Posted on Mar 7, 2017
WO1 Lisa Caldwell
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During my experience of 6-ish years, it was very insulting process. Assumptions that my whole claim was bullshit (VA) or being denied because I have an MBA (SSDI). I'm looking to gather negative experiences to take to Congress to get things fixed (it's Congress, so I won't expect much...)
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Col Mark I.
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All of your VA claims require a service connection (such as documentation in your service medical records). Pre-existing conditions are usually denied; and conditions that have no service connected documentation are also usually denied.
It's really an uphill battle to establish a service connection - if a claimed condition is not documented/established in your actual service medical records.
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MSG Mechanic 2nd
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when it comes to reserves we deal with MEDPROS, I used to get annual hearing tests, but when these tests tanked I was sent to a specialist thru MEDPROS and given a P2 for hearing, then all of a sudden no longer tested, VA has no record of this and simply denied my hearing loss because of my MOS and my civilian job, they also tested my hearing comprehension in a sterile environment, put me in a room with people talking and other noises as well as ascents my response is "what", my knee I had the documentation, civilian and military, denied, because I had 2 prior knee surgeries prior to entering the service, funny how I went over 20 years with no problems, then come home after Iraq 08-09, had 2 more surgeries within ten months of each other, while training up for Afghanistan and I sent my civi records to the board, if its not service connected it should've at least been service aggravated, i'm not trying to suckle the tit, but after 31 years and the wear and tear, I do expect something other than thank you for your service
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CPO Bill Penrod
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When filing a VA claim you have to speak their language. Google: Veterans Benefits Network and lay it out for them. There is a retired rater on there that may be able to assist you. Good luck.........
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COL Charles Williams
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Edited >1 y ago
WO1 Lisa Caldwell I had a good experience when I transitioned from active duty to retirement. But, I was an Colonel, and a Brigade Commander, so I know (or at least suspect) I got special treatment.

About a year out from my retirement physical, I had my PCM review my records to ensure everything they thought, and I thought, was wrong with me was properly documented in my military health records. If it is not documented there, it does not exist to the VA.

From my retirement physical (Aug 12) to BDD (Feb 14) was too too long.

The issue for me came in after I received my initial rating (BDD - Benefits Delivery at Discharge). My BDD was 80% service connected, but they missed a few items. So, I had to appeal. As an example, I received an eye injury, TBI, and had persistent headaches all from the same blast incident, but the VA only serviced connected TBI, not the eye injury and headaches.

When I tried to appeal, the process was hard, long, and not veteran focussed. Each of my appeals took a very long long time...

Whenever I saw a VA provided Dr to check or verify my disabilities, or appeals, it seemed clear their sole mission was to disprove what I was saying or reporting. I believe the VA process is clearly focused on saying no, and sticking to it.

To win, you need a VSO who know the process (the game) and you need to be persistent.

It should not be this hard. The VA should focus on doing what is right, not just saying no.
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PO1 Larry Sirmans
PO1 Larry Sirmans
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Agreed. I am 100% P&T and can relay a 28 year comedy of errors that if my case was a play or movie would be labelled a tragic dark comedy. reading your post- As an Ex-VSO I use to see it all the time. The fundamental issue is that either you or a competent VSO... (am I competent? That is arguably debatable. Though I admit that I "win" many more than I lost... I stopped representing vets through the larger Service organizations because of internal politics within the service organizations- NOT due to the VA. I now focus on advising Veterans on how to pursue their own claims.) needs to administratively know the rule book better than the VA rater. Admittedly, that requires a bit of effort. Frankly, you are already at a disadvantage if you ever have to commence the appeals process. IMHO the "easiest" (yes- that is dry humor and sarcasm, but still true) claim is the initial claim. IF as the claimant you have ticked ALL of the boxes insofar as the administrative process- and have in fact established service connection (according to the rulebook - Title 38)- then that is the main hurdle. Even a low rating that is service connected can be increased by proving that the condition is worse. Putting in an incomplete/weak claim can arguably be worse than putting in no claim at all. By doing so, you can paint yourself into a corner. If you or anyone reading this thread ever wish to have some advice on how to possibly proceed your specific case- feel free to reach out. I'm free- I charge NOTHING and some veterans who I have assisted say that I'm pretty good at what I do. Especially veterans who are expats overseas and struggling with that wonderful sub-entity of the VA called the FMP (Foreign Medical Program...)
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