Posted on Sep 10, 2015
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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Did you know that the VA claims backlog, signature problem frustrates valley Air Force veteran?

Here is another testimonial article provided by Kim Bolen RN CCM ACM about an Air Force Veteran!

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/military/va-claims-backlog-signature-problem-frustrate-valley-air-force-veteran

If you're a veteran like Willie L. Smith and you want to ask Veterans Benefits Administration Service Center Manager Allen Bittler in Reno about the delay in processing your disability claim and where it stands in the backlog, well good luck.

"A. Bittler," as his name appears in bold-faced type on the bottom of the form letter that Smith received March 30, hasn't worked at the agency's Reno regional office since he retired nearly two years ago.

Yet Smith and other Nevada veterans received decision letters this year from Bittler, or in Smith's case, the one that begins, "We are still processing your application for COMPENSATION."

Smith, a 30-year career Air Force veteran from North Las Vegas, wants to know why Bittler has sent him three letters long after the former VA employee retired.

More importantly, he wants to know why a year has passed and he hasn't received a disability rating decision when the Department of Veteran Affairs recently announced that the wait time for rating decisions was down to 95 days from 357 days at the peak of the backlog in February 2013.
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PFC Joseph Levi
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Edited >1 y ago
COL Mikel J. Burroughs if any Veteran is waiting more than 6 months for a response on their claim, they need to get in touch with their congressman's office and have them put an inquiry in on their behalf. We have congressional contacts we deal with, not the same people anyone else would get in touch with. If their is any Veteran that falls into this category, contact me, and if you aren't in my district, I'll get in touch with the ones that are.

People need to remember we put these politicians in office, which means they work for us, not the other way around.

Just shoot me a message on here and I'll be more than happy to help anyone out.
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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PFC Joseph Levi That is great information and good to know - thank you Joe
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My claim took almost a year to process.  The VA kept me informed of it's status the entire time.  Sure I could've called my Congressman but for what so that they could make someone else wait while mine was "bumped" up.  At best it's a personal choice to involve higher ups in my case I had multiple revenue steams and was satisfied that they were doing the best they could to expedite/resolve my case. My thoughts on this would be if everyone calls their Congressman and we all become "emergency" cases.....then none of us are "emergency cases".....guess what i'm saying is folks need to be realistic .....if you're looking for your retirement VA claim to process maybe you take the backseat (long as you are getting updates (Ebenefits great tool for this) to the guys who lost his leg to an IED and has no income coming in......again its a personal choice, but I would rather every "truly" disabled combat vet have their claims processed before mine....just my two cents.....beside how often in life do you get at $20K check to play with (back pay is awesome)  
PFC Joseph Levi
PFC Joseph Levi
>1 y
I agree with you in many parts you have touched on. Contacting your Congressman does not speed up your claim. It just brings awareness to your claim that had been taking so long. People with financial hardships, or are terminally ill can get their claims pushed to the front of the line for that very reason. Unless they had a knowledgeable veteran service officer helping them file.
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SGT Cannon Crew Member
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This is good information to distribute, I would 2nd what Joe has provided. It is extremely helpful to contact people who have those specific congressional contacts that they deal with. There IS an ability to physically go pull the file if there has been something erroneous about it (inappropriate timeliness, clerical errors, etc).
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CMSgt Mark Schubert
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This is likely a good insight as to WHY they have a backlog problem - they spend so much time fixing the BS they create, they don't have time to process claims!
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
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This one is actually easy to explain. It's an "autopen" that no one bothered to update.

It's like not bothering to update the CO's name in the Global Address List at a unit because no one thought about it. It's a step that has to get done, but until someone actually notices it... it doesn't happen.

Whenever there is a change of personnel, there's likely a "checklist" of things that have to take place. In the "Pre-computer Era" these letters were likely Stamped, or used some other method. Then we had the computer revolution and digital signatures. What happens when the "first" guy retires. There's no spot on the checklist.

Yah, it's stupid, but it's understandably stupid.
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