Listening to the voices of Veterans and their journey in the appeals system


“[At the start], I was more optimistic. I knew it wasn’t going to be a two month ordeal, but then after all this time … my optimism flat left.”

That’s what one Veteran told us about the appeals process for Veterans’ claims. To better understand how Veterans experience the process – how the process fits into the context of their lives – a group of six researchers spoke at length with 92 Veterans whose service spanned the periods from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, that report prepared by VA’s Center for Innovation is being released. What it found is consistent with a process that is 80 years old – the length and amount of labor is cumbersome and frustrating.

The current appeals process was established in 1933 when hospitals were few, most care was provided by house call, and medical records were virtually non-existent. Today, increases in medical knowledge, clinical practice and the acceleration of the modern world have slowed the appeals system to a crawl as it struggles to keep up with expanding mandates, legal requirements and documentation.

Researchers used human-centered design methods to understand the needs, behaviors and experiences of Veterans during the appeal process. The team spoke to Veterans at every stage of the process, from those receiving their initial decision to those with final and complete results from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). Some were new to the process. Others, such as those who had just had their hearings with the Board, were years into the process.

Their research identified five key themes surrounding Veterans’ needs, perceptions and expectations during the appeals process:

  1. The length and labor of the process takes a toll on Veterans’ lives.
  2. Like in the military, Veterans care deeply about the outcomes of other Veterans.
  3. Veterans feel alone in a process they don’t understand.
  4. The appeals process feels like a fight.
  5. Veterans want to be heard.

These insights from this report can serve as a guide across VA for a redesign of appeals and related services to better meet the needs of Veterans and their families.

The status quo isn’t acceptable for Veterans or for taxpayers.  As VA has increased claims decision output over the past five years, appeals volume has proportionately increased. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of pending appeals climbed by 35 percent to more than 440,000 and that number is projected to continue to increase throughout 2016.

The appeals process should, in theory, be one of the most applicant-friendly systems in the world. Instead, it ranges from depersonalized and arduous, to hostile and belittling. Absent new approaches that permit appellate review to be conducted in a complete and timely way, even the best efforts of VA and VSO employees are unlikely to be able to meet the challenge of tomorrow.

The time to modernize the appeals process is now. We must begin an open and honest dialogue about what it will take for stakeholders to provide Veterans with the timely, fair and streamlined appeals decisions they deserve.

With challenges to the current model only increasing over time, we have an opportunity and an obligation to contemplate a future that meets Veterans needs and expectations in a timely and customer friendly way. While none of us may have the answer on our own, we believe that together, we do.

The VA Center for Innovation identifies, tests, and evaluates new approaches to efficiently and effectively meet the current and future needs of Veterans through innovations rooted in data, design-thinking and agile development. Find out more at


VA Center for Innovation


  1. Donna J. Fear    

    My husband tried so hard to provide all the required information needed to apply for disability. It was a very overwhelming experience. Long story short, he was granted a 50 percent disability benefit. I do not even know if they copied the information requested. They did not seem to want to help or to listen to all the health related problems. I must admit that at least he was provided hearing aids although it seemed begrudgingly so. He since has died at the age of 71 with a lot of health problems that were related to his service. I would think in todays age of technology that they could make this process less stressful for the applicants to go through.

    1. Eric Lakes    

      I have something there is no cure for, they know it and even before my 100% rating they would not include my osteoporosis or osteopenia and still did not put permanent down. Now I with the DAV are still waiting on that appeal for the one word.

      1. James    

        ERIC, I also was just bone scaned and it came back as osteopenia also. Original DRO APPEAL 2012.Still waiting S.C. 0% Camp Lejeune

      2. kenneth roy berry    

        There are NO Disabled vets until it is AWARDED After being Claimed!

    2. Mary Taylor    

      It took 13 yrs & countless filling to get 90% rating. But I can’t work, haven’t worked since 2006, so they pay me at 100%. Hello!!! If I can’t work & haven’t worked why not rate me comeserant with the pay? Oh wait I’m not a male. I’m tired of fighting city hall at 65!!! And, that’s exactly what they want. After all if they can get Veterans to throw in the towel, that’s a few more claims they don’t need to process. It’s a win win for the VA & nothing for the vet!!!

      1. Thomas Juan Giron    

        Dear Ms. Taylor, I want to thank you for your Service, they and all America says that while we wallow in the depths of PTSD, War Injury’s, Legless, Armless, Mindless, we don’t need Platitudes!, we need immediate action with our claims. I have waited now for over 47 years! They just told me to appeal my case in December 2015 and file an appeal and, that it would take approximately 364 days. I’m 70, the deal with them is they want to disiminate all older vets and those to wounded physically and mentally. Thank you for your service they say, “I NEED JUSTICE NOW” !

        1. Linda Young    

          It really has nothing to do with being a male or female. It is a problem for Veterans, period.

        2. Michael USMC    

          It is a sad day to think, we as veterans have been sitting on the back burner waiting for someone to kindle that fire under the individuals who sit, in a position of authority that can render a decision on behalf the individual veterans, who in fact have a legitimate claim, that is and has been disabling, whether physically or, mentally in either case we as veterans continue to suffer. What becomes the most disabling for all veterans is that, the VA will employ Non-Veterans and place them in the position of authority to render a decision on a case by case investigation with no concern whatsoever of the Veteran. For the sake of all Veterans, never file an appeal on a decision of denial, the program under the new language of the 38 CFR allows the VA to again drag along with the hope that either the age or the disability with get the better part of living. If you have a denial on a claim, you should be filing for a reconsideration of the decision, as opposed to an appeal, the time line in rendering a reconsideration is 30 days. One day the DAV reps will figure that one out for us VETS.

          I remember this, President Kennedy stated” Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, well “We as Veterans have done for our Country, so what is our country going to do for us?”

      2. charles    

        I agree with you Mary, The VA knows if they deny you most people will give up. I tell Vets to file more claims one at a time and to appeal every one of them. This will turn the tables on these examiners because they can only deny so many times. Second try to get examine the month of September before the new VA fiscal year money kicking in now there is money in the budget to get your claims approved…… KEEP UP THE APPEALS!!

        USN, Retired

    3. CARL GREVIOUS    

      I have been to appeals over and over and they have lost paperwork. The claim to be working on them but after 3 years plus it’s outrageous

      1. Richard Altemus    

        They do not just lose paper work! Understand the VBA C&P is the worst of an enemy! They commit felonies in their process simply because they can. Their abuse of power rules and they know it. It took “special” legislation for a Four Star General to fire staff members for cause!! Congress has handed to the union for their political advantage so badly that now Senators and Representatives are treated like shit, without ANY influence by paper pushing claims processors. AFSCME runs the VA with their weasels!

        Every supossedly lost document creates an opportunity for delay which creates “overtime pay” for the weasels and “bonus” for the joke of a leadership that lines their own pockets at the expense of veterans and families.

    4. r c chisolm    

      My journey yesterday involved trying to refill a scrip by phone,,after ten minutes of giving info etc I was told,,”the system is down”

    5. Ron Hensel    

      The entire system of claiming a service connected disability, to include upgrading your SCD to increase your benefits and the appeals process is very defeating if not impossible to accomplish. I’ve been waiting for four years to have my SCD claim upgraded and over two years for a date to come before the board of appeals. Further more when I check the status of my claims and appeal in EBenefits web site, it show that I have zero claims filed and zero appeals on record. My VA affairs officer from American Legion has been zero help getting me the upgrade on my SCD and has been zero help with my appeal and the same result with my district (Federal) congressman and senator from Florida. I have lost all hope in the VA considering my latest claim and now my SCD has deteriorated even more but filing another claim is useless. In all fairness to the VA health care system; the treatment and care I receive at the New Port Richey clinic and the James Haley VA Hospital is excellent.

      1. Terri D    

        In March it will be 4 years since I filed my claim but I finally got some one to listen to me. When I filed my appeal I was homeless and I had several people write letters for me to that effect. However, They claim to have not seen the homelessness evidence and my case was not on fast track. My VSO rep. made a call for me in October of 2015 and by the 20th of that month a guy called me and told me my case was being expedited and should be decided within 533 days. That time is up on February 5 This year. I am in Ca and my claim was in the Oakland Regional office, where thank you Jesus, every one has been “let go” and our claims have been sent to other regional offices. Mine is in St, Paul, Minnesota Believe you me…If I had not kept calling and bugging them I would not now be excepting a check in February because frankly Minnesota could care less about other claims they are overwhelmed by their owe. Remember if you are homeless (and if you are in HUD-VASH you are still considered homeless) they must decide your case within 533 days (from the time they say they got your appeal.).

    6. John Brayman    

      I think the appeal process has been used as a dumping ground for claims due to all the emphasis clearing the backlog of new claims. Say no, if you get an appeal, that’s ok because your results show you cleared the initial claim. Why else would in take two months to say no to my claim, but perhaps as long as three years to complete the local the Post Decision Review Process at the local center? Is anyone tracking how many claims are languishing in local facility administrative review processes?

      I’m also disappointed that tha VA will not respond to letters sealing clarification and identification of “other evidence” they reference in my denial letter but don’t elaborate. How can I address such nebulous evidence?

      1. bill bolam    

        This is why Claims are down, to meet Gov numbers, but only been denied. Appeals has gone up by the same numbers as each claim is denied, but Gov not tracking them numbers. It’s all a number game, that has spread to VSO numbers also, so they can also claim number of claims handled. System is one sided and broken.

        1. kenneth roy berry    

          Presently they are trying to develope fully a claim prior to filing that it has less likelyhood of wasting resources n time by being recycled thru appeals n denials n more evidence.

    7. Douglas Cox    

      I have dealt with the VA for a long time and I can not think of an experience besides divorce that is more miserable. I have many friends that work for the VA that want out and are looking for other employment. If the VA cannot keep it’s own people happy and working then why would any vet expect to receive decent care under the same roof. Because of the VA I have had to fight and appeal and fight for every step I try to take in this system. I can tell you why the system does not work. First is that the admin side of the VA has taken over and is dictating what will happen with us over the medical side. It should be the medical side saying here is what needs to happen with this vet in ratings, employability, in services needed, etc. The VA has it in their heads that putting a vet to work anywhere looks good on their books. This is another problem in that a lot of vets get put back to work in jobs that they either cannot survive in or are not trained for. An example was I worked as a probation officer and was not doing great physically wise but because it was in law enforcement the VA pushed me to get out of it. Then they set me up with a desk job with Social Security where the stress of that job and being stuck on a desk in front of the computer started causing me more problems then I ever had before. Thanks VA.

      Worse then that I have noticed that a lot of the medical side is now acting like they are personally paying for my care and treatment and give me the feeling like I should feel guilty for or needing help. I get reminded about the cost and the trouble it takes to help me. Next is that the VA can’t keep decent doctors around and they quit when they get fed up with the bureaucracy of the VA and the only doctor or medical staff that seems to stick it out are the ones that couldn’t get hired anywhere else or want the extra money by working part time for the VA. When the VA spent more money on building a whole new admin building and hiring of a bunch of admin people then on hiring doctors really put where their focus is. This would have been fine if our claims were getting pushed through faster and the paper side was moving smarter, but it seems to be the same if not worse. Along with this the doctors should be the ones telling the admin what our ratings should be and what our capabilities are, and not the admin telling the doctors what will be and won’t.

      Last, the VA policies that are generated in Washington are also to blame. It is evident that they want to push vets in and out of the system as fast as they can to show progress. They work hard to keep ratings down and services down to show that they are doing better, so they can afford their luxuries, and that vets are being treated better. The truth is they seriously fudge the issues and numbers but that does not matter because our politicians want the same so they do not have to throw any more money into the VA then needed. The vets are not going to collectively fight and push for change and they know this so the VA and our politicians give the lip service, make it seem like they are doing great, find the few vets that got great treatment and have them talk about all the great things the VA does for them, and then expects all the rest of us to smile and be grateful for the bandied. The sad part is I have seen a lot of vets get high ratings for simple issues while other vets with major issues have to fight for pennies. The system is lopsided and not realistical and until that is fixed a lot of money and time is thrown at simplistic issues while ignoring major issues.

    8. Bernadette Sava    

      I have been fighting for five years to get my file corrected and they absolutely refuse to acknowledge my evidence and put the correct effective date on my service-connected disabilities. It doesn’t matter when you apply if you have n earlier effective date, that date needs to be honored especially when I was misinformed about my ability or right to receive compensation in the first place. I had to call Washington to speed up my claim and then they sent it to the phillipines to be decided and I’m a US citizen. Am in the process of appealing now and have had to do most of this myself as nobody has been willing to follow through like I have. This system is not only outdated, but the duties should definitely be prioritized better than they are..the entire system is a mess..those paid to help could care less and nothing ever seems to make it into the computer or file no matter how many times you hand deliver, fax, upload, email or scream it in.

    9. Kadella D Dawson    

      Hello Madame. I am sorry for your lost. I too filed a claim in 2008. They waited three years to tell me to file an appeal. So I have been waiting EIGHT YEARS for justice. I am now 64 years old and I guess the VA is waiting for me to die so they don’t have to process my claim. I am letting my relatives know that if I die, to please continue trying to pursue my claim.

    10. kenneth roy berry    

      Ihave need of service connected rating greater than 60%. My claims prior to discaharge upon discharge were not accurate as transcribed by the clerk. Otitis Media rather than as claimed punctured eardrum from explosion. Determined also not service connected n no evidence of even tho scarring recorded as present. Hearing loss denied as to affect yet tinnitus 10%. Even tho my social n family interactions unrealized by myself caused retreat from interacting. Ouzing sores upon discharge claimed as skin rash has been later accepted 38 years later, as Chloracne had no diagnosis upon discharge. Other claims were remanded, mail notification to parents address as filed were not done for my knowledge. Officers referred underlings to look for records from proper unit. 1st Cav 2/8 not as in error of 218 unit. Handwritten everything that needs letter by letter interpretation of penmanship to determine words. Poor copies that are not legible when records are recieved. Archives did get me a copy of my records to me 8 months after several different requests, from St Louis. Because I went through Wisconsin Regional office in Milwaukee rather than Detroit, cause VISN 11 n 12 cover Michigan n I m in western Upper Peninsula!

    11. CHarlie Disponzio    

      I have an appeal that has been going on now for almost 5 years, In June of 2015 I was contacted by the VA Choice Program and they were supposed to get me to a specialist. Every month I call the 866 number and get put on hold until I no longer can stay on hold. It is now January 2016 I still have not heard from the VA Choice program about a specialist.
      Hanging in there, AIRBORNE

    12. Willan Charles    

      I agree with all….the process is so stressful. I’ve had 11to 13 Orthopedic surgeries related to my 20 year career and was told that I will need knee replacement. I also have 2 bad shoulders and a host of other ailments that cause me to suffer on a daily basis. When I submit my claim, it seems as though pain and discomfort does not apply. I don’t take meds because of the addictive nature of pain meds and have tried numerous anti-inflammatory meds. When I was evaluated by Quest, it was a joke as to evaluate my conditions. What else do you have to prove if the scars and limited motion and pain does not tell the story. I have MRI and X-rays to prove that something is not right , but the rejection of my claim was based on my range of motion was not enough to warrant an increase. I go about my day with pain and just deal with it…Even after several surgeries, I still have pain in my knees and shoulders. I guess giving me a 100 percent rating when I’m at 90 doe not seem realistic. I fought very hard for this country and gave 110 percent. I’m so frustrated with the system and the way veterans are treated. I’m still grateful for the 90 percent but I have to work extra jobs to ensure my wife can go to school so we can be in a better situation financially. She does not want me to work like that, but I have to bare the pain and continue to push forward. Rated at 100 percent would have made a difference and I would not have to work so hard even after giving 20 years. God is still good and whatever is for me will be manifested. Veterans need more than what we get. We deserve to be taken seriously. I wish one of those who makes these decisions can live one day in my aching body.

    13. Daniel Striplin Jr    

      I was found by Social Security judge that my injuries related to my military service keep me from working I was injured in 1987 I was retired out of the military at 40% in 1993 . And my disability over all these years has just gotten worse, and I’m still having problems getting my va when the va first rated me when I got out of the military they only gave me 20%, now they have me at 40%. I have been working with the DAV since 1994 and still haven’t got all my cases resolve something really needs to be done about this. I got married 8 years ago my wife and I decided to have kids and now I have six year old triplets we used no fertility and its very very hard to raise them when I cannot work in the va won’t pay me what they owe me. They still haven’t given me any back pay for when they rated me 40%. I wish somebody would do something about this

    14. Mary Wing    

      Horrible, I’m so sorry for you. I am watching my son, who came home from the Air Force 3 1/2 years ago at 30 years old with severe lung damage, gastric problems, sleep apnea, a serious back injury and PTSD – broken-hearted also because he had worked so hard to serve in Special Forces and is left holding an empty bag. Once injured, and with only being awarded a 30% disability, it can be very hard to find work in a field that will provide enough money to support his young family.

      Trying to navigate this system is ridiculous, frustrating and – especially for someone with injuries and illness caused by their service to this country – pushes some people to the brink of suicide. Hopeless is the word I would use to describe this once strong, confident, capable young man who made so many sacrifices to prepare for service. Now he’s left trying to get VA appointments that either aren’t available or get cancelled without notice. He needs surgery he can’t have until he gets a pulmonary work up that they don’t seem to be able to schedule, he runs out of his meds and can’t get in to see anyone for refills. It’s so wonder there are so many homeless vets begging for help on the freeway offramps, so many suicides, so much anger, so much brokenness – not to mention the impact on families and family members.

      Let’s pray that we see less “talk” about what can be done, fewer reports that merely confirm what we ALL already know, and more action in trying to help our vets. God bless you all.

    15. Miochael Caretta    

      I started my requisting disablitity in 1988 two years after i got out of the navy, was rated 0% was young and knew nothing and nobody to help understand what was going on. applied again in 91 again denied. By now i am throwing in the rag on the country that I helped defend that the ony reason I am hurt is due to the poor medical treatmen t I got for an injury which resulted in a steel plate and 5 screws in my foot. Got talked into going back again in 2008 and appling again because i was told things had changed at the VA and they were now taking care of the vets n ot like they did in the past, wrong!! but I was smarter this time I went out and got an outside doctor and requested a repealmof the decision and won later the same year. wasnt much but my foot was in the door. got 10% for my fooot and 10% hearing loss. since than it has been an uphill fight but were up to 60 total but still not backed up to 88 yet. just found out that a llaw firm just picked up my case thanks to DAV to defend me against the VA for denied ratings just happened so when the results come through I will let you all know the out come.

  2. Marlene S. Gaylinn    

    Our first American Legion VSO was not competant – he did not keep in touch with us. I had to remind him to meet filing deadlines and he finally failed us completely. Our second VSO was affiliated with the State of CT. He too filed the wrong papers and took us down the wrong path. Now I am fighting for retroactive benefits from an original claim dating from 2010 that was closed in error. The BVA says that it is not responsible for errors made by VSOs or Federal Employees. Yet, it advises veterans to seek help from “trained VSOs” — and VA/Federal employees make lots of crucial errors too. Someone has to be responsible for supervising their jobs. When the VA endorses a service, I feel it bears some responsibility for the quality of that service. If I had known the success rate of the individual VSOs that were endorsed by the VA, I would have chosen to handle my claim’s paperwork and done much better myself — without their help. Nobody is responsible for anything concerning the CTVARO — go deal with a central phone bank for help at your local VA and GOOD LUCK TO YOU! No one answers letters or the phone at the local VA level. The whole system is purposely geared against the Vet. Meantime Vets are dying while waiting for benefits they are entitled to — and many don’t even know that their ailments may be service connected — that’s a feature purposely built into this elephant system too. Unlike the official Rules and Regulations, the claim decision maker’s scales are not weighed in favor of the Veteran. You can have 3 supporting doctors’ letters and the VA will favor their own, less trained, single expert. Try to get your C-Files under the Freedom of Information Act. The VSO will not help you get them or spend the time investigating possible claim errors. I could write a book on my experience with the VA.
    Marlene S. Gaylinn on behalf of her disabled veteran of Vietnam Era son.

    1. Greg collins    

      That’s what I’m going through now. Been in appeals for 8 months.

      1. Danny Vansickle    

        I was denied my benefits just about 2 months ago after a four year appeal wait. Eveidence that slap you in the face of my injuries and American Legion does nothing. Great reps uh? still need to contact DAV which I have been a life member for over 30 yrs.

      2. kenneth roy berry    

        Representative Benishek got my medical records in service in 2 weeks upon my request.!

    2. Nancy D.    

      My husband filed his disability claim in March 2010 and was finally granted 100% in September 2015 which only came after months of documentation, appointments, and unrelenting phone calls and correspondence. He is a Vietnam veteran serving in the USAF from 1964-68. He suffers from Ischemic heart disease, PTSD, Type II Diabetes and neuropathy. After making the mistake of enlisting the aid of Reps for Vets (Never, never use them!!), he decided to try the American Legion’s representative. Big mistake – the guy admittedly never returns phone calls or responds to email requests. You do get to talk to the office clerks, who basically run interference for him. His boss is even worse. To make a long story short, you are on your own when dealing with the VA. The experience is not only frustrating but also demoralizing. I constantly search for information to help find a way to put an end to this circus and recently discovered Nehmer’s Law which pertains to Vietnam veterans. After reading various articles pertaining to how this law came to be and what it does for the Vietnam veteran, I felt that my husband should be entitled to compensation based upon the actual date his disability claim was filed. This was made into law back in the 90’s!! I have spoken to the American Legion office for our region, the Washington office and, as of two weeks ago, the state American Legion office. To this day, not one of them will give me any insight into the validity of this law or why my husband fails to qualify. It’s a losing battle; I guess they figure that if they stall long enough, he will succumb to his illness and they won’t have to pay him! What they don’t realize is that they will still have to deal with me! Horrible, horrible experience for any veteran to have to go through. I would appreciate if any other Vietnam veterans have heard of Nehmer’s Law. Thank you.

  3. DannyG    

    I selected DAV to represent me during the process, & it was a quick & painless ordeal. At first, VA denied some related issues, but I wrote one letter, & they approved my claim. Put away your anger, put on your level-headed thinkung hat, & choose the right org to assist you. Who better to help us , than Disabled American Veterans?

    1. David T    

      Just because your experience was relatively painless, doesn’t mean that everyone’s is, or will be. The norm is not easy in and out. The norm is people fighting for years to get simple approvals no matter what organization they use.

      1. kenneth roy berry    

        MOPH, Purple Heart, military order of thr purple heart, goto spring convention n talk n listen. They have experienced service officers to help all by law member or not. Free lifetime memberships were available for purple heart recipients.

    2. Nancy Stephenson    

      We finally went to D.A.V.they have been super. Now to have Dr’s finish paperwork so that we can get everything done. Thank you DAV

    3. Danny Vansickle    

      I was denied my benefits just about 2 months ago after a four year appeal wait. Eveidence that slap you in the face of my injuries and American Legion does nothing. Great reps uh? still need to contact DAV which I have been a life member for over 30 yrs.

    4. Bob K    

      David T is absolutely right. The DAV rep I spoke with helped me file the claim, but neglected to tell me about all of the documentation required to prove exposure to Agent Orange (I was stationed in Thailand). As a result, my claim was denied. I am now 4 years into the process and have hired an attorney to help me compile the necessary documents. My DRO hearing was August 2015 and I am still awaiting the decision.

      1. M. Walton    

        Suffering for decades with problems I didn’t understand was terrible. After two separate private M.H. specialists, it was suggested to seek out the V.A. for help. It took TEN years to finally find a “group” that would represent me. Going direct did not work. Going through the internet sites was a laugh. Even going to one of the most recommended (by V.A.) was the American Legion. They told me they were undermanned, underfunded, and not trained (I recently stopped my membership). Finally, a longtime friend urged me to go to the DAV. REAL life savers… and all volunteers. They knew the steps, had the forms, had lived similar problems and roadblocks. I am now a life member and recommend them often. TEN years I struggled to get help; admittedly I didn’t push. I was not able to due to depression increasing at each failure (by them). Finally I’m in the “system”. and that is yet another story. The system doesn’t “talk” to itself. They do not have supervision that listens to the local clinic offices that are on the “front lines” with clients. More could be done for the Vets at lower cost.

    5. Linda Young    

      I wish it were that easy Danny G. It is good that it worked at so well for you. You found a competent person to help you. Unfortunately that is not always the case. The times we went to these organizations we did not receive the help that we needed. If it were as quick and painless for everyone as it was for you then there would be no need for investigations into the V.A. There are many level headed people on this page and if they had received the same kind of help and have not been waiting for months or years there would be no anger.

  4. Maurice Wyman Scott    

    This is true for all veterans listed and many more. Mine is less complex and should have been somewhat easy, but it wasn’t. The VA RO received my service medical records in 2003, and the truth is they, someone made any date, time period, or incident of harm or injury disappear, that’s the truth. But for years they made the statement that they reviewed service medical records, which as stated is untrue, they sent me to exams over the years never telling the examiners the records were missing. Then after overcoming some of that they being the RO, started to just plainly ignore evidence to get a denial, four dr said I had tbi, one dr said I didn’t , the RO ignored the others and just took the one, so did the bva in their decision, you see the it’s a excuse or hidden board for the RO, but even they said records was missing . The crazy thing is they had the nerve to admit the RO didn’t do duty to assist but said it was ok because they did it five years later, it’s corrupt. Now they denied at the bva and we appealed to cava and wouldn’t you know joint motion to remand because four dr said I had tbi, wouldnt you know the exam that caused the denial was deemed inaccurate, it said I didn’t have facial scarring from a accident when at the time of exam I was already service connected for it, and to make it worst, 4 months later increased to 30/10 for facial scarring. The system is corrupt on the ground, the bva only supports the wrongdoing, and the cava doesn’t support their bs, I’m guessing on the remand back to the same lying bva system they will find another excuse for denial, you see the va system doesn’t admit wrongdoing, but eventually the memo that states they lost my service medical records will cause the truth, maybe all the way to the Supreme Court but the wall of lies will come down

    1. Ron Anglin    

      I have been in the VA care for over 15 years now. I am a 3 year Vietnam USAF Med Evac medical flight instructor in-country combat veteran. As in any kind of large business there are usually delays (remember hurry up and wait). It took me 1.5 years, mostly because of one person lying and flirting while working for the VA. But I was paid for that time and have been very happy with the VA and my pension. Most whiners I’ve met weren’t really deserving anyway.

    2. kenneth roy berry    

      Goes back to concussion of explosion of rpg in close proximity to implant schrapnel, punctured eardrum, TBI? Viet Vets with tbi? My my. My theory after hearing bout proportion of ptsd having tbi n description of cell wrenching vibration of explosions scrambling brains as to suicide when one cannot mentally function. Cannot deal with own scrambled brain? Have now realized hearing loss n tbi may have caused lotsa dilemma but new young NSO let older vets deal with self.

  5. Michael Shill Sr    

    The appeal process is long, and yes it does feel like a fight. So, why does the veteran have to not only fight for the freedom we all enjoy being Americans, why fight the department charged to take care of those veterans? Veterans Benefit Administration at most of the Regional Offices, places the good of the VA office ahead of the needs of the Veteran, and if need be the RO will and has ignored the laws, policies, and directives, to make sure the Veteran’s appeal is remanded, and stays in the appeal system for years, and in some case’s decades. (example: vet filed a claim in 1969, appealed in 1970, final completion of appeal 2014 Citation#1452078, 2014). Why? The VBA hopes the Veterans will succumb before the end of the appeal process is complete.

  6. Philip Melcher    

    I have been in my appeal for 8 years. One of the most frustrating things is when you are determined not service connected, then appeal, and win your appeal, why can’t the VA make the adjustment then instead of making you file for the newly identified service connection which the VA already knows about? That extends the process by years. I can see asking for more documentation, but starting the submission process from scratch after winning one appeal seems to start the veteran from the beginning again unnecessarily and bog down the VA process. This what I have been dealing with and it is frustrating to say the least. I have been disappointed by my DAV representation because they respond to my questions 25% of the time, and the rest of the time ignore my issues. You will know the VA is working correctly, when veterans no longer need representation to file a submission for disability compensation or appeals. I would also look at the VA in Chicago because their system is different and their delays in responses are long.

  7. Robert L Schlosser    

    I have been trying for over three years to get some compensation from Agent Orange exposure. A recent court decision determined that Danang Harbor was an inland waterway. I submitted proof (deck log) of being in Danang Harbor and still no response for my prostate cancer claim.

  8. Tien C. Nguyen    

    I read and completely agree that it is set up to be adversarial slanted in the direction of the VA and against the veteran. VBA is an insurance company that would rather see the veteran go away or die rather than pay or give benefits to the veteran.

  9. David T    

    My first time applying for benefits it took almost 10 years through applying for and then appealing the decision to get my current benefits. I have now been in appeals since 2011, and awaiting a BVA video hearing since 2013. My records are still in my regional office with no timeline as to when they will actually be sent to the BVA for them to schedule my hearing. On top of that I have been waiting almost 6 months for a copy of my claims file. The entire system needs to be revamped. They need to hire some Six Sigma black belts or something to get this running more efficiently. The appeals process is currently a joke. “Deny, and then continue to push it off until the vet dies” seems to be the modus operandi.

    1. Allen Noble    

      I have been in the saME POSITION FOR MANY YEARS WHAT’S UP WITH THIS I believe I will contacting the DVA soon.

  10. Don Alfera    

    I have been through the process. It can be very frustrating to most vets I talked with also. The main thing they were frustrated with was the concept of breaking down a systemic problem into the smallest pieces for their ratings. A person with Knee and lower back issues for example, it has to be documented very well in our records. Bad part there is most of us take for granted our records are current, up to date and accurate. Not that we check on that, just what we expect. The person keeping those records is a great person. They work very hard to stay caught up. There is one person to manage how many people and records. Some things are in our record and some are not even ours.

    Problem: Most military people do not know or pay attention to their health records until they have a need such as a disability claim. When all of a sudden even a serious injury or illness crops up as you are separating, they want and need evidence of when, who and what was the issues. They even ask for witnesses for some things as a result of a poorly documented record. Remember we were young and indestructible.

    I was very fortunate to have a Washington State Veterans Office help me in the transition. They helped me put to gather my package, all related data for both the state, federal benefits. The process took 3 months. It was an eternity to my wife and myself. It was 3 months, we could not understand the timeline. Why so long, this should not be difficult, I had spinal damage and a ruptured esophagus. That was just on top. Then I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called scleroderma. Talk about weird. The scleroderma or any autoimmune illness be it Rheumatoid Arthritis badly or Lupus. These are systemic and the panel is not geared to see things that way.

    This is why it is so important to work with a VSO and have them help in the process. They cleared many obstacles from my path. Thankfully they intervened when needed and I still had the 3 month timeline.

    This is a new system to active duty. It is not run the same as active duty and is not paid the same for your benefits. The best thing one can do is work with and pay close attention to the VSO and get it right. It all starts with the Veteran monitoring their health record through their career or time in service. The entrance physical is your baseline. You work 24/7 on call or actively involved. We keep track of our personnel record as that can effect our advancement, education and our pay. The time spent on monitoring our medical records is very limited and hardly never used. That is a problem in itself.

    The new system of records automated and I can see my record back to active duty and that was 20 years ago. Never thought that would happen, this is the coolest thing. No longer do I have to try and remember 10, 15 or 30 years ago. The documents are right there. Get the news, get it right and it will work for you.

    If there is a VSO that does not have the knowledge and experience to assist, get another one, this is your health and your life. This is also a paycheck to help take care of you and your family.

    I am a fully disabled vet, even at that, I went through the process just like everyone else. That is my experience and the conversations I had with many that were going through the process with me.

  11. fred    

    Its a joke, they deliberately make up any excuse to deny benefits even if its clear in the records i just game up would rather live on the street than beg for something i earned.


    1. D'Ann Creel    

      Fred, you earned this benefit and I truly hope that you reconsider and fight rather than “live on the street”…. it won’t change if everyone gives up….. In a perfect world it would be automatic and a quick procedure on all Veteran’s claim… unfortunately for a majority of us it is a long frustrating rediculous process. Fight it, fight for your rights and all others’ rights, you can’t win if you give up. Hang in there…. it’s not begging…. it’s a fight and one that is worth it. Take care and keep posting please. With all respect HMC/USN/Ret

    2. Stephen Lee Rue    

      I feel you I have been waiting for four years and my conditionS have gotten worst it has enlighten me and now I wish I had never put on a uniform

  12. Robert Eugene Lisle    

    Every time my husband goes to the local VA Represent it ice he has been told “you can apply for an increase but you might wind up getting your benefits cut” So how do you go about getting an increase when you know that your Parkinson’s and seizures and over all health is getting worse.

    1. Lise Brown    

      He’s just telling you that so you won’t appeal or ask for an increase. He doesn’t want to bother helping you that’s all. You should definitely apply for an increase. I found by going into e-benefits and filing the paperwork myself is easier than trying to deal with some of these incompetent VSO’s. You can upload your documents and see what’s there within a couple of days. It takes some time and make sure you read it thoroughly but it’s a much simpler process and that way you know what’s been submitted.
      Good luck

  13. Stephen Wylie    

    I filed paperwork to the VA from an Army MEB. After getting a correction from the Army, the new paperwork w as submitted. I admit it was a minor change in the paperwork, but is major to my claim. The response was as if they didn’t look close enough, and just assumed it was the same. Another issue was overpayment due to reserve pay. Now that I’m retired, the VA comp is my main income. With guidance from a VA counselor, I filed a proposed repayment plan that would be easier. The reply didn’t even acknowledge my proposal, their plan remained unchanged and for the next few months I get about $130 with the VA withholding about $1400. When I asked about debt management, I was told it was an overpayment and not a debt.

  14. Harvey James Everson    

    Also, when a Veteran’s claim goes before federal Judges all kinds of codes and cases justifies the Judgement of Judges and the Veteran being a Laymen to Law has to accept the final decision by the Judges because the Veterans can’t understand them. Also when a Veteran performed Secret, Top Secret and Classified functions in the Military, their records won’t be released for considering compensation. Also the Board of Veterans appeals has their own Medical Staff to contact the VA Hospital to determine validly of injuries and they always say “No Change” when there is and as a result thousands of Veterans are being turned down!

  15. Calvin E. Vincent Jr.    

    I live overseas and a few years ago I had an appointment with a VA rep that came here. When I asked her for help with the paperwork her reply was that she worked for the VA would not help me. Her comment was that she was only here to help active duty personnel and not retires.

  16. Dr. David Johnson    

    I agree it is way past time for the VA to resolve Appeals and Remands, my remand now pushing 6 years and NO resolution of any kind is shameful, you call them or check E-Benefits and you get the same scripted answers, and NO Resolve what so ever. Perhaps in my lifetime would be nice.

  17. Dr. David Johnson    

    Regarding VSO’s, I have refused to use them, as a lot are worse than trying to get info on your case from the VA. Several Years ago I went to an Attorney for Social Security Help, she said I didn’t have a case, and wouldn’t take the case, within the Next year I received my Social Security. All my Medical Evidence for my contentions is right there, the VA like the SS had all the Info they needed for a Decision, yet it appears an Appeal or Remand gets locked in a file cabinet, until someone decides to open a file. When you file a claim, you get a completion by date ( which may or may not happen), but on Appeals and Remands there is none. This needs to change, an Appeal or Remand need to have a Complete by date and a Responsible reply to any Veteran asking what’s happening with his or her case, not just a Bunch of scripted responses

  18. Dr. David Johnson    

    I am sorry I want and demand Answers, not scripted responses, Ill believe the VA is for Vets when they start respecting Vets and respond in a realistic time frame, and not have to wait years for answers.

    1. Donna    

      My husband died 6 months ago and Iam still waiting on a pension they say I deserve. Funeral expenses, only one-third of costs, was paid in December – he died in July. I too am a disabled veteran and have suffered at the VA’s hands many times. I have been waiting 40 years for them to accept responsibility for radiation exposure while treating cancer in women at Lackland in early 70’s. My records were so blacked out no trace of my experience is known and they deny I did what I said I did. I lost my teeth and have severe osteoporosis due to radiation exposure and they are denying I was injured, even though I was discharged under a doctors care and had a hysterectomy at 24 years old in a VA Hospital. I only want what I was promised when I enlisted during the Vietnam War, “WE will take of you”, what a laugh- they just want us to die so the VA Employees don’t have to work for a living.

    2. D L Crutcher    

      Trust me, getting a “completion date” on an Appeal is just as much bs as anything else…My husband’s eBenefits account for his cancer claim (Camp Lejeune) WITH 2 nexxus letters from specialty physicians has a completion date of 01/01/2019 to 02/13/2023!!! Unfortunately, he may not be here to find out if he won his claim or not.

  19. Thomas Heath    

    I just think it’s weird that you can get VA care for PTSD related to MST by you still have to wait in this ridiculously long appeals process just to get compensation for something that the Va and a civi Dr have already confirmed as a diagnosis. In the mean time no one will hire me because of my PTSD amongst other problems attached to it from the service and if they are willing to offer me a job the fact that I go to counseling every two week is a deal breaker as well. On the civi side with SSI/SSDI the process takes just as long or longer so here I am unable to work without any income coming in and I’m just couch surfing until i get my decision which is heavily supported.

  20. Michael Beaven    

    It takes up to 8 years ( that was my first appeal) they ruled Indianapolis had not done their job correctly! It is 4 years into my second appeal, I moved to Florida and filed another claim which seems to move quicker then Indiana ever did! Indiana regional office is the pits in my book! Lied to me about not getting my records from Louisville VA MC! I told President Obama when his people looked into the hold up on my claim, to FIRE everyone at Indianapolis! I know I have not made any friends with these people, but there comes a time when you just want what you are Entiltled too! They have a great way of making you feel like a crook, a theif, or don’t deserve your benefitsL

  21. francis m doyle    

    the VA is a bigger criminal and corrupt agency more than the IRS. illegal aliens have more rights and benefits than us veterans. please go to c-span v.a. hearing on 11/02/2015. you will be sick to your stomach and how this agency is run and by the most criminal and corrupt people ever to hold a government job.

  22. gregory a linknehoker    

    I want to appeal but, was told the process takes so long that it is easier to refile for my hearing loss. The VA gave me hearing aids for my hearing loss but, I get no compensation from the loss. I can’t wear my hearing aids to work because it is too loud. This is the place I need them the most. I am so frustrated that I refuse to reapply even though I know I should. The process at the VA is a joke. The VA never asked what are the side affects that I am having at any time during the process or even how your disability affects you.

  23. julie maille    

    the processing of new claims and appeals is absurd. congress needs to authorize the funds to process these claims in less than six months. when a person can’t work they will probably be homeless. speeding up the process would decrease the number of homeless vets and save money that the VA is paying to help get housing and shelters. i am 70% SC and UI. last year my UI stopped because they didn’t receive the yearly form from me…long story short they did receive the form and my appeal was granted. my UI was to be reinstated starting the day it stopped…which was three months. i received two months of back pay. i called the VA and explained the situation, i was put on hold while she talked to a supervision. next thing i know i’m connected to the local regional office and received a recording of numbers to call but i wasn’t prepared because i didn’t know it was going to happen. so i sent a message to the person at the regional office that i worked with on the original claim. the response was “this is the sixth message…your claim is closed.” so i filed an appeal in sept and it shows on ebenefits that it was received. i have heard nothing from them. my time has been very short compared to many of your posts. i lost three months of UI because they made a mistake and when that was corrected they shorted me a month of UI. again, their fault. this should have and could have been handled quickly and with professionalism. our vets deserve better.

  24. Joshua Ballard    

    I was declined, and was told anything and everything that happened to me in the service was circumstantial and anything and everything else was a birth defect.

  25. Roseanna Gibbs    

    I find it troubling when the first line of people looking at claims, even before your claims wind up in the appeals backlog, make simple mistakes.

    And then I find it mind boggling (and extremely frustrating to say the very least) when the DRO, whom I had asked for a “de novo” review in my timely NOD, but who did a “de nada” review and merely parroted the same erroneous denials that the initial rater made.

    What do I mean? Let me be specific; (this is about my own claims, which are languishing at the Atlanta VARO). I have multiple claims in and I won’t go into all of the errors on them but in regards to a claim for tinnitus, the VARO has denied me service connection for it, relying not upon the C&P exam from an actual audiologist, (which did find my tinnitus “at least as likely as not” service connected) but relying instead upon a decision of “not likely” made upon a “records only review” (meaning this doctor did not ever speak to me) by an INTERNAL MEDICINE doctor, who lives in works in Evansville Indiana, but has “privileges” at the Atlanta VAMC.

    Now, that is an outright violation of VA’s own regulation (CFR 4.85) in regards to who can evaluate hearing claims. Furthermore, my C-file, which I have a copy of, shows that the rater consulted the table of Hearing noise exposure attached to FAST letter 10-35, provided the Internal Medicine doctor a notation that my MOS noise exposure was “medium” and yet, neither the rater or the doctor bothered to read the instructions in the FAST letter that indicates the “medium” exposures to harmful noise were to be conceded as a source of tinnitus. The rater and the DRO who sent me a “Statement of Case” both claim that I had not been “diagnosed” with tinnitus, when I have that diagnosis both in my medical files and the C&P exam. It’s there for the entire world to see, but only if you look, which, frankly, I cannot believe that anyone who has touched my file at the Atlanta VARO has done. I don’t believe they’ve looked for anything but reasons to deny my claims.

    How can I believe they have treated me with anything but apathy and indifference when (in another fine example of “how not to treat a veteran”) the Statement of Case concludes that my current hearing loss is not service connected because I said (ONCE – in February 1983, just prior to foot surgery) that my hearing was “fine” – sixteen months prior to my ETS. Of course, it’s not at all possible that my hearing could have been damaged (as it was) in the interim, right? Oh, of course not! (Please note… that was sarcasm.) No, they denied service connection because no one bothered to look at the dates and calculate that EIGHT MONTHS had passed (all of which, I was still on active duty) since that date and the time, during an Joint Forces training exercise in 1983 (Bold Eagle 84), when our encampment (and I) got hit with lightning and my hearing was damaged. This utter nonsense despite my turning in evidence of my being present on the JFTX with multiple “buddy statements” ranging from soldiers who were present during the lightning strike to statements from my parents, to people who have known me for years, attesting to the fact that I’ve had hearing and vertigo issues ever since then; which has subsequently been diagnosed as Meniere’s disease.

    And then there’s the bewildering example of ineptitude that is the request for a confirmation of Hallux Valgus (bunions) from a second C&P examiner when the first C&P examiner diagnosed me with Hallux RIGIDUS (I can’t move my big toe) and the subsequent denial of what should have been an award for Hallux Rigidus *because* I DON’T have Hallux Valgus! (The second C&P examiner was quite correct; I do not have bunions – aka Hallux Valgus.)

    I am reduced to being convinced that none of this was ever looked at by the DRO – (or else the “senior” and “experienced” Decision Review Officer was two minutes senior and half a second more experienced), or that the DRO was ineffectual and unconcerned with doing their job correctly.

    And, finally… which is just a slap in the face of me and all the MALE veterans who were examined by a board certified OB/GYN for ORTHOPEDIC ISSUES! AND – to add insult to injury – when I asked at the Atlanta VARO, “how come an OB/GYN is doing my ankle range of motion exam?”, the person I was talking to demanded to know “How do YOU know what specialty she has?!”; to which I pointed out that Google is a magical and wonderful thing… and his response was a shrug and “Well, she’s a doctor.”

    If you WANT the VA to be perceived as “world-class in Customer Service” (I was an attendee at the recent SVA Natcon and heard Sec. McDonald say those very words) then you MUST change this culture of indifference and ineptitude. Should anyone care to reach out to me about my continuing problems with my claims, and change my mind about how much the VA does CARE (putting it into action instead of it being a meaningless acronym); you will have my email in the hidden section of this posting.

  26. Charles Callaway    

    90% of my records are missing and with that I have not been able to get the benefits I deserve. I have even wrote my congressman, the department of Veterans affairs in Washington DC and to two President’s with no is bs what you have to do to get anything. I have been doing this for almost 40 years.

    1. james h    

      Your records may be missing because we recently found out the company receiving some records have them stored like cattle in a warehouse where there is lax security. Some files were found in a dumpster in St.Petersburg, Fl regional. Despite all of the dysfunction, this administration is the only one that has publicly tried to help veterans and change the inept system and also hold people accountable..the Bush administration did nothing during his terms but give their friends contracts to support the wars they created and mismanage Arlington Cemetery so the backlog continued. Keep fighting, after 11 years, i finally got 80% service connection, 100% pay, go figure

      1. deh    

        Dear Mr. James H. Glad that you are recieveing 100% pay. But to say that this administration has tried to help veterans and change the system is total wrong. Only after some veterans past away waiting for help did this administration speak out. They were inform by the Bush administration that the VA system was in need of a over haul. Why wait for veterans to die before helping. I to am a veteran at 80% sc. This just my 2 cents.

        1. Dave    

          They want us dead so they don’t have to pay out the money. I’M 67, and screwed.

    2. Theresa Boracci    

      Most of my medical records are missing because a doctor destroyed them. I have partial records that I salvaged and took to another base for safe keeping.

    3. Theresa Boracci    

      Were you in the Navy? I was and caught the head of medical on my base destroying my records. The only reason I have the little I do is I was receiving medical treatment on a nearby Army base.

    4. Robert Simon    

      I was almost in the same problem.m i’m a vet of the koren conflict and was injured state side, with a lower back injury’ upon release from active service and found a civilian jog, which was real hard and cause the previous injury to flair up. I finally decided to go to va hospital for medical treatment for the injury suffered in service in 1956. I applied for service connected disibility and was denied to many times to say. the va reply was that they the va had evidence to prove that my injury was not service connected. the va evidence assume that I had not been to a hospital, for treatment for my back injury. I had evidence that was rendered in 1965 and the va did not look at this 1965 medical from the va hospital when the decision was made to refuse compensation. the only evidence on the part of the va was to assume that I did not seek medical attention

  27. Aaron Simpson    

    I have been appealing for 9 years. I will never stop all my claims are service connected. Every time I’m denied I appeal with more information to support my claim. They are playing games with. Us Veterans health and welfare. It is not right the way the veteran is being treated.

  28. Eugene v t brown    

    I been working on my appeal for 12 years so where is the busted and been in the army for 15 years back problem while in and ear problem still waiting

  29. Timothy Clay    

    I have been dealing with health issues that I feel have stemmed from a initial injuries while in the service, a line of duty investigation proved they were service related and valid injuries. The VA will only recognise only one of the injuries. Still fighting for compensation since 1989. Pretty tiring.

  30. jerard pitchford    

    VA is just another typical goverment agency, where they are paid large salaries and benefits to see just how screwed up they can make a process without any human regard or emotion towards the people who have kept them protected and free all these years. I served in Vietnam and have a whole list of serious health issues. I have been fighting with the VA process for 4 years. I do have a 70% rating for PTSD but have been in appeal process for a couple years. No one will help you. I finally contacted a congressman and he has opened a congressional inquiry on my behalf. I have received numerous letters from the congressman that VA sent him that my appeal will be resolved in 60 days. We’ll see, but the reality is that a veteran should not have to go through this. God bless all my brothers, good luck to all of you.

  31. Ric Roderick    

    I believe the heroes of this country, sent to war by the cowards in Congress deserve no less health care than what is granted politicians. Soldiers don’t expect their own country would turn its back once the sacrifice for imperialism is over. A very simple belief

  32. Lawrence Young    

    I appeared a decision in 2013. Still waiting.

  33. Thomas C. Kelly    

    Its been almost 4 years for me. The St. Petersburg, FL office seems overwhelmed/incompetent and have been scorned by the IG for numerous issues. The VA needs to invest much needed manpower and office space into the St. Pete appeals process. Why its not more of an embarrassment to the VA, enough to make drastically needed changes, is beyond reason. This is effecting peoples lives. Do you get it?

    1. Thomas m. Joyce    

      Hi Tom, I have been waiting on a NOD for close to 3 years with the St Petersburg VA office. I have never heard from anyone there even though I have sent numerous letters requesting some info! A year ago I wrote to Congressman Ron Desantis and within 2 weeks his office got an answer which said that at that time there were approx 25400 NOD’s and mine was #11225! Like most Veterans I feel that the VA “talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”!. Thanks for your info. T.m. joyce

    2. ike Durkin    

      As veterans we need to band together and get the same health care cards the congressmen and senators get for life. The VA is not only incompetent they have their jobs they can’t be fired from and don’t care.

      We as a group need to organize to demand healthcare we were promised. The government has no problem starting wars and sending us into harms way then send us the wrong way to healthcare.

      I have been trying to get to the spine Drs and pain Drs at Bay Pines in St Pete and Haley center in Tampa for years and have been DENIED healthcare without a DR. examination period. How do non Dr personal make decisions without exams?
      It was easy after I took exception to Susan Lail laughing at me as I explained my problems over the phone. Despite her telling me they meet monthly to determine who gets in I was denied in 2 or 3 days with no exam. This is criminal to endanger we the veterans of this nation. Susan Lail still has her job and I still have my spine trouble and pain that the VA refuses to help with. I didn’t use the VA system for the first 38 years since I was discharged . Now that I need them I’m refused care.

      Thank you Bob McDonald and all your predecessors who can’t run a healthcare system.

  34. David Drews    

    My medical records have been lost and I have not been able to have a hearing in person, and if they do schedule a hearing for me, I am given only a day to report, and with having a work, just can not just drop everything to attend. Plus it does not give enough time for to be prepared.

  35. Cecil Bamberg    

    I think Drug test are in order for the VA C&P Evaluators and VARO Staff. That, or they are just incredibly incompetent! My VA Paperwork and my Civilian paperwork for the same diagnoses do not resemble the same person…ME!. I have been in the process for well over 40 YEARS. Zero Disability Rating so far with the VA, but SSDI has me at 100% Total and Permanent in FOURTY DAYS!.

    First my PTSD was pre existing (I went in at 17) and then the event never happened, and then there was no nexus connection, then I was a Outright liar, and now there is no PTSD, but I have provided ships Logs and Photographs of the event, names and addresses and online reports of the events and still the C&P and VARO cannot get a CLUE! The line from my VA Therapist in my Progress Notes sums it up….”The Patient continues to have his PTSD Exacerbated by the VA C&P Process and the DAV.” I am not an exception, but more the rule. Why can’t we let our Social Security Administration handle Claims, they only have a TWO YEAR Backlog of denied claims. How Pathetic is that? Close the VA Down, quit wasting taxpayer money perpetuating VA JOBS, and Denying VETERANS! I have enlisted and received help from both my US Senators, my Congressman, Secretary McDonald, and even the White house. What I get is Standard form letters from the VA addressed to all of the above, telling US they are “Processing my claim” REALLY?!? Why do we continue to put up with this? Everyone in the USA knows the VA is Screwed up, yet NO ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE!

    1. D'Ann Creel    

      Cecil, I went thru the same thing with my retired Marine Hubby’s claim… altho not for 40 years. He has PTSD and it was caused by trauma when he was growing up…… too many people think PTSD is only from combat….No, there’s combat related PTSD and also PTSD that is related to childhood traumas (among others). I worked on medical boards way back when at one of my duty stations… one thing they don’t tell you is that any pre-existing condition is considered service connected IF you serve over 2 years of active duty…..”existed prior to entry but service connected” …. another part that I fought them about. I am so happy that you are fighting this all the way to the top….. it’s sad that it takes so much to get done. The system is almost fatally flawed and it will take people like you and I to fight to get it fixed. Thank you for not giving up and for taking on the system…….I hope you continue to post so others have a ” go-by ” to use for their claims.

  36. Warren F. Williams    

    YES: I was put out after 18.5 Yrs of service with 30% disability to include PTSD. After 30Yrs they at VA. say I no longer have my disability on feet or that head pain which I’ve had since 1965 an that I got by being in VEIT NAM from 1966 to 1968.WHY?

  37. Warren F. Williams    

    JUST A NOTE THE AMERICAN LEGION AND DAV REPS act like their jobs are more important than the VET that their charged with helping. Yes their may be some good stories of 1 out every 100000 not a good record.

  38. Hussin M. Khashab    

    The most unrecognized issue in the grieve delays in reaching out for the veteran are the long delays with all of some of their unfairness. It is my problem as well. I have been waiting for direct contact with the Dept. for nearly 10 years, and still no response yet. In the past I had some responses but were long months apart. Yes I do add my voice to the veterans that have been waiting for years. I do sincerely believe that this 80 yrs. old system have to be killed and buried deep. We have the technology to change it. So let’s wait for more years for that. I hope not with the help of the secretary of VA. Would it really happen?

  39. Joseph Donald Higdon    

    Everything has been said!!!!! Time for a TOTAL change at the top

  40. David F Gardner    

    the process stinks. Most of us will just die off and then thay can totally forget su

  41. Vincent F. Neuroth    

    The VA needs a complete overhaul, may a new agency. My problems have been, no appointments schedule per their
    Dr. for further review. People hanging up on me after 37 minutes on hold. Telling me they have no record of me being seen
    by a ex-Dr. there. Why does everything I send in go to GA, then to Philadelphia (my RO) and I live in NJ. Hung upon when
    I told them I had no transportation to Philadelphia. I have 4 appeals pending, 3 reopened claims, and a new claim.

    VA Slogan “Delay, Deny, Die………………………………………………………

  42. Hussin M. Khashab    

    I have been living overseas for nearly ten years now and I have a twin girls. I was told that the Va section in the American consulate would help. To tell you the truth, they are incompetent employees and know nothing about Veterans. Unless you deal with a veteran at the embassy himself you would receive no help what so ever. I have given them what they have required from me (Documentations), and they still do not remember me and have lost the paperwork I have given them. Every time I speak with them as if it were the 1st time. Then I have to start all over. What in the hell is that? Who are those people? I had to get in touch with friends in the states to get a non toll free number, and that took years. (Searching for friends in the States that is), and after that I wait on the phone for nearly 30 minutes till my call is answered and sometimes I get bored of waiting and start to lose hope. After all of that struggle I finally had contact. I was as if the world had its first contact with an alien civilization in outer space. Truly!! We need better representations overseas. People who are Vets themselves to know and appreciate the pain we go thru. Truly..

  43. D'Ann Creel    

    I’m a retired HMC. My hubby is a retired GYSGT. When he first started his claim he was denied as ” not service connected”. Having worked for 22 years in the medical field, I knew this was wrong and that it was more a quick decision than it was a true evaluation of his situation. I decided to take on the VA. EIGHT years later, many letters, a zillion doctor visits and tons of frustation, I was able to get the VA to admit his condition was indeed “service connected”. My husband was so frustrated in the beginning that he said “just f#*k it !”…. Nope…. I’m tenacious and when right is right…I fight. Fortunately we had Tricare and were able to go to civilian doctors…. the VA Medical totally screwed up on his diagnosis….. if they had done an MRI or CAT Scan in the beginning we would have avoided years of frustration and wrong medication….. My prayers are that all Veterans will find a tenacious person to fight for them…. and that the VA system will truly look into the Veteran’s claim and history.
    I also want to let everyone know that a lot of symptoms like depression, anger, forgetfulness, alcohol abuse, seizures (even minor ones) etc are common with concussions. EVEN minor head bonks, the ones you get playing football, or slipping and knocking your head, any head bonk ! can cause brain damage. So many don’t go to sickcall , you shake it off and go back to what you were doing. YUP, head bonks = concussions. A MRI or CAT Scan can help greatly in the diagnosis. My hubby went thru over 8 years of taking numerous “anti depressants” and going thru 3 alcohol rehabs…. all they needed to do was quit labeling him and pull out their medical books and diagnose him properly. Traumatic Brain Injuries ! TBIs ! Check it out and do the exams, the history, and get the freaking scan !
    PLEASE don’t give up on your claim…. fight the system because the system is flawed…. and it won’t get fixed if you just give up.

  44. louis walker    

    I have been fighting the appeals system for nine years they have destroyed my foot with surgeries and they tell me that its not 100% damaged my big toe is smaller than my pinky toe and I do not have any balance I can”t stand on it or walk without an aid so I know how you feel . Now on top of all that I have to deal with the camp lejune water contamination and I just learned the they closed the marine air base at Santa Ana California were I was stationed for ground water toxin so I do not know what to expect next


    Wrong things in the VA Appeal Seemingly Will Never Get Straightened out until we get some one in there who really care about men who sacrificed their time and bodies for freedom in America and Abroad!

  46. Ronald Perri    

    It’s without a doubt an arduous and frustrating experience. I am currently appealing 2 issues that should be easy to quickly resolve. One is the effective date of an increase (the issue involves whether an increase is payable from April 1, 2013 or May 1, 2013) The other involves whether new evidence has been submitted to reopen a claim. Neither the evidence I submitted nor the VA’s own exam were listed in the evidence portion of the decision I received. I filed my appeal in August, 2014. The last I heard from VA was in November, 2104. If I check ebenfits sometimes it shows I have an appeal and sometimes it shows I don’t have an appeal. When I recently called VA’s toll-free number I was told the average time to complete an appeal at my RO was 279 days and I would be notified in writing. Not a very helpful response concerning an appeal that has now stretched out over 500 days. I also tried finding out the status of my appeal by sending an IRIS inquiry on January 6, 2016. Still waiting for that “response within 5 business days.” Like I said, arduous and frustrating.

  47. JUNIOR A.D. BROWN    

    I consistently fought for my husband for over 10 years concerning his glaucoma. I was informed “if I could prove his glaucoma occurred within one year of discharge, they would consider it as a disability”. I spent over $800 trying to obtain records that I knew would be almost impossible to get. He was discharged 1-13-1960. This I was finally able to obtain after years of documentation from five different Specialists. Then, I was instructed “to get five lay statements proving he has the glaucoma”. I provided two people who had worked for him; his ex-wife (which was a bitter divorce); sister and sister-in-law. After months of gathering this information, then I was told “these people didn’t have medical expertise and ,therefore, biased.” At no time was I ever informed his lay statements had to be from medical facilities.” Another delay tactic. I received one Denial that each item they gave was TOTALLY INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT I PROVIDED AND SUGGESTED MY HUSBAND WAS ONLY MAKING THINGS UP. Needless to say, at this point I was furious and I contacted my State Senator, Bob Corker’s Office, and they were going to try assist me. In between time, I contacted ALPHA out of Connecticut which was able to get him 10% disability due to service related injury to left knee. I kept fighting and won another 40%, but nothing on glaucoma. No one on either his father or mother’s side had glaucoma. I went back five generations and proved this. In July, 2011 he had surgery on his eye for a cataract. He was seen twice after surgery and then I couldn’t get him in. I knew eyesight was changing and I kept calling every two weeks and informed VA “if they had a cancellation, please let me know asap so I could drive the 130 miles one-way to Nashville. NO CALLS. Finally, I called the Alvin C. York and demanded someone see him. He was experiencing terrible headaches, pains shooting thru his head, but would only last for a few minutes. After I got him, damage had been done because they hadn’t seen him for 9 months and said he would have to see a Retina Specialist in Nashville. I kept waiting – NO CALLS, NO LETTERS. I CALLED THE FACILITY AND WAS TOLD “SOMEONE FAILED TO PUT NOTATION IN HIS FILE ABOUT RETINA SPECIALIST. I LOST IT and called Director’s Office at the Alvin C. York Facility. The lady tried to transfer and I told her she better now or I would come down there personally. I explained my problem and that I expected someone to get him an appointment. I received a call later in the day he had an appointment with Retina Specialist in Nashville in two weeks. After they saw him, five different doctors came in and I knew something seriously was going on. The main doctor told him “the damage was done and the only alternative would be surgery to relieve the pressure and do an eye peal” but his eyesight would never be as good as it was prior to his surgery. As a result, he had a total of 3 surgeries due to the incompetence of the Scheduling Department. Senator Corker’s Office would call from time to time “to let us know the VA was still working on his case.” The real deal breaker was we received message left on our recorder stating to call Senator Corker’s Office. He calls them back AND IS INFORMED HIS CASE WAS CLOSED! WE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS WHATSOEVER. I HAD RECEIVED A DOCUMENT ON 1/31/2014 THAT I HAD TO COMPLETE. FORM WAS SENT BACK TO VA IN NASHVILLE IN MARCH. THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT. I IMMEDIATELY FAXED MY DOCUMENATION TO BOTH CORKER’S OFFICE AND REGIONAL OFFICE. I WAS TO WAIT AND THEY WOULD GET BACK TO ME. IN TWO WEEKS I GET A CALL FROM CORKER’S OFFICE STATING “THE VA DIDN’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL FORM” SO THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO. THIS IS BULLSHIT. I HAD TO FIGHT LIKE HELL ALL THE TIME BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T EVER FIND MY INFORMATION. I HAD STARTED MAKING THREE COPIES SO THEY WOULD BE READILY AVAILABLE. DURING THIS TIME I HAD WENT THRU THREE SURGERIES, BUT STILL TRYING TO WORK ON MY HUSBAND’S CASE. ALL TO NO AVAIL. I SLIPPED UP THIS ONE TIME BY NOT SENDING MY FORM CERTIFIED. HOWEVER, THE DAY WE FOUND OUT THE CLAIM WAS CLOSED – IMMEDIATELY I FAXED MY DOCUMENTATION TO BOTH CORKER AND THE VA REGIONAL OFFICE. IT WAS QUITE DETAILED SO IT WASN’T SOMETHING YOU COULD JUSR MAKE UP IN A FEW MINUTES. STILL THE VA WOULDN’T LISTEN. I WROTE A LETTER AND AFTER FOUR MONTHS I RECEIVED A REPLY STATING “THEY WERE SO SORRY FOR ALL THE SURGERIES, BUT HE COULDN’T BE COMPENSATED. COMPENSATION – I WANTED SOMEONE TO PAY FOR THEIR INCOMPETENCE.


  48. Ron Byrd    

    I have had my Appeal going on now forever. I was in the Army from 1970-73 and was and am proud of my service to our Country, I wish my Country was proud of me at that time. When I returned home I was told not to tell anyone I was in the Army if I wished to be a Police Officer. I will keep fighting the system until I die, the Veterans need better service then they are getting now. It’s not that hard to figure out, why the V.A. can’t is beyond me.

  49. Ricky J Sexton    

    *Malpractice at Portsmouth Naval Hospital*

    I am 32, I was given an Honorable Discharge in 2007 and fought for just under 6 years before throwing in the towel. They were very unhelpful the entire process. I used the DAV over the American Legion which I was a member of because I believes they would be more qualified. They were terrible and hard to contact. To talk in person I had to drive to Cleveland, Ohio, approximately an hour and a half drive for me. My VA doctor scheduled appointment after appointment for me in Cleveland. The majority weren’t even for testing or exams. The doctor would just ask a few questions and the visit was over. I became frustrated with driving a 3 hour round trip for appointments I could have completed by phone. I am convinced they did this to frustrate me and give up. Which I eventually did. So I can’t work and I’m making absolutely NO income and they expect me to spend that much money on gas weekly? I began telling my VA doctor I cannot go to all of these appointments without reimbursement & word for word he looked at me and he says “I don’t care about your health, you can choose whether to go to your appointments or not.”. So much for a doctor’s oath to care. He knew I couldn’t afford that with my wife earning all the income and picking up overtime for multiple 16 hour shifts weekly to pay for these pointless appointments as well as all of our bills and 3 kids. I was used as a lab rat unknowingly for a procedure still in testing named Enteryx. It was intended to be injected into my esophagus to fix a hiatle hernia but instead injected into my aorta. It then ran through my blood stream before permanently attaching itself throughout my body. My aorta, liver, both kidneys, celiac and bilateral renal arteries. I urinate blood from this and have Chronic pain due to it. The FDA said they do not know what the toxins in the chemicals used may do to the body in the future. Around 10 years after the surgery I broke out in a mysterious rash that no one was able to diagnose and having two biopsies sent to different places to try to find a diagnosis. I broke out in the same looking rash shortly after the procedure in 2005. The most recent was much longer. The first lasted about a week, the one I broke out in last time was in April of 2015, which lasted just under 9½ weeks. Within a span of 20 days I had multiple health problems occur that I have to believe are being caused by the toxins the FDA spoke of. So in those 20 days I had gotten the full body rash, Macrocytic anemia, peptic ulcers, Diverticulitis, a severe sore throat that actually began bleeding & Chronic Pancreatitis which puts me in the hospital 3-5 days every 1-3 months and it is the 6th most excruciating pain in the top ten list, it’s horrible, it’s what I imagine hell to feel like. In April I spent 27 days and was NPO the entire time and fed only through a picc line that dumped IV nutrients and fat into my heart. I lost a total of 70lbs!!! I’m currently only at 140 now which is about 30lbs less than the weight used to be at. Got up to 197lbs at my highest. The reason I was denied repeatedly? My condition was not listed as a disability in their manual. Obviously! The FDA forced Boston Scientific to stop testing so it never got past trials. Why would that be in their manual? Thanks for nothing Uncle Sam!!! If I live over 3-5 years I will be considered lucky at 37!
    “Ask not what your country can do for you, you will get no answer!”. – Ricky Sexton

  50. Ronald G. Carr    

    It took me over 40 years to get accepted to the VA, I am a Vietnam Vet and a total of 8 years service..I was even told by a town VA agent that most veterans are just looking for something for nothing..Even though I was in the Air Force stationed at a Base does not mean I wasn’t effected from things I saw and heard..If it hadn’t been for the DAV i’d still be in the situation I was from the start..I did end up with a 40% disability rating for tinnitus, anxiety, depression related to Vietnam..My problem now is getting the help I thought I would, but the Nurse Practitioner (who has retired) did not seen it this way..I can not seem to get any assistance from anyone in the Boston sector of the VA, they say your Medical Team, I don’r even have a Doctor at the VA to call..It is at the point with the VA, if you do not know the system you are left out of getting help..No one will assist or give you a helping hand to understand some of the ins and outs..I’ts always said to call this number which puts you on ignore for hours at a time, even tells you your phone number and someone will call you back..Well I’m still waiting for a call back from a call I made over a year ago..I am about to give up completely, because I feel that’s the way it is and 70 years old I won’t live long enough to see any changes for the better…

  51. james ...f, boe    

    i think the VA needs to look at the money wasted on the appeals process would more than pay for the claims not that many vets a scamming the system the overhead is atrocious redo the whole process joke eh govt bureaucrats wouldn’t think of it money going to the top that should go to the injured

  52. Ethel Wilson    

    the va appeal process is a big joke. The people in montgomery,al. don’t pay any attention to what their policies say. Even when the Judges in Washington rule favorably to reopen the veteran case it is a waste of time. Sadly my spouse died trying to get compensated for ptsd. The file I am told is still sitting on the desk in Montgomery desk waiting for the clerk to reach across and pick up the file. I have no faith in the va system.

  53. Craig L R Rice    

    It took me from 1971 to 2014 to obtain an 80% rating. Continual battle with paperwork and continual denials. I even went to Sen. J. Macain’s office in Phoenix once and was told they could not help me and could not do anything with the VA. I am convinced the VA’s mind set is deny and the vet will either give up or die. And this is the direction given to all people at the VA. It is as though the little bit of money is their’s and they are not going to part with it no matter what. Over all those years I have seen so many abused vets at the Phoenix, Az VA hospital it is simply heart breaking. I am fortunate in the fact that have a computer and I have transportation. I know many, many vets that don’t. And, this will never change because there is too much MONEY at stake. It is all about the money, vets, especially the older vets are disposable and mean nothing other than being in the way of getting the money. Ask yourself the question, “why are we in this situation”? Why has nothing changed, even with all that has happened as of late?

    1. Vincent F. Neuroth    

      Were you in the Navy at Roosevelt Roads, PR back in the early sixties?

  54. richard lawler    

    i put in a claim over a year ago and a gentlman from american legion helped me as i’m 86 yrs old and having trouble seein as i’m blind in one eye due to macular degeneration.
    as yet i have one letter from the va saying as I had the gentleman from the american legion help me with my application all correspondents will be done with him.
    This is all i have heard and nothing else from no one.I have contacted the man in the american legion who helped me and he said Quote” as soon as i hear something i will let you know”..havn’t
    heard a word…very dissappointed ww11 veteran who feels he has been thrown under the proverbial bus.

  55. Joe Average Vet    

    Other than the “lengthy” appeal process, The problem with appeals is that the Veteran generally does not have access to the RBA (Record Before Agency) prior to the BVA decision. Veterans can sometimes view the RBA at the hearing, but hearings mean even longer delays so Vets often opt out of hearings. Often this means that certain evidence is not considered, and this means still another round of appeals because the Veteran beleives this evidence is in his file, when it is not. The Veteran should get a DVD copy (or other electronic copy, such as the RBA being available on ebenefits) of his RBA when its certified to the BOARD, so that he may review it and add new evidence if its incomplete.
    As far as I know, the only method where Veterans can get a copy of the RBA is through his attorney, as the Va has no procedures to release the RBA to the Veteran.
    Veterans can get a copy of the Cfile, but the Cfile is much less complete than the RBA, and his copy of the C file is often dated, as it is “normal” for VA to process multiple, appeals for the same Veteran. Personally, I have had 2 BVA decisions, and no less than 19 decisions from the Regional office in the past 14 years with no resolution in sight. I can only be hopeful that the third BVA decsion gets it right, however, I still do not have a current RBA so I still have no idea if the Board has all my evidnece or not. Vets are leary of reopening due to 38 CFR 3.156 “new and material evidence” for several reasons. First, Vets are concerned about further delays. Next, VA often disregards reopen claims and those wind up in appeals, also after VA “forgets” those. Worst of all is if the Vet thinks the reopen is a NOD, and the appeal period expires leaving the Veteran hopeless trying to prove CUE.
    This appears to be “delay by design”. If Veterans are informed as to precisely what is in his file, then he can either add missing evidence before the decision, or even withdraw his claim if is not supported by the evidence. The appeals system is clogged by far too many remands, often because VA did not consider evidence that the Veteran beleived to be in the file, while it was not.

  56. Lise Brown    

    I have been in the appeal process for 5 years now. I was deemed unemployable by social security 6 years ago. I received my VA disability at 20% a year later. The VA still will not award me unemployability even though I have VA disability for the same thing that social security deemed me unemployable for. It’s a terrible process and I feel as though the VA thinks that if they take their time about it that we will either die or give up on getting them to do anything. I have a DAV person, I think, although I do not know who they are or what they do since I have done everything in the process by myself. I had a VFW person but he refused to help so I switched, not that it did any good. The VA “lost” my appeal form for 3 years and dated my appeal from the time they found it so I lose 2 years on my claim. McDonald is no better than the last guy. It seems as though they really just don’t care.

  57. Richard E. Pilny    

    What I find frustrating is the fact that answer to my questions by the VA are so ambiguous. The VA acknowledges that there were bases in Thailand where agent orange was used. I am trying to find out just where those bases were and I can’t get an answer.
    I served in the Army and was stationed in Thailand all of 1967 and have many diseases associated with agent orange yet I am denied a disability and don’t understand why. I served at two bases in Thailand performing security and construction and I seem to fit the current criteria for disability but am denied.

    1. D'Ann Creel    

      Richard….go to and see if it helps…it does show some bases in Thailand.
      It might take a minute for this to go thru… the site says I’m posting comments too quckly….. really? It’s all information….and suggestions….

  58. Richard J. Philhower    

    I Feel that the appeal system takes to long and is very one sided. The BVA. said I had good cause, but needed a VA Doctor to give his decision. I went to a Va Hospital in Erie and saw someone who never said he was a Doctor and Had to be asked if he was, which I felt was not proper, when we met him he never introduce himself as one, just first name. Them he keep saying that he looked at things as the way you could say it. Example you could say tomato, tomat’a , its all how you say it. That is what he said, so his answer was whatever way he felt he could give it. I had my appeal depend on that man’s answer. What a joke, this whole appeal has taken over 4 years, and I am a Vietnam Vet with Agent Orange and this is how the VA works. Thanks, sill waiting for VA answer which who knows who long this will take, because it went back to place that give the fist review. Thanks for keeping me in the dark, and loosing everything I worked my whole life for, by keep waiting for nothing.

  59. Jean B. Tillman    

    My husband served in WWII in a hospital stateside. He applied several years ago and was denied because of they said his income was too high. We are both retired public school teachers. His friends tell him to reapply and not report his income…that is what they have done and they were given approval with drug, dental, and hearing aid help. It is so unfair that people who retired as heads of large corporations can get what a retired teacher can’t because he did not refuse to give information requested on the application.

    1. D'Ann Creel    

      Jean, I don’t remember having to report my income…..I would definitely resubmit…. I don’t know what the retirement pay would have to do with Veteran’s benefits?

  60. Roy B.    

    All this talk about health care change, seems It will never change…I’m a Vietnam Vet fighting for Health care change for over 40 years at 65 and still no Benefits..(fighting the battle In Vietnam was easy compared to fighting the VA health care system) .”Remember we won the war but, not the battle.”
    Can’t even get a as much as a hearing aid. The system is Ludicrous…….To all, VA Health care Reps, help the younger Vets ( form an American VET Group) to help change this twisted system….Somebody has to care…..

  61. Roy B.    


  62. D'Ann Creel    

    Just a quick note…. if you already do this..GREAT…. if you don’t …START…. every and I mean EVERY thing you send to the VA, keep a copy, and send it certified with return receipt ! EVERY conversation you have….keep records of WHO, WHEN, TIME and what was said. I learned a long long time ago, while on Active Duty, that doing this while, being a pain in the ass, will back you up when it gets down to the nitty gritty.

  63. Dale P Nelsen    

    amen. Been there doing that.

    1. Amber HS Winterbourne    

      Thanks for the helpful information. I applied in 2010 and received 50% even though my conditions were undiagnosed they “couldn’t” place a rating on them. It’s been 6 years and my newly identified (named) conditions have to be reconsidered but the distance to anyone that represents me is 4 hrs away. When I asked for the birth control implant to be removed they didn’t have me transferred yet from Alaska VA. I waited months but nothing. When I asked about the ER removing it they said they don’t do that. When I finally made it clear that if they didn’t get it out of my arm I would cut it out myself at the ER and they could sew me up! I got an appointment and then a call for a mental re-evaluation! Since that they increased my disability to 60% without any consideration for the other conditions diagnosed.

      What does it take to get action around the VA claims?

  64. judy matthews    

    The American Legion in Saint Louis is a joke. They did nothing , and they know nothing. Why are 3 men sitting in a room getting paid to do nothing. What a waist of the VA’s money!

  65. Joey Stalnaker    

    I’m just a proud American Veteran who just wants to survive with the health problems I have. Some of them are service connected. I can’t comment on the appeals process because I’ve been told to avoid that at all costs because it could take years to never.

    I think expecting a Veteran to navigate the claims process in general is like telling them to perform a heart surgery with zero training. I would likely be more apt with performing the surgery than navigating the claims process. I feel the quality of the outcome is likely very similar.

    Do Veterans actually ask for benefits they feel they don’t deserve?
    I’m suppose to trust that VBA is doing right by Veterans so shouldn’t VBA trust that Veterans are doing right by requesting benefits?


    I don’t know what we would have done without Aide and Attendance- It was a God send! She passed two weeks ago . I was her independent c.g. When my house flooded the first of this year , I had to put her in a home- she recived excellent care with help from the V A. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE END OF HER LIFE BEARABLE.

  67. Donald P Cheverie    

    I’ll start by stating that the eBenefits site is now much better – and with giving plain text on steps as in the Appeals process.
    Has been very frustrating that sent data and my records are lost when sent even by registered mail, though.
    And at this point I don’t believe the review boards use the Veteran’s history as needed, or do they trust the statements offered, and even request service proof at every turn though info has been in the VA system from beginning.

  68. James Moore    

    I am 81 years old served in USAF in 50s and have used Va sevices,It is a waste of taxpayers money. They do test after test and dont do anything ,I have went to private insurance it is cheaper. A 90 perscription is 27 dollars and at Walmart it is 9 dollars. The Va is to full of of paperwork and people who dont give a damn about veterans.! My family has fought in ever war including the Reveloutionar war against the British . We have a lot of graves to show what they did for our country and politions dont care they just want more money. Do away with Va and turn it over to private sector!

  69. Charles A Maden    

    From reading here I am not encouraged – but think I will be stonewalled until I die before my service caused (agent orange) disability is acknowledged by my country.
    Charles Maden

  70. carl M Armbruster    

    I have been tring to get my benafits for 16 years now. They have lost my records many times and ive had to refile. They sent a letter telling me that they had spoken to my wife a d she told them i did not wa t to file my claim any more. Im not even married. Now they deny my beafits telling me i can not prove my case. If they would find my records for when i was in they would have them and if they would have contacted the hospital I was in they would also have that record bit no, they checked the wroung hospital and never let me know till time has past for so long that i can no longer get the records. And ever one don’t under stand why we vets are tired of being zhit on.

  71. Sonia Nicks    

    I filed a claim in 2010, everything I ask for was denied – oh yeah it took them 3 years to tell me no. I appealed, it took them another year to tell me no again and I have been waiting two and a half years for a BVA face to face hearing. I am service connected for degenerative disc disease/severe arthritis in my lower back but they choose not to SC me for my cervical spine – same disease. I’ve had 4 major surgeries in the past two and a half years while waiting on my hearing, I now have metal in my lower back, neck and two new shinny hips. Wow – does it really take a genius to figure out it is all related because it is all the same disease and it is progressing at a rapid rate throughout my joints? BTW, I’m only 41 years old – NOT NORMAL VA and the VA docs have no idea why. All they have done was upped my lower back SC from 10% to 20% and gave me 10% more for a huge scar (which I now have 3 more that match.) I have found the process ridiculious, belittling and contributing vastly to my already high anxiety level (oh yeah they told me on that claim as well.)

  72. Robert paul Dixon    

    The big VA is not 21st century. Some of us vietnam combat vets were disgarded back in the 80’s. Like PTSD. Back then , 0%,20years later 100% P and T. on one try. Then you ask for retro back money , the answer is no! ???????????? VA made big mistakes back then and won’t pay for it while we vets suffered.

  73. Michael Luczynski    

    My disability claim was denied last June and I’ve talked to several attorneys that specialize in VA claims. All told me that claims for disability related to service in Desert Storm never get approved and appeals are never successful, so they all declined to even begin looking at my case. They said that unless I can find a doctor willing to provide a statement that my medical conditions are definitely due to service in Desert Storm that my claims and appeals will just be denied.
    When I went through the review with at the VA center (10 months after I filed the claim), the person conducting the discussion (there was no medical part) spent the hour questioning all of my medical records and suggesting that all of my conditions were due to stress at work. It’s a very insulting process.

  74. Thomas Banks    

    I have been fighting what I feel are agent orange effects and even though I have filed again and again, nothing has been accomplished. The latest word that I received is that my file is sitting on a desk somewhere. I have peripheral neuropathy (NOT DIABETES RELATED), a defect in my heart, and a defect in my ureter which was repaired in the 1980’s. It appears that nobody cares and I have even given them proof that I was in Vietnam, and Nakom Phenom where agent orange was used. Help!

  75. Tamara Lawrence    

    I have attempted to file a few appeals for my 10 percent service connected disability. I have no cartilage in my left knee and this happened within my career in the Army. I can’t get an appointment with VA and when I do get one its 8-10 months later. My information within VA is wrong and I submitted paperwork to get that change and still it’s not correct. Then I got an appointment in 2014, got a follow up appointment for later in the year and heard nothing about my appointment. Never got my medication, no paperwork on my previous appointment, no nothing. Can never get help with VA on nothing so this is tiring for me. I have to work and cannot take off work for appointments that never come about. With my 10 percent disability, they denied it at first and took over four years to get that 10 percent…. smh. So my days are filled with pain and I have no other choice to work through the pain with no help from VA. And this is what I get for my service to my country? Thanks for nothing.

  76. Robbie L Rose    

    I can’t express strongly enough how negatively the entire C&P and appeals has and continues to effect my life. It has resulted in the loss of sleep, panic attacks, anxiety and alienation of others around me. A part of my C&P was not properly evaluated because I was not informed by C&P of an appointment made for me for a back x-ray. No attempt was made to contact me by an office that had my phone number, email and mailing address. I was unaware of this until a judgement was made. Now I am in the midst of an appeal – I guess you call it. I have a 50% PTSD disability and I have no idea what I am entitled to except some extra income. In fact, I had no idea I was a Vet until I stumbled across the information. No one informed me of anything when I was Honorably Discharged. I was given no help during my initial C&P evaluation. I had to fight for the use of my legal name – yes in 30+ years I had remarried! All the stress and trauma related to replacing documents lost in a flood was dumped squarely on me – the VA would not undertake calling the SSA for a simple confirmation. Because of the name game I was unable to access the ebenefits site to keep up with my evaluation. I have turned the appeal over to attorneys – I can’t stand any more of this. I have had no contact from the VA since all of this except some emails that say “When you’re in, you’re in.” What’s that supposed to mean? Yes, I’m a Vet – but that doesn’t seem to mean much. I feel traumatized and degraded by your system VA both the initial C&P and the appeals process. It takes way too long. Phone contact is near impossible and often the people on the other end do not understand what you want – way too many misunderstandings and delay. This whole system needs to operate a lot more efficiently.

  77. john jaklich    

    I gave up twice, perhaps three times in the past 30 years. I was compared to the mental health reviewer in Boise, Idaho who didn’t have any problems and therefore, why should I ? … how could I be making a claim?….(comparing other Vets to my ex-Marine neighbor who saw 3 wars and was just fine and successfully happy should be able to eliminate 90% of all disabilities). After that appeal I gave up for a few years and then refiled. I was told to get pictures which I had to get off the internet since I did not have any in my own scrapbooks. It was rejected because I am not suppose to get pictures off the internet even though they were the very buildings and helicopters that I saw blown away. I searched for old Marine buddies who I knew and could say something about our experiences and looked at pictures and movies of Vietnam trying to find anything about the base I was on and the action we saw. That too, was not acceptable. If I really had the problem I would not be able to look at pictures and look at movies or anything that would remind me of the war. (Yet, Veterans ride their Harley’s with buttons and patches all over their jackets, having meetings and ceremonies remembering the war and they collect disabilities. Veterans day, Pearl Harbor Day and other special days to commemorate the lost and disabled are constant reminders where men and women talk about it, rehash it over and over every year….seems like a real contradiction of policy. The VA certainly made my claims and appeals a hostile fight and did all they could to belittle, intimidate, insult and down-play everything I said. They saved their money (to send it over to our enemies to help them) and I have had a minimal existence life with most if not all the problems of PTSD sometime or other throughout the years.
    I have often viewed the VA an another enemy to be threatened by. Medical help has been a joke being laughed at when going in to the VA emergency with a numb left arm and pain in my chest. Only to find out years later that I did have scar tissue on my heart area as if I had a heart attack. When having intestinal Ecoli they again laughed at me and said, nobody ever dies from that….obviously ignorant of the millions who do die around the world because of just that.
    The years of “being overrun at the perimeter” in my own house and running out with some measure of defense or else jumping up and beginning to run off because of some sonic boom, doesn’t matter to the VA. I’m suppose to “get over it and move on”.
    I recently began going to the VA again because of physical health issues and now have a great doctor that actually has a pretty good head on his shoulders and cares about his patients….but, it is rare. When going to other doctors in the VA, I again feel a very impersonal and uncaring concern for my actual problems. I have avoided the mental health departments because I am not ready for the battle again. I can’t even cope with the drive 100 miles round trip, to the VA hospital which they require of me in order to take a 10 minute reviewing interview before I could reapply for PTSD claim. They have my records and the many letters and appeals I sent in. Another battle with rude and intimidating psychiatrists my be enough to send me to the grave. I certainly wish that the VA would have been conscientious of the quality of people they hired way back when. I know it is government and on a limited budget but hiring the college flunkies or having mental health personnel who use their own subjective experiences to compare those less fortunate to, putting everyone in the same box and just throwing out the ones that don’t fit the stereotype, could be improved upon even now in 2016…political legislation and promises sometimes takes a long time to trickle down to the intended victims of a war. I’m glad they are at least making a list and checking it twice but I am not confident that I could confront the enemy at this time. I’ll probably die and some researching intern, years down the road will look at my existence and say, Hey, we could have helped that guy…just as a side note…I have to type in this captcha code…Uu9N or perhaps UugN…either way…I’ve done it every possible way I can and it doesn’t accept my comment…if it ever gets through, just to let you know, even the submission of a simple comment is a pain .

  78. Robert Steven Dawson    

    Let’s face it, the VA is just waiting for those of us who served to die. I am in appeal hell too. My DAV rep, in Los Angeles, told me back in September of 2015 that my hearing would be in February 2016. He told me that on more than one occasion. Then I had a visit with the Supervisor and he was rather rude to me but at least he told me what I now can see is the truth, you may be waiting up to 4 years for your hearing. I’ll be dead by then. DAV shame on you. The guy who filed for me should lose his job. He is a Vet and this is how he helps another Vet? Wow. I am giving up, going to find a way to just disappear and let nature take her course with me. I served in Vietnam and we got the shaft then and by golly we’re getting it again. Nothing new.

  79. David McCrackin    

    Why post my story? Being a Viet Nam combat others ,the VA has decided to let us die before the paperwork is finished.

  80. Mark Holley    

    Unfortunately nothing will change the system.

  81. George E. Lee,Jr.    

    I read nothing but complaints, mistrust of the system that we fought to protect. Where is the justice in this . Give us what you promised, nothing more, nothing less…

    Semper Fi

  82. Diane    

    My name is Diane Feltz. My husband committed suicide in March of 2010. He was a Vietnam Veteran and was being taken care of for PTSD by the VA.
    The VA had him on at least 22 medications for PTSD. I was married to him for 38 years. I knew him better than anyone. The day he died he had an appointment at the Wausau VA clinic. He was to take a urinalysis because according to the VA he might have been over using his meds. The funny thing about this is that the VA was in charge of all his meds. They gave him a one or two week supply and he had no extras. I understand that before they took over dispensing his scripts they may have had a reason for a pain contract. The Pharmacist in charge of giving his meds forgot to give him his Prostate medications. So on that day he had trouble going to the bathroom, they even sent someone in the bathroom with him. So when he could not give them what they needed they refused to give him his 1 or 2 weeks of meds. I called the Pharmacist and questioned why he did not have his prostate meds. She stated that my husband said he did not want them anymore. My husband did not even know what he was on let alone tell her not to give them to him.
    At around 3pm I was concerned about the way my husband was acting and called his Social Worker (Chris). He never talked with my husband, just told me to bring him in at 8:30 in the morning. At around 9pm I heard a shot and we lived out in the woods so waited a minute before I went out looking for him and calling for him. I called my oldest daughter and just before she got to the house I found him. He was already gone. I do have a lawsuit against the VA for his death. They should have put him in lock down or drew blood. Not just send him home with nothing. I believe he would still be alive today. The VA has falsified the records for that day. A person calling himself the CSO of Tomah VA called that next morning and apologized, stated it would never happen again and that I had a tort claim against the VA. He stated I could do it on my own or get an attorney. The attorney I had did start the process with the VA but we were denied twice. The VA took everything from me, my husband, my home and my life, I can tell you 11 years before my husband died he would have overused his meds. He was an alcoholic and took whatever he could. I left him and he decided to give up the drinking and drugs instead of losing me. So for 11 years he touched nothing. I was so proud of him. Just to find out that he drank the night he took his life, which I believe he did to help himself deal with the detox emotions he was experiencing. This tore my heart out knowing how proud he was about not drinking all them years and to resort to drinking because of no medications.

    Now I have to go to Federal court to fight, what is fair

    1. D'Ann Creel    

      Diane, I am so sorry for your loss and the pain that you and your hubby went thru. I understand a part of it as my hubby was treated for 10 years for depression, PTSD and being an “alcoholic”. The VA repeatedly gave him antidepressants even tho’ they didn’t work, they’d just change it to another that didn’t work. At NO time did they look into any other reason for his symptoms. Turns out he had numerous TBIs and being on an antiseizure med makes all the difference in the world. 5 years later and he doesn’t drink….seems the booze works on the damaged neurons the same way the anti seizure meds do. I tell you this because I am positive the VA never went further into his history and diagnosis as far as any concussions he more than likely had…even minor ones…..they probably never did a MRI or CAT scan…. it was medically indicated…and any thorough workup would have included that. I don’t know if this would help your case, I hope so. Again, I am so sorry .

  83. Rudolph Solis    

    I put in a NOD on my refused claim. I was around ‘tactical weapons’ for at four years. The weaponry was stored in a large reinforced cement structure we referred to as an “Igloo”. The detachments I worked with had multiple rounds for Honest John, 8 inch, and 155mm artillery pieces, all were ‘tactical’ weapons. My job included taking Pressure Test Records on the HJ warheads with a precision Pressure Test Gauge. Every time the PTG was threaded onto the valve stem, a certain amount of Nitrogen Gas would escape.
    We wore no protective garb,
    We wore no protective respirators
    We were not issued dosimeters of any sort

    Within a few years of ETS, I started with Gastro Intestinal problems that plague me to this day. I also experienced pains in my larynx. I have an abnormal ‘lump’ on my prostate and I have lost a large part of my right kidney due to a cancerous cyst, and suffered “limited change disease” in which my kidneys started to shut down.

    I sent all my medical documentation to the V.A. on a CD (courtesy of Kaiser Permanente), but have yet to hear back from the V.A. I firmly believe that constant exposure to Alpha or Beta radiation probably present as the nitrogen gas was used to inhibit any corruption of the nuclear core and the associated detonators. Of course my claim was denied. The VA answered that I was never in “an environment that would have subjected me to ionizing radiation”.

    Better minds than ours I guess.

  84. Hiawatha Oakes    

    I am 83 years old. Korea, Vietnam vet. Retired 1970. 10 Yrs USAF, 10Yrs US Army. Just recently October 2015 enrolled int VA Healthcare. I needed Hearing aids and Eyeglases. I recieved both in December at the VA clinic at my location. I concider this as excellent service. Currently being evaluated Hearing loss, Tininitice, Skin Cancer, PSD, Nuropathy. Like many of Vietnam Vets I more or less hade to self treat my depresion (PSD) as no help was available at Military sick call, it was suck it up and stop crying get your ass back to work. I thank God today that I am near a VA facility that is doing a great job in all respects. . .



  86. DG.    

    I agree with most of the comments made to the contrary of the VA appeals process. The words that stand out most to me by these veteran stories are stall, deny, ambiguous and years. I am also in the appeals process for a matter of years at this point and I get the same ambiguous statement when I inquire about the status of my appeal (Data not available / VA has received your Notice of Disagreement. You will be receiving a communication from VA in the near future describing the next steps of your appeal.) It’s been that way since the start of the appeal. I’m really concerned like most that the longer a file sits somewhere, the less likely it will get the attention or consideration it deserves and as pressure mounts to decrease the backlog of appeals it will be easier to deny or not service connect in order to say it’s settled. So waiting you out saves money, because you aren’t receiving compensation and then a poor review and regurgitation of what was previously said with a denial or not service connected for many will assist the VA in reducing the budget and backlog. We are just some random number in our own files on someones desk it seems to the VA but unfortunately for all of us it’s our lives at stake here. Is that not serious enough to require more attention????

  87. Freddie Dean Harrell    

    My thoughts for Solutions (What are yours?)
    1. Create a National team of NP(non-paid) Veterans that are actually experiencing the problems – issues.
    2. Identify the problems.
    3. Organize the problems in simplicity, priority, reality, and time.
    4. Use the 20/80 concept to address the issues. (work on the top 20% of the problems -80 percent of the problems will usually go away)
    5. The projects to improve the processes will be assigned to VA staff. The requirements for the projects will be defined by the Veterans. Phones will be used. (a new technology that aids in communications instead of pony express). Meet daily if necessary; instead of every six months). If the project can’t be done, it will be passed back to the NP Veterans team for review and re-implementation until a reasonable an acceptable solution is found.
    6. Again, there is a new technology called the telephone. It can really help with communications.
    It is not that complicated.

    1. Robert Steven Dawson    


      I agree!! Count me IN. Numbers matter and we are a massive number for sure. The American People need to hear about this and NOW (elections make a big difference). We need to use Social Media to post what is here so ALL Americans can see what is going on and not just those of us who are trying to live through this. Name names, VSO’s and VA Administration Staff names need to be made public.

  88. Leon Modrowski    


    Allow me to share my insights with those veterans who have experienced the nightmare of the VA’s claim process.
    My claims, all six, were filed in 2010. All six were denied.
    All veterans have a statutory right to (1) record a BVA hearing, and (2) requests a subpoena for records and individuals who will not cooperate voluntarily. A rogue attorney for the VA denied my rights and forced me to seek help with the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. When the court required a response from VA, the agency agreed to reschedule a second hearing which I could record. No ruling was possible on the subpoena as the court could only require such if my claims had been denied at that point.
    The agency sent me a pattern letter inquiring if I wished a second hearing and, if so, where. I responded, “Yes”, and sent the response via facsimile transmission. This was promptly misplaced by VA.
    A senate legislator, inquired on my behalf, and I had the second hearing.
    An administrative law judge (AJ) presided at the second hearing but who had scant knowledge of 38 USC and CFR. When I attempted to clarify the regulation on what is commonly referred to as the “helpless child” dependency rule, he said that was outside of the boundaries of what I was entitled to say, and he had already explained the regulation.
    When the AJ continued to deny any testimony needed to clarify or expand my claims, he abruptly cut me off and prevented me from any comment or verbal addition to the record.
    And now nearly six years after my claims, I continue to wait and wait and wait.
    1. The VA is an executive agency and only the president has any direct control. And our current president has decided to leave things as they are. Congressional control is limited to funding, and cutting off funding is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
    2. The VA has chronically been evidenced as an agency prone to manipulating numbers. The VA requires an outside and independent authority to ensure the information reported is correct and agency senior managers are disciplined for any data manipulation or failure to achieve reasonable objectives.
    3. It is the responsibility for VA senior managers to eliminate the enormous backlog of claims pending at Regional Offices and the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). They are entitled to reassign staff to claims duties, provide training that is complete and thorough, and request additional funding. Senior managers have no one to blame but themselves for the enormous volume of claims pending. They allowed the problem to grow, and are now faced with something that should have never occurred in the first place. In other words, until the claims backlog became so unmanageable, no Adjudication Officer, no Director, reported the problem for fear that would negatively influence their opportunities for award or advancement.
    Lastly, I felt somewhat sorry for myself needing to wait six years without a decision. But in reading the complaints from other similarly situated veterans, I now realize how others have denied the opportunity receive federal restitution for losses typically received during combat operations. Don’t give up. Short simple letters to the president and your federal senator and representative will turn the tide in our favor. And most of all, vote in this year’s presidential election

    1. Robert Steven Dawson    

      Better than writing letters that never get read or if they do they are trashed, I suggest using Social Media to let those who are not Vets but seem to want to go all out (think NFL) to show how much they care about us, that we are getting screwed by Washington. I have been sending the link to this blog to newspaper editors, Presidential Campaign Managers, TV News Stations and to friends and asking them to share this link on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Numbers count!

  89. John C Mortimer Jr    

    I am a Vietnam Vet (65&66), I was in the Martinez VA Hospital in a1988. I was detoxed sent to a residential treatment facility and turned out. I have been suffering with PTSD since I stepped of the plane in May of ’66. Finally in 2008 I got into the VA system. I filed for my rating on the PTSD and in about a year and a half I received 10%, which I appealed. A couple of years later I got a 20% bump to 30%, which I appealed, in Oct. 2012. That appeal is still pending. More than 3 yrs. I should have gotten treatment back in ’88. The VA has totally screwed me over.

  90. Steve Rhuman    

    Was rated 20% disability. Believe that is not sufficient as I feel guilty because I did not come home in a body bag. Upon returning home, I had to wear civies so i wouldn’t get spit on. Was called “baby killer”

  91. Anthony Dismuke    

    Thank you, each of my fellow veterans. It’s been too long for many us to receive recognition for the extremely frustrating process of filing and receiving proper acknowledgement for the challenges faced from our time in service. To share my experience with this process, I have been fighting the VA filing and appeal for 20 years. I don’t understand how my claims are denied for injuries I am clearly being treated for at the VA Hospital. I was denied several times only to receive 20% after going through a Veterans Group. I am fighting through the appeal process with my representative and a Senator to hopefully get full recognition of my appeal. My father experienced being denied for agent orange only for the VA to admit his symptoms are related to exposure 40 years later. But he has to go through the appeals process to receive his benefits.
    It sad in this day and age with our advanced technology how something like paperwork, amongst other common issues, so easily cripples the advancement of those who have willing served our country….and would do it again if called upon.

  92. Rick Sturgill    

    My comment is a little off key, but I feel the same as the other comments. My how the pendulum has swung. When I went in the Marines it was just at the end of Vietnam. I can remember bus drivers driving right by me (flipping me off) I can remember reading the signs (Dogs, cats and sailors stay off the lawn) and the name calling. I served 20 years and the two things I was told my entire career was that I would have health care and my GI Bill. Now I use TriCare and not VA but I have been told that I can’t be seen because they are taking care of active duty and don’t have the time for me. And I get pushed off to out in town medical offices. (they aren’t free).

    For me what takes the cake is that I have decided that I wanted to retrain, I want to become a faerie pilot to move airplanes from one state to another. I have been retired for 20 years and now I am told by the VA that I only had ten years after retiring to submit for education. I told the VA that I was never told that and response was (now i am stating verbatim) told tough, that I could attempt to make a appeal at Department of Defense. Well as of today I can say that my congressman who claims to be very pro veterans wants nothing to do with it, VA doesn’t want anything to do with it, Marine Corps doesn’t want anything to do with it, I was told that GI Bill to bad, but I could go claim disability (I certainly could but I have tried to manage on my own) and then I could qualify for disabled retraining education through the VA, isn’t that a hoot,,, I can’t get a medical certificate from the FAA to fly if I am disabled.

    As a last note I know of someone who I am associated with and he served for 4 years during that last conflicts. Got out made claim for PTSD, Was given disability, medication (not sure if still taking but suspect) education and now works as a gs civilian policeman on the military base, carries a weapon at all times on and off the base. In my mind i can’t figure it out. I feel that in all the media the politicians want the mass of america to believe that they care. They don’t that’s the dirty little secret.

  93. James McNeill    

    I have been 15 years trying to get service connected for my back and legs from jumping out of helicopters 5 to 8 feet in the air with over 100 pounds on my back. I served with The First Air Cavalry Division from March 1968 to March 1969 in Vietnam. The VA claims my problem is not from my military service. I can not get a doctor to give me a letter stating “it is as likely as not” caused from my military service. I have no idea why they won’t do this, even when they tell me this type of problem is consistent with vets that were airborne.

  94. Dr, Gerald Eugene Golding    

    I tried to get reimbursed for expenses at emergency room from a local hospital because VA Hospital was too far away. No response. Poor system.

  95. Edwin L Helvig    

    I initially filed my claim for disability in March of 2005. Granted 100% disability from Social Security for my service connected injuries October 2nd of 2003 yet March of this year I will be in my 12th year fighting for justice from the criminals in the Phoenix VA. The Phoenix VA will commit crimes to deny medical or compensation including fraud, forgery, lose veteran supplied documents several times claiming they never received them even with registered mail evidence, claim they filed the veteran request for a BVA hearing in June of 2010, 2012, 2014 and again in 2015 only to lie to US Senators McCain and Flake not to mention the previous Secretary of Veterans Affairs who instructed them to order physical and neurological exams for me in 2013. Phoenix Service Manager Center Manager responded to all that this had been accomplished! Never happened.
    Doctors falsify medical conditions, refuse to review medical records and violate policies, laws, and their oath as medical Practioner.
    Then the Phoenix DAV not only in residence with the VA, but in bed as well; Manager of the Phoenix DAV informed me in January of 2011; “your problem is with the VA and I am not going to get involved”.
    Nothing has changed nor will it until these criminals are held accountable for their crimes

  96. Eduardo Chavez    

    Recently visited my VA Rep to understand why my outstanding claim of 1 1/2 years has received no response. To my disappountment the Rep tells me that he cannot represent me or be the voice on my behalf because of the claim that remains under review. And when I hear from them, without further personal review, they will rule denied!

    So we have an opportunity to voice our dissatisfaction and completely understand there are Vets with more urgent needs, but even they are not being cared for with the dignity they deserve.

    FREEDOM of Speech – thanks for the opportunity to express a frustration along with my other brothers who took arms to defend our country

    Vietnam Vet

  97. Bruce Warner    

    Sometimes they should consider the things that veterans are treated for and automatically add them to the veteran’s disability status if routinely attributed to military service. For an example, tiniitus and other hearing losses are greatly elevated for military service, so when a veteran is issued hearing aids and has not worked in loud environments since leaving military service, their disability rating should automatically adjusted to reflect the loss of hearing. or other disorder.

  98. Gary L Jacobson    

    I filed a claim for an increase back in February of 2009. After a group of faulty exams, I had to go through the process of the “Notice of Disagreement” and the “Appeal”. I have requested a “Travel Board Hearing” and a “Video Conference”.As of today 01/22/2016, I have not heard anything from the VA except that they are working on my case. I have been through 2 surgeries for the same injury and dozens of exams. I have filed hundreds of forms and documents; some repeats because they claim they don’t have them. This disability has been ongoing since 1974. I think they are waiting for all the veterans to die of old age so they can delete them from the system. If you are an illegal immigrant or a lazy person who won’t work for a living, you can get free food, rent money and medical care immediately from the government. But if you are a disabled veteran who can’t earn enough money to live on, you have to fight tooth and nail to receive benefits that the VA tells you you are entitled to receive. And it takes forever. When we veterans were called upon to defend our country, we were right there! Now that it is time for the government to step up and supply us with the benefits to which we are entitled, the sweep us aside like we are criminals trying to steal.

  99. Linda Ranes    

    My story echoes all the stories above. My claim was denied,an NOD filed, appeal processed, remanded, hearing. These came with all the delays and frustrations. The reasons given for the denial are downright stupid.(heredity, I’m a woman, water was fine when I was there, and weak nexus letter). I was in the Marine Corp drinking contamated water at Camp Lejeune in 1967. My claim is for breast cancer. Because my mother(colon cancer), my brother (lung cancer), and my grandfather (pancreatic cancer) all died as a result of cancer, it is hereditary. A geneticist wouldn’t even do a DNA test because the cancers were all in different groups. One of the C&P doctors stated from what she read they were only interested in male breast cancer. At the time only 6% of all service members were woman, the ratio on one base was less than 1%. Why would they be more interested Male breast cancer? Maybe it was because it is rare and over 99% of the service members were men. She didn’t even examine me. The other Doctor I saw stated she presumed the water test in 1967 was unremarkable. For those who don’t know the water was contaminated frm1957-1987. If she read my file she would have known that. All claims for Camp Lejeune went to Kentucky and were decided by people who were supposed to be given all the known facts on the water contamination. For the appeal I have a 17 page nexus letter by an expert on the connection between chemicals and diseases. I had my hearing in the beginning of Nov. and the judge said I would have a decision in 30 days. The wait goes on. I won’t hold my breath foe approval because two of the reports were from non-VA doctors.

  100. Gale Dorman    

    The VA is an evolving organization, that strives to help veterans. The Doctors, and those who help the veterans really are trying to help us. They are all under the scrutiny of our laws and those who have the oversight of our health and benefits. Not only the VA but Congress, the Senate and our Presidents are all are responsible, as the laws that are put into place are unrealistic and are not to benefit the veteran. For every veteran that dies or does not get benefits, a pat on the back goes to the lawmaker who saved our nation a dollar. They may even end up with a pay raise or life-long retirement Most likely many of those lawmakers never served or had to work, a hard day in their lives.
    I have talked with doctors who firmly believed my illnesses was caused by my service connection. They could not document this as it was against policy or they said they could not look at my military history and make the connection even though they told me, yes I should not have these illnesses and it was more likely than not to be the result of my military service.
    I was also told by a former VA person that as an advisor to veterans, it was their duty to primarily disqualify individuals or look for disqualifying vectors for those who were looking to gain benefits. If veteran’s documents were misspelled, not explicitly stated as per regulation, requests were dismissed and the veteran would have to file an appeal or give up. It was one of the reasons he left the VA. He knew at heart that many of the Veterans deserved the benefits but if his numbers were not low in granting the veterans benefits, it would be caused to be dismissed from his job.
    It is the one percent that serve our nation, it is those same ones who get diseases that destroy theirs and their family lives. When a military member leaves the service and files come up missing, and cannot produce the documentation because at that time military members were not told of health risks such as Sleep apnea as an example. We’re not treated for the problem. In fact, if you got to get regular hours sleep on a steady basis you were the exception. If you pulled Officer of the day, NCOIC duties, fire watch etc. every other week and had to work the next day (yes even weekends and holidays) with little or no sleep and then had to go to the field for an exercise that resulted in many moves during the day and night then you can remember, how do you tell if it a sleep problem or a military problem? Who in the military heard of this in the 70’s and 80’s and even early 90’s. This is but one example. If you went to the doctor while in the military, it was not unusual to be told if you follow through, you will be discharged from the service with possibly only a few years from retirement, or worse yet not given the proper treatment while you were in service. Example in case, I was flown from the field during a field exercise by helicopter for not having a pulse that could not be found by the medic. I was told I had a very slow heart rate by the doctor at the hospital and I had suffered an angina attack. Just a minimal number of tests were done at that time at the hospital (angina attacks are a preliminary to possible other heart issues), I was released and told to go home and get some rest. I tell you this because the documentation was very scarce and the doctor did not explicitly determine the cause or try to find the root cause. When I was diagnosed as having heart disease, I was told that could not have been service related as nothing really happened to me while I was in the service. I had letters from my Commander at the time backup my story but that did not help.
    Another example, if you served in Korea, in an area that had agent Orange deployed (I was at Camp Garry Owens which the base was closed, because it was in the center of deployment of Agent Orange and was moved due to the high toxicity of the area from (Agent Orange)) and I was told by US government civilians (safety and environmental) who were in the area, that signs were posted of the contamination around the camp years after I left)). If you served one day longer than 1 day past the time limit that was doctrine 1971 by law, you could not be affected by Agent Orange (presumed) and get any benefits (by law), regardless that medically and technically, Agent Orange has a half-life of over 16 years and can become more concentrated over the years in the soil and water (I served in Korea 1975-1976, I just could not have been contaminated). But note that if you served in Viet Nam you could and would be covered if you have the same illnesses that occurred in Korea, that the VA has described and documented concerning Agent Orange, I do not know how this is possible, you can get diabetes in Viet Nam but not Korea or other illnesses.
    The fact, vital documents are not available to veterans and when released years later, sometimes 20-40 years later, they are not even considered as part of the initial veteran’s documentation when brought to the VA’s attention. Even when known to our government. If the veteran is lucky enough to resubmit, the process starts all over again for the veteran and another 2- 5 years of fighting begins. Surprising all previous submitted documentation seems not to matter.
    It was in the year 2000 that the VA released that Agent Orange was deployed in Korea, that was 24 years previous, 25 if you include when I arrived in Korea in 1995. Why did it take so long to get the information out?
    Another example in the last few years’ documents concerning Radar Systems used for decades by the Military of our country and other countries caused many types of cancers from Ionized and Non-Ionized radiation. Information that was available in the 60’s on the very systems I worked on in the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s. It was very disturbing to be told that absolutely no way did my time in the service cause my cancers, not the Agent Orange, not the Radars, not being in the Middle east during bad times.
    Other nations noted in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s hazards of very same systems but not our government, at least in the sense they did not let their military members know or give the Veterans insight of the hazards they had worked or were working around. Those other countries, Germany, Netherlands etc. took care of the family of those who died from cancers and took care of those who were still alive, yes the have documented proof of the causes. Many class action law suits were performed, but our government through many of them out as it would affect many different companies such as Raytheon and other large organizations. This had nothing to do with National Security but company profits and monies that would have to be paid for treatment and benefits to those who reported that they had cancer or other diseases caused by these systems. Also note that after much of these documents were released on the intranet new manuals used by sailors, soldiers and others noted the hazards, required strict guidelines for use, restrictions, safety guidelines, maintenance actions etc. were enacted many years after I retired.
    One of the solutions to these quagmires would be that a master database be setup, with any documents that come to light that affect military members would be cataloged and available to all veterans and to the VA members granting benefits and to doctors who have questions. Documents such as those released years later that are known by the VA could be archived. If a veteran brings a document to the VA’s attention and it directly affects the decision on a benefit the veteran receives, this document should automatically be part of any other service members who applies for benefits. That one document would prevent possibly thousands of other veterans having to find the document and the VA reinventing the wheel for each veteran. If a military member was in a specific area, MOS, or job that shows they were in, around or had symptoms of a particular illness it would flag that record, along with other data that would show % of people who worked with specific devices, or other information, the numbers who have similar problems. This dynamic database with other issues would take out the legal time limits to have an illness. Example if the medical community states you have a high probability that after 10 years of being exposed to radiation and if you have any symptoms prior to 40 years a rule would be setup, if 40 to 60 another set of rules for the years then your benefit will be decided on true Medical and historical facts and not a guess by a paper pusher who has no idea what a particular illness is or what can cause it. The current rules and regulations would automatically address levels of disability. When as an example a person with thyroid removed and has low heart rate would automatically be given 100% disability. There is no wait if everything is documented. No one has to review since the only the doctors and specific people can input the data. Instead of paying people to relook at documents and appeals. Minimize the number of appeals shorten the process and maximize the researchers and programmers that make the database. Good data results are cost saving in the long run. If there are unanswered questions the database should be able to give local questions that would then be asked to the Veteran or medical team for resolution not just tell them “NO”, you do not get any benefits. Medical databases should be integrated with this database along with all hospital records, military records to include locations PCS to TDY and other deployments. Also any environmental inspections done at government reservations, sites example Nike Hercules sites. Sites where Toxic substances were found. Many of these sites contain high toxic levels of substances that could cause diseases. Databases of Jobs that have high noise levels. These detailed systems would cut down on the time for a veteran to get their deserved benefits and since the items are a known factor would give less stress on all concerned. Teams would look at the database making note of spikes of data that seemed irregular. The government would save monies; it takes a lot of manpower to put a veteran through repeated physicals trying to disqualify the veteran. To ask a veteran are you feeling good and making a decision based on the fact the veteran states a positive response does not determine that the veteran is in constant pain or the level of pain for that day is not as strong as other days. The veteran is not being productive when has to continually worry about the documentation or how he presents himself, factors yes, disqualifying no.
    Often veterans are asked or are told by the VA repeatedly that they were not in a combat zone, but yet my DD214 says I was, the medals I have, my wife will a test I was at war two or three times. If the veteran has an illness it is better to treat the problem, then wait for it to fester and get worse or let the veteran die. In the long run it cost the government more than the dollar it saved
    I spent twenty years trying to get my benefits and was turned down repeatedly. The past couple of years I received a 100% rating. I appealed not the rating but the findings. I was only given back pay for little over a year. Yet the same things that plagued me that were turned down in previous years were now agreeable for my 100%. I didn’t just get cancer. My Thyroid was not just removed twice (due to a very rare cancer, to my knowledge never had it in my family as many of these other aliments); my heart just didn’t get diseased. In fact, neither did my sleep apnea or my diabetes or the severe arthritis in my neck and back and countless years of Kidney stones, I could go on. I was told I had only 10 years to live but with all my radiation treatments I may be luck and live longer. Yes, I have prostate cancer to top it off.
    As a twenty-year veteran and retiree, I find nothing more demeaning when asked how much do I make. What I make today or yesterday, if I won the lottery or I am one with not a dollar to my name I have the right to my personal sovereignty. If I have an arm missing, a leg torn from my body, I am blind or have cancer or a disease from my time in the service. I should never be asked how much do I make. I pay my taxes and paid my dues. Whether I am a General Officer or a private, we all deserve the same rights. We not only earned them, we should demand them. This country which I love enough to server which every service member has pledged to defend should never be asked that question when it comes to our disabilities. We deserve to have the proper health treatment, benefits and disability payments that makes our lives more useful, promising and long lasting. We are not to be looked down at and discarded, but given dignity and a path to make our future stronger in this nation. Too often we are cut short with the mediations we can receive, the treatments available, a lot of this is changing to the good. I challenge our government officials to rethink cutting benefits to veterans, they should strengthen those benefits not belittle them. Remember we are the 1% who served who pay the dearest in health, challenges to keep our country safe, some of us die for the cause, some die because we did not take the time to care for them properly even when (the Nation) we could. No service member should ever be left behind! No wife or spouse should be left without the resources to live as they should with honor, dignity and the ability to hold their heads up high. I may live one more year or twenty, I want to plan the more not the less.

  101. Charles    

    One of the problem with the VA system is, they rate you at 100 to 200 percent but only give you 50 to 60 percent. If they charge there rating system they would not have the back log. I received 80% Service Connected Disability in 1983. The VA gave me 40%. I’ve been trying to increase my Disability seen 1995. I have an appeal in sent Aug 2015. I received nothing from the VA indicating that they had received my appeal. I ask the DAV about the appeal they said the VA do not notify appeal until they start work it. She said that would be about three years or longer. I told her they could acknowledge that the appeal was received.

  102. Gale Dorman    

    Correction, I was in Korea, 1975-1976 sorry for the Typo error.

  103. Pamela    

    I was exposed to the contaminated water in Camp Lejeune during 1985-1987, USMC, active duty. The VA denied my initial disability application, saying my diagnosis is not service connected, even though my symptoms did not appear until a few years after exposure, and after my discharge. All my symptoms fall under neurobehavioral effects which I have had documented proof of for 25 years now. My appeal has been pending review since October 2014 with no action taken to date. I get the same “copy and paste” response when I ask for an update. Feel like giving up.

  104. Gary Adams    

    I have fought in 2 wars. It disturbs me that the typical government white lie is STILL endangering our vets. The are supposed to be cared for by individuals who want to help them. All I have experienced and seen is a lot of suit and ties with pretty college degrees that could care less if the vet even exist. To understand the needs the so called reps need to remove themselves from behind the desk, out of their cozy offices, away fro the piece of paper that elevated them into their kingdom and get their soft hands dirty.
    Well that will never occur so I wasted a few minutes of my time for someone to delete this email and so many more.
    Thanks for nothing and when you awake tomorrow remember the face in the mirror owes a vet for that rich life you lead.

  105. James D. Morton    

    One thing you guys who are 100% SC disabled want to consider before you consent to have anything done to correct and make you whole again is the VA is capable of changing your rating to a much lower number and your compensation along with it. If you can wait until you have at the 100% level for ten years or longer than they no longer can reduce your rate no matter what you have done. I have it in writing direct from the Washington DC office of Veterans Affairs that says my rating can no longer be reduced because I have over ten years at the 100% level.

    I have always thought that being 100% rated meant that everything and anything medically was covered or else why give a 100% rating. We should be taken care of no matter where we get out service done or by whom. After all that is what 100% means right??? If you call any VA facility and you get that recording we all can recite word for word that says “If this is a medical emergency hang up and dial 911” So why do we end up fighting to get our ER visits covered specially if we happen to have a 100% rating. We are supposed to be covered no matter what. I spent nearly 2 years fighting a ER bill and ended up paying it myself to stay out of small claims court and having my credit rating destroyed. The VA finally paid it 2 years later after review. Just how much time does it take to review a claim from a veteran who is rated 100% anyway???? They should see instantly that the claim was from a 100% covered veteran and approve the payment.

  106. William    

    I am having to wait for an appeal that has taken my monthly benefit down by more than $500 dollars because a QTC appointed Psycotherapist put erroneous information in my file that the VA used to make that reduction rather than using the Mental health Doctors at the VA I attend as my primary who totally goes against what was said by an outside doctor. Now I am told my appeal may take two years. Like many veterans my monthly benefits makes or use to make my mortgage payment. I am missing something here. We are not asking for a hand out but for what I was told we earned! I know it must be a tedious task to satisfy all of us but my God. If our government make a bi-partisan to help other countries when tragedies hit, what is the problem in solving this?

  107. David L Garretson    

    In 2012 I entered the Phoenix VA ER with chest pains, trouble breathing and trouble walking. After 3 days of observation the prognosis was “too much water in my system and a touch of pneumonia”. Then 7 months later I had to call 911 with the same symptoms. The EMT’s took their readings and informed me they had to transport me immediately to a hospital, so I informed them I was taken care of by the Phoenix VA, to which they said they could not take me there. I asked if it was because of the distance and the lead EMT said no, they had orders from their HQ not to take any patients to the Phoenix VA. As a result I was transported to the John C Lincoln Hospital where, upon arrival I was informed I needed to have a angiogram with the possibility of an angioplasty and a stint. But, when they investigated they found the arteries too heavily block and had to perform a 3 way heart by-pass. Then the battle started. I informed all the medical personnel to submit their bills to Medicare and to the Phoenix VA within 90 days.
    The first round of bills submitted to the VA were denied because “there was no advanced request/approval for the operation” (it was an emergency operation). The second round of bills were denied because “they were not submitted within 30 days of the operation”. I was in the hospital for 6 days and rehab for 21 days giving me 3 days during recovery to pull the bills together and submit same.
    It doesn’t take a genius to see the rule at the Phoenix VA was to deny the request no matter what. Finally I entered the appeal process and got a letter saying they had decided to pay all bills associated with this emergency which Medicare would not pay, but it took more than 12 months of letter writing and anger to a heart patient. Not too smart from a legal standpoint. But thank you VA for finally owning up to your responsibility on my behalf.

  108. Albert M. Anderer    

    RE: Veteran Appeals Experience:
    This should be required reading for everyone involved in the VBA process. I agree with all of the frustration expressed in the report, having just gone through a C&P exam. I would have expected the Dr. to have taken the process more seriously. “I didn’t find that in your medical records.” So, I showed him where it was. As I was explaining my situation, he was typing his report and acknowledged what I was saying by nodding and replying, “uh-huh.” I stopped talking mid-sentence and he continued to acknowledge what I was – saying, or not saying?
    I had appealed the initial findings on several counts, including one that was turned down citing an Editorial from a British medical magazine from around 20-25 years ago. I looked up the editorial, and sure enough, if you read the headline and first several paragraphs, the turn-down was justified; however, if you read the entire editorial, it acknowledged my claim of my service connected right leg caused wear and tear on the other, making it service connected as well.
    Who’s watching the store? Why do I have to find the turn-down in my records to see what was the rational for the refusal and followup to verify the refusal?
    At this stage, I don’t know the outcome, but hope my wife won’t be left to followup on my appeal. I’m 75 this year with heart trouble and diabetes to show for my exposure to Agent Orange in my 3 years in SE Asia. Which reminds me of another problem I had to overcome: How do you prove you were in Vietnam when your official records don’t show it? All my exposure was on TDY. All TDY records are destroyed after 6 years. How did I prove it? That’s another story.
    Make this required reading for everyone in the process.

  109. Richard K. LoRe    

    Agree with your objective and intent….However…..
    What ends up under the inefficient umbrella of the VA and any other bureaucracy for that matter, is a force adverse to movement much less change….in any form. And that’s for starters. You are talking about a mind set and an entrenched way of thinking that is almost impossible to penetrate much less reform. You join the service and you automatically capitulate to a subservient way of thinking and you adhere to a dominant Alpha structural existence that ensures “the system from falling into chaos.”
    To become a bureaucrat in such a system is to ensure job security by not questioning “procedures.” Innovation…good efficient ideas….you kidding…who wants change? Not i says the bureaucrat: “it took me neigh on five years to learn the first one hundred protocols …i only have another fore-score and seven years to learn the rest…don’t bother me…I’m working.”
    While I believe your efforts are honorable and worthwhile the reality is that in order for you to make even a small dent in the process you will have to acknowledge that at minimum, you will be at this process for decades–cultures take a wee bit time to change. And are you really ready to do that or are you just blowing smoke waiting for a research check and a future professorship. …? Sound good and reads well but do you folks have the dedication and stamina? ”
    Pissed… i am, i am and i don’t need Yoda to interpret my emotions to you. A brief story. I went to my local VA emergency room and waited almost seven hours before being seen. A seven hour wait justified, i believe, my being fed up and a little pissed and leaving the place in order to get private care ( Had a spider bite, my hand blew up like a balloon and a dark red line inched its way upward to tickle my heart). It took approximately one hour from signing in to signing out from that…god forbid my saying this…an effective and efficient public hospital. What really tickled my heart was that i dared to ask the VA to help pay for the bill. “But you left” was the response…”no shit” I said. I was dismissed and denigrated in the emergency room because ..I obviously could not comprehend that a fellow vet rushed in on a gurney had priority.” What an unfeeling, uncompassionate vet you are…and ignorant too.
    And while I wholeheartedly appreciate your efforts and somewhere in the sunken recesses of my mind believe you will awaken an awareness and perhaps help streamline an archaic system, in the end this whole effort will be for naught.
    I am not one to blindly embrace the idea of private enterprise as a “government agent ” i am nearing the believe that if change is to occur before 2050 and my grandson has whiskers, you folks should seriously consider hiring and/or turning over the whole VA system to United Parcel or Federal Express…if they could move gazillions of packages a day, i am sure they can process our claims in a timely and courteous manner.

  110. Nancy Benjamin    

    My husband gave up on his appeal in 2003 because of yet another negative decision. Since then his health has gone down and down and added PTSD, Diabetes 2, Parkinson’s and the list goes on and on. He initiated another claim for his diabetes 2 and Parkinson’s disease and PTSD and again in 2014 they denied anything and did not address his Parkinson’s we again submitted an appeal just to keep waiting. No recourse on finding out what is happening with the appeal and no contact from VA! He was in the Air Force for 9 years and deserves so much better! We submitted an affidavit from another soldier who helped exfoliate the bomb dump at Utapao AFB Thailand! They were part of the first PCS troops there and you can’t stack bombs in the foliage and be safe! What’s the holdup, they are just wanting him to die and be rid of him, I really detest these individuals who are doing this to my husband of 49 years! I’m his care giver now! VA please help!

  111. Glen Avery    

    I have been with my claim for 20 years, longer but it was closed a couple of times. In September of 2014 the BVA sent it back to the RO for future development with and order to expedite. It is still at the RO and they have had everything they needed to make a decision since July of 20015. I just hope I don`t have to file another notce of disagreement.

  112. andrew m polovich    

    I live in southern Illinois. The DAV and VFW Service Offficers are great. My initial claim to raise my rating was completed in just under 11 months. I was seen by the Doctor who performed the examine and was very understanding and took his time. I was provided with a new brace for my left leg to ease my pain. my rating was increased by 10% two years later I again filed for a rating increase. I was scheduled for my examine within 6 weeks. This time the Doctor was very attentive and took over an hour with me. He also asked about my Left knee. this time my rating was increased my 20% in just under 7 months.

  113. Daniel Herald    

    I was rated 100% disabled for cancers related to agent orange. But now some clerk at the Va has decided i am only 40% now because my cancer is in remission but i still have problems related to the treatment. Im appealing by myself because vso just looked at me and said yup thats the way it is.

  114. Alfred Drummond    

    Veterans assistance claim act of 2000

    They have a duty to assist and when I found my claim to be in error , I contacted the Under Secretary office when Allison Hickey was in term …….now anyone knows how to contact their office , no phone number listed or email ….they know vets are being screwed

  115. Richard Roush    

    Today is day 1,137 waiting for the first response from VA on a appeal I filed in 2012 for PTSD. I have a lawyer, I have given all the requested information and have done all the VA has asked. I dont want to end up waiting 30 years for VA to get its business together.

  116. william david buttitta    

    I got married 2 years ago filed 4 dependency like I said 2 years still no answer. very frustrating. been to the regional office,twice. system sucks

  117. stefan w. turchyn    

    I’ve read through numerous posts and it is clear to me that there is an obvious trend/pattern as to how the VA handles Appeals & Remands. With today’s technology they (VA) can easily track the number and length of claims in the appeal pipeline. What the VA has simply done is clean up the backlog of existing claims by issuing faulty decisions because they are on production or a quota system and the claim will just fall into the black hole known as the “appeals process”. Since Appeals & Remands are not tracked in the same way, Veterans will wait Years to have their claims decided, It’s a disgrace. This issue will never change unless we change! Get active, get involved and spread the word! Start by contacting your local American Legion, VFW or member of Congress! Action dictates change!

  118. Denise McLean    

    My experience with the VA is they don’t give a flying….. about anything. I am on my second fight with them. First they tell me that my doctor is not in the system and is a fake, after I submitted the necessary documents they say I have to wait five years for them to make a decision, right now I am at zero percent. The government cares about no one.

  119. JOYCE A KELSO    





  120. Karl Hoffman    

    Wow, reading these posts breaks my heart. I’m a former US Marine. I applied on June 6, 2015 thru e benefits. I received 80% dis on Jan 6th 2016 with 100% un employability , so I get 100% dis pay. Also received over $35,000.00 retro. That was direct deposited on the 11th.

    I then filed for SSDI on Jan 8, 2016. I received a letter from SSDI yesterday Jan 22nd 2016 stating that they need a copy of my VA dis/un employability letter and my SSDI will be approved. I’m mailing that certified today.

    I did all of this on my own, online, showed up for all appointments and documented everything. I did nothing special. I’m not an attorney or paper work wiz.

    I just did the right things, followed instructions and had/have faith in the system. The VA is a good system, follow instructions and be honest with them and yourself. If you haven’t earned it, don’t apply for it. It slows all the rest of us down and that’s probably why a lot of you are waiting so long. They know if you have earned it. If it’s not in your records, doubt you will get anything and you will wait for years. I don’t blame the VA for that one bit. Just a thought.

    Semper FI and thank you VA for being there for all of us.

    Good luck to you all

  121. Donald S. Green    

    First,I would like to say I am grateful for the medical attention I have received. I get the same level (and many times better) services and treatments than I did with private insurance. The medical process is professionally run.
    The appeals process seems to be another matter. If a case is appealed it should go before a local panel of 3-4 people and their recommendations accepted by VA. There is a tendency towards non-personal decisions and a disconnect between medical and mental health in put and the decision makers. It is very hard for someone reading a written report in an office far removed from the veteran. This lack of “putting a face” on the case impedes a balanced decision.
    If there is a spouse or dependent children there should be a way to submit personal written accounts of what they are going through. Many, like my wife, has many times suffered from my problems more than I do.

  122. Charles Dunning    

    The Veterans Appeals court and system have gone to politics, lost touch, lost their way and true purpose. Stomach problems from eating on the move for 20 plus years or 2. Shoulder problems for doing push-ups everyday for years. Back problems for wearing ruck sacks, gear, body armor, not for days, but years. Just small issues at first. The VA, White house, Pentagon and VA claims are ONLY looking at the price tag. I served for 29 years, along with what I have read above tells me the US is slowing abandoning us. Thats just how I feel, my body aches from 29 years of dedication to duty.

    SFC Charles Dunning

  123. Reynaldo Sandico    

    US military veterans in the Philippines with 100% total and complete disabilities are only covered for their service connected disabilities whereas veterans in the US are fully covered to be treated of all medical problems to include non-service connected. According to the VA it is in the law. I cannot imagine lawmakers making laws that is discriminatory in nature. A veteran regardless on where he retires and a VA medical clinic is available should be given equal treatment. In the Philippines there are several veterans who are now too old to travel in the US for medical treatment. I am aware of a case of a retired US Army E4 who cannot afford treatment in a regular hospital so his wife brought him to the Philippine General Hospital (a public hospital) for treatment and admission in the charity ward. This veteran eventually died. I felt sorry for this fellow veteran who after talking to the widow served the US military honorably. Is there a way for the top management of the US Veterans Administration to look into this situation and make appropriate corrective actions? There are a few thousands US veterans retired in the Philippines and your immediate attention would be greatly appreciated.

  124. Ellison Hunt    

    I just made a long comment and had it deleated because I did not see the box next to the captcha.

    I told you the VA would sabotage my coments.

    I did not make a copy but I bet the copy I made is available to the VA.

  125. Reginald Thomas    

    How do one fix the veteran’s C&P system when its budget includes VA employees’ benefits who should not be VA employees. The VA does not and should not employ doctors who provide medical care and treatment to veterans. Private doctors (primary and specialist) would reduce expenses and provide better services. The lack of technicians to process claims is the problem and that’s the billet the VA should employ. Oh, without a thumb on the doctors the fox would lose control!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  126. Richard Orefice    

    A Veterans Open Letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the people of The United States of America
    Sir, Madam,
    I am currently waiting for the opportunity to speak to a BVA Judge so I can appeal the VA’s denial of my request for 100% disability for the affects PTSD has had on my life. My attorney tells me that the wait to get in front of a BVA Judge is an additional 3 years. I feel that this entire situation with the VA has been nothing but mistakes and misunderstandings from the start, many of them caused by me.
    I served a year in Viet-Nam as a Marine Infantryman (MOS 0311). I served with E Company 2/3 Marines up along the then South Vietnamese border with the DMZ and Laos. I spent some time in the hospital for immersion foot. When the 3rd. Marine Division pulled out in the fall of 1969 I was reassigned to G Company 2/7 Marines of the 1st. Marine Division about 40 miles SW of Danang. I received a gunshot wound through my right flank during an ambush in the Que Son valley. I returned to my unit. I was a Squad Leader, they needed me. I saw and did many horrific things. During my final weeks of a one year tour a Navy Corpsman at Fire Base Ross told me I was suffering from extreme aggressiveness and anxiety.
    When I was honorably discharged in 1970 something was bothering me but I just thought it was a little battle fatigue, I was in combat often. I was diagnosed with severe aggression and anxiety while at Fire Base Ross in the Que Son valley. It took both my mother and a friend’s father, a WWII Marine Vet to get me to report my gunshot wound to the VA in Newark, NJ where they awarded me a 10% disability rating. I just wanted to put my experience in Viet-Nam behind me and get on with my life. Over the following three years I was fired or quit from two short term jobs, I sold the car that I loved, drank, did drugs, broke up with the girl I was dating for 4 years. I got very anxious when we tried to hang out in the reservations and farms I loved as much while a teenager. After a DUI arrest I moved to Florida around 1974. I now understand that I was getting rid of everything and everyone that I was close to. I was also capable of doing some very crazy and risky things. But, back then I thought I could get over it. I’m a Marine.
    Once in Florida I continued to do many drugs and alcohol and get into fights. I got another DUI. I realized there was something wrong in my head. I thought about my experiences in Viet-Nam almost continuously, like a movie loop running in the background of my mind. I was remembering and analyzing every moment of that year. Unexpected sounds and motions startle me with a burning sensation of rage in my chest. I would spend nights peering into the bushes outside the bedroom window. I occasionally hallucinate the color green, like the deep, triple canopy jungles in Viet-Nam. I thought I would get over it eventually. I didn’t care about anything or anyone, not even myself. It seemed like most of America hated us Viet-Nam Vets because they felt we were all killers in an unjust war in Viet-Nam. Society was much different during the 1960’s and 1970’s. In my opinion the lack of respect and support, along with watching American citizen’s wave NVA flags contributed to my PTSD. The fall of Saigon bothers me still. I feel sorrow for all the friends I lost, all the friends who sustained wounds and all the people I killed for nothing. I feel sorrow for all the people who loved them. I worked at various jobs that didn’t pay well. I worked for and was fired or quit from many boat dealerships until my forced retirement during the 2007 recession.
    It wasn’t until 2001 while I quit smoking pot, quit taking barbiturates to sleep and drink less alcohol when I toughed it up and went to the VA clinic in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I occasionally drove by the place and it always gave me great anxiety. I signed up, got a physical, a diagnosis of PTSD and a prescription for a daily dose of 0.50 mg. of alprazolam so I could go to sleep at night, prior to that I was mostly passing out from self-medication. Of course I knew of PTSD since it became a psychological condition in 1980. I could be the poster boy. I have every symptom except ideation of suicide. But I am also a Marine which meant don’t whine, don’t complain, tough it out. Maybe I was in denial too. At my VA appointments I played down all my experience with PTSD so I could avoid going there. Talking about my experiences makes me remember them after years of trying to suppress them. A few days before appointments I start to tremble inside, my throat constricts, my blood pressure goes through the roof and I feel miserable. I still hate going to the VA. My first experience with a mental health provider was at the Miami VA hospital when I was told that I have severe and chronic PTSD and that I was going through an episode while she was denying me any medication unless I promised to quit drinking the 2-4 beers a day that I used as a method to control my alcoholism. Thankfully that denial was corrected my mental health provider at the Oakland Park clinic. It wasn’t until 2008 when I was about to become homeless that I became desperate enough to apply for PTSD compensation in spite of my fear of being dragged into the VA more often to prove it to their satisfaction. I received an additional 50% for PTSD and felt it was a slap in the face after a mostly wasted life because of PTSD. The psychiatrists at the VA just tried using different drugs on me. They should know that some vets need to have their true feelings pulled out of them. It seems like they don’t really care, so when we meet to extend my prescriptions it only causes rage to go along with the anxiety I always feel. One psychiatrist asked me if I was exposed to Agent Orange. My answer was that I didn’t know, I don’t remember being in a defoliated area. The areas I was in made it hard to tell the difference between defoliation and a recent bombing or napalm. But of course I was exposed to Agent Orange as well as most Infantry Riflemen who got all our drinking water from streams and rivers. We spent up to four weeks at a time in the bush. They need to learn to ask the right questions in the correct way. With the web I learned that every area I was in was defoliated at one time or another. I am also involved in the ATSDR registry to determine the effects of drinking toxic water while I was stationed at USMC Base Camp Lejeune.
    So now I wait. I had to hire an attorney simply because it’s not easy for a Marine to complain, and contracted to give them 20% of the of the retroactive compensation money I have so justly deserved since 1970. But now this situation has gone beyond the money. Now it’s about principles and justice. I am at war with the VA, and Marines are good at that. I go to the VA more now to complain about the tinnitus that’s been screaming in my ears since 1970. I complain about the neuropathy in my legs that radiates from the area of my gunshot scar. And I still complain about my inability to get a good night’s sleep without at least some alcohol, to care about anything, to be around people. I may even attempt to attend a group session and risk getting into a fight with one of the many phonies that go to them to maintain their free ride at the expense of the seriously wounded and the crazy people like me. So, now I wait. I have been waiting since I first filed for 100% disability in 2010.The waiting just adds to my furious determination because I suspect that the VA is waiting also – for this old Marine to die and go away. That is not going to happen. I give my word as a Marine that I will keep fighting and forwarding this document to every media outlet, every American politician, every VA bureaucrat, and to any and all persons who can begin to end this injustice to both myself and the many true combat Veterans, both men and women, who have left a part of their selves, and brought home a piece of the battlefield while fighting on foreign soil for this Country we will forever love.
    Update: 23 January 2016: I decided that the disability law firms are clogging the system with garbage. I discharged mine and now work with Veterans representative. During a recent conversation he told me that I still don’t have a scheduled BVA hearing. This entire process is exacting a toll on me, but I don’t care. The war goes on.

  127. James Townsend Hill    

    I have an appeal working. I have no idea where it is in the process. The simple solution is to set up a PC in the local CBOC with Skype so that the veteran can explain his or her appeal to a judge. The judge has 30 days to respond….end of process.

  128. Michael L Shill Sr    

    It seems that the DAV (all VSO’s) work with you and actually do the job they are tasked and trained, as long as they get the money out of your pocket for donations.

    As far as appeals, the Veteran Affairs Regional Office’s know that if they do not complete VA exams, notification of a decision to Veterans, issue a Statement of the Case, not arranging a hearing with the Veteran that was requested, not asking a medical doctor for an opinion on a disability, and clerical errors the BVA will remand the claim back to the VARO, hence, the VARO now has been told by the BVA to complete remand orders, as such the burden has been taken off the VARO, were as the VARO can now take any amount of time to complete a claim. Plus, if a Veteran has requested intervention/assistance from a member of congress, the VARO’s retaliate by making the Veteran wait 1, 2, 3, or even 4 times the claim is remanded back from the BVA. (Reference 2014 & 2015 appeals that have gone in front of a BVA judge) Sometimes the time between remands can be as long as 1 to 2 years, so at 4 remands, that’s 8 years due to the fact the VARO’s prefer not follow the remand orders from the BVA.


  129. George P. Partin    

    While in Vietnam, I injured my lower back moving boxes of ammo. I know the exact date because I was keeping a diary at that time. I visited the doctor twice, but was told it was a strain. Eventually, about ten years later, I had to have back surgery. I attempted to get reimbursed for the cost of the surgery from the VA, but was denied. I appealed. The resulting “finding” was that no matter what I said or believed happened while I was in Vietnam, it didn’t happen. I’ve not had anything to do with the VA since then.

  130. Walter Manners    

    Many of the VA leadership and the people that work at the VA have no interest in providing care for the veterans. They are only concern about their jobs. I filed a claim with the VA several times complaining of shortness of breath, nose bleeding, itching on scalp and other areas on my body that I experienced from the first Gulf War. The VA denied my claim for years and about eight years after I filed the claim the VA wrote and acknowledged that chemical nerve agents were in my unit areas of operations that we were ordered to clear and destroy but they said the concentration were low and they doubt the chemical nerve agents would have caused any of those issues. I am still experiencing those issues today.

  131. Gerald Krueger    

    I am A Vietnam vet. I put in a claim in 1970 for my back and for PTSD. I was told the records were lost . I have my original claim card with the original claim number on it. It is the same claim number the VA uses today to identify me. this in itself is questionable. How can there be no record of my claim yet a claim number exists? I, like so many other nam vets ,was drafted. my childhood basketball and baseball games were replaced with a rifle and hand grenades. I was sent to a place where I was taught to KILL, KILL, KILL or be killed. Everyday someone was killed, shot, blown up disappeared. anyone who was in the nam war was also sprayed with agent orange. which we still don’t know all the effects that has had on all nam vets. That in itself should give me 100% permanent disability. when I returned I was given a shower, a hair cut and a good bye. I was spit on. I was called a baby killer. I was put in situations I would not wish on my worst enemy. And that was at the hands of the country I believed I was fighting for. that’s another good reason nam vets deserve 100% permanent disability. Yes, I returned home but so much of me died over there that every day I struggle just to exist. I choose the word exist because I am not living, I barely leave my house I fought for the freedom of my country. But I AM NOT FREE, I am trapped inside the VA appeals system. I currently have several appeals in the VA system. I have been in the appeals system for so long I don’t believe anyone even looks at my stuff any more. I wrote a letter to the President of the United States but even he couldn’t help, he passed it to someone who passed it to someone who passed it to the people at the VA appeals department and it started all over again. The stress this is causing me ,I believe will kill me before I ever get my 100% permanent disability. But that is the VA motto, Deny, Deny, Deny until they all Die. Disgraceful!!! So yes I do believe the VA appeals system is broken, unfair and in need of simplicity. This letter was typed by my wife due to the fact I would not be able to put my thoughts into word on paper.

  132. Kenneth Tennant    

    IOWA VARO = overly adversarial & ABUSIVE as is the BVA. Decades of Appeals, Delays, Deception & Denials, while they take six figure salaries. Read: Top Heavy Salaries & Dead Weight Admins. Google: Kenneth Tennant (Domestic Terrorism: USA vs Vets & 1st Amendment), You Tube: AMERICAN VETERAN: Discarded & Forgotten, Gary Null. VACCINES CAUSED GWS. DHS ARRESTED me on a Trumped up charge meant to intimidate me into silence & smear my name. – Dr. Kenneth Tennant C 30 269 323

  133. Kenneth Tennant    

    I asked for a FAIR & IMPARTIAL Decision Review Officer to give the most liberal application of the law allowable. Instead, another denial by a thief employed by the VA & BVA (VLJ’s are Incompetent & or Dishonest, more oft than not) I have been fighting since BUSH Jr. 8 years / 8 years of Clinton,/ 8 years of Obama / same ol incompetence, dishonesty and lack of oversight and lack of accountability. You Tube: AMERICAN VETERAN and Google: Kenneth Tennant ARRESTED for blowing whistle on Militarized bio-chem Weapons aka VACCINES

  134. Russell Mahan    

    Its outrageous. Really. My story is not different than most that have posted. I have been at this for 17 years. After my last re-eval, my rating when added up was well over a 100%. But I noticed they reduced some of my other previous ratings even though its still overy 100%. I don’t get it. I spent years working on my packages, hundreds of hours over the years. On this most recent re-eval, I had been unemployed for over a year, had lost my house, car, motocycle and lost most everything my wife and I had built over 30 years of marriage. I have now been in an appeal over two years with no news or updates. DAV has told me it’s not been long enough.

  135. Onagh Hopke    

    I finally have my VA ID, and my medical records which have been “lost” since 1991, amazingly appeared in 2013. My Civilian Records have been requested, and on Tuesday we start the Appeals Process. After 26 years, it took the Health Care Boards of Directors pressuring Congress People to shut me the hell up, and cover me. Bottom line is that the Air Force caused the illness. Plan and simple. Health Insurance refuses to cover me after I sued them for trying to kill me in 1999 and 2000.
    I am so happy Mr President has gone after the Prescription Drug Formulary and is finally breaking that Cartel. I will be more than happy to provide as much damning evidence he needs to nail them to a cross. Same for the Health Care CEOs and Boards. Anything you need to nail them to the side of the castle walls I am happy to provide. I already beat them once, now that the ACA is Law of the Land, I am your Girl to end the reign of Medicine For Profit.
    I am happy to share my experience with the VA Innovation Team as I navigate this next phase of the Appeals Process. I am tracking down point of failure in my process beginning in 1991 and the Medical Decisions made by Civilian Physicians based on Memory not fact. If my outspoken rebellious presence on the Internet gets one Veteran of any age a quicker appointment, free meds, a Real Diagnosis, Real Treatment, a free ride to the Clinic, or a Hot Meal in their Home, then I win.

  136. Karlehoffman    

    Wow, reading these posts breaks my heart. I’m a former US Marine. I applied on June 6, 2015 thru e benefits. I received 80% dis on Jan 6th 2016 with 100% un employability , so I get 100% dis pay. Also received over $35,000.00 retro. That was direct deposited on the 11th.

    I then filed for SSDI on Jan 8, 2016. I received a letter from SSDI yesterday Jan 22nd 2016 stating that they need a copy of my VA dis/un employability letter and my SSDI will be approved. I’m mailing that certified today.

    I did all of this on my own, online, showed up for all appointments and documented everything. I did nothing special. I’m not an attorney or paper work wiz.

    I just did the right things, followed instructions and had/have faith in the system. The VA is a good system, follow instructions and be honest with them and yourself. If you haven’t earned it, don’t apply for it. It slows all the rest of us down and that’s probably why a lot of you are waiting so long. They know if you have earned it. If it’s not in your records, doubt you will get anything and you will wait for years. I don’t blame the VA for that one bit. Just a thought.

    Semiper FI and thank you VA for being there for all of us.

    Good luck to you all

  137. LTC A. STEVE TAYLOR (RET)    

    Not a SINGLE positive comment on this site…that says everything.

    The head of the VA should be a former member of the JCS (still on active duty) and the VA should remain within the DOD where the needs of the veteran are understood. Staffing should be a mix of civilian and military members with the ability to recall medically trained veterans after a conflict where there are wounded. Effective civilian organizations such as Wounded Warriors, DA, and the American Legion should act legally as inside watchdogs and also monitor Veterans who are believed to be defrauding the system. P AY THE VETERAN FIRST and then follow up with investigations on those most susceptible for fraud. I don’t think a quadrapedic veteran with head injuries needs to be re-investigated. Now someone with a 40% disability rating for non-specific lower back injuries should be checked on periodically and if guilty of fraud be discharged under “other than honorable” conditions and should lose ALL military pay and benefits. The word would get around.

  138. John Taylor    

    I just entered into the disability process in August of last year, 2015. So far nothing but a nightmare to add to the ones I already had, even after over 2 years in Vietnam. What have I done for the past 45 years you ask??? Stayed away from the VA for one thing. I knew after I got out that the VA was nothing but a scam and headache. It’s the government’s way of saying they are taking care of us.
    I find it appalling that the U.S. can take a perfectly normal person, send them thru boot camp to teach how to take another human being’s life, send us to a combat zone putting our own lives at risk and then returning us to a government that, quite literally, throws us to the wolves. And to make it worse, the VA treats us like a bunch of homeless rejects that are a liability to the United States government. Those in power in Washington seem to forget who fights the battles so they can be in the position they are in and in a ‘Free’ country.
    I have always been told, “Don’t come to me with a problem unless you also come with a solution.”
    So here is one of my solutions: If a person is Honorably Discharged from the Armed Services we should be compensated for our service. Especially service in a combat zone. i.e. regular compensation for non-combat personnel and upgraded compensation for combat people. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to pay a combat person $1,500 per month for life. Any disability pay would be added on top of that.
    Results: 1. This would be a real “Thank You” for our service.
    2. This would also take care of those veterans who suffer from combat related issues.
    3. It especially would take care our many, many homeless veterans.
    4. I’m sure making this an automatic process would decrease the need for all the VA employees that sit on their hands, making decisions that affect the lives of so many Veterans.
    5. I am not a CPA or analyst, but I can’t help but think it would also be less expensive to the Government. They do spend a lot of excess money on the department that could be eliminated.
    As veterans we need to unite and vote those into power that truly understand what they do to the people who serve in the Armed forces. We need to unite and make a stand instead of just sitting around bitching and moaning about it.
    Anyone who agrees with this or have any additional comments, please, post your suggestions and solutions. Do not gripe and moan unless you are willing to do something about it.

  139. Paul Conley    

    I truly believe that VA employees are paid a bonus on the money they save by refusing benefits .
    I have dealt with this system since 1970, and have seen little if any improvement over all.
    I had to fight tooth and nail for years to get my IU rating despite the fact that I have a purple heart and combat action ribbon, my military medical records included my injuries from a rocket blast, my hospitalization ,etc. Had to write a “Stressor letter” when I first applied for a PTSD rating, then had at least a half dozen “Interviews” with various therapists,psychartrists, social workers, you name it. Despite the overwhelming evidence and my continued chronic pain from my injuries there always seemed to be some buearacrat that was blocking me.
    I too have a cynical view of the VA and though I don’t like to think in these terms, think they just want us to either drink or drug ourselves to death,commit suicide,or just give up even bothering.
    Meantime the government finds plenty of resources to help illegal aliens and “refugees”
    It is a national disgrace in my honest opinion.

  140. Richard A. Ousey    

    I have only been in the fight with them for two years, but it seems they do all they can to let you die so they don’t have to provide.

  141. david w johnson    

    I am 62 years old and can no longer work, due to back and feet problems.. I fell off of a 30 foot pole in Fort Gordon Georgia during training in 1970.I filed claims in 2009. they were turned down because they could not find any of my records. They said I should go apply for Social security disability. I told them I had records on microfiche but the records from basic training and AIT were not on the microfiche. Microfiche did not start until later. They ask for my copy so I sent it to them.. and ask them to return the records when finished.. They turned me down because they could not find any records where I fell.. Even though I told them the records were not on the fiche. nor did they bother to send the records back.. six months ago I was told I should file a fully developed claim. step 1 was to request records. So I requested records after the 90 days I called to see where the records were, they said it may take another 90 days to find the records. they sent me a letter telling me the records were in ST .Petersburg fl, where I filed the last claim. I told them on the first request the specific records I needed, the ones from FT. Gordon, not the ones on Fiche. No matter what information you provide to them, they read into it whatever they need to avoid getting any further into the claim. My Father has the same problems with his agent orange claim. and he had maps with dates and times that the area was hit. Three conflict tours he was hit so much it finally killed him. 1980 my wife died of exposure to krypto equipment in Alabama. They required additional information on Top Secret equipment. Claim denied… If I were a minority I could automatically get 10% just for wearing jump boots. 2 x military guys from down the street just applied and was awarded. They tried to help me with the same go.. but as a lineman, infantry and drill instructor nothing. I guess I was not on my feet enough. This process will not change until you start replacing civilian personnel with military veterans. and rule changes of course. I am almost homeless now.. no need to start another useless process.. Hopefully I can find an attorney that won’t take more than half.. best wishes. Its great to know the wars we fought gave our government and people of the UNITED STATES, the freedom to say NO TO OUR LIVES… Your Welcome!!

  142. HWB    

    In 1970 while stationed abort the USS Independence I went to sick bay after falling down a ladder. I requested the health records from the Navy, while the visit was on file the complete report of the injury left a lot to be desired. The records were incomplete. I’m still trying to get the Navy to make correct and review my claim.

  143. Quancidine Hinson-Gribble    

    My name is Quancidine Hinson-Gribble and my husband passed on November 18, 2011. I applied for my Survivors Benefits shortly after that and received several VA file#’s. After bringing this problem to President Barack Obama and the egregious tactics at the VA, it was just a matter of time before I found out that my Survivors Benefits had already been re-routed even though I was receiving numerous letters stating that the VA was still working on my claim. I am receiving those letters still to this day, January 24, 2016. The persons involved in the re-routing of my Survivors Benefits and the theft of my government issued ID Cards are employees on Fort Bragg, NC, Amy J. Melendez and Joanie L. Hammons who work at the Survivors Outreach Services Center on Fort Bragg, NC is involved in the “CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE” that is going on throughout these military bases with the help of Colonel Jeffrey M. Sanborn, Garrison Command at Fort Bragg, NC who is now retired. With the help of IT and the ID Card Facility on Fort Bragg, NC, the Supervisor Ethel Knock is working with DA Project Officer, John W. Ellerbe. These people are the reason why in my case I have not received my Survivors Benefits. By taking me out of DEERS, and TRICARE for my other benefits because of retaliation for me contacting President Barack Obama, the FBI and other Federal Agencies.The reason why these folks will be going to Federal Prison is the very same Survivors Benefits that I received denial letters for the benefits have been paid out and taxes filed on them to boot. So, why we are wondering about our money and why we haven’t received it this is the reason why. I received my United States Office of Personnel Management letter on November 7, 2015 nothing is being done about us getting our money and benefits. Posted on January 24, 2016. Quancidine Hinson-Gribble

  144. Judy Panichi    

    My husband has been trying to get medical benefits for years because he has Multiple Sclerosis and we can’t afford his medicine. He has been rejected more than once. He has some hearing problems, chronic bronchitis, anxiety and HBP all things that he suffered from while serving in the Army, however because we can’t prove these started in the military we keep on getting turned down. However we are aware that if any of those things showed up in a physical he wouldn’t have been drafted. The VA promised soldiers they would always be there for them if they ever needed medical benefits but through the years they changed the game and gave no thought to the Veterans who served. It’s a shame that the soldiers that are serving today can extend their time in the military so they can get free benefits for their children’s education but the ones that served can’t have medical benefits for themselves unless they live in poverty. My husband is getting older and certainly doesn’t have the physical problems that many Veteran’s have that served in a war zone but he had no input in where the military sent him to serve (Alaska) however he has been permanently since 1996 and has been on Medicare since. Unfortunately Medicare does not cover hearing aids and the co payment for his MS medicine makes it too costly for us.

  145. Alarik Wood    

    I fully agree with most veterans on this comment page. One of the frustrations we all face, is that the VBA, need’s to publish a “How to Guide”, as to how to navigate the V.A. medical and claim process. This would clear up any confusion, for veterans and their families, caregivers, providers, Vso’s, etc., as to how to navigate the medical system, and how to file a claim properly, as most of us will need to file claims years after we are honorably discharged from active duty. In my experience with the V.A. medical system, I do not believe it is the providers responsibility ( nor are they educated in this) to tell a veteran what their ” service connections” are. This is the responsibility of the veteran, families, caregivers, etc., In the interest of disabled veterans who are capable of advocating for themselves ( because of physical and or mental disabilities ) , then an advocate should be provided for them. Advocates in today’s ( 2016 ) modern time, are being trained all over the country, by National Alliance for Mental Illness ( N.A.M.I. – of which this disabled veteran is a member of, and a California certified mentor, for Peer to Peer, and soon – Connections), ten’s of thousand’s of mental health, health, and other advocacy agencies, as I write this letter. These generous individual’s are termed : Peer to Peer Mentors, Peer Coaches, Advocates, etc. Some work for free. Others work for an agency, but will provide free services to veterans and other citizens in need of qualified help ( which all disabled veterans qualify for) .

    I believe that if a veteran does not concur with a providers diagnosis ( or any other outside agency, Dr., etc. and the veteran has a service medical record, or any other record, that can prove a service connection) , that a veteran should seek out advice from a patient advocate, Vso, Dav, etc., before jumping to conclusions, that the provider is “attacking” ” mis representing” etc., the veteran – I have been guilty of this myself, until I understood the system a lot better myself – remember veterans, that politics and bureaucracy, has been a part of our lives, since we were born – deal with it, learn to accept it, process this thought, learn to be patient, and acknowledge the thought that we are all part of a world wide system……not just a United States system. We are not the only veterans seeking medical assistance/claims.

    If congress does not want to fully fund the V.A. ( as the Republicans stated in February of 2104, ” Veterans are not worth the budget) and Secretary Donaldson is attempting to do his best, to fully fund the V.a,. then I propose the option for veterans to elect the motion to ( on a fair sliding scale ) to pay a portion of their disability pay they are receiving from the V.A., for their medical care, and medical/mental health care only. These are the times we are living in. I know every provider, clinic – cboc, and V.A. medical center in the world/country is under staffed, under funded, and over loaded, with a surplus of retired veterans ( not just those whom have retired from active duty, but those whom have retired from life – age 65 and older) , mid – life veterans ( 40+ years of age – 60 ) and younger veterans whom are returning, in epic proportions, from our current conflicts. At this rate, I believe that it is time for veterans ( if we are to have V.A. medical care in the future), that we contribute a fair portion ( perhaps 10 %) of our disability pay, to the V.A.system, for today, and for future medical care, so that yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s veterans can enjoy proper health care. It is time to stop the whining, and stop the outrageous comments, that I have observed on this page – comment system. We have the best health care available in the entire world. I understand the claims process can be rather frustrating ……. follow some simple steps in the February edition in D.A.V. magazine, file a claim, realize it will take some time, stay in touch with your benefits officer ( through your local V.A. office/cboc/medical center) , who can follow the claims process, be patient, keep up with your conditions, stay on top of your current medications, as your providers ( or outside providers ) for an assessment – if you feel you might have “something else” hindering you in life : such as bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, work related stress, diet conditions, too much sugar intake, nicotine, alcohol ( sugar ) , too much time on a computer/television ( stimulation), practice good sleep hygiene, consistent waking up habits., and much more, which can contribute to frustration, anger, irritability, in patience, etc.

    We all served at different times, branches of services, war and or training, and or humanitarian missions, and or undeclared conflicts, and or sea duty, and and or other related service. We are all in this together with our medical care/ providers. We must do our part, to recognize our responsibilities ( ask, call, advocate – maturely – , patient advocates, benefits officers, etc.) as patients/veterans , and to inform our providers, and the system, of any current, past, or new changes in our physiological bodies, that they may not see with their eyes ( they are not an xray, CT, M.R.I., p.e.t. or s.p.e.c. scanner machine) , and can easily overlook, misdiagnose, etc. A brain injury ( or a neurological condition such as :Tbi, abi, concussion, ptsd, bipolar, etc., ) is easily misdiagnosed, even by the most highly regarded professionals. If this is our case, then it is up to us ( caregivers, family, spouses, attorneys, etc.) to educate ourselves, on these conditions – and thousands of more possibilities ( the human brain is fascinating, complex – and is as difficult to “map” , as it is for N.A.S.A. to explore space – the galaxies) . We all can start by joining a local advocacy affiliation, such as N.A.M.I. ( no, I am not here to promote N.A.M.I. – they have helped as the V.A. cboc has been crammed packed), a local V.A. cboc ( which some will teach classes in the evenings), not being afraid of stigma, embarrassment ( why should we be? We worked for it, by serving our country – get your pride back!) , nor reprise from family, friends, or anyone else. Education is the key to self fulfillment, happiness, joy, the lifelong journey of “recovery”, connecting with like minded peers, providers, educators, etc., so we can better understand ourselves, family members, veterans, etc. Believe me, it works!
    Thank you to all veterans for serving this blessed nation. I am thankful for the V.A., and all the hard work the providers, staff, and administration, whom have spent many years of service, to help veterans with their conditions.

  146. tim robinson    

    the va will keep you under 30% untill you die they don’t send forms in for approval of claims ,they keep them for a few months and then you a denial back. The heads of departments get a bonus this. If you do get approved for any claim you know someone on the inside. my aunt worked for the VA for 40 years she said less than 10% will ever get approved. As long as the bonus system stays in effect.They have to say thanks for you service or be repromanded.Being a combat veteran I can”t even get travel reimbercement to hospital and I live over 100 miles from nearest va hospital. Ithink the va tries to just keep us alive for their own benifit.$$$$$$$$$$ maybe someday we will get a preident who will look and take care of all veterans. all it is now is bottom line$$$$$$

  147. David Mitchell    

    I have been told that my rating could be reduced as well. I broke my right hand with only one year AFS and my rating is 0% for that claim. I’ve blown both of my knees several times over the years from the amount of running enforced at Bragg and only received 10%. I’ve also had a vasectomy performed and three years later had to have a epididyoctomy because of a large mass found and I get 0% for that as well. My wife has severe sleep apnea and that was found out after leaving the military and was just diagnosed with diabetes no luck for her so far either. The system must work on our behalf forget the DAV because you have to take off work if you’re able just to make the appointment. I even lost my job during a new claim.

  148. Anthony Toich    

    I have been fighting with the VA since March of 2013 regarding a reduction in my service related disability for an arthritic right hip. My disability was being reduced because the range of motion in my hip had increased. Of course, it had increased because I had it replaced. I submitted all the medical records regarding my hip replacement and a notice of disagreement to the VA which was ignored for over 6 months. Despite numerous attempts from my VFW rep, we could get nobody at the VA to acknowledge receipt of the records or take action on them. The deadline given by the VA for submitting additional information past and my disability was reduced. I then filed appeal requesting a reconsideration of my disability reduction which was rejected because the VA had not yet taken formal action on their proposed reduction to my disability. At that point I filed a complaint with my Senator. Her office was instrumental in obtaining for me a Predetermination Hearing in December of 2014. It is now January 2016 I have yet to be notified of the results of that hearing. I did learn through my VFW rep that the DRO who conducted my hearing is no longer handling cases.
    In addition to my right hip, I had a service related disability for my left hip and both knees. In September 2015 I submitted a request that the VA reevaluate my disability because both hips and my left knee had been replaced. I received back from the VA stated I used the wrong form. Since I was submitting a new claim for consideration I needed to fill out an Application for Disability Compensation.
    My experience dealing with the Baltimore VA office has been one of consistent frustration.

  149. Daisy May    

    I have PTSD/MST my claim was denied now on appeal through DRO. I am being treated for PTSD but have to get an appeal? This is insane. Should never have joined the military. Was treated more as a sex object than an equal. VA needs to change how they view female and male victims of MST.

  150. john gasior    

    veterans are doing their patriot duty to GOD & country, not like politicians who have the pleasure sitting on their six, and enjoying the results &sacrifices from the veterans, very few politicians now never were in the service.

  151. R. Langenhan    

    As a Vietnam veteran, I concur with many of the comments concerning this report. I too are in the midst of the Appeal process and when viewing the Report, I noticed that my particular region of the country was not included in the report: OAKLAND REGIONAL OFFICE. Southern California was not represented either. Why didn’t anyone of the reporters poke this bear??? Anyone care to venture a guess?
    My dad was a vet that served in the Marines in WW2 and the Phoenix Vet Hospital told him to have his teeth pulled, but inasmuch as they did not have a surgeon on Staff to perform the operation, he should have it done in the private sector.
    The bill came and the VA refused to pay for it stating he didn’t get a second opinion before having the surgery. He lived on oatmeal for the next 12 months and “Gunny” died at age 65-who cares about the wounds he suffered at Guadalcanal or Tarawa-and this was years before the whistleblowers at Phoenix VA Hospital.

  152. Carl Butler    

    Maybe Congress should go 1st into Wars,
    No one that did not serve should be in congress.
    You do not have the Honors to deiced if a soldier gets his or her benefits.
    Remember he sign a contract and he or she did honor it. Every Veteran should get what is due to him by Law.
    It’s in Black and White and you do not have the right to changed it. You send them and you should pay for his injures.

  153. Paul E Walters    

    Interesting reads, though most are in the same reasoning. I recently filed for review of current award.(10%) given 45 years ago . I never said a word! Never complained I just carried on in life, as My father and Grand father had, both infantry. Went on probably overly educated. kept busy.
    I had a second injury, I never complained until recently, but I did have field Photo’s from RVN. When one is in the field mixed in with another unit, there are no files! You get patched up and that is that! And then the fungus sets in for life. I do not belong to veterans groups and I did not use videos etc to fill out the forms nor receive coaching. I just sent in what I had some photo’s etc. Commander recommendations for Valor I never received. (Company Clerk Killed) well if your a bonafide civilian DOD or VA you have no experience, has been proven in Court many time. I was well received by my local veterans Hospital, they looked at my old wound and my new claim concern. A podiatrist, looked at my photo’s ant put it all together. You have lived with this incurable fungus for 45 years? I told him I was denied treatment in 1970 because their was no record, so I just lived with it and never brought it up again. Funny I was asked about my rating, you receive 50% No I said,. then 60 % No! How about if I told you 10%. and he fell over! I have really enjoyed my interaction with the staff, I also feel I do not fit in, I never wear jeans etc I have been asked, are you going to a party?
    I receive several calls a day from Law offices and Legal advisers. One is American Veterans Legal Counsel. Obviously someone within the VA system is making Payola for veterans Information! Not so private.

  154. Harvey Smith    

    I have been in the appeals process fro three years. My current service related conditions have worsened. I complained to the va and now it appears they are avoiding any treatment for my service connected disabilities and only providing treatment for non service connected disabilities. Are the doctors and medical personnel at the va that vindictive or unethical?

  155. Jeffrey Hutchinson    

    Forgive my attitude, I am just frustrated with the process going on 2+ years only to be told to file my appeal to Washington but that could take up to a year and a half for them to decide. Long story short, tore my ACL 1986 in the Air Force, they cleaned it with a surgery. Surgeon wrote for that they will have me back to repair it. They never did! My fault of these years I assumed you had to be in a war and or conflict to be eligible for VA benefits. So I signed up 2= years ago, filed a claim including ALL my military records, reports from the surgeon, etc. Well the VA in the Tampa area declined it NO PROOF. Filed again NO PROOF of the injury happening in service but GAVE ME 10% FOR ARTHRITIS in my knee. LOL true story I submitted the surgery pictures, surgeons report, the base, dates, times, etc they still said no proof, it didn’t happen. So I guess they think I was a civilian who walked in and had knee surgery LOL. But again they awarded 10% for arthritis in the same knee. Well VA if it didn’t happen in the Air Force why would you award me 10% for arthritis? Now I have to wait another year plus for Washington. The VA rep from Florida can’t believe what the Tampa area VA has been saying, its a joke! I did all the leg work, documentation, reports, xrays, MRI’s. Their response it didn’t happen and “IT HEALED” seriously they said it healed. Medical 101 torn ligaments do not heal, re-grow back to together. As a Vet it feels like some paper pusher kept saying NO to try to save money and hope I give up. Silly him, I copied all documentation and forward them to ALL Florida Senators and Representatives and Washington. Another disgusted Vet.

  156. Michael W Bresnahan    

    I was told I could stay in and get a medical or go ahead a take the 39-10 and file when I got back to Louisville KY. When I got back to Louisville the records weren’t there yet but was told they should be there shortly. Well that was in 1974 and the only records I can find is everything except the ones I need. I have tried and tried for years to get all the records to no avail.
    So you should get your medical records before you get out, don’t trust them no mater how good they make it sound.

  157. Lemuel Clayton Bray    

    The process won’t work until it is recognized that the same injury affects a Category I inductee differently than a Category III inductee. The loss of a leg that prevents a category III from operating a bulldozer limits his opportunity for a good paying job where as the same injury causes little loss of employment opportunity to a desk jockey.

    We have the data available to do the research this problem and fix the compensation outcomes. But there is the continued wink and nod disability rating regulations that are not strictly adhered to because the VA has to fight the military industrial complex for budget dollars.

    For example, for those of you who have had p. falciparum malaria, (I didn’t), there is a bogus study that is used to deny you compensation. That compensation would run about $500 per month on average for about 100,000 veterans from Vietnam alone, not counting WWII and the Canal Zone.

    That is $50,000,000 per month or $600 million a year in military industrial contract money that gets moved from the military hardware side of the budget in the minds of many legislators to the military personnel side of the budget. In 5 years that is $3 billion that the military industrial complex is willing to spend millions to keep those billions on their side of the budget.

  158. Thomas Frederick Hilton    

    Imagine at age 68 you learn from your civilian doctor that your service (Navy) repeatedly (for 32 years) misdiagnosed a severe disease (ankylosing spondylitis) and called it lumbosacral strain — and the VA went along with that in assigning my disability. Imagine that you have submitted new documentary evidence,and were prepared to show x-rays from way back in time when with the correct diagnosis on them. Then imagine that the VA merely patronizes you. That was my recent experience

    I submitted my streamlined “fully developed” claim requesting reconsideration of one of my original VA disabilities to include a more severe condition. After months of waiting (so much for streamlined), I got a letter to report to the VA for examination. I walk in the door only to learn that I would not be examined for condition in my new claim by a doctor. A nurse would be re-examining my lumbosacral strain. I could not believe what I was hearing.

    The nurse gave me what amounts to a Miranda warning that anything I say or do will be taken down and used as evidence to reject my claim. I asked why this examination was so adversarial. No reply. I asked what the point of such an exam was, as my claim was for ankylosing spondylitis. That was clearly stated in my claim and in supporting medical records submitted with the claim. I said that I should be seen by a reuhmatologist. The nurse instead called security. The cop told me to get reevaluated for my back strain or hit the streets. I elected to go through the motions. In the end, VA increased my compensation which was, of course, is merely deducted from my DFAS pension. What I wanted was care for my condition – not money. No care has ever be offered for my condition. After all, it has not yet been found to be service connected, because no VA doctor has ever evaluated me.

    At some point, you just stop knocking at the door. I guess VA prefers that TRICARE pay for my treatment.

  159. ROGER L. JAYNES    

    It’s time for the VA to stop their long process for getting what the United States promised me 50+ years ago, I have tried to get all my benifits since 1990 and have only managed to get 40%. I’m not getting any younger nor will I stop trying to get what is owed to me. I can’t understand why it takes so long, may be that the ones who determines your eligibility should be a veteran who knows what we are going through. I have PTSD, also sleep apnea, I have not had a good night since I joined the service in 1968, Is there any way to get a quicker decision, on my part I have gotten a Partial decision. but have not gotten the full percentage.

  160. Wilbert Joseph Celestine lll    

    the first time I applied was 1985 a year after I had discharged from eight years of service still heavily hung 25 years old I moved on with the pain after being denied an attempt to refile claim of my injuries a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD involving death of 17-year-old young Marine I was inches from saving his life,1978 rifle range. being driven off of a mountain range by a young corporal from the multiple within seven days he received the bad conduct discharge for being under the influence at infantry training school in a three-3 tons ammo truck without a seat belt 1984. Torn rotator cuffs, fractured vertebrae the basin of my skull, tailbone and number six vertebrae bone on bone at 40% my diagnosis equal 100%I have two more surgeries pending, pain pills no longer work, I rarely sleep I’ve been the appeal process for over 3 1/2 years I’m no hero but I did my part. respectfully submitted United States Marines

  161. Garold Laetare    

    I filed and 3 or 2 years past the ,phone number that is question works sometimes or not at all ,
    When you get thought and leave a message for someone to call ,not replay all .
    From the office in Des Moines.
    The rep. that is sign for you at the VVA CHAPTER #490 you leave messages and not one calls.
    Until you receive the paper work you have be denied and could re appeal with no help.

  162. Ricky    

    Serving in the Air Force for years I came to realize that, in the time I had served, there were no females present. This seems to be a Clear and Unmistakable Error, CUE; on the DOD!.! 😉

  163. Milton o pereda    

    My appeal has been about 5 yrs I get the same paperwork like clockwork every year asking me to fill out a form on whether I prefer a personal BVA hearing or one telecommuting. I of course chose telecommuting as it should be faster. When I went to my 1st hearing I had a very rude person trying to get me to do something impossible for my condition. As suspected the hearing was unfair. Do they get a commission on how many people they either turn down or unfairly rate? I know there has to be a solution to the appeal process it’s incredible how unprofessional the process is.

  164. Tim Lully    

    What I want from the VA is results and actual treatment for what I know can be fixed so I can go back to work. AND… I DEMAND IT. This happened to me over 25 years ago in training. I have had enough.

  165. John M Lalli    

    I am a Vietnam Veteran spending almost 13 months in-country–in every corner of that country, continually exposed to Agent Orange. I have been suffering from chloracne/acneform disease (butterfly rash on my face!!) as well as diminished lung capacity (I am a lifelong non-smoker) who my Doctors says is a result of Agent Orange exposure. My claim was denied even though supposedly Agent Orange claims from in-country combat Vietnam veterans are almost unilaterally accepted (supposedly). All that VA positive ad stuff is only hype. My subsequent appeal has been ignored, including supplemental evidence appeals–totally ignored except I got a response offering life insurance I would have to pay for–imagine that? They know I am going to die so want to offer life insurance. I can’t afford a lawyer and I have been dealing with all the paperwork directly with the VA myself as can’t afford an advocate either. I wish John McCain was President–I was in Vietnam same time as he but fared much better getting back to the US notwithstanding my resultant debilities. They don’t care–I have to give up and stop hoping–too tired to fight them anymore

  166. Edward C Martinez    

    Lots of nice feel good stuff. But the truth is nothing has change. VA just has better BS writers with pretty and nice feel good stuff to say to keep the dogs from barking so much.

    I submitted a Claim in 2008! still no response.

  167. cow boy    

    There are many considerations with an appeal. Perhaps that is the problem. Anyway here is a breakdown of Must Dos: Do have a POA or attorney to assist you. State and National organizations (DAV, PVA, etc) will assist you at NO cost. A (VA certified) attorney will only be paid if you are paid. Do file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on Form 9 within 60 days of a denial (but at least within a year of the date of your receipt of notification for denial) IF reconsideration is not an option, and annotate on Form 9 a local hearing. That way, if you are denied by local hearing officer at the VBA Regional Office, then you can continue your appeal to Board Of Veterans Appeals (BVA). By continuing to prosecute your claim (appeal) and you are granted SC, your grant will be effective the original date of your claim. I agree that the VA needs to FOCUS on hiring veterans, especially in VBA. I personally witnessed far too many non-veteran employees, new hires, and certainly a plethora of very young non-vets at mgt level (GS13 and above). If nothing else, please remember to procure a Power Of Attorney (POA). You can find them resing within the VBA Regional Offices. I am retired miitary, retired VBA Rating Specialist, and now work with an attorney on appeals that are mostly cases that should be granted without need for appeal because Hearing Officers and Raters are not thorough and are ‘under the gun’ for indiv production and quality stats. Drive on and God Bless. UA Army Retired

  168. Jay L. Hall, Jr.    

    I appealed a Hearing Loss claim and my reply was: Do you want to question our decision. I just gave up. Also, I was sent to Temple VA for a CT Scan, they did not get the line in my vain and it went into my arm which blew up and burned. My VA Doctor told me to get a copy of the CT Scan. I tried about 10 times, but never got any results. I just gave up. To top all of this off, when I joined the Navy a I was told that I would have Lifetime free Medical Care, this did not happen either. I have to pay for my medicines and services.

  169. Craig Peters    

    I separated in December 1992, (base closure / reduction-in-force). I attempted, for several decades, to have my back injuries rated as service-connected. I had a thoracic spine injury prior to military service. I received the required medical documentation from my provider prior to entering active duty. I claimed that my pre-existing, fully-recovered, thoracic injury was aggravated by military service. This claim is denied because it is a pre-existing condition. Seems to me the VA is not even following, or reading, their own guidelines for service-connection. It is as if the VA has a “DENIED” rubber-stamp just waiting to slam down on any claim I make, regardless of the documentation I provided, per their guidelines.

    I have undergone a two-level fusion surgery, L4-S1, on my lumbar spine. I am continually denied due to “pre-existing” conditions. As I understand it, the phrase, “…caused by, or aggravated by, military service…” is used in service-connection determination. I obtained the required documentation that stated I was “Worldwide Certified” due to the thoracic spine injury, which was fully recovered/healed. My lumbar spine injury was NOT a pre-existing condition, and every time I request service-connection, I am denied because of a pre-existing condition. During my VBA hearing, the judge had no documentation from my physical therapy sessions. I provided copies of this “missing” documentation related to my lumbar spine physical therapy while on active duty, and was still denied service-connection. I am now undergoing more physical therapy for an issue at the L3-L4 location.

    This is just a sampling of how Veterans are treated during the claims process. I am in the process of contacting a lawyer to assist with my paperwork and claims. The DAV has helped prepare and submit paperwork in the past, yet I am still denied service-connection.

  170. KH    

    I’m a new VA employee learning about the world of appeals. I can say that I’ve been very disappointed in the appeals process and just how complex it is. It’s heartbreaking when a form is automatically disqualified because a box isn’t checked, or we need a new form from the veteran because it’s only good for a year, or when we have to put a claim on hold for another month because we never got the complete set of Service Treatment Records. I’ve become frustrated as an employee, so I could only imagine it from the veteran’s side. After reading this article and the subsequent comments, I am deeply humbled and motivated to do better.

    My advice to anyone going through the appeals process (and the same advice I’d give a friend or relative) is to read every letter the VA sends you thoroughly and make sure you understand it. Make sure to fill out every form the VA asks you to fill out no matter how many times they ask you to do so. Some VSOs can be helpful with this. Keep copies of everything. And probably most importantly, make sure to call the VA ASAP if you change your address or divorce/lose a spouse.

    It breaks my heart to hear how the VA has treated veterans when we’re supposed to be your best advocates. Please know that some of us at the VA really do care about veterans.

  171. Charles W Stecz    

    16June2015 I had a VA Comp. Eval. for PTSD AT Pensacola Clinic.
    8July2015 VA Regional awarded 0% for my PTSD stating I did not require continuous medication and not being treated for PTSD.I see this as incompetent or just plain lazy. You see at that time and at the present time I am still on medication and seeing Dr. Moore a Psychiatrist at the Pensacola VA. You all need to check your own records.
    17 Sept.2015 I appealed 0% comp
    10Nov.2015 VA awarded me 10% based on Chronic Sleep Impairment and Symptoms Controlled By Continuous Medications .This statement comes under 30% as described in the VA letter.
    See Schedule of Ratings -Mental Disorders.

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