The appeals process: Your comments and VA’s plans


Editor’s note: This is the final story in a series of five blogs focusing on appeals.

In my previous four posts, I discussed the difference between a claim and an appeal and the appeals process that occurs in the VA regional offices and at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals , as well as what happens if your appeal is remanded by the board. If you have not read those posts, I suggest you start with those, as this post is a synopsis of those.

As we’ve discussed, the appeals process is a complex, confusing, lengthy and multi-staged system. In fact, VA’s current appeals system is 80 years old. Due to specific legal processes that are required to appeal a disability claim decision, VA is not able to operate the same type of appellate system that can be found in other federal and Judicial systems.

As I read through your comments these last few weeks and engaged in discussions with many of you, I found you reinforcing what we at VA already know – the current appeals process is broken and it is failing you.


Many of you asked about the increase in appeals over the last several years. I told you that historically about 11-12 percent of all claims are appealed and of those only about 4-5 percent are appealed to the board. The number of growing appeals is a matter of simple math.

In each of the last six years, we have processed more than 1 million claims, and in the last four years we have broken records each year. If you complete that many claims, and 10-12 percent are appealed, it means a larger volume of appeals

Wait Times

There were several stories expressing frustration at how long it takes to get an answer to your appeal. I told many of you the average processing time for all appeals resolved in FY 2015 was 3.1 years. For those appeals that reach the board, on average, Veterans are waiting at least 5 years for an appeal decision, with thousands of Veterans waiting much longer.

Five years is longer than my enlistment in the Air Force. Unlike other appeal systems in the government, you can add new evidence at any point in the VA appeal process. When this is done, VA has to effectively restart its review of the claim and issue a new decision, even if you already had a decision, or two or more. This adds considerable time to the appeal. Think about it: If a decision review officer has to look at the same appeal three or four times to consider new evidence and issue another new decision, that is time he or she is not working another appeal. On average, appeals that reach the board arrive there with two additional decisions beyond the original decision being appealed. It’s more for those that have been remanded.

You Deserve Better

The current wait time is unacceptable. You deserve better. Many of you described scenarios that seemed outside the norm. VA believes justice delayed is justice denied. It’s obvious the length and complexity of the appeals process are taking a significant toll on your lives.

We should be providing you a final answer to your appeals within one year of filing an appeal rather than spreading frustration with a process that takes too long.

We believe it is time for a modern appeals system that puts your needs, expectations and interests first. But without comprehensive legislative reform of the appeals process, we won’t be able to provide you a final decision within a year.

Our secretary has called upon stakeholders – Veterans service organizations, members of Congress and others – to meet with us to figure out how we can deliver you the timely, fair appeals process you deserve.

These stakeholders are meeting over three days later this month and have committed to collectively working to finding a solution to which everyone can agree.

I have hope – as a VA employee, a former advocate who worked appeals and as a Veteran who has filed an appeal.

I hope this series helped you better understand the appeals process. As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.


Catherine Trombley


  1. Darla Joyner    

    My husband often says “they just wait long enough, and you die!” As a veteran myself, it is shameful that our government treats veterans this way.

    1. Jerry Paul Gregurash    

      I been waiting on my claim for almost three years!


        Jerry your not seeing the right persons call the VBA call them there in your Federal building

      2. James W. Rhodes    

        I had one that took 6 years till the DAV lawyer took the case and won it to the tune of over $30,000 BUT the VA pays no interest so the money had already been devalued. MAKE THEM PAY THE SAME INTEREST RATE AS THE IRS CHARGES!

    2. david staffa    

      Dear VA:

      There are a few things that are clogging up the appeal process. Why doesn’t the VA place claims in specific teams e.g., teams that specialize in PTSD appeals will only receive PTSD appeals and so forth. Any appeal that has been appealed by the Vet over 5 times needs to go to another team (apparently the veteran keeps trying for an approved appeal and figures if he keeps appealing that he will win his case). This is not good for us veterans who are appealing on the first time. For that matter, limit, by law, the number of appeals that a veteran can institute. Appeal once and then hire a lawyer should be the only way an appeal is contested. Thirdly, bring on temporary help to process appeals like the DAV and other VSOs. They may not be able to judge claims but they can help with redundant clerical duties that keep our appeal claim processors from being effective and efficient……heck, bring those guys and gals coffee so they don’t have to get up and get coffee. Lets start thinking logically and ask our processors what would help them get their job done more effectively and efficiently….they know better than all of us and myself included.

      1. Dale Harlan    

        Your being selfish, We waited just as long for our first reply as you have. You have to be patient and wait your turn, we did. As you will find out after they make a decision on your claim, you probably won’t agree so you will also appeal I don’t think everything should be based on hiring a lawyer and making them rich. I think the present system works it just need a tune-up. Wait your turn it will come.

        1. Gary    

          Ghee, does this 22 year wait for an MRI so the 4 herniated discs I started with in 1975 and upon retirement still had…Does this 22 years waiting when I was told by my PCP that the VA will never allow the MRI that can prove my back issues…OH by the way it’s now 16 herniated discs and the VA doctor which I saw for help stated just why are you here your x-ray and report show you have no back problems…16 herniated discs…now they won’t touch me for any therapy……..wait until I’m dead….

        2. jgig    

          Good job at being a loser- some of us don’t have time to wait. Maybe my family can enjoy the little compensation compared to the great losses.

        3. Catherine Trombley    

          Gary, keep in mind VA PCP know very little about the claims process. That is by design. I have seen many, many times where they do order the MRI. Also, if your VA PCP believes you need an MRI, then he can always order it and it becomes part of the record as part of the medical file the RO/Board reviews VA medical files, and any private medical files we can gather or you submit prior to issuing a decision.

      2. Fay Vaughan    

        I’m to the point of thinking that EVERY claim denied by a rater should go to a DRO for a confirmation of the decision BEFORE it leaves the building. Then if it is still denied by the DRO, send it to the veteran to agree or appeal. Many would have been granted and the appeal process never would have been part of the equation unless the veteran disagreed on the percentage given.

        1. Catherine Trombley    

          Fay, I get your frustration, but that would just further frustrate you. Last year we decided 1.4 claims. Our grant rates are around 70 %. But a Veteran can appeal for any reason, even if we grant the claim. Right now, 10 % of people appeal and we are having problems keeping up because the system is broken. It needs reform. If we did it as you suggest, 20% more appeals would enter the system. And that does not include the people who appeal even when we grant the claim. (example: maybe they disagree with the pay date that was assigned).

      3. Catherine Trombley    


        What you describe is something we do with claims. The stakeholder team, of which I spoke in the piece, is discussing ideas similar to that which are processed based. They are also discussing how they can give you more options, while cutting wait times, while still protecting your rights.

    3. Theresa Adams    

      It is absolutely unacceptable in my opinion to treat any Veteran of military service as Veterans are being treated. I’ve heard in the VA I go to it’s all upper Management that is responsible for wait times and clinic appointments, many times stalling to provide care Veterans and I’ve seen the toll it takes on the older Veterans, Viet Nam vets, kids that served in Afganistan,
      and Iraq. Claims is a different world as well, receiving endless paperwork and NEVER hearing what is happening with your claim.
      I sure agree with David’s letter, why not hire part times employees to do clerical work. The breaks they have are crazy. Many times like David said they are always walking around trying to find something. Don’t they have files at there desk? It’s a frustrating process.
      In my claim, I have it noted in my Doctor files I have a certain condition that is explicitly noted by 3 VA Doctors yet my claim was rejected. I just don’t understand heir way of thinking.

      1. Catherine Trombley    

        Hi Theresa, the stakeholders we are meeting with to reform appeals include Veterans Service Organizations, they are helping us come to a new system.

        Hiring part-time employees is difficult … it takes time to train employees. Not to mention the hiring process the federal government has takes time and resources. In the past, VA has hired contract support to do data entry that would free up our employees so they can focus on claims and appeals. We do strive to find areas where we can improve.

        As for your claim, I can only speculate since I do not have access to your file. However, it is not enough to have a diagnosis of a condition. To gain service connection, you have to have three things — a diagnosis, an incident in service and a medical opinion connecting the diagnosis to the in-service incident. It is possible you may be missing one of the other two elements.

        As to breaks, nearly all of our claims are digital. There are very little paper files left in the regional offices. I am a disabled vet. I work at a desk all day. I have to get up and move or I am in pain. Many of our claims processors are disabled vets and work at desks all day. Occasionally, they need to get up and walk around. Even people who are not disabled need to get up and move. Many studies support this. Please keep in mind these are your fellow veterans when you speak ill of them. I can speak from experience, that sometimes the law tied my hands and I could not help a veteran even when I desperately wanted to — and it would frustrate me — and I would need to get up and take a break. Our VA employees are no different. Some of these claims are heart breaking. It is not easy work. And it is thankless work.

    4. Richard Evans    

      I have been waiting on my appeal now, from 2008. Taking to VA, is a waste of time. I have a pet raddlesnake that has better personality than VA has. I am getting tired of wait and had to hire lawyer. This comes off my bottom dollar…..

    5. James Corley Vest    

      I filled a clam for PTSD and was approved with in a year. I filled the clam through the electronic process. The process was a bit complicated. I am by no means a computer expert, but did manage. I did this with no outside help, I am sure the DAV would have been a help if I had asked. I have been going to the VA for almost 4 yrs, and can say I have been treated in a very fair way. I have several health issues and all have been addressed to my satisfaction. I can truthfully say I appreciate what the VA has done for me.

    6. Danny Reavis    

      She is absolutely right, the VA expects a veteran to die, or they lie and they deny your claim for benefits. As a Viet Nam vet, ’68-69 still waiting for retro-active and disability compensation payments, suffer from lifetime disability as service connected. Do not expect DVA to honor service and sacrifice, just shameful, when called, went, did duty, honor, country only to be disrespected, unappreciated and forgotten.

    7. Edward Cambria    

      Let’s discuss the V.A. of which we are grateful for the service you provide. We rely, and have done so for many years, solely on the V.A. Viera Florida clinic for our entire health requirements. Then part of the accounting has manifested itself into an unreasonable extortion of disabled veteran disability income.The billing and payments have gone reasonably well. As far as I know all payments have been on time or before the due dates. Two years ago, some clerk at the V.A. returned my disabled wifes income submission with bold circle highlights and notes stating, “What is this stuff?”, and “I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS?” and other comments about the figures. In retrospect, the recipient returned the entire annual income form to us from your organization. My wife earned $18.00 in actual wages for the year 2012. I am sure my wife was not on Social security until June or July 2012, and she was not receiving disability from OPM until March 2012. Therein lays the problem. OPM did not reduce the amount of disability to reflect the SS disability payments. Therefore, the amount of annuity and disability reported and delivered is bogus/ false by $18863.00. I was at a loss as how to respond with the return of the forms and comments from your office, thus realizing this was going to turn into a government operational disaster.
      In addition, we submitted three sets of forms, of which one was hand delivered to the Viera clinic, and your organization not only lost several forms containing all our sensitive security information, but you continue to harass us with demands for financial verification. I subsequently filed a complaint with the V. A. regarding the breach of security and received one reply, two months ago, stating we would be contacted regarding the loss. I have never received another response since then.
      In conclusion: I do not know how to make up factious income figures that will resolve this fiasco of disjointed events. I submitted several completed forms that were lost by your organization, and I would appreciate some common sense in resolving your problem with the government system of operations.
      Good luck

    8. Edward Cambria    

      I am sure there was agent orange being sprayed on the coast as we patrolled near Da-Nang harbor and ported several nights there over my 3 tours in Viet Nam. I wondered what that stuff was that was being dumped by aircraft and blowing in the wind. I put in 2 claims to acquire some compensation for high blood pressure and diabetes. I needed some money to offset the cost of the medications, insulin,needles, etc. I was turned down cold both times because I could not prove my ship logs in 1968-71 showed we were in Da-Nang or other provinces and we were classified as “blue-water” operations. How do you prove your unit was in North above the DMZ in operations with the British and Aussies? We did our job now do yours.

    9. james varga    

      i believe that the V A claims backlog has been reduced significantly because claims are routinely denied for no valid reason just to move the process along much faster, therefore increasing appeals significantly and causing some veterans to just give up.

    10. James W. Rhodes    

      You are 100% correct. I believe the same thing. I was even told that the VA was under a mandate to NOT give the VET 100%. This was by a service officer. Isn’t that a crock.

    11. Carol Rodriguez    

      My husband has been waiting almost 5 years from the start here in Florida. The UNIONS are behind this waiting nonsense. They shouldn’t be involved period in my opinion,because they are shady to begin with. What we need is a NON ESTABLISHMENT President like TRUMP to fix this mess. Remember who got OBAMA in office THE UNION! These people don’t care about Americans period, they care about POWER and getting those illegals and Syrian refugees for votes. When people start to realize this and start voting the ESTABLISHMENT OUT, things will change.

    12. Fred Ricco Young Jr    

      I feel this policy that disrespect veteran by allowing us to wait just long enough till the veteran die before receiving a favorable decision holds a lot of validity. How is it possible to send men and women across oceans to fight, to die or if lucky come back home to fight the battle for a well deserved entitlements for being America the brave. I am sick and tired of this embarrassing and abuses way of treating those who have in many ways given our all. Veterans should receive a home, a car and medical treatment for life. The time is know not tomorrow.

    13. Dr. Bill    

      When will the VA get rid of disability status for sleep apnea. This scam dilutes funding for real combat-related issues that so many veterans have.

    14. Jgig    

      Thanks for nothing, writing a blog on how us Vets should be assisted doesn’t speed up nor help anything. Not only have I almost had my foot sawed off from the VA, my appeal has taken almost 4 years- still no response. And the Veterans Choice Program- more like Veterans Last Choice. I’m faced with potentially having to pay for associated blood work that was done in an outside provider’s for associated reasons for seeing an outside provider in the first place. I’ve missed two windows for certain testing due to the rejections from the Veteran’s Choice Program- again associated with the reasons why the VA couldn’t help me and I have to go to an outside provider. Wanna see replies and commets- (Redacted) the VA and all who work for them.

    15. Jerry Bezanson    

      This is exactly what I believe. The VA’s job was always cost avoidence. Deny as many claims as possible for whatever ambiguous reason they can make up. That is why it took so long for the Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, LSD Experiments, Atomic Veterans etc. To even get considered. Most of them died before even being looked at.

    16. Linda McMurtray    

      All the hearsay and assumptions do not make something true. My husband began the VA process for comp and pen in 2010. Many health issues. One day at a time. We blindly filled out forms etc., not really understanding what to do. With the help of the Texas Veterans Commission, we have progressed to his current rating of 100% disabled. Never give up. Read and research. If you receive a letter and form, answer it within the time given. My husband started with a 10% rating for tinnitus. Did you know the VA will give ANY veteran hearing aids? You have to ask to get on the list for hearing aids. Didn’t take long. Think of how many Veterans there are. We met a Vet this week who was 91, and had been to Okinawa. Wonderful man. By the way, There are now lists of the ships that docked in Vietnam. Research or get help with it from a friend or family member.
      Your comp and pen claim can be difficult but you have to step up and do it.

  2. Patrick jahnke    

    Why do doctor try to tell vets it my way thing have to go! I had a doctor told me I can’t see no more because I can not control my pain, chemical fire, 2nd and 3rd degree burn ankle 8 yrs ago gave meds resparked nerves in burn area, I deal with deal task. From a head injury 1977, user thing TBI testing but no doctor I’ve seen has not done nothing help , I deal headaches, left side of face, doc today don’t understand meds do things to me I can’t control nasty side effects, 2 yrs. Ago my doçtor retired, short. Noticed 5 days after that doctor what a bed stop my narcotics drugs, I’ve try many antidepressants drugs , 1 drug started , and know what me take meds that give. Nasty side effects, I could be taken 4-6 pills per day live like a person lock in a rm. I m refusing to take any antidepressants drugs, help me headaches, and nerve pain on burn area , narcotics drug I take 2 a day due new laws , it helps me have a life, but va doctor refused to give any, thier is new law they can give it out, but big brother tells doctors no narcotics drugs !!!! My choice doctor help me but, thier days I’m in so much pain nothing helps other than rest. I going cc doc Friday wait ain clinic call make ref on 2-26-16 from doctor 7-10 day they need to contact veteran, I haven’t heard nothing as of today, so why do clinic and doctors refused listen to us veteran, I ask doc if they have aTBI clinic if not which way do I go in Madison Wisconsin patient advocate I had wait a week for a phone call!!!! Thier useless help a veteran., they lost paper work , don’t care for veterans right or help big brother tell them what they can and can not do. So health care still hit rock bottom of the ocean. Va is still not doing thier jobs,

    1. carolyn Lopez    

      My husband received his 100% three weeks before he passed away.Rey was so happy.He couldn’t say a lot .Rey gave me a thumbs up. Rey was a Vietnam Vet
      So proud to have served his country.It would have been nice to enjoy his disability. Now I am waiting to see what if anything l will receive. I was told 6 to 9 months’ why?????

  3. Edward A. Swisher    

    My question is why are the people that make the decisions at a VARO ( almost all of my claims were denied Initially) trained to the point that they can make the correct decision the first time around.? The appeals process is ridiculously too long…vets can and do die while waiting for an appeals decision to be made…and I have had several claims remanded (at least once). I thank God that I have a lawyer that is a board certified surgeon and a lawyer. But, why should I have to resort to a lawyer and lose a percentage of my award… if VA made a bad decision, shouldn’t they pay for the lawyer fees ???? I had to resort to an attorney because the VSO’s did not actively pursue my claims after the initial denials of several claims.,,,

    1. Lance briggs    

      That’s what they want to happen while you wait. To die ! Then they don’t have to compensate anyone!!its a travesty that it takes 3,4 ,5 years or longer to get an answer on a claim! Thought things were going to change with the new secretary in charge? Shamefull !! How many veterans die waiting ,

      1. Dennis Gale McBride    

        That is exactly what they are doing is waiting for us to die. Especially for the Navy that served in the South China Sea. The Australian Dept. of Affairs noticed that they had a slightly higher mortality rate between 1980 and 1993 with their Navy personnel that served in the waters around Vietnam with illnesses related to Agent Orange so they did a study because the only way they could have got the dioxins was from the water. Anyway they found that the ships distillers increased the potency of the dioxins up to 1,000 to 2,000 times. So we were cooking our food in it and drinking it. They just gave the benefits to their Navy personnel that had the symptoms without them even asking. Now that is a country that really cares about their troops.

        Even more people have been suffering and dying from Carbon Tetracloride that was used in all branches for more years. They have been denying Vets that filed compensation for a long time. The earliest one that I have read was from 1950. With all the vets filing you can’t tell me that they didn’t know it was dangerous. It was banned from public use in 1970 but the DOD kept using it. It was banned everywhere in 1980 except for industrial permits with strict regulations for its use like all skin covered, special gloves, a full face oxygenated respirator and a limited time of exposure. We use none of these protections.

        I filed for compensation in 2005 but I couldn’t get my active duty records. I have 2 letters from the NRC saying they set them to the Regional Office but they kept denying that they have them. I re-filed in 2014 and the same thing. My Congresswoman filed a F.O.I.A. for them but I got them before from someone at the Regional Office that wasn’t part of the compensation department. When I got them I discovered why they kept them form me. I knew I had a foot drop because they sent me to Tripler Naval (now Army) Hospital in Hawaii and they placed a brace on my leg for a couple months. They didn’t know what cause it or so they said. More recently I was ready a study on Toxic Neuropathy and on the list of problems associated with chemicals like Carbon Tet it said: “Motor dysfunction (eg, abnormal gait and foot drop): In severe cases.”

        Besides things in my medical records like ‘chest pains’ and ‘respiratory distress’ they also have neuropathy and paresthesia. None of which they could find a reason for. But what got me was every time I went to a doctor and they took my blood pressure I had a rapid heart rate over 100 bpm. Although I never had that in my life. After I got out I also had a rapid heart rate when I went to a VA doctor. Nobody ever told me that I had a rapid heart rate and nobody ever gave me an EKG until 1995 when I went to a hospital and my armband heart rate was 110 but a few minutes later it was 161 and I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation that I might have had back in the military.

        It is also against the VA policy for the VA doctors to say that your conditions may be related to your military service. So they are telling the VA doctors to violate the AMA Code of Ethics of which one states: “When the patient’s interest is in conflict with the policies of the institution it is the doctor’s duty to advocate for the patient.” I meet vets all the time at the VA that don’t even know that their illnesses are related to Carbon Tet.

        Will they gave me 10% which is less that my VA disability pension so I don’t get anything more that I can live on. They say that their is no evidence that I was exposed to Carbon Tet. The fact that everything that I have is on the lists of the studies on Carbon Tet and that they have no explanation for my problems in military is not enough. And as many of you know the lost or missing records make it impossible to prove connection.

        I am going to file a FOIA request for the DOD for how much Carbon Tet was purchased over a number of years and what was it used for. I have already talked with vets that used it for many things.

        CAS Number: 56-23-5
        “More hazardous than most chemicals in 10 out of 14 ranking systems. Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health.”

    2. Jim Crockett    

      I checked the average number of days my local VARO took to process an initial claim. Sure enough, a few days before the average was reached, they sent a blanket rejection of service connection for each condition claimed. The main condition, hypertension, was clearly diagnosed and treated in-service and documented in the medical records as a problem expected to persist beyond ETS. Of course, the blanket rejection cleared their books and kicked the can down the road. Meanwhile, almost three years after filing the initial claim and one year since filing the NOD, I am languishing in limbo, hoping a DRO will actually read the evidence presented. The added stress and anxiety of the claims and appeal process is depressing, and adds to the challenge of living with the physical disabilities and financial strain that led me to file the claim in the first place,.

      1. John Hart    

        That’s why an above comment that limiting Veteran’s appeals is ludicrous! In an ideal world with reasonable time-to-process, limiting the number of appeals MIGHT hold water, but “kicking the can down the road” seems to be a regular occurrence for many claims/appeals. My original claim & subsequent appeals were finally adjudicated “reasonably” at the fourteen-year (14) point! On a separate note, my continuing treatment is via Medicare and TRICARE with local providers (who are all part of the VA/Medicare/TRICARE network) in my community, with ever-increasing co-pays for totally service connected conditions…..were I to seek adequate VA hospital treatment (150 miles distant), I’d need a driver , spend approximately 30 days on the road/out of my home, and round trip travel would be approximately 4,600 miles annually—and include a few overnight stays! The “Veterans Choice” is nothing more than a publicity stunt—there’s no more choice, much less common sense, to that program than there is logic to claims handling. My 12 year-old grand daughter, after overhearing me describe the situation to my daughter asked, “…don’t the payments for your treatment all come from the FED?” Even a 12 year-old can see the complete lack of logic and the horrid waste in bureaucracy & dollars doing it the VA way!

      2. Brenda Marshall    

        I’m with you there! I was diagnosed with asthma in 1990 while on active duty, had to go before the medical board and was allowed to remain active duty. Since then, my asthma has worsened and I am now on singular, Advair inhaler twice daily and use the Proair inhaler multiple times a month for active flair ups, in addition to each time I workout.

        The VA just denied my claim saying it was not service connected. How is that even possible? I had to go before the medical board while on active duty!! This is the kind of thing that aggrivates veterans. If the medical records are complete and are truly being reviewed, how can they make that type of decision??!

        I had previous claims filed 2 years ago through the Atlanta VA, with only 1 being approved for 10% disibility. That was appealed this past November. Needless to say, I will have to now submit another appeal for this claim.

        The system is broken and veterans are being abused. When will this insanity end??

    3. James W. Rhodes    

      Almost all claims are denied just like the Social Security Office.They want you to go away and a lot of people do. That is the grind you down policy of the government.

  4. Victor Sellers    

    I spent 3 weeks in Vietnam as an inpatient hospitalized for a skin disease. I was treated with chloroquine and covered with calamine lotion from head to toe. I was issued a P3 permanent profile for “physical capacity and stamina”, and evacuated out to Japan. After 3 weeks in Vietnam and 4 days more in Japan the condition was receding, and I was airlifted to Chicago Great Lakes Naval Hospital in the “infectious disease ward”. I was sent “Home Awaiting Orders” for a month believing I would be medically discharged, because they could not treat me, and I was never given a reason or cause for the disease. I was told face to face by a medical board that they “did not have a clue as to what caused my condition”, end of quote. Conditions worsened at the next duty station, with constant fevers, migraine headaches, enlarged painful prostate, chronic respiratory system problems, gastrointestinal system problems, heart palpitations, abdominal cramps and paralyzing pain,
    chronic Group A Streptococcus with pharyngitis, chronic ear and eye aches, back pain, chronic fatigue, urticaria, chloracne, bone and joint pain, and this was all while on duty and at 19 years old. These are all documented. I never had an allergy or skin condition before Vietnam, and was ill ever since with something because my immune system was compromised in Vietnam. I was denied Service Connection and the VA refused any medical treatments. Waiting me out? 15 or more FOIA Requests meant nothing. My medical records were methodically and purposely removed from my file, and 8 – 10 months of medical treatment records only are missing. I have the records for that time period, but none of the medical records. I filed a claim in 1983, because I was still having issues, and it was denied before the VARO had even received them. They were shipped out of St. Louis the day after the denial, to the VARO in Nashville, but had not even been reviewed yet. The information I have uploaded to St. Louis via Ebenefits seems to vanish before it reaches the rating officers or they just ignore it. I don’t believe they would ignore Federal Military Documents, but there isn’t any reference to them in the evidence used for determination. I upload it, but it doesn’t reach the rating officers. I have mailed it certified too, but it took 5 or 6 months to arrive, according to some employees. Would you believe that? I wouldn’t and don’t. Another employee with authority told me some of the military documents looked suspicious and questionable, which was exactly what I have been saying all along, and am still waiting on records 33 years later. I have 6 or 7 letters from the NPRC saying the VA has those records I’ve requested. The VFW and DAV and myself can not get them. I filed again in 2014 on July 28 with DAV and at November 1st the claim still had not even been scanned into the system, so I had to refile. Ever since June 1971 there has been one suspicious thing after another. My records are “CARDED”, which means I am tracked right? I believe I am a guinea pig for another experiment. Some of the few medical records that I did receive say the urticaria was due to chloroquine. I believe it was herbicide exposure, but chloroquine is blamed in order to disqualify any dependents as being victims from effects being passed down, but I guarantee that they are, and that is the next cover up to come out after all of us are dead. The damage keeps going from one generation to the next, so it is cheaper to blame chloroquine. What do you think? Why do I not have the records I requested yet? Why were my orders changed and I was retained instead of being medically discharged? Why was I not properly treated or diagnosed after being hospitalized a month in Vietnam? I saw those barrels everywhere, and walked through puddles of the leakage, but knew nothing about Agent Orange, but the Army knew since 1968, and I have the document. I never got good medical care in the Army, after Vietnam, and they knew I was very ill. This is about denying compensation and pension I believe, and we are being waited out, like in Phoenix Az.

    1. Fay Vaughan    

      You need Katrina Eagle, Veterans Law Attorney to take your case. She can win this for you.

  5. timothy hooey    

    If I try to file a clam they will take away some or all of my PTSD I was told from Mil.A.L. he told my service off.too.


    quite evident that governmental, private and media sources have amplified serious management and processing weaknesses and shortcomings. no rug large enough to sweep under. does not have to be this way.

  7. HW Bill Sparks    

    Congress needs to stay out of Title 38 and create a simple policy guideline – the regulations are, in most cases, ridiculous and by definition are too cumbersome for an average person to navigate.

    1. James W. Rhodes    

      You are so right. How can you file a claim if you are not even aware of the regulation. I had to wait on a ruling for service connection for a claim that I spent over 7 months in the hospital just to be told that my 100% temporary claim was untimely. The VA took there merry time about this and now I have to appeal. Not right. Catch 22. BS

  8. Jeffrey Sims    

    Spending money on veterans needs is among the lowest priorities on the government’s list. The government is so involved with making sure that the unemployed and illegal immigrants are taken care of that they don’t have time to deal with veteran needs.

    1. Gary bakka    

      Amen. U hit the nail on the head. Aliens create more voters we are already here. When Arizona va got caught screwing up they fixed it by denial of all claims and figured let someone else deal with it.

  9. Robert R. McBride    

    Your record 1 million claims processed includes the ones that are now in the appeals lane that should have never made it to the appeals lane as they were rushed through to a decision so you could show work. We lowly County Service Officers see this all too often. We mainly see it when a Veteran did their claim on their own and only came to see us when it was denied so we can fix it.

  10. ShaunE.    

    We need people that want to go above and beyond there call not people that just do what they have too.

  11. Dr. David Johnson    

    4 Years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days is how long ive been waiting for some answers to my Remanded Appeal. I am told now that it as of Feb 18 this year has went to Rating, what ever that may mean, and that its all back dated to the original Claim in 2002, again what ever that means. All I want is answers as to where its at and whats going on with it or a Resolution to it. So guess my nightmare may be nearing an end, soon I hope. Yes the system is broken, and everything in the VA needs to be revamped, I agree.

  12. J.W. Racine    

    Recently, fact and evidence was provided to Secretary McDonald that proved evidence tampering, falsification of data, and mishandling of evidence is still continuing to this day. The OIG first reported these facts in 2009, and it still continues with no intervention or corrective action. If the C&P or VARO commit these violations of federal law early in the Compensation and Pension process, with no action from the OIG or top level officials, then the Veterans claim is destined to long delays and eventually the denial of the claim. Garbage in = garbage out, if the claim is processed poorly, the appeal will be flawed. The VA from top to bottom is a corrupt, and dysfunctional agency, no longer capable of fulfilling its mandate. On the health care side, its dangerous and highly risky to count on this agency for any health care functions. The cover ups and refusal to act by top officials is totally based on them getting their excessive salaries, bonuses, and unearned pensions, period! Anything short of a total purge and reform of this agency is just perfume on a very expensive pig!

  13. Donald John Steiger    

    it all started with a floater in my eye three surgeries later now I cannot see out of my right eye and nothing has changed with all of the doctors trying there is scar tissue on the back of my I wish I could see 2020 before all started I never could understand why

  14. Donald John Steiger    

    Could See 20/20 had a floater three surgeries later cannot see out of my right eye years have gone by nothing has ever been done still see the same after everything they’ve done

  15. Tom    

    Let’s start with a basic question that no one seems to ask. Why doesn’t the Department of Veterans Affairs employ Veterans Service Officers? And why would they push filling a claim online when a veteran doesn’t understand the process. This causes claims to be filed incorrectly and not complete. It adds to the backlog.

  16. William Johnson    

    My claim process took over 20 years. The responses I would receive over those years made it clear that either no one was reading the evidence or the process was purposefully deceptive using multiple variations and instances of misdirection. I am pleased that someone is finally taking a look at this. While you are at it, perhaps you can come up with a way for me to actually get the physical therapy and surgery appointments that I have been waiting on for over 1 year and 6 months respectively? Thanks

  17. Jeremy    

    I have now been waiting longer than five years on my initial appeal. This is taking entirely too long! I suppose the good news, is, if it is approved, and payments are retroactive, but that hasn’t helped me the last 5+ years!

  18. js    

    How many Claims are appealed because of defective C&P examinations? This includes the number of appeals that are approved on automatic DRO reviews that don’t end up at the BVA, as well as, those claims that are returned for cause due to C&P examination problems, and those outright granted by the BVA in light of facts that were omitted during the C&P examination that were in the service records, or current treatment records, that were available to the VBA at the time that they make their rating decision.

  19. Maurice Wyman scott    

    The problem at the bva level is instead of justice, they are in the business of covering errors with unrelated legal arguments. In mine they admitted the ro lost my service records but excused them for doing it.

  20. David Long    

    My appeal has been in limbo for just about 4 years. Every time I try to get information on it, I am told the same thing. Its like they read from a prepared statement and no one really cares. My appeal has been in the review process for just about 2 years and it isn’t moving. This is all B.S. The VA sits around and does nothing on appeals and makes you wait. They figure that if you wait long enough, you will die and they won’t have to pay. Then they pat themselves on the back for saving money. This is all just crap.

  21. Dr. David Johnson    

    Part of the Problem is the Call Centers, you call you get the same answer over and over again, No real information, and in part it is because the Call Centers have NO real information, Next you go to E Benefits, for claims there is most of the time a bit more information,( more than the call center has), and you often know where your at, However for Appeals and Remanded Appeals there is NO movement for years, No Information for years, Nothing. After a while you cant even get the VA to respond to an E Mail, let alone answer a question. I’m told there is NO time limit on Remands, but if they need any information they will call you, well there is something I have Never gotten from the VA. Appeals and Remands should be updated on the E Benefits as are Claims. I am also told Call Centers only see what’s in there circle of info, not what the Vet sees. This adds to the Veterans Confusion, and distrust where the VA is concerned.
    Another problem is my Files often get mixed up with another Vet same Name, Different Middle Initial, and oh here’s the kicker we have the same last 4 in Social Security numbers, ain’t that a hoot.. I wonder how many others have that issue?
    So how about this Update where Appeals and Remands really are at in the process on E Benefits? Vets need Information, and real not false info, but real info we can see and read, and understand, that’s my opinion anyway.

  22. Hugh W. Quattlebaum    

    I agree that the appeals process needs to be revamped. My appeal for ischemic heart disease took 27 months. I was only claiming that one condition, and asked for a DRO review. I was granted an increase from 10 percent to 30 percent. The VA had the medical evidence they needed for a long time before I received a new rating. Why did it take so long? Personally, I think most of the VA staff was working on the claims backlog, instead of working on appeals. I will say that I have received great health care from the VA.

  23. Don Frederking    

    Feb. 2012 filed my claim and have been denied twice. Board Veterans Appeal is my next step and I have no idea as to when this will happen. Last week I produce evidence of a shipmate filing his claim and his case was remanded back to the R.O. Columbia S.C.. This evidence will delay my case and the worst part is IF this shipmate needs a Buddy Statement and so do I, we probably went off ship on the same duty, but no one is willing to help. I thought the DAT was designed to help the Veteran find evidence to support his claim. Looks like the VA is failing their duty. Court Martial them and I bet we will see some help.

  24. Gulf Vet    

    What makes me mad is a remand that happens you wait in the rating. The Appeals team rate it but gives you 0% and is stating thing from the C&P that is not true. The C&P clearly is saying something else and that is what would rate it at 50% rating as per the CFR part on rating.

    VBA has some good workers; but some bad ones that make everyone look like —–

  25. joseph luthern    

    I am 80 years old, if things don’t change the VA won’t have to worry about my appeal.

  26. Jon McElderry    

    My appeal s have been denied because there was no information in my service or VA records. What doctor is going to implicate themselves by putting negative comments about their treatment? This puts the veteran at a disadvantage as no one believes the veteran who is not an “expert” whereas the doctors are always considered to be honest and true with their comments in your records.
    If the doctors had recorded information properly when I was in the service I would have been disqualified from submarine duty, but not entering the truth in my records allowed me to continue serving on submarines.

  27. Alan Nesensohn    

    When the VA requests that you come for a C and P hearing you MUST to it within 30 days . Why ?

    1. Dominique Joseph    

      Hi Alan,

      If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re asking about travel board hearings with the Board of Veterans Appeals. The 30-day deadline the Board establishes for you to appear for the hearing is likely to limit further delays in the decision process.

  28. Frank M. Melton    

    I served for 6 months as an Army Reservist in 1962-63. Your web site says all who served before September 7,1980,
    are eligible for health benefits. Why am I not eligible?

    1. John Frykman    

      You must have served on active duty, not reserve.

    2. Dominique Joseph    

      Hi Frank,

      Only current and former Reserves or National Guard members who were called to active duty by a federal order AND completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits. Reserves or National Guard members with active duty for training purposes only do not meet VA health benefits eligibility.

  29. Robert C Walsh    

    I have been awaiting appeal for 13 years they say 7 but I am finally getting a BVA hearing this year. Am I going to have to wait another 7 years for a decision? I am sick with emphasyma and fear I will be dead before any appeal goes through.

  30. Larry Lenzen    

    First of all as a Veteran, when you go to the VA for health care, one should have to take a physical just like one you took when your were Drafted / Joined, with a highly qualified Doctor, that know about what went on where and when, you were stationed, not just actioning like nothing happened, your there for a reason, lets get to the CARE part and not play around with the board of appeals so that they can drag this out for many years

  31. Brennan Kingsland    

    My husband’s appeal just drags on and on, even with follow-up by our local Representative. We both agree that we think they are just waiting for my husband to die so his claim will “go away”

    1. Geo Lopez Georgia    

      I agree that the VA is waiting for Veterans to DIE, I have an appeal since 2012 and no answer to nothing yet. I was a rater with the VA and a VA employee for over twenty years and know how it all worked but I now have to wait like all other veterans and I know how they are feeling.

  32. Royal Gee    

    Why do thee va say that breathing problems are not related to agent orange. We breathed and drank this stuff. I think they denie claims because the appeal process does take so long then they denie these claims. I believe they are waiting for all the Vietnam nam vets to die then the appeal and claims process will be better. I have had breathing problems for a long time. When I registered for the agent orange reg I was told when it turns into cancer come back. I have had skin cancer also and have to prove it was from agent orange. The government told us this was safe so they lied and now don’t want to do anything about our health.

  33. Clyde Betz    

    I never thought that the Veterans Admin. would change working rules to save money like Haas v Nicholsen, and leave Carrier Veterans out in the cold laying the Agent Orange Equity Act 2015 in the lap of a DO – NOTHING CONGRESS when it comes to older Veterans. It makes you ashamed to call yourself a US Veteran. being examined by a 30 year old Psychologist for 10 minutes and she then knows your life story. almost sounds absurd but it’s sad because it’s true. and individuals get pain for this.

  34. The Rev. Ronald S Gauss    

    I find the whole system to be adversarial . You are a liar until you prove yourself truthful by the VA’s version of truth and paperwork. After almost 40 years, there was a notice that the type of heart disease I have was an automatic coverage under agent orange. I made an appointment to get the coverage and found out that the VA wanted 27 years of records from my cardiologist and I had to undergo a physical. After confirmation from the doctor that did my physical I was informed that it wasn’t automatic, and even though it was confirmed, the VA could deny the medical findings etc. this was the same way it was when I returned from Vietnam ! And took 3 appeals to get care and coverage.

  35. Godzilla    

    Now I know where all the test-tube no-conscience children get jobs unless they get elected to congress. Put simply; I have been at war with the VA and their “develop to deny” system for almost three-times as long as I served. By posting this I am sure they will be able to spend more time figuring out who I am instead of working ethically on my claim, and continue to wait me out, as my health deteriorates more every day. Shameful shameful organization that needs to fine EVERY administrative stooge who works there, be disbanded, and to have ALL of their professionals disbarred. Many of these people should be put into prison for their atrocities committed against the veterans of the United States of America. Now I know exactly why these people have an armed police-force..

  36. Robert Masters    

    If the initial process for reviewing claims worked properly, there would likely be less appeals. When a bad decision is made, and then ‘covered up’ to hide internal errors instead of admitting the error and stepping up to correct it by staff at the regional office, veterans have no choice but to appeal.

  37. Steven Buchanan    

    I was examined for one claim, tinnitus. Ironically, one you cannot verify and will not get any disability for. My more serious claims, asthma which requires daily medication to make sure I keep breathing, severe acid reflux -requires daily meds, dead nerves in my back, and so on were never evaluated. I received notification of all claims denied, 0% disability. Tell me the system is working better. It works great for the people getting bonuses for denying claims. Enjoy your “conferences” while vets die.

  38. willie Rhodes    

    The appeal pocess is slow and all ways a but in comment when calling and asking about your claim aa run around


    Since when are your teeth not part of your body??? who in congress was smart enough to decide your teeth have nothing to do with your body ???? my care in Miami area were much better than Tampa area , WHY IS THAT???

  40. Steven Swiger    

    I made an appeal and asked to have a trial at the regional office. They had the trial and decided months ago without even contacting me. I just do not get why the government is never at fault for anything. Now, I don’t think I can even appeal this decision. The system is soooo broken.

    1. Stacey Travis    

      I’ve got one even better, on my initial claim, they waited until the year was up to send me a denial letter. As a matter of fact, it was sent on the last day that I could appeal it which means it was dated exactly to a year but by the time I got the letter, I couldn’t even appeal it because the year had expired.

  41. jim heinrich    

    Wow! It is like you all are having the same results as I am year 1 sent in claim, 1 year later denied, sent in required information, year 2, after a year was denied because of form that was no longer needed, year 3 sent in form that was not needed, after a year (4) now it has ben sent to the Board. How many years dose the board take? I bet that they have warehouses of claims some ware waiting for us to DIE I would like to thank you all for your service and hope you get some results on your claim.

  42. Paul Deutsch    


    Because the veteran can’t provide documents to prove the injury happened while in the military. My wife and I are both veterans and both of us have faced this issue. I know I never had possession of my military medical and dental records. How can I be expected to submit copies of records that I never had. Six years of my service was on foreign bases where the medical and dental was provided by the host nation. NONE of those records are in my Air Force medical records. VA says that if I can’t provide records, provide states from other people who witnessed my injuries. I retired 35 years ago. I did not keep in touch with anybody that I served with. Most of them are probably dead by now anyway. Yes I am being denied disability for injuries I had during my 21 years of service because I can’t prove the injuries happened during those 21 years.

  43. jeff sabia    

    If your appeal is remanded and found in your favor, i.e. go from 70% to 100%, does the VA owe retro-active pay from original file date? I have been waiting on AMC for 9 months to change my effective date! It should not take this long to correct one date.

    1. Clifton C Wynter Sr.    

      I had the same problem that you are speaking on so I wrote to the Under Secretary Sloan Gibson for Veterans Compensation and Benefits at United States Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue N.W Washington, DC 20420. To aid with the search for your medical service records make sure that your Name, service number, Branch of service, year you enter/discharged is I your request.

      Retired Vet

  44. Skip    

    I just wonder why does the VA continuously fail it’s Veterans. There is absolutely no logic and sense in the way the handle appeals.

  45. Billy J Shafer    

    The VA lost my records three years ago. A month before I was supposed to have an Agent Orange exam. Wasn’t that nice of them.Several calls to the VA with no answers. Well they did return one call a year and half later. No help. Found a lady in the Montana VA system willing to help me. I live in Texas. She found out more in four days than the VA has in three years. Sent her my request for records form. She sent it to the Waco VA office which promptly lost it. Waited a month and resent the form to the system. It bounced from the Waco office to the Temple office for three weeks. Then they send me a letter to the wrong address. Even though my current address is clearly on the form. Telling me I must submit the same form they already have again.

    I have had three heart attacks a stroke plus some other health problems. Which I am told were related to Agent Orange. My health is getting worse as the months go on. All I am asking for is the healthcare I was promised when I signed up. I held up my side of the contract. Why can’t the Govt do the same.

    The VA should have a motto. Kill a vet get a bonus.

  46. Stacey Travis    

    The VA promised in the overhaul things would get better but it’s apparent nothing has changed and in fact it has gotten worse. It shouldn’t take an appeal three to five years to be approved or denied but OMG mess around and owe them for an overpayment. I have two appeals of which one is on a four year old claim but the overpaid me on educational benefits; debt management and I set up a payment arrangement but my regional office where my appeal is sitting started taking the money out for the overpayment before it was scheduled to be deducted. That was so humiliating to know that the same office that sits on my appeal jumped up and withheld money before the repayment start date and has even went back 3 years and claim I owe a pension payment but yet sits and throws my appeal in the corner. So that lets me know they are doing what they want to do and they are addressing what they want to because if you can sit and go back three well four know and find an overpayment for pension you can look at that appeal.

  47. vickie    

    I have been waiting for 8yrs for a claim, but still being denied. My husband filed 8 yrs ago 3months before his death! At a local VA hospital no less. I have filed to get medical records which is a joke because the pertinent information has mysteriously disappeared! ! It amazes me that the government makes all these decisions and probably 99 percent of them didnt even serve! I am going to try to find a lawyer that will take care of this for me because I will not give up.

  48. Judy Panichi    

    My husband has been trying for many years to get benefits, he was drafted went into the Army with good hearing and a decent outlook on life and came out with terrible hearing due to his job while serving and a angry outlook on life. It seems unless a veteran served during war and in a war zone there is no help for them. I was raised to love God, country and all others after but that’s not the way the world is today. Not much is done for those who gave so much.

  49. Stephen Sliss Jr    

    I am going to my 16th VA-Board of Veterans Appeals over a 35 years period.
    The VA, White House, Congress, IG, Justice Dept., and the U.S. News Media will not give U.S. Veterans PEACE on there VA Claims. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE NO MORE !! That is really a BIG LIE !!
    If you really want to thank me, finish up on my VA claims.


    Hello, just wanted to ask a question. My husband had his appeal and was approved for part of what he was asking for but did not agree on the determination for the other part. Is there anyway to appeal an appeal if you don’t agree? Please let me know if there is a process for this.
    Thank you.

  51. Edmund H. Carpenter Jr.    

    I have been working on claims for nearly 3 years which is short for others. This process can be shorten if Congress will act. I have had a Congressional Representative and US Senator inquire about my claims and the VA always give them old information. I am going tom send them what is really going on and try again to get correct information.

  52. Elpidio M. Osteria    

    If our adjudicators are really very well verse with all the provisions of title 38 there will be no need for an Appeal. The problem is there knowledge is very limited that they are even confused about implementing the provisions of the law. A simple demonstration is my case regarding the implementation of SMC “K” for the lost of function of both buttocks. They claimed that it will be double compensation if this is awarded on account of the disease had already been used to arrive at my current rating under SMC “L” for need for Aid and Attendance. However, if you read the provisions of the law, it clearly states that it is added to any basic disability rating or to any SMC rating with limitation on the over all compensation amount for the basic rating it should exceed the amount paid to SMC “L” and for all other SMC rating not to exceed the amount paid to SMC “O”. It has been a year now since I filed my appeal and up to now there is no response when the problem is very simple and all the evidences are already staring them right in front of their place.

  53. James Weaver    

    There is simple answer to all of this V A problems give all veterans a medicare card go to any doctor of your choice, end of story.

    1. Gayle Glick    

      Robert Masters .. I agree wholeheartedly. they said nothing in my medical records showed cause for my problems .. yet when I finally got them .. over 50 pages after careful run through. If they had looked the first time rather than a standard ‘there’s nothing there’ .. and my last C&P doctor (if you want to call him that) said .. you have no problems that anybody else your age has’ . Gee he doesn’t know anybody except disabled people then!

      Why is this meeting not including a team of veterans who are waiting for a Board Hearing. Let’s get some realism into these ‘let fix things’ meetings held behind closed doors. Is the VA going to post video from the meeting?? I think all of us would like to see what’s going on to supposedly fix our problems.

  54. John McMahon    

    Why bother, I’m retired from the Air Force, 78 years old, suffer several Agent Orange effects from Viet Nam exposure, should file but if I do and get an award, every dollar the VA gives me comes from my retired pay….. What’s the point ? Probably wouldn’t live long enough to get a decision anyway…..

    1. Clifton C Wynter Sr.    

      For you to keep your retired pay you have to get fifty or more percent from the VA and at 78 Years I feel that their is more then AO.

  55. SIXTO DE JESUS    

    It takes longer in PR either Claims or Appeals.

  56. Patrick Lawrence Chard    

    bout 2 weeks later here came a Vietnam medal and a dd215. They came on wensday and the local VA clinik called the next day and told me I had a DRS appointment the next week and I Have had claims in since 2011 took a year and a half to get a answer from the VA. With my DENILES I filled a appeal and have had TWO CMPS. They said it was a year from my first CMP and I had my second was with a DR. Of Psycolgy and Haven’t heard any thing since Jan. 19, 2016. They have at my bitter end. Getting food from the church and from the local food bank. No money left and lots of DR. And Meds Expeness. I have tapped out my credit Union and savings My wife has had 2 open Heart surgeys and I have had 4 major surgeys in the last year. The VA won,t help at all. I NEED help with Medical and prescription CO Pays.. Any help would be nice. Patrick USAF 4years and 9 months.
    Patrick L Chard
    North Bend Oregon
    Have a great day

  57. Filiberto Jimenez    

    Many veterans who serve in peace time are not eligible for compensation for the unfair reason that they don’t serve a day in combat. This may no sense. How a veteran who serve in peace time may have a day in war time?

    1. Clifton C Wynter Sr.    

      Benefits and compensation are not only for combat Veterans. Its for all Veterans under Title 38. Code of Federal Regulation,3.309 (A).

  58. Cody Nelson    

    My disability claim was dismissed due to the fact my branch of service took too long to give the VA my DD-214. I am now in the appeals process, and reading this article just made it that much more discouraging. Sad thing is I am not even appealing the percentage, I am just trying to get them to reopen my claim.

  59. Paul Coleman    

    I’m currently rated at 50% and every claim that I’ve filed has been denied by the RO but were approved by the BVA.

    That is why there is such a huge backlog of claims and appeals. Plus I have a remand that is 6 years and 29 days old.

    If a private business operated like the VA it would have gone under within two weeks.

  60. Ronald Willis    

    The Hines Veteran’s Hospital in Illinois (there’s the Illinois connection again), among other serious matters, allowed veterans to die, rather than cooperate with Republicans in congress who are trying to investigate misconduct. In other words, they placed their petty partisan political beliefs ahead of the lives of patients, all of whom put their very lives on the line to protect our nation.
    This story highlights the problem in the entire federal bureaucracy which has been run and populated for decades by entrenched political appointees, who can not be fired for misconduct. It’s not just VA, but every bureau of the federal government, the workers in which are governed by powerful labor unions, and leftist policies and corruption. Elected officials come and go, but these politically appointed slugs remain no matter who wins an election.
    Is this going to be another endless federal investigation which gets swept under the rug, with no closure or prosecution? Will those responsible for this corruption be held accountable for their crimes? Time will tell. If not by our so-called “Justice” Department, then who? On a broader scale, it’s not just the VA with these problems, but the entire federal and in some cases state and local governments as well.

  61. Billy Smith    

    I think an Appeal takes years because Va does not want to pay the Veteran for a disability claim, if they did want to pay the Veteran just pay the Veteran and stop using all the tricks you can find in the system to deny the claim. The biggest trick is to ignore favorable evidence if you think no one’s looking. Another one is tie to the hands of the BVA by not mentioning evidence you have before you to make the BVA to have to Remand the case back to you. Now this is just some of what the VA do to delay and deny claims and the VA should stop blaming the Veteran for these delays.

    Now if a Veteran didn’t do their job as a soldier they would not have become a Veteran they would have gotten kick out of service or something like that.

    Their must be something to gain by doing this and other tricks on Veterans.

    Like I said if the Va wanted to to pay Veterans for their Disability then do it.

  62. foster Brodie    

    These people. Are. correct….. The va suck…

  63. Thomas G. Banks    

    I have had several incidents that I feel are related to Agent Orange: Peripheral neuropathy; Right ureter issue; and heart . issues. I am also on the Agent Orange Registry. I have been submitting claims for many years, all of which were rejected. My last claim is sitting on someone’s desk in an unknown location according to the VA Office in Deland, FL. I guess nobody cares about the Vietnam Veterans! They just want us to die and go away. What a government we have today! What happened to all the changes that were going to happen in order to better serve our veterans? As usual, we were lied to again! I am not giving up and I am not going away!

  64. Carlton T. Gross    

    My comment disappeared…second this place

  65. Carlton T. Gross    

    Ebennies chat told me three different NOD wait periods…..367, 556, and 588 all three weeks apart! Where do they get these numersLOL???

  66. T. Lane    

    I know what the problem is. I’m VA retired and I’m a service connected veteran. I waited 8.3 years for an appeal to process through. I absolutely hate how the VA uses C&Ps by a VA provider as law in deciding claims. Especially if some of us uses a DBQ and a outside specialist. I’ve seen it happen a ton of times.

  67. Jesse W. Mayo    

    My name is Jesse Warren Mayo, retired U.S.A.F.R. (1996),U.S.A.R. (1976-79), active duty Air Force (1971-75). Head injury from falling from a moving (20-30 mph) U.S. military mail van in 1974 at U’Dorn Royal Thai Air Force base. I incurred facial abrasions below my left eye, both wrists, both knees, aching hips. I have since had left knee surgery, both knees drained several times, have been diagnosed needing both hips replaced in 2014, painful hip injections in 2015, and a candidate for neck surgery in 2005, which I have not done. Double by-pass open heart surgery in 1997. I have been waiting since 2011 on a final decision from the VA. On my decision from the our VA Regional Office (Denver, CO) in 2013, I received “0” disability points because of replies from the VA doctors that like “I looked as thought I’d healed well”, “that I am a 62 year man trying to get VA disability”, “how was my drive up from Colorado Springs”, “that I was originally from Lake Charles, La”, and that they had been there before and the “food was good”. Now, after filing an appeal to that decision after a revisit to Denver in 2014 requesting a BVA review, all that I receive every 3 to 4 months are notices from the VA stating that my case is still waiting on a BVA judge. Thus, my claim has been in for over 5 years now. This is how ex service members are treated.

  68. john    


  69. Karl Boderck    

    Had much to say about the appeal system. All was lost because CAPTCHA was wrong what a poor system.

  70. Jacob Brintle    

    My claims and appeals have been in for about four + years now and have heard nothing as of yet. I been asking about them and they keep telling me they are in motion, whatever that means. I talked to the P and C nurse about a scar on my thumb and didn’t let me explain the hole story with my finger next to my thumb. I can’t bend the tip part of my finger due to the injury occurring in the galley when i was TAD on my first cruse. The ringing in my ears has gotten worse. The , TBI, head aches are worse than before, and on and on.

  71. Jack H. Agee    

    After a comment and put the submitting information requested below, comes back and says I entered wrong CAPTCHA Code and every thing is lost just like the VA.

  72. Marco Lagos    

    That this mean that when I appeal my appeal I will get someone that actually has a clue about what my job consisted of. My appeal was denied because the judge that heard my appeal did not know what a C-130 was, what the different types of missions we had and was totally clueless when it came to special ops missions. How do I go about getting my appeal heard again?

  73. Gary Setehen Gill    

    I started my appeal about 5 years ago. During that time is sat in St. Louis while another issue was badly handled by VARO. When it was finally sent to the Board of Veterans Appeals because of the poor work by St. Louis, it was remanded. The decision was finally decided in my favor but that too had, I believe, an error. I appealed the decision and ebenefits shows that it was received on September 29th and promised correspondence. Now, going on 6 months I still haven’t received correspondance acknowledging my appeal. Based on recent experience, it looks like I am in for another long wait. I would hope that 4 (now 5) years would be considered way, way too long to resolve an appeal with the clock still running. This is wrong. The appeal process is broken and needs to be fixed.

  74. Petra    

    Having worked at the VA I can say one thing that hurts many of us is the fact the veteran is assuming the person looking at the claim is a medical expert. There are certain things they look for in your “EVIDENCE” which the veteran fails to often prove.

    Just as judges in courtrooms aren’t experts in every field regarding each case..Eg: The claimant has a lawsuit against a mechanic. The judge knows nothing about cars but hey provide step by step factual evidence of the why, how and when of that claim.

    That allows the judge to make an informed decision. Veterans must present evidence as they would standing in a courtroom.

    Look at the guidelines they MUST abide by according to law. 38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities

    Connect the dots. If something is NEW then file as such
    If it is secondary…show the connection and have evidence by a doctor.

    Chances are if you dont have a current diagnosis and record of treatments it will get denied.

    Join sites and learn from other veterans. Not just veterans that complain but those that empower you and share knowledge.

    1. Joe Hemi    

      Only problem with your statement is the fact that, as you stated, VARO employees are NOT medical experts but they override an medical specialist like an Ortho Doc that makes +$1,000,000.00 a year because they are either too dumb, or too lazy to research what the doctor has stated.

      My rater at the local VARO has an IQ of roughly 85 and the DRO has and IQ of maybe 95 at the most. neither of them has the intelligence, technical background and/or training, or the knowledge and understanding of 38 CFR to properly process, rate and approve a claim.

      As a result of this I will spend the next 6 to 8 years fighting a denial of a simple claim.

      VARO need to hire employees that have the capability to perform their assigned duties not because the fall into a “special” group instead of being the most qualified applicant for the job.

    2. Clifton C Wynter Sr.    

      When you sad having worked at the VA I hope that you work in Compensation and Benefits because you would know that no veteran has a copy of guidelines 38 CFR book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Also if you have read many of these post you will understand that must time evidence is not the problem withholding evidence is the problem.

  75. T. Lane    

    Here put this on the VA blog, if you dare. As a retired VA employee I’ve seen times when under secretaries mentioned taking care of our STAKEHOLDERS many many times. In your article, you mentioned them as VSOs, elected officials, and others. Who are the others? Veterans? I don’t know about my other brother and sister veterans, but my input has never been asked for regarding trends and data. As mentioned earlier, I know what the problem with VA is. The ancients had a word to describe their leaders and the same word could be used to describe the front or bow of a boat. They used that word interchangeably because those leaders like the bow of a boat can guide the rest through rocky difficult areas along the seashore. Where the bow goes the stern follows. You have a leadership that has been accused of coverups, data manipulation and using their influence to access positions that fill the need to retirement and in the process, the VA pays for their expensive moves. Leadership is damaged goods. Now is not the time to simply repair the bow but to abandon ship and start anew. The question is, who has the guts to do it? Who will fight all these special interest groups and VSOs to start anew?

    1. Clifton C Wynter Sr.    

      I think you are so right about the word Stakeholders. Maybe the Head of the RO’s should be elected officials and should run every four years or a process to remove them from that post and stop having the RO’s believed that their job is a life time position.

  76. Tyrone Hall    

    I have been waiting since 2008 for my appeal! And VA Remanded my appeal last year to Winston- Salem for them to make a decision on my TDIU. I haven’t held a job because of my disabilities. When will they give me a rating.

  77. Dennis R. Reeves    

    The VA appeal process is nothing but a joke. They used the same judge 3 times on my appeals. He did not give the same reasons for my denial on any of the three appeals. He lied on all 3 appeals and I can prove it, but the VA does not give a damn.One of the reasons for my denial is that I was exposed to asbestos while in the Air Force. OSHA was not created until 1972, since I was exposed in 1962 and thyere is no record of it , they say that I was not exposed while in service. That reason will not hold up in a court of real law that they do not control. I* am not a lawyer and I can shoot holes in that theory.

  78. Nicholas Roy    

    My claim took so long and was denied without me so much as having an appointment. I had moved to another state. I had appointments get scheduled and canceled for I don’t know why. I’ve asked for help over and over. I’ve sent letters and forms and all I ever get back are letters telling me to send my letters to a different address. The VA denied my claim saying there was no evidence for things they’re treating me for that are well documented. It’s shameful.

  79. Jay Krambeck    

    I tried to get disability for something but the va didn’t do their job and when I tried to fax the documents they needed it went to a room with no one in it, I checked. I sure I wasn’t the only one either.

  80. Karl Boderck    

    My VA location cannot be reached by phone. On hold for 30-45 minutes and I hang up. On my last visit I confronted one of the people in the office and they said its because they need more help. Well that is amusing as my wife applied for a position there and was told that they don’t need any one at this time. I observed the clerical staff answering phones. An example. the clerk answered a call put it on hold went out of the office to get a drink which she brought back. She sat down and proceeded to chat with another worker. The phone call was totally unimportant. These people need training in customer service because there is none there. This may very well be a similar problem with the appeal system, it needs fixing now not a year from now but now. To many Vets are suffering while they wait for a decision.

  81. ddoo louis    

    VA has found each method of speeding up process then changed it to make longer.
    The price we pay is isis, homeland security, N Korea, etc.
    President can not send people in to War without Insurance which is practically non existing.
    don’t blame Obama for not fixing system, he has to concentrate on allowing people access to the border
    even violated congress to help outsiders yet nothing for vets and he’s suppose to be Commander and Chef of the Military. should be on GQ mag instead of President.
    Welcome Donald Trump-savior from Mulsium President

  82. grant boolin    

    I would like to know why it is that when a veteran that is unmarried passes away and has a claim under appeal why the children aren’t allowed to stand in ? Me being the only heir and son to a vet that had a claim under appeal after a five year process was informed I am not allowed to stand in because I’m not a spouse. After this claim had been denied three previous times due to “lost records” and a multitude of other reasons for denial my father finally somehow obtained his exit physical from Vietnam that absolutely proved with the prior evidence presented by the government showed the handwritten changes on the records and so carelessly done that the dates were wrong even after the scribbled attempt to change it. During the last few months before the appeal hearing my dad was diagnosed with stage 4lung cancer due to AO exposure and passed away a month before the appeal date. Afterwards the govt sent a letter addressed to my father informing him he is now deceased And therefore the matter on appeal would be dismissed unless a suitable stand in stepped foreward. Jus because my father wasn’t married doesn’t mean he wasn’t still due those benefits. Its a disgrace to him and his surviving family. I fought va 3 years for 1600 burial reimbursement after they made me submit all documents 4 times . He passed away in a VA facility and 100. % disabled but still three years. What a crying shame. He was so proud to have served and he would only be ashamed in his despicable treatment after he had passed.

    1. Fay Vaughan    

      If you had to pay any of his bills for his last illness and for his burial, you can file for those. Go see your local VSO to do this. Take a copy of all those bills showing them paid by you and take a copy of the probate paper showing you as executor of the estate and they will file for you. Good Luck.

  83. Anne Clark    

    As up to date as the World is with Computers it’s absolutely a disgrace as to how long this takes. My husband a wounded Viet Nam Veteran like many should have had benefits years ago, he’s been out since 67. One of his claims was put into the system in 2013 and it just SAT THERE until 2015, then the man put 1 illness down not both, so he’s s screwed there also. He has to fight for the wrong date plus now 2 illnesses instead of 1.
    We are seniors, I have no doubt we will most likely be dead before this is resolved. I have made up my mind though he deserves this for Serving His Country and being wounded. He was only 20 in Viet Nam, it has affected my entire family through the years, we were married young so I’ve gone through the entire 54 years of trauma with him, and our children for many years also.
    I wonder how many children’s lives as well as mine have been affected by Viet Nam, now he has to fight AGAIN for what he deserves. Absolutely disgraceful. And all he keeps saying is “Semper Fi “

  84. richard rogers    

    yes I see you work for the va so this post wont mean a thing. I waited 42 years before I got a decision at all they gave me 100% but it took 42 years to get anything thanks for my life being almost over va. Also my father was ijn ww2 and korea he was denied and appealed he has been waiting since 1951 you tell me its broke are you kidding I think everyone at va needs to be fired but that’s impossible because they do not fire anyone at va they promate.

  85. Jim Harris    

    In addition to all else the VA claim system is vindictive. The military records repository in St. Louis lost all my military records for my last 16 years of service. The VA sent me a letter giving me 10 days to sent them any medical records I had. Luckily, I had a complete copy of my medical records. It took 11 days to a copy to the VA through my VSO. On the 11th day they denied my claim for lack of records. (Notice how fast they work when they want to deny a claim.) My VSO told me just to live with it. It took my congressman to get my claim reinstated. On April’s Fool Day, Halloween and Christmas they denied different parts of my claim. The odds of that happening on those holidays is about equal to winning the lottery. Oh, and by the way, they lost my entire claim not once but twice. Had to start over with new submittal dates. They would not honor the old dates before the claim was lost. The VA doesn’t like congress meddling in their business….they take revenge out on the veteran…….the people they are supposed to be helping.

  86. Danny S. Dolan    

    I had a hearing before a BVA judge on 9/11/14. She requested a nexus letter which I later submitted. She stated that she had a 2 year backlog. I have checked the VA website numerous times and it still shows I am waiting for a docket number and hearing. Because my original case was filed as completed when it wasn’t, it took 999 days to get an initial partial determination, and the VA used someone else’s medical records to make the original decision, I am concerned that the on-line records do not indicate that I have had a hearing. I am also wondering if my nexus letter has been added to my records. I have tried using chat and phone calls to the VA but all I am told is that I am waiting for a hearing even after I explain that I already had one.

  87. Robert Taylor    

    I have been under appeal since 2009. I will have a hearing this month to see if my case can be decided at the state level instead.If not, In another 6 years my case should get to Washington , I, if I’m not dead by then, or if not me, my wife will finally get justice, MAYBE?

  88. Michael Thomas Phillips    

    In Sept. 1972 off the North Vietnam shores I was on the USS Providence CLG6. We turned into a river. and I was on GQ on Air Aft. Manning the TDT’s The action was intense . I was on station on Air Aft with someone that told the VA that I was there as an US aircraft. open their doors and dropped out “Agent Orange”. I was told that it is only for the vegetation and does not effect the humans. I received a direct hit of this Agent orange and all on the Air Aft on this GQ on the Uss Providence CLG6.
    Now in 2016 I have for the last almost 2 years sent a request to the VA for composition . I have 10% ( ringing in my ears. But my PAS is over 10 with my pre diabetes in the starting state. I am in the DAV. But the VA has denied me every time even when I show and have a person how has compositions higher that I do with lower medical showing. I have my medical records under MyHealth.ORG . Why is the VA not looking at me as a Vietnam not as someone that is denied after denied commotions. T am “service connected” . DAV has helped me but the VA has time on time said I was only to get 10% for the ringing in the ears not the PSA over 10 or the Pre diabetes I am into now. I served my country from Feb1964 to June 1979. and I retired from the Brockton VA as a GS5 step5 in 2008. Can any one help me?

  89. Mike Jarrett    

    I filed a claim for Individual Unemployability and increase. Claim for IU was deferred for :additional development, I received increase for spinal condition.
    The IU decision stated: A review of evidence indicates I meet schedular criteria for IU and am unable to work due to my SC disabilities. Therefore the issue of entitlement to IU is deferred for the following : additional development.
    Then when the PVA and I filed claim for IU again it was denied stating I did not meet IU criteria.
    Someone please explain to me just how this can happen and why.
    I am so baffled by this and my PVA representative told me that in 20 plus years of doing claims this decision is one of the most confusing to him.

    1. Fay Vaughan    

      Your letter should tell why, but you can appeal this decision or you can ask for a reconsideration and someone else will have to look at it and make a new decision before it goes back to the board.

  90. Yvonne    

    My husband, a Vietnam War veteran, died 3 years ago, 2013. He filed a claim in 2010, was denied, and then filed an appeal in 2012 before his death. I signed up to be his surrogate claimant in 2013. I made several trips to the Regional Office to seek information about the status. Nada. In 2014, I received notice that his file had been sent to BVA. When I inquired why it took so long, there was just a lot of fingerpointing between the RO and the BVA. Finally, I was told, “You’re getting close. It typically takes 4 years. Call back in a year”. After reading several blogs citing the same inefficient operations, I have only ONE question: Why does the VA exist if it doesn’t perform to the benefit of its Veterans? Everybody knows about the problems, but nothing is ever done to satisfactorily deal with them. If it was a profit-making business, it would be out of business!

  91. Michael Lane Sr.    



    Michael Sr

  92. James D Hawkins    

    I have stated this over and over again, It would be cheaper and more effective to dissolve the VBA and grant all Veterans who are not dishonorably discharged with full benefits. Using the huge and untold sums of monies currently wasted on VBA employees, their benefits, their insurances, their retirements, the facilities needed to give them a cushy place to work, the equipment needed, the transportations, the legals fees used to take them to court for not doing their jobs, the bonus, the housing costs, etc. Ditto for the VHA group. (note some dishonorable discharged Vets required review if they were suffering from mental health issues when the offence(s) occurred, which warranted a discharge.

  93. Raymond E Nantais    

    Hi, Guys and Gals. I’ve read all your notes and letters and don’t blame any of you for the way you feel. We were all in this together, and no one is better than, or deserves any more recognition than any other brother or sister. I’m Canadian, I was drafted and I went, Nov. 67, through Nov. 68. 25th Infantry, 4th/23rd TayNinh and the ominous Black Virgin Mountain. I’m sure if you were there you’d remember that place. Lost a lot of guys there. I carried a friend of mine off the field to dust off. He was riddled with bullet holes and covered with flies. To this day I still don’t know if he lived or died. His first name is Van and I can’t remember his last name or any other names of any of the other guys I served with. Must be some kind of mental block, I don’t know. That’s what they tell me. What I’ve always thought though was, how cool it would be, to be able to see him again if he is still with us or at least see and talk to any of his family about him and us if he is not. I still remember and have night mares of times there, one in particular of hiding in a bomb crater while being shot at and losing bodily functions there, and of pulling friends out of APC’s after they struck a mine. I guess all of us have stories that still plague us, but I wonder if someone might read this, that I knew at that time and we could get together again and maybe put more of this behind us. I could be remembered by a nick name they gave me, don’t laugh, it was, Flower Power. Maybe this thing would allow us to exchange e-mails. I remember the guy in the movie Platoon saying, If you make it home from here and back to the world, from then on it’s all Gravy. Ya, think again eh? Ray

  94. Raymond E Nantais    

    Hey did you get my message?

  95. Kathleen Wolfe    

    When is our government going to take the sanctions off Monsanto and make them pay for killing our veterans. Shame on this government because they gave the o.k. to use Agent Orange knowing full well the consequences. How much did Monsanto pay our government for the sanctions they got. Now we cannot sue them for something that they and our government should certainly be held accountable for.

  96. Al Contreras    

    You say that you at the VA under stand our frustration and that we deserve better, and yet, it is you at theVA who are making these decisions and causing theses unacceptable delays.

  97. Francis Moran    

    Thank you for all your help and information and patience

  98. Dan Franklin    

    From my perspective are there some actions that the VA and Veterans Service Organizations could take to reduce the number of appeals? Is there some additional web based training that could be provided on how to prepare and document a claim?

    For example too often I hear the phrase … Well… just file an appeal. Instead of lets sit down and review/discuss the VA decision letter and the evidence provided to the VA, discuss the evidence needed to support your claim….and ask the following questions:

    – – What evidence does the VA require to document each of your conditions as published in Title 38 USC Book C? See

    – Have your conditions worsened? Have we identified all of your medical issues?

    – Do we have all of your conditions documented? Have we reviewed Title 38 for each of your claims to ensure the evidence provided supports each of your disability claims?

    – Have any of your conditions that you are filing for caused other issues?

    – Do you have any additional medical evidence to support your claim.

    For example

    – – – A VA decision letter denies a claim for urinary incontinence from the residuals of prostate surgery. The medical evidence provided with the claim stated the patient has urinary incontinence as a result of the prostate surgery and did not document how often the individual changes pads each day.

    — An individual with service connected for diabetes type II has urinary frequency issues. The doctors medical notes simply state the individual frequently gets up at night to urinate or frequently urinates during the day but does not detail how often the individual urinates over a period of time.

    – – – An individual has acid reflux or gerd on active duty and includes medical info from his or her record to support the claim for acid reflux and does not include medical evidence for heart burn or difficulty swallowing. The VA rules published in Title 38 require claims for Gerd (Hiatal hernia, I believe) require individuals to document acid reflux and heart burn or acid reflux and difficulty swallowing. If the claim does not meet the VA criteria published in Title 38, the VA will deny it.

    Is the evidence provided to the VA organized in such a manner to best support the claim…or did the service officer simply list a number of conditions on a VA claim form and list the military treatment facilities that the individual was treated by and send the claim off to the VA? …this is what happened to a friend of mine who had some very significant medical conditions. The individual failed to tell the service officer that he had a detailed table documenting each of his medical conditions by page number form his military medical record. I subsequently reminded his sister of this and she took his records to the service officer.

    – – My recommendations are for veterans to make a complete copy of their record and number each page, then make a second working copy. Put the original up. Next build a table in Word with columns for page number, date seen, doctor seen, what the veteran was seen for, and some notes on any significant issues/findings. Then complete the table for each time the veteran was seen in a clinic or hospital. The table can then be sorted by medical condition with pages from the medical record attached in chronological order by medical condition.

    In closing I am not a service officer or lawyer, do not work for the VA and have no medical training. I mentor wounded warriors. It is my sense that a general lack of understanding/knowledge of the VA disability award process and medical evidence needed to document a claimed disability significantly contributes to the backlog in the disability award process and further overburdens the VA’s appeals process.

  99. Edgar    

    It seems to me most of the employees working at the regional office was people hired of the streets and don’t have a clue as to what men and women who have served as been through. I veterans are constantly lie to and many time when it is clear va don’t adhere to their own policies and procedures. But they are quick to say think you for your service, and they really show most veterans how much they think them by lying and making them suffer long periods of time unnecessarily.

  100. Rodney j. birdine    

    I have a initial claim I filed in 1998, I have been denied at the RO level in 1999, it has been remanded several times from the board to the RO, I am currently in hardship status, I have been paying out of pocket for aid due to my spine and bioNeck. All if my 1st. Enlistment records were lost. Only thing they have is my enlistment at meps, I did a split tour and was in aanother MVA that I am receiving benefits for, I had 3 class mates that was stationed with me to write statement to attest to my injuries they totally disregarded the statements after I was told to get them. It’s at the board ince again. A longgg process.

  101. Timothy J Montgomery    

    I served in VietNam 1965-1966. Thanks to Agent Orange I have had Non Hodgkins T cell Lymphoma, Skin Cancer, Prostate Cancer and am at 60%. I have Sleep Apena, which is covered if you complained about it within a year of service. They did ot hear of Sleep Apena 50 Years ago, so I am not covered. I have Peripheral Neuropathy in both legs, but I am not Diabetic so it is not covered. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety and some PTSD Not covered all of which were turned down because I did not complain within a year of service. They never.heard of Peripheral Neuropathy 50 years ago. I also have Artheritis throughout all my joints. also covered but not for me.. I have had a Compensation and Compensation meeting. and still have had no response

  102. Linda coutts    

    I was raped and filed the forms. It went on for several years. Appeals said I wasn’t in the military. They even have copies of the orders showing I was. I finally gave up after the va person sent my appeal paperwork to the wrong office and I was notified it didn’t go to appeals in time. I had the proof it was, registered return. It’s impossible to deal with them….

  103. Cheryl Bange-King    

    We initially filed for disability in 2004, my husband is a Vietnam Veteran diagnosed with AML Leukemia. We were denied of course because it wasn’t CML Leukemia. Denied again in 2011, then received notice of new and material evidence, resubmitted, VARO denied again, NOD sent March of 2012, BVA reviewed and docket assigned in 2013. Remanded back to VARO June 2015, C& P exam September 2015. Denied again at VARO because examiner opined it was not Agent Orange/Benzene related even though they have medical literature stating a relationship. My husband went through many rounds of chemo, hospitalization, remissions, twenty-one bone marrow aspirations, full body radiation and finally a bone marrow transplant—–all of this through my private insurance but SSOC states they have all that info and the info from Social Security Disability. Appeal is back at BVA but we cannot get information or a decision. My husband is alive but still has health issues and financially we are barely keeping it together. VARO is St.Louis. We contacted Congressman Blaine Leutkemeyer and Senator Claire McCaskill but that has not helped at all. We are so discouraged and frustrated!!! Is there any hope??

  104. Cheryl Bange-King    

    E-Benefits states my husband’s remanded appeal at the BVA is complete and with the Board, docket 13-12 822….Will we be getting a decision anytime soon? These are supposed to be handled expeditiously and in docket order, also it is a Vietnam Veteran Agent Orange appeal. Is there any where to go for actual, current information besides the numbers they give?

  105. Lynn E Reese    

    Recent discharges/ resignations of overseers of VA claims due to sexual misbehavior with the claim that none of their negative judgments had anything to do with the sex or orientation of the Veteran claimants is very hard to believe.
    Those who show such poor judgment in their sexual behavior as VA employees will not/did not let that same poor judgment effect their personal rejection of vet claims is hard to believe.

  106. Robert Steven Dawson    

    The issue is all about open and honest communication. The system is set for failure. The players in this “game” are ill informed or working to game the system.

    I have attended Department of Veterans Affairs meetings for Vets seeking to be employed. Rather than addressing the employment issue we were given a short lecture on how to apply for VA Compensation Benefits. The points made were very clear. Do this even if you do not suffer from any service connected situation. They actually provided tips on how to get compensation for various situations. That comes from Vets, now being paid and to perform this “service” and they are collecting compensation benefits and retirement as well. The head guy at my event proudly told us how he retired after 27 years of service, now gets 80% disability benefits and is paid to work at the State Unemployment Office to “educate” Vets.

    The other part of the system that is broken are the VSO’s that all say they are here for us. Problem is, they rarely understand the Laws of The Department of Veterans Affairs (there is an actual book that you can buy, cost $71.00, of the most recent law) and as such they provide bogus information. I have been represented by the local DAV Office and have been a witness to this first hand. They fill out forms okay but beyond that, the advice (and in one case my advice was to claim something I actually do not suffer from) they provide conflicts from person to person. The VSO’s need to be vetted and educated and more importantly held accountable for being an adviser to Vets.

    Then we have the medical and mental health professionals. This group has no idea of what the Department of Veterans Affairs has for guidelines. They are completely in the dark. This is important because if they knew they could prevent Vets from actually filing claims and appeals that they know are doomed to be denied because they simply do not meet the minimum standards. Instead it is a free-for-all for filing claims and that clogs the system and those Vets who are truly suffering wind up waiting years to be heard and we all know what that does to you.

    Lastly, the mis-use of filing claims. False claims, especially those that are done with the help of VSO’s and paid Department of Veterans Affairs individuals need to be subject to fines and perhaps jail time.

  107. Pamela Melby    

    Sorry, I hit the wrong key, lets finish this.
    As I was saying their great new “smart pill and other drugs or equipment” are so expensive and not covered by most insurance companies, including Tri-Care that know one can afford to test them. The VA and our great Government have put the very people who allow them to have their high paid, cushy, behind a desk jobs where they leave them jobs without ever having to worry about healthcare or what it really is ” care for Obama care ” that they won’t be required to use. Nor will they ever stand in an unemployment line waiting to apply for or see if they are even going to receive them, for how long or how much. When their terms are up the should be treated the exact same way as a soldier or civilian, oh, you lost your job, well maybe you can get a small unemployment check and here’s the address and phone number of your local Food Stamp office and food pantry.
    Then they give you what they call is a “VA BACKED” home loan. What they haven’t told Vets who lost their homes over the last few years is that it wasn’t only the banks fault. Mostly, probably yes with Well’s Fargo being at the top. However, the VA requires you to take out a MINIMUM OF 140,00.00 in order for them to back it. You need a place for you and your children to lay your head at night so it’s either this or God only knows where. To top it off you are approved for much more, so new home buyers tend to think, well if they say I can afford it I must be able to. The problem with that is that they DO NOT take into consideration the cost of regular neccities, food, electricity, insurance, and the cost of clothing and all the other things it takes to live, just to name a few. So now you have this beautiful home and you are fine for a little while, then the smallest life changing event happens and even though you knew you couldn’t afford that big payment they got you to take anyway now you are stuck. The banks that are supposed to help you start foreclosure on you. The VA tells you “oh just let it go, in two years if you still qualify we’ll back another one for you, note the IF” Also by the way instead of a foreclosure they don’t tell you about the Deed in liu of foreclosure, basically you give the house back to the bank without doing as severe damage to your credit or for as long as a foreclosure. Now you have to make the decision, do I feed my kis and keep the lights on or make my mortgage payment. This is what we get for being eligible for this special backing. Oh and if you can get a loan without the VA, most of the time the interest rates are lower, go figure.
    Well I know that this and my first comment are a little off track, but I felt a need to inform as many of you at one time that the rest of of this country (most of) are very thankful to you and all you stand for!!! Unfortunately our Government does not. I have seen all of this first hand some through others and some by going through it ourselves with my husband and many friends being Vets. I am extremely proud of my vet who was out and reinlisted so he could help protect us and our freedom. If you see this, thank you for being mine, our families and most importantly our grand babies biggest hereo. We love you and all of you for your service to us. I will continue to fight for Vets and three families, if they can get away with what they are doing to us I can only imagine the horror most of you live with each day. KEEP UP THE FIGHT, EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL YOU JUST CAN’T TAKE ANOTHER SECOND, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  108. Terry Branham    

    My experience is much like the others and same for my VN Vet friends. They wait us out and hope we die. That is how we believe they think. How sad is that. I am told only 5% of the VA staff are Veterans when it was 85% back immediately after VN and the got rid of vets and hired self serving government type employees in it for themselves and the big paychecks and bonuses – rather than someone who served selflessly and truly cares about Veteran brothers and sisters in arms. I am disgusted and the current VA Chief is as pathetic as the others for the little he has done. He should be ashamed to say he attended West Point.

  109. Dennis Tucker    

    I am a Veteran from the Vietnam war. I am currently receiving Disability Compensation, however, have had an (2) Appeals pending. One from 2010 and the other from 2013. It amazes me that when there is a major conflict around the world, the Congress is the first one to call the United States weak for “not taking the lead” and putting boots on the ground. However, when are soldiers do come home, if they are fortunate to make it home, they are then dishonored by the Veteran’s Administration and our Government with the unacceptable wait time for treatment. We can afford to go to war, however, we cannot afford to treat and care for our disabled Veterans. We as a country, should hold our head down in shame !!!

  110. Jefferson Duncan    

    I Finally got the chance to go before a Va judge to make my case. It has now been over three months since that hearing. I’m being told the time period before I get a decision is 6 months to 3 years,is this true I waited 9 years to get this hearing. I am 100% disabled per SSN. Any input or advise would be greatly be appreciated

  111. Jeffrey T. Williams    

    I am in the homeless veteran program for five years, your claims department is raceist.

  112. M M Parmenter    

    I have waited 8 years for a decision to my claim. And it is now going on 8 months since the BVA granted my appeal but I have not had one word from the RO. I called 800-827-1000 last week and was told the RO had canceled my case!!!!!!! How can that be?? Because I have asked for help too many times I guess the Am Legion Service Officer sent me a letter saying he would no longer help me and I got the same thing from my senator Patty Murray. WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL HOLY IS GOING ON????? and who can help me now??

  113. R. Dakin    

    I supplied my appeal March 2013. First the VA said to resubmit it than a few days letter I received another letter from them saying it was being processed. Now, for the past 2+ years I received the same form letter asking me how I wanted my case to be heard. I spoke with the DAV Rep in Detroit and he said that it take up to 5 years for my claim to be heard. I have, on 2 occasions explained that I wanted to be heard via teleconference. I just received my 3rd letter asking on how I wanted my appeal heard. It’s unbelievable., they try to “ware-you-out vs. settling the claim.

  114. Richard Ade    

    I am a retired VA Hospital Vetetan, I worked for them 25 years. I have been waiting over four years which is unacceptable on today’s standard. Yes, the VA, so called director in DC should be fired and all of his staff as well. One of the main problems is there is no standardization within on the VA structure. Every VA is different there is nothing the same from one VA to the next. The wait times are worst in life time history. Fraud, Waste and Abuse is a large factor within the VA system. People who work for the VA come to work to put their time in and collect their paycheck. The local VA’s should fire these lazy asses and replace them with qualified individuals. Your welcome to send me emails if you want more info.

  115. Michael J Lohman    

    Petra. Did you serve? I don’t believe so because that is a typical bureaucratic response we often get from you. Some of us have abode by this regulation from our very first submission of claim.

    To put it another way, my “EVIDENCE” has been blatantly and brazenly ignored for over 25 years.

    Title 38 provides for too many loopholes that the VA expounds upon using for denial – actually, I probably read it before you were born.

    Our opinion of the VA is long forged before you were there. Put simply, they are a group of murderous traitors who use their position for personal gain, wield CFR 38 like a weapon, strike down any claim regardless of how well-founded it is, provide their own justifiable existence by deliberately prolonging and accepting the deaths of people they couldn’t possibly care any less about, and do it while in meetings to figure out how to warp and maintain their detestable “develop to deny” unwritten business model, PERIOD. Your post here might look good in your supervisor’s and manager’s eyes for your-own upward mobility but it just bolsters how we feel with a system developed and deposed against the very people for whom it’s supposed to provide assistance.

    You are part of a deplorable hateful organization whose being with their clientele services would have ended decades ago given all of the failure you have gleefully exhibited. Public funding, socialism has kept your libelous scandal-ridden organization around. If it had to earn by providing what it’s supposed to … well, we would not be talking to you right now. Please close your mouth and accept that you work for part of the enemy that despises the veterans of the United State of America.

    You are either going to make the system better – being on our side, or you are not on our side, that is all.

  116. Peggy J Rankin    

    I am a female, I am a Veteran. I have had a claim since 2004 denied, denied, denied. All papers went to Washington DC still denied. Everyone says do not give up. Well, I have not given up, but I am due benefits from the claims I put in.
    I have met a lot of Vietnam Vets in Rock Hill, SC at a ceremony, one Vet waited 20 or more years for his total due, he finally got it. I cannot get a VA job I am more than qualified for. I am 60 years old now, and do not have an income, live with one of my daughters.
    This is what I believe, I trust The Most High God, Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can help me now. We all have done the leg work got all necessary documents for our claims, they have reviewed and denied us all. We think that it is time for this so called government to give us our just do. THE TIME IS NOW!

  117. Shannon Lee    

    Indeed the situation withe the claims is not good at all thought the country. I really hope that next president and next government will give more attention to veterans.

  118. Christo[her Webster Jones    

    The claim and appeal process is very slow and very difficult for many. I, like many others, believe the entire system is too slow and very confusing for far too many. I know of many cases where veterans simply give up and forget about the entire process. I however am very fortunate. I am 76 years old but I am still able to function quite well and plod through the process. My wife is also quite proficient with the never ending process and has been an angel trying to get my disability issued finalized. I had a heart attack in 1980 while on active duty. My VA benefits percentage was set at 30%. In 2013 I started having syncope episodes, passing out many times, There were no warning of these episodes, I simply passed out. Luckily I was ordered to cease driving as I passed out several times when a passenger in our car. My disability compensation for my heart at that time was set at 60%. I then had an insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) placed in my chest to monitor any heart anomalies. My blood pressure dropped into the 20’s on 23 December 2013. I was admitted to the hospital that day and was informed the next day that my heart had stopped beating for 12 seconds while asleep the previous night. On Christmas Eve 2013 I received a Metronic Duel Chamber Pacemaker. This has most likely kept me alive. In 2014 I applied for more disability compensation due to the health deterioration of my heart. In 2015 I was ordered to an appointment at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC for evaluation. Long story short, I had my disability cut back to 30%. I was completely traumatized by the VA decision to cut my compensation when my heart is, without doubt, less healthy than it was prior to my syncope episodes. Ok, a machine is most likely keeping me alive but there is no way my heart is more healthy today than it was before the syncopes. I do truly believe that cutting my compensation is one of the most ridiculous decision actions I have ever imagined. I recently submitted a claim for liver cancer. Guess what? After so many claims and appeals over the years, I have now be asked to furnish proof that I actually served in Vietnam and had prostate cancer attributed to Agent Orange. The proof is on my DD-214 and states that I received the Metal of Valor for Service in Vietman. What in the world are these people doing. My cancer claim is probably going to be set back months because some idiot doesn’t even know that I have a 214 on record.

  119. Jerimie Michael Alger    

    I have been dealing with this process now for nearly two years. Had my appeal where I was given specific instructions that when followed would result in a ruling in my favor. I did as told and was. The result however was that a second appointment with another doctor was needed for “clarification”. Now the first doctor was found to not have done a proper evaluation. The second was as bad if not worse than the first. Both “interviews” were laughable at best and causes serious concern as to what the VA uses as a standard to contract such people. In both cases they (doctors) tried to find other reasons for the condition in the claim but NEVER spoke about the base cause for the claim. Now it looks like I will have to wait years on an appeal. All this after a qualified VA doctor that has spent many hours with me has verified my claim. Two 30 minute visits without even discussing the base complaint and I was not only diagnosed, without testing of any form, but invalidated my claim. Broke does not even begin to describe things. How about intentionally creating false evidence in order to deny a claim would be more accurate.

  120. Walt Asher    

    I publish a column in our local newspaper called “The Veterans Corner.” I would like your permission to use the five posts as a five part series for the column. I will leave your name as writer, will not change anything of the content, but may modify the opening and closing a little. For example on the last post, I may add a sentence to see the local VSO for more information, or to discuss a particular claim.The comments section is the contact info. Thanks.

    1. Megan Moloney    


      Please email us at to connect with the editorial team — we’re happy to work with you on this.

      1. Carlton T. Gross    

        hey Megan, what about the rest of us??????

        1. Megan Moloney    

          Carlton, Walt asked a question about cross-posting copies of the Vantage Point blogs, which is something our team can help with. I know that the author, Catherine Trombley, and others from VBA are looking through the comments here and replying where they can. I’d expect to see additional replies from them this week.

  121. Carrol B. Goddard    

    I am a Vietnam era veteran. I have applied for a VA card but have been told my income is too high and therefor I am not qualified. This does NOT make any sense!!!

  122. Carlton T. Gross    

    Let’s hear it Catherine Baloney(I know it’s not spelled correctly) at least we heard something from Ms. Monoley!!

  123. d. dahlstrom    

    tried to volunteer to drive for the V.a. never got through , no I don`t need a colonospty .

  124. Narbona    

    VA – results as a USMC 1968 Vietnam war veteran – hiway 9, rock pile, operation Pegasus, Rice, Osceola, don’t remember the rest; agent orange exposure i’m sure – finally given ptsd 30% disability 4 months ago after diagnosed in 1990 – VA check my heart issues, no problem they say, if you had heart ischemic, you’d be dead by now, VA doctor exact statement. can hardly hear a dang thing all my life, given hearing aids, no problem they said, your intend to file disability for this is denied they said in a standard form letter; rash, oily face worst than when I was a teen, skin discoloration all over my body, they give me a jar of cream. Thank you, VA

  125. John Tomlinson    

    Im an Air Force Veteran of the Gulf War I went to my local VA and filled for dissabillity for P.T.S.D. Ive also had 2 major back surgeries which I now live in chronic pain the VA granted me 10% disability for tinnitus and rejected my claims for PTSD and my back problems. I was on the emergency response team at Nellis AFB for 4 years and we had to respond to all downed fighter jets and retrieve everything that was left on the ground including parts of pilots to hydozine tanks and every piece of the jet in the middle of the desert. which my back Dr. said led to my back problems and picking up human parts which I still have nightmares and panic attacks when I think of the stuff we had to do my therapist tells me its a classic case of PTSD ive been hospitalized for mental problems trying to deal with this I feel helpless what can I do it has ruined 2 mariages and all the VA does is deny me I feel hopeless and feel like why keep living like this my liason is a Marine advicate and doesnt listen to me I hope someone out there can help me

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