VA claims: A question of accuracy?

VA claims: A question of accuracy?

Allison Hickey, under secretary of benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), answered many questions put to her by senators at a Dec. 11 congressional hearing about progress being made in the department’s benefits claims system.

Recently, The American Legion challenged VA’s statistics for claims processing accuracy at its regional offices (VAROs), which stands at about 90 percent. The Legion testified to Congress on Dec. 4 that its own research indicated accuracy rates for claims processing at many VAROs were substantially lower.

For example, out of 75 claims files reviewed last March by the Legion at the Baltimore VARO, 48 of them were found to have errors or were improperly developed – an accuracy rate of only 36 percent. At the Oakland, Calif., VARO, 26 of 36 claims examined in May had similar problems – an accuracy rate of 27.8 percent.

Hickey, testifying before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, was asked by its chairman, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., if she was confident that VA could still meet its 2015 goal of processing benefits claims in less than 125 days with 98 percent accuracy. Barring any budgetary or funding problems – including full funding of the department’s fiscal 2014 information technology budget, the under secretary said that VA is “on track” to achieve that goal.

Hickey came under fire from Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., over VA’s data showing 90-percent accuracy in claims processing. He noted the discrepancy between VA and American Legion accuracy numbers.

Burr referred to last week’s testimony by The American Legion, which noted that claims accuracy percentages posted online in VA’s Monday Morning Workload Report did not reflect the Legion’s data, based on its recent examination of claims files at several VAROs nationwide. Of 260 cases examined, 55 percent had errors or were improperly developed, according to the Legion’s review.

“Are they wrong?” Burr asked Hickey.

“It’s an apples-and-orange(s) discussion, if I may have a moment to clarify that,” Hickey said. “First of all, let me just state for the record ... we will not trade production for quality ... but there is a very different way the (VA Office of Inspector General) and others are looking at issues than the way we do ....”

Before she could finish, Burr interrupted her. “Let me ask my question again. Are they wrong?”

“They are right for the way they look at it, we are right for the way we measure it, which is statistically valid,” Hickey said.

“I asked a very simple question,” Burr responded. “Are they wrong? And I guess the answer is yes, because you’re saying your statistics are different than what their review has been.”

“They have a different process, senator,” Hickey said.

Sanders  asked Hickey about how well VA was performing in Vermont. She told him the VARO in White River Junction has reduced its claims inventory by 25 percent and reduced its claims backlog by 34 percent. “The days that your veterans are waiting ... for their decisions, they’ve reduced it by 127 days,” she said.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., told Hickey that “we really do appreciate (VA’s) efforts. This is a difficult situation. I know you’re working really hard.” He visited the VARO in Little Rock, Ark., last week “and they have a good story to tell. They’re working very, very hard. They mentioned the partnerships with the (veterans service organizations), the great job that they were doing ... and also our county veterans service officers.”

More in Veterans Benefits Center

 

Jerry Young

December 16, 2013 - 5:18pm

Michael Holdcraft/ It has been brought to my attention that all our records were burnt up in a fire in Saint Louis. All I have is a dd214. Can't prove where I have been. We convoyed up and down Nam, and never in Cambodia(da). The only proof I was there is some pictures and the dd214.

Jean Perkins

March 4, 2014 - 3:59pm

Jerry, I am a service officer with the American Legion in Washington State. Your pictures and your DD214 should be enough depending on what you are claiming and what branch of service you served. All is not lost. There is the issues we must face if you were an Army Vet verses Navy Vet and someone qualified can help you but don't give up. Find a qualified Service Officer that will guide you in the claims process and tell you wether you have a valid claim or not.

Dave Davis

February 12, 2014 - 6:41am

The DOD and the VA are in bed together. They are as crooked and deceiving as Hitler was to the German people. This is what our Government has come too.

edward Boone

April 16, 2014 - 3:22pm

you are so right , the DOD ran my periods of service together, in order to give me a misconduct discharge.I have never seen where bad tops good.

Shoultz

January 17, 2014 - 7:25pm

Was the St.louis 1973 fire accidental? Some think it was arson in order to deny thousands of WWII vets thier legal right for legitimate compensation claims. I agree!!!!

Boone

April 16, 2014 - 3:25pm

I agree, the proof is too many homeless veterans.

yenose

December 16, 2013 - 2:11pm

I had a preexisting scoliosis of the spine, and I was still approved for entry. However, I would not trade my service in the Marine Corps,now , I've been trying to get disability since 1971, I am not giving up.....

David Pilgrim

December 15, 2013 - 10:49pm

After reading all of the information here I am not optimistic about my claim. I fractured two vertebrate in a parachute jump in 1975 and 5 years later, was terminated from jump status due to a deterioration of the lower spine. I have been getting spinal and hip adjustments for the last 30 plus years from chiropractors and did not file a claim when I got out of the Army as I should have. I considered it like taking welfare or something since I could walk and work. I just thought the pain I had to endure was just part of being a proud veteran. As the years have gone by, I have gotten to the point where I throw my back out by doing something as simple as lacing my tennis shoes or turning wrong. I applied for medical coverage through DAV because I was denied medical coverage through VA due to the fact my wife's and my incomes are above the poverty level. I called the local claims center this week and I am very confused after the call. I was told they are merging two systems, paper and paperless. For the Vietnam era vets, it is taking longer to process claims due to this merger of information. That being said, I could not find out where my claim is in the process, what a normal expected time frame is for processing a claim and when or how I would find out about my claim. I can call back in 30 to 45 days and if the person on the other end of the line shows nothing in the system, they can at that point start an inquiry and maybe find out something. He kept looking for information in the "system" and did find where my medical records were received from VA and where they did receive my doctor's statements that I sent. After spending time on the phone and getting no answers, the salt in the wound, so to speak, was when the person on the phone thanked me for my service! It seems that honor and dedication to duty are missing from the VA. Maybe that is due to a President who is not a veteran. Maybe it is because honor, duty and God are being ripped from our society at an alarming rate and our country just doesn't care any more. I am going to accept that I have along road ahead of me, not that I have any choice, and I am proud of my service and hope my claim will not be like so many I have read about here. Lost comment to Gus: a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

Jean Perkins

March 4, 2014 - 4:35pm

Gus, I am a Service Officer with the Department of Washington American Legion. I read your post and I'd like to just apologize on behalf of the VA. I don't work for them but I felt a need to apologize on their behalf. When I first started doing claims in 2006 the process time for regular claims was about 9 months to 12 months at the most. Once they started the drawdown in Iraq, they were flooded with claims from soldiers getting off active duty. They began revamping their claims process to try and make it a speedy transition for them that once they got out they had a rating. Then on top of the VA being flooded with new claims, which overwhelmed their system, a law was passed for our Vietnam Veterans that they allowed 3 more disabilities to be recognized, which had been previously denied, they are now recognized now as disabilities that are a direct result of exposure to agent orange. So now with that new law in place recognizing the new disabilites, all Regional Offices, around the country, were told to reopen claims of veterans who had filed for the particular disabilities and were denied, they must reprocess them again. That was thousands upon thousands of claims reopened as well as the ones they were currently working. This is what has led to your backlog and VA now taking 15 months to 18 months for processing claims. Your POA should be on top of this without you having to call and check on the status of your claim. I am sorry but it will not be processed as timely as you would like. Hopefully I have been helpful in helping you understand the VA process. You can always call me if you'd like for counseling you through this process 253-363-6916

Pamela A

December 15, 2013 - 3:50am

I have incurable cancer due to improper chemical exposure in the military. It's been well over a year since my initial claim and all I get is a form letter every three months. They genuinely hope I die before having to deal with my obvious service connected disability. VA has not improved - it is worse than ever before and continuing to decline with every form letter. At least my pets get good care at the Vet.

LT Brown

December 16, 2013 - 12:40pm

I agree Pamela. every time I go into the VA most of the people there are talking on their person cell phone on Non-VA business for very long periods of time. I put my claim in nearly four years ago for for proveable items including the Agent Orange exposure under the law with copies of my orders supplied. Since the group I was in was a secret group and we were in places where we used local doctors with cash payment because there were no military doctors, the care was not in my highly blackout medical records. One item which was not outside the system was granted at only 10% and the rest were not pursued. They just dropped the package and hope I die before they have to really pay out. Then there are the not vets on welfare and druggies getting all kinds of medical payments and benefits immediately and I cannot get what I was promised and earned. a typical of the VA to have non-Vet running the show and the administrative workers are not vets but come from the welfare to work realm and have an interested in perpetuating the welfare state entitlement rather than doing their jobs to get the Vets what they are entitled to. It is time to sue the VA for a few billion and see where we can get an organization that will do their job and get off the person cell phones.

Keith S

December 14, 2013 - 10:39pm

I've tried for years to increase my disability a small percent but would-be better off jumping in the ring of fire. At least I will get something out of it, I been trying since 1967!.

KarenH

December 14, 2013 - 6:57pm

I do not believe one word the VA says. My husband was given 20% after a 20 year career with the AF. (1994) In March of 2008, he filed an application to increase that percentage (after many medical problems). He has been in a paper "fight" ever since. They constantly request information that was previously sent to them 10 times over!! Last December, he finally hired attorneys to handle the battle. The latest event.... The judge that conducted his hearing two years ago no longer works for the VA so they have to schedule another interview. They will drag it out and wait for the Vet to die.

Joseph Petrie

December 14, 2013 - 3:52pm

I have been waiting for a decision from the VA and have been in multiple processes since 2007. The VA lost my initial claim filed back in 2005.

Rob K.

December 14, 2013 - 4:28pm

Welcome to the club.... I filed in 1998 and at the time accepted responsibility for sciatic nerve damage and my back that I broke three times while serving. Just recently, I looked at everything, asked for a change in disability percentage due to increased medication prescribed, and they turned around and said I no longer had a broken back, but arthritis. I had also asked why I had not received payment for the secondary issue of the nerve damage and they never responded to the issue. This pissed me off more than anything, so I went to my State senator asking them for some help in getting proper response. I have been advised now that I am looking at 18-24 months for total review, when I gave them al the backup paperwork showing that they said I had the sciatic damage and broken back, along with copies of their own records showing a continual increase in medication. I have been told the sciatic damage might get accepted for a percentage, but most likely they will not back pay me from 1998 when they first accepted liability. In the end, I feel the VA is more a joke on those of us that served than a true answer for us.

Bill Millholen. USMC

December 14, 2013 - 3:14pm

Served 18 mo tour Okinawa and TAD to nam several times. VA Gave me DBS Surgery this year for Parkinson's but denies my claim by stalling. Have got three letters stating they are working on it, no results. DOD has lost my previous claims. I am declared AO Not service connected. HUH? How am I AO Positive but non compensatory, they admit cause and effect but take no responsibility. I tell you again. Get your med records, IN WRITING. DOD WILL TRY TO DENY. UNTIL YOU DIE. I was discharged 43 years ago and am still fighting the VietNam conflict. Semper Fidelis, I volunteered. Now I wonder why.

Reginald

December 14, 2013 - 1:39pm

Hickey said. “First of all, let me just state for the record ... we will not trade production for quality ... Ask any VARO employee across the country and their Directors and see if they agree with that statement. I guarantee you that they will not simply because all VAROs are on a quota system and numbers is the name of the game or people will be held accountable if they are not met. Same with the Board of Veterans Appeals. Have the Senators ask both and they will have to answer that they are on quota which by definition would rush claims adjudications and appeals. They are forcing VARO employees to work overtime yet errors are increasing. Apples and Oranges for sure! One can just hear the forced political answer in that one!

steven minnick

December 14, 2013 - 1:32pm

I have been working on my claim since 5-2009. I have been denied 2 times, each time stating they have no record of me being diagnosed with PTSD. My records do show I have been under therapy treatment for 3 yrs. Then they stated there was no verification that the assignment I was on existed. I was on a volunteer mission in Thailand as a civilan. /the mission was an remains ultra Top Secret according to NSA.

Bob Duke

April 7, 2014 - 10:36am

Steven Minnick I know your pain with the VA on AO claims, the best and only way to beat them at their game is to hire a Civilian Pyschiatrist to provide you a rating of PTSD. Don't know where you live but there is a really good one in Tyler Texas. His name is Dr. William Rogers (903-565-6616)he's a former Navy Doctor and fully understands the VA maze. If your not in Texas find a former Veteran Pyschiatrist in your area. What also helps with the VA on PTSD claims is a very detailed "Stessor Letter" with names, dates, places and pictures if you've got em. The letter must include verifications of combat, deaths of unit members, and letters from others you served with. Mine was 12 pages, single spaced long. Hope this helps, Bob Duke 67'-68' Vietnam Tet Vet US Army Medic

Tyler LaCombe

December 14, 2013 - 10:59am

As a Gulf War Veteran, I have been fighting for my benefits for YEARS! They gave me a small percent and then took it away from me. How can they do that? I live every day in pain and agony. I fought for my country and feel let down by the US Gov't.

Earl W

December 14, 2013 - 2:20am

I am not so sure the President cares about a vet.I wrote him twice email. My reply was asking for money for his campaign. The Thailand vets are screwed. A lot of us slept on the perimeter of the Udorn AB. Google Agent Orange Udorn Thailand.This country will find a way to cheat the vet. I did learn only certain occupations could be affected by agent orange? I love my country-but I tell young people be careful you get hurt they will find a way to cheat out of whatever can. The people that have budget oversight in congress have never served in the military. They will vote for war and send their children somewhere else and vote to take benefits from us.

leonjr

December 14, 2013 - 1:21pm

I feel the pain of the statement that “The Thailand vets are screwed”. And you’re right that many of us did sleep on the perimeter of the Udorn AB. I was one. I was a ground support equipment (AGE) technician. We worked on the flight line on the perimeter 24 hours a day. But after our government has denied for over 35 years the fact that Agent Orange and other herbicides were used in Thailand, what would you expect. And after being diagnosed with (CLL) Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia over 25 years ago and still alive to make a claim, it’s no wonder we are being denied. I’m in the process of appealing my claim and do not plan to give up because I’ve paid the price. Voice you disappointment but don’t give up the fight.

Francis Moran

December 13, 2013 - 11:24pm

I don't care which party has the White House or the Senate or the House. As a drafted veteran and an American who paid his share in taxes over his earning career, it is my conviction that the entire VA should be fully funded and fully staffed at the highest level. Not one single solitary penny of American taxpayer money should be spent on an immigrant, legal or otherwise, or any other politically charged program until veterans are taken care of completely. This has been the tradition of America since George Washington fought for compensation for those veterans who served with him. It was the express wish of Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. If America cannot keep its promise to those who wore her uniform and signed a blank check up to and including their life to protect her, her promises to seniors and others are empty. And this is a national security issue as well. If our nation expects to attract the best and brightest to military service and to write that blank check today, we should understand that those intelligent young men and women are keeping a keen eye on how our nation treats those who have already served especially in conflict. Otherwise our all-volunteer military will be in very serious trouble. And vets ought not allow themselves to be treated as political pawns by any party. This is not a partisan issue. It's an American issue. We ought not to be a kind of patriotic bunting dragged out to decorate national holidays, especially Veterans Day. As the old songs says, "Don't tell me you love me. SHOW ME."

Fastestinthewest

December 29, 2013 - 6:10pm

Right on F. M. I am a disabled Republic of Vietnam drafted combat veteran. It's like the Vietnam body count, the whole system is in shambles and the numbers are being shaded.

lwbiker1

December 14, 2013 - 11:24am

I hope this is the Fran I know. If you are, PLEASE have John get in touch with me. I think of him almost every day. Thanks, Ron

samuel prate

December 14, 2013 - 8:37am

I agree 100% with what you guys are saying, I'm retired SSG US ARMY, Veteran ,I served 8yrs active duty and did three tours in Iraq yes weall should get more respect and treated much better including those that went before us.

Musgrove, Ted G

December 14, 2013 - 1:19am

I agree with you in this subject. And, thank you for speaking your heart, not just the mind. I just wish that we would remove different party's and get back to being Americans, first. And, remove anyone that strive to overstep their own rights, as in judges that aren't hired to make laws, but to judge people that break the laws that Congress and others vote in. I've a claim against the military and have been fighting for it for over 10 years plus. We as soldiers, will keep fighting, since this is what we were trained to do. And, not all disabilities are seen on the outside of a soldier. Once your a soldier, your always a soldier. Thanks again for such a good letter.

Francis Moran

December 13, 2013 - 11:28pm

For credentials purposes to my statement, I am a 70% disabled Vietnam Army Vet combat medic currently appealing a decision due to a faulty comp exam

Anglico Zed

December 13, 2013 - 9:37pm

My experience has been one to a vindictive group from the Kansas Regional Office. I was shot three times in combat operations for my Country. At this point, I am willing to go all the way to make a much needed statement and bring attention to our paper fight with the VA. Paper fighting is something we they did not teach us. But they did teach us how to fight in other ways. A good demonstration might get veterans more attention. I just don't care anymore. I hope my actions will help all you veterans that are struggling like me. They just do not understand.

Shoultz

January 17, 2014 - 7:33pm

The Veteran's affairs office is a big joke. Granted they are under to great awork load. If every one of those miscreants had to serve a few days or wekks,prefferably years in a combat zone they just might be more understanding. WWII COMBAT VET tired of all this jerrymandering.

Musgrove, Ted G

December 14, 2013 - 1:27am

Dear Soldier, We have to keep up the fight. I'm working with a former Jag officer, but the paperwork is still taking too long, and they aren't following the rules of upper courts either. In your case, have you written to your Senators and Congressman? Have you contacted your American Legion service officer about your benefits? Keep the faith, and when the time is right, we pray the money will come through. Between you and me, we could run the board better, I think sometimes. In my case, I don't have enough evidence, but my lawyer is finding former soldiers that are vouching for me and what happened to me. We will see, what happens, I guess.

SGM Anonymous

December 13, 2013 - 9:30pm

My claims have all been filed with the Baltimore VARO, and it is terrible! My first claims for a number of symptoms connected with Gulf War Illness - all on the list of presumptive illnesses, was completely denied, along with two additional claims for DJD in both knees (documented in my service records in 1982, and supported with letters stating my knees were in excellent condition in 1975-1978 and with a P3 profile in both knees for DJD in 1993) and a back injury documented by a 3-week hospitalization in 1978 and a 1-week VA hospitalization following that for muscle testing. It's now been waiting for DRO review for over 3 years, and at the VARO for over 5 1/2 years. My 2nd claim, for additional GWI symptoms, had a VA person call me demanding I sign some medical release forms THAT DAY or he would just throw my claim away. I signed the forms and faxed them back to him that day. One year later, almost to the day, the doctors I signed the release forms for received them from the VA. It took them ONE YEAR to send those forms out that I had to sign and return to him in ONE DAY! Then the claim sat there for three years total with no other action. In the big push to clear up all claims over two years old, the VA called me and wanted me to sign a waiver to the 30 days I had to submit additional evidence, the day after I got the letter telling me I had 30 days to submit additional evidence. I told them I'd just received the letter and needed to gather all the evidence from the last 3 years, and I knew I had more evidence, like the fact the OPM had retired me from my government job on a disability because of my GWI. This call was on a Friday. I got three more calls on the weekend from VA supervisors urging me to hurry. On Monday I sent the extra 12 pages of evidence to my DAV rep at the Baltimore VARO, who took it up to the claims processors that afternoon. On Wednesday, I received the letter denying everything in the claim, without any mention of Gulf War Illness, of my disability retirement, mixing my old claim information with the new claim information, and just a totally incomprehensible mess of a response. They hadn't even read my original claim, let alone my additional evidence, and had decided all this in one day - Tuesday, and gotten the letter out on Tuesday's mail truck for me to get the letter by Wednesday. The whole process is apparently a joke to the Baltimore VARO. They don't care what you claim, how you claim it, what your situation is, or anything about your circumstances. They'll just hold your claim until you bother them enough, or somebody puts enough pressure on them, then they'll just deny everything, have someone who can't read type up a letter to send back to you telling you they are denying everything, then see if you are going to bother to appeal. They'll let any appeal sit in the DRO queue as long as they can before sending it to the BVA, then let it come back from the BVA and go right back into the same hurry up and wait cycle. Their error rate is atrocious and their caring rate is even lower than that. They should be ashamed - but they aren't.

SGM Anonymous

December 13, 2013 - 9:30pm

My claims have all been filed with the Baltimore VARO, and it is terrible! My first claims for a number of symptoms connected with Gulf War Illness - all on the list of presumptive illnesses, was completely denied, along with two additional claims for DJD in both knees (documented in my service records in 1982, and supported with letters stating my knees were in excellent condition in 1975-1978 and with a P3 profile in both knees for DJD in 1993) and a back injury documented by a 3-week hospitalization in 1978 and a 1-week VA hospitalization following that for muscle testing. It's now been waiting for DRO review for over 3 years, and at the VARO for over 5 1/2 years. My 2nd claim, for additional GWI symptoms, had a VA person call me demanding I sign some medical release forms THAT DAY or he would just throw my claim away. I signed the forms and faxed them back to him that day. One year later, almost to the day, the doctors I signed the release forms for received them from the VA. It took them ONE YEAR to send those forms out that I had to sign and return to him in ONE DAY! Then the claim sat there for three years total with no other action. In the big push to clear up all claims over two years old, the VA called me and wanted me to sign a waiver to the 30 days I had to submit additional evidence, the day after I got the letter telling me I had 30 days to submit additional evidence. I told them I'd just received the letter and needed to gather all the evidence from the last 3 years, and I knew I had more evidence, like the fact the OPM had retired me from my government job on a disability because of my GWI. This call was on a Friday. I got three more calls on the weekend from VA supervisors urging me to hurry. On Monday I sent the extra 12 pages of evidence to my DAV rep at the Baltimore VARO, who took it up to the claims processors that afternoon. On Wednesday, I received the letter denying everything in the claim, without any mention of Gulf War Illness, of my disability retirement, mixing my old claim information with the new claim information, and just a totally incomprehensible mess of a response. They hadn't even read my original claim, let alone my additional evidence, and had decided all this in one day - Tuesday, and gotten the letter out on Tuesday's mail truck for me to get the letter by Wednesday. The whole process is apparently a joke to the Baltimore VARO. They don't care what you claim, how you claim it, what your situation is, or anything about your circumstances. They'll just hold your claim until you bother them enough, or somebody puts enough pressure on them, then they'll just deny everything, have someone who can't read type up a letter to send back to you telling you they are denying everything, then see if you are going to bother to appeal. They'll let any appeal sit in the DRO queue as long as they can before sending it to the BVA, then let it come back from the BVA and go right back into the same hurry up and wait cycle. Their error rate is atrocious and their caring rate is even lower than that. They should be ashamed - but they aren't.

SFC Ret. Army (TAZMAN)

December 13, 2013 - 10:59pm

I feel for you and all the other vets that have to wait for ever for their disability claims finalized. I started my fight in Jan. 1993, that I received 40%. I will admit as of Jan 2011 I finally got my 100%. This was not easy, I had a QTC in June 2010 that the Psychologist determined my whole problem was fictious and I was denied by a physician who saw me for 30 minutes, they didn't even look to see that I was under the care of 2 Psychologists (1 at the Savannah VA), and Psychiatrist for over 5 years with all my issues. My wife looked up the quacks information under American Medical Board to find that he had been fined for forging his medical training. I went out of my mind and informed the VA of this finding by my wife and immediately they reset my QTC with someone that gave a shit. The quack said that I was a dirty biker with no respect to coming to an appointment (I had on my colors) I did have a shower. Now I received what I had coming. Only 8 years later. God bless all you vets that are getting shafted the VA individuals responsible for all this will have Carma!!!!!!!

Musgrove, Ted G

December 14, 2013 - 1:38am

If a biker has on his colors, He should be honored, not treated like trash. You have a great wife that needs a rose for effort on her part. Just, wish other people gave more respect to Veterans that have disabilities that can't be seen all the time. As in both our cases, and not able to get the evidence we really need to find. Mostly, because, we don't have the income to do this also. Great Job on your part. Maybe, you could sue the former quack for slander, ya think?

joseph c savaglio

December 13, 2013 - 8:42pm

how can the American Legion help me on my va clam file number 24-727-891 please contact me thourgh

larry burker

December 13, 2013 - 8:28pm

I have been dealing with the Regional office in Baltimore, Md. I have a claim that is over four years old. The local VA rep. that help me fill out my claim don't seem to The VA stuck my 10% increase in my benefits on with my claim. Low and behold in Oct. I got a call from the regional office asking me if I would agree to waive the 12 months to add more info to my claim so they could settle if quickly. I agreed with this figuring that I would get at least the 10%increase I had coming to me. Well I got an answer within two weeks. A total denial on all issues on my claim including the increase for going on insulin. They worded the denial as if they didn't know anything about me being on insulin. I had to file a notice of disagreement and now I am waiting on them to answer that.

Steve in Kansas

December 13, 2013 - 8:06pm

I am grateful for the care that I have received from the VA. I can honestly say that my therapist has saved my life, thank you Cassindra Robl. However, the disability claims process was a total nightmare. I filed my initial claim, and was only rated at 30%. Everyone involved in my care and treatment said that was too low ant that I should appeal. I did. Upon appeal, I was lucky to get a fellow Legion member as my Review Officer. My wife and I sat down with him and provided him with my treatment records. Thankfully he sat and listened to how my life had changed after my diagnosis of PTSD and Depression. He said that 30% was an insult. He granted me 70% and unemployablity. I am still struggling since my diagnosis. I am more aware of how my PTSD has effected me, and I can honestly say that I will never be able to work again. My claim and appeal took 2 years, which from what I've heard is quite fast. The bad side is that I was out of work during that entire time, and my bills piled up enough that I almost had to file for bankruptcy.

Edward Chew

December 13, 2013 - 7:38pm

I want to compliment the VA in San Diego for their professionalism and speed in processing a properly submitted claim. The County of San Diego provides counselors for the Vets that help. I started at the VA Clinic just outside Camp Pendleton, a great group of folks.

jerry Young

December 13, 2013 - 7:30pm

I am being treated for sugar diabetes, prostate, high blood pressure, thyroid, gout, and acid reflux. I was originally told at the va that I had problems from agent orange. After I put in a claim, I was ordered to go to the va for consultation. I was told by the doctor at the va that I was guaranteed benefits. I have received several letters stating that I have not been forgotten, and I appreciate it. I received on letter that even asked if I would like this matter completed in thirty days, which I acknowledged in return. I have not heard from them lately. My dilemma isn't as bad as the other vets, I only applied about a year ago. My hat is off to the va treatment I get at the Battle Creek, Mi. VA. Everyone I have had treatment with have been very kind, courteous, and professional. I just hope that in the near future they can get all taken care of and put all to rest. I just lost my best friend from the army. He was a 100% vet. 65 years old and died of a massive heart attack. God bless all you vets and the people that help vets. Thanks!

Michael Holdcraft

December 13, 2013 - 9:47pm

Jerry, Other Vets, and currently serving Service Members Please remember that the VA can only treat you for infirmities that are directly related to your military service. That needs to be documented, preferably before you leave the military service. We all get a physical prior to leaving the service and that is the time to document any disability, injury or sickness that might effect your health in the future. Preferably documented in your service medical records. If not, then you will need something in writing to document that the infirmity or injury occurred during your active or reserve service. Sometimes that is a service record, performance report, or may even be a decoration you received that comments on your sacrifice (i.e. what earned you the decoration, like a Purple Heart if injured during combat). Agent Orange exposure also has to be shown by something in your service record, like being assigned to a unit that handled the chemicals, or was located in or near where the chemical was deployed. This documentation is 95% of the work to get your claim or disability approved. Have this documentation before you make your claim and you will have no problem with final approval - it will just take time to get to your case. Good Luck and good health to you all and thank you for your service to your country. From a disabled vet who went through this process 12 years ago.

SFC Retired 90%

December 14, 2013 - 11:16pm

That is the way it suppose to be not giveing what they want to deney you on and have all info they need or dont look in your Data file from VA. So you have to go to your VA record section at VA Hospital and get copies of your records that they have axcess I am sorry they have all info that they need But Find Ways To Deney your claim I've Sent Info in 3 to 4 times with DATE Stamp Still get Deneyed so Appeal start over for another 2years your shit do sound GOOD BUT NOT THE WAY THEY WORK FOR US VETS.

Garcia

December 13, 2013 - 7:57pm

I am 100% it took me six years. Do not give up, I am a Vietnam vet, I have all the diseases on your list.

Edward Chew

December 13, 2013 - 7:29pm

Interestingly, I have been helping other Vietnam Vets with their Agent Orange claims and we have had some success AFTER the vet follows the formula. There are points or elements that have to be proven, find out what they are, gather ALL the support for your position and put the claim together. Where an explanation is obviously needed, write it up and include. it. Our guys have found that once they have the data they can get the claim approved.

Edward Chew

December 13, 2013 - 7:32pm

Do a search for USS Fort Marion LSD22

Thomas Palmer

December 13, 2013 - 6:40pm

I filed a claim a few years ago, but I was dined because I think I waited to long ! So I just have to live with my heart of hearing !

Sylvester Phillips

December 13, 2013 - 6:26pm

Indianapolis, In VA has been prosessing my claims since 2005 I would like to just say that is not exceptable, they deny our claims and back log us with paperwork that is the same everytime it comes in the mail. My personnel feeling they just want us to give up fighting for our rights. We really need help here.

Bill Willie

December 13, 2013 - 6:07pm

Got my 40% this year . . . filed in 2005. St Pete - FL.

Rich C

December 13, 2013 - 6:03pm

The work they do here too at the Mpls/St Paul federal bldg. is pretty damn good.Now they have been handed the claims from other states because of there mismanagement.Nice reward for a job well done.

Rich C

December 13, 2013 - 5:52pm

I would like to say that even with the waiting,the Mpls./St Paul DAV office located in the federal bldg. here do outstanding work.They are compassionate and caring and are damn good at there job representing vets

Bob In Texas

December 13, 2013 - 5:26pm

The Houston VARO is about as incompetent as one can get if you ask me. Confidence is so bad in their receipt and processing claim documents that if one doesn't visit the VARO, submit the documents in person, get a copy time stamped in return, your submissions will never hit your file or be processed properly. The reason for this is staff unable or unwilling to do the job they are assigned to do. Most supervisors and senior staff were hired only a few years ago when the VARO's were quiet places to work processing WWII, Korea, and Vietnam claims under they careful watch of veteran employees of the WWII era. Now that has all changed and quotas appear to be the determining factor of who gets hired, who gets promoted, and who runs the VARO show. The result is the VA hasn't hired and promoted the best and brightest in handling the claims adjudication process. And when one catches the VARO's making an error, the VARO circles the wagons and denies problems existed that were their fault.

Jay S. SFC, USA Ret

December 13, 2013 - 4:26pm

I feel it must be mentioned that the VA ROs employ too many folks making decisions of former service members, while never serving a day in the military themselves. They have no empathy for vets and seem to go out of their way to deny claims, at least here in at the Denver RO. My appeals have been ongoing since Jan. 1997 and I keep getting the same old VA form letter that they are still processing my claim. I have severe S/C DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease) in my neck and back among other problems. I met a Senior DRO reviewer with my DAV Rep to discuss my pending claim. The VA RO told me as my condition showed improvement, I will be scheduled for an exam in the future. This was done in a VA letter from this DRO the following month. This is an outrageous statement made by a Senior DRO, a person who oversees junior DRO's. As a former Combat / Dustoff Medic with a large medical base of knowledge, I know, DJD gets progressively worst, hence the name "Degenerative Joint Disease". If this Senior DRO shows such a blatant lack of medical knowledge and incompetence, how can her subordinate DRO's she supervises be expected to make sound decisions on vets claims? The VA should terminate DRO's making such continual poor decisions against sound medical knowledge. Instead, they move the problem children to other VA offices. I say fire them and not move their problems elsewhere, as is the current situation. All Vets would be better served in the long run.

Brownie Shoultz

January 17, 2014 - 7:43pm

WWII Combat vet. ETO and South Pacific. COPD plus MDS( bone cancer) claim dragged on for four year. Denial after denial. VARO DENVER COLORADO. HEARING scheduled Jan. 31, 2014. Tons of documentation. Medical doctors Nexus letter. Betcha $$ claim denied again. 88 years of age with MDS. Do they care? May the bird of paradise fly up thier noses and CRAP.

David S

December 13, 2013 - 4:15pm

Hines is no better. We did our part why can they live up to thier end? Wrong records wrong name wrong war what can they get right? I told my troops listen to me and I will get them home, I did , now they are dying with no help or hope. The war is really never over its just in a different place with no bullets - only time - only those in this fight can understand what this hell really is. I did not fight to stay alive only to die here being rejected because of some paper form. we have given more than enough without being asked we just did and now its time for them to do the same.

Jim U

December 13, 2013 - 3:51pm

Gus,my case has been under review since Dec. 2011 I am 90% rated but if you add all my problems up Iam 210% service connected.

Jerry Ireland

December 13, 2013 - 3:02pm

Would one of our Service Organizations, American Legion or D.A.V. check into the Montgomery,Al. Regional Office; I can't imagine another R.O. having a worse record than this Office. I think a Congressional Investigation would be in order for this Office alone.

Big Bill

December 13, 2013 - 2:39pm

Have any of you had these same problems here in Hot Springs, S.D.? They want to try and move the VA further away from the population they serve. I am a retired Army National Guardman that will not be able to receive benefits till I turn 60. I am at this time not going to depend on any of the services that are available to me. In two years I turn 60 hopefully the system will have improved.

neil e lampe

December 13, 2013 - 2:30pm

I was forced out of the marine corps in 1969 due to broch asthma many times I went to buffalo to apply for disability and was told no, in 2010 I was finally given thirty percent, I was told that there is something wrong with my medical records that is why I have been refused for 40 years. after getting my old records I found out that my records have been altered. I enlisted to be a twenty year nan only made it one year, and after three months and eleven days in Viet Nam I was med=e -vaced to japan records state that many times when I was at Parris Island El Toro and camp Le june I went to sick bay for breathing problems [I never went to sick bay at any time while at these camps for any problem as most vets will know if I had any breathing problem I would never made it out of boot camp].I also have not been able to get a copy of my records from entry into the corps I now have been waiting for almost two years for an up date on my percentage and I still have two more requests for higher ratings waiting in the wings.

Art B.

December 13, 2013 - 3:26pm

I had a similar problem. I went to my County VSO and he recommended that I enroll the DAV as my representitive, which I did. They are doing an excellant job in tracking and assisting my claims.

Mike Jarrett

December 13, 2013 - 6:37pm

Hey Art, I don't understand why you were referred to the DAV when your county VSO was supposed to be there to perform exactly what he referred you to DAV for. That doesn't make a bit of sense to me unless the County VSO wasn't confident in his abilities to represent you with VA Claim. ODD VERY ODD !!

William Heiar

December 13, 2013 - 2:26pm

The VA Regional in WACO TX, after I filed for an increase of several conditions, told me I was denied service-connection for two of the items back in '93 on my original claim, so I would have to start all over with those items and submit new medical records. What they didn't read in their "own files" was that I was awarded benefits for those two conditions in '96 thru an appeal process. Now they have been stalling for over 2 months after I have sent them several documents verifying the original appeal award letter. They don't want to show that they made a mistake and that they were caught, thinking that I would not have my own copies of the documents form my original claim. So now I am still waiting again. They are just wasting time. No wonder they have such a long backlog.

Larry Holman

December 13, 2013 - 2:06pm

Why aren’t all claims adjusters/adjudicators combat veterans? Is it impossible to find enough combat veterans to fill all of those positions? Why isn’t there a simpler claims review/appeals process in the case of errors and disputes? Why aren’t all the people involved in the claims review/appeals process combat veterans? Why is it that veterans who are retired military personnel who go to the VA Regional Office must go through a security screening as if they are boarding a place full of civilians for a flight at 30,000 feet, even after showing retired military ID and driver’s license? Doesn’t anyone think this indignity could trigger someone’s PTSD? Could it have anything to do with the fact the director of the VARO has prior experience as a security director? With as many VSO’s as we have that ostensibly are constantly advocating on behalf of all veterans, how did he the VA fall into the condition that it did? How did the VSO’s allow that to happen? If the VSO’s were not fighting to prevent that, what were they doing? Could it be that there are too many veterans politically supporting the cost-cutters in congress and might not that be the reason for the erosion of quality and quantity of the VA? When the VA says "it is unlikely as not to be service connected," isn’t that the same thing as saying "it is as likely as not to be service connected," in which case they should always give the veteran the benefit of the doubt? Wouldn’t more vigorous prosecution of filers of fraudulent claims ensure a reduction in those claims? While many apologize for the VA’s abundance of caution due to the possibility of fraudulent claims, are there any statistics on how many people are being prosecuted for frivolously and/or fraudulently submitting claims?

R.M. Silva

December 13, 2013 - 1:46pm

I have been waiting for over three years for the administrative Judge to rule on my 100 per cent. When I questioned the wait I am told we are working on it and they want to know if my house is in foreclosure what does that have to do with anything. My congressman can't get an answer.

chisholm

December 13, 2013 - 2:05pm

from my experence it can take up to 5 or 6 years for this process to be heard i have claims up there now for two and a half years and holding good luck to all my veteran conrads who are waiting

Joe M.

December 13, 2013 - 1:03pm

I developed Hairy Cell Leukemia in 2006 and have type II Diabetes. I was stationed in Thailand at Utapo RTAB where Agent Orange was used.I submitted all the information required for a claim. Eventually had to go through my Congressman and still was rejected. I am in the process of filing an appeal. It's a shame they are just waiting for us to die so they don't have to compensate us for what they asked us to do. The VA is A FARCE. They don't care about Veterans they are all Liberals and only care about themselves.

Raymond A. Reame

December 13, 2013 - 12:59pm

So many people are trying very hard to compensate veterans, and make their lives normal. Yet, our own VA. cannot react in a serious manner to a very serious problem. Perhaps we should do away with the whole agency and start over.

Eric L

December 13, 2013 - 12:53pm

VA in Lexington KY has been excellent for treatment, surgeries, ER. The DAV Office has also been excellent in their assistance!

JOHN GALLANT

December 13, 2013 - 5:25pm

VA HOSPITAL IN ASHEVILLE NORTH CAROLINA HAS BEEN EXCELLENT WITH MY SURGERY AND ALL TRANSACTIONS ARE DONE VERY PROFESSIONAL. HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT TO THE VETERANS AFFAIRS IN FRANKLIN AND SYLVA NORTH CAROLINA.

Bruce Bowden

December 13, 2013 - 12:42pm

I was exposed to agent orange at Hurlburt Fld Eglin AAF #9 66-68 . VA denied me twice. Been waiting over a year for Review Board. Have cancer and don't know how long I 've got left.

Frank W

December 13, 2013 - 12:41pm

Why is it that my latest claim for increased benefits is still UNDER REVIEW since 4/16/2013? I was awarded service connected benefits in 2007 due to injuries in a combat zone but nothing for PTSD. I was told that reservists don't get PTSD. Why is that? I was recalled to active duty, deployed and served with an active duty unit, injured and sent to Germany for treatment and they tell me i have to provide more documentation. What are the stats for the San Diego VA?

Riddick

December 13, 2013 - 12:26pm

I have a Combat Veteran comrade of mine that sustained traumatic injuries to his head, chest and abdomen in a complex attack in Afghanistan in 2009. He continued to have severe cognitive issues and sought the VA’s assistance with some concerns with TBI. However, the VA denied him treatment and their justification was that his injuries had not been confirmed as service connected (even though he has the LODs and the Purple Heart to prove it). This soldier had to seek assistance outside of the VA channels to treat his condition and it was a good thing he did. His Neurological Specialist out of NY had to perform a surgical procedure to stop the cerebrospinal fluid from leaking from his brain into his spinal cord. Had this condition not been caught by the specialist it could’ve killed this soldier. I guess he did put himself in harms way twice for his county, “once in combat and the second was going to the VA.”

Pete B

December 13, 2013 - 12:26pm

Really??? The backlog is on track? That's news to me. Been waiting for 14 months for the Winston Salem VARO to pay me my backpay of over 25k!!! Guess I could always move to a "van down by the river" until my check arrives!

James Leavitt

December 13, 2013 - 12:19pm

Add my name to the list of claims just out of hand denied. Claim was supposed to be presumptive for boots on the ground folks. Guess not. I didn't ask for it anyway.

Doug Stephen

December 13, 2013 - 5:42pm

I started a year ago March and I'm still working at it. Another boots on the ground. I got Malaria, Dysentary and scrapnel in my back. I'm not a "Happy Camper" ro say the least. 101st Airborne 2/506th "C" Co. Viet-Nam 1970-1971 Infantry.

Guuny Bill

December 13, 2013 - 11:04am

I am 30% disable. I recently tried to get a Stress Test performed at the Cheyenne VA Hospital. For 6 weeks they could not even schedule one. I then spent 2 weeks talking to the patient advocate about why they could not get one done. But, they couldn't even schedule one in the future. They finally came back and said my heart condition was not service connected. Therefore, I should seek the test to be done elsewhere. In the mean time I lost a job opportunity that would have given my a 50% pay increase. The VA, especially the patient advocate, were aware that this job was the primary reason I was seeking the current Stress Test. I guess they figured it wasn't a medical emergency. It would have been nice if they had the integrity to tell me all this up front. But, they follow the example of our Commander in Chief, LIE and BLAME OTHERS. We don't want anyone held accountable for true facts.

Old man Shoultz

January 17, 2014 - 7:48pm

Cheyenne VA is very busy(blding new facilities) most doctors care less about Vets. Fortunately a few clinic doctors are great medical professionals. Dr Dedrick among the top ranked.

Mlopez

December 13, 2013 - 11:03am

I agree with James Gordon, they are arbitrarily denying claims, to meet their quotas, besides that they are probably on bonus program like many medical administrators to deny claims, more so then having to approve them. It make sense that the VARO's objectives is to deny, not to approve, by saving the VA money. Wake up, and smell the coffee folks. Perhaps some veterans like Mr. Castillo, interviewed by Rep. Duckworth. But still, the VA has inadequate personnel reviewing the cases, some aren't veterans at all

Carl Johnson

December 13, 2013 - 10:59am

Hit on head and back by a ladder aboard ship wt 500lbs sustained injury to head 21 stitches also I was under the ladder with it on my back from top to bottom. Va approved head injury but said that back not damaged as i could still walk and sit. Does this sound strange??????????????

Bonnie Brown

December 13, 2013 - 10:52am

I have several claims in the VA Appeals and the BVA and they were denied because of not enough evidence or not in my military record which all of them are and I have sent the same copies of the records that they say they have showing that they are in my record and finally got a VA lawyer after 6 years of fighting this on my own and being denied because they have to make a quota every month.

Christopher A. Blodgett

December 12, 2013 - 8:53pm

The problem is at the Regional level of the VA claims. They sit on claims for long periods, example: Im 90% rated and was deferred on my IU claim and it has been well over 18 months and still I'm waiting. Then the VA Regional office is wanting to sever one of my disabilities so they dont have to pay out. I have filed numerous complaints and all I get are when we know you will know. That is a wrong answer, I did not serve over 20 years to be treated like some lame dick freash off the street punk, I served with pride and completed 2 combat tours and yet the VA Regional office is treating servicemembers like myself like crap.

William Anderson

December 12, 2013 - 8:56pm

Kansas has one of the worse Regional claims office, but yet no one wants to check into them that includes the National Commander of the American Legion, they talk alot put they dont follow thru.

OLD WWII VET

January 17, 2014 - 7:53pm

Kansa,oh my God. More poor folks in the insane asylum than any state. Perhaps that is where they get thier claims oficers?

chris ogden

December 12, 2013 - 6:40pm

the VA hospital here in Madison has a stellar reputation along with nearby clinics. The only complaint I continiuously get from vets is there isn't a facility closer to them. Now there is with mobile units and new clinics opening. When I got out of the Navy in 68' the gov't barely funded the Va.This is the best funded vet care in years. Finally a President who cares about the returning vets.

Francis Moran

December 13, 2013 - 11:10pm

Chris, you are just joshing, right? This president has consistently filed budgets seeking decreases in VA healthcare spending. He has been overruled by both houses of Congress including both sides of the aisles. Clinton showed more concern for vets and he was a draft dodger. Maybe it was conscience.

Joe Caughlin

December 13, 2013 - 6:33pm

Chris, you need to get your head out of obama's read seek the TRUTH.

Riddick

December 13, 2013 - 12:40pm

Chris, really? "Finally a President who cares about the returning vets." I am one I can tell you from first hand experience that that statement is quite simply a lie. Please consult your physician and have your meds changed.

Darlene H. Walton

December 12, 2013 - 5:32pm

The major px that I have seen over and over is that most of the VA employees don't understand the military or the people within- Yes granted we have those who falsify their service connect injuries just like they do with with medicaid & medicare or insurance claims but to take the length of time for these major injuries is wrong- I have a fellow comrade who it took 18 years to get hers on hearing loss and other issues having had the VA already done a cochlear implant but denied it repeatedly because it wasn't by their standard service connected even though she spent most of her time in the motor pool and other such elements in the service-they make everyone out to be less than less- come on these people raise their hand to defend this country with the promise that they would be taken care of when necessary-something is amiss somewhere- FOR GOD & COUNTRY???

Richard Duley

December 12, 2013 - 4:51pm

We can put a man on the moon, but we can't process a VA claim!! The system is broken. I have been fighting with the VA now for over ten years. My first claim for PTSD was denied because they could verify I was in Vietnam and recieved the Bronze Star. So I had to send them copies of my medal certificate and combat ribbons. I had a 10 year claim for hearing loss. I was a Chinook pilot and the Army has 50 studies that state Chinook Helicopter pilots have hearing loses. Yet they denied that claim. I had three different private audio exams and they did the old "it is unlikely as not to be service connected".

Richard Duley

December 12, 2013 - 4:50pm

We can put a man on the moon, but we can't process a VA claim!! The system is broken. I have been fighting with the VA now for over ten years. My first claim for PTSD was denied because they could verify I was in Vietnam and recieved the Bronze Star. So I had to send them copies of my medal certificate and combat ribbons. I had a 10 year claim for hearing loss. I was a Chinook pilot and the Army has 50 studies that state Chinook Helicopter pilots have hearing loses. Yet they denied that claim. I had three different private audio exams and they did the old "it is unlikely as not to be service connected".

James Gordon

December 12, 2013 - 2:50pm

The only reason that the claims system is clearing faster is the fact that the VA is arbitrarily denying more legitimate claims to speed up the clearance backup.

Gus H.

December 12, 2013 - 4:12pm

The VA cannot just arbitrarily deny claims. They all must be processed according to due process. Claims are denied more often because they do pass the test of being service connected. I'm also a bit dsigusted that the Legion would check two ROs, Baltimore and Oakland, and expect those to be the same average for the whole VA. Those two ROs are have some of the worst processing and quality figures out of the 57 ROs. Check Sioux FAals and you'll find they have the lowest processing time and a very high quality figure. It really isn't a fair comparison to use Baltimore and Oakland to compare with the rest of the VA ROs. If someone really looked inside the VA and looked at the type of claims, I venture to make a very good guess that about 20 -25% of the claims that veterans make are not legitimate. In other words the veterans are making claims that they know are due to something other than be service connected; i.e. a veteran broke his leg in 2007 falling off a ladder, his service was in 1966-69, and he is claiming his leg condition is due to a service related act. Now the VA still has to process this claim despite the fact that it has no merit. That veteran is taking up time that could be spent on legit claims. And this in turn would speed up the process. There are regional offices that are not up to speed in quality and timeliness of processing claims. But don't use Baltimore as an example that reflexes it as being the whole VA!!!

Mr.Truthful

January 17, 2014 - 8:00pm

Where have you been Gus H? Nearly 90% of VA claims officers arbitrarily deny claims evey day. The best approach inmy opinion is to hire the very best Lawyer practised in Veteran's disability claims before even venturing to file a claim. I SURE WISH I HAD.

SFC Ret 90%

December 14, 2013 - 11:55pm

Gus What Ship did you fall from?

Riddick

December 13, 2013 - 12:48pm

Gus, I concur (partially) with your statement about the sick, lame, and lazy clogging the system. It happens (I've seen it) in the Army's Warrior Transition Units. It's a shame but a fact. How about this. We charge those folks for falsifying gov't docs under USC and send them to Leaven Worth Kansas to make big rocks into small rocks. Second, I am a combat wounded veteran that died three times on the battlefield (literally) and the care and professionalism that I have received is sub-par (even by a dogs standard). So I say this to you my friend, please just send me my pension and disability, leave me alone, and the rest of the US Gov't can go straight to hell. Have a Merry Christmas! :)

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think