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Legion's appeals unit making a difference

Legion's appeals unit making a difference

When a veteran or other claimant represented by The American Legion before the Department of Veterans Affairs at the local (state) level decides to appeal the denial of a claim for VA benefits, The American Legion will continue to represent the claimant through the entire appeals process, even if the claim is appealed all the way to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) in Washington, D.C.

The American Legion's Appeals and Special Claims Unit, located at the BVA, was successful in more than half of the 4,000 appeals the 14-member professional appellate staff represented before the BVA in the first six months of fiscal 2010. More than 68 percent of the appeals submitted to the BVA by The American Legion were either completely allowed or were sent back (remanded) to the local VA regional office or appeals management center to correct a deficiency or to properly develop the appeal.

The American Legion's representation at the BVA consists of either reviewing the claimant's claims file and submitting a written argument on the claimant's behalf or representing the claimant at a personal hearing before a veterans law judge in Washington.

 

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Ricardo Comfort

March 27, 2015 - 2:23pm

The American Legion failed me at my BVA hearing. It appears as though my representative was not familiar with BVA appeals. My appeal was based on ineffective assistance from the Veterans Administration, and from my service representatives. When I initially reported for my Board hearing in July 2014 I did not have a service agency representing me. When I checked in for my hearing the employee at the desk approached me at least three times suggesting that I not go before the judge without a service representative as I was not familiar with court protocol. Based on my previous negative experiences with service representatives I was reluctant to have the American Legion assist me. However I eventually agreed with the intake persons’ recommendation and asked for a representative. I actually thought they were really going to help me this time. I met with the American Legion representative, Mr. Cutler, prior to my hearing. He asked me how did I receive the denial of my appeal, and I told him I got it in the mail. He asked what I did after I got it and I stated, “I filled it out and mailed it to the RO in Roanoke Virginia. I always fill out the forms and mail them to my RO as soon as I get them because I want to have an opportunity to present my case to a judge.” As a representative of the American Legion Mr. Cutler should be familiar with procedure, yet at no time did he inform me that denial letters from the Board do not come with a form to be filled out. Had Mr. Cutler informed me that the Board’s denial letter does not come with a form to fill out, we could have explored the probability that my response was based on other correspondence that I had received from the VA. That being said, I had not received the denial letter from the Board. If Mr. Cutler deliberately withheld information, not sharing that information with me demonstrates failure in his duty to assist appropriately. I told Mr. Cutler that I always fill out the forms and immediately mail them to my RO. In spite of my telling him that, he failed to inform me that the Board denial does not come with an appeal form to be mailed in. I would like to direct your attention to page 8 of the Board’s denial letter received date stamped “AUG 18, 2015” today’s date is March 20, 2015. (This is yet another example of the errors and ineptitude I have tolerated.) Page 8 of the Board’s denial states, “Although the cover letter to this decision is not of record, the Veteran expressly acknowledged having received a copy of the Boards decision in the mail during the July 2014 hearing.” It also states, "Although the copy sent to his representative was initially returned undeliverable, it was resent to the Washington, DC RO location in October 2014." These two statements on page 8 confirm that I never received the Boards decision. When Mr. Cutler asked how I received my decision from the Board, I offered my usual response “in the mail” because that was how I received all of my VA correspondence.

Ricardo Comfort

March 27, 2015 - 2:27pm

Didn't intend to post this twice.

Ricardo Comfort

March 27, 2015 - 1:20pm

The American Legion failed me at my BVA hearing. It appears as though my representative was not familiar with BVA appeals. My appeal was based on ineffective assistance from the Veterans Administration, and from my service representatives. When I initially reported for my Board hearing in July 2014 I did not have a service agency representing me. When I checked in for my hearing the employee at the desk approached me at least three times suggesting that I not go before the judge without a service representative as I was not familiar with court protocol. Based on my previous negative experiences with service representatives I was reluctant to have the American Legion assist me. However I eventually agreed with the intake persons’ recommendation and asked for a representative. I actually thought they were really going to help me this time. I met with the American Legion representative, Mr. Cutler, prior to my hearing. He asked me how did I receive the denial of my appeal, and I told him I got it in the mail. He asked what I did after I got it and I stated, “I filled it out and mailed it to the RO in Roanoke Virginia. I always fill out the forms and mail them to my RO as soon as I get them because I want to have an opportunity to present my case to a judge.” As a representative of the American Legion Mr. Cutler should be familiar with procedure, yet at no time did he inform me that denial letters from the Board do not come with a form to be filled out. Had Mr. Cutler informed me that the Board’s denial letter does not come with a form to fill out, we could have explored the probability that my response was based on other correspondence that I had received from the VA. That being said, I had not received the denial letter from the Board. If Mr. Cutler deliberately withheld information, not sharing that information with me demonstrates failure in his duty to assist appropriately. I told Mr. Cutler that I always fill out the forms and immediately mail them to my RO. In spite of my telling him that, he failed to inform me that the Board denial does not come with an appeal form to be mailed in. I would like to direct your attention to page 8 of the Board’s denial letter received date stamped “AUG 18, 2015” today’s date is March 20, 2015. (This is yet another example of the errors and ineptitude I have tolerated.) Page 8 of the Board’s denial states, “Although the cover letter to this decision is not of record, the Veteran expressly acknowledged having received a copy of the Boards decision in the mail during the July 2014 hearing.” It also states, "Although the copy sent to his representative was initially returned undeliverable, it was resent to the Washington, DC RO location in October 2014." These two statements on page 8 confirm that I never received the Boards decision. When Mr. Cutler asked how I received my decision from the Board, I offered my usual response “in the mail” because that was how I received all of my VA correspondence.

Travis Miller

April 22, 2014 - 2:46pm

Hello, First, thanks for your help with my first claim and appeal. Now, the issue is; it's been two years since my file was remand and sent back to Atlanta Regional with no follow up. Any help would be appreciated.

Dale Dollar

December 9, 2013 - 11:01am

I have a claim that was filed in 2005. I have an American Legion representative who does nothing because he says he is overloaded with new claims. Therefore my claim is lost in the files. I have not been able to get any answers from him. I am coming to you for answers

loaded9

April 8, 2010 - 8:40am

IVE DISCOVERED THAT THIS IS A SELECTIVE PROCESS,THOUGH I JOINED THE LEGION FOR THIS REASON,I FOUND THE LEGION HASNT HELD UP ITS END OF THE DEAL...AND I PAID UP FOR LIFE WHY?

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