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Congressional Inquiry Not Taken Seriouslysenator jerry moran veterans kansas committee on veteran affairs disabled veteran veteran affairs
Posted 07 August 2012 - 12:25 AM
getting out the VA turned down my claim saying my records were silent of any disease or injury incurred or aggravated during service. I filed to reopen my claim in 1990, 1999 and 2009 but was denied each time. Last time in 09 the examiner made up that I must have had a form of poly-articulate arthritis that caused the disability that I was discharged for. I recently asked Sen. Jerry Moran who sit's on the Committee of Veteran Affairs in Congress to help me get the VA to recognize the disability that the AF said occurred in the line of duty but Senator Moran's people tell me that he has no power to get the VA to do anything in regard to my claim. I wrote an article where I list all the records submitted to Sen. Moran (at the bottom under comments), check it out and be amaze, I guess Sen. Moran is only on the Committee further his political agenda and Vet's are considered to only be PR fodder to him.
Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:08 AM
Do you have a copy of your SMRs?
I never believe VA when they say SMRs are silent because I have SMRs here from some local vets I helped, that are "loud and clear".
(I have attempted to get these vets to come over and pick up their stuff as their claims were resolved long ago- but they prefer to have their stuff stay here because that way they know where their VA stuff is. )
Did the VA deny with this same reason every time you filed?
If you don't have the SMRs you can ask NARA for them with a SF 180.
The form is fillable on line or you can print it off. Also you need to print , sign , copy and send the print out they need with the bar coded thing on it to them, if you apply for these records on line.
If I were you I would ask for copies of your 201 file too (Personnel file) as that too might reveal time off for physical therapy.
Unfortunately H/S VAC members really cant do much for specific VA claims.
Can you scan and attach here (cover personal stuff) the last denial you got as to the VA's reasons and bases?
Are you in an appellate status?
“After a physical trauma to spine resulted in 18 months of physical therapy the Sec. of the USAF on appeal found me unfit for duty and medically discharged me in 1985. Prior to my discharge I opened a claim for VA benefits and 6 weeks after ...”
Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:23 PM
"we are working on it" and each time you get an elected official involved the VARO pulls your C File from where it was and it goes to the "Congressional Reply Office" where it can remain for up to 60 days and then it goes back to the area they pulled it from and it usually goes to the end of the line instead of back in place where it was, sometimes it helps but not very often.
in your case and what you have described you do not need an elected official nor even a VSO after all of this if there are medical records showing your treatment in service and the injury that started the therapy you need a lawyer that knows VA law and get them to handle your case and if there are no records of your injury then you may very well be SOL
Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:52 PM
Consider our prez...who promised to reduce the Veterans claim backlog while instead he doubled it...along with Shinseki.
The congressman is right...the Va does not take orders from congress. About the only thing the VA will do is to "look into" a congressional inquiry. This is the way it should be...the Va should not have to approve political favorites, or even put them to the head of the line.
The problem is that the VA has no method for resolving problems. They drag on and on and on.
We Vets have 4 tools:
1. Hire a lawyer.
3. File a Writ of mandamus.
4. Hit em in the media basket. That is, contact the media and complain.
We have had much discussion on hadit about congressional inquiries, and the general consensus is they dont help, and can do more harm than good. A few limited Vets have, however, had some results with their congress critter.
Posted 07 August 2012 - 04:58 PM
The story from the VA for my denial has changed multiple times over the years from no record in my SMR's to acute and transitory and this last time hereditary childhood arthritis.
I find it hard to believe that a Congressman's family member would be treated this way or that if it was politically advantageous that they could illicit a fair review of the claim. I am just an average Joe with no "juice" to get the attention of a Congressman.
My C file is floating around so I am not worried about it being moved to the end of the line, my attorney filed an appeal with the BVA and we are being told maybe "sometime next year". I have a C&P at the end of this month for a claim opened due to statements in my NOD pointing out the disabilities that I was discharged for are directly service connected. I was medically discharged for Facet Syndrome and Myofascial chronic pain (Fibromyalgia). They opened the claim for Fibromyalgia but ignored the Facet Syndrome again.
I am asking for an inquiry to why my claim of Facet Syndrome has never been adjudicated. I figure since I had a FPEB Board and an appeal to the Sec. of the AF that both found me to be unfit for duty due to a permanent disability that occurred in the line of duty that my disabilities should have been recognized in 85 with at least a 0% rating which would have allowed me to get medical care and vocational rehab.
I remember once reading something in the CFR that Congress can award monetary compensation due to an injustice. Does anyone know where I can find this statute? I might try to use it to shake up the tree a little.
I am trying the Media Blitz but find it very hard to get the media to cover my story. Every once in a while I read some special interest story about a Veteran and their fight with the VA but this is only after the Vet has won and the claim is recognized on it's merits.
Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:04 PM
This is what the original poster listed in the comment section in reference to what he submitted to the Congressman - I really hope someone is able to help him with his claim or is able to direct him to someone that can help. I really wish I could help, but I'm just learning myself:(
1 week ago
I appreciate the positive comments and want to address the one's that seem to be questioning the sacrifice that I made at 24 years of age. I am now 52 and I am homeless, I have no car, no job, my personal relationships are in shambles and I take opiates for pain 4 times a day to help manage the Fibromyalgia that has been untreated and self medicated by me for 27 years. I could not get physical therapy or treatment for my disabilities throughout my whole adult life because my dd214 says 'DISCHARGED DUE TO PHYSICAL DISABILITY ENTITLED TO SEVERANCE PAY' so health care Insurers deemed it a preexisting condition and refused to provide medical care.
I attached to the Congressional Inquiry copies of the following documents:
A)Memo from the Department of the Air Force - Submitted to the VA in Oct 2010 as evidence. This is a investigative memo for the Board to Change Military Records and contains the specific facts about my medical discharge. It states that a Formal Physical Evaluation Board found me unfit for duty due to pain and that I non-concurred with the decision by the FPEB and appealed to the Secretary of the Air Force asking for additional testing. It then states that the Sec of the AF agreed with the FPEB and orders were sent to medically discharge me. It says I served 3 years 11 months and 23 days.
b) Air Force Board to Change Military Records - Hearing held in Washington DC in May 2011. I asked the Board to change my dd214 because the VA keeps denying me my benefits, I said a code on it must be the wrong one. The Board stated that in the interest of justice they overlooked my failure to timely apply for a change to my dd214 (20 years after the 5 year limitation to do so). It states that the AF did everything right during my disability evaluation, they followed regulations during the discharge process and that my dd214 correctly reflects that I was medical discharged in 1985. Submitted to VA as an attachment to the Notice of Disagreement when I filed my appeal in July 2011 and discussed in the hearing I had with a VA Senior Decision Officer in July 2011.
C) DD214 - Dated 4/16/85 and states under Narrative Summary discharged due to physical disability.
D) Medical Record 19 July 1984 - Authored by Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery, Malcom Grow Medical Center. Changed the continuous temporary physical profile limitations that had been in place for 18 months limiting me from lifting more than 15 lbs, no pushing/pulling, no standing or sitting for over 15 minutes to a permanent profile. This automatically put me into the Disability Evaluation process and I had a medical board examination.
E) Line of Duty Determination - Investigation into the causes of my disability states that I suffered a physical trauma to my lower spine while I was in uniform performing my duties as an aircraft mechanic and that I was taken to the Emergency room for treatment. This is a required form in order to receive severance pay.
F) AF Enlistment Medical Status - Dated the day I was inducted on April 1981. It shows nothing wrong with me at the time of my enlistment.
G) Medical Board Report Pre-existing Determination - Date 1984, determined that my disabilities were not preexisting.
H) AF Form Findings of Formal Physical Evaluation Board - states that I was injured in the line of duty that the disabilities are permanent and includes VA diagnostic codes specifying the disabilities.
I) Report of Medical Examination for Disability Evaluation and Altered Special Compensation Examination - Original C&P exam dated 4 weeks after my medical discharge, reflects that examiner altered the medical document with the same fine point pen he signed his name with. He changed the statements I made to reflect what the VA X-ray diagnosis showed, in effect opening a claim for the injury to my spine using evidence submitted by the VA (well within the 12 month assumptive period).
G) Claim Denial Letter Dated July 29 1985 - States that I had to have a disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated in the service for a claim to be successful.
H) 2010 C&P Opinion to Sever Service Connection - States that even though I had diagnosis of Spondylosis, Spondylothesis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Lumbar Strain and Facet Syndrome during my service time, that it was due to a form of poly articulate childhood arthritis and had nothing to due with the trauma I suffered to my spine while I was on active duty. She then says that this is why I had the disability at the young age of 24.
I) Buddy Letter & Family Statements - Buddy letter from my best friend that I grew up with and joined the service with on the Buddy Plan. He retired MSGT and we went through boot camp, training school and ended up sharing a barracks room with when we got orders that stationed us together at McGuire AFB NJ. States I was injured in the line of duty and that I was medically discharged for the injury. Letter from my mom and dad stating that I played sports in high school so I took a physical every year and that I never had back problems until I was injured in the service.
J) VA Disability Claim Opened September 7 2011 because I listed on my Notice of Disagreement that I had been medically separated for For Fibromyalgia and Facet Syndrome and that I am directly service connected for those disabilities. The VA opened the claim for Fibromyalgia and Major Depression Disorder due to pain but left out Facet Syndrome and did not open a claim for it.
K) Statement of Case from the Senior Decision Review Officer which states that I was discharged for what the X-ray by the VA in 85 showed as a disability and denied my request because I did not provide any new evidence. I guess the memo from the AF and the Board findings along with the buddy and family letters were not considered as new evidence.
I want to say that I went through 18 months of physical therapy so this is not a case of a single incident in service and my claim file contains 3 inches of medical reports and examinations that were conducted while I was on active duty by various specialists that the AF flew me to for examinations on my spine.
I do not except that Sen. Moran cares about Disabled Veterans because they have treated me a callous disregard when the facts are supported by old and new evidence from the Department of the AF sateing I had disabilities in 85 and that they still recognize me as a direct service connected disabled veteran.
If he cannot get the VA to recognize the disabilities that I was medically discharged for, then he completely worthless as a member of the Congressional Commitee on Veteran Affairs and his powers of representation of Kansas Veterans are non existent.
Edited by USMC5811, 07 August 2012 - 06:46 PM.
Posted 08 August 2012 - 07:32 AM
I think (if you have proof of mailing that evidence to them) you should ask the VA to CUE itself.
Or your lawyer Should!
I went through this same BS in December, forced them to CUE themselves and the claim got resolved in weeks.
They had refused to read my evidence.
“VA Disability Claim Opened September 7 2011 because I listed on my Notice of Disagreement that I had been medically separated for For Fibromyalgia and Facet Syndrome and that I am directly service connected for those disabilities. The VA opened the claim for Fibromyalgia and Major Depression Disorder due to pain but left out Facet Syndrome and did not open a claim for it.”
I think you will definitely need a strong medical opinion to service connect the depression to the fibromyaglia/facet syndrome disability.
I am sure your lawyer has brought that point up to you. Or will.
If I was your lawyer I would be writing to them today, asking them to immediately CUE the DRO decision,with copies of the evidence and proof of mailings that they said you did not send to them with as N & M evidence.
I was so mad when this happened to me in December (as it had happened multiple times to me over the past 17 years (12 years as an active claimant) that I faxed, emailed and phoned the VA (in DC) until they fixed it.
This is BS, plain and simple, geared to contributing to the backlog because some federal employees at VA are too lazy ,unwilling, or illiterate to read our evidence.
If you really want to make an impact on the H VAC- you can send the Subcommittee of Disability and Memorial Affairs a submission as testimony for their next backlog hearing. Th submissions criteria is at their web site.
It is the members of this sub committee that hold claims matters hearings.Dont use my H VAC Shrteddergate testimony on line, as a template, at the site , because this was a letter I wrote to Sec Shinseki and the committee asked me for testimony at the very last minute and they had to use that letter as I didnt have time to prepare a formal statement. It would have been far worse than the letter.
The VA can and will call a CUE on itself, if they ,in fact, commit a clear and unmistakable legal error, to a claimant's detriment, while a claim is in the appellate process.
(Sometimes however they will CUE themselves for their own benefit, such as in cases whereby they say they committed a CUE that gave the vet a rating that the medical evidence didn't warrant and propose to reduce the rating.
So if the VA can do that to vets, we claimants can do it to them.
Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:24 AM
I asked the VARO to CUE itself via IRIS (haven't found the copy of that yet) and I cited M21-1MR ,Part III, Subpart IV, Chapter 2, Section B, to bolster my position that this was a legal error in their recent decision.
Th legal error was so absurd I wont even get into what it was here
I then followed up the IRIS with a FAX to the Director of the VARO handling this claim:
“Until the Philadelphia VARO CUEs the erroneous decision I received ,dated XXX XX2011 and prepared by MFM, ( c# XX XXX XXX )any reasonable mind could assume that since the decision makes no mention of the claims I filed which Ms XXXXXX herself verified were at your office, then in fact I charge the Philadelphia VARO with destruction of the 3 AO IHD claims I filed, under Nehmer, destruction of my extensive evidence sent with those claims, and also destruction of my entire C file representing over 17 years of claims I have pursued with the Veterans Administration.
“The longer it takes you to CUE this erroneous decision, “( I told them what I would do next)......
“ I will ask the H VAC to re- open the Shreddergate hearings as I do not believe I could possibly be the sole VA claimant this as happened to since those H VAC hearings.”
I had to leave out some other stuff I stated in the Fax , not appropriate to put here. I was Really pissed off.
My point-if you ask the VA to CUE themselves, give them their own M21-MR citation they failed to follow.
State to them exactly what they did wrong (that part was in my IRIS that I have not found yet).
They had used solely my husband's USMC SMRS to state he did not have IHD in service, therefore no Nehmer award. I was the Nehmer claimant and all of my deceased husband's stuff was in my C file since 1994.His exposure to AO ad been established long ago by the original Agent Orange settlement fund and by Nehmer 1 and II.
I have been involved with stusdying Nehmer since it began,long before I even had a Nehmer claim. I have had a relationship with NVLSP lawyers, as an advocate and financial contributor (they are pro bono) since 1991 , I answered Nehmer issue questions here and even at 2 other web sites when the new Nehmer regs came out in 2010.
You cannot imagine how angry I got to see this ridiculous decision.How stupid do they think we are?
I threw in the Shreddergate stuff because VA had read my H VAC testimony.
In your case I think this could be handled with a diplomatic but firm request tat they CUE themselves because they did not consider your evidence as required within the above cited M21-1MR Section.