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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.
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    • 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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Dro Or Trad Appeal

12 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Okay so I get this letter in the mail. Oh dont you love getting VA mail.

This is in reference to the NOD that I filed a couple of months back. They say I can have a DRO look at or just continue the tradtional appeal process. hmmmmmmmmmm. Idk what to do. Then they have something called Clear and unmistakable error - de novo review. Im starting the think that I will need a BA in Veterans Law to understand thses letters along with the process.

Anyway, I have to respond to this letter. Do I take the DRO and risk them denying the case and then have to go and wait on the tradtional appeal or to I just go straight to the tradtional appeals process?

Anyone go straight to the appeals process?

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Posted · Report post

I did. I regarded anything done at the VARO as a dead end. I won at BVA....

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Posted · Report post

Its controversial but most Veterans advocates recommend DRO. Reasons "for" and against follow.

DRO pluses

1. You get "another bite at the apple". That is, it is before another decision maker who may just approve your claim. If you skip the DRO, you lose THIS bite at the apple.

2. DRO is likely faster than BVA...DRO could happen in months, while a BVA appeal will likely take 4 years.

DRO minuses

1. If you do go the DRO and you are denied again, you wasted about 6 to 8 months, while your claim could be on its way to the BVA.

2. Some say the DRO's "rubber stamp" what the rating specialist did. I have personally been awarded benefits AT the DRO level.

Bottom line: Skipping the DRO will save you time IF you have to go to the BVA ANYWAY, that is, if the DRO appeal is denied.

Opting for the DRO will save you time if you get the benefit you want.

My personal recommendation is to go with the DRO IF you have new and material evidence not considered. If you do NOT have new evidence, then I favor skipping the DRO and go to the BVA. My reason. You see because of "stare decisis" (link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stare%20decisis

the judge wont go against what another judge said, and you will have to go to a higher tribunal to over rule that judge. But, if you have new evidence the judge can say...well Judge Brown said x but he did not know about evidence Y, so I am changing the decision. Stare decisis does not apply.

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I hope I don't confuse the situation more, but I just got back a similiar response from Iris as Oddairman did and it has me confused. Hoping someone can clear this up in my mind as well. Some history I filed my NOD and asked for a DRO review back on 12/16/2011. I've been under the thoughts that a DRO Review was a Hearing with a Senior DRO that we would go over my claims either in person or in a tele-conference. I recently wanted to find out a apprioxiamate date that the hearing would take place and how much advance time would they give me prior to the hearing date.Thanks to Bank of America and a no interest Visa for 15 months, I wanted to see if I could get some IMO/IME to bolster my claims. Anyway I got an email back today that has me totaly confused.They gave me the impression that the DRO Review was done by a supervisor who would notify me of their opinion and that there is no meeting with me present.They made it seem like it was an either or situation. When did they split the DRO process into two types? The IRIS person seemed to think there is no hearing with me present.They said the Portland office is running around 420 days till most DROs are done. So I do have some extra time to do what I planned on doing.If I am not apart of the DRO process, whos to say that anyone even looked at it again.(Trust Us!!) I think NOT!! If this is the new process, I would have been better off going straight to the BVA. I have never in my life seen anything so confusing in my life.They seem to change the process everytime you show them you are starting to understand what they want.They know I come from a flakey state and I can't find any good representation.They know my health is bad and that time is not something I have alot of.I've been just hoping that some of this interest back east would spill over and that maybe some of us western states might be able to get some representation thru osmosis.Doesn't matter what letter is behind our congress critters names here, they are all anti-war hence not pro vets

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Posted · Report post

When you filed my(your) NOD and asked for a DRO review back on 12/16/2011 , did you specifically ask for a hearing?

Generally speaking though, a DRO reviews your claims file before any hearing (if you had requested it). If the DRO can grant, there generally will be no hearing. If there is no grant (or only a partial grant), a hearing will be scheduled - if you had requested one.

In any event, I wouldn't wait any longer to submit any new evidence you have.

If you did not specifically request a hearing and the DRO does not find for you, the DRO will issue a Statement of The Case (SOC), and you have 60 days to return your Form 9 to the RO to have your claim sent to the BVA.

I hope I don't confuse the situation more, but I just got back a similiar response from Iris as Oddairman did and it has me confused. Hoping someone can clear this up in my mind as well. Some history I filed my NOD and asked for a DRO review back on 12/16/2011. I've been under the thoughts that a DRO Review was a Hearing with a Senior DRO that we would go over my claims either in person or in a tele-conference. I recently wanted to find out a apprioxiamate date that the hearing would take place and how much advance time would they give me prior to the hearing date.Thanks to Bank of America and a no interest Visa for 15 months, I wanted to see if I could get some IMO/IME to bolster my claims. Anyway I got an email back today that has me totaly confused.They gave me the impression that the DRO Review was done by a supervisor who would notify me of their opinion and that there is no meeting with me present.They made it seem like it was an either or situation. When did they split the DRO process into two types? The IRIS person seemed to think there is no hearing with me present.They said the Portland office is running around 420 days till most DROs are done. So I do have some extra time to do what I planned on doing.If I am not apart of the DRO process, whos to say that anyone even looked at it again.(Trust Us!!) I think NOT!! If this is the new process, I would have been better off going straight to the BVA. I have never in my life seen anything so confusing in my life.They seem to change the process everytime you show them you are starting to understand what they want.They know I come from a flakey state and I can't find any good representation.They know my health is bad and that time is not something I have alot of.I've been just hoping that some of this interest back east would spill over and that maybe some of us western states might be able to get some representation thru osmosis.Doesn't matter what letter is behind our congress critters names here, they are all anti-war hence not pro vets

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Posted · Report post

When you filed my(your) NOD and asked for a DRO review back on 12/16/2011 , did you specifically ask for a hearing?

Generally speaking though, a DRO reviews your claims file before any hearing (if you had requested it). If the DRO can grant, there generally will be no hearing. If there is no grant (or only a partial grant), a hearing will be scheduled - if you had requested one.

In any event, I wouldn't wait any longer to submit any new evidence you have.

If you did not specifically request a hearing and the DRO does not find for you, the DRO will issue a Statement of The Case (SOC), and you have 60 days to return your Form 9 to the RO to have your claim sent to the BVA.

I have to admit on my original request, I did fail to use the word "Hearing". I didn't receive any form from them to choose a hearing or just a DRO Review.On the letters to them where I have submitted more evidence to them, I used the word "Hearing" several times in correspondances. Even my last one in June of this year when I asked them if they wanted paper or CDs on my DRO Binders that I organized specifically for the "Hearing"! I am attaching their email to this post for your viewing.It shows that they will be addressing the Hearing part with the Portland RO. So that should clear up that part. Searching the internet this afternoon there just doesn't seem to be a standard way of doing the DRO Review.It's kinda like Dealers Choice type of thing.So unless they move up the process,I'm looking at around February of 2013 for the DRO Review. My IMO/IME should be finished by either end of this month or first week of September. So I should be safe. I will be so glad when this process is over with. (if it ever will truly will be over) Mike

80212IrisInquiry.pdf

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Posted · Report post

asked them if they wanted paper or CDs on my DRO Binders that I organized specifically for the "Hearing"! Yeah, that'll make 'em just ecstatic.

A DRO Review is supposed to be a review of the evidence that was used to make the original decision. Anymore, it routinely has become submission of new evidence. Kinda makes one wonder what the original decision would have been, if that new/additional evidence had been made available to the RVSR.

I have to admit on my original request, I did fail to use the word "Hearing". I didn't receive any form from them to choose a hearing or just a DRO Review.On the letters to them where I have submitted more evidence to them, I used the word "Hearing" several times in correspondances. Even my last one in June of this year when I asked them if they wanted paper or CDs on my DRO Binders that I organized specifically for the "Hearing"! I am attaching their email to this post for your viewing.It shows that they will be addressing the Hearing part with the Portland RO. So that should clear up that part. Searching the internet this afternoon there just doesn't seem to be a standard way of doing the DRO Review.It's kinda like Dealers Choice type of thing.So unless they move up the process,I'm looking at around February of 2013 for the DRO Review. My IMO/IME should be finished by either end of this month or first week of September. So I should be safe. I will be so glad when this process is over with. (if it ever will truly will be over) Mike

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asked them if they wanted paper or CDs on my DRO Binders that I organized specifically for the "Hearing"! Yeah, that'll make 'em just ecstatic.

A DRO Review is supposed to be a review of the evidence that was used to make the original decision. Anymore, it routinely has become submission of new evidence. Kinda makes one wonder what the original decision would have been, if that new/additional evidence had been made available to the RVSR.

Unfortunatelty the veteran doesn't always get to see what BS was written by the C&Pexam Drs before a decision was made by the RVSRs.Since the decision, I have acquired a Medical IMO by a specialist,a buddy statement and had to show evidence disputing the non factual biased opinions of the C&P Drs. As well as address their specialist opinion based on only half of the evidence available to her.And address her observations that documents were obviously removed from my medical files. So evidence to disput their Drs. amounted up to #40 lbs of paper in 6 binders addressing 13 disabilities or if they choose all neatly placed on 2 CDS. One containing all 6 binders info and one with updated medical evidence from a surgery that should have been done 4 years ago. I think you MIGHT agree it is hard to dispute opinions that have NO medical facts on record prior to being aware of the lies. But that is how they drag the process on and clog the system.The vet is always having to try and read their minds.Just like I'm still trying to get records they had in 2011,had to jump thru hoops to get and once thru hoops records have now disappeared.Didn't forsee that happening.lol Kinda the type of things Class Actions are made of Medical malpractice followed by altered records,failure to do Administrative Duties, Denying Due Process,removal/destroying of medical evidence in favor of veteran,failure to notify and treat veteran for emergency surgery.And the list goes on!! If they would do their jobs correctly and fairly the first time, the veteran and the system won't be clogged with redos. Now because of false information, I am forced to spend thousands of dollars I don't have to get Honest Drs to dispute VA Drs in IMOs that I shouldn't need, but have to get because thats how the game is played.Just like one usually doesn't get SSD until they turn you down and you get a lawyer then you win. No lawyer, you keep losing even with the same evidence.Because thats how it is played!.Va plays same type of game, just different rules, THEIR RULES(subject to change at any given moment).I'll keep on Keepin On until they realize I'm in the game till the end.If they keep submiting lies, I'll keep submiting the truth until the last tree or last CD is produced.Should it go all the way to the CAVC, I already have a WINNING attorney who has offered to represent me for it. Until then,like always, it's me against them until the end.I may be an old dog, but I promise you my last breath will be attached to a BIG BITE!! Mike

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There are two types of DRO's:

1. DRO HEARING. This takes longer, as a DRO must schedule the hearing. You meet face to face, and get a chance to tell your side of the story. Good if you are a good "talker", not so good if you are less skilled or not comfortable with words.

2. DRO Review. The DRO "reviews the evidence" and makes a (new) decision. There is no hearing,and this is the fastest.

Again, if you have new evidence, then opt for the DRO, (a hearing if you are good with words or have a rep who is good with words). If you do not have new evidence, my advice is to skip the DRO and go to the BVA.

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There are two types of DRO's:

1. DRO HEARING. This takes longer, as a DRO must schedule the hearing. You meet face to face, and get a chance to tell your side of the story. Good if you are a good "talker", not so good if you are less skilled or not comfortable with words.

2. DRO Review. The DRO "reviews the evidence" and makes a (new) decision. There is no hearing,and this is the fastest.

Again, if you have new evidence, then opt for the DRO, (a hearing if you are good with words or have a rep who is good with words). If you do not have new evidence, my advice is to skip the DRO and go to the BVA.

I did all the talking at my SSD hearing, fighting off vocational specialist as well as neurosurgeons opinions. My attorney only gave his name. With every talking point they had, I countered with my own opinions at the end they both agreed with me as well as did the judge. While in the Business world, I have done several sales presentations, sales training and seminars.I do much better at speaking than I do at writing, so I have no problems facing off the challenges and giving my perspective on things. Many times during this process, I have had to explain medical situations than normally have been over looked on my claims. My surgeon has learned over the years to have joint conferences with me concerning what direction we should be taking on my medical treatments. She has stated that my involvement makes her job easier and we can come to the right solution the first time.No one knows my body better than I do.If the DRO follows the law and grants the claims that the C&P Drs based their opinions on biased opinions and not medical facts in record and a couple claims were records were withheld from me, they will have to grant about 80% of my claims.The Drs IMOs I will be getting should help with the other 20%.But we already know that they don't always do what or how they are suppose to. When the RO Director had a DAV employee harass me to give up because Presidents staff was asking questions, it just made me plant my feet deeper.The DAV employee admited not looking at my record, not a smart move on his behalf. So when I told him I had a nexus letter and a Buddy statement to be added to claim,he backed down a bit. Then it just turned into a grunt vs marine snow writing contest. So bring on the Steel cage I'm ready, walker in one hand and cane in the other.Mike

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If I have new evidence I would ask for a DRO Hearing or a Reconsideration before I went to the BVA. Take all the bites at the apple you can get before getting in line at the BVA. In the last 11 years I have won all but one claim at the VARO.

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So many differing opinions on this. Mine is the DRO is at the same site that just turned you down and may be friends with them.I see no sense to pursing that avenue unless you have dramatic new evidence... Everything I won I won at BVA. Your call....

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