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Indiana (In): Indianapolis
Posted 16 June 2011 - 06:54 PM
Indianapolis Regional Office
This topic was created to try to help veterans who use this regional office. It is designed to offer a way for them to possibly help each other or band together to possibly get services improved.
When commenting in this topic, please try to do so constructively.
1. Mention reason for interacting with this regional office;
2. Give your pro/con on this interaction;
3. Without betraying private information, try to offer information or warnings that might be helpful to others when dealing with this office.
4. Please do not give names, phone numbers or addresses of specific persons at this office. If you do so, the post will be deleted.
Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:34 AM
C&P exams on 09AUG2010; results for C&P on computer (and hand carried) to VARO on 29AUG2010;
eBenefits says received VAMC docs on 15OCT2010.
Development ever since.
Now with "special Ops Team"(?) whatever that is. Submitted IRIS request on 07/29/2011-VARO did not answer me but posted a message on VA computer system, so the 1-800-827-1000 customer assistance (nice elderly fellow ) could tell me that, even though others have submitted "regular" claims months AFTER mine at the Indianapolis VARO, that each claim is different so they cannot be compared and I just have to wait. (they did not say "my turn" this time, because I think my turn came and they gave it to someone else )
I've visited the Indianapolis VARO numerous times-heard many different stories, been
Gird up thine loins and prepare for a long wait at this VARO.
Posted 29 September 2011 - 04:23 PM
Posted 29 September 2011 - 07:17 PM
Mishandling of claim information. Sending another veterans information to the veteran and when he tried to take it back, they cornered him and tried to interrogate him. He called me in a panic and I told him to get out of there and send the information to the veteran whose name was on the documents.
Then I told him to send the rest to the office of VAOIG. This veteran ended up moving to another state.
I would not touch this regional office without the assistance of an attorney.
Posted 02 October 2011 - 02:51 AM
Additionally, a particular VSO out of that office who is listed as my rep. has been of no assistance. Now, it seems that office is also claiming non-receipt of evidence, even with my postal receipt showing they also received. After the VARO claims of non-receipt, or late receipt of evidence, I've been sending a copy to the VSO for stamping and having placed into my VA file of what I've sent to the VARO. The VSO would send me a letter stating it was turned in to VA and date stamp noted, but important papers that I'd sent in May, 2011 were never acknowledged. Recently, I called the office about it and, apparently, they claim to never have received the evidence, either. From having dealt with the P.O. in that area, due to claims of non-receipt, etc., it does not appear to be a postal delivery problem, but a IN VARO issue with the mail once it is delivered to them. Since I do not live near to the VARO, there is not too much more that can be done about it since I can't just pay a visit, requesting to see the file, to see what is in it. I have not made a request for updated file copies since I do not want to disturb the claim further, but it seems pointless to do that, in any case. My husband requested some copies from them from his file, over 1-1/2 years ago and, as yet, nothing has been forthcoming.
The IN VARO was not always this way. My husband went through that VARO back in the 90's and the service was excellent with both VARO and VSO. They were efficient and timely. Since then, too much has changed, but not favorable, or so it seems to me. This veteran has just been left to sort of just hang and wait out whatever it is they are doing over there. I agree that it would be best to work through an attorney with that particular VARO. I just have not gotten around to seeking out the information for that and pending that SSOC they spoke about since 2009. I suppose, eventually, I will be forced to do that if the claim just continues to sit there and I can't get better assistance from the VSO. This whole claim issue was so pathetic that when my hearing date came up, I made the trip to Indianapolis, and my VSO did not even have me listed in their computer as having a hearing that day, even as I'd called him to confirm a few days prior. The receptionist went looking for him somewhere in the building to inform him that my hearing was coming up...good thing he wasn't off that day. I know that there is no way he was reviewing anything in my file, so he was not prepared. Of course, he is the VSO, not the VA, but it sure leaves me wondering.
If this is the way that IN VARO continues to operate, it would behoove a veteran to get real good representation from the get go, or expect a longer than what is expected wait, in my humble opinion. I'm sorry that I don't have anything better to say about that VARO.
Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:00 PM
This is one of the things that is making me feel so disgusted with them. IF they decide to deny my CUE, when in fact it is a cut and dried CUE, I'll have to appeal through this very same VARO and there will be an even longer wait. Of course the later courts would award me the CUE but the pain and anguish at having to wait and wait and even wait for this VARO to relinquish its grip on me (and my claim) is wearing on me now. All the while, they say they are doing everything they can and they are working so hard - I think there comes a time when a leader has to say that enough is enough and that the current team is NOT a team that can produce success. I'm going to be excessively bitter at them even if the significant 5 figure $$$ were deposited tomorrow! Of course that would have required an adjudication and CACO approval and more. I can understand but I will not forget what they have done to me and most likely thousands of others.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:57 AM
Edited by etcm, 03 October 2011 - 10:58 AM.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:17 AM
Another thing I just noticed: My last claim was a dependency claim in 2007. The claim was "opened" at 10 months after submittal and completed during the week that made it one year. So they have been slow to adjudicate for a long time (at least on my claims). One of the claims submitted a couple of months after mine, as I read, was adjudicated earlier and it just dawned on me that it was mistakenly sent to another VARO for adjudication, then sent back to Indianapolis and completed. So it goes.
"mistakenly sent to another VARO for adjudication" - sometimes when a VARO is backed-up, they'll farm their work out to other VAROs with lighter workload. ATL sent two of mine to Huntington VARO, and I received (what I think) were better results. Best of luck to you!
Posted 05 October 2011 - 09:17 PM
The VARO has told me in mid AUG2011 (and some other times since) that they had not yet gotten to my (then) 490 day old claim as it had not waited long enough and they work all claims in the order received. This means that they worked a large percentage of young (higher priority) claims and a few really old (regular) claims.
Comparing number of 01AUG claims <125 days (5443) and an average of 25% of those claims aging to >125 days old with the number of 31AUG claims <125 days (5478) and the new claims(~1718) (Average age 15 days old) indicates that 315 claims that should have reached a status of >125 days old never did - these must be the number of claims less than 125 days that got adjudicated; these are some of the prioritized claims that got processed in AUG2011. Now some real hypothesizing: IF you assume the average age of these 315 claims that got adjudicated is 100 days, the rest of the claims for AUG averaged 395 days... but my 490 day claim had not been touched, so I'll assume that all of the regular claims adjudicated were at least
This means that they do not give enough numbers to postulate And I'd guestimate that about 85-95% of the claims processed at Indy are prioritized.
But it does indicate another symptom of a system at its breaking point where unless you are in a "prioritized" category, your estimated adjudication date is growing and continues to grow - to at least 540+days now. This conclusion assumes they work the claims in the order received...but I've read posts here and on other forums that indicate that their "party line" about this is a
Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:52 PM
Submitted IRIS request on 27SEP2011 -> its supposed to have a 5 business day time for response. Nothing yet after
Edited by etcm, 12 October 2011 - 09:36 AM.
Posted 13 October 2011 - 04:35 PM
Dear Mr. Xxxxxxx
This is in response to your inquiry to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dated September 27, 2011.
We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. We are currently experiencing a large volume of inquiries and are working as quickly as possible to respond to each in a timely manner.
Mr. Xxxxxx, we thank you for your service to our country.
We received your claim for increase on April 14, 2010, for ............. Your claim is still in the Development Phase. Based on the information available, the required development actions have been completed. We will review your claim to ensure we have everything we need to make an informed decision. If we determine we need additional information, we will contact you.
There are two additional phases: the Decision Phase and the Notification Phase.
The VA doesn't have a policy to reorder exams if they are over a year old. Once a claim is awaiting a decision by our rating activity, a rating specialist will review the information to make sure we have everything we need to make a fair decision. If at that time, they feel a more current exam is necessary, one will be ordered.
Your continued patience is appreciated.
Thank you for contacting us. If you have questions or need additional help with the information in our reply, please respond to this message or see our other contact information below.
Donovan W. Thompson
National IRIS Response Center Manager
Posted 18 October 2011 - 06:43 PM
Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:59 AM
Just to give you a frame of reference for your stats, I applied to Indy RO on 04-14-2009 for PTSD, TBI, TDIU, residuals, hand fracture, tinnitus, and bilateral hearing loss and my claim was awarded on 8-5-2010. By my math that's 16 months. With regards to your dependency claim, I filed for dependency at the Manila RO in May of this year and it was awarded this past Monday, 10-17-2011- for 5 months total.
Yes, Your claim was adjudicated BEFORE all of the AO presumptives and the Nehmer claims started to be adjudicated. Thanks for the input. It indicates a significantly longer time than their laughable average processing claim times indicate. They keep processing enough of the recent (prioritized and others) claims to keep the average lower and still keep a significant majority waiting around. Interestingly, today I read that one of the past funding initiatives was to be able to charge interest when the VA overpays vets....but there is certainly no reciprocity when the VA owes us for years and finally pays
Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:18 PM
Per the customer service rep: Regular claims for Indianapolis are still backed up to 2009 submissions! He commented that they are backed up so many ways and that they are just working through as best as they can. In an attempt to modernize the VA claim process, the Indy VARO has changed to a team concept that has teams for NEW claims (FastTrack – fully developed), team(s) for prioritized claims, team to work all of the 19APR2010 and earlier cases, etc.
For some of us, it means that they have allocated resources to work other claims rather than in the order received, excuse me, that means other non-prioritized claims. It also means that the rule about working claims in the order received is true…except when they have a plan to do something else – and all in the name of, with the intent of being efficient . Oh yes, they cull certain kinds of new claims out like tinnitus, hearing, backs, etc. so they can knock those out earlier to keep them from backing up also.
Oh yes, the team that is working all of those claims dating back to 2009 – FOUR raters. I was told these old claims were difficult and needed a special (“special ops”) team. When I pointed out that my claim was “old” because it has aged into that category because they just did not work it. He acknowledged that and they have such a big backlog that originated from Nehmer, Gulf War vet priorities with such a large National Guard presence in Indiana, and all of the other Congressional mandated priorities.
So, let’s see, at with 4 raters at 3 claims a day each (remember, these are “difficult” old claims), that should yield about 250-270 claims a month. And IF they received 500 regular claims a month during the time from Oct2009 until 19APR2010 ……… That means they will reach, or could reach, 2 months of work for every month of submitted claims. That is reassuring. It also means, with Quibley's earlier post, that from 8-5-2010 until now (over a year) that they have accomplished 2-months worth of "regular" claims!
I would like to give up on this, but of course the VA does not pay the same interest on underpaid accounts as they do when You are overpaid. The VA does not care that you lose thousands of $$ in “lost” tax returns due to their delay!
I really think the workers care about the job and their ability to deliver timely claim adjudication. I think that many workers are trying hard to achieve. It’s just that the current system is not geared up to provide the services that the politicians want it too. But the politicians just do not want to be seen “denying” benefits to disabled vets, so they enact legislation that directs the VA to “make it happen” …and the VA does NOT go to the press and tell the public the sham job that Congress is trying to pull, instead, they make a press announcement that all claims will be under 125 days by 2015.
When you look at the ASPIRE and the VA Monday Morning Weekly Report, you sure do not look at the numbers that say they are still not even working cases that are over 700 days old!
He also said that the new time estimates that they are informing vet applicants are from 6-12 months! He doesn’t tell the applicants that they are going to work their newer claims instead of all of those “old” and “difficult” claims.
Please excuse my rant and just observe the “facts” involving the status of the Indianapolis VARO at processing claims. Chronic back/neck pain, coupled with my failure to see the sense in the smoke blown by our gov’t that everything is under control. Hey, if I am really “lucky” they will adjudicate my claim and just before they issue any payments, the dollar will crash and I then can take the 8 years of back CRDP and buy a sandwich with it. MMM, MMM, good.
Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:37 PM
Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:20 AM
Edited by etcm, 29 November 2011 - 09:26 PM.
Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:29 PM
"Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Indianapolis, Indiana
11/28/2011 07:00 PM EST
We evaluated how well the Indianapolis VARO accomplishes its mission. The staff timely processed homeless veterans’ claims and effectively provided outreach efforts to homeless shelters and service providers. Inaccuracies in temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted from not scheduling medical reexaminations. Also, an incorrect interpretation of VA policy resulted in inadequate medical exams for processing traumatic brain injury claims. Also, the quality assurance program did not identify errors in herbicide exposure-related disability claims. Overall, the VARO did not correctly process 41 percent of disability claims reviewed. Better management oversight would ensure errors identified by internal reviews were corrected, improve mail processing, and increase accuracy when addressing entitlement issues pertaining to the mental health treatment for Gulf War veterans."
41% of the claims were done wrong!!!!!!!
Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:59 PM
I just got this report from the VA Inspector General's office:
"Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Indianapolis, Indiana
11/28/2011 07:00 PM EST
We evaluated how well the Indianapolis VARO accomplishes its mission. The staff timely processed homeless veterans' claims and effectively provided outreach efforts to homeless shelters and service providers. Inaccuracies in temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted from not scheduling medical reexaminations. Also, an incorrect interpretation of VA policy resulted in inadequate medical exams for processing traumatic brain injury claims. Also, the quality assurance program did not identify errors in herbicide exposure-related disability claims. Overall, the VARO did not correctly process 41 percent of disability claims reviewed. Better management oversight would ensure errors identified by internal reviews were corrected, improve mail processing, and increase accuracy when addressing entitlement issues pertaining to the mental health treatment for Gulf War veterans."
41% of the claims were done wrong!!!!!!!
Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:51 AM
Edited by Ethan'sGrandma, 05 December 2011 - 01:52 AM.
Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:31 PM
As I was informed the last time I visited the Indianapolis VARO - you are unfortunate to have a claim where there is such a large number of returning Gulf War OIF/OEF vets because of the large number of reserve units called up from the iNDIANA AREA. That has created a large number of vets with higher priority than a regular claim submittal.. The politicians made it this way and that is how the VA must adjudicate the claims. I know it is difficult to accept that you are not as "equal" as other vets...but that is the way it is. When you are standing in line for gov't benefits, you pretty much have to accept what you are given. I think Indy is moving faster now..
Wow! They are really trying to set the bar high heh. I have a claim that is now 365 days and have not received the first contact letter. All of the items claimed are either already SC or presumptives that have already been diagnosed by the VHA. It is dissappointing because I know that the majority of the VA administrative staff are SC veterans and new job openings have been posted as to only be filled by veterans or tenured civil service employees. You would think things would improve, but they seem to be getting worse. I hear they have terrible turnover so maybe they just have to keep training new staff. Still....Wow!
Good Luck - etcm
Posted 31 January 2012 - 11:08 PM
Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:42 PM
Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:18 PM
Here is alittle info. I just got off the phone the 1800 number. Lets call him "snowball". I was checking on my claims that I have with the indianapolis VRO. It has been about 6 months and no movement. He informed me, that they are running about 572 on processing claims now. I was floored. I thought to myself. Jezzzzzzz the government can send us to combat at a moments notice (which I would do again if my country asked me). But when the veterns file a claim or ask for help. It takes 2 years to get any help.
Hey that would be fast, based on the fact my claim has been with the Houston RO for 854 days and still in "Gathering Evidence". Be thankful.
Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:24 PM
And after you get that VA decision, (you won your claim) and they owe you thousands of dollars, they have no rules in place that make them pay you, no regulations to force them, no one accountable who will answer to our elected officials, so you wait and wait some more.
and VARO Indianapolis: well we get the government that We the People" deserve.
Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:59 AM
1) Lumbar Stenosis (SMR entries for low back pain, same area L4/L5)
(current Meds through VA: Hydocodone 7.5's one every 4 hrs and over the counter Ibuprofen)
2) Diabetes Type 2
current meds through VA: Insulin 52 units twice a day, glipizide 10mgs twice a day)
3) IBS (SMR entries/Gulf War vet as well)
4) Gerd (SMR entries)
(current meds through VA: Pantoprazole 40mgs one a day, Simethicone 80mgs two tabs three times a day)
5) Major Depression (steming from issues with with #'s 1, 3, and 4 and ptsd (but as of yet not addressed))
(current meds for both #4 and #5 through Va: Three atm)
SSD Claim filed Feb 2011
VA Claims filed Apr 2011
SSD claim denied June 2011
SSD claim denied Aug 2011
SSD claim court date May 2012
SSD Awarded July 2012
Award back dates too Feb 2011, six month waiting period so pay actually started in Aug of 2011
VA Claim status: Still in collection of evidence status
I did an Iris last month, and got the typical response letter. Hopefully it adds a bit a fuel to my claims though.
I have maintained a very tight budget over the last year and with my award I can pay my bills and build a better case for VA claims to boot with out going bankrupt.
Edited by kevin4998, 12 July 2012 - 07:33 AM.
Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:11 PM
Require the VA to pay INTEREST when more than a reasonable period elapses between the filing of a claim and the payment of the claim. (In the case of contractors, this can be a period of thirty days or so after payment is due.)
Require that long delayed claims be paid using the governments own tables that equate past year to current year dollars.
This also compensates the veteran, by paying a more or less equitable amount that has the same purchasing power as a past year's dollar.
Perhaps a supplementary payment should also be added when CUE is involved.
If that doesn't get the VA off it's @#$, then it's past time to separate the entire C&P system, overhaul it, and place it under (Perhaps) SSA.
Supporting two disability systems makes absolutely no sense, unless you want to have increased administrative costs, duplicated manpower, etc.
Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:16 AM
Hello. I submitted a claim to get an increase in certain things back in October 2012 and I just got the results. Instead of bumping my percentages, the Indy office decided to lower two of my disabilities, even though I had plenty of evidence to back me up. This forum mentioned that this regional office makes mistakes on 41% of the claims. Obviously, I'm going to appeal. The question is, should I get a lawyer that handles VA claims? How much do they typically charge? Does anybody know of any good VSO reps in the Terre Haute/Indy area, or lawyers?
Edited by xlh_stud, 18 October 2013 - 08:17 AM.
Posted 30 November 2013 - 10:38 PM
See my reply above. Worst RO. Maybe not actually worst but it is in competition with Houston and Waco for the top spot.
Posted 24 October 2014 - 08:40 AM
I share your frustration with the Indianapolis Regional Office. I applied for my appeal to go to the BVA in 2009. As of today it is still at the regional office and all they would tell me was that someone is actively working on it because it had a case note from 05/2014. I contacted my local congressman and he gave very little help. I have sent in 5 IRIS requests in the past month with no responses. I have called their number seven times and even scheduled a time for them to call me and no one called. I have left messages for my POA as well and have not been contacted by them. I am about tempted to move to another state so it can be handled better. I asked who was handling it so I could see if they needed anything else and they would not tell me that information. Anyone have any ideas????
Posted 24 October 2014 - 08:56 AM
Are you able to travel there in person? If so, I would make a personal visit. Not an ugly visit, but a cordial "help me understand" and "I need status" visit. You may just get the attention you need on you appeal.
Posted 10 November 2014 - 05:11 AM
I would make the trip if I could, but it is over an hour away and I don't trust my old truck on the interstate. I guess after tax season I would be more inclined to do it since I will be doing some repairs to her. Driving to the hospital is not bad since it is on country roads, but downtown Indy is impossible in that thing.
Posted 10 November 2014 - 05:45 AM
Please email Bob email@example.com with your story as told here. Further search shows Robert.A.McDonald@va.gov might be his address. I'd send to both.
Please don't add a lot of verbiage but keep the facts clear and simple like you've done in your post.
Please report back what you hear.
Edited by Notorious Kelly, 10 November 2014 - 06:04 AM.
Posted 12 November 2014 - 08:32 AM
I will e-mail him today and see if he can find anything out. Thanks a ton for the information.
Posted 12 November 2014 - 09:35 PM
Indianapolis, and the midwest (to include Cleveland, Ohio), are indeed two of the worst Regional Offices. Back in 2008, there was an article about the disparity among regional offices...how a Veteran in one RO was more likely to get service connection at higher percentages than another RO. The midwest RO's were the worst...the lowest had an average per Vet of about half of what Veterans received in more Veteran friendly states.
Interestingly, Senator Barrack Obama's state, Illinois, was one of the lowest states in the nation (in compensation to Veterans) He campaigned hard for Illinois to end that disparity, and Illinois moved up several steps. Then he moved to the white house and that was all forgotten, apparently.
Posted 14 November 2014 - 09:04 PM
I knew our area in Indianapolis sucked. When I look at the rating scale I clearly see my symptoms in the 70% category and they gave me a 50% rating. Hopefully the appeal will go to the BVA soon. I want to get this resolved before I do a claim for a few other things.
Posted 30 January 2015 - 10:29 PM
Well, it has been a few more months and still no progress at all. I have sent in 2 complaints through IRIS without any response yet with the latest one coming on 01/14. They say that they will respond in 5 working days my butt. The last response I had said average processing is 576 days. I am closing in on 5 years with no progress and my appeal started in 2009. This is really starting to stress me out with their lack of understanding and compassion. I tried calling and can never get through. I called after hours and scheduled an appointment and no one calls. If I don't hear something soon I would possibly contact the local news media to see if they want to do an investigation.
Posted 31 January 2015 - 11:05 AM
Sorry to hear of your stress bud, but those dang appeals can easily go on for years. That is why I slid my conditions under the VA, by just reopening conditions, or claiming them as secondary under something else. I am not a fan of appeals as I can not afford to wait years. I actually had a CUE last year, but not worth me fighting for $2500 bucks. Just don't have the strength. God Bless and good luck. Keep us posted. You will win in the end, and that is ultimately all that matters my friend.
Posted 15 February 2015 - 01:47 AM
Thanks a lot for the encouragement. I emailed Mr. McDonald and got a response the same day stating that they would look into it for me but nothing else. It has only been 2 weeks though. I had a very frustrating moment at the VA when a guy was bitching to me that he only has a 30% rating for PTSD. The dude got his PTSD from basic training when they gave him a blanket party and it took 3 months to get it. He said he believed he deserved at least 50%. I am 50% and did 2 tours of combat, one in Desert Storm and Somalia.
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