Working at one of the Big Six Veteran Service Organizations taught me a few things about VA. First, the regional offices that process compensation claims are not equal, some are more consistent. But the most important thing I learned during my three years representing Veterans who filed appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals is this: NO CLAIM IS THE SAME. I learned while some claims may appear similar, little variances in each make all the difference.

The Veterans Benefits Administration’s Transformation Plan is change of giant proportions. We’ve tested and measured more than 40 initiatives that are in some phase of implementation. Each initiative falls into one of three categories: people, process, or technology. It’s not enough to change only our processes, update technology, or only change the way we train our employees. VBA Transformation must take place across all three fronts.

Segmented Lanes is one of our new processes that we have implemented at 16 regional offices. The rest of our regional offices get Segmented Lanes throughout 2013. When you file a claim or send evidence to support your claim, our Intake Processing Centers sort it into one of three Segmented Lanes: Express, Core, or Special Operations. This allows VBA to identify at the earliest possible point any Veteran who requires expedited handling, such as a Veteran experiencing financial hardship, a homeless Veteran, a Veteran over the age of 75 or a Veteran who has a terminal illness.

For the rest of us, Segmented Lanes helps get our claims processed faster, in the hands of the right processor, increases accuracy and standardizes the process across all regional offices. This means that the process at the New Orleans Regional Office is the exact same process at the Salt Lake City Regional Office.

The lanes break down like this:

  • Express Lane: claims that have one or two contentions, or fully developed claims (an example would be if a Veteran files for an increase in compensation for a back issue and is also seeking to have her left hip condition service connected)
  • Core Lane: claims that have three or more contentions, or any claim that does not meet the criteria for Express or Special Operations.
  • Special Operations: All claims that require special handling because of their nature (examples are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with Military Sexual Trauma, former Prisoners of War, Traumatic Brain Injury).

Each lane has dedicated claims processors whose skills and expertise match the lane to which they are assigned. This is how VA will process claims more quickly and more accurately. While no claim is the same, certain aspects of processing are alike, so if you work similar claims the process naturally speeds up and quality increases. When I worked at the Board, I often worked several claims in a row for disorders that resulted from a Military Sexual Trauma because some of the same regulations applied to those claims (like rating criteria), even though the claims themselves varied dramatically. Not having to refer to different parts of the regulations saved time, but I also became really good at claims resulting from MST. If I worked at a regional office today, I would probably be in the Special Operations lane.

Another way the lanes are ensuring speed and quality is through our Fully Developed Claims program. FDCs are claims where the Veteran certifies at the time they submit the claim that he or she has provided all evidence. That certification allows VA to move forward without waiting the mandatory waiting period for the Veteran to submit evidence. Veterans can file an informal claim stating they intend to file a claim for benefits using FDC to preserve an effective date and allow them time to collect evidence. We have assigned these claims to the Express lane, allowing FDC claims to be determined in an average of 100 days.

Veteran Service Organizations are available to help Veterans, their families and survivors file claims using both the traditional process and the Fully Developed Claims process. They provide this service regardless of whether you are a member. Let them help you.

Segmented Lanes is just one part of our Transformation and as such and it alone will not eliminate the backlog. But collectively, the initiatives will give VA the ability to process all claims within 125 days at 98 percent quality in 2015.

Cat Trombley is a communications specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration. Prior to working for VA, she was an assistant director with one of the Veteran Service Organizations and represented Veterans before the Board of Veteran Appeals. She is also an Air Force Veteran.

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Published on Jul. 12, 2012

Estimated reading time is 3.9 min.

Views to date: 367

229 Comments

  1. spouse of a veteran August 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Catherine , you had a guest post dated Aug.1,2012
    TOPIC: GETTING YOUR CLAIM PROCESSED FAVORABLY AND QUICKLY: some helpful hints. I thought there was very good information for veterans trying to submitt there claims in the fastest and most accurate way possible but for some reason your guest post is no longer there. It just dissappeared after you posting it for like 5minutes. Thank god i copied and pasted it , so i can share it with others. I just dont understand why its not on here anymore?????? Some really strange things accure on this site.

  2. spouse of a veteran July 31, 2012 at 8:57 am

    William, thank you for your help.

  3. Sandra July 31, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I have been viewing the Monday Morning Workload Report….some of you may find it quite interesting, I sure did. My RO (Oakland) has the worst numbers. I was told by a supervisor at the Oakland RO, that they have the most claims. Upon review of the report I see that what they have the most of, are the most claims pending beyond 125 days.

    I sent an email today to Secretary Shinseki detailing my concerns. Will I get a response, probably not? I just feel he needs to know that all of this talk about adjudicating claims within 120 days is so bogus, at least when it comes to my RO.

    Here’s the link to the reports for 2012
    http://www.vba.va.gov/REPORTS/mmwr/index.asp

  4. spouse of a veteran July 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Can someone please help me out with a question i have please!!! It doesnt appear that Catherine is able to respond to these comments anymore for some reason, but if anyone out there can help me i would greatly appreciate it. How do you get a copy of this SOC(statement of the case)???? Its a summary of the file and all the evidence that has been considered to that point. We have never received a copy of anything from our appeal. And according to Ebenefits, it doesnt appear that all the documents show, so how do we know whats in the file??? Your help would mean alot. THANKS

    • william July 31, 2012 at 12:20 am

      spouse of a veteran,

      You need to go to your VA Regional Office and they will show you everything they have for you. If you need the address to your RO click on the link below. I hope this will help you.
      http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=3

  5. Sandra July 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Okay, so I make another visit yesterday to Oakland Regional to submit my marriage & birth certificates, and to check the status of my claim. Since my file is marked ‘Sensitive’ not just anyone can access it, I deal directly with a supervisor. This gets any documentation that I submit added to my file immediately, versus sitting in a pile awaiting a Clerks attention. According to the supervisor, my file is in line waiting to be rated, a process that can take several months. Imagine my astonishment at hearing ‘several months’. Oh, but mine shouldn’t take that long since it’s flagged FDC & hardship is what I’m told. Yet it could be a couple of months before I hear anything. I should just wait for an award letter. To say that I am beyond frustrated is an understatement. I was told that there are thousands of veterans waiting, my response was….I’m here about Sandra. The guy says, “so you’re only advocating for yourself?” My response, “you’re darn right, do I look like a VSO to be doing otherwise?” I pray that the ‘Segmented Lanes’ process works as intended by 2015. Files sit around and every 60 days you get a computer generated letter stating, “we’re still processing your claim”. An employee admitted that the letters are automatically sent, meaning that no one has touched your file per say. Someone in another post commented about employee’s receiving bonuses….yes, they do receive bonuses. One employee was terminated because he denied, denied & denied valid claims to keep his productivity bonuses coming. WE NEED HELP!!!

  6. Sandra July 26, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I submitted a Fully Developed Claim on February 6, 2012. The basis of my claim was medically unexplained chronic illnesses and conditions For Desert Storm Veterans. Attached to this claim was a medical opinion from my VA physician. I have been to the Oakland, CA Regional Office a total of 5 times in the last month. Each time I visit the office a discovery is made. Initially my file sat for more than a month waiting to go back to the C&P Dr. after a mental health exam. Both exams were done in the same clinic, hence no reason for the file to be in Oakland Regional. I was told two weeks later when I visited regional again, that the file wouldn’t go back until it came up for review. Once I informed them that I was fed up with this lack progress and intended to start writing letters, my file was forwarded to the clinic the same day and returned in 4 days. I visit regional again a week later to request hardship expediting by submitting an eviction notice, although my file was already marked ‘Expedite’. The VA is advertising the FDC program as adjudicating these claims in ninety days. All of my records, including service records are in there possession. I am currently at 172 days with eBenefits showing my status as, ‘Preparation for Decision’. So, you have two things that should expedite the claim with everything needed to make a decision and yet still no decision. What else can I do? I’m proud that I served my country, yet feel ashamed of the system that was created to care for veterans. I clearly understand the death/suicide rate for veterans with pending claims. This process is enough to drive someone to the brink. To my fellow veterans, DO NOT GIVE UP!!! The DAV has not done anything for me, I have advocated for myself to get to this point.

    • Juan July 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      I’m in the same situation

    • Bill Prevatt July 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Sandra, I am sorry to hear your issues and I feel your pain and frustration. Our lives are in the hands of people that truly don’t care how this affects our lives. I too am proud that I served my country, like most of us, but the process to get what we truly deserve is truly disheartening and pitiful that we have to go through these loops to prove our cases. I don’t think that the VA knows what “expedite” actually means. Yeah and the VA is stating that they are here to take care of our Veterans. Well you know what I say to that BS. If the VA was here to take care of us, then why has it been 165 months since my claim was submitted and I am still waiting? So needless to say, I feel your pain. I am sure that you have read the posts about contacting your congressman, but whatever you do, don’t even waste your time. Once again they don’t do anything for you. You get more information than what they get. If making a decision is that hard, then get people that are qualified to do the job and get these claims/appeals processed. Stop delaying them for years, it makes NO SENSE!!! Hang in there Sandra! I have to tell myself that daily b/c mine has been on-going for so long.

  7. Jennifer July 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I have been working on mine since 2008-2009… I was honorably discharged in may of 1993 having a baby in aug 1993, then optic neuritis in oct. 1993. I have since been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. All of my drs including Neuro and Neuro eye drs have all written letters stating that I had MS as far back as 1993 and that the optic neuritis was my first actual symptom. Well, va’s very own book of rules and regs state that if you have ANY symptOms of MS w/in 7 years of honorable discharge that it is automatic service connected…… Well I wish someone would come down to Montgomery, AL and explain that to them and while they are there explaining that maybe they could explain to them how to handle the paperwork properly!! And more importantly remind them that WE as VETERANS deserve a little respect….And a little politeness and patience would not hurt anyone!! Thanks!

    • Bill Prevatt July 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Jennifer, I understand your frustration and trust me I feel your pain!! Those that work at the VA RO don’t truly know how to have any respect, politeness or for that matter patience. I can say that also b/c whenever I would call it was like I was bothering that person on the other end of phone; God for bid they work! I am sure that Catherine will get with you, as she is very good at getting to our posts here. The Montgomery AL RO can’t be any worse than the Nashville RO. What is so hard to understand is why can’t every RO be on the same sheet of music and get things done the correct way in the first place, rather than passing the buck all the time? Hang in there Jennifer, my claim/appeal has been going on for the past 165 months. Honestly it should not have been going on this long b/c the BVA pretty much approved it but the Nashville RO just ignored what the BVA’s decision was. That is why I say the Montgomery office can’t be any worse then Nashville.

  8. PJ Allen July 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Catherine: I just wanted to say thank you for all the informative information you have provided to us on this blog. You explain things and make them on the most part easy to understand..I’m sure you won’t be keeping this blog up continually but while it is here , it has been a place where i find myself coming back over and over to read others comments and questions and waitng for your reply. I have made notes and copied and pasted information in case i need to use it in the future. I wish the VA would have a place where we felt we could get the answers we all need, i think it would go along way in solving alot of misunderstandings, so if you would pass that tip along , we would appreciate it, and we would like to nominate you to be head of it :-). I know we have our reps etc, out here, but let me tell you, it just isn’t the same and the answers we get are not always something we can take to the bank..Anyway, thanks again for your help! You are good at what you do!

    • concerned July 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

      I agree with you PJ and I would like to thank Catherine also. I havent seen any responses being answered in a couple days though. Catherine are you still going to continue to respond to these comments? I know your very busy but just wondering. The net is a great way to communicate because it will help not only the person commenting but alot of times it will effect others who might have similiar issues. I know i have had alot of questions answered by others comments and your replies.I also think it would be great to have a site for veterans to ask questions concerning them.

  9. EARLY July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    IAM 100 % and total and uib may been in 2yrs 4mos

  10. Roy July 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Catherine, i am 90% service connected at this time. And i have to under go a bypass surgery for 1 of my service connected dissability. God forbid if something was to happen to me from this surgery, would my wife still be entitled to this DIC if im not at 100% before the operation? Thank you for your help.

  11. Semper Fi July 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Quick question. I have 50% SC form neck and back issues. The VA had 1 contention remaining and that was headaches. I went on to my e benefits and see that it is highlighted in orange with several new contentions that need my attention. Of these contentions 1 has been diagnosided and awarded for. My claim now reads the following.

    Claim type:Admistrative Review – Gathering of eveidence. Has anyone seen this before??

    Thank you,

  12. Arville G. Lance Jr. July 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I filed August 2010 and still have not heard a thing. From time to time I get a note telling me they are still working on it.

  13. Sgt David Giezentanner (ret) July 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Catherine,
    Hi, very informative blog. I will be calling the 800 number to see if my claim can be expedited to due financial hardship. (I am permanently disable, with a 50 % retirement from the Army, no one I talk to can figure out the math on that part, either.) I started my claim Jan 2011, before leaving Germany. Should I transfer my claim from Tucson VA to the Phoenix RO? I don’t know when these new procedures will be implemented at the Tucson VA.
    Thank you for your help.

  14. Bill Prevatt July 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Now seeing as how VA is developing all these new processes to speed things up, why not look at this scernio. Lets say that a Veteran goes to Duke or UNC for medical treatment for a service connection disability. When the Veteran is seen at one of these facilities, why doesn’t VA have something set up to where they (VA) can access their data base to get the results of that appointment, rather than having to wait for an appointment with the VA that will probably take about 6 months to get in to see a VA doctor? Another one to look at is with the VA so overwhelmed with new claims/new patients why not let these service men and women go to an appointment with an outside provider, rather than wait to be seen by VA in 6 months to a year? It would truly speed the process up of getting new evidence to our files for the local RO to make their decisions. I mean if the Disabilities Questionaires are in place to be given to the outside providers, than why can’t their be something put in place to where us Veterans can be seen outside of VA in a more timely manner than having to wait months at a time to get an appointment to be seen at the VA? There are a few things that would happen. One it would cut down on the time frame a Veteran has to be seen for their disability. Two the Veteran is already paying for the health insurance so he/she can be seen by a private provider, so why spend the money for the Veteran to be seen at the VA when they are able to be seen outside for the same problem? Three the evidence can be submitted to the RO, a decision can be made provided the RO claims processor is doing their job by reviewing all evidence and the decision can be made which in turn if the Veteran does not agree, then he/she can request a DRO to review their file before requesting it to be sent to BVA. I honestly believe that if the segmented lanes are used correctly, there are skilled personal making the decisions by the evidence being submitted than it will cut down on the time. I also believe that if VA gives us the blessing to be seen by our private providers and that information is submitted than it will truly speed up the process as well. For example, lets say that a Veteran needs a sleep study. Instead of having to drive to Durham for that sleep study, why not authorize that Veteran to have a sleep study done close to where he/she lives. One travel pay doesn’t have to be reimbursed, secondly the Veteran doesn’t have to take off work for travel time and then the study, thirdly the Veteran can get in quicker at a local center rather than having to wait 3 or 4…

  15. LA July 21, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I’ve been waiting 12 years for my original claims. The first 4 1/2 years it was denied because the VA couldn’t even find my records, then when I dug them out, all they had to say was that I didn’t have a valid claim, because supposedly, my career field didn’t have any of the situations that I had claimed. Currently my original claim is sitting at the Appeal Board in Wash DC. Since then I filed another claim in September of 2011 for PTSD/MST, and have heard nothing. I’ve been a patient at a VA mental health facility for the last 2 years, and my doctor is the one who prompted me to file for the PTSD/MST, because she sees that I may never be able to hold down a real job. I didn’t choose for this to happen to me, I don’t choose to have severe anxiety attacks, I didn’t choose to be a homebody, and be afraid to go anywhere in public. It seems so unfair that a lot of us Vets chose to help Protect, and Defend our country, but our Country doesn’t help to Protect, and Defend us, when we need it the most.

  16. Michael Thomas July 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    This is a complete fabricatrion. It insults the intelligence of all veterans. What a pack of lies. I submitted my claim on 5/4/2011. That was over 14 months ago. According to my ebenefits page the estimated completetion date is somewhere between 2/15/2012 and 2/9/2013. Delaying the claim is already factored in. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  17. david m suchevich July 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I was told that there were not enough people to handle the claims. I have had my claim in a review status fro 2 and one-half years now with a unknown date for completion. I guess my doctor in Italy in or around 1974 that my ankle will freeze up by the time I am sixty which is only two years from now. Good luck to all.

  18. Wanda Brooks July 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    The claims process is entirely too long. No disabled veteran chooses to be disabled. I would much rather run and jump with my grandchildren but I can’t because of my knees. No veteran shold have to wait longer than 6 months to get a rating decision. Many of the people we;re talking about went to war for this country.
    I was once told when I called the 800 number that it takes New Orleans office an average of 6 months to longer than other regional offices to process a claim. Why?
    I am currently unemployed and was looking forward to using any additional money I got from increased compensation to tide me over until I got a job. Not gonna happen I see.

  19. RC July 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    PJ, it sounds to me that your husbands case should definetly be an emergency since he has numerous medical problems. They have to take extra procautions for all that or at least thats what i would think.

    • PJ Allen July 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you RC, it difinetly was an emergency as it was life threatening but some battles I have to leave in God’s hands…just life losing our son to AML leukemia, the VA does studies and don’t even count the death of my son..We spent thousands of dollars on his medical care and the va doesn’t even have someone to report such a thing to, and my daughter and two grandkids with brittle bone conditions also need to be counted……..that is all I ask, do a study and Count them!!! I am so sorry you are having so much trouble with your husband’s claims and hopefully you get an answer soon, as I can hear the desperation in your posts.. May God bless each and everyone of our veterans who served for our country and hopefully someday America will make sure that these veterans know that their country cares about them and really makes sure they feel like they COUNT!

  20. adam July 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Catherine,

    My main question is why does the DAV and representatives have the resources to contact the RO and inquire about the claim, but the Veteran cannot. To me, this seems unfair. Why should the VA create this border between the Veteran and the VA, and force the creation of an entire industry (authorized representatives) to follow these claims. I attemtped to be represented by one of the non-fee based reps, and received a good deal of run-around. Of course, I could hire and attorney, but why should I have to pay someone to follow my claim, and why should someone get paid (non-fee reps) to follow the claims for me. I am able to make a phone call, process paperwork, and interpret congessional law, why can I not call the person handling my claim to request a status, or at least someone in the same building. I know for a fact, that a person filing a claim for Social Security benefits can call the claims examiner directly for a status. Please explain why this disadvantage was created for the Veteran’s.

  21. Michael July 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I am sure Catherine did not realize how much feedback she would receive from this article. I am not sure there is anything at all that can be done. In the begining, I felt this process would not take longer than a year. Boy I was wrong. Now my claim has gone backwards in the process. My fellow Service Members, with so many of us in this process, we surely could have a big group to shout out and be heard by somebody.

  22. spouse of a veteran July 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I agree with you Selenda. My husband is a very sick service connected veteran .. I have also been trying really hard to be patient but I was always the healthy one, but i will say this, ever since we have had to deal with the va disability run around my health has gotten bad.. Man, when they say stress will kill you , i can see now why that is. I have never ever in my entire life and im 55, ever had to deal with this much b/s in my life. I have to somehow, someway continue to stay strong for my husband but im telling you, its getting harder and harder everyday. Ive informed my 20year old son, if something ever happens to your father and me, I wrote down the steps you need to follow/all the records and continue the VA fight for us. That will be when justice is done.

  23. Selenda Webb July 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I submitted a claim in June 2010; it was deferred and I was told to expect a reply by July 10, 2012 and all I have is an email stating that they are running behind and thanks for being patient. Wow! if I’m anymore patient I will end up in the hospital on the patient’s list

  24. George over July 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Fellow Veterans

    Thank you for your service,and sacrafice for all.I want to tell you that I have been on the appeals merry go round for a solid ten years now.It has been remanded many time since.Due to a negligent surgeon by the name of John Trader,I am unable to walk.He left three pieces of bark in my left ankle.I did apply last year for SSDI,and only took about 3-4 months.Yes I was awarded the SSDI claim.You call the 800 number,and get about the same thing.A form letter is read to you over the phone.I can never get a straight answer from them.I wish the best for all of you.Please do not give up.Continue the fight we have in all of us.

  25. RC July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Catherine, i just want to make sure my above comment didnt get lost in all these comments. You replied that i should STAY TUNED about one person from the VA telling me there is a new law implemented that appeals are taking 339days, then i call yesterday a va lady says noway its taking 3-5years. Thank you

    • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      RC,

      I remembered. However, no one I spoke to was aware of this law, which was what I thought. Appealing takes several years, they have to work in docket order.

  26. Lillian Nybo July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I already have a 60% SC and I applied for IU last October 2011. As of today, still no reply and worse yet, every time I call for an update(about once every 2 months) they tell me that there is no open claim for me on file, only to call or email me back later and apologize for “the mix up”. Something is very wrong with this system…… I am seriously considering calling my congressman about this matter, or better yet, making the info public knowledge about how they handle these claims.

    • Roy July 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Lillian, i was told by our rep. and someone from the VA call center recently that I/U’s are taking 2years to process, no matter what % your ratings currently are. Even if you provide them with documents from doctors stating your disability has gotten worse and unable to work. They say its still going to take 2years to process the i/u claim. I am currently at 90%. I could be wrong but im waiting for Catherine to respond to my comment above. Im sure she has several to respond to but she looks like she is responding ,so just keep looking for her response.

      • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Roy, your answer is up top. Lilian, let me get back to you on this. It concerns me that you have been repeatedly told there is no claim in the system.

  27. Juan July 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I have 2 claims since August/2007 recently went to travel board, now they saying that will be on bva and according to them it will be secure to another pile, I’m out of my savings for my mortgage, hurt on my job but they won’t be responsible because I was injure in the ARMY and the are not responsible, in other word I’m screw and I’ll be on the street thank you, usps and va.

    • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Juan,

      The Board will advance your case on the docket for financial hardship. Call your rep and request this or call the Board at 1-800-923-8387 Monday-Friday 9:00am-4:30pm (Eastern time zone) to see what to do. Typically, you need to send in late bills or an eviction notice.

      • Juan July 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm

        Thank you Catherine, I faxed all paper to my representative and the bva too, I’m in really bad shape. Thank you

  28. Roy July 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Catherine, i have a question you might be able to help me out with.I am currently 90% service connected disabled and its getting almost impossible for me to continue to hold down my job due to all my disabilities and meds that im on. All my symptoms are gettting worse. The doctors are doing everthing they can at this point. My rep said once i cant continue to work he will file unemployability for me. He also said due to all my conditions i have i will qualify. Im confused about why he told me that now since there is enourmous backlog of claims the I/U claims are taking a couple years to process even with all the medical evidence stating you cant work anymore due to your service connected disabilities. I am the only provider in my family. I cant wait 2years for this. I just want to make sure he is giving me accurate information because i would think the VA has all my records since i got the 90%, so the only thing i would have to provide is additional statement from one of my doctors stated im I/U, which all of them said they would provide for me. That seems a really longtime to get something approved. Would it speed up the process by filing a disability increase instead of the I/U which would most likely bring me to the 100% anyway. 2years is a long time to wait.

    • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Roy,
      It depends. (I feel like I am saying that a lot, but it really does). The way disability math works is this. Say you have four ratings, a 60%, a 30%, a 30% and a 10%. You start with 60, the highest and work your way to the lowest. 100-60=40 (you can only be 100% disabled). Then take the next highest rating. 30% of 40 is 12. (Add 12 to 60). 60+12=72. 100-72=28. 30% of 28 is 8.4. 72+8.4=80.4. (100-80.4=19.6). 10% of 20 is 2. 80+2=82. We round to the nearest 10, so 82 is an 80 percent.
      If you look at the math, you find that the higher overall evaluation you have, you need a large leap to hit 100 percent.

      If I were you, I would file increased ratings to include consideration for IU. Get the statement from your doctor saying you cannot work (and why, like its a safety hazard). If you run into financial trouble while the claim is pending, make sure you ask for expedited review. Also, if you file this claim, file a fully developed claim (http://benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/). these claims are getting processed in an average of 100 days because you do all the development (like get a dr. opinion and a medical records) and submit it at the time of your claim. Have your rep help you.

      • Roy July 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm

        Thank you Catherine for providing me with this information. I will get with my Rep. and show him this information. Hopefully he will know what this new FDC process is because 2 Years and 100 Days is a big difference.

      • Sandra August 2, 2012 at 12:05 am

        Hi Catherine, I submitted a Fully Development and my claim is currently at 177 days. My claim packet included; medical opinion (VA Physician). The RO was already had my service records, and my VA records are available electronically. The RO sent me a letter acknowledging my claim was being as a FDC. Whenever I visit the RO, I am told my claim is not a FDC; that is until I show the letter they sent. I recently submitted hardship documentation, yet still I wait.

        I see all of Secretary Shinseki’s media releases regarding speeding up claims, ending veterans homelessness and wonder whom does it apply to? I am trying to prevent my family from being homeless, and get the disability benefits that I feel I rightly deserve as a result of my service. What happens when the the veteran does everything right, yet the VA continues to fail to expedite your claim?

        Thank you,
        Sandra

  29. Michael July 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    My claim started in August of 2010. Still no answers. I have tried to call numerious times, and the answers I get is that it is being worked on, and that there is such a big back log. When you say 125 days, I think that is purely fictional, or someone up top stating that is how long the average is without knowing what actualy is going on. The numbers have to be made up. Possibly the numbers reported up the chain are not alltogether accurate. Perhaps the cases are put on hold, thus do not accumulate days.

    My main complaint is that one cannot contact the rating facilities directly. You have to go through the call centers which do not have all the information. They keep the rating centers (Oakland) a secret, and untouchable. I look at E-Benefits almost daily, and there is no updates. The documents that I have sent in do not show up on the web site. How do I know they have received all the documents that I have sent to them? Medical issues are on-going, and things change, especially since my claim was submitted almost two years ago. Do the rating offials routinely check in CPRS for updates?

    DAV is a joke. They do not care one bit about my concerns. You call them, and they will return your call in 3-5 days. Should you be busy, and not able to answer the phone you just missed your chance to speak with someone, and have to start the process all over again.

    I am so frustrated with the VA system. My whole future weighs in the ballance of the decision. I want to go obtain re-training in order to get employed in a job that will not stress my dissabilities. I have applied to a school, and have been accepted for a program. However the program is full time, and I cannot work while going to school. I may not be able to attend the schoool due to not knowing my claim status, or if I can survive without a job. I cannot do that until I know what the outcome of my rating. I fear so much that all the documentation that I have sent in will have not gotten to whom it has to get to, and my rating will not represent this information. I wish I could just call someone in the rating facility and go over all the issues to make sure they have all the documents. One time (over a year ago) when I called the VA call center, they informed me that the rating center was missing my DD214’s. Absolutely nobody initiated a call or a letter to me regarding the missing documents. I know for sure that I sent in all the DD214’s on my initial claim. So, if I had not called the VA call center, my claim would have been drasticly different without this information. Why can’t I…

  30. RC July 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Ok, i just got of the phone with someone at the VA regional office and i was trying to get the status on my appeal. I called a few months prior to get the status also and the gentleman told me there is a new law passed that all appeals will be done in 339days. He looked up my status and said mine is alittle over that, so I should be hearing something at anytime. Well its been over a month and nobody has called me . So i called again today and the lady said no that is a false statement and there is no proceeders in place to get appeals done in 339days. She told me it takes 3 to 5years for a appeal to be finished. NOW i will not except this. Can someone clarify if this 339days is correct or not. Please a reply would be greatly appreciated. ty

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      RC, I am going to look into this and get back to you. I want to make sure I am giving you accurate information and need to double check. Stay tuned…

      • RC July 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

        Thank you Catherine for trying to help me out. I am so confused and upset right now. When that lady on the phone today told me noway and then said 3 to 5years , yet the other man said 339days, common thats a huge difference. Yes i was kind of loud with my response i said someone is lieing and full of crap. She responded with i dont have to hear this good bye. You know with this kind of proceeder going on in the VA there are going to be alot of veterans who are suffering with PTSD worse off due to the lack of information people are providing them. I will stay tuned… Thanks again.

  31. Chris July 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I made the mistake of waiting till there was no other option for me, then it was a fight just to have then throw a scrap at me. When I refiled it NO answer or reply have I received except for “it is on their desk.” And do not expect a follow up email when you request information on line.

  32. spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

    So far there is one hundred comments on this topic and you look at all the other topics and you see 0 or 2. To me, there is one problem and one problem only, things are run very poorly and have been since day one… Now you say there is fast lanes…..There should be ONE lane and One lane only…… Do it right the first time…..Keep them all moving fast…….And honor these veterans and families with what they deserve….. There wouldnt be 980,000 backlog of claims if those would have been done to begin with…..Get a million employees if you have to and resolve this once and for all….This is not right and people see it loud and clear…..

    • PJ Allen July 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      One thing I don’t understand is why some regional offices have things that other regional offices don’t….seems to me ALL the veterans should have access to the same kind of treatment…and another that frustrates me is that thre is NO emergency room care for veterans in all parts of the country….my husband is very ill and if he has an emergency it better be betwwen 8-4 M thru F or we end up having to foot the emergency room bill even though my husband is 100% and it is an emergency, even if the 24 hr nurse on call sends him to the hospital….ALL veterans should have access to 24 hour care and not be afraid to go to the ER because of getting stuck with the bill….and yes we can send in a letter of disagreement, Ha! and wait and wait months and months with no answer….the va knows if they wait long enough, and it turned in on the veterans credit report, maybe they will give up and pay it themself. Sad…Sad… Sad!!!

      • spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        Catherine, can you clarify this, I think if it is a true emergency, they can seek help at the closest ER possible. It doesnt matter if its a va hospitol are not. Example, if your husband is having a heart attack, they wouldnt expect you to drive to a va hospitol. Also if emergency surgery is needed and the VA cant provide it at that time, they will tell you to seek out the surgery in the private sector. That is what our rep has told us. but who knows, they all say something different.

        • PJ Allen July 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

          Spouse, in our case it was a blood clot in his leg, the lab proved it, i had pictures that his leg had swelled double with a camera date on the picture, the 24 hr nurse told us to go to the nearest hospital, his pulse was in the low 40’s, his bld pressure was crazy, and his sugar number was thruough the roof, not to mention his bnp number and lot of other labs were elevated, white blood cells messed up.., he required Lovenox shots to dissolve the clot….His vascular is service connected….Yet the va said it wasn’t an emergency ???? we did file a notice of disagreement but when the creditors came after us , we finally had to cave in and start paying….and that disagreement was filed a year ago……than God though he survived it, it’s just i live in constant fear of what to do when it isn’t 8-4 M-F and another emergency occurs… of course his life is of the utmost importance and i will of course get him help but it’s just the stress of it all. Thanks for your help though.

          • PJ Allen July 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

            I can’t believe it but today in the mail we got a letter from the va and they have agreed to pay the cat scan done at the ER visit that i spoke of above..the one we had filed a letter of disagreement on a year ago…..so if they paid for the cat scan done that night at the ER, they surely will pay for the ER Room and the ER doctor from that night…It shows that by paying for the cat scan done that night, they admitted they were liable !!!!!!!! Wonder how long it is before i hear about the rest of the bill? There is hope!

      • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm

        This is incorrect. According to 38 U.S Code, section 1728, VA may reimburse Veterans for hospital emergency care where the treatment was rendered for: (1) an adjudicated service-connected disability; (2) a non-service connected disability associated with, or aggravated by a service-connected disability; (3) any disability of a Veteran who is 100 percent service connected and (4) any illness, injury or dental emergency of a Veteran enrolled in VA Vocational Rehabilitation and employment.

        That said, here are a few tips should you need to use this: If VA is open, go there. Ensure you doctors at the private ER call the VA and notify them the Veteran is there and that s/he is moved when s/he is stable. If s/he cannot move because VA does not have beds get it in writing.

        So PJ, your Veteran is 100 percent, therefore if there is an emergency and your VA is closed, s/he can go to the ER.

        • PJ Allen July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

          Thank you Catherine for your reply, and i hope it will work out that way, the above past ER visit my husband experienced was indeed an emergency and I had the proof….but the VA denied it saying it wasn’t an emergency, and that is where the fight begins…..the above Code gives me no comfort when i feel the VA will determine that my husband didn’t have emergency because he didn’t have a hrt attack and maybe put on life support etc. although a blood clot is pretty serious stuff. If the VA ever answers my letter of disagreement, and if they still disagree, i know we can go to court…..the problem comes that i have enough stress and it is hard to deal with. Anyway, hopefully in the future, we can get him the care, it’s just who determines how bad an emergency is an emergency. Thanks though for your insight.

          • spouse of a veteran July 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm

            PJ, when your husband went to the ER, did the hospitol admit him or was this done as a ER out patient proceedor??? If they admitted him , i would say that in its self should be enough evidence to prove it was truely an emergency. Hospitols will not admit you if there isnt something really bad going on. If it wasnt an emergency they would have just treated him and release him. Like for instance my husband went to the ER for a kidney stone, so one would think thats not an Emergency but it was because he wasnt pacing it and in alot of pain, it was lodged up, so they had to admitt him and do surgery the following day to remove it.

      • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

        PJ,

        We have to phase in the implementation systematically. We are completely revolutionizing the way we do things. Change of that magnitude takes time, but more importantly, if we did it all at once, production on claims would fall dramatically. By using a phased-in approach we can measure and adjust, if needed at the remaining ROs. There is a whole Organizational Change Management Plan in place to ensure our employees are prepared for this change.

  33. c j July 18, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I’am a widow of a vetnaim vet. sorry about the spelling. my wonderfull husband passed away 7 month’s ago. i’m appling for dic. but i’m still getting the run around. why cant they have something out there now that help’s pay the bill’s even for just a little bit.our bills don’t stop coming in.this is so wrong. we had a little saved up . but now the funds are getting low.especial with nothing coming in. would it hurt my chance’s of getting or delaying my dic, if i tried to find a job.

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      No, you can work while receiving DIC. If you are experiencing financial issues, ask the RO to expedite your claim due to hardship. Also, work with a VSO or CVSO, they can be your eyes and ears inside the RO. I am sorry for your loss.

  34. PJ Allen July 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Catherine: I wrote you a question up above asking you about whether a veteran should continue to file for increases after they have reached 100%, please could you look for that question above, sorry i wasn’t sure where to put my question to you…I also wanted to ask you if you would have any idea where I could get some information….My son died from Acute Myloid Leukemia,,,,I understand there were studies done that placed a possible connection between AML and Viet Nam Veteran’s children..My son’s father served in Viet Nam and is now 100% service connected….I would just like some answers, nobody ever included my son’s death in any of these studies….My son died in 1997 and i understand studies were done starting in 1999, but nobody ever ask us if my son’s father served in vietnam…no connection was ever made….I would just like some answers, if studies are still being done, i don’t even know who to contact…Is there anything you have ever heard or would you know who i could contact for information? Thank-you for your time.

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      PJ, I am sorry for your loss. As a mother, I cannot even begin to imagine…
      I answered you previous question (my comments have to go through moderation too). As to your question the only condition considered presumed for children of male veterans exposed to AO is spina bifida. You can find more info here http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/benefits_children.asp. That said, a presumption list is just that. Other illnesses may have been caused by AO, but you would need a doctor to state that your husband’s exposure caused your son’s illnes. As for studies, I have not seen any, but I suggest looking to NIH.

      • PJ Allen July 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        thank you Catherine: I found the study report at VA.Gov at first , then i googled it and lots of stuff came up about the suspected connection of AML in children and Viet Nam Vets exposed to Agent Orange…I contacted an agency in Washington DC that confirmed for me that they had done a study back then and a couple after that but that presently studies are only done by volunteers…I have to say that angers me, but that is another story…Yes i know the only approved disease in children in Spina Bifida in VietNam mothers ?????? but my husband is 100% with 100% unemployability and he only fathered two children, one a son died at 14 with AML and our daughter and two of her children has a brittle bone condition and there has never been anything like this in our family anywhere….then when i seen that the govenment had suspected the AML and nobody ask us, the studies that said first that there was a link, and then that they weren’t sure , didn’t include ALL the cases and could not have been accurate….I’m not surprised that you aren’t sure about this, no rep i have talked to ever heard of anything……but maybe it is because they never lost a child….Even if a doctor said he suspected that my husband’s disease caused my son’s illness, the VA would dismiss it if it isn’t an approved illness…I guess all i was asking is, who decides what needs to be looked at as being caused by something service related so the government puts it on their approved list…My husband’s doctor did send in a letter saying that my husband had only fathered two children and both had bone disorders and we sent it in with our initial claim but it was never mentioned after that to us , i guess they had no clue either.
        Anyway, thanks again, i know deep in my heart, without a doubt, where my children’s illnesses came from, and i take care of a very very ill husband, and as far as estate planning, i have found it very difficult to find out what i might receive if my husband passes…in fact, our rep acts like he can’t believe i;m asking about it…Agent Orange has totally destroyed my life and the life of my family, it isn’t just the veteran’s life who is effected by it and when they leave us and we are left without a family and struggling to survive, is that fair? Anyway, thanks for listening!

  35. frustrated & confused July 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    My husband submitted his package to the Regional Office (not in the list of 16 above and 4.5 hours away) in June 2011 with 125 pages of evidence from his service records, PCP, hospitals, personal affidavits etc. We were getting a letter every 3 months saying that the RO was “still working on it, sorry for the delay.” We haven’t received anything from the office since March 2012. He filled out information and has been approved to be treated at our local VA hospital. That took only a month to get approval. He has an appointment in October.

    Since submitting his package he has undergone another lumbar lamenectomy/discoptemy (sp) followed most recently by a second spinal fusion – this time of two disc areas, so now his spine is fused from his S1-L3. The first fusion is included in his claim. We’re afraid to submit the new evidence until we hear from the VA because we think it will toss him back to the bottom of the pile. We’ve been warned – it will take about 483 days average, they will deny everything the first time, they will grant 10% the first appeal (after another 400+ day wait) and may grant more after a second appeal. I wish he had filed when he first got out, but he was sick of dealing with the VA doctors, who at that time told him he was at at least 80% while he was undergoing testing and treatment for Gulf War – which had not been publicly admitted at the time.

    It’s sad to think what these men and women have gone through and given up to be treated so poorly.

    • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Frustrated,

      The denial, 10% and then a real evaluation is not true. What typically happens is Vets may get denied and then find the piece of evidence that substantiates the claim and allows us to grant.

      As for more evidence: It depends where you are in the process. If it is still in the development state, you should be ok to add more records. Though it will give a delay, because that evidence must be reviewed and may trigger the need for more development. In the end, I would send it because you want to give the rater all the info so the doc (if you have a VA exam) and opine based on all info and the rater can give you the proper evaluation. The extra time may save you from an appeal.

  36. spouse of a veteran July 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Also, we waited 2years for the original denial, and now we are at another 1 1/2 years since our appeal. Nothing has been needed from us since our appeal. They had all the medical eviedence from our private MD. so that is a total of 3 1/2 yrs. and nothing has changed moved forward. Now the rep. is telling us once we get approved, we still have to wait another 2years before a check is issue. How are we suppose to live??? On the air we breath.

    • spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Catherine, Can you please tell me about how long it truely takes once a appeal is approved and awarded before we would receive a c/p check. 2 more years just seems a bit extreme to me if its been approved and is that even an accurate length of time. I understand you cant provide me with an exact time frame but could you at least tell me if this 2year waiting period is even correct?? A response from you would be greatly appreciated. TY

      • PJ Allen July 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

        Spouse: My husband got his check about one month after he got his approval letter, both times..When he first claimed, and the next time when he applied for an increase… I wish we could count our our reps out here that we are assigned, they all have different stories, half don’t know what they are talking about…the sysytem shouldn’t be so darn complicated….Hopefully you will get an answer from Catherine. Good Luck.

        • spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

          PJ, ty for the response but how long ago did you guys file, a few years ago it wasnt taken as long. our rep said the reason its taking 18 to 24mths to receive a check due to all the claims etc. This is an appeal, so im no sure if once its approved it has to go somewhere else for checks to be issued but still why 2years. Havent we waited long enough. Catherine also ty for your response above but i could use your help in does it really take 24mths once being approved even if it was in the appeals area????

  37. spouse of a veteran July 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Catherine, i have a question. Why is our rep. telling us once an appeal is approved with will take another 18 to 24months to actually receive a check. Why does it take an additional 2years to receive a check if everything is approved. Thats absolutely crazy. My husband is going to file for SS dissability and they even told us, from beginning to the end it will only take about 6mths to process the whole proceeder, as long as all the medical evidence is provided. It should work the same way with a VA claim

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I am not sure where this info is coming from. I confirmed with our folks, once an appeal is granted it is processed for payment.

      • spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

        Thank you so much for confirming that with us. I dont know where these reps are coming up with all this false and untrue statements. That is what our rep. just told us last week, when we went to see him because my husband had another angio done, so we usually stop by the reps office if he isnt busy, we check the status. I even remember saying to him, why in the world would it take 18-24mths to process a check if its already approved and like i said he responded with backlog and this is a fact. Someone really needs to get with some of these reps. and make sure they are providing accurate info. My husband also has PTSD and since that comment our rep provided, i cant seem to get my husband out of this silent mode he is in. We have been so upset since hearing this news from him. Once again ty for responding this truely might help me to help my husbands state of mind.

  38. Al Nave July 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I can agree, over the past ten years I have been waiting I have been told by employees at the VA that if I am depressed to get over it, I should have thought about all this before I allowed myself to be injured, we do not oew you a living, if you have a problem go to your regional center and stop calling here. I have notices from the VA that in denying my claim again the person listed as my DAV representative not only completely agreed with the VA but backed every word he said,although I have more medical records countering this than either one apparently understood, I have had the VA and again my appointed DAV rep agree that my injury was not aggravated by my time in service, that I left the day before, the day of or even the month before, even though I submitted copies of all my pay dates from Jan 01, 2002 until my retirement on 01 April 2005, I submitted LES’s, orders, a copy of my Reserve ID showing I retired in 05, I sent a copy of my Certificate of Retirement and they still do not read it or take it in consideration, I have seen the VA and DAV deny me because the claim I am receiving Workmans Comp right now on top of SSDI, that in 1993 I started receivng Workmans Comp and was on full SSDI, the problem here I never filed for, asked, requested or knew about SSDI back in 93, there is also not one singlepiece of paper that says I drew pay from both, my denial and comments to my DAV rep never seems to be read or considered because the same dates, lies and false entries on my denial still occur. Remember Shalinski mandated the VA cut this down, not going to happen, no one should have to wait 10 or 11 years for something they qualify for, when the civilian medical records out weight the IME then that should be the end, I had three IME’s and all three times the VA appointed doctor walked in, asked a few questions, did a range of motion from a distance of 2 feet from me in mid air and walked out, total exam time less than 15 minutes. This is what I know, I have pain so severe I can barley walk, I cannot sit straight or put full weight on my right side, I have to have strong pain medicine to even be able to function and that may be limited, We filed yet again an appeal and have been waiting for our hearing, the lawyer said I should have had my hearing last fall or winter, the VA was hearing 2009 cases, Nov came, dec came and still no hearing, then I was told I have to wait until this fall winter, maybe of these people would do there job right there would not be such a back up, oh and I am on SSDI, I do have an injury that will last me a life time and…

  39. adam hall July 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

    What is amazing, is that the VA has made the process so complex and not transparent. Someone filing for SSI, which is a welfare benefit, can literally call a local office and get immediate, knowledgeable assistance and a specific update on their claim. The Federal Government will go out of the way to ensure the “Duty to Assist” has been fulfilled and order all medical records. If a veteran, who has offered up his life to the country, can call a Service Mega Center, get no info, and be told it would be best to pay for any records and just send them in.
    This is not conjecture, but fact, with experience on both ends of the spectrum of this comment. The VA does not need new processes, they just need to show a little concern and care for the work that they are doing, and provide just a little bit of customer service to the multitude of Disabled Veterans “waiting in line for bad news”.

    • spouse of a veteran July 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Why is it that no other government program is nearly as complex as this is???? Nor does it takes years and years to receive what they so deserve. Same type of programs and same type of evidence provided, not to mention these people put there life on the line, while families and friends sit and hope they return home safely every single day of there lifes. Makes me cry everytime i read these comments.

  40. Eve July 17, 2012 at 9:36 am

    The VBA needs to hurry up and stop all of the politics…while Veterans stand on corners begging for money!!! They take entirely too long to process a claim! If the Social Security Administration can get back to everyone in the Nation that files claims within 5 Months, why does it take the VBA a year, eighteen months, two years or more to process the claims of only the Veterans in the nation…there is something fundamentally wrong; and morally improper with this!

    • spouse of a veteran July 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      I agree 100% with you Eve. I have been saying those exact same words and nobody from the VA responds. And you know why that is dont you…….. because they dont have a honest answer……… Now tell me, they care, Now tell me they’re trying , Now tell me they care about not only the vet but the spouses and families as well, Now tell me its relaxed, Now tell me the truth!!!!…… Thats what i want to hear…..and im sure alot of other veterans as well……How can this be justified..

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Eve, the difference between filing a SSA claim and a VA claim is this: to get SSA you only need to prove you have a current disability, to get compensation through VA, you need three things: (1) a current diagnosis of a condition, (2) some incident in service that could have caused that condition and (3) a medical nexus (opinion) saying its a 50 percent chance (as likely as not) the condition is caused by service.

      It is governed by a set of complex laws, regulations and precedent court cases. It is not an easy job. I know waiting is frustrating — I am in line too — but two wars, more outreach to Veterans, an aging Veterans population, the economy and adding three conditions to the presumptive list to take care of our Vets exposed to AO have all contributed to the backlog. Its not as simple as hiring, we must Transform our people, process and technology to ensure we eliminate the backlog in 2015.

      • RC July 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

        A lot of people have provided all 3 steps u say and it still is taken years to get awarded . So that has nothing to do with this backlog. Take a survey ask these vets if they provided all the above and probaly several times and nothing changes. Va needs to actually look and see vets evedence has been provided the first time they ask for it and no claims move

  41. John (Jack) Ridenour July 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Ihave 2 questions #1. Have claim in for wife that I have been married to for 29 years & had 4 children with. I filed on May 31, 2012 I am finding out that the VA Has hired a company to check on your marriage ????? Just another way to keep all that money that we deserve and earned the hard way. #2 Told by a lot of fellow Nam Vets and Drs. I should file for my trip;e bypass have still not heard about that even though I have been to C & P hearing.

    • Catherine Trombley July 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Jack,
      We hired a company to help develope our claims, this means getting evidence to support them. If you filed to add your wife and children but did not include a marrage certificate or birth certificates, then our claims developers (whether they work for this company or VA) will follow up with you to get those supporting documents. Once we have them, we can grant the claim. We are moving to make it so you can add dependents through eBenefits, but it is still a couple of months away. May not help you now, but as your children grow, you will have to update the dependecy when they enroll in college and graduate college (or high school if they don’t attend school). When that time rolls around, you should be able to do it through your eBenefits account and get payment within the next month.

      • Tony July 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

        Let me understand this. The VA currently offers the ability to add a spouse and dependents on eBenefits because I filed one months ago. So I did as I was asked but now it doesn’t work? I have no problem authenticating my marriage or step-children but I guess we can’t be trusted. Yet another slap in the face.

        By the way, even when you provide all the documentation it sits for over a year. My son’s birthday was wrong and the system showed he turned 18 when he was actually 17. I called, was told to fill out the form and mail a copy of his birth certificate. That was done July 2011. It literaly would have taken one change of a number to fix this issue but instead I get letters saying it’s being worked on. Sounds like one of those jokes – How many VA employees does it take to change a 3 to a 4? The answer so far is NONE!

        One final point – why doesn’t the VA redirect those who work in it’s collections area to process claims? Those workers kick butt. They were able to pull back an over payment in 4 months. Funny how when a vet owes money the VA acts with the quickness but when it’s the other way around there is no sense of urgency.

        Maybe the VA should have to start paying interest on claims that exceed 1 year from receipt of full information for them to make their decision. It would have to have more restrictions than this but there needs to be a penalty for this continued failure of our veterans.

        If all the veterans had worked at the pace of the VA, there would be no need for the VA because this great country would not be free.

  42. Linda July 17, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I was told my claim was not accepted because I didn’t have a mountain of paperwork behind it to support the claim. I was originally injured at work, 30 years ago. I went to the ER, was treated, went on quarters and then back to work. So, sorry Mr. Claim Officer, I didn’t keep going back to the ER for that necessary paperwork. My job evaluation would of gone through the toilet and I would of been labeled a malingerer, so I sucked it up… my mistake – but – I’m the lucky one in the family, my Brother in Law died of Agent Orange before his claim was processed – his Wife fought for another seven years trying to get it approved. One Claim Officer refused to speak to her – put you old man on the line – sorry he’s dead…… It’s like if they wear you down – you’ll walk away and they’ll save money instead of doing the right thing and honoring a Veteran for their word alone – no they can’t do it – it would break the bank.

  43. Bill Prevatt July 17, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Why has my responses been removed? I replied to at least 8 posts yesterday and now all of a sudden they have been removed. So once again, Veterans are being shut down for speaking the truth, as they don’t want the American public to read what is really going on. Whatever happen to my first amendment, “FREEDOM OF SPEECH?” Oh that is right we don’t have anymore rights.

    • Kate Hoit July 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Hi Bill,

      Your comments haven’t been removed. They are waiting to be approved (we get tons of spam–this way we can prevent spam from taking over the comment section on the blog)–we check and approve comments in the morning and throughout the day. You submitted your comments after the team left for the night. They have all now been approved. Thanks.

  44. Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    All this talk about Regional Offices has got me thinking. If one RO can process claims in a manner that is truly reasonable time frame, i.e. 60 to 90 days than why can’t the other RO follow in there footsteps? Isn’t the VA suppose to be the exact same way across all Regional Offices? You hear your fellow service members talking about their claim being sent to one RO and then yours goes to another, they have already gotten their decision and your still waiting on yours. What is that all about? The bottom line as I have stated from day one, the VA has nobody to answer to so they do as they darn well please. Forget about the Veterans and their needs. Just as long as they get what they want, that is all that matters. If there is truly any leadership in the VA, than they would be in the fast lane of truly fixing this huge problem; but are they? Nope. Just as long as nobody questions them and there way of doing business, than all is fine and dandy, but if you ask a question that truly fixes a problem then you would be considered not a team player. It all reverts back to my earlier reply about getting our elected officials involved. They have no more power than we do as the Veteran claiming our disability. Until that changes, nothing will truly be done to fix the problems the VA has endured for years. As the days go by, the numbers get larger and more service members are placed into that holding pattern. As those number increase VA is in hopes of us older Veterans will just forget about our claim and let it die where it lands. So in closing I would like to say I am hoping that those individuals that make decisions on our claims truly take heed to what we have posted here on this website/blog. Nothing will be done to change what is supposedly in place, but I do hope that it does improve how claims are processed; not just for me and the others that have posted on here but also for my son, his wife and all the other thousands of service members facing this uphill battle.

  45. Robbie July 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    VA has over 1 million claims. So is it safe to say by the end of the year…with all these “whiz bang” programs…all these claims will be processed?

    I think not….Instead of paying these Office Directors and managers these big bonuses for non performance…Secretary Shinseki should start taking some of these managers to “the woodshed”. My claim has been pending for over 3 years, and every time I call..they tell me “its in development”!!

    Mitt Romney needs to be president…just so he can outsource claims processing to India!!

  46. Ron P. July 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I filled my claim in June 2011 and am still waiting to hear back from VA. Also, my son returned from Iraq several years ago with several issues and has just lost confidence in the VA system. When seeked counseling they assigned him a Muslim counselor, how’s that for sensativety on the part of the VA. It’s like assigning a Nazi to counsel a Jew, or a VC to counsel a Vietnam Vet.

    • spouse of a veteran July 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I agree with you Ron. It does make you wonder , where they come up with this good treatment and how they provide the treatment. I can only speak for my husband who is a vietnam vet with PTSD. He has been living with this for many years, trying to just get by in life. Well they deserve more then just getting by. Our private MD doctor has more compasion then his C/P examinor did.. I think the key to all this is are they truely MD’s. My husbands private MD is the most nicest man you could ever meet but he also served in vietnam, so he knows how to handle a vets needs. Alot of vets have built up a wall so to speak, and it takes a special person to take that wall down. I think thats something alot of these VA docs, dont know how to do.

      • RC July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

        I completely understand what your saying about this wall. I have been trying for 25years to bring down my husbands wall.. Im sure its not easy to do, but i will never give up trying. god bless our veterans and families

    • Juan July 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

      When we went to Desert Storm we were poison by saudis catering, until today I can’t eat at 7/11 or any store with middle east own, still have flashbacks from iraquis pow from my guard point, I was point at them and today feel like point at them still, believe me I know what your son going tru.

    • Bill Prevatt July 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Ron, the only thing I can say about your claim, is do not give up! Keep believing that it will get better. That is the only reason I have kept the fight going on for so long for myself is b/c I want to believe that this will eventually get resolved and we will begin to see some improvement. As for your son’s issues and the counselor he has been assigned, I personally would ask to speak with a supervisor about this counselor and explain to them that he is not comfortable with who they assigned to him and request that new counselor be assigned. If that doesn’t happen, I would seek out an attorney that does represent Veterans and the only way they are paid is if the Veteran wins. I have gone that way and even though I am involved in my claim 150%, it still gives me great pleasure to know that she is representing me and fighting for my rights. It does make a difference when there is compassion for those of us that have experienced so much. The bottom line is, tell your son that he truly needs to remember that fight he had in himself when he was over there in Iraq and remember to bring that back into the light and fight for his benefits. That is his God given right and privilege and for the real reason he and so many others have gone to these foreign countries to defend our rights and beliefs.

  47. Charles Jackson July 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I think there are many hands in the pot. Theres a lot of money changing hands and when it comes down to it , no one really cares about a vet. It’s just a way to make a buck.has anyone looked at all the waste that goes on in a office? They loose paper work and it’s still the vets that wait.they just don’t care. Someone needs to look at what is going on. Not working their already.

    • Bill Prevatt July 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Mr Jackson, you are correct in saying there are too many hands in the pot. Exchanging money, the only exchanging money that is going on is the elected officials and the supervisors. That is correct when you say ‘they don’t really care about a Vet!’ I mean really if you cared about your job, the person whose name is on that file you are working on than you would do whatever possible to process the claim correctly rather than let it sit on a desk and have a chance of loosing the paper work. Here is what I started out with as for my pay grade; GS-996-7 so you tell me they are getting paid enough to do their job correctly plus they get training, so I do not see the problem. All I can say is we need to keep these postings going as long as we possibly can because eventually someone is going to hear us and truly will need to make some changes and I am not talking about the changes that are taking place now. I am talking an overall rehaul of the system.

  48. Luis July 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    How can I apply for this type of job where I can help with the roll-out and the process? I feel I am capable of understanding the process, claims, and help move the process along. I was fortunate enough to have my claims processed in a timely manner and I really feel for those veterans who have been waiting for a long time. I feel there is more we can do but it won’t happen unless the laws are changed a bit to help process claims faster for legitimate claims.

    Sincerely,

    Luis

    • Bill Prevatt July 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Honestly Luis, you don’t want this job. I did it for a very short time and let me just say, I would much rather work in an ER then do this job. Especially when I would handle a case file the way it should and honestly that is why I am not there anymore. Words can not explain how difficult of a job this is. The training itself is not even up to snuff. It is way different than what you actually do in the RO.

  49. RICKEY BRASUELL July 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

    HOW DO I GET MEDICAL RECORDS FROM GERMANY, FROM MANNHIEM,
    HIEDIELBURG, AND FRANKFORT FROM DATES 72-74?
    SINCERLY
    RICKEY BRASUELL

    • Kate Hoit July 16, 2012 at 11:18 am
    • John July 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      The Records are probably at St Louis in the archives, your local VA can tell you who to write to to get them or a Veterans Service Officer.Hope they did not get burned up in that fire.Have you checked with your regional office thay have all mine from 1971 to 1991 and i got copies from them.Your RO may have those records still on file.

  50. Raymond E. Maynard July 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

    After 4 1/2 years of claims processing, denials, appeals and whatnot I completed my C&P in Feb 2012. I check with the infamous I.R.I.S. system and get the response that the Appeals Management Center has completed all development actions required by the BVA in its remand and is pending review by a Rating Specialist.

    What exactly does this mean and how long is this going to take.

    • Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      It just means that your file is sitting on someone’s desk in a RO waiting for someone to give it their blessing. Depends on how far down the pile your file is. If its on the bottom of the pile, your looking at probably the end of the year if not sometime in 2013.

    • Catherine Trombley July 17, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Raymond,

      It means that the AMC has completed all the steps BVA directed it too in the remand and that your claim is ready for a decision. The AMC will either continue the denial or grant the claim. If it grants the claim, the claim is usually complete. If it continues the denial, the claim is automatically routed back to BVA so it can look at the new evidence that was obtained through the remand. I can’t really give you a time line because there are a lot of variables, but it could be several more months if your claim goes back to the Board.

  51. Jesus July 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I had a second lumbar laminectomy back in January 2012 at the VA hospital, I requested temporary 100% in January 2012 and as of July 2012 I have not receive any payment. VA wants to speed up Claims. Here are my two cents. VA Claim system needs to be interface with the VA Hospital System and any Claim for temporary 100% it should be automatic. You don’t need to wait 7 to 12 months to get paid.

  52. Catherine Trombley July 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Ginny, there is an appeals team at each of the regional offices where we have implemented Segmented Lanes. These teams handle appeals exclusively.

    Regional offices do not review the claim once more to issue a decision. Rather, they review the claim to sum up all the evidence thus far and send to you (called a Statement of the Case) a copy also goes in you claims file for the Board to review. Its particularly helpful to your power of attorney, if you have one. It was usually the first thing I read when I worked Veterans claims at the Board.

    Then the claim is certified for appeal and sent to the Board for Veterans Appeals for a decision. If the appeal is remanded to the Appeal Management Center (AMC), the appeals team at your regional office will process the claim in accordance with the Board’s decision and then forward to the Appeals Management Center. The AMC can either grant your claim or continue the denial. If the AMC continues your denial, the claim automatically proceeds back to the Board for final review.

    Thank you for your service

    • Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      My question then Catherine, how many personal are on that appeals team? 1, 2, 3 or 4. How many? If it is true that the segmented lanes will speed this up, than there should be a number of appeals team members making this happen.

      Then my second question to you is ‘why send the claim back to the RO if they do not review the claim? I mean everything has already been summed up in the remand from the BVA, so why send it back to the RO?

      When the BVA reviews the case and see that more development is needed, that goes to show that the RO didn’t do their job, so once again the Veteran is the one that gets strung along. When the AMC gets our claim, what authority or qualifications do these employees have to grant or deny our claim? What is really amazing is that if the AMC continues the denial, that is considered to be adjuicated and the RO gets a bonus. So the more the RO continue our denials, the better it is for the RO. So tell me how does that benefit us Veterans?

      • Catherine Trombley July 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

        Bill and Mark,
        Segmented Lanes are currently are at the following regional offices: Wichita, Ft Harrison, Milwaukee, San Juan, Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans, Boise, Des Moines, Hartford, Atlanta, Newark, Huntington, Portland, and Cleveland. Indianapolis was actually the regional office that developed Segmented Lanes, but they have not implemented it yet. The rest of the 56 regional offices will implement Segmented Lanes by the end of 2013. Thank you for your service.

        • william July 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

          How funny, my hometown is Atlanta, George; and I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for almost a year, so I guess I just lucked out by moving to the Midwest, How sad! “The rest of the 56 regional offices will implement Segmented Lanes by the end of 2013”; I’ll be glade to pass that bit of information along to all those who are looking for payment from me, by the end of next month.

          • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

            William, if you are expirencing financial hard ship, notify the RO or your rep and ask for expidited processing. Typically you have to show late bills, eviction notice, things like that.

          • william July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

            Catherine,

            Thank you and I will do just that!

      • Catherine Trombley July 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

        Bill, the size of the appeals teams depends on the size of the regional office. But to give you an idea, the Atlanta RO has about 25 people assigned to the appeals team. The reason it goes back to the RO is because much of the further development is local, like setting the Vet up with an exam or requesting medical records from local private physicians.

        Appeals are tricky … first off, the veteran can add evidence at any point up until the Court — at the Board you have waive review by the AMC or RO. But every time you add evidence, it changes the facts of the claim. Often the claim the board sees is not the claim that left the RO or AMC. That’s not a bad thing, because it gives you multiple chances to get your claim granted. But it means that the RO or AMC reviewing the claim — or getting credit — is seeing very different facts of the claim each time.

        • Bill Prevatt July 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

          You are correct in stating that appeals are tricky, but in my case Catherine the RO “NEVER EVEN LOOKED AT MY EVIDENCE NOR CONSIDERED MY EVIDENCE” per the BVA and now it has been remanded once again to the RO for a process that should never have taken place. In other words the RO should have done their job in the first place. As for the VA setting up more exams when they have current evidence is truly a waste of the VA providers time as well as the Veterans time, not to mention the cost for the same exact exam that was just recently performed and just b/c the evidence isn’t coming from a VA provider, its not good enough. Isn’t a provider (private) considered to educated enough to give their “medical opinion and diagnosis?” Which brings me to the statement about the Disability Questionaire. If we take those documents to our private providers, will VA consider them or will they be tossed to the side like the other evidence we submit from our private providers?

          • Catherine Trombley July 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm

            Yes, we will consider DBQs, however, the DBQs are meant for increase evaluations. The reason why you see a VA doc for an exam is this: a nexis has a couple of parts — the examiner must look at the claims file, review your military and post-military health records, examine you and then state whether its “as likely as not” (a 50/50) the condition was caused by service. They must state that they reviewed the records and then give a rationale for their opinion. (there are several court cases that set this).

            So if a private provider simply states “His condition is due to service,” as many do, its not enough to meet the legal standard — it leaves too many questions — with what certainty is the provider saying this (50, more than 50?), did s/he review records? Did s/he provide a rationale?

            Here is an example of an opinion that would have been considered good when I worked at the Board. “I have reviewed the Veterans service treatment records and post treatment records. Based on those and an examination, it is as likely as not the Veterans skin cancer is due to his miltiary service since he complexion is fair, much of his service was spent training outside and was prior to the advent of sunscreen.”

            We all know that lack of sunscreen and sun exposure can cause cancer, but a doctor must state a rationale. Also, if a doctor says a codition is due to service, he had to have seen the records. If he did not see military records, he cannot make this opinion.

            DBQs for an increase are different. Since it is already stipulated that your condition was caused by service. All we need is a provider to say to what degree.

  53. Catherine Trombley July 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Thomas, this is a new process and has only been implemented at 16 regional offices but we are implementing it at the rest of the regional offices as fast as we can. I don’t have access to claims, but if you were deferred and VA has everything from you, we could be waiting on records, such as Social Security Administration or private medical treatment records. VA is at the mercy of private physicians to send in records and has to wait on SSA to deliver records. Again, I don’t know this to be the case with your claim, but that is typically what it means.

    Transformation is not as simple as hiring new claims processors for a short period. It takes up to two years for a claims processor to become a “journeyman” skill level. The claims process is governed by a series of laws, regulations and precedent court cases – it’s not something that can be learned overnight. So hiring more people would not have the impact we need. Transformation has to include people, process and technology.

    I’m sorry our employees gave you that impression. I can honestly say that everyone I have come across at VA is dedicated and passionate. Many are Veterans themselves and those who are not usually have close relations to Veterans. Often we hear claim processors say they work every claim as if it is their combat buddy, uncle, father, or grandmother. While they may not have phrased it right, what they might have meant to say is that sometimes Veterans file claims that we cannot grant because the law ties our hands. Its one of the most frustrating parts of working claims — sympathizing with the Veteran but not being able to do anything to help. A good example is a Veteran who has had a condition since service, but waits 25 years to ask for service connection. When s/he is granted, s/he asks to receive compensation back to the time he or she left service. By law, we can only grant compensation to the day the claim was filed.

    We relaxed our criteria for rating PTSD so that we no longer have to verify the stressing event (or stressor). However, this means that a VA doc must state that the Veterans PTSD is related to a certain stressor and therefore, PTSD is as likely as not due to service. Because the opinion is a little more complex than a standard opinion, VA makes the determination. However, the VA doctor must address you doctor’s opinion in his or her opinion.

    • Mark Chamberlain July 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      It took how many years to implement this at the first 16 offices? They will not tell you which ones they are because they can clain that the one you are talking about is one of them they have not started the new system at. So time the number of offices by the number of years it took the first 16 and they should be all done by that time. O I forgot there will be a bunch of problems that they can not figure out so add a + 50 for devation.

      • Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        Actually there are 12 RO for the deployment of the transformation initiatives and they are: Huntington, W. Va., Hartford, Conn; Portland, Ore, Houston, Cleveland, Des Moines, Iowa, Boise, Idaho, Phoenix, New Orleans, San Juan Puerto Rico, Atlanta and Newark, N.J. This deployment follows four pilot programs in Indianapolis, Ind., Wichita, Kan; Milwaukee and Fort Harrison, Mont.
        This is per the DAV Magazine for July/August 2012.

    • spouse of a veteran July 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      They have not relaxed anything. My husband is 100% PTSD and that so called C/P examinor got fired for dening so many vets who truely have PTSD. His C/P guy said yes you have PTSD but no stressors. My husband explained the fire fights and told him his best friend died in his arms,leaving him feeling angry and helpless.(he even provided his friends full name) CONT

      • spouse of a veteran July 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        When my husband came home from his C/P exam, he told me from the very beginning that the examinor was very defenseful. I told my husband he should seek out help through the private sector medical profession, so he did. The private MD was so upset that they denied his claim, that he wrote 4pages of stressors and he is currently treating my husband with meds and counseling. The really sad part is he got a honorable discharge for mental problems(personality disorder) That is a lie and the private doctor also agreed with us. .So here we sit, 1 1/2yrs still waiting on the appeal. So i have to disagree with your comment about relaxed.

  54. D mades July 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

    REALLY??? I am SOOO excited!! Maybe my claim from September 2007 will be settled by 2017 instead of 2018? YAY!!!!

    AWESOME!!!!

  55. George July 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Will my claims for 2 years 3 months be put in the express lane? I submitted 2 claims gout and knees. Also, the VA requested exaim. There was the error in the ratings of my knees and they were to be down graded. That I had to have to or more major bones in my knees infected. In all the claims over the years my knee cap and femur bone have been listed. But the VA exaiminations only showed the knee cap and minor bones which the VA never request the eval of the femur bone as part of the knee exaim. But I am in a posiiton for something they require but never followup on when they did not get the major bones that they require. A phone hearing cleared up the errors on my knee ratings. But will they still evaulate my knee as before when the femur bone is not in their report. But has always been in my claims submitted for my knees?

    • Catherine Trombley July 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

      George, to answer your question once a regional office implements segmented lanes, all claims in that RO are sorted into the segmented lanes. As to your specific question about your claim… I really cannot answer that without looking at your claims files. I suggest asking your POA (VSO or CVSO) what their thoughts are since they are privy to the entire file. Thanks for your service.

  56. william July 16, 2012 at 2:33 am

    This is the information I see on my e-benefit web page. I have been looking at this same information since November until I decided in March to go and gather my own medical records and send them to my regional office. I sent in all medical information; I could get my hands on. I was told the VBA was able to get my medical records if I was send and treated at any of there VA medical centers; in which I was. After looking at the same information on e-benefit day after day; I went and got my own medical records and sent it to them. The question I have now is why can’t I look at e-benefit one day like today and see that my claim have move to the next phase; to the reviewing of Evidence phase? Every time I look at e-benefit it looks like nothing is happing. Every time I call the 1-800-827-1000 number I receive the same information I see on e-benefit web site.

    Gathering Evidence
    Details of Your Claim
    Claim Received: 10/17/2011
    Claim Type: Compensation
    Estimated Claim Completion Date: 05/24/2012 to 02/19/2013

    What Do We Still Need From You? Your Attention is Needed

    We need evidence showing that the following condition(s) existed from military service to the present time:

    As we consider your claim, you may submit evidence showing that your service-connected
    Date Requested: 11/10/2011
    Due Date: 12/10/2011

    0820 10/27/2011

    Med Evidabce- CBOC 03/13/2011

    VAMC Treatment Records-La Junta, 03/13/2012

    • Jeff Perry July 17, 2012 at 12:10 am

      I have put in all of the paperwork with help from my advocate. I have completed 3 C&P exams since my appeal and none of them lasted more than 15 minutes. I have been going to the VA in over 10 years and have been through five different psychiatrists. My current PTSD rating is 50% but because I cannot hold down even a part-time job without medicating myself before going to work, at lunch and during the second half of the day my advocate and myself believe that I should be at a higher level. I am medicated beyond what others are taking and it still helps minimally. I have a therapist that I see every two weeks as well that is paid by the Vet Center. I just wish that they would move a little faster on it and not leave us veterans hanging by a string all stressed out on whether they are going to get help or will they continue to suffer with the nerve wrecking response that it is in progress. I think the added stress for me of losing my psychiatrist who understood the level of my illness and now going to talking with a doctor on a video screen from another facility is also stressing me out. I don’t know if there is a shortage of doctors but it is weird that my doctors at the VA discuss how serious my condition and then I get a 15 minute C&P and they say it is not that bad. I just don’t get that myself. If it is not so bad why am I jacked up on so many antipsychotics and antidepressants. I use the chat line crisis a lot and that helps me out but all of them keep saying that they would recommend me going inpatient to see if they could find a good medicine combination. I cannot do that because I am barely making ends meet as it is.

      • william July 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

        Jeff Perry,

        I hear you; I thought my case was an open and close case. I was injured while on duty; received and LOD from my commander and I was escorted to an Army medical center were I was first seen. Later I got awarded a VA doctor so I started see him and he did all of the medical examinations, x-rays and blood work. So, I don’t know what the problem or the delay is. e-benefit states they are gathering evidence but I gave it all to them. I just want to see where someone is looking over all of my medical work, my LOD and my buddies statements.

        • Jeff Perry July 20, 2012 at 1:53 am

          Keep fighting them William. I have a good advocate but she is only getting the same response that I am getting that it is still pending at the board of appeals. If you keep up the faith that something good will happen it will one day come to you. I know for myself, the PTSD is making it very difficult to work. I have lost several jobs because of it and quit other jobs because it triggered flashbacks. I am a client in voc rehab now and we are trying to start self-employment because I do not do well with working in the public. I also had the impression that during the C&P that the reviewer was defensive and tried to minimize any problems that I tried to discuss with them. I know that it is a long drawn out process but if you stay on top of it and hopefully in the end you get what you deserve.

          • Jeff Perry July 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm

            Another thing that really bugged me was that the C&P doctor was very unfriendly the last C&P and all they wanted to talk about was my life pre-military. When I asked him if he needed information of my current state or the treatment I am getting he said they already had all of that information. I later found out that they never did send out for my Therapist information or the doctor I saw before going to the VA for treatment. He kept asking about pre-military drug usage and my school problems. After 15 minutes of that he just said that he had his information and that we were done. It makes me wonder if he even looked at my VA notes from my doctor who I was seeing monthly and had given my wife her direct line number because she was so worried about me. When I look at it I wonder if I should go inpatient because no one is listening otherwise. I hate to go to the hospital and was in the psych unit at a local hospital in 1995 and it was not a good experience.

    • John July 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      E-Benefits is useless their information is usually at least 6 months or longer old it is never up to date.It is just a get the monkey off our backs routine.

      • Jeff Perry July 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm

        I know what you mean about e-benefits. My stuff is all old and it got me worked up so I called my advocate and she told me it was not accurate.

  57. Jeff Perry July 16, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I have had my claim in appeals for a total of 5 years and at the board of appeals for over 2 years now with nothing said or any progress. I am a struggling vet financially because I can barely hold down my part-time job working 20 hours a week. Anxiety and Paranoia suck. But anyway will this new process help with the giant backlog of cases already completed? It all sounds nice, but will it work in reality?

    • Catherine Trombley July 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Jeff, we have tested each Transformation initative to ensure they work. This type of change at VBA has never been done before. I assume you mean appeals be “backlog of cases completed.” Each regional office will have dedicated appeals teams to help expedite the process. Also, if you are struggling financials call the Board and ask for expedited review, or to be advanced on the docket. You usually only need to send in a statement and late bills (eviction notices or foreclosure). If you work with a VSO at the Board contact them for more information. Also try the BVA ombudsman at 1-800-923-8387 Monday-Friday 9:00am-4:30pm (Eastern time zone).

      Thank you for your service.

  58. c j July 16, 2012 at 12:49 am

    the va dosen’t care.how long you have to wait.it if was up to them ,they would probale wait for you to get mad enough to say the hell with this or just wait for you to die.that seem to be the sad facts. they keep telling us that there hiring new people or training them so that they can help but nothing gets done .there liar’s .your veterans who served our country and kept us safe. you shouldn’t be treated this way.they should show you with the up most respect.that you deserve.in stead they give you the run around.you need and deserve it know not 14 month’s or years later. you bills dont stop ,they keep coming in every month like clock work

    • Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you CJ for truly agreeing with all of us have been saying for years. You are correct in what you say about the VA wanting us to give up or die. It is a sad day when we have to actually prove ourselves over and over again for something that we did not have when we joined the military. You are also correct when you say the VA doesn’t care. They like to give this dog and pony show to America that they care about us when in fact they are so full of it that it is coming out of their ears. Yeah the hiring of new people, that is truly something that is also a joke. It takes at least 8 weeks to train these new hires so in the meantime there comes more of a backlog once again.

  59. maurice wyman scott July 16, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I agree with most of the posters, but it’s great that they tell us all of these solutions, but in Columbia, SC, they have another problem, one being the c and p doctors, they aren’t veteran friendly, seeming from the nonsense that goes on, they must be on a bonus program as well, just write whatever they wish, regardless of the truth. Just have a C and P during business hours, then wait sometime, and have another one for the same thing, on a Saturday, or after five. The one during business hours, says ” It’s not service connected, but if you have another one during after hours, or on Weekend, that one says, sure is Service connected. If this isn’t corruption what is. About two weeks ago, I finally became IU, I was happy, but not happy with the years they rob from me, you see, the Regional Office admitted they mishandled, lost, or destroyed my service medical records, which was fine, but in claim the original date, they said oh, you didn’t originally sign a electronically submitted claim in 2005, so we can’t go back then. Now that would have been fine if true, but in 2005, I did provide a signed copy. Now in evidence of this lie, the person handling my claim wrote all the C and P’s I needed, yet they never schedule them. As it seems that only records concerning my injuries or complaints got missing, I affirm that whomever handled my claim made damn sure, that all related signatures pages got missing as well, they did the total destruction program to ensure that benefits would never be paid. This isn’t new to the Regional Office, a number of years ago, they were reported in the shredding gate of files, or throwing claims away totally, so why is it surprising today, it never stopped. With the admission of losing or destroying my service medical records, I am going to file my appeal for a original filing date, and unfortunately even with the admission, I am sure that this is years away, but eventually the corruption, because of that admission will come to light, and hopefully justice will be served, but probably not until it reaches a civilian court system. I wonder what’s going to disappear after this, my whole claim folder, huh? How stupid could one be to admit, that they lost something or otherwise discarded it, then blame the veteran for something not being there, wow.

    • Bill Prevatt July 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Well it goes to show the what the VA will truly do to not pay what is due. Have you gotten in touch with any of the local news outlets?

  60. Michael P. Greenhouse July 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Hmmm..My claim has been pending since May 2002. Yet Im waiting for it to go thru the segmented Lanes. I hope I will not have to wait another 10 years for a answer after 28 years of dedicated service.

    • Catherine Trombley July 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Michael,

      Have your ever recieved a decision from VA? Or are you in the appeals process?

  61. C.Zappley July 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I placed a claim over a year and a half ago to do with my back and secondary injuries and have been in the decision phase for over six months..Whats the hold up Philadelphia.My representing POA just gives me the run around.

    • Bill Prevatt July 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      C. Zappley, your representative isn’t giving you the run around, they are only telling you what they are getting. Even though they are your POA and representing you, VA has no one to answer to so they don’t care about how long it is going to take on your claim. All you can do seriously, is to just forget that you even have a claim in. That way you won’t be expecting anything anytime to soon.

  62. Nick Swan July 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Fairness of Veterans Disability Compensation (25 Billion for Vets Compensation or 350 Billion for Illegal Aliens ?) There are 4.1 million Disabled Vets who vote, who would like to know if you really care about us !
    The current VA Disability Compensation payments is ONLY ½ of what the VA should be paying. According to the current VA method of calculation,( which has not been updated since 1945), it takes almost 12 service connected ailments to reach the 100% disability level. Listed below is the compensation table in question which clearly shows the disparity in compensation paid to our Vets. 10% of something with an established 100% value should be 10% not 4.5%. There is a 40% premium for the last 10% of disability. I think the VA, our Congressmen, Senators and everyone running for a public office spouting how they take Care of the Vets should address this issue. Share with all Vets you know, every medium, and every forum. The Net is our friend.

    Explain to the veterans how the current compensation table is fair ?
    2012 Table % without children where 100% = $2769
    Current Table
    10% = $127 or 4.5% of $2769 10%= should be $277
    20% = $251 or 9%
    30% = $389 or 14%
    40% = $560 or 20%
    50% = $797 or 28.8%
    60% = $1009 or 36%
    70% = $1272 or 46%
    80% = $1478 or 53%
    90% = $1661 or 60% (40% premium for the last 10%)
    100% =$2769 If you place this value on 100%, then the values on the descending percentages should be equal to the % of that 100%
    What it takes in ratings to reach 100% based on current rating system.
    Each % is equal to a rated Service Connected Illness
    60%+30+30+30+20+20+20+10+10+10+10+10 (12 Subject ratings)= 95%
    The new compensation rates will range from $127 monthly for a disability rated at 10 percent to $2,769 monthly for 100 percent. The cost of living adjustments (COLAs) also apply to disability and death pension recipients, survivors receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, disabled Veterans receiving automobile and clothing allowances, and other benefits. The full rates are available on the Internet at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/#BM01.

    • Brady Lewis July 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      I agree this is what Abrham Lincolon set this system up for. I cannot understand why they feel that giving a lower % number matters 50% should be 50%. What the VA does not understand along with those that work these claim and have never servered in the military is that we are not going to give up, they want us too so they do not have to pay anything, but we need to stand strong. What they don’t understand if it where not for us they would not have a job. Thank you so much for your insight in this problem.

      Brady Lewis
      Retired, 1SG
      U.S. ARMY

    • william July 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

      Nick Swan,

      I will cut and past this information and pass it on to my wife while we keep wondering if we can pay bills next month.

      • Bill Prevatt July 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Nick, I am right there with you. I am barely making ends meet and to be honest with you I am sick and tired of living like this. There is always one excuse after another and what would have happened if we made a decision like this on the battel field, oh that is right we probably would have lost. I just can’t understand why this has to be long and drawn out.

  63. LUTHER HARRIS July 15, 2012 at 7:52 am

    i put in for up grade and it has been well over a year i got a letter saiding it takes 332 days i think to file a claim it has been longer than that.can yo