate a claim.

    ALWAYS keep a copy of anything send to the VA because they shred!!!

    Congruently, contact the Veteran’s Congressman so that a “Congressional Inquiry” can be initiated and the 57 VA Regional office Directors usually have established protocols to move those claims faster because they dread Congress breathing down their backs and the potential for associated negative media.

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