Legion breaks down the VA claims issue

Peter Gaytan – executive director of The American Legion’s Washington office – appeared this morning on “Fox and Friends” to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs claims backlog.

Gaytan briefly discussed the Legion’s successful efforts in reducing the backlog, problems with VA’s work-credit system for claims adjudicators, and the need for a VA-Department of Defense electronic medical records system.



  1. Stationed at lejeune 83-85, contaminated water, kidney damage, severe gout, skin legions and double amputee, no c & p exam scheduled, so I'm waiting on decision packet.
  2. Contact your congressman. Especially if you have a terminal illness. Ours has been great. We started our claim in February, 2013. When denial came down in January, 2014, at the suggestion of our service officer we asked for a reconsideration in lieu of filing an appeal. We are back in the system. When we go in our local office, they won't even address appeals; only new claims.
  3. As of 30 May, 2014, I will have surpassed 25 months on an Agent Orange claim...stemming from my time in the AF Reserves in the late 70's working on C-123 'spray birds'...the very delivery system of Agent Orange. It has been over 10 months since my C&P appointment needed to be rescheduled, from July of 2013, as I was on vacation when the notice came in. I was told it would only take 6 or 7 months to get a new C&P appointment concerning my AO claim. In the meantime, I have sent in over 5 other input of documents at the VA request because they 'needed more information'. This is how the numbers are reduced...when a claim moves from one desk to another, then the claim can be put in that the person who moved it can reduce their totals, and so on, and so on, and so on. Pretty much accountability by deception.
  5. Filed claim in Indy Aug 2008. Got a neg response from Togus Maine in May 2009. Filed appeal May 2009 and submitted additional information. As of March 2014 still waiting. Another Viet vet who will probably pass before getting served.
  6. One other problem occurring now is critical medical documentation on surgeries, treatments, xrays, MRI's, CT's,Labs, personal updates and Drs reports are not being inputted into the Veteran's electronic healthcare system. My husband just passed away from Agt. Orange in Dec and I'm finding that surgery he had in 2009 was not in his record in 2012 nor were the reports from the 3 Nephrologists that he saw. Some VA Clinics/Hosps are 2-3 yrs behind in entering this data. That's unacceptable and criminal in my opinion. How can a Veteran needing help get "excellent VA Healthcare" if their medical records are incomplete?
  7. It is not the Presidents fault and it is not congress's fault. It is OUR fault. We have the opportunity on election day to show up and vote. Yes some of us do and most of us do not. Those of us who do vote continue to vote for those that are now aristocratics and do not care about vets or anyone else. It is time to start voting for the person and not the parties. congressional approval is about 12% yet they have a 90% reelection rate. It is the American citizens fault!!!
  8. Have a claim in now going on for over 6 plus months, still have no answers, VA, say it still could be another 15 months! O-boy hurry up and wait!! What! wait until I"m gone!! BS What else can we do, but wait!! If I had it to do over again, I still would!! I love my country, God Bless all of our troops!!!!!
  9. I'm on my 4th year of waiting even though I have to be in the hospital or on a lot of pain medicine to make it through a day. I hope you get yours sooner than me.My last word was that it takes 8 to 10 months to even look at an appeal. I've almost died twice, still no luck.....
  10. You've implied you have a life threatening condition. As such, you qualify to have your claim advanced on the VA's docket, meaning it goes to the front of the line for processing. Ask about it.
  11. I suffer from Ischemic Heart Disease(Agent Orange Exposure), & very rare male breast cancer w/ radiation therapy all documented by VA approvals.(Camp Lejeune,NC contaminated water exposure) My VA medical & service records have gone from St. Peterburg, FL. VAC to Muskogee, OK. VAC to Louisville, KY. VAC. I have received 4 separate notifications that my claim for COMPENSATION is still pending, and that they apologize for the delay. And I STILL wait!!!
  12. My claim for a service-connected issue after over more than 4 years continues. I have filed numerous notices of disagreement & my claim has been reopened & have received numerous notices of sorry for the delay in your claim process. I have had to secure the services of an attorney recently to help & assist me.
  13. I am thoroughly disgusted with FOX news that little bastard had the gall to blame this on the President. I think the Legion as an organization should not be presenting itself on either FOX news or MSNBC because they are both far to political. Lets not forget it was a Republican President who created all the Veterans that are now in this back log. My point is that no administration can be blamed for this the problem is the VA. It really bothers me to see the head of the Legion, an organization I cherish and serve as a Post Commander, appear on the conservative rights political media machine known as FOX news. I would be equally upset to see him on MSNBC for the same reason but from the other side of the aisle.
  14. Right on Shane. The President should not have been dragged into this interview. Fox just uses it to beat thier right wing drum. Frankly, I don't think the delays have been that onerous for me personally. I submitted a claim in 2012, got into the system and a year later had my first meeting to determine elligibility. I'm happy to step aside if it allows a more serious case to move forward. But then last August I found out I had prostate cancer and that VA claim went through on rails. By October I got tested at the VA facility in Portland Oregon and in December I received my first compensation check. To my mind the system is working great but then I'm not a double amputee who needs help immediately. I support the VA in prioritzing claims to the most impacted.
  15. I applaud this effort to bring things out. He has very valid points and as far as the "President" well, if it were not for all of HIS cutbacks in the VA system it would run a lot smoother all around! The staffing at the VA is a fraction of what it should be to be efficient and as far as a paperless system, he is right on. Millions of pages of worthless paper have to be shuffled, disorganized and reorganized by someone, all bogging down the system. Now for Fox Media; of all the media networks and systems in place today, Fox is the most unbiased of them all. My local newspaper (the Democrat and Chronical) a part of Gannettt Publishing, I personally refuse to read. Talk about bias! I am also and have been a Legion member for years. I am a Vietnam Vet. And yes I have had a claim waiting a long time with numerous letters saying "they are working on it".
  16. I have been in the VA system for sometime and have gone from one Region to another and have found that the various VA regions do not talk with each other, do not transfer your VA records from one region to another.
  17. I requested in June 2013 for Special Caregiver Funds to help with my dying wife. She passed away in September2013. I notified the VA she had passed in October 2013 and in December 2013 my fund was approved. I notified the VA again informing them she had passed and I received a verification letter yesterday stating the issue was closed??????
  18. I filed my claim for PTSD in May,2009. The event occurred during a covert mission in North Vietnam, July, 1960. There is no record of this. The group of 9 personnel. We entered Thailand on civilian visas. The NSA records confirmed these covert missions occurred, but all details are still classified
  19. The last line says it all, trying to put the blame on the President. The Legion needs to stop giving any creditability to Fox News which is nothing more than the Republican party masquerading as network news. The Republicans block the Senate bill to boost veterans' benefits.
  20. It WAS the president who said he would do something about the claims backlog, but in typical Obama fashion, HE LIED. Instead of hiring 16,000 new IRS employees to administer Obamacare, he could have split those between the VA and Obamacare easily until the backlog had been reduced, he has delayed so many aspects of Obamacare that these people are probably sitting on their butts anyway. Fox news is probably the only network that would put the Legion spokesman on.
  21. Get the facts: This from ABC news: Senate GOP Blocks Veterans Benefits Bill By Arlette Saenz Feb 27, 2014 3:31pm Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. The republicans thought the bill was too expensive. Congress has to approve funds NOT THE President.
  22. Don't believe that it was a good bill for veterans Independent Bernie Sanders could care less about us Vets., It was loaded with pork and the main intention was to add more Cat. 8 veterans into the VA health system that its already overwhelm.
  23. Senate Democrats led by Communist Harry Reed block all bills, so it is not the Republicans. Hint, talk to the Pres. He's the head guy!
  24. peripheral neuropathy claim denied said hereadarty. had dna test done for cmt came back negative. was at camp lejeune 1978-1982..just lies and games says wait.. nod filed.. new c&p took 3 1/2 months to get results for that now more waiting. been on s.s. sence 1994 for peripheral neuropathy. the va does not care...................
  25. Keep fighting, they will soon tire out. Seek representation if you haven't done so already whther it's through the legion or legal counsel.
  26. On March 12, 2014 I filed my claim. I started this claim on Sept. 23, 2013. It took time to get my medical records from the ARMY, had doctors reports to obtain. I am Vietnam Vet filing a claim due to Agent Orange. Well wish me luck as I will need it, as I read the other comments.
  27. Get ready to wait! I have been waiting over two years for a decision to be made on an appeal I filed for PTSD and Agent Orange. I was in Vietnam as well. They never seem to have enough medical documentation or. They either never received what you sent (?) or it just isn't enough. Their own doctors are scratching their heads as to why my rating is so low. You will soon learn that dealing with the VA is a very lengthy process. Calling to find out your status is also a waste of time. Above all, don't fall victim by trying to get help from a non-military affiliated organization like Reps for Vets - another waste of time! Good Luck!
  28. Good luck, I got out in June 2012 but since I had less than zero trust in my ship's medical dept, I checked out my medical and dental records before I got out and had them copied, digital and paper. Best $100 I ever spent. I can't imagine how hard it is for you or any vet who served that long ago and still fighting the system. I am in my second claim now because I was turned down for one particular injury. I didn't know how and couldn't prove how it happened. I had a few xrays and a nerve study done and now "back at the plate for another swing". I learned that if everything is submitted in one shot and where it is filed can reduce the time wait. Filing in VA, where at thousands and thousands of vets are stationed or living would have put me at least 1-2 years out before seeing a doctor. Got my job in AZ and filed there, took less than 8 months from start to finish. Research is the key.
  29. I asked for help from a Americans w/disability org. in Mesa az in oct/10, I kept asking for updates until sep 2012, we found out that someone thru all my paperwork in the trash, The VA admin didn't even know which branch of the Military I was in. I was advise by my families to get out of AZ. I talk to many vet's in AZ and it seems that you have to be either a Marine or white to get VA benefits. when I went to the east mesa clinic for medical attention (the white staff members who tried to beat me up (w/my foot in a cast) out side my front door of my apt) so when I tried use their va clinic they showed me power to deny me medical attention by turning off all the computers and saying something was wrong w/them no more appts today, but they screw up because as I was leaving one room to go to another I saw a good looking dr. and she just came out of a room and I saw her computer which was on. race discrimination is great w/in the va and no body wants to do any corrective actions. and VA I.G. is a Joke. its taken 2 1/2 yr so far, how its goa take another 6 to 8 months 4 doc's then submit than 6 to 8 mon 4 denial than one yr 4 decision, which = 28 months to prove my case. the fact is that there is no equal Va benefits for all, u have to be a marine or white to get them!
  30. I was awarded a small percentage for Agent Orange but never filed for it because I was advised that the disability would be deducted from my retirement. Is that the way it is now? Thank you.
  31. VA Disability benefits and military retirement payments are related and are covered under Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) policicies. In the past there was a retired pay offset that decreased to $0 (zero) over ten years, but that has been phased out, and there is no longer and offset of retired pay for disability compensation. See the dfas website for more info on CRDP.
  32. If your disability is less than 50%, they will reduce your retirement by that amount. Once you have 50% or more, they will stop deducting.
  33. Sorry Bob, but you are wrong. Setting here with a disabled retired Marine rated at 30%. His retirement pay is reduced by the identical 30% that he receives in disability payments from the VA.
  34. I beg to differ from your statement. I filed a claim in 2005 for hearing loss while in the Navy. I am retired. After 19 months I was granted 10% because of the ringing in my ears a few months I was granted 20% because of continuing hearing loss so my award went to 20%. So here is my point, yes they do take it out of your retirement check, what that means to me is I am paying for my own disability. If other vets are reading this and you have yet to file. When whom ever represents you and they ask you if you would like to the short way, DO IT I filed for asbestosis on Aug 29 2013 and I did extensive research for six months prior. My claim was granted on Feb. 2014 for 100%. I did not belong to the legion at that time so I used the DAV and they advised me very well. Get help from any of the military organizations.
  35. Many of us pay our own disability out of our retirement. The only advantage is that portion is tax free. Concurrent receipt for all disability is the only correct answer.
  36. Not correct. My 10 percent disability payment is deducted from my retirement check and sent to me in another check
  37. Have a claim in for 7 months. Have tried to get all medical records from national archives but having not much success. I do not want VA to Make a decision without my information in my records. I fear they will attempt to do that.
  38. If you have never used VA then your records are on record at the appropriate military archives. Once you use the VA your active duty medical records are in their system. I have used the VA in east Tx, Az and now Fl and I was able to copy my records from the VA system and all three states were listed with the documentation. Don't forget to get any civilian medical records, letters from former co-workers, etc. Civilian medical records are normally only kept for 7-10 years. Get a copy of your service record book (SRB)from your branch of service to. Any active duty person reading this should make sure everything is listed in their records and get a copy of your medical/SRB before being discharged.
  39. Your medical records are located in your home state of record or whatever state you currently live. Check with your local and regional VA hospital facilities in your state. If you still get the run around, then call up or visit your Congressmen's or Senator's offices and let them know that you need your records. I did it and it took 6 weeks for me to receive my records. Good Luck!!!
  40. Your medical records are located in your home state of record or whatever state you currently live. Check with your local and regional VA hospital facilities in your state. If you still get the run around, then call up or visit your Congressmen's or Senator's offices and let them know that you need your records. I did it and it took 6 weeks for me to receive my records. Good Luck!!!
  42. I'm a WWII wounded Vet whose medical records were burned in July 1973 in The National Personnel Record Storage Warehouse fire located St Louis Mo. I requested help from my congressman and President Obama. They referred my request to the Department Of The Army and they told me to get my records from St Louis. I had previously sent a letter to the Department Of The Army informing them that the records had been burned. I wrote another letter about a year ago to my Congressman and President Obama asking them to issue a policy change, regarding the burned records, to accept the Vet's account of their wounds. To date there has been no response. The three VA hospitals were I received medical treatment had sent my records to St Louis. Two reasons the VA Administration can't get our claims processed is they have over 3000,000 employees that get in each others way and they are bogged down by archaic rules and policies.
  43. it is a lot cheaper to lret us die and pay a bereaved widow a piddling widows benefit
  44. William, you hit the nail on the head. cheaper to let us die out, many of us could not sustain long term relationship; no bereavement at all. Korean and Viet Nam vets, with all the napalm, agent orange and who knows what else they assailed us with will be gone sooner. The VA medical system is in chaos, so we are not likely to get top quality care there.
  45. I applied for an increased disability rating in Sept. 2013 because of worsening health and the ability to get around and I have heard nothing as of 13 March 2014. Why?
  46. Your best bet is to contact your county Veterans Service Officer (VSO). They can check on your claim. My last request for an increase took 17 months and was denied. I submitted additional evidence and I've been waiting 6 months for them to reconsider it. Good luck.
  47. I am working closely with my local service officer and it has not helped me . He has his own claim that has been pending for 11 months.
  48. The Veteran who has a claim with the VA. should get an update every Month as to how and where the claim is in the process.
  49. Excuse me, get an update every month, what have you been smoking? From who, saying what. I have been waiting for a new evaluation, with all the paperwork submitted, t's crossed. I's dotted etc. since June 2012. NOT ONE WORD FROM ANYBODY!! Last year when I asked my AL service officer why the wait, he told me all I can do is wait, he had been doing so for eighteen months at that time himself.
  50. I get a letter every 2 months but all it tells me is that they are still investigating my and my claim is a no brainer.
  51. Sign up for Ebenefits and you can go online and see when they update your claim.
  52. But only if VA has the time to actually update the status. My status has been idle since 12-27-2010 until 05-01-2013 when they changed it to a provisional rating! There is no status when you go PROVISIONAL. My VSO has tried twice to reopen the claim, but VA does nothing and then closes it due to being IDLE! Yes, you can depend on VA to update eBenefits just like mine - and they tell your Congressman the very status in eBenefits! I'm tied of the no eBenefits, no progressing my claim, and no telling Congress about the more than 500,000 claims in a provisional status (per the Wounded Warrior Project)!
  53. Your statement, that you are fighting the system, is the problem. One has to be the best advocate for their claim. Fully develop the claim according to what the VA requires. Check not only the VA regulations but the Federal Law. The final say on any claim is not the VA, not even the BVA, it if the court of appeals for Veteran's claims. You can easily view, online, all the cases the court has decided. By doing this, you can see what evidence is needed for the court to rule in your favor if the VA decision is not satisfactory. Work hard on your case, and if the evidence justifies a service connected rating, you will get it. Be prepared to wait some time. My initial claim was in 1983 and final decision in 1991. Takes time.
  54. Like I said, many of us will be DEAD before our claims reach the light of day. I am not sure I should say this in open forum, however; maybe we should march on congress/ VA, turn them upside down and shake our money out of their pockets. Do you feel me!!!
  55. I am a Vietnam vet. I have CLL . I have filed a claim eight months ago . CLL is on the agent orange registery . A no brainer . Why can't I get my claim settled?
  56. The DoD sharing medical records with the VA is extremly important and should happen, but the VA also needs connectivity with other agencies that provide neccessary information for claims, such as; service records that have been archived on service members that retired, seperated, or died many years ago and were in earlier wars (WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, etc.). The new tools are great for the most recent veterans, but not so helpful for the older veterans. It took nearly 3 years to settle one of my claims because the VA had to "Validate" my claim that they had to get from the archives (which took over a year), although I sent proof of combat events. This was a real goat rope!!
  57. I submitted my claim for PTSD and other agent orange related medical issues from Vietnam (served Oct 1967 thru Dec 25, 1969) and have aschemic heart problems from Vietnam. Claim was settled in 2012 100% disability and I went through Los Angeles VA. Many phone calls, e-mails and Dr. visits but it is complete.
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