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      How to get your questions answered. A few observations, and requests of all members. All folks who come here are volunteers who do this on their own time and their own dime.To avoid burning out our best contributors please follow these guidelinesf you are reading a post and it reminds you of a question you want to ask, start a new topic, if you place your question in someone thread it will be difficult to distinguish your question from the original poster, you will get better results posting a new topic with your question. 1. Before Posting please do a search and see if your question has already been answered. If you find the answer print it out and put it in a file to use as a reference file, I find this helpful myself. 2. If you can not find the answer and you do post a question, please print out those answers and refer to them to avoid duplicate questions. 3. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions4. Duplicate questions will come up from time to time but the keeping them to the minimum will lighten the load on the regular volunteers.5. Respect folks privacy do not request their personal phone numbers for claims help, it is inappropriate and not why they are here.6. Keep the topics focused on veterans issues, in closing Search first Search ... Ask second.it may save a lot of time or at the very least enlighten you.
    • Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests.

      Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests. Please check the little home I am carving out for our SVR partners. http://www.hadit.com/svr.html
    • A bit about Tbird and HadIt.com for those who've asked...

      The following is on my About page, but some have been asking how this all happened. So here is my little story. Tbird US Navy 1983 – 1990 E-6 HadIt.com the website domain registered Jan 20, 1997 the domain is registered and paid for through Jan 21, 2023 at which time I plan to register it for another 15 years Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I guess the best place to start is Jan 1991; I had gotten out of the navy Dec 1990. At my separation seminar, there was a DAV rep Jim Milton he told us to bring our medical records in and he would look through them for us and let us know if we should file a claim with the VA. Well, bless his heart, he opened my medical file, reads the first insert, looks me straight in the eye, and says you will be 50% for the rest of your life and he would file the claim for me. 50% was for surgery I had in the service. True to his word he met with me and talked with me for a long time filled out my paper work and urged me to file for PTSD. I would not file the PTSD claim, nor even discuss it. By Feb 1991 I had moved to the San Francisco bay area and was staying at a friends apartment and pretty much I was just a puddle. In desperation one night I called suicide hot line, I had no job, no idea about going to the VA. They talked with me for a long time and explained to me that I could go to the local VA hospital even if I did not have insurance. Now, I know what you are thinking if I was 50% why didn't I just go to the VA in the first place, two reasons 1, this was Feb 1991 and the 50% didn't come till May and 2, even if it had come through it is unlikely that I would have had the mental acuity at the time to put the two together. I relate this here because it is where so many of our brothers and sisters are coming from, perhaps where you started. Fuzzy and unsure, in pain and sometimes homeless they come to the VA hospital for help. And that is where I ended up. Up to the pysch ward I went, blah, blah, blah, a few days later I was released with a promise of a call from the out patient program, which I would soon be entering. Blah, blah, blah, after many missed communications, and no call backs I was at the Day Hospital everyday M-F. And this brothers and sisters is where I began to learn and formulate my plan for HadIt.com. Veterans, veterans everywhere…I spent a year in the day hospital and about another year at a sheltered workshop before I got back on my feet. So I just talked to veterans everyday waiting for appointments, waiting for prescriptions, waiting for a vet rep and I started to learn the system. While in the navy I was data analyst and had to learn a 5 volume manual and just about anything you were suppose to do was in that manual. So I figured there must be a manual on how to do a VA claim or at the very least regulations. So I found out about the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, Veterans Affairs Manuals and so on and so forth. Of course this was 1991/1992 I was living in a tiny studio apartment in a particularly bad neighborhood, working in a sheltered workshop making a nickel per envelope I stuffed throw in PTSD and you will see that it was a difficult task for me to get somewhere where they had copies of these, let alone that they would let me look at. And there was so much knowledge around me, it was like the gold rush in those days, I could just sit on a bench a veteran would sit down next to me a little conversation later I had another nugget, I made copious notes. Phone numbers to call, ask for this guy or that guy he'll give you the straight scoop and they'd slip me a piece of paper with a number on it. You want to read this regulation or that one and another slip of paper into my hand. I spent a lot of time on those benches watching the squirrels they gathered their nuts and I gathered mine :) So I'm thinking I could put a little handbook together print it out and hand it out at the VA. Or perhaps fliers. Still formulating, time goes by, 1994/1995 I am being treated for PTSD regularly and doing and feeling much better and I go to work for a company as a marketing systems analyst and I discover the internet. Well let me tell you that was perhaps one of the most significant life changing events I have ever experienced. And I might add finally a positive one :) It seemed only natural to me that surely there must be a website that contained all the knowledge I wanted, well as it turned out not so much, lots of stuff but I wanted to get straight to the claims information and there was a lot of stuff to wade through to get to it. So taking my lesson from the squirrels earlier I started to gather, gather, gather…and learn HTML and work as a marketing systems analyst and work my claim. 1996/1997 major PTSD cork blows and unemployed. Working my claim, working the website. 20 Jan 1997 register HadIt.com domain name right after getting off the phone with the VA and saying I've had it with this. As fate would have it the old DAV board goes down just as mine opens up and folks start to wander in. So HadIt.com has two main components the website which supports the discussion board with links, articles, research resources etc. The website starts to grow, I can't tell you how many times I had to switch servers for space and features. I continue on a downward trend and in 1998 ended up back home in St Louis living in my sisters basement in therapy and working it, I swear I would have swung a dead chicken around my head at midnight naked if I thought it would have helped. The website continued to do great during this time, I just stayed in the basement bought new software, new books, and learned how to make things work and I continued to use this knowledge to make HadIt.com better. My 100% finally came through from the VA and I had a friend who is an advocate who helped me thru my SSDI claim, he was literally at my side thru the entire process and that came through for me. My therapist and sister continued to try and get me to leave the basement, but to no avail. At some point in 1998 or 1999 I put a counter on the website and was shocked to discover how many visitors we were getting. Time goes by my sister gets married and I move from the basement to the upstairs, there is much celebration that Aunt T is living in the light again. More time goes by and I settle into my life in St Louis and spend more time on the site trying new things, finding more information. 2003 I buy my own home VA loan. For years now I have just considered HadIt.com my job and I get up every morning go to the office and work for several hours, take an afternoon break and see where the rest of day takes me. I have a place in the office to use the computer and a comfortable to place to read journals and articles and take notes. Blah, blah, blah so that is my story and HadIt.com's intertwined.
    • HadIt.com Pass It On Cards

      Hi I've updated our HadIt.com Pass It On Cards. They are in a PDF format you can print them out cut them there are 12 to a page. If you have found HadIt.com helpful and would like to pass it on to other veterans this is an easy way to do it.I hope you find them helpful, feel free to leave a few anywhere veterans gather, veterans centers, veterans hospitals, public libraries, be creative. Please make sure though, that if you want to leave some at any business you ask permission first.Here you go http://www.hadit.com...it_on_cards.pdf
    • VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index

      VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index The following is the index with links to the various Training and Fast Letters plus a few miscellaneous. These letters are not necessarily in the original formatting. I have tried to present them in an easy-to-read form instead of some forms as originally presented. Some of the paragraphs were WAAAAYYY too long. lol - HadIt.com Member fanaticbooks Something to be aware.... Some of these letters may be rescinded, outdated, or otherwise no longer viable. I have still included them because sometimes they provide additional insight or just plain more information than the newest version. Use them wisely. The oldest letters will display at the bottom with the latest letters displayed at the top, all in sequential numbers. Coding of the letters... FL = Fast Letter TL = Training Letter First two numbers = last two digits of year of origin Training Letter http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40694-va-tl-00-07/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40693-va-tl-00-06/ Fast Letter Number Title http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44262-va-fl-11-15/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44260-va-fl-11-13/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44261-va-fl-11-11/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44310-va-fl-11-09/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/42151-va-fl-11-03/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40957-va-fl-10-49/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40958-va-fl-10-46/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40959-va-fl-10-45/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40960-va-fl-10-42/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40961-va-fl-10-39/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40962-va-fl-10-35/ 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113. What Will The Dro (decision Review Officer) Do?

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113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

After reviewing your file, he will issue a decision that is called a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will allow your claim, modify the decision, or affirm the decision. This should contain the Veterans Affairs Form 9 to appeal the decision to the Board.

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Posted · Report post

113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

After reviewing your file, he will issue a decision that is called a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will allow your claim, modify the decision, or affirm the decision. This should contain the Veterans Affairs Form 9 to appeal the decision to the Board.

Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC? I thought I read something like that elsewhere. I ID'ed the rating contested and submitted evidence with my NOD.

Thanks...

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Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC? I thought I read something like that elsewhere. I ID'ed the rating contested and submitted evidence with my NOD.

Thanks...

No when they make the decision good or bad they will send a SOC or a supplemental SOC. My first DRO review told me to piss in the wind, my second DRO review raised mine from 50% to 100% and P&T, made my 100% retro 1 year, Im fighting for the other years

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No when they make the decision good or bad they will send a SOC or a supplemental SOC. My first DRO review told me to piss in the wind, my second DRO review raised mine from 50% to 100% and P&T, made my 100% retro 1 year, Im fighting for the other years

Among other observations about the VA, I've noticed there seems to be a lack of standardization between the various VAROs, at least when it comes to decisions and timeliness. I am already becoming cynicial.

Thanks...

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My greatest difficulty concerning my VA Disability Apeal has been me, not the VA.

I find it harder and harder to concentrate and to stay focused. I have to stay optimistic and believe that someone, somewhere in the VA does care- because if I don’t, I easily lose hope.

Everyone has had their successes and failures with the VA- I reflect upon all of them and just grit my teeth and continue to slog along. It has now become my second career.

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Maniou,

I have found in some DRO denials that I have studied, they read like a carbon copy of the prior

denial, made by the VA.

As to your question,

"Does the DRO "ever" change the rating to a more favorable (to the vet) decision PRIOR to sending a SOC?"

I have received a DRO decision (partial decision) that did indeed change an issues previously denied by VA, to a grant. I later received an SOC that discussed the granted portion of the claim along with the denied issues.

Hope this helps a vet.

jmho,

carlie

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My DRO appeal was denied effective 2-19-2008 on my CUE claim. I just got it in the mail today. I have a lawyer who is supposed to be working on the case but nowhere do I see that they sent him a copy of the denial. The DRO denial was a carbon copy of the original denial except it had even less of my evidence listed. All the listed was a in-service hospital report. I am trying to contact the lawyer because I know if I have to go to the BVA I will have to make a pleading. I am going to send him a copy of the DRO denial. It was from our friends at the ST. Pete VARO. A piece of trash that was run off my a copy machine. I asked for a Hearing and only got this Review. I wonder if I should write a NOD and send it in on this before I talk to the lawyer which could take days? I am worried that my time limits will run out while said lawyer does nothing. For some reason his office was closed today. I will send him a copy of the decision by certified mail with a letter asking him to appeal. I just wonder if I could go ahead and ask for a personal hearing. There is no way the VARO is going to award my CUE without a slug fest. That is why I hired a lawyer. No matter how many times you get denials like this it always makes me angry. You know they did not even read your appeal but just rejected it.

John

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I filed a NOD in Jam 2008 had received one letter saying they had received my request for Compensation well

I received a letter today the one that says we are still processing your application for Compensation, however in with this letter was a pink letter VA Form 4107 "Stating your rights to appeal our decision" this seems sorta of odd since this is a NOD and I haven't received anything else from them. I was under the impression that I would receive a SOC. Don't really know what to think about this, "are they saying that my NOD has been disapproved or what" Anybody got any suggestions on this. Sgt D

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I filed a NOD in Jam 2008 had received one letter saying they had received my request for Compensation well

I received a letter today the one that says we are still processing your application for Compensation, however in with this letter was a pink letter VA Form 4107 "Stating your rights to appeal our decision" this seems sorta of odd since this is a NOD and I haven't received anything else from them. I was under the impression that I would receive a SOC. Don't really know what to think about this, "are they saying that my NOD has been disapproved or what" Anybody got any suggestions on this. Sgt D

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Sgt ID,

You did not indicate whether or not you have a veterans service organization (VFW, DAV, state supported group) assisting you. If you do, you need to contact them to check up on it. Most veterans service groups submit their clients' claims with a transmittal letter or cover sheet, that must be stamped by the VARO mail room. Once the letter is stamped 'received', it is your proof that VA got your correspondence. If you mailed it yourself then they can lose it with impunity because you have no proof they got it. This I know from experience working as a VSO for 20+ years. If you can work your way through the telephone machine answering menus to actually talk to a living person, I suggest you try that route to see if that person can make a search. Keep in mind that the person you talk to on the phone can only tell you what his/her computer says. Contrary to long-lasting rumors, the VA phone councilor does not go looking for your physical file. In most VAROs it is forbidden for them to do so. But you need to try in order to keep your claim alive. VA must receive your response or NOD no later than one year from the date of their original decision letter. Unless you can prove that you were physically and/or mentally incapacitated for that one year period, they WILL NOT entertain any request to extend your appeal filing period.

As a bit of advice, again based on hard-learned experience, a veteran who tries to go it alone without the aid of a veterans service organization is no different than a person having themselves as their lawyer, no matter how much you think you might know about the VA system. I am retired from that line of work, therefore, I am no longer certified to work VA claims for anyone else; yet, I still retain the services of the state VSO organization I worked for as if I knew nothing myself. The group that represents me is the Missouri Veterans Commission. I don't know what state you live in, but you might want to try the state VSO organization where you live to see if they can help you clear up your problem. Sorry this is so long, but another thing I learned on the job, there is no such thing as a short question and/or short answer when it comes to VA claims and benefits.

Good Luck,

Sgt. Bill

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Nothing To Lose after an NOD, by participating in a DRO review before an Appeal for VA Disabilty?

With regard to choosing a VA Decision Review Officer (DRO) to review a decision which denied a disability claim or an otherwise unsuccessful VA Disability claim versus proceeding directly to a traditional appeal, I remain hesitant about accepting the validity of frequent blanket statements advising everyone to request a DRO review, on the assumption the claimant has nothing to lose by doing so (except for the additional time lost before an eventual traditional appeal will go fourth if still necessary.) By the way, I don't know the true statistics, but by some accounts, 98 percent of "DRO" reviews are non-productive for the Veteran Claimant and fairly or not, have become synonymous with another description known as a "RSR" (rubber stamp review.)

While touted as a benefit for Veterans with the goal of reducing claim backlogs, I suppose the DRO process may help the VA reduce Appeal backlogs to some extent, but a DRO review actually extends the entire experience for a Veteran even longer, for those who ultimately do proceed with a formal Appeal, unless of course the DRO process succeeds by reducing the number of formal Appeals more significantly than perhaps as little as 2 percent. However, keep in mind, along the customary route and lengthy time table from an initial claim to a final decision by an Appeal Board, many claimants simply give up and of course, since we are speaking in terms of years, obviously some claimants even die before their claims are ever resolved. So, without a doubt, DRO reviews or anything else inserted into the middle of the claims process will have some effect on reducing backlogs, but not necessary in a manner that is actually helping veterans.

While we know the DRO process is designed to help the Department of Veterans Affairs reduce backlogs, if the DRO process is so beneficial for individual Veteran Claimants too, why doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs exert any more effort to entice claimants to participate in the DRO process with statistics to back up the advantages? The answer is simply because Veterans are already being herded unwittingly like cattle through the DRO gate with advice they have nothing to lose! But is that really true???

To offer an analogy, proceeding with a DRO review is not much different than playing 5 stud poker with an opponent who gets 10 cards. Thus, before a claimant proceeds to a formal appeal, the local VA claims office gets a second chance to clean up their first decision, correct any errors and counter any substantial issues the claimant may have raised with their Notice of Disagreement (NOD) which otherwise may have been more ripe for the Appeals Board to decide and possibly with a better outcome for the Veteran.

In theory, the goal of the DSO is to arrive at the same conclusions as can reasonably be anticipated an Appeal Board would ultimately do and thus avoid or reduce the need for formal appeals, but if that is all that is accomplished by a DSO review, it seems the claims process might be more efficient for perhaps 2 percent of veterans, while the entire length of the claims process from beginning until the end and through the Appeal stage when necessary, is just extended with another layer of bureaucracy which really does become nothing more than a refined rubber stamp for the other 98 percent of claimants who elect a DRO review.

The DRO process should offer more of a balance of improvements to be shared by both the VA and the claimants with some clear evidence that DSO reviews have at least some better track record with successful claims than what is demonstrated historically by Appeal Board decisions, otherwise, why should a claimant ever set fourth their grounds for an appeal to be scrutinized by the same office that denied there claim in the first place if the likelihood is 98 percent the claimant will end up having to Appeal anyway. In some cases, an initial denial of a claim at the local level may be so faulty, there is even a better chance of prevailing in a direct formal Appeal, than there will be after a DRO has a chance to clean up their mess.

To be sure, there are some claimants to be found who may prevail through a DRO review and therefore word spreads that a DRO simply adds an attractive second chance for claimants before proceeding to what may have been a needless traditional appeal, but don't forget, the DRO offers the VA local office a second chance also, to shore up their defenses against any arguments you may have raised about their initial decision and you could easily find yourself on even weaker ground when and if you finally do proceed with an appeal.

I believe the only way the DRO process will ever evolve to help more veterans, is by fewer veterans participating in the DRO process until such point in time when the Department of Veterans Affairs finally has some incentive to prove to Veterans, that the DRO process offers Veterans a better chance of prevailing statistically, than what a formal Appeal offers. There is a long history of Veterans traveling the maze of long winding roads through the VA claims process only to arrive at a dead end years later, but the added curve in that maze of long winding roads known as the DRO review, needs a guard rail.

Nothing to lose??? Maybe!!!

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I have just about always, had some success with the DRO Hearings I have had.

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113. What will the DRO (Decision Review Officer) do?

(note the original timestamp on this topic thread)... Has to be a world's record, here at Hadit.

You raise a few good issues and questions about this level of review, 7thSFG.

JMHO...If it works right, it could be a big help.

However, I have a feeling the wait time is going to get a bit longer...just saying.

Cmdr. Bob

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It is the very first chance you explain your case and meet your accusor in person. Up until then there are faceless people who are not reading all the evidence, and purposley keeping you in the dark. You get to tell them, in person, the facts they obviously missed and refused to read... and after you meet them, and tell them, they can no longer say they did not know, or did not see the evidence... because they were shown in person, face-2-face.

The first 2 years they just rubber stamp everything 'NO!"..

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It is the very first chance you explain your case and meet your accusor in person. Up until then there are faceless people who are not reading all the evidence, and purposley keeping you in the dark. You get to tell them, in person, the facts they obviously missed and refused to read... and after you meet them, and tell them, they can no longer say they did not know, or did not see the evidence... because they were shown in person, face-2-face.

The first 2 years they just rubber stamp everything 'NO!"..

Well stated, 'retiredat44'.

Face to Face...

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I'm going to throw my twenty dollars worth in on this one.

First - I do agree that the face to face hearing, whether it's with a DRO at your

local VARO level, or with a BVA Judge at the APPEALS level, can be beneficial

towards advancing our claim issues. I feel compelled to follow up on this

with a big . . . .

BUT

We get a rating - file a NOD or a Form 9 and request a hearing in person.

Then we wait and wait . . and wait . . and wait . and wait some more, then

magically we receive notice and a date for our face to face hearing, where

we are lead to believe - finally someone is going to listen, going to care

and going to ensure the right thing is done.

So ........ you go to the hearing, again - it doesn't matter which level it is at.

You usually have one hour - and yes they will tell you that if needed they will take more time,

but the goal is the same - get you in and get you out, if you have enough issues or your

claim issues are complicated, keep your cool, stay nicey- nice and they will probably allow

some additional time.

When the hearing is being concluded, while it's still being recorded,

they will look at you, they might smile and they will ask point blank -

"Do you feel like your issues have been covered to your satisfaction ?"

This question somehow feels like it comes out of left field - and you answer -

yes, and maybe a thank you.

BOOM - that recorder is off and within 60 - 120 seconds your mind is thinking of more stuff on your issues,

questions are going thru your head and suddenly you find yourself - in the parking lot.

We wait forever for these hearings.

The hearing master DOES NOT WANT TO UPSET YOU IN ANY WAY DURING THE HEARING !

After all they are in a closed room with you, right across a desk, usually within arms reach.

There is no security person in the room with you, although there might be a panic button.

They truly present themselves as being there to help and listen.

Remember now, it is a non-adversarial process (until you get to COVA).

During your presentation - always keep in mind:

ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

If you feel you will be nervous - write everything down and just read it word for word,

clearly and slowly into the record.

If you need to stop at some point - do it - but return to reading aloud, your information,

and your argument, disagreement, why it should be granted - due to what evidence

and why the evidence used to deny (or whatever) was/is for some reason, incorrect

or insufficient.

Yes, this hearing officer, DRO or BVA Judge, sits there with you face to face

for an hour or so - then you part company.

Your C-file is returned to a little cart on wheels and off it goes.

This DRO or BVA Judge will more likely than not, have no more association with your file

for an extended period of time, for possibly several reasons.

1) They are still working on claims ahead of yours.

2) They are diverted from adjudication to do some training of other employees.

3) While the hearing was taking place, they probably made some notes,

Example : return to development for C&P exam, VCAA letter has not yet been provided

to claimant, send claimant ROI for SSA or private health care records, etc.....

These are only a couple of reasons that they will not be working on your claim issues

in a timely manner, after your hearing was held.

By the time they do get back together with your file, they have held another 20 or 30 (WAG)

in person hearings. They may try to remember your face, what you had on, something that will bring

you to mind as a person.

They may not remember you at all.

In all cases they will purely go by, ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

At least if they do their job - they will.

The in person hearing does help with another bite at the apple, but once the hearing is concluded

claimants return to being faceless claim numbers - end product codes to be entered into a data base.

JMHO

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I plan to use my DRO face to face time to connect the dots... To submit excerpts & pages of my c-file that seem to have gone unnoticed for decades, and shed light on aspects of my record that were overlooked or omitted by the rater. I have a double-wide c-file that that needs to be reviewed, and an hour of DRO time to condense and confirm my claim. Then if need be, move the DRO hearing record, and the claim up to the BVA.

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When I had my face to face with the BVA judge over my CUE my lawyer stated and restated that we were not asking to reweigh evidence. Plus he handed the judge a brief. I think it is important to really get some issues firmly in the mind of the DRO or judge, or you may find your claim denied. It is bad to get denied on your actual claim without the VA denying it on an issue that does not represent your claim. It is so easy for these guys to get the issues mixed up that if you can hammer it into their heads what you are trying to do it is worth the wait I think.

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When I had my face to face with the BVA judge over my CUE my lawyer stated and restated that we were not asking to reweigh evidence. Plus he handed the judge a brief. I think it is important to really get some issues firmly in the mind of the DRO or judge, or you may find your claim denied. It is bad to get denied on your actual claim without the VA denying it on an issue that does not represent your claim. It is so easy for these guys to get the issues mixed up that if you can hammer it into their heads what you are trying to do it is worth the wait I think.

My plan B,if I don't find satisfaction after the DRO hearing, will be to find a lawyer, to take it from there..

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CB,

Do you have a date scheduled yet for your DRO hearing ?

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CB,

Do you have a date scheduled yet for your DRO hearing ?

The DRO hearing was suppose to be last month, however it was postponed because the VA failed to send me "Proper Notice". The VA sent my hearing notice to an incorrect address. I found out about it by phone the day before the hearing. My NSO rep. discovered it by chance, and gave me a call. It all sounds suspicious, because my address hasn't changed for almost three decades. LOL... After waiting for over two years, my appeal almost was denied because of my failure to report to the hearing... LOL. The DRO requested another C&P exam and rescheduled the hearing for sometime in the future. . .???

The VA corrected my address, sent me to VAMC for a new C&P( wrong date, long story) , and now I am waiting for the new DRO hearing date.

What a joke... Just glad we caught it in time...

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The DRO hearing was suppose to be last month, however it was postponed because the VA failed to send me "Proper Notice". The VA sent my hearing notice to an incorrect address. I found out about it by phone the day before the hearing. My NSO rep. discovered it by chance, and gave me a call. It all sounds suspicious, because my address hasn't changed for almost three decades. LOL... After waiting for over two years, my appeal almost was denied because of my failure to report to the hearing... LOL. The DRO requested another C&P exam and rescheduled the hearing for sometime in the future. . .???

The VA corrected my address, sent me to VAMC for a new C&P( wrong date, long story) , and now I am waiting for the new DRO hearing date.

What a joke... Just glad we caught it in time...

Thank God your NSO rep found it!!

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Thank God your NSO rep found it!!

Thanks John, Carlie, cooter and all, for your support and insight. Yes cooter, and thank God my NSO rep found it the day before it was suppose to happen!! ??

Sometimes I have to laugh at my whole absurd adjudication experience, or it would become so bizarre and frustrating, I would throw my hands up and get an aneurysm (insert exploding head here).

There is a dark side to this so called due process, that simmers just below the surface of mistakes and incompetence at the VARO level. Obvious questions, like, How can my local VARO, Veterans Service Center have my correct address in 2008 and not in 2011 ?? It's not like the DRO's secretary was sitting at an old Remington Rand Typewriter, and simply made a mistake with my address.

Being the inquisitive person, that I am, I learned that due to the tsunami of new claims, the appeals department staff was recently reduced to a skeleton crew, and the rest of that section was moved over to handle new claims. Could this mistake just be another arrogant ploy to thin out the herd of appellant vets, by an out of control bureaucracy, without the legal checks and balances, or due process protections we find outside the VA? I feel this is just another small example of a larger problem.

C.B.

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Nothing To Lose after an NOD, by participating in a DRO review before an Appeal for VA Disabilty?

By the way, I don't know the true statistics, but by some accounts, 98 percent of "DRO" reviews are non-productive for the Veteran Claimant and fairly or not, have become synonymous with another description known as a "RSR" (rubber stamp review.)

Wow! I was impressed with that line of reasoning and had those same questions regarding giving them 'Advanced Notice' as to my battle plans and how that would affect the appeal process.

Pretty much everyone who had a different opinion, based on their personal experience, relied on the fact that it was the first chance to put a 'Face' with the claim. Would I be right in assuming, from what was related, that if a appellant did not want to appear in person on any appeal that they are doomed to another failure?

Are there any actual statistics on DRO Reviews success/failure that I can reference?

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At the end of my DRO hearing the DRO person asked ' why do I feel I deserve disability compensation' ? (paraphrased). I had to explain that I went into the USAF as a healthy person and got sick on active duty many times ans was also forced to work with the same type chemicals the doctors had treated and removed me from every working with again in the USAF. And further that the USAF went against the doctor's orders and sent me to anew job again working with those chemicals, hence me getting sick all over again, causing me to lose my 2nd job due to illnesss on active duty. Then the illnesses caused by the chmicals exposure caused me to never be able to work again and suffer from several life threatening illnesses. All, as stated in my Appeals.

My wife also gave her life with me as a dsiabled vet, who has only bene able to lay in bed sick most the time and wasn't able to be part of my family's and daughter's life growing up, because of my bad health. She cried the whole time.

I was applalled the way the question of why I deserved the bneenefits was sprung on me (both my wife and I), unexpectedly towards the end of the hearing.

Also, you must understand I have file cabinets, boxes of medical records as both an in patient and out patient. Also the records from active duty, and the VA has access to them all. The VA knows, but it's deny, deny, until they die!

I'm going to throw my twenty dollars worth in on this one.

First - I do agree that the face to face hearing, whether it's with a DRO at your

local VARO level, or with a BVA Judge at the APPEALS level, can be beneficial

towards advancing our claim issues. I feel compelled to follow up on this

with a big . . . .

BUT

We get a rating - file a NOD or a Form 9 and request a hearing in person.

Then we wait and wait . . and wait . . and wait . and wait some more, then

magically we receive notice and a date for our face to face hearing, where

we are lead to believe - finally someone is going to listen, going to care

and going to ensure the right thing is done.

So ........ you go to the hearing, again - it doesn't matter which level it is at.

You usually have one hour - and yes they will tell you that if needed they will take more time,

but the goal is the same - get you in and get you out, if you have enough issues or your

claim issues are complicated, keep your cool, stay nicey- nice and they will probably allow

some additional time.

When the hearing is being concluded, while it's still being recorded,

they will look at you, they might smile and they will ask point blank -

"Do you feel like your issues have been covered to your satisfaction ?"

This question somehow feels like it comes out of left field - and you answer -

yes, and maybe a thank you.

BOOM - that recorder is off and within 60 - 120 seconds your mind is thinking of more stuff on your issues,

questions are going thru your head and suddenly you find yourself - in the parking lot.

We wait forever for these hearings.

The hearing master DOES NOT WANT TO UPSET YOU IN ANY WAY DURING THE HEARING !

After all they are in a closed room with you, right across a desk, usually within arms reach.

There is no security person in the room with you, although there might be a panic button.

They truly present themselves as being there to help and listen.

Remember now, it is a non-adversarial process (until you get to COVA).

During your presentation - always keep in mind:

ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

If you feel you will be nervous - write everything down and just read it word for word,

clearly and slowly into the record.

If you need to stop at some point - do it - but return to reading aloud, your information,

and your argument, disagreement, why it should be granted - due to what evidence

and why the evidence used to deny (or whatever) was/is for some reason, incorrect

or insufficient.

Yes, this hearing officer, DRO or BVA Judge, sits there with you face to face

for an hour or so - then you part company.

Your C-file is returned to a little cart on wheels and off it goes.

This DRO or BVA Judge will more likely than not, have no more association with your file

for an extended period of time, for possibly several reasons.

1) They are still working on claims ahead of yours.

2) They are diverted from adjudication to do some training of other employees.

3) While the hearing was taking place, they probably made some notes,

Example : return to development for C&P exam, VCAA letter has not yet been provided

to claimant, send claimant ROI for SSA or private health care records, etc.....

These are only a couple of reasons that they will not be working on your claim issues

in a timely manner, after your hearing was held.

By the time they do get back together with your file, they have held another 20 or 30 (WAG)

in person hearings. They may try to remember your face, what you had on, something that will bring

you to mind as a person.

They may not remember you at all.

In all cases they will purely go by, ISSUE + EVIDENCE = All that is ever relevant in claims adjudication.

At least if they do their job - they will.

The in person hearing does help with another bite at the apple, but once the hearing is concluded

claimants return to being faceless claim numbers - end product codes to be entered into a data base.

JMHO

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During the DRO session, are you able to ask questions pertaining to how or if certain ratings may apply to the evidence?

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