Filing a first claim for disability compensation can be a stressful experience. The stress can originate from one or more of the following factors:

  • Physical or mental discomfort
  • Financial need
  • That transitional feeling when you are no longer in the military but not really a civilian
  • Concern about the outcome
  • Lack of knowledge of the process
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Erroneous assumptions
  • Things you have heard from other Veterans and the media and, just
  • Dealing with a bureaucracy

During this discussion I’d like to use my experience as both a Veteran and a senior VA official to demystify the process and empower you with information you need and what you can expect.


Dealing with large organizations can be frustrating. Some things that appear clear and certain to you may not be to others. Additionally, legal requirements can sometimes be confusing and time consuming. To have the best experience possible I recommend the following:

1. If you are still on active duty and thinking about getting out and filing a claim, go through the Benefit Delivery At Discharge or BDD program at your installation. To qualify you must have between 60 and 180 days left on active duty. We will take your claim and get you examined before you go home. Normally, decisions are available about two months after you separate or retire.

2. If you are still on active duty but have less than 60 days to go, you can still file a “Quick Start” claim. Quick Start claims are processed at dedicated facilities so decisions are quicker for most Veterans.

3. If you are out of service for less than a year, think you might have a claim, but are unsure if you want to “go through the hassle” apply. The evidence is fresher and cleaner, there are unlikely to be what we refer to as “inter-current injuries” (i.e. you back hurts a little but when you get out you get a job as a long hall truck driver or a construction working and don’t file a claim for years. In such cases even if there is some documentation of “something in service” without evidence of treatment for the condition within the first year, service connection is less certain).

4. If you’re concerned that it might not be appropriate to take money for a condition because “I’m fine, was just doing my duty and I have a job”–there are a lot of people who feel that way–consider this. I think you should file your claim. If granted you can always decline to receive the money. If, at a later date, your condition worsens or you age and it interferes with our work, or you decide you want compensation after all you can always contact us. That way we will examine you and determine your current level of disability. We won’t be trying to determine whether you warrant service connection in the first place.

5. If you have been out of the service longer but still think you have a condition related to your service apply! There is no filing time limit. It just might be a little more complex and take a little longer because of the need to develop more records.

6. Our goal is to complete all claims within 125 days or four months by 2015 with 95 percent accuracy. Right now more than 30 percent of our claims have been pending longer than that. Some claims, such as those involving participation in nuclear tests, covert operations, military sexual trauma or other similar circumstances where records may be difficult to locate can and frequently do take longer, sometimes much longer.

7. To meet the challenge of a rapidly growing claims volume, VA has been provided with significant numbers of new staff in the last couple of years. Their jobs are complex and it takes a while to become fully qualified so if you think we made a mistake, ask you may be right. As I said earlier, one of our goals is to get our quality level to 95 percent by 2015. Currently our quality level is 84 percent. While a significant portion our quality problems reflect process errors rather than errors in the final decision with respect to the granting or denying of benefits, rates paid and effective dates of payment, we do make mistakes.

How You Can Help Yourself and VA

The claims process doesn’t need to be a hassle. Here is what you can do to help yourself and VA:

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

2. Appoint a representative. While there are attorneys who will represent you for a fee, it is rarely necessary to pay to have your claim processed efficiently and successfully. National Service Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, as well as State Departments of Veterans Affairs or Veterans Commissions and County Veteran Service Officers can give excellent assistance and its free. Call your local regional office to see what organizations are available at that office.

3. Consider what you want to claim. Many Servicemembers and veterans have been told they should go through their service medical records and claim everything they have ever had or been treated for. While you can do that, it is likely to significantly increase your frustration level, result in unnecessary examinations, and slow the process without getting added benefits. You should not claim acute disabilities or illnesses you had in service unless they left a residual. For example, if you got the flu in service and got over it, the claim will be denied. On the other hand if you broke your leg and recovered from it you should claim that because the fracture, if found on x-ray, can be service connected. While it might only warrant a zero percent evaluation now, if you develop arthritis at the site later, you are covered. Don’t claim things like personality disorders, baldness, the fact that you wear glasses, or similar kinds of things because they are considered “constitutional or developmental abnormalities” that you would have gotten whether or not you were in service. The law doesn’t permit payment for these. Don’t claim lab results like hematuria (blood in the urine) or high cholesterol. We don’t pay for those either. On the other hand, you should claim pseudofolliculitis barbae (a skin condition that affects some black people).

4. If private providers have treated you, get the records and send them to us. While the application you fill out does offer the opportunity to sign a release and we will request the records for you, we cannot compel providers to send us records nor can we pay for them. It is my experience that many times–maybe even most–when VA sends a release a private provider, the provider ignores the request. If the provider does respond, many times they will ask that we pay them in advance for the records. In either case, we will have to write to you and tell you that if you want the records considered you will have to get them and send them. In the worse case this can add two to three months to the process.

5. Show up for your examinations.

6. The first thing you will get from VA once you file your claim is a lengthy letter commonly referred to as a “VCAA letter.” This is a letter required by the law that tells you what we will do, what you will be expected to do, and in very general terms tell you how we will decide. The letter may also include specific requests from your local regional office for information. Read it carefully for specific requests for information from us. Finally, the letter offers the option of completing an attachment telling us you have no more information. If that is the case, complete the form and return it immediately. If you don’t and you have no more information, we will wait for 30 days before proceeding for no good reason. Even if, during the course of working the claim you do get additional information you can always submit it when you get it.

7. When you get your decision, read it carefully. It will have attached to it the text of the actual rating decision explaining why we decided what we did. If you think our decision didn’t consider something, didn’t cover a topic, or is wrong, call your representative right away. If we have made a mistake, we would rather just fix it now than get involved in a lengthy appeal that isn’t terribly satisfying for you or VA.

Final Note: VA exists to serve those who served and their survivors. I have worked for VA for over 36 years and the overwhelming majority of people who work for VA are committed to the mission. If we are not clear or you think we have made a mistake, let us know so we can both fix it, and provide a learning opportunity for our staff to serve other Veterans better.

After serving in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader with the 101st Airborne Division, Thomas Pamperin began his career with VA in 1974. Having risen through the ranks, he is currently VA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance and is responsible for oversight of Compensation Service, Pension Service, Benefits Assistance Service, Fiduciary Service, and Insurance Service in the Veterans Benefits Administration.

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Published on Jan. 4, 2011

Estimated reading time is 7.7 min.

Views to date: 2,058


  1. Gerald May 11, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I was disabiled in 1983 and been collecting 60% sc for all that time, Now I am filing for my neck that was not claim although I knew my neck was hurt ,I also thought that I filed for drop foot and Thats why I figuire I got 60%. I went and used DAV a little over a year ago for IU one claim ,increase for lower back,Neck injury, and atheritis in lower back secondary to back injury. I got to the Pending Decision Approval phase and a few days ago it went back to review of evedence stage and added loss of use in one foot, and something about fixing car and adapting cars not those words but I think you know what I mean. When I filed 30yrs ago I went with PVA and by doing that I thought It was because of my drop foot cause I had not much feeling up leg and could not pick right foot up and down without really thinking very hard to make that happen. I was confused so I call PVA in Houston were I file the claim in 1983, The officer there said I need to sign the power of attorney over to them, As they would be able to figure out if that was filed or If not there may be a chance that they could have me paid from when the neck and the drop foot should have been claimed in 1983,,, Can someone please help me will that hang up my claim should I go back to the people who should have access to more info. Officer for PVA said it would not hold up my case any long I have been wait sence 1/28/2011 PLEASE HELP .?? I am in severe chronic pain for 30 yrs are so TELL ME WHAT TO DO !!!!!

    Thank you Jerry

  2. Willie J Scott April 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I have been placed in the “agent orange class/group” approximately 5/2011. I have submitted all records and as near as I can tell all my Dr’s have responded to the VA.
    I recieved a letter dated 1/11/2012 apologizing for the delay in processing my application.
    It is now 4/25/2012 and I have not heard from the VA since the 1/2012 communication. Is
    there a way to find out where in the claims process I am at present.? Any information would be helpfull. I was not given the annual visit to a VA doctor last year. Was this because of the claim? I did finally get to see a Dr as my prescription had run out and I made several request fro a doctor visit. Thanks for any help or information.

  3. C. Hedrick April 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Well, at least I don’t feel alone. I have a claim that just went to the review phase at the Roanoke VA Office at somewhere around 440 days since I filed. I sure hope that they rate me for PTSD…it cost me a great Federal Job and my TS/SCI/CI polygraph security clearance. On top of which in the low paying job I have now the boss understands when I hand him the phone or say I have to get away for a few. I’m constantly stressed, snap at people, and fear I might lose this job too. I’m currently rated 30% and have filed for increases due to pain increasing. I didn’t realize the VA gave disability for hearing damage and tinnitus so that’s in this claim too. Maybe with my trying to push away the bad memories I finally got the evidence they need to support the PTSD claim. You all know what nightmares, anxienty, and stress are about…some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed much less go to work. I do because of my family….plus waiting on the VA seems like they just sit there going if we don’t do anything for a long time they will think we really tried to get them the rating they wanted even though we denied it. The constant stress has all but destroyed my marriage and relationship with my kids. Unfortunately they caught the brunt of it all. I’m getting thoroughly frustrated and hope something gives my favor. MSgt USAF retired

  4. Phillip Snead April 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm


    I was reading your blod and found one part of it very interesting, concerning the comment that you made about the BDD program, “Normally, decisions are available about two months after you separate or retire.”

    The reason that I found it interesting is that I filed my BDD claim in March 2011, retired from the US Navy after 20 years on 31 Aug 2011. As of the date that I am commenting to your blog 5 Apr 2012, I have still not received a decison back from the VA om my claim. I have spoke with the VA on numberous ociasions. During these phone calls, I recevied the standard speach that I believe they have taped to their monitor’s, “we are back logged and working to get your claim completed ASAP. I have also been lucky enought to get number to my regional office where my claim is at (Winston Salem, NC) and they were more concerned with how I got their number then the fact that my claim has been in processing for over 7 months old with no decision. It is currently sitting in preparation for decison and has been that way since 19 Jan 2012.

    The most that I have gotten out of the regional office was that I needed to just be patient and wait it out. Well I think that maybe we should switch roles and allow them to miss out on jobs due to not having VA disability paperwork. Over $30,000 a year I am lossing by not having my rating letter and that is just from one job that I could have tomorrow if my letter was in the mail, but I should just be patient and wait it out. Thanks for listening to my concerns. I do believe that maybe you should update the blog to include the new waiting times for BDD claims, since the Reional office did tell me on the phone more than once that the VA reps need to stop putting out the wrong time frames for processing the BDD claims.

    Thanks again for the time.

    Phillip Snead

  5. Herbert W. Loesch March 16, 2012 at 3:42 am

    I have just been notified that my disability compensation claim has been granted on some (2) of the claimed conditions, is continuing on 2 , deferred for VA exam on one, and denied on one. My Service Connected rating is raised from 20% to 40%.

    I have several questions:

    What action do I take on those continued claims. Do i need to submit a NOD at this time, or wait. (my claim was submitted 17 1/2 months ago)

    I see on the compensation rate table there is a supplemental amount for “A/A spouse”.
    My wife is disabled due to Tramautic Brain Injury (’89), and rheumatoid arthritis & mixed connective tissue disease since 94. She uses wheelchair for any distance past 100 feet, and has many limitations. I found the term “seriously disabled spouse requiring AA” but cannot find any other information.

    What should I do to apply if the conditions are met by her condition?

    Bill Loesch

  6. The Marine February 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks to Mr. Pamperin and all the other great members who offered their tips and advice.

    Without going into great detail, I’m having a host of medical issues and have had multiple stays in the hospital over the last few years for clots, heart issues, kidneys.

    I was stationed at Camp Lejeune and was exposed to the contaminated water problem there for several years. I see some people filing for VA Disability and others filing some kind of tort or lump sum lawsuit. What is the best option to pursue compensation in this matter? Thanks.

    I am a veteran of the USMC after serving 14+ years.


  7. Aaron K. February 25, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I am now at the end of the first year for my claim… In Boise i am one of the top 5 longest waiting claims…guess that’s actually quick from what I have heard and read. My claim just went back to the discovery phase a 2nd time ( i have been told its for Dr to clarify something). The first time they sent me back was because my rater couldnt find my Military records showing injury relationship from in service. My doctor found my military records in seconds and then had to put orange tabs on each one for the reviewer to be able to find them (like he is in 3rd grade or something?) This has been a stressful and long process and something as simple as not being able to find my military records in a file your supposed to read thru just seems incompetent to me… I feel for everyone out there who has been suffering longer than me… I am well past all the numbers they throw at you for turn around time on everything… I think I will Crap bricks if they ever get to there estimated goal… right now they just continue to screw over veterans who gave everything up to protect a country that now doesn’t want to protect them. I don’t remember being able to have a turn around time for war…you couldn’t just say sorry our workloads to heavy ATM we cant go to Iraq….

  8. Craig B. February 24, 2012 at 3:22 am

    What happens when the Doctors at the V.A., over the last several years have neglected to tell me that my kidney function has gone straight into the toilet, as i am now just about one good kidney punch away from having to go on dialysis? Don’t they have a moral, legal or ethical requirement to inform a patient that they have a life threatening problem developing? I just spent two weeks in the V.A. hospital for other reasons, and out of the blue a Doctor mentions that my kidneys are just about shot, and the discharge paperwork mentions renal failure now, as well as why i was there in the first place, so what should happen now, do i contact a lawyer to possibly pursue legal action, or as they seemed to act, chalk it up to a matter of oops, sorry and better luck next time!

  9. Adrielle February 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Mr. Pamperin,

    My BDD claim was received 12July2011. It was in the decision phase by August of 2011. I have not received a decision. My claim is at the Winston Salem Office and I was told the average turn around time for a claim once it makes it to the decision phase is approximately 90 days.

    Now I have received a letter from the VA stating that the length has changed to up to 13 months.

    Why has the time frame increased so much? What do you recommend I do? I just want to be proactive with my claim.


  10. David Cavagna February 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Mr. Pamperin, I am currently on chemo therapy for a type of leukimia that I aquired while at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri in 1976 and after researching my old medical records the VA awarded me 40% approximately 2 years ago, over the last 8 months my hemotologist has had to increase my treatment so I had my County VA rep request an increase in my rating as I was forced to close down my business, but for some reason the claims dept. in Oakland, CA stopped working on my claim in November, in the mean time I am dealing with the financial problems like so many other veterans are, could you please check on my claim, this waiting is very hard mentally especially combined with the effects of chemo therapy. Sincerely, David Cavagna

  11. David Cavagna February 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the advice Mr Pamperin, could you please check on the status of my claim. My name is David Cavagna and my VA rep told me today its been sitting idle since November. If you have any additional advice it would be appreciated.

  12. Kelly McConnal February 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Mr. Tom Pamperin,

    I am a servicemember diagnosed with PTSD/MST/MDD. I filed a disability claim with the VA last year and (like so many others vets here), keep getting the “run around”. I have been very proactive in this claim process; kept all appointments; called for status updates; written my congressman for a “Congressional Inquiry” and am currently participating in the PTSD at the Women’s Trauma Center here in Atlanta. I am currently trying different psychotrphic drugs ( per my VA psychitrist) to see which one will, successfully, keep me from jumping off the nearest building.

    Every 60 days, I get a letter telling me, ” We are still processing your claim for COMPENSATION sorry for the delay.”This has been going on for, at least, 6 months. During the time of my diagnosis, I’ve been homeless, in the psych ward, raped and put on Short Term Disability from my job. In 2 weeks, those job benefits will be gone and I see myself in the same situation as I stated above. Beds at shelters are given first to women with children, drug addicts or other substance abuse vets. Since I am a woman with no kids or substance addiction, help is not readily available to me.

    What can I possibly do to get my claim processed? Why are veterans, who freely and willingly, give their lives to protect this country treated so badly by the one organization we thought we could trust? How many men and women have to die (suicide) before some serious changes are made in the way our claims are being handled? It may not sound serious to some, especially some of the workers at the VA, but the earlier posts show that there is a problem that needs immediate attention. Please help me (us). What must we (vets) do?????

    Kelly McConnal

    P.S. Please forgive any misspelled words.

  13. B. Fagans January 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    i got injured in a ied explosion in afghanistan in 2010 and got a purple heart for it. ive also been diagnosed with chronic ptsd and severe depression since that. i dont know if i can make a claim or not, what are your thoughts?

  14. Theresa W January 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    So tired of Due to heavy call volume!!! When i call the VA. My claim was denied because the coding on it was incorrect so 02/2010 I refiled the claim “correctly” and they still have yet to make a decision. And actually when i talked to the VA a few weeks ago no one had touched my case for over 60 days!! Should I call my congressman?! Would it even matter? Please help…

  15. Cheryl Flanagan January 19, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Mr. Pamprin,

    Thank you for all that you are doing for our Veterans. You are a blessing to us all.
    My husband was discharged from the Army in 2001 after being hospitalized twice. They diagnosed him with “Cronic Reacuring Readjustment Disorder” that diagnosis has been changed to Bipolar Disorder by several civilian doctors. He was approved by Social Security for Disability 7 years ago. 4 years ago he filed with the VA for disability and was denied. Due to frustration it took me untill Feb. of 2011 to convince him to refile. It took less that 6 months to be Denied 4 years ago. His claim this time went into decision faze on September 7th 2011. Today is Jan. 19th 2012 that is 135 days so far just in desision faze. His Rep. At our local VA office wont even return our calls any more. Two months ago she informed us that she has no way of getting any information for us accept what we can get from the 800 number.
    Most of my frustration lies in the fact that we are told by everyone we talk to that there is nothing they can do. How is it that NO ONE can find out an estimated desision date? Is there anything that you can do to help us? My husbands name is Eric Flanagan and his file is in Whiteriver Junction Vermont.
    I thank you do much for you time.

  16. Kevin H. January 19, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Dear Tom,

    Thank you for all of your service and assistance to veterans! I would like your advice on a question that I have regarding my circumstances, and any guidance you or your colleagues may be able to offer.

    I retired a year ago from the Navy and was eventually rated at 80% service connected disability. During my initial visit with the VA Primary Care Manager assigned to me once rated, he noted several instances in my medical record where I had been seen for significant chronic sleep disturbances while on active duty, including one visit with a medical provider while aboard ship that strongly recommended I be tested for sleep apnea upon return from deployment. (the provider transferred immediately upon return from deployment and I never ended up with a consult to be tested).

    Since one had never been ordered for me while on A/D, the VA PCM immediately ordered a consult to Pulmonology for a sleep apnea test during our first visit. I just completed all of that testing at the VA, and was found to have sleep apnea and given a CPAP machine.

    Do you think,Tom, even with the multiple notes of documented medical history and the VA’s diagnosis of sleep apnea, that it would be a waste of my time to submit a claim for this? It seems that many similar related posts at different sites seem to imply that if I were diagnosed with sleep apnea while on active duty it would virtually be automatically deemed service connected, and if diagnosed afterwards it would almost always be determined not to be connected.

    Since the process can be extremely lengthy and cumersome, any thoughts, opinions or direction you can provide would greatly be appreciated. Blessings,


  17. Craig January 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Hello, I’m trying to get some information for my father-in-law and mother-in-law. He served in the Air Force from June of 1963 June of 1967. They were told by a VA rep that he didn’t meet the criteria for disability because he didn’t serve in a combat zone. I am a retired Army Officer and knew better than that. He has been sick for a long time with numerous cancers (prostate cancer about 5 years ago and lung cancer now). What can I do to ensure that he gets the benefits/entitlements that he has earned without getting a lawyer involved to understand the “fine print”?
    Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.

  18. L York December 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Just asking for any information about the BDD Claims. Any information would be nice. Thanks in advance for any information.

    BDD submit to VA Rep. at Fort Lee, Feb 16, 2011
    Retired Jun 31, 2011
    Decision Phase Sep 14, 2011

  19. Terresa December 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Although I complained of allergic type symptoms, I did not receive a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). I did receive a service connection for Allergic Rhinitis (at zero percent). I received a PFT (showed a moderate obstructive lung defect) within the VA system about 10 months after I retired from the military. As a result I was diagnosed with Asthma. When I filed for it, the VA denied the claim (for Asthma). The asthma diagnosis was not in my file while Active Duty. My question is this — Is there a way to get service connected for it since I was diagnosed within a year following my retirement?


  20. Sarah November 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Hi. I have a question… I am currently rated at 50% for severe depression disorder. I screened positive for PTSD at the VA hospital due to a very traumatic incident that occurred during my service which I have written documentation of. Can I file for PTSD, is that separate from my claim for depression?

  21. romeo mutuc November 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    my father in-law is a filipino vietnam veteran,who pass away in 2006,his wife is still living,could u help us if she could have anything to claim, in behalf of her husbund…thanks

  22. Big Sarge November 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I have Served for the past 29 years & 6 mos, 4 of those being active duty 1979 – 1983. Now 1988 to present. The Va will only give me credit for being in the Military for 4 years. The 25 years as far as they are concerned don’t count for any thing. In fact because of the active duty time frame I am considered to be a non-Veteran. I filed a claim in 1998 then an appeal in 2008 and have never heard from them again.

    While on active duty we did everything in combat boots, which damaged my feet. The Va will not except that claim, even though I have had to have surgery twice in 1994 – 1995 and now have a permanent disability. After having the second surgery my Reserve Commander ordered me to training while on Dr’s care even though the Dr said not to be on my feet. I spent the whole time on my feet.

    A Va Rep said that it may have been stupid of The CO to have me put on orders during those times but the Va would not cover me. Mainly because I did not have the surgery while on active duty by Military doctors. The CO represented the Army as commander and I should be covered because of his decision.

    Va did not take in consideration My LOD’s that were given to me to cover the injury even though I got them years later and approved by the ARMY. The Rep said she would have them thrown out. Or statements submitted by other Soldiers on my behave, or any of my Military Physicals taken over the past 20 + years that shows my condition getting worst each time with the first one ever taken showing me in perfect health. Are these things even looked at?

    I do not know what else to do, are there any Lawyers who work Va cases? I went through Veterans Commissions with no luck.

    I am now non-deploy-able with the Military but I have a contract until 2021. If they put me out on a Medical and they are working on it, I will be Medically discharged with no compensation. I really need help with this if there is any, or should I just give up?

    I spent all my Adult life as an Army Soldier so I though, and now am be told that I am a non-Veteran. I have been stripped of my Military Pride.

    Please help if you can.

  23. Everette Harris November 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    If a va claim has been filed with multiple issues, but no decision, can the issues be rated separately to improve processing time?

  24. Tina November 21, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I never copied my medical record before I was discharged an was required to hand it in upon signing my dd214. I was never told I could qualify for Va benefits until my husband who went through taps class told me that due to my injuries I was able to qualify. What do I do and will I need my medical record or will the va already have access to that HELP

  25. Mike M November 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    My father in-law is 94 and needs a hearing aid, (he served in infantry under Patton in WW2). Is that considered a VA disability benefit or just a VA medical benefit? My wife asked me to figure out if he can get one through the VA. I have no idea where to start looking and just happened to stumble on this page.

  26. Sam Wallace November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I have a good question regarding The Spine.  According to the 38 CFR Part 4, General Rating Formula for Diseases & Injuries of the Spine (For diagnostic codes {DC}5235-5243 unless 5243 is evaluated under the Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes):
    – With or without symptoms such as pain (whther or not it radiates), stiffness, or aching in the area of the spine affected by residuals of injury or disease, 
    – Note (6):  Separately evaluate disability of the thoracolumbar and cervical spine segments, except when there is unfavorable ankylosis of both segments, which will be rated as a single disability.
      5235  Vertebral fracture or dislocation   
      5236  Sacroiliac injury & weakness   
      5237  Lumbosacral or cervical strain   
      5238  Spinal stenosis   
      5239  Spondylolisthesis or segmental instability   
      5240  Ankylosing spondylitis   
      5241  Spinal fusion   
      5242  Degenerative arthritis of the spine (see also DC 5003)   
      5243  Intervertebral disc syndrome
    – Evaluate intervertebral disc syndrome (preoperatively or postoperatively) either under the General Rating Formula for Diseases & Injuries of the Spine or under the Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes, whichever method results in the higher evaluation when all disabilities are combined under §4.25.   
    – Note(2): If intervertebral disc syndrome is present in more than one spinal segment, provided that the effects in each spinal segment are clearly distinct, evaluate each segment on the basis of incapacitating episodes or under the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine, whichever method results in a higher evaluation for that segment.
    –Does this mean that they are suppose to give a rating for each DC 5235-5242?  So, I could have a rating of 30% for 5 DC’s(5X30 on rating table) of my Lumbar spine would give a rating of 87%?  Also, rating of 20% for 3 DC’s(2X20 on rating table) of my Cervical spine would give a rating of 59%? And give me a total of 90%+60%=either at 94 or 95%. Have I done the calculations correctly?

  27. Canaat November 4, 2011 at 10:52 am

    This site is just like all the other VA sites. No one really monitors them or gives a darn. What a joke.

    • Jamie November 6, 2011 at 12:48 am

      you are sooooooooooooooooooo right.

  28. Jamie October 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm


    Can I claim my hysterectomy? it was only partial but I am receiving rehabilitation therapy because really the surgery only solved the ” dysmenorrhea” but the pelvic pains persist so I get shots directly in the pelvic area once a week.


    • Hicks November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      At my final out brief where the VA gave us what we can and can’t claim Hyserectomy was a clear CLAIM. Definitely claim it!! Good luck!!

  29. jun Narvasa October 25, 2011 at 6:55 am

    My father is a Filipino World War II veteran, age 83, and recipient of the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation in the amount of $9,000.00 .He also served in Vietnam and Korean War under 20th BCT Philippine Army. As a recipient of the said benefit the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional office in the Philippines sent him VA Form 21-526 as he might be eligible to some other benefits. The form was accomplished and sent to the VA office in Pasay City, Philippines applying for Non-Service Connected Pension as an 83 year old veteran. The letter was received by the embassy on September 29, 2011 under file number 358/21 C 30 386 405. The application was denied on the basis that the service with the Commonwealth Army, New Philippine Scout in particular, does not meet the military requirements for eligibility to the benefit.The VA sent him again another forms VA Form 4107 and VA Form 21- 526b with instruction to appeal the denied claim. MAY I ASK IF THE NEW PHILIPPINE SCOUT SERVICE DOESNT MEET THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SAID NON- SERVICE CONNECTED PENSION BENEFIT? What other benefits he may be eligible?

  30. Isaac R October 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    So today i called ol Peggy. She seemed very pissed off. So i like usuall say my yes mams and no mams, And she tells me that my claim is finalized with decision of DENIED ! Due to my discharge (GUH). The whole reason i got the boot was cause my ptsd of an event well documented that happened in Baghdad in 07. From what i hear from my representation is that Peggy is wrong for even speaking about a decision. Well looks like another one for the bad guys.

    • Dawn October 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      You are correct VA personell can not give out rating information on the phone even to the vet. If you have a General Under Honerable you are still eligable for disability claims. If you have a diagnosis of PTSD from a doctor and a stressor and your claim was denied I would suggest you put in a NOD or Notice of Disagreement. Also if you dont have a Service Officer Rep you might want to think about getting one as they will be able to help you figure out the VA speak and get things done for you.


      • Chuck James October 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

        How do I talk to someone at the Indianapolis Regional regarding my claim? I keep getting recordings. It has been a year since I filed and I haven’t gotten any response.

        • Judy November 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

          Contact a Veterans Service Organization, on the VA website in the search box enter VA Form 21-22 and a list of organization will be attached on the last page of the form.

  31. VA doesn't give a Sh1t October 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    blah blah blah!!!

  32. Michael October 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I received a PTSD stress disability from my police dept after shooting a person on duty and getting shot myself.

    The employer requires me to undergo yearly assessments with their Dr. to evaluate me even after my Dr. certifies of my continued disability yearly.

    However, employees with non-mental disabilities do not have to be reevaluated at all. Doesn’t this seem to be a violation of the ADA?

    The re-eval does nothing but extremely aggravate the PTSD. It is a 3 hour in depth psych eval about the situation.

  33. JV October 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I was medically retired from the Army in 2004…
    It is now 2011…
    I am still fighting the VA for my back injury (9 herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis)
    I am only asking for 20% more than what I have because that is what their guidelines say warrants my condition…
    7+ years I have been arguing my case, it is now at the US Court of Veteran Appeals.
    Good luck everyone because with the amount of claims they have before them, it could take a long while.

    • Marty October 24, 2011 at 3:17 am

      If you accept a medical retirement, you cannot then go the VA to claim disability for the same medical reasons you were discahrged

      • Dawn October 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

        Actually yes you can. Medical Retirement and VA Disabilty are two separate issues. The one thing it effects is how you are paid. You can not get both full medical retirement and full VA benefits but you can be service connected for a Medical Discharge Issue.

  34. keith October 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I recieved VCAA letter and they want me to provide treatment forms . I wouldnt even remember what day of the week it is if it was not for my computer. I worked like 5 jobs in the last thirty years and the last one was over ten years ago . Like i remember. I would rather have them just send me a letter bomb when i open it up case closed .

  35. Pman5k October 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I served in ‘covert’ operations that are ongoing and currently classified, and have had hell with my claim. My expedited claim has been going on over 2 years now (filed 29Sep2009). I have had some partial decisions, many of which were totally screwed up and totally erroneous, such as my TBI/Migraine rating of 10%, which the narrative even contradicts itself and states my condition word for word matching the 38CFR criteria for a 50% rating. My PTSD C&P includes all the key words for a 70% rating (at least) as well as stating I cannot be around other people. They have denied conditions that are obviously SC, like when I nearly broke my neck, and some others. My medical records that I have copies of are pretty vague about the incidents themselves, due to the nature of the ops, however they clearly show certain ailments which I was claiming. They also tried to deny one citing I am ‘overweight’ yet I am not by any standards overweight (granted I am in the higher end of the scales of healthy weight) but this is also a big known side effect to the medications they have put me on. I am furious at the utter incompetency that it seems exists with the VA ratings process. I mean my C-file that I FOIA requested was incomplete (missing documents I submitted, and I have a ‘receipt’ from the VA showing I submitted said documents… yet VAOIG won’t do crap about it) and also contained documents from other peoples’ files… and this was just this past July (2011) from the St Louis VARO!!!

    • Pman5k October 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

      What also makes it all worse, is that when they utterly and clearly screw up royally, the only real course of action to correct such horrendous errors, is the appeals process, which is even worse in terms of backlog and time it takes to get corrected. The only other option is to try to get it brought out in the media, and embarrass the hell out of the VA by calling them out on such utter incompetency.

      Congressional reps and senators are about useless really. I have had resistance from several VSOs, had seen some bias against OIF/OEF veterans from older VSOs in some areas, especially when the caregiver benefits was a big hot button topic. My state’s veteran’s commission has even ‘stopped’ acting as my POA (have a complaint filed against the official who did this as it is a violation of state law for them to do so, and under state law he will be terminated without benefits) because I dared to submit paperwork to the VA myself (some medical records and my FOIA request) and contacted the state ombudsman because I could never reach the local office by phone.

    • richard lansing October 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      I also was involved in covert operations for several years in combat. I filed a claim for ptsd 5 months ago and was given an examination at the VA by a psychiatrist whom then diagnosed me as having ptsd and then submitted his report to the VA about 2 weeks ago. He told me that what I had was a mental illness. My private physician also diagnosed me with ptsd. And the counselor whom I see at the vet center tells me I am the poster child for ptsd. Given all this info, especially the VA examination 2 weeks ago, does it sound like I may still have a long wait for a final determination or could I be close to the end of this process? After reading many of the comments here, does any of this bode well for a determination in my favor? I would so appreciate a response from anyone to my email if possible. ( Thankyou so much in advance.

  36. Trina October 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    To whom responding to these concerns
    I file my claim June 2010, my claim is with the balitmore office. Dec 2010 my claim was in the decision phase, then May 2011 I was push back to development phase, to have C & P exam. As Sept 2011 B-More had all information need. The persons who answer the 1-800 number saying the claim process for B-more is 403 days…as today my claim is at 467. My question is since I was pushed back in delvelopment phase, do that mean I’m at the bottom of the pile again? there are 15K claims over 125 days back log in b-more….base on their report. ….but their report been saying the same amount all year long (to me that number should went down if they doing their work)

  37. Len October 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Mike, you’re so typical of those people in this country who claim to be so “patriotic”. You probably wrap yourself in the flag for all to see, so typical of “Sunshine Chicken Hawk Patriotic”. Enjoy your freedom to insult and slander because you wouldn’t be doing in Iran or Communist China ! Kiss my As* !

  38. Stephen September 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    To whom it may concern,

    I to was duped into the promise of the BDD program that my claim would be processed within 60 days of my ETS. I was medically retired in Feb 2011 from Robins AFB. I went to all of my appointments, got all of my records copied and personally delivered them to the processing office at Ft Benning before my reitrement date. I received a letter from my regional office, which is Winston-Salem, that stated that my claim/application was received and processed on 18 Feb 2011. I went and set up my account for ebenefits and started to track my progress. My claim sat in the development phase for roughly 54 days. It was finally moved to the decision phase where it is still sitting 150 days later. According to the ebenefits website the decision phase, on most cases, is between 16 and 28 days. This number is based on statistics from May 2010. I was told that my claim was not that complicated as everything was pretty cut and dry and I had provided all of the info the VA needed. I have called the 1-800 number several times a week and most of the time I receive the “this number is unable to process your call, please call back at a later time” message. When I do get thru I usually get the person on the phone that has answered one too many VA phone calls that day and cops attitude when I ask questions concerning my claim. I then receive the pre-programmed Blah, blah, blah we are sorry for your issues, blah, blah, blah please have a nice day. As of my last phone call I have not gotten a solid answer as to what is going on with my claim. I now have a DAV rep, and am writing my congressman a letter weekly. Bottomline: BDD does not work as advertised! I have talked to several personnel I knew that have retired after me and the VA reps are still telling retirees, in TAP, that they will get thier rating within 60 days of thier ETS. If the VA knows that is not true why are they still briefing it? Also the timeline on ebenefits website needs to be taken out of the phase narrative so that people do not get thier hopes up. I am hoping that this post does not fall on deaf ears and that someone from this office can help me with my situation since Mr Pamperin appears to have retired.

    Sidenote: Personnel, at all levels, who work at the VA need to remember that we are human not just a file number and that without us vets they would not have a job.


    • Mary October 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      I retired on 31 Oct 10. I also submitted a pre-discharge claim, which was initiated on 17 May 10. On 01 Nov 10, my claim was sent to the rating board, where it sat until 24 Oct 11. I received my packet with my decision on Friday, almost a full year after my retirement. I agree the website must be updated. It is very frustrating to be told during TAPS that a decision should be made within 45 days of separation, when in fact that is untrue. Good luck with your claim. I know how frustrated you are and how inefficient the system is!

  39. david gilbert September 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I was denied ans i have not heard anything from Va, no Letters saying still working on it or nothing.Asked for Decision Review Officer No reply form them still it benn since June 2010 and no nothing ! it’s prettty simple Case and they have all the info, cause they haven’t ask for any so I reall wish that it would end soon, last month i filed for SSDI and I am Afraid that they will give me a answer before VA does.

  40. Susan September 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Sir, My husband served in Viet Nam on a Destroyer. He did 2 tours in the Boiler Room Now he has been diagnosed with Asbestosis and possibly cancer which all the doctors say was caused from asbestos in the boiler room. He also has heart disease and vascular disease which could have been caused from Agent Orange. I am confused because we listed all illnesses on the original forms we filled out, but so far they have only sat up a test for Agent Orange. No other requests have been made for other examinations, is this normal? We filed the claim in June 2011.

  41. keith cook September 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    My rating for my meb was a proposed rating of 90% but a month after my seperation they are telling me it would take up to 200 days to get to the notification process. I have already been through the MEB process and the PEB process while in the military. Also they said that even though my meb/peb rating they got from baltimore regional office that was signed by a rater specialist, for some reason they don’t have a rating on me even though i have paperwork from their hospital with the rating on it. they are refusing to hurry up and they are saying that i have to wait….. I guess i’m just really confused i have been medically retired and have my retiree card to the base, but like I have said they won’t pay me yet cause they don’t supposedly know what my rating is. any answers welcome.
    the va hospital handling my va claim doesn’t know what is going on and yes they have my DD214. is this normal in the process for medical retirement? Oh yeah my VA rep that helped me through this whole thing wont answer his phone, and he told me that after my date of retirement i should receive my dd214 after a week or 2 and to send it to the baltimore regional office which i did 3 times, and then after that i should start getting paid after a month after its processed (which i have not gotten yet)

  42. Lyle D September 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I have one very simple question,,,,how does one get a service connected rating of 0% never understood how this works…if you have a service connectied disability why is it a 0%rating?

    • Wildturkey1 October 27, 2011 at 1:19 am

      0% simply means that the VA is acknowlidging your disability but that it is less than 10%. The rating can be anywhere from 0% to 9% and you would not be compensated. VA compensates only for 10% and above. Hope this helps.

  43. Eric Elder September 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    this is Va pabulum. many claims take years to resolve. My claim is in the foruth year. Many have taken 10 years. My calim is well-documented, but the Va has made many unmistaklble errors with it. the Board of Veterna affairs just retuned my clam for the third time.

    In many cases the VA is a balck hole that used circular staffing to make work.Ttime and management people should study some of the VAROs for streamlining.
    the VA calims process.

    The Social security adminstration has a far more efficient system for processing claims.

    The C&P clinicians were hired to provide medical evaluations for vets that didn’t have private physicians. but vets who have competent medical diagnoses from private physicians must also been seen by these C&P clinicians, most of whom are not doctors.

    the Va has disability questionaires for many conditions called DBQs a vet should use if one is appropriate for his or her claim. Private practice doctors can certify the claim online..

    The Obama administration has improved the VA system which was about 900,000 claims in arrears when Obama took office. President Bush also had the VA review all existing disability awards which probably caused this backlog.

    Be prepared to wait several years to get your claim resolved.

  44. Bruce September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am


    I was informed that my claim was sent back to the Development Stage because they want a medical opinion. What does this mean? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  45. Danette Woodson September 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    could you please explain to me why I just go a reply from Waco regional office telling me to provide more information about my service connected disability claim that was submitted last year for issue now arising from my service to this country.
    Let me explain a few things. I was a 63W Hotel 8. This means heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic (Diesel mechanic) and recovery specialist(tow truck operator). these jobs required me to lift, squat, pull, bend tug, crawl and rotate my wrist and arms in position on a constant basis in order to do my job. I hurt my back will lifting equipment on my HEMMITT.
    Mind you I am and was 5’2 and about 135 lbs at the time. I went thru so called therapy for a few days not weeks and sent back to work. Nothing else was done to help me to resolve the issue of my back. But now I am starting to feel arthritis in my knees and shoulders.
    I did a claim for these issues before in 2003 and received a decision saying these issues( bilateral shoulder and knees) have been deferred. Please explain deferral and denial because the claim review did not read that correctly on my file which I sent a copy with my claim form.
    I received a letter now saying that they have been denied based on that decision. A deferral is something that has to have more proof it exists, correct? It may not have been evident while in service but it is showing its ugly head now as I have aged. MRI (showed arthritis and a bone mass) does lie and my other radiologists either. I am going to have surgery on my right shoulder to remove bone that has grown and causing pain that I have been complaining about for years. The other shoulder later.
    So what can I do to make sure that I am heard when telling doctors what has been going on with me from the time I got out til now? How can we make them listen to our cries for help when they brush us off as complaining VETS? How can you get your records from your old command that shows you reported sexual harassment and sought psychiatric help while on duty but was told it was your fault? This is so hard to prove and why should we have to scrounge up records that we have no access to or the commanders who were in charge at the time. There has to be an solution.

  46. ramos hector September 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

    steal waiting for help and the abuse is continue in VASJPR

  47. T.E. Jones September 17, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I filed my disability claim back in August of 2010 just a week after my retirement from 28 years of service. The VFW represented me in filing my claim. Initially the VA was prompt in giving me status on my claim. It has now been over a year and I can’t get any information on when my claim will be finished. The when I contact the VA they tell me that my claim has been “ready to rate” since April and that they do not require any additional information. When the VFW quieries the system, they tell me that my claim “award date” keeps getting moved. First July, then August, now November. I understand that there is a backlog but after speaking with someone else who filed within the same month as me, I found that they’re claim was completed in 6 months. Is there anything that I can do to help things along?

  48. Latina Starling September 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    To Mr. Pamperin or Mr. Horton,
    What is processing time for claims out of San Diego, CA as Sept. 16, 2011?

    Latina Starling

  49. Michelle Grimes Mietzner September 14, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I wrote a long comment, but the site didn’t capture my code, and I am too tired to rewrite it (va meds). Basically, I finally filed for Fibromyalgia, CFS, IBS, headaches, etc after 20 yrs of fighting with herbs, rest, exercise, sheer will, etc, My C&Ps were 3 monthg ago, the va docs were great, sympathetic and told me I was “textbook” GWi and depression reactive to GWI. The VA received all the documentation in July, but it is still sitting in the Discovery Phase.
    The eBenefits site shows a long list of stuff they said the requested from me and then they all have a “CLOSED” date, which, according to the site, means the legal time limit has expired and they HADN’T received the required info, which is not true. I gave them everything they asked for, and I know CRF38 and the presumptive rules, and I meet all of them. What can I do to speed it up since I am trying desperately to hold on to my 3 day a week job and am on final notice for absences and emotional.psych outbursts. I am deteriorating, especially since the VA gave me meds to make me a zombie most days I take them. I now know why vets are homeless and am scared that it might happen to me. I have been fighting 20 yrs on my own and need the VA to help me now. I am 43 and some days I can barely walk. It has been stalled in Discovery for months now and I don’t know what else to do.

  50. Danny Boatman September 11, 2011 at 1:59 am

    In order to confirm “boots on the ground” I had to get a letter from another sailor who sent me ashore in Da Nang on Navy business. Will his letter be enough to establish service connection for an agent orange claim?

  51. John September 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    During my military service, I made sure that everything that I figured would give me grief later in life was documented in my medical records. When I retired in 2005, I brought my complete medical records to the Boulder County, Colorado VSO who promptly assisted me with my application, made copies of my medical records, and submitted my application. Within a few days, she had a physical scheduled for me at the VA in Denver. Periodically, after the exam, she followed up with me to let me know where the application was in the process, or just made contact with me to let me know that my packet wasn’t lost in the works. I had to go back to the VA for additional tests (which gave me pause for concern), and then within ten months of retiring, I had my disability rating. On this forum, I see a lot of situations where people have difficulties (understatement). I just wanted to put it out there that there are cases in which people have a positive experience with the process as well.

  52. KAYLA September 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    if anyone can help my husband find out about his claim please e-mail back. it is a first time claim after 28 yrs in army . not a retiree had to get out due to being a diabetic this month sept2011 has been a year. at rating board for 5 months what is the deal? what a system! thanks k/

  53. Doug Craft September 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Good Day Mr. Pamperin,

    I’d like to echo the previous notes of frustration and anger towards the VA in regards to disability claims processing. Who is in charge, and why are they not held accountable for the delays? I am a recently retired Vet, and cannot for the life of me figure out why my claim is taking months to process. Here is my situation: I was diagnosed by a VA Doctor as having obstructive sleep apnea and requiring a CPAP machine.. This diagnosis was made after a sleep study was done at a VA Medical Center. This diagnosis was made prior to my retirement, while still on active duty. The VA Medical Center then had me undergo another sleep study where I was fitted for a CPAP machine, all done at the VA Medical Center. Please explain to me what could possibly hold up this claim. It is service connected (diagnosed while on active duty). The VA Medical system made the diagnosis, and is providing the equipment. It meets the requirements under CFR 38, Section 4.97:
    6847 Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):
    Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy 100
    Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine 50
    Persistent day-time hypersomnolence 30
    Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing 0

    Is there something I am missing here? A 3rd grader could read the requirements, evaluate the evidence and award my claim for disability! What is the hold up with the VA? How much time is actually required to process this claim? Has that process ever actually been studied?

    Does the VA not realize that by delaying this claim, they are causing undue hardship? Retroactive disability pay will be nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills now! Also, I am denied the opportunity to claim ten point veteran’s preference for many government jobs, and there is no “retroactive” fix for that!

    Thank you for your time, and thank you for your service!

  54. Paul September 1, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Hi to all fellow Vets,
    Has anyone had any experience with VA compensation claims related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination studies from the 1970s and 1980s?

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  56. Will M. August 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Mr. Pamperin:

    Let me begin by thanking you for your service, guidance and obvious dedication to our nation’s veterans. After reading your post I am compelled to detail my rather disturbing and frustrating experience in hopes of soliciting some guidance.

    I am a 40% service connected Gulf War Veteran. I served in theater (Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait) in direct combat operations with the 1st Armored Division from December 24, 1990 until May 26, 1991. Then returned to Germany. I also served with Company B of 1-184th Infantry Regiment(Air Assault),29th Brigade Combat Team of the Hawaii Army National Guard from 1998-2002.

    In early 2010 I filed a claim for service connection at the St. Petersburg Regional Office related to my Gulf War service for several illnesses consistent with the clusters and symptoms of illnesses outlined in the statutes. Along with my claim I submitted extensive medical documentation and underwent a compensation and pension examination at the request of the regional office. Furthermore, I explained to the examiner I had undergone a Gulf War Registry examination in or about 1994 at the Palo Alto VAMC.

    Disturbingly, in or about early 2011, over a year after filing my claim for service connection and several months after completing my compensation and pension exam, I received an envelope at my address that was signed by the St. Petersburg regional center manager requesting that a,”negative response is requested” by the Palo Alto VAMC on a VA-form 10-7131 in requesting the results of my Gulf War Registry exam.

    Notably, although my address was on the envelope, the Palo Alto VAMC address was also listed above the address line. Undoubtedly, the form was meant to go to Palo Alto VAMC but was delivered to my address instead. Accordingly, I responded to the form and requested an explanation.

    However, instead of an explanation, after several more months of unnecessary delays given the “presumptive” language recently added to the existing statutes for the purposes of facilitating more expeditious adjudicative decisions for the granting of service connection to veterans of the Gulf War, my claim was transferred without my prior knowledge or consent to the Reno Nevada Regional Office where it sat in the development phase for a few more months.

    Recently I received a letter from the Reno regional office stating that the results of my Gulf War registry exam are not,”available” and the custodian of records has indicated,”the records cannot be found”. In addition, the letter requests I should submit any additional information within 10-days from the date indicated on the letter.

    I submitted a timely response by certified mail in support of my claims and in response to the regional office’s request for additional information. Today I checked the status of my claims on ebenefits and saw that my claims have now once again been returned for the third time to the “development phase” and for some unexplained reason the claim has been transferred to the Cleveland Ohio Regional Office. Distressingly, once again my claim has been transferred without my knowledge or consent.

    Mr. Pamperin, why would an obviously favorably adjudicative decision be transferred to three different regional offices and returned to the development phase when by the VA’s own admission all available evidence has been obtained? Moreover, why would a regional center manger request a negative response from a VAMC unless the manager anticipates a favorable response would be adverse for the agency and beneficial to the veteran.

    Any help or assistance with my case would be greatly appreciated Sir. My sincerest gratitude and thanks.


    Will M.

  57. Chase August 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Mr. Pamperin,

    I separated from active duty August 16, 2010. I had filed my quick start claim before separating, and had to wait until December to even be seen by a doctor. It has been 372 days since my date of claim, and I am still awaiting a decision. Thus far, the decision phase has taken 148 days. That is no typo, that is just shy of 5 months in decision phase. This is ridiculous. There is obviously a break in the system. I had put my body through absolute hell as a Marine for 8 years (2002-2010). I don’t want to mooch off of the government; however, one of the things promised to us when we sign up is that we will be taken care of on the back end for what we put into the service on the front end. I willingly beat the heck out of my body for this great nation, believing that I would be taken care of after. This has not happened. This system is broken. I don’t want a handout, and I’m not looking for sympathy. I just want this system to be fixed. Please do what you can to see that this happens. Thank you.

    • Lois September 2, 2011 at 6:41 am


      Have you or do you know anyone that is receiving replies in response to this sight?

      Who from Mr. Pamperin’s Office or VA is actually monitoring this board?

      Good luck!


      • Stephen September 29, 2011 at 9:20 pm

        Appearantly Mr Pamperin has retired, as of May of this year. Anyone know who is taking his place on this forum?

  58. shekhar August 19, 2011 at 3:22 am

    It is very wonderfull center

  59. charles p. lamont August 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Dear Alex, Iam sorry about my feelings however I see that know one at the veterans administration is willing to help me. I have numerous messages on different web sights and never received any answers form anyone. I really thought that you were the right person to hel;p me and it seems I was wrong.
    Well in closing I want the Veterans administration for no help to including you. This will be the last time I will bother you. In closing God Bless all my brother and sister veterans and you, until we meet again.

    • Alex Horton August 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Charles, from what I remember from our discussions, you’re waiting to hear back about your medical appointments for your claim right? I’m not sure what I can do to help with that. There’s no button to push or phone call to make. If you think your case is being mishandled, email me at newmedia @ va dot gov with the name of your regional office and medical center and I’ll see if there’s anything I can do.

      • charles p. lamont August 5, 2011 at 10:41 am

        Good morning Alex, I hope that I am not being a pain in the neck I just wanted to see if you received my email message that I sent to

  60. thomas r conn July 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Dear sir,
    Thank you for your service to the VA and welcome home! I wish I knew the proper course of action in the beginning, I only found out by accident that I had to apply for a pension prior to asking for A & A. It’s been 105 days so I hope a decision comes soon.
    Again thank you,


  61. brandon Navy July 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I first Fractured my ankle during pt. then was ordered by doctor to stay off
    the ship for 30 days for rehabilitation. But my captain Went against those
    orders and brought me back to the ship. Then 2 days later I fell down a letter
    well because I was on crutches and was not supposed to be on a ship. I landed on the fractured ankle And hyper extended my knee And twisted my back extremely bad. Sense then there has been 2 surgeries on my ankle And has not been able to fix it and i need a cane to walk. I have not had time to have surgery on my knee yet. And I m and rehab for my back and it also hurts all the time and has made it hard to even get out of bed. Because of the constant pain I am unable to sleep at night. do you think i will get anything out of this

  62. CHARLES P. LAMONT July 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Mr. Alex Horton, I know you wont remember me but my name is Charles P. Lamont.
    It seems that the only one who will answer my messages is you. I have sent numerous messages asking for help and you are the only one who answered me I am truly greatful. As discussed in my previous messages I had my C&P examination on 31 March 2011 the Va received on 14 April 2011 which is 11 working days. It is now 84 working days and I have not heard anything the the Veterans Administration. Alex, can anyone give me a straight answer on how long it will take be I hear something. My claim has been going on since 25 July 2008 this is the second appeal. I have had many people say that I should use a VSO, well the one that VA gave me was the American Leigon and I have never received any help from them. I have also tried to get help from other service organization and they keep telling me that I need to join their organization before they can help. Alex I will wait for your reply before I try anything else. Any help you can give me will be greatly appricated. Welcome Home and God Bless.

    • Sharon Allen November 3, 2011 at 4:01 am

      My husband filed his claim March 17, 2011, and separated from the Marines after 20 yrs on March 31. It has now been greater than 210 days. His VA rep in OKC, OK does not keep in contact and when he calls her, it is the same response “It’s in the development phase.” We found out through the DAV that his claim is sitting on the desk of someone in the Salt Lake City, Utah office. Go figure!!! It’s no wonder their are so many homeless vets. I’m working 60-70 hours a week just to make ends meet. I am just thankful I have a job so I can give back something to my husband whose body, mind, and soul is permanently broken.

  63. CHARLES P. LAMONT July 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I would really like to know if any one is still out there answering the messages above. It seems like since Tom P has retired the rest of the people really do not care. I wish some one would answer my cry and all the other veterans for help. I any one really cares or does not care at least send a message tell me to go jump off a bridge. In closing God Bless all my brother and sister veterans and the United States.

  64. robert July 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    i am receiving disability for my left knee now and over the years i have put more weight and pressure on my right knee and now my right knee is giving me a lot of problems , can i file for disability fot my right knee nowbecause my left knee has caused this problems and have aritisi on both knees

  65. Dan Nightenglae July 7, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I just retired on 01 DEC 10. I completed my VA appointments for BDD in NOV 10. My offical claim date is 1 DEC 10. I received delay letters in April and June. I check eBenefits regularly and it indicates my claim is in the decision phase. It has been in that phase since 1 DEC 10.

    I would like to ask what is the current percentage of veterans under the BDD program that have actually received their rating within 30-60 days after their discharge.

    This is pitiful!!

    Thank you for your time.

    Dan Nightengale
    Fort Knox, Kentucky

  66. w nelson July 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    what percentage of disiability will you get for pseudofolliculitis barba

  67. dana k June 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I filed my claim back in February 2011 for an increase in my disability level. My original claim was approved back in 1993 for patellofemoral syndrome in both right and left leg. I am now suffering from increased issues that now include my entire spine. (I fell off a rooftop during a training exercise in basic training that initially hurt my legs. It is well within reason to see that a fall of any kind, would cause shock and damage to the spine that was not present at the time of the initial injuries and treatment phases. ie…arthritis forming in the knees years later would relate to the initial claim) As of 06/25/11 my file shows in discovery phase 1, they say they have done an MES (what is that?) and also that I should fill out va form 21-8940 veteran application for increased compensation for unemployability and also to have my employer fill out va form 21-4192 request for employment information. this is on the Benefits website under my pending claim. Are they sending me these forms via mail or must I print them myself? Do I send the employment for to my last employer or are they mailing that form? It is hard because the website doesn’t make for easy communication, nor do they send letters out to advise of where the claim stands….Do I need representation for this whole claim? I have filed all the information I had on file from my doctors showing the many surgeries I have had, altogether 4.75 lbs of paperwork were mailed in to the VA. What more do I need to provide them? My surgeon has sent paperwork to them and is willing to provide whatever else is needed. Do they go back and contact the other doctors involved and request information? At what point do they status me on what they have or haven’t received? I thank you so much for your help and expertise. I also appreciate your service to the country and to the veterans who have defended the country. If not for folks like you, we’d be lost in a sea of paperwork and websites…

    • dana k June 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      received a call today from Veteran’s Evaluation Services about veriying my address. I asked the caller what this concerned, she told me they would be mailing an appt slip for me to see a doctor about my claim that my knee condition prevents me from working. I do have issues with my legs below the knee, but I filed to have my claim reviewed about spinal issues that arose after my service and which I believe are related to my initial claim which overed my knees (patellofemoral syndrome.)
      What is going on with my claim?

    • dana k June 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      my claim is being handled by the Waco VA. Are you going to refer my ?’s to someone there?

  68. arley ash 1014 June 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

    i first filed a claim in 1970s. never heard squat from them then re applied in 1997 approved in 6 mos 100% ptsd. filed for back pay i think ive got four evidence . then my last decision say they have all the evidence to adjucate my cliam. (undisputable evidence) BUT their dening it because of the law????? you know the 1 year law to appeal. and i say when a person hase ptsd the courts should shoe mercy. instead of making up laws to cheat the defender of this great country out of the compansation we were promised when drafted into the service. OH the va lost my records from la jolla vamc. i read about the va destroying records from the 70s something to do with the privacy act?? arims 35-200-2 ??

  69. Tony June 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I filed my original claim in 1989 for my hearing loss. I have total hearing loss in my right ear and bi-lateral hearing loss in the left ear. I went to the VA hospital last year to get an exam becuase my hearing is getting worse since I have only one ear to hear with and that seems to happen over time. In the letter that I recieved from the Phoenix Regional office was that in my file there was no documentation that I went to the doctor while on active duty for hearing loss. Luckily for me I listened to my sargent that told me to make sure to make copies of ALL of my medical records becuase when I would make my claim that first thing they will say (VA) that there is no medical records to collabarate my hearing loss. And sure as HELL that has happened. So I sent them the copies three times becuase each time I sent them to the VA regional office they would send me a letter that they have not recieved them. Not until I threatened to get an attorney they finally acknowledged recieving them. I originally refiled for the claim in May of 2010 and it has been waiting to be rated for over six months now. I filled out a document for non-employability and they stated that they needed to send a letter to my previous employer and that was done back in March of 2010. I then notified them that the employer went bankrupt and that is probably why they did not respond. I have had my congressman and senator call to ask what the hold is and they stated they do not have the time to rate it since they have priority for Agent Orange vets and that everybody else will have to wait. That there is no time when they will get to it but it will take awhile. There is exceptions and if you qualify for it then you can be placed in front and it would be rated. I qualified and they went to rated it when again the issue of notifing my ex-employer came up again that they need to notify them again even though I told them they filed for BK. They have waited for months and they did not send out another letter for a second request and they are supposed to do and now that I have pressed they give this to me as why they can not rated. So now they have to send a second request (which by the way they still have not sent it). I asked myself what the HELL do you guys think that we just are waiting around until you guys feel or want to finish the claim. YOU MUST REMEMBER YOU WORK FOR US AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND, IT IS OUR TAX DOLLARS THAT PAYS FOR YOUR SALARY AND MAYBE WE SHOULD MAKE IT THAT IF YOU DO NOT DO YOUR JOB THEN YOU SHOULD NOT GET PAID. THAT SHOULD START FROM THE TOP ON DOWN THEN MAYBE YOU WOULD BE RUSHING THE RATORS TO GET BUSY. I now have Senator McCain and Congressman Grijalva’s office looking into this and I will not stop until YOUR INCOMPETENCE EMPLOYEES DO THEIR JOB. It has been over a year since I started this and there is no excuse for it to take this long NONE.

  70. Tony June 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I filed my original claim in 1989 for my hearing loss. I have total hearing loss in my right ear and bi-lateral hearing loss in the left ear. I went to the VA hospital last year to get an exam becuase my hearing is getting worse since I have only one ear to hear with and that seems to happen over time. In the letter that I recieved from the Phoenix Regional office was that in my file there was no documentation that I went to the doctor while on active duty for hearing loss. Luckily for me I listened to my sargent that told me to make sure to make copies of ALL of my medical records becuase when I would make my claim that first thing they will say (VA) that there is no medical records to collabarate my hearing loss. And sure as HELL that has happened. So I sent them the copies three times becuase each time I sent them to the VA regional office they would send me a letter that they have not recieved them. Not until I threatened to get an attorney they finally acknowledged recieving them. I originally refiled for the claim in May of 2010 and it has been waiting to be rated for over six months now. I filled out a document for non-employability and they stated that they needed to send a letter to my previous employer and that was done back in March of 2010. I then notified them that the employer went bankrupt and that is probably why they did not respond. I have had my congressman and senator call to ask what the hold is and they stated they do not have the time to rate it since they have priority for Agent Orange vets and that everybody else will have to wait. That there is no time when they will get to it but it will take awhile. There is exceptions and if you qualify for it then you can be placed in front and it would be rated. I qualified and they went to rated it when again the issue of notifing my ex-employer came up again that they need to notify them again even though I told them they filed for BK. They have waited for months and they did not send out another letter for a second request and they are supposed to do and now that I have pressed they give this to me as why they can not rated. So now they have to send a second request (which by the way they still have not sent it). I asked myself what the HELL do you guys think that we just are waiting around until you guys feel or want to finish the claim. YOU MUST REMEMBER YOU WORK FOR US AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND, IT IS OUR TAX DOLLARS THAT PAYS FOR YOUR SALARY AND MAYBE WE SHOULD MAKE IT THAT IF YOU DO NOT DO YOUR JOB THEN YOU SHOULD NOT GET PAID. THAT SHOULD START FROM THE TOP ON DOWN THEN MAYBE YOU WOULD BE RUSHING THE RATORS TO GET BUSY. I now have Senator McCain and Congressman Grijalva’s office looking into this and I will not stop until YOUR INCOMPETENCE EMPLOYEES DO THEIR JOB. It has been over a year since I started this and there is no excuse for it to take this long NONE. I work for DoD and I wish I could say that to our customers that they will have to wait until I”m good and ready to HELP THEM.

  71. Bryon June 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Ok my question is simple in my opinion. I went to the VA hospital to see if i could get help for some attention problems i was having they diagnosed me with ADD and started me on medication. Well a year and a half later with no reaction to any of the medications they prescribed my psychiatrist asked me about my sleeping habits. After a through discussion she suggested i be tested for sleep apnea. Much later after my sleep study i was told that i did indeed have sleep apnea. They also told me it was most likely the reason none of my medications were effective, or possibly causing my ADD symptoms. Now i never remember having any of the problems i have now, like waking up in the middle of the night, always feeling tired etc. before my time in the service. I never had a sleep study when i was active and i did not get a physical leaving the army. I did however see a mental health specialist for attention and anxiety near the end of my enlistment. Now I was told by a VA employee that i should file for compensation but I don’t want to waist the VA’s time if it’s a pointless endeavor. So I just wanted to know what someone else at the VA thought about my situation and if I should file and, if it’s likely that I would receive compensation?

  72. Lawrence June 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    HOw far back does one get for a service discharge disability that he should of been comp for when he was discharge and didnt know it. I still suffer from PFP the shaving condition tha affect black men.

  73. Dan Yoshida June 20, 2011 at 3:14 am

    I am 100% diabled and receive compensation for it. I heard about addtional compenstion example: PTSD 100% with sleep aphnea apparatus which is secondary condition to my PTSD. I was informed that if I file a claim for the this condition with the VA and with a doctor’s note I would be given addtional compenation which will be catagorized as 100% K. Also heard from VA psychiatrist that there is a 100% R. Does anyone know about the K & R or have information regarding this addtional compensation? i.e. Catagories such as 100% A, B, C, D….etc??????

    • James a October 18, 2011 at 2:12 am

      usmc infantry squad leader 5 yrs i just got out may 27th it is now october 17th multiple deployments i claimed for sleep apnea with a machine got it when i was still in the corp tinitus, ringing in my ears, knee surgery, back injury that was a result of deployment and also severe ptsd i went to all my appointments gave them everything from my whole medical record to phychaitrist i was seeing while in like i said it has been almost 6 months how long did it take you for ur claim to go thru and since you rate 100% and what do you think i can expect ? thanks

  74. Nailah Baderinwa June 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    In reply to the individual who says we Veterans are whiners… I am a Female Vietnam Era Veteran (yes, and females volunteer) who has been fighting with the VA for 37 years trying to get my just compensation, all the while dealing with records that weren’t kept ( in the 70’s females really didn’t count in the military) trying to get compensation for military sexual trauma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and diabetes (of which there was NO TREATMENT FOR IN THE 70’s), getting medical opinions from VA DOCTORS who opined more likely than not the incidents happened (in the 70’s females being sexually assaulted didn’t matter) and STILL being denied because of “constituionally developmental” and pre-existing before military service, even though “anything that manifests itself within one year of discharge is considered serivce connected” and no treatment was done while on active duty (which lead to diabetes diagnosis in 2009). WELL, TODAY I HAVE DECIDED TO BE A REOCCURRING NIGHTMARE TO THE VA.

  75. Sal Med June 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Dear, Thomas Pamperin
    My name is Sal Med (abbreviation of Name) Last four 0725 and am asking for your help. Can you please take a look at my case that is in the Houston, Texas Regional office?
    Thanks in Advance,

  76. jeremy June 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I have been out for 4 years. I have a permanent profile for (meralgia paresthetica) and it was denied as not service connected disability. How should I pesewa this further?

  77. Ken prichard 377th SPS K9 June 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    I have been on 100% disability since Jun1/01. It was easy to get because I did my homework prior to going for it. I also got SSD, in one try. I am not bragging, I would gladly give it all back if I weren’t sick.
    I have helped many vets get what is coming to them. I find that they need help and hand holding during the process. Attitude is a big thing, you must have a positive attitude, you must know how to tie your problem to the service, and you must have tenacity. If all else fails contact your Congressman’s vet will be surprised how well that works. The other thing is to appreciate and expect the help you will get and do not give up or accept waiting a long time…call your congressman. What do you have to lose.

  78. Richard a Felty June 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I have read the same stories coming from the veterans from the Nam era. “Wait til they die ” is the logo of those who get paid and sit on their butts and could care less. What does it take ? For us to get Senator Patty Murray on their ass. For all of us to go to the Directors of each VA office and twist his arm unil he signs them Or better still realistically, ALL THE VIET NAM VETERANS stage a Protest against the V A on the steps of the WHITEHOUSE and capitols of each state and not leave until we get media coverage local news CBS ABC NBC and let our voices be heard, and see what we look like now after we gave this country our innocence, our adolesence, our youth ? Each one of us wrote a blank check to the government of the United States willing to give our life for this country and now they, the government renigs on us. Are they also going to renig on the veterans of TODAY AND TOMORROW WITH LIES,DECEPTION, COVER UPS, RED TAPE AND BOGGING DOWN PAPERWORK ? THE V. A. ACTS LIKE THEY ANSWER TO NO ONE…..WE VETERANS NEED TO SHOW THEM OTHERWISE !!!! I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BAND TOGETHER AS A BAND OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND FIGHT THE VERY INFLUENCE THAT KEEPS PUTTING US DOWN !!

  79. Richard a Felty June 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Tom…I am a Viet Nam Veteran that served from ’64-’87. I was from Phu Quoc Island, Da Nang, Can Ranh Bay, Mekong River Delta, I was on various ships and river patrol craft. Was part of a Battle Group that waited off the coast of Haiphong Harbor to air raid and bombard Hanoi and Haiphong when Se. McCain was in Ho Lo prison there . If the rescue was a success we were to deploy and bombard. Due to bad intel they had moved Mc Cain and the others.
    That was in North Viet Nam. I was also in North Viet Nam when we were shot at with 47 rocket rounds and one hit the ship and that was in the area of Dong Hoi / Dong Ha North Viet Nam.

    I filed a claim in 1988 for my hearing loss from Naval Gunfire Support. Not until last year after the investigation of the V.A. did the Nam veterans find out that our claims were s*** canned because the woman at the top thought she had Carte Blanch and was giving employees bonus’s NOT to file veterans claims. So, now she is gone, we and I have refiled for PTSD and hearing loss both supported by the VA medical clinic, and the VA’s own clinics. This was in last July of 2010. My claim has been sitting in a basket waiting for rating approval at the final stage since December. I keep reading ” we will have it completed in 6 months” I am working on month number 11. I’M TIRED OF BEING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST BECAUSE OF DESERT STORM, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, and who knows…now maybe Libya. I FEEL I “SHOULD” BE PAID BACK TO 988 OF THE ORIGINAL CLAIM. Just exactly what does it take to get Seattle VA off their butts and get it done ???

    Tom can you dig into this and shake some answers ?

    Thank you

  80. Eric Robinson June 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    First, thank you to all the veterans out there who volunteered to serve in the military. Secondly, I’d like to say thank you for this informative and eye opening blog. I knew the VA had issues adjudicating claims, but wasn’t aware it was so widespread with so many others experiencing the same issues as I have encountered.

    When I left the service I never fathomed I would file a claim for anything with the VA. I felt there were others who were more deserving than me and that I could deal with my problems myself. Well…turns out I wasnt the superman I imagined myself to be and eventually I filed a claim.

    Currently I am rated at 40 percent for knee and shoulder problems. Took almost 2 years to get that rating. Seemed like every time I submitted the evidence they requested, a month later I’d get another letter requesting something different. What really irked me was why couldn’t they ask me for all the information at one time instead of milking the process along? I had each and every piece of information they requested. Sometimes they’d ask me for the same info again a second or third time! Well, in the end that claim was approved and they paid me retroactively from the initial claim. But why did it take almost 2 years to process? It was a simple cut and dry claim.

    Now since then I have filed another claim that I feel is well substantiated too. All my exams, treatments and evaluations have been done at the VA hospital or clinic. I keep giving the regional office all the requested information and I just had another C&P exam in February for this claim as it too has been going on for over 2 years. I thought they’d be close to making a determination by now, but nope. I got another letter requesting more information that they could have asked for a year ago. I’m starting to believe that all this is done to keep delaying claims.

    I don’t want to believe that, but it they were not the VA Regional Offices would make sure they ask for all pertinent information to adjudicate the claim right away. Not asking for something new after each time you send them what they asked for in the previous letter. For example in one letter they ask.. “Please send us information on the medals you have received in service” Ok…off it goes. Then another letter comes… “Please send us copies of your orders in regards to mission X” Ok…off that goes. THen another letter comes asking for something else. I mean…come on.

    Another thing that really irkes me is how they keep asking for medical information and each time I keep refering them to get my medical information from the Denver VA Hospital and the Pueblo VA outpatient clinic. I am at either one of those two places once a week for treatment or exams. Are you telling me the regional offices cannot see that?

    Now, I am happy that I am able to receive treatment and I am thankful that there is somewhat of a system in place to assist the veterans. But I am disappointed in how it does not work well. I am hoping I am at the last stage in this current open claim I have. I actually went to the Denver regional office today to verify myself for access to the ebenefits and to follow up with my claim. Right now it’s awaiting further documentation….which I gave them there on the spot. So, fingers crossed I don’t get another letter next month asking for something else. :P

    All I can say to all my brothers and sisters out there is don’t give up.


  81. chad joseph June 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    “Thirty percent of claims have taken longer than 125 days….” I’d say so. I’m already compensated at the rate of 30%, but the VA has employed every tactic, down to disappearing notes from a former VA doctor, Joseph Magliozzi, who diagnosed me with PTSD on December 1991/January 1992. The record of my visits to him still remain, but not his notes. He even wanted to hospitalize me for a study he was conducting on how PTSD affects men and woman differently. Professional Medical Associations have been even worse in not helping to find him. Probably wrongly assuming that I want to sue him or something. Other records have mysteriously vanished as well. The very records which were used to arrive at my present 30% disability rating. Specifically records attesting to the two (2) incidents of closed head injury at the same time that my present disability injuries/wounds were suffered. My MRI shows “hemosiderin and calcification of my bilateral globus pallidus” (NOTE: PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE of closed head/traumatic brain injury) VA Doctors attest to my
    history of closed head injuries- at age 19 and at 20 within 14 months of each other- but the VA has dragged this one for EIGHT (8)YEARS- count ’em- EIGHT YEARS. I think they are wanting me to DIE so they won’t have to increase my service-connected disability awards. This at a time when VA executives received FREAKING BONUSES for saving the VA money- read for DENYING BENEFITS TO VETERANS. Is it any wonder so many people go berserk and do strange stuff out of sheer frustration?! Who would ever think our OWN COUNTRY would be one of our biggest obstacles!

  82. chad joseph June 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    “Thirty percent of claims have taken longer than 125 days….” I’d say so.
    I’m already compensated at the rate of 30%, but the VA has employed every tactic, down to disappearing notes from a former VA doctor, Joseph Magliozzi, who diagnosed me with PTSD on December 1991/January 1992. The record of my visits to him still remain, but not his notes. He even wanted to hospitalize me for a study he was conducting on how PTSD affects men and woman differently. Professional Medical Associations have been even worse in not helping to find him. Probably wrongly assuming that I want to sue him or something. Other records have mysteriously vanished as well. The very records which were used to arrive at my present 30% disability rating. Specifically records attesting to the two (2) incidents of closed head injury at the same time that my present disability injuries/wounds were suffered. My MRI shows “hemosiderin and calcification of my bilateral globus pallidus” (NOTE: PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE of closed head/traumatic brain injury) VA Doctors attest to my
    history of closed head injuries- at age 19 and at 20 within 14 months of each other- but the VA has dragged this one for EIGHT (8)YEARS- count ’em- EIGHT YEARS. I think they are wanting me to DIE so they won’t have to increase my service-connected disability awards. This at a time when VA executives received FREAKING BONUSES for saving the VA money- read for DENYING BENEFITS TO VETERANS. Is it any wonder so many people go berserk and do strange stuff out of sheer frustration?! Who would ever think our OWN COUNTRY would be one of our biggest obstacles!

  83. Melissa June 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I have to say that after reading all these posts i am truly afraidof what lies ahead for me. I got out of the Army a while ago and have done my best not to apply for disabily as long as i could. But looking at these posts it looks like i should have applied as soon as i got out and i might be close to a decision by now. I feel for each and every veteran out there that has served their country in any capacity and now how to struggle to make ends meet. I often wonder what the governmnt expects people who are disable to do until “a decision” can be made. Last time i checked he grocery store or the electric company did not allow you to utilize their services until “a decision” is made. I wish each of you all the best of luck.

    • Angel June 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      I started my claim while on active duty and had everything finished before I started my PTAD and terminal leave. It took about 5 months to get anything back from the VA. I am now waiting for a claim for individual unemployable due to my disabilities. It has taken some time for that, but it was to be expected. I was told my initial claim would be complete in 6-8 weeks. I called the VA every 2 weeks after that 8 week period and explained the financial hardship my family was facing and my claim was approved shortly thereafter. I also contacted the DAV because I couldn’t get in touch with a rep at the regional VA office and the DAV contacted the VA for me and pushed the issue. Bottom line, there are thousands of veterans trying to get their claims taken care of and thousands of spouses/dependents trying to get their stuff taken care of, so be patient. If you are absolutely out of options and you need your claim done ASAP, contact a veteran’s group and ask for help. Or even call the VA and ask for help….the VA rep is the one that told me to do a letter for the financial hardship based on our conversation. They are really doing the best they can and I give them all a big KUDOS for the work they do and the attitudes they put up with daily. Thank-you!

  84. Christopher Debbas May 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I was once denied in a very painful way, but it’s always been in a painful way even though my side of the story was never fully explained. They told me that they didn’t care that I was schizo-affective. I was schizo-affective before I joined, while I joined, and will always be for the rest of my life. The pain I endured while I was in the navy will never be fully explained even though I will always go through some of it.
    They didn’t even mention the severity of my personality disorder which they definitely knew about; and diagnosed while I was in the military,(a form of anti-social and narcissism). among a lot of other problems. Plus now I’m finding out that obtained PTSD while in the service.
    I never got a chance to fight my Captain’s mast ten years ago, because of my grave and severe illness. Since I served I’m somehow surviving with even more mental illnesses than I obtained while I was in the military.
    I don’t know what to write for help with a discharge upgrade, and I desperately need the help and support of the VA just to be able to get through life and they can’t because of my discharge… other than honorable.
    I’m asking that someone please help. -Chris

    • chad joseph June 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Chris- Hey, thank you for serving. I would start with your Congressional Representative. If they care and are worth a darn, they will help you with that upgrade. Good luck to you, buddy. Hang in there, swabby!

  85. Miss DustyJo May 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you for your service, both in the past and today. Keep up the good work!
    This past Wednesday I visited my primary care physician at Fort Harrison, in Helena, Montana, and all I can say is that everyone, greeters, nurses, pharm staff, travel pay people, benefits advisors, physical therapists, and especially my doc, were exceptionally, professionally great. They treated me with respect, used all the resources at their disposal to try to help me, included me in the decision process of treatment for my medical issues, and through it all, their caring showed in everything they did.
    The VA has helped me and I really feel for my fellow vets who are having a hard time, truly and deeply…. yet, please know that there are good things being done too. For my fellow soldiers, I’ll be praying you find your way to a more positive experience so you can get the help you need.
    God Bless all of us.
    Don’t try to keep trying!!!

  86. Gary May 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Tom Thank you for your service in Viet Nam. I recently recieved a 30% for IHD from the Columbia SC RO and had a claim for back injury returned to development for the 2nd time, Also I applied of disability for exposure to agent orange ( C123 crewmember and slid around in agent orange on the airplanes) in Mar 92 and was denied. Any Idea why the claim did not go back to 1992 vs 2009 ?
    Thanks 2910

  87. Brian May 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Dear Mr. Pamperin

    I have a simple question I couldn’t get answered the other day after receving a call for another C&P at the Anchorage RO. I was repeatedly exposed to Sodium Dicroamte at Qarmat Ali and have had several Diganosios for lung problems by Va and private Dr’s that the VA sent me to. My question why another exam they know I was there and have a lung problem from my exposure.

    Thanks in advance. Last four (0132)

  88. Brooks Outland May 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I agree with Win Reither, Tom. Great advice! Wish I had received this advice when I retired back in 1973. I stumbled around on my own until I found a way to make contact with the VA. Long story shortened, I went to a VA doctor and requested a physical exam for the purpose of establishing a VA disability rating. The 3% rating offerred by the doctor who performed the discharge exam (which I flatly refused) was a joke. The VA doctor pronounced my service-connected disability as 60%. I dealt with the agony of post-operative surgery on my spine for several years, but gave into it and had to resign my position as a Civil Service Manpower Analyst (GS-11). After four years of mountains of paperwork, more physical exams and an officiel Appeal, the VA pronounced me to be “individually unemployable” and my rating was changed from 60% to 100% IU.

    My experience in dealing with the government caused me to take up the difficult task of a “grass roots” supporter of legislation affecting disabled veterans. My indivudual efforts on behalf of my fellow veterans brought me to an association with three other permanently disabled veterans who were fighting the same fight. That wee group of determined veterans worked voluntarily out of the website, which later evolved into a political action committee (VETSPAC) at

    There’s an old expression, “C-4 comes in small packages, but packs a helluva wallop!” That small group of four was very instrumental in getting our Federal Congress to pass a law which permitted veterans categorized 50% or higher (VA) to receive their earned retirement pay and their awarded VA disability compensation, concurrently.

    We have added these valuable “tips” in a link from the VETSPAC website. VETSPAC continues to assist our disabled veterans. I relocated to Hawaii about 4 years ago and I have found several issues that affect veterans way out here in the middle of the Pacific. I am presently working closely with state Senator Maile Shimabukuro on a bill which would provide an exemption of the annual vehicle weight tax for permanently disabled veterans(Senate Bill SB-103/House Bill HB-1501). Hopefully this bill will pass in the next session of the Legislature.

    Im also attempting to make it possible for our veterans who are patients at the Matsunago Clinic to receive their Beneficiary Travel Reimbursement on the day of their appointment. The system in use today requires a wait-time of four months or longer to receive payment of travel claims.

    I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with General Shinseki at a fund-raising dinner here in Hawaii. When he learned that I am a Korea and Vietnam War veteran, he started up a meaningful conversation. As you no doubt know, the General lost a foot in Vietnam. Before we broke away, he asked my wife Cathy if she would like a photo taken with him. Jaws were dropping all around us; no one anticipated his offer! The General handed me one of his Challange Coins and I gave him one of mine. We did not discuss VA problems, but I personally believe that he is making a great deal of headway in his effort to provide care to all veterans who seek VA assitance. He recently stated that with about 99K claims being filed each month, the task is formidable.

    Welcome home to all my fellow veterans. Patience is a worn our word, but that’s just what it takes when it comes to our earned benefits. Hang in there.

  89. Win Reither May 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Great advice, Tom. Hopefully, after today you can contribute to the Vetspac efforts to align veterans with credible assistance.

  90. arley ash 1014 May 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    tom pamperin sir i need help. the va cant find my records from early 1970s at la jolla vamc. please help bud

  91. arley ash 1014 May 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    thomas pamperin where can i find the files of an alchol and drug program @la jolla vamc in the early 1970s out-patient. the va cant seem to find them altho they paid me milage to go to the program.. i recieved 100% in 97 but my first claim was @la jolla in 70s. please help bud

  92. MIKE BEADLES May 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I have to constantly reminding myself to not to base my life by what I see.
    I so far I see my waiting period is getting really long.
    I’m now in the decision phase and my waiting time is now double the average.
    I’ve been out of work due to my disability 9 months now. I need the VA’s help more than soon.
    There are others Im sure with more troubles than mine. But I remember that it is God that will
    provide for me. I/we have to stand on this fact or we will live in disappointments.

    Now I’m speaking to the mountain… In Jesus name help is just around the bend.
    May God Bless all those that help us. God blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others.
    Faith is the currency of God.
    Love Mike DAV

  93. charles p. lamont May 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Mr John J. Jamason, welcome home,I am also a Vietnam Veteran I served 2 years in Vietnam. Reference your statement that you are also a Vietnam Veteran who also took part in the Vietnam War Games, weel I would Like to correct you on this. The war in vietnam was not a game is was real and if you think it was a game you can tell that to the family and friends of the over 58283 mem and women who die there. Now to Mr Tom Pamperin and Mr Alex Horton. I realize that you probably will not answer this email however I figued I would try anyway. I have written numerous messages on this sight and others, In my messages of 5, 17, 20 May 2011 I just asked for help an trying to get an answer on how long does will it take to complete my case. I have been working on this for almost three years and because some one in the VA can not
    read, my claim was denied 2 times which I file an appeal on both cases. As stated in one of my messages I stated that I haD MY C&P examination on 31 March 2011 and it is now 22 maym 2011 and I have not heard anything. If you do work for the Veterans administrion try and help the Vietnam Vetefrans befor they die.

  94. charles p. lamont May 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    To all you good people who say they will help you thanks for nothing. I am getting tired of hearing the same this over and over you have to be patient. I am a very proud veteran who gove almost 27 years in protecting my country on to be screwed by the veterans administration. I really wish that some one would answer my messages even to tell me to stick it in my butt. I love all my brothers and sisters who have put their lives on the line for their country, however I wonder how come all the other veteran get better treatment than the Vietnam Verteran. As you may already know that there is over 2500 Vietnam Veterans who die every day and never get their claims approved. I just wonder when my number will come up I know VA hopes I will give up or die befor they do anything besides disapprove my claim. I know that no body will answer this message so good by and bless all my brother and sister veterans.

    • Mark Chamberlain June 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      I know that Vietnam Veterans have had a tough time of it in the VA system, and thanks to the ones that stayed after the VA. It is because of there Law Suites that the VA had to start to step up to the plate. But if you look at it the real shame is that it is and was Vietnam Veterans that where in charge of different offices of the VA like Mr. Pamperin that you are fighting for your benefits from. The best thing to do is try to keep up with the changes in law, keep your paper work up to date, and keep filing when there is a change.

      • charles p. lamont July 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        To anyone out their that really has any respect for the veterans please help. There are so many Vietnam Veterans who really need help and the only thing we get is be paient VA is working on you case BS. The only thing that the VA cares about is collecting their pay checks and nothing else. When I go into the WEB sights and read some of the lies that my brother and sisters are given it really makes me sick. Thousands and thousands of my brothers and siter veterans write messages on this web sight and also other web sights and their questions are never answered. Only thing I ask of you is to do your jobs and quit complaing that you are working so hard and quit lieing to the Veterans. As you can see I am not affraid to put my name on my messages, whaT ELSE CAN THE VA DO TO ME. In closing God Bless all my Brother and Sister veterans.

  95. charles p. lamont May 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Why is it that everybody makes so many promises and then when it comes the time to give you an answer you get the same thing “YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT”.
    Well to be honest I have ran out of patients I have come to the conclusion that the united states and the Veteran administration does not give a s**t about the veteran. I know that this message will not be answered however I have to voice my feelings. I would rather someone say that they cannot help me so I can go someplace else. Even writing the President, vise President, secretary of Veterans Affairs, California Veteran Administration, congress, and senators does not help, it only increases the frustration and anger which fires up my PTSD. If you people are not working for the Veterans administration please give me some names so I can complain to them. Myself and many other Vietnam Veterans are tired of being treated like second class citizens at the bottom of the disability pole.

  96. George May 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I filed for PTSD based on combat in Vietnam. I received no individual awards. The C&P psych as much as said I was lying even though I had all the dots connected to a specific ground action in which we killed 100+ NVA sappers and were on the brink of being over run. I received an SC for PTSD 1 year after filing. I am filing a NOD as I believe it should be higher, but I am very satisfied with what the V.A. has done, is doing and I’m sure will continue to do. I’d like to give a BZ for the hard workers at the VA. People suck, you only hear complaints and not “atta boys”. I did what I had to do and they are treating me fair. Well, except for that C&P assshole…..

  97. gary May 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I am SC 30 % ( 10% for pelvis FX and 20% cervical injury ) I have had headaches/migraines since my cervical injury. this happened while on active duty in South Korea. I have a long history with the VA treating my headaches under mt SC cervical injury. I was recently told to apply for Migraines. I have received my medical records from the Va. what should I do to help myself give them the info they would need? and what are my chances?

  98. Lucas Berard May 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

    WOW…a lot of info here!! It is nice to see some personal attention being paid to vet concerns!

    Quick question. This may have been covered earlier, but I simply don’t have the time to go through each individual post on here. I apologize if this has been asked previously.

    I have received my VCAA letter. in the letter, they show that they have a copy of my VA records, which is great, due to the majority of my care regarding my claim has been through them. However, they do not say that they have any of my military treatment records. I have a copy of these records, so should I send that information with my response to the VCAA letter? If so, should I send only the pages that show evidence of the condition, or the entire record?

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to answer the concerns posted on here.