How to file a Notice of Disagreement on your VA compensation claim


UPDATE: 12/15/2017: Most of the information in the following post is no longer applicable as VA has modernized and updated its appeals process to better ensure Veterans receive the benefits they deserve in a more-timely manner. The following post remains available to better understand the evolution of the appeals process. For updated information, please read the blog titled VA launches program to resolve compensation appeals sooner.

If you disagree with the decision VA made on your disability compensation claim, your first step is to formally tell VA that you disagree.

I received my rating and it’s wrong

“I received my rating and it’s wrong” is a statement our call center agents hear every day. You may think that VA shouldn’t have denied your claim, that you should have received a higher percentage, or that the effective date was wrong, but the odds are against it. That’s not to say that VA never makes a mistake, but an overwhelming majority of the time VA makes the correct decision based on the evidence available. In fact, VA’s issue-rating accuracy is 95 percent.

This high level of accuracy is in part because most of the decision-making is now automated. Medical information is input by the rater, and the rating for each issue is calculated and justification is provided.

So, if you aren’t happy with your rating, first carefully read your notification letter and rating decision. These documents should explain, issue-by-issue, why you received your rating, and what is needed for the next higher rating. It should also explain what the effective date is and why. If VA did not service connect your requested condition, the decision letter explains why the condition was not service connected.

If you have questions about your rating decision you can always go to your local Veterans Service Organization (VSO), sit down with a representative at your local VA office, or call the VA National Call Center at 800-827-1000. They can explain your rating so that you can decide what to do next.

If you’ve reviewed the claim decision and still think VA is wrong, you should provide additional evidence to support your condition(s) with your NOD. The claim decision becomes certified after 30 days, but it isn’t final until one year after the date of the decision. You can file a Notice of Disagreement at any time up to one year from the date of decision.

Submitting the Notice of Disagreement

To file the NOD, submit the VA-Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement that was included with your claim decision. This is your chance to tell VA how you feel the decision is wrong. If you don’t feel confident enough to do this on your own, your VSO can help you.

The NOD form contains blocks for each issue of contention (the medical conditions for which you filed the claim), for example, knee condition or kidney stones. Only list the conditions on the NOD where you disagree with the rating. For example, if you were rated for three conditions and only disagree with one decision, only list the decision you disagree with. Then check the block indicating what you disagree with (service connection, the rating level, or effective date).

The most important section is the narrative to explain why you feel VA incorrectly decided your claim. Don’t leave this blank. It’s entirely possible that VA missed something, and if you don’t point it out, VA will never know. Tell your story, but be clear and concise. If you need more space, add additional pages and documentation, such as private medical records, to make your point.

As explained above, there are three primary issues with your claim decision that you can disagree with: service connection, effective date and evaluation of disability (rating percentage). There is also an option for “other” if these are not appropriate.

  • Service Connection: If your claim came back “not service-connected,” explain why you think the condition should have been service connected. Was it first diagnosed in service? Was there an injury in service? Is this a condition that was caused or aggravated by a service-connected condition? For example, a service-connected knee condition can lead to back strain. The back issues are then secondary to the knee condition and can be service connected. Be specific and provide the date of the initial injury or illness if possible. That helps the rater find the documentation needed in your service treatment or personnel records. If you have copies of official documentation that prove an event happened in service, for example the write-up for a medal, attach a copy. Most illnesses are compensable if diagnosed within a year of leaving active duty. You may have to include private treatment records to prove this. Buddy statements can provide additional evidence. If there is no connection between your illness and your time in service, VA can’t legally provide benefits.
  • Effective Date of Award: Usually the date of award is the date of claim for that specific issue, but there are instances where the date could be earlier. Some of these include, the date after your discharge for claims filed within a year of leaving active duty; date an Intent to File was received by the VA; or the date of diagnosis or eligibility for a higher level of compensation for increases. Your local Veterans Service Organization can help you determine if the effective date should have been earlier.
  • Evaluation of Disability: The most common area of disagreement is the evaluation of disability. The rating levels are determined by law and are based on your symptoms. In your claim decision letter, look for the description of the rating and the associated legal reference. This reference leads to a listing that shows what symptoms match the rating level for your condition. If you have documented symptoms or test results from your doctor that show you should be in a higher rating level, explain this in your narrative and add copies of the documentation to your submission.

You may want to read over the Schedule for Rating Disabilities (38 CFR, Part 1), which provides all of the information on how claims are rated, how VA math works (38 CFR, Part 1, Section 4.25), and how percentages are based on your symptoms (38CFR, Part 1, Subpart B). Warning: the CFR is dense with legalese and medical information, and it’s why we recommend you ask a VSO for assistance.

If your symptoms don’t meet the next higher rating level, VA cannot increase your rating. In this case, you are better off keeping the current rating, and if your symptoms worsen, you can always file a claim for an increase later.

The NOD also asks you to make a choice between the Decision Review Officer (DRO) process, or the traditional appellate review process.

In the DRO review, an experienced rater will conduct an in-depth review of your claim and any new evidence that you provide. The DRO may schedule you for an additional compensation and pension exam (C&P), or contact you with follow up questions.

In the traditional appellate process, a VA rating specialist will review the prior rating and any new evidence to see if a clear and unmistakable error (CUE) was made on the previous decision.

In both processes, a new decision can be made based upon the evidence of record. If you are uncertain about which option is best for you, check with your VSO for advice.

So what happens next?

After the DRO reviews your file, NOD, and any new evidence, they will make a decision. They may either provide a new rating or continue the current rating decision. Then, you will receive a Statement of the Case that describes the information that was reviewed and how the DRO came to their decision.

If you disagree with the new decision, the next step would be to file a VA Form 9 and appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Depending on the complexity of your case, the formal appeal process can take several years (and every time you submit new evidence before a decision increases that wait). It is much better to ensure you provide all of the information and evidence to tell your story during the NOD phase since it will resolve your issue the fastest.

If you are considering filing an appeal, we recommend you read this blog series, which goes into more details about the appeal process:

  1. The appeals process: Appeals and claims are as different as apples and oranges

  2. The appeals process: Appeals at the regional office level

  3. The appeals process: Appeals at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals

  4. The appeals process: When an appeal is remanded

  5. The appeals process: Your comments and VA’s plans



Donna Stratford

Donna is a public affairs specialist in Veterans Benefits Administration Corporate Communications. She spent most of her career in government public affairs and communications. She recently completed Rating Veterans Service Representative training. Donna is an Air Force Veteran and retired from the Air Force Reserve.


  1. I ting    

    I had my DEC approve because my husband served in Vietnam and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and died two years later in 2011. I files an application first in may 2011 but fail to follow up with document and re-applied in Sept 2011, when VA assistant program come along I had representative by an advocate lawyer from city bar association. I supplied my document more then 3 times and requested to review my file but did not get an appointment. when I finally submit ALL document and I waited more the 2 years but only received the form letter that they are still reviewing it. By July 2015, I call the VA and find out they have closed my case without notifying me, with the Veteran project nyc assigning me another advocate I re-applied, by Jan 2016 I finally was approve the DEC benefit. But VA will only start my benefit on July 2015. my advocate said if I disagree the starting date I have to apply on my on. For my application of NOD I am maybe just over one year limitation. I wonder if I can sending my NOD application now because it was be the error VA to close my case and the delay of re-application that I have a atarting date of 2017 July instate of 2011 April. Please advise that NOD is not file by the one year limit will I have a chance to do it ?

    Thank you for your response!

  2. Eric Isaksen    

    I am an accredited service officer with the American Legion. I just read this article and about one third of the comments. It boggles my mind all the misinformation that is out there. I read more than a dozen comments here that have erroneous information. I would highly recommend that you contact a good service officer for assistance with your claim. I also take exception the statement that the VA’s ratings are 95% accurate. I have had claims in the past, and have several now, where the VA has made a wrong decision despite having the evidence to make the right decision.

    1. Charles Coleman    

      I agree with your comments and I highly recommend veterans filing claims should seek the assistance of an accredited Service Officer.; be it the VFW, DAV, American Legion or other great service organizations. These officers are trained and are there to help the veterans. They will do their best to help you get what you are allowed under the rating system. I know, I have used the DAV (I am a lifetime member) and the folks have helped me enormously with the last claim I submitted.

  3. Duane Rosencrans    

    The arrogance displayed in the above explanation of the V.A.’s excellent track record and proficiency is typical of the hubris that can be expected from any agency, business, person or any other entity that grades themselves. Some, with the same level of autonomy to police themselves might even go as high as 98%: in effect, this is a meaningless statement. There is little doubt in my mind the V.A. does grade out at 95%. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind these scores are based on parameters and criterion the V.A. itself created, thus making me wonder why you don’t grade out at 100%, Ant idiot with a pulse and cognitive thought can follow step by step directions and in so doing gets an A for following directions. Well, let’s throw a parade. The question, however, remains is the rating system itself fair, objective and created with the aim of maximizing monetary benefits to the veteran or is it aimed at paying out as little as possible in order to maintain the exorbitantly ludicrous military budget, one that allows a perpetuation of aggressive military action anywhere, based on an historically ill conceived objective(since WWII) of inviting ourselves into any squabble that might exist wherein one participant’s selected type of governance is at odds with what our leaders arrogantly determine the “American culture”, i.e.; the form of government chosen by the United States? Let’s be honest and agree the “good of America” is not at stake in the decision making process that.ultimately sends our troops into harm’s way. These decisions, and we realize whose welfare such is based on -those possessing such a huge amount of our total economy and any military action is done in order that their fortunes simply increase. There have been far too many conflicts, police actions, etc., over the past half-century, plus, that no matter our decision; i.e., had we gone, or had we stayed the hell out, normally the wisest course of action, we, the American people, would have not been effected one iota. However, the wallets of those standing to profit, already unimaginably large by the standards of the combatants – often referred to as the human collateral cost of war – have only grown larger and larger. Inasmuch as this is an undeniable reality, let’s fucking play fair then. These few that decide so much for so many, including the realization, appearing to exist without concern on their part, that many good, young, U.S. citizens will expire based simply on their greed should do so, with an acceptance and sense of obligation, based on United States Code, not unlike the V.A. manuals, that requires an understanding that those who sacrifice the largest will benefit the greatest, and if this is not agreeable to this small percentage of the population, that have been the sole entity realizing any gain from these morally and intelligent absent decision, then “Game Over Guys.” You have preyed on the naive mind set of far too many lives far more valuable than the lobbyists prompting such action, on men and women with a degree of integrity that you will never match. These are our nations best and they are exposed to the worst due to the fact they actually believe those in Washington making such decision based on the welfare of its citizens and a lack of understanding the values espoused by our representatives actually could be no further from the truth. I served because I believed the U.S. and its elected officials served believing we were not only a great country, but actually the greatest country in the world. This is the honor and integrity mentioned above. So know, I know of no veterans that give a modicum of concern at how well the V.A. grades out. Understanding the sociopaths in D.C. will only be replaced by those similarly inflicted and the perpetuation of such action will remain until the final days of the Republic. Our concerns are far more focused on whether or not the codes and regulations governing the benefits of the veteran will ever be modified to a degree that they will be based on the welfare of the veteran, no one else. Mammoth appropriations to the military must be curtailed to the point they are not allowed to pick future fights until such time as our veterans are provided the benefits promised and earned based on those promises. So if its your goal to pat yourself on the back due to showing the ability to reach decisions that allow, in almost all cases, decision unfavorable to the veterans then your doing great, even though you aren’t doing anything for the veteran. For reasons I believe to be clear and apparent, I cannot muster excitement understanding the fact your agency is proficient at interrupting a compilation of codes and regulations ensuring minimum financial compensation to veterans.Perhaps due to the fact I am sane, it is difficult for me to understand that you take pride in such action. If – with full understanding the day will never arrive- that you can announce that veterans will receive all to which they are entitled to, then Hell yes, I can get excited. I simply detest the United States, take no pleasure in being a former citizen, and actual shame for bearing arms to protect the corrupt remnant of ashes to which is has devolved. For those of you that still love the country, I wish you happiness and pray you never reach the level of bitterness that has prompted me to take residence in a foreign county.

    1. Charles Coleman    

      As a Navy veteran who served his country for over twenty years, when I read your comment, while I can see bits of truth here and there, the bitterness you spewed forth makes me glad that you left our country and gave up your citizenship. While there are valid complaints, the diatribe and rants you posted here, do nothing to help the system become better. I am sorry you are so bitter, but then, that is your choice. Hope you benefit more wherever you no live.

  4. Juan Antonio, Perez    

    I’m receving v.a. benefits , but have not received a letter stating what my percentage is? what do I do?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Call the VA, have the representative look at your record that shows you are receiving benefits, explain you have not received a letter stating what your service connected disability rating is and you would like to be sent a letter showing that. The representative will order a copy for you. If you lose your letter, the VA will always issue you another. I have had it do that for me several times so I could use it for various things which required verification of my rating.

  5. Thomas Poe    

    In June 2016, I received notification that my appeal was approved, dated back to November 2009. Attached was a chart of
    compensation I was to receive. After two months, I checked the status to find out that since I was already retired Army that no compensation was forthcoming. I received a rate of 30% disability from injuries suffered in on active duty.

    It is difficult to imagine that after fighting VA for over 5 years, finally receiving 30% disability rating, to be told that no retroactive compensation was involved. Doesn’t sound right.

    Thomas Poe
    MSG, E-8, retd

    1. Charles Coleman    

      I would check on that. Your claim starts the day that the VA receives it. If it takes it 5 years to process your claim and give you an award, it is supposed to back pay you to the date your claim was received. What did your “chart” state?
      My last claim too the VA 19 months to process. When I was awarded a service connected disability rating, the VA computed the amount due from the time it received my claim and paid me from that date forward.
      I also got a chart of the back pay and that is exactly what they paid me. That was the end of 2014 and I had been retired from the Navy since June of 1988. Being retired has nothing to do with that award. If you are receiving retired pay, the VA communicates with the DFAS (in your case) and the payment is normally figured in your retirement pay. I was not receiving military pay as I waived it in favor of using my military time toward my civil service time to give me enough time to retire from civil service and receive a civil service pension, so the VA direct deposits my benefit monthly into my checking account.
      Suggest you take what you have to someone like the DAV or VFW which has representatives who assist veterans with their claims and have them look into this for you.

  6. Warren Paul Kinsella    

    I just Faxed my Notice of Disagreement to the ONE Evidence Intake Center that is Still Opened!
    The St. Petersburg VARO Compensation is not anywhere Near 95% (as none of the VAROs!
    I have been Rated 100% Service Connected Disabled for over 8 Years.
    The Hearing Officer decided to Lower my Disability to 10% based on NO EXPLANATIONS, REASONS, AND NO EVIDENCE! The Experienced Review Officer Approved it for Mailing out to me!
    The Regional Director of the VARO Printed his Name on It like he even looked at it!
    At the Personal Hearing the VARO was required to be conducted by a Hearing Officer who had noting to do with the case,
    yet they ILLEGALLY Assigned the Same Incompetent Personal Hearing Officer who created the Initial Decision with ZERO Evidence! When I proved the two pieces of Fraudulent Existed, if True would be equal to 60% Disabiling! She stated that the VA Regulations Authorized her make FALSE Statements (a.k.a. LIE) because of her use of the Word “Proposal”! As a DVA Trained and Certified VSO, I asked her for the Title 38 Regulation that Authorizes LYING! She said she could not remember the Number and she would email it to me. One Year No EMAIL (a.k.a NO SUCH REG).
    I explained 38 CFR 3.957 to Her that my 100% Protected Service Rating could not be lowered under the TEN YEAR RULE which states that if it has been more than 10 Years from the Service Connection Date (not the date of SC Rating) to the Date of the Decision to Reduced a Disability Rating, The Rating is PROTECTED FROM ANY REDUCTION!
    The BVA Granted my Service Connection Disability Beginning in 1984 and my Reduction to 60 is Scheduled for March 1, 2017. Over 32+ YEARS. I qualify for Protection THREE TIMES OVER WITH TIME TO SPARE!
    The Same Initial Decision Officer, Hearing Officer, Final Decision Officer based her Decision on a 35% Ejection Fraction on “Treatment Records” Dated July 16, 2016. She also Reported a METs Level of 3.5 from the Same Treatment Record which is TOTALLY FALSE! She also left out that the Morning of July 16, 2015 I was admitted for a Second Heart Attack with my Previous Triple Cabbage Arteries were BLOCKED at 100%, 100% and 90%. They Unclogged them all and found the 90% Blocked Artery to have a Damaged Thin Wall they could see through with their Cameras. They put in a Balloon Stint to Save my LIFE! So according to your “95%” VARO Accuracy Rate and the St Petersburg VARO Director, I had a Heart Attack and 40% Sustained Improvement in my SC CAD Disability while undergoing SURGERY! I am sure the VA cut you a Decent Cash Bonus for your Blog. Can I get your Permission to reprint it in my Non-Fiction Book? I will use it anyway because I have less than Three Years to Live, so sue me! I will send my Total Felonious VA CAse to President Elect Trump along with your Article here when he starts Draining the VA Swamp you may regret being a Liberal Liar like the St Petersburg VARO, President Obama, and Hilliary Clinton. The VA has gotten worse under Obama, which is Why Clinton got almost Zero VOTES From Veterans! You may want to retire before the Swamp Draining Begins. The Only Honest People working at the VA is the VAOIG Office! All the Comments posted here more or less proves you, like the VAROs are clueless! Have a Good Year

    The Author seems to Use a Dart Board or Crystal Ball on coming up with the 95%! She must be getting Higher Cash Bonuses that the Murdering VA Employees at the Phoenix VAMC!

  7. Catrina Mcquigg    

    You say that the decision it 95% correct which may have been tbe case within the last few months, except that it was admitted that VA was using doctors that weren’t even qualified to be evaluating our soldiers.

  8. Redelia VBALNCL Ford    

    I disagree with the article. If you start this NOD and appeal it will take forever. If you disagree with the examiner, maybe by chance he didn’t bother looking at your actual service treatment records then stated boldly “The veteran had absolutely no evidence ever of headaches in serice”. Little did he know because he didn’t bother looking he was in way to much of a hurry to get the next exam through the door to collect the next C&P $$$. I had 10 pages in service of headaches, cervical therapy, cervical traction and so on. So the disagreement should not start with a longer process of a NOD. It should start with NME with a different doctor outside the VA or have them make a visit to the VA and request them to complete a C&P exam for that condition. If all veterans would use benefits the response time would be so much faster also. If more veterans would use e-benefits the system and rating would be 10xs faster, it speeds up the process 10 fold. A veteran loads documents to their claim, it kicks out a notice to VBMS, this sends it to the national work queue for coach to push out to the VSR’s review, VSR does their review, the case will go out to the RVSR for RTR or for further review. BOOM…
    The 1st disagreement or even the 3rd disagreement shouldn’t be a NOD unless all the doctors are saying the same thing. Otherwise that veteran or beneficiary is waiting so long they either give up ro die before they get the benefits they signed and served for the freedom we have in this country. They signed and served, they do deserve no matter what you think.

  9. Gary Brown    

    When I retired in 2005, after 24-years of Naval service, I submitted a claim for my documented bad back and my newly determined sleep apnea. My rating was less than desired for my back @ 10% and they denied my sleep apnea solely because I did not have any real documentation. Although I understand that documentation is key to helping to determine the validity of connected service, to say it did not occur after being for 24-years is not accurate. My Letter of Disagreement for both the 10% rating and disapproval were both met with nothing but a simple, no without any real, concrete reasoning. I plan to try again and this time, go further than the initial NO!

    1. Charles Coleman    

      As for your “sleep apnea”, if it was not documented in your navy medical record prior to your retiring, just how do you feel that the VA is supposed to give you a rating for it? It is pretty obvious your doctor discovered you have it, but is was diagnosed after you retired. Therefore, about all you can do is find some of your shipmates to write letters for you stating that you exhibited signs of sleep apnea when they slept around you; i.e. snoring constantly; heard you stop breathing for periods of time, etc.
      I have sleep apnea, too. However, it was not diagnosed until about 12 years after I retired. I snored in the navy, but without medical documentation and being checked for it while I was in, could not prove. Since 2002, I have had three sinus surgeries and have used a CPAP machine every night to sleep. Could not expect the VA to rate me for it and of course, it denied that part of my claim.

  10. clarence eugene gould    

    Well 20 plus years of nightmares,anxiety,depression,insomnia,anger and isolation has made it hard on my wife and I. Hard to keep a job and my wife had to work for both of us. Finally getting help from the V.A Mental Health, because I was so ashamed of myself and I didn’t know why, probably of my mental state. I went to combat in the gulf and the stress of having to wear the chemical hazard suit to include the gas mask,and taking pills and the shot they gave me incase I came in contact with it and every time a scud missile was launched back in the suite for days, I was in the back of the Bradley fighting vehicle when a private fired his squad automatic weapon, and the sound was deafening and you just hoped one of the rounds didn’t hit you.the same private pulled the pin on a grenade. After that I didn’t see him again,upon getting into kuwait, destruction was everywhere, upon returning home,I got sick and when I was diagnosed with ptsd,I went to the Texas rep. To file for compensation. He pretty much laughed at.and said if you don’t have a combat infantry badge you are out of luck,even going to combat for my country and now it is turning its back on me,maybe I should have been killed over there and I would not be going through this. Is this how veterans are treated, thanks for nothing America, I should have went AWOL,no better of than I was,
    Clarence Gould. X-SGT/E-5

  11. rosendo ramirez    

    i am a deported ….honoribly discharged disabled veteran. unfortunately my ratings is only 10% . i live in mexico city and have tried to appeal my case but with no luck..i have tried to do the vrp veterans retraining program, but according to va no schools are va approved in the whole country of mexico. so therefore since i make about 20 usd a day… i ask for the va help. i have filled the necesary paperwork but either my doctor is a retired doctor with a severe medical condition of his own, to which the usa va pays off…i assume 🙁 all im saying is my condition is worsening and …no man left behind…is just a phrase …just as long as one is not deported. what can i do since i am on mexican soil and cannot get the proper rehab in mexico…….

  12. Cary John Bacon    

    Wow, a mess is what we have here.
    OK, my issue. I was given two 10% service connected disabilities in August 1986. I collected payments until I was activated for the First Gulf War November 1990, and because I notified VA payments were stopped. In February 1993 I was again released from Active Duty and notified VA at the same office but did not receive notice to report for evaluation or notice of payment restart. I continued to write VA and notified my Congressman and the VFW. Finally I received notice by February 8, 2016 letter (File Number redacted) that my Total VA Benefit Start Date was to be Dec 5, 2013 in pay adjustment and Dec 1, 2014, and Feb 1, 2016. But guess what did not receive any payments from March 1993nor any payments from December 5, 2013, nor December 1, 2014 until March 1, 2016. I have filed an appeal and have since learned the appeal process lasts over twenty years, meaning I will be dead before receiving any back pay. Thus my conclusion “Wow, a mess is what we have here”.

  13. Terry Copechal    

    The va tends to rate you at 140% but only gives you 90%! What is this? You have at least 3 year wait for decision on appeal! PTSD is just guilt according to va!
    Vietnam have us diabetes and everything that goes with it! Teeth are rotting and no dental unless your 100% rating or your unemployable! At 70 get your employer to sign a statement you are unemployable! Really? The vets are at best pushed around by the va and the United states should be ashamed of the treatment of our veterans!

  14. Mander L Prater    

    I was evaluated Dec 2014 for hearing loss due to my military service, have my VA ID Card but have not heard anything about the hearing test results or anything what so ever about the next step, so what do I do and whats the delay?

  15. Robert John Hilton    

    I received a determination in writing from the VA that there was not sufficient for my claim for disability, I need a copy of that letter. Please send me that copy.

    I’m Robert John Hilton,

  16. Joseph David Bletz    

    I am retired Military.I was a 64 c .Then I was a combat eng.Then I was a 11b and 11 c.Big Red 1 .Then I was a light wheeled mechanic .Then A track Mecanic.I was a Moter Sgt and POL .They keep sending me denials that I have to take to the VA Rep all the time.They sent letters that they cant find Medical records.I went to civilian ear docter .Dr.Folchum.Now I have been waiting on a roving hearing board.I don’t get it.Can any one tell me why the military is messing with me.My ringing is bad.they gave me hearing aids and they are able to be connected to TV so the ringing is not so bad.I get 20% disability for hand .And 27 years retired service. I have TRI CARE.

  17. Joseph David Bletz    

    I have had ringing in ears for 40 tears.About 12 years ago I filed for a disability and have been fighting it for 12 years.They cant find my medical records.I cant sleep .And the ringing is serious.How do some people get it when they was national guards and I was regular army.

  18. James Tobleck    

    I hope Trump finally straightens up the VA . These letters go no where as no one ever gets back to me or God forbid fixes the broke system. As long as Directors rule there fifedoms like brigadune doing as they please for themselves and Washington ignores the common vets nothing will change. 40 years proves my point . Not once did the VA fix my knee ,in fact continuly over ruled civilian and VA doctors request’s for total replacement. I’m selling my house , hiring an attorney, and putting VA staff on notice the truth coming out on them .

  19. THOMAS P QUAY JR    

    I filed my NOD February 2014 and was told that the normal time for a reply is 273 days. It was over a year before I received a letter stating they received my NOD.It is now January 2017 and still no reply, but while at the Lake Nona Hospital in Florida I checked on my claim and I was told that the normal time for an answer is 36 months.I guess they make up answers to cover themselves. If I gave that BS to my supervisors when a report was due I would be standing in the unemployment line.

  20. donald michael withrow    

    what do you do when your lied to and got a MUCH lower rating that you probably should have, it’s been a few years and i never really worried about the ratings but as my injuries are affecting both my job and my quality of life, People for the VFW and Legion tell me i should have had a higher rating from the start. I was told it would be automatically evaluated each year.

  21. arthur l finn    

    I HAVE notified VA that I totally disagree with their denial ofc my claim. ThaT WAS ABOIut 8 months ago. Would you believe I have heard nothing. Nothing is about what the VA is worth in many aspects. Good news is it only costs about $700 Billion a year. Not bad for a jobs program.

  22. Allen    

    Very poor article, It does not get into the fact that a Notice of Disagreement takes between 2-5 five years and the VBA has purposely moved staff to the front line claims sections at each VARO. Very few staff are available to review the NOD’s. A better article would have noted a “request to reconsideration” and have another Veterans Service Representative review the case and not be placed into “eternal hold”! Hint: They want to to do a NOD!
    I used to do multi service medical boards for all DOD agencies. We had the same public laws and the exact same process but we were held directly accountable for our decisions and quality reviews. Our appeals took no more than three months with the same percentage methodologies as the VBA. It makes this humble person wonder what is really going on here?

  23. Victor Sellers    

    I just had my last exam, as far as I know, and am hoping for full vindication. The VA has tons more evidence than they need for a complete and obvious “CUE”, so I am hoping an honest rater gets to handle this, and not the ones from the past. How is it that a veteran profiled in a war zone called Vietnam with having developed permanent systemic defects in all organs including skin, and all body systems, and all of them worsening while still on duty, but denied all medical care and all Benefits? A rating officer or their superior officer ordered a denial despite 100% proof that altered my life Span? Why aren’t these people behind bars paying for their evil deeds. How do I get the names of these people from the Past? There is only one more shot.

  24. Larry Clark    

    I waited for 43 years to get additional disability rating for TBI. It was very hard to prove to the VA and the examiners that I had TBI – even though my injury was sustained in combat in Viet Nam – by enemy gunfire – with a gunshot wound to the head. The rating was not dated back to when I was released from the military. In addition – congenital heart failure as a result of agent orange – again, hard to prove even though I supplied all documents regarding my heart condition and the documents pertaining to my triple bypass surgery. Fact is – the VA does not really try to honestly rate disabilities. I have seen people claim PTSD that have been given 70-100% ratings within 2-3 months. Anyone can fake PTSD.

  25. Raul Myers Marchand    

    Hi I just received my denial package from the Jackson Ms. disability office. It seems that the review was transferred from my regional office that handles Gainesville Fl. When looking at the Directors page it indicates for Mississippi residents. As I have been living in Gainesville Florida for many years and have never had a residence in Mississippi, I am having trouble understanding how my case was transferred out of my home district, by who and why. Please help my service health review to be returned to the district that it belongs.

  26. John C Wolf    

    I filed a NOD over six months ago and NO response. It’s just sitting there! This is total BS and I hope a past friend, Donald J Trump will fix the VA. The new VA management needs to be able to FIRE incompetents and those that want Vets to Die so they get a bonus for reducing costs.

  27. David Bouknight    

    I am a air force veteran. I served during Vietnam in the strategic air command as an avionics tech on B52s. I suffer from tinnitus and bilateral hearing loss. I have a 10% disability rating for my tinnitus but the va keeps denying my claim for bilateral hearing even though all medical information I have secured states that bilateral hearing loss is a direct result of tinnitus. This coupled with the fact that the USAF supplied us with inadequate hearing protection and most of the time none. I have filed at least 6-8nods over the last 5 years and several appeals with no success. I am severely hearing impaired and it is getting worse by the month. My tinnitus is getting worse by the day. I have several hearing tests to support My claims . As a result i cannot work anywhere. I have been fighting the va since 2011.

  28. David Bouknight    

    I am a air force veteran. I served during Vietnam in the strategic air command as an avionics tech on B52s. I suffer from tinnitus and bilateral hearing loss. I have a 10% disability rating for my tinnitus but the va keeps denying my claim for bilateral hearing even though all medical information I have secured states that bilateral hearing loss is a direct result of tinnitus.

  29. simone hamilton    

    Dealing with the VA at best has been a very, very frustrating situation. When I finally did submit my claim, I HANDCARRIED it to the VA office in DC and they STILL managed to lose all my paperwork! Fortunately, the service taught me well and I had made several copies of my Packet. Bottom line is I had WELL documented notes on my knee problems and of course they denied it. Getting ready to go downtown to the DAV and just totally fix my claim. We really shouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops to get the care that we need. It’s really shameful.

  30. Joseph M Bellino    

    Although my service connected disabilities add up to 150% and I cannot work AT ALL the VA rated me at 90%. I have been appealing this rating for years and years. The last letter I received from the VA about 3 years ago said that my file was going to Washington for review. The last physicians I saw wrote a report that was totally false. As example, the doctor wrote that I could walk without a cane. While I was in with the doctor he told me that if I had problems walking, that I would have had a cane. When he said that I showed the doctor my collapsible cane and advised him that when I was put in an examination room, I put my cane away YET in his report the doctor put that I didn’t need a cane to walk. I’ve had 35 leg surgeries since 1968 along with heart disease (4 heart attacks) and prostate cancer that I continue to fight today – the heart and cancer disease from Agent Orange – neither are in my family except for me.
    Anyway, years ago my case went to Washington for review – and I believe they’re waiting form me to die instead of giving me that extra 10%.

  31. Bradley M. Callahan    

    3 years and six months waiting on a NOD/DRO decision. Because I am overseas I was recently informed by my VSO that because a new “global” initiative has been implemented it is possible that my packet is no longer in Pittsburgh. He’s not sure where it is. What we need is an independent investigative task force to look at the timeline of individual claims, identify individuals who have done their jobs, procrastinated or deliberately denied valid claims and FIRE THEIR ASSES! These types articles read by individuals not familiar with the long delays, the mismanagement and at times the outright indifference seem reasonable and positive. More smoke on the reality.

  32. Gail L. Raehn    

    Why is it so hard to get an answer, a straight, honest answer regarding my claim on disability when the army admitted to being at fault for my kidney failure and yet tell me that Kidney failure is less than 1% disability. Really? Seriously? I ask and ask and ask – nothing!

    Further, I cannot get the meds I need and my private doctors insist I need through the VA because they are too cheap to cough up the dough for the medications. The VA is the WORST run organization I have ever encountered in my entire long life! There are doctors there who have no business with a medical license or to even touch a frog let alone treat human beings. The VA is suppose to be for those who have served and this is the way we are treated? I am willing to be if I write President Elect Donald Trump with my stories of the VA and how disability claims are handled, a lot of things would change and some folks would no longer be employed by the VA, as they should not be!

    What should happen is a MAJOR change at the VA so we can take our ID cards to any doctor, any hospital and get treatment and the VA be billed just as if they were an insurance company and our ID cards are our insurance cards. Why, I ask, can we not go to private doctors for treatment and the VA pay for it? Why I ask, are there so many foreign born doctors in the VA? I could go on and on and on as I am sure every vet who has ever been treated by the VA could write a book on the horrors of the whole experience. Maybe we all should just go to Trumps web site and tell our stories and see what happens then!!!

  33. Laurie & Jim Thomas    

    I am the wife of a 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran. I have to work 2 jobs and get home in time to care for my husband since VA will not help him. He has been denied three times any benefits. He became 100% disabled from the workforce in 2006 with a Nerve disease called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Poly Nephropathy of the feet, legs and hands. He also has hypertension, diabetes and Post Stress Disorder. This is all documented on his primary physician’s reports. Since then he has become an alcoholic since his stomach cannot tolerate any pain medications and he cannot even where any pain patches. He has given up on the VA and says they do not care about the Vietnam Vets. He is basically just waiting to die. I have inquired many time to get him help but he has given up and says to just forget it. What are we to do?

  34. Gayle Glick    

    However, I filed a NOD and requested a BVA hearing back in 2012 .. and my documents sat in Roanoke (probably in a desk drawer) for several years. We moved to Columbus Ohio, and I requested my records be sent to Cleveland.

    I had a C & P Exam in Jun 16, and they awarded me 10% more however only from 1 Jul of 16 . .even though my claim was from 2012 .. I am going to see my County VSO once I get copies of my records from the DC VA .. I have copies of my civilian records .. which I included in the original claim. Also going to get my current civilian doctors records. I was told they probably didn’t backdate because no doctor said I was ‘worse’. Gee .. I go from injections and RFA 1 time a year .. to currently 7 to 8 times a year .. and they’re always so much fun. I’m doing it because the pain is worse ..

    Cleveland is acting so much quicker than Roanoke but ignoring the fact the claim was submitted in Dec of 2011, with NOD in 2012 with request for BVA hearing. Maybe if Roanoke had acted on the claim rather than stashing it in a drawer .. this would have been settled long ago.

    I was told there was nothing in my military medical records to support claim for hips, shoulder neck and knees .. yet when I finally got a full copy of my records. . I was able to pull over 30 pages of documentation that showed accidents at work or in responsible activities while on active duty. My only conclusion is they didn’t bother to read my records at all.

    Ignore, deny, Ignore, deny .. that’s the chant of the VA ..

  35. Kenneth M. Reed    

    I was given a rating of 60 % disability. I had to go to Madison, Wi for a comp and pen. Then I received a notice that the test was ” flawed”. I disputed that and had to take another Comp. and Pen. The Dr. who did the test said that I had lost hearing in my left ear and had tinnitus on right side. Both said pretty much the same thing. It didn’t take long for the response. The test was flawed ! I asked for an explanation of just what ” flawed meant. ” The next letter I received simply said, ” your hearing test was flawed, there for we are deducting 10% from your disability.” Just why the hell can’t I get an answer to ” What is or was flawed ” ?

    1. Chris North    

      Here is my perspective on this. They gave you an exam for hearing loss and then rated you 50% rating for hearing loss. There is no test for tinnitus and the max rating you can get for it is 10%. So once they figured out that the test was flawed(whatever they mean by this, done incorrectly or misread probably) they took the hearing loss rating away and now you are getting the max rating for tinnitus.

  36. Tommy Douglas    

    This is the exact information that I am seeking. Thank you very much.

  37. Pearlie Sanders    

    I am 67 year old female on social security with a mortgage and all the fixing that go alone with a single family home, I am saying this because I am on hardship with everything. I have several claims and appeals in I am service connected with one without pay only health care, the last letter I got stated they did not need no more information, now I am waiting on the United States Army to send me an answer. These claims and appeals been in for more than ten years, I am having such a hard time there are so many miles on car I am constantly stuck with repair bills, I know things are behind with the military, but if you need help there are several of us that can be trained to help things move more smoothly, we were taught in the military that we are one now is the time to prove it we are so much over time for waiting. My social security gave me $3.00 increase for cost of living raise which come out to be $36.00, for the year can you see where I am going with this I would love to hear from some of claims and appeals very soon. Thank you very much.

  38. Tally Johnson    

    Cleveland OH has mine from 8/91 just ignored it,, did nothing with it at all while have suffered all my life,,,, Just a waste of your time .they are the antichrist.

  39. Brian Hand    

    A 95% accuracy rate? This is just another VA propaganda to cover up their lack of respect to Veterans.

  40. Tim Stewart    

    I just received a letter from the VA that they had reviewed my records to see that my condition had improved so they are going to lower my service condition from 50% to 30%. I am seeking the same care and treatment that they initially granted the 50% rating, but my pain level has decreased due to some excellent treatment that I can not get enough of called acupuncture and vulteran cream that allows me to function. I still have the condition in fact based off of x-rays my condition has now become arthritic (Herniated C-5, 6, 7 with a titanium plate fusion. Now I have arthritis growing around the plate that. The condition hasn’t changed, it is still there, but because my pain level decreased my compensation rating should be lowered? If anything I believe it should be increased so that I can receive acupuncture more often to control the pain. This doesn’t see right to me and I have requested a hearing. I think I will contact Jessie from Kiro new in Seattle to investigate, how a compensation can be lowered without an evaluation, test or study but based on my own truthfulness that my pain level is no longer an 8 of 10 but now is a 5 of 10. Condition still exists and no other treatment has been provided from the VA to improve the condition. This really doesn’t seem right to me?

  41. William H. mooene    

    I have submitted 3 if not more NOD and still get the same ans . The VA says after my radiation treatment in 2014 I don’t have cancer any but the American Cancer Association says they don’t know what they are talking about . The ACA says the cancer is still there it may not show up on PSA or C scan but it is still there it is only dormant. I have requested a hearing on this but have not heard any thing back from them VA probably ignoring me because I have put in so many NODs. I can not afford to go all the way to buffalo NY ,why can’t the hearing be done at Stracuse NY

  42. Joseph L Moore    

    I am VET, Retired in 1995, Desert storm , 1991 , I opend my frist claim, in 1995, In 2013 100% disable. The VA just wonts to have you tied up in paper work for years.AS as You go MR BILL, you are just putting false hope to any one that applies for benefits.

  43. elex Williams    

    I have my rating, 10, which I do not agree, I have since had spinal fusion surgery on my back, now I complications because of the procedure. . I want to try and get my rating raised, getting my medical records requires fees, I have a limited income, therefore I cannot afford to get them, any help would be appreciated.

  44. Michael Jennings    

    You forgot to add it takes 3 years to have a DRO look at your case. I am not one to bash the VA but when it c9mes to claims process this is the part that is broken you say make a appointment with them and go over what you feel is not correct have you ever tried to make an appointment with them. I had one at Atlanta Regional office and after waiting 2 hours past my appointment time I was called in first words out of her mouth was you got 5 minutes because I have to go to the bank. As you can guess someone with TBI and PTSD I went off it did no good to do it but it felt good inside I must say using the VA for medical I have always been treated with respect and I have no complaints. If you want to fix the rating decisions you need to get rid of the people who don’t give a crap. If I ran the VA I would make that position for veterans if you want to write about the VA why don’t you look at why only 35 percent of the VA employees are veterans I see all the time companies want to hire vets but VA is only at 35 percent

  45. Lawrence Markowitz    

    Can my rating go down by future C & P examinations?

    1. david white    

      They will it respond to any question and comments on here accept to defend the typical VA waste fraud and abuse!!!

      1. david white    

        Correction they will not respond

    2. BMW    

      Yes, anytime you go back they can reevaluate and rerate you. I was at 100% for about one year and was called back for another C&P and they dropped me down. They reevaluated everything that had already been rated by another provider in the same site and denied me on one item that was 0% Actinic K. gone to Basal Cell CA of my face and head, they would not even read my active duty medical record and I believe they ignored all the new evidence I brought with me to the exam.

    3. Daniel DeBruhl    

      Hello Lawrence,

      Speaking from experience, yes your rating can go down. Failure to show up, is one thing I have not tried.

      CFR 2008; Title 38 is the Code of Federal Regulations governing VA Medical Disability Ratings. Would be good to research.

      Best Regards,

      1. Chris North    

        Failure to show up for future evaluations is an automatic decrease in rating. Just like failure to show up for an initial C&P exam is an automatic denial.

  46. darold l mathews    

    my husband went to get an increase from 70 we tried to get 100 unemployable. will that did not work he is in pain 24 7 need knee replacement in both knees. they sent us to a c&p the nurse pract. will the guy never took down his pants to see his knees at all . so we get a letter in the mail saying that his knees are better they are dropping him from 70 to 20. we had put 2 notice of disagreements in one was to early one they took. will we went to a doctor that the care program paid for to make sure to show his knees are in bad shape will that doctor never took down his pants also but did say he need knees replaces but he is to young at 42 he has lived with this since he was 22. will we get the hearing date and the lady from VA said they will give him a new C&P and not change his 70 percent will the lady from the VA that took our hearing never put it in the computer so they dropped us with out notice in nov. we have still have not got a C&P witch this all happened in sept and his money got dropped we dont know what to do can anyone help this money we have lot is hurting us money is so tight we dont know where our food is going to come from we might lose car and truck. they have asked us what kinda hard ship we are in dont you think that going from 2000 to 200 is a hard ship? we need help

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Did you get the name of the lady who did your husband’s hearing? If you have that you can contact the Director of that office and explain what has happened. That office will have to conduct an investigation of your complaint and if it is as you presented it here, it can be corrected and the information from the hearing and decision placed in his record.

  47. Gary l. Wood    

    I. Have had a claim in for hearing loss since 2009, and is still under consideration. I have gotten 3 or 4 letters saying they are still working on it. Give me a brake:::::

    1. arthur l finn    

      Time to forget it guys. No help available for us. This organization is way beyond fixing for a plethora of reasons. Break it down, throw it away and start over.

    2. Charles Coleman    

      You can always ask a DAV or VFR representative to help you. They can write and ask about the delay. Also, you can certainly write one of your Senators and explain the situation. Tell him/her how long it has been and send along copies of the correspondence you have sent to the VA concerning this and its responses. The VA has to answer congressional in a timely manner; usually about 30 days. See if that helps.

  48. Thomas Vernon Roquemore    

    The system sucks fellow soldiers especially nco’s should do a better job of telling younger soldiers to make and keep a copy of their medical records because the Va always seem to lose paper work out of them and how do you go about finding people in your old units ,The best way for soldiers and vet to get help is to talk to other vets that’s the people that help me older vets that’s have been out for awhile

  49. Mark Rosenbauer    

    I’m considered a disabled veteran from the Viet Nam War era. Thanks to Agent Orange I contracted diabetes, along with the side affects which come with the disease. My problem is my teeth are worsening in condition due to the diabetes but the VA refuses to allow me to visit a VA dentist, despite written statements from my VA physician, private physician, and other outside of VA dentists. I have requested care several times and am continually being turned away. I’m able to visit an ‘outside’ dentist but the VA will NOT approve payments for my dental care, yet they fully agree that the diabetes is a result of my Viet Nam experience. I’ve begged, pleaded, and even demanded care for my teeth, but the VA turns a deaf ear towards my direction. Can anyone suggest how I might be able to get dental care?


  50. Walt Graziano    

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    It is indeed very sad and ignorant how the VA . Treats us vets! It seems they take the most easily traveled path when deciding what percentage of disability we vets are entitled to receive, I would like to see these ” decision makers”! Walk a single day in our ( my) shoes. It is at the point to where I hired a lawyer to do the fighting for me because due to a traumatic brain injury I do not have the mental capacity to take on the VA. I am praying now that MR. TRUMP gives the VA a much needed overhaul so that those of us that were so willing to take a bullet for YOU AND THIS COUNTRY! Can get the much needed assistance we deserve without having to go through months of red tape.! Thank you

    1. arthur l finn    

      great message Walt. Now we need someone to hear it.

  51. Juan Rodriguez    

    I have 40% for lumbar strain and degenerative lumbar disc before a back surgery. The surgery was to replace two discs in the lumbar area. I have six screws with two rods right now. Must I request a claim for the lumbar area that had to be operated on or that does not increase the compensation?

    1. Daniel DeBruhl    

      Hello Juan,

      First, I wish you the best in dealing with the VA. Second, I know exactly (save various individual bureaucrats) what you may face as I have L4-L5 & L5-S1 fused like you have stated – six screws and two rods. My surgery (second back operation) was in 2011. In Spring 2013 I received a letter that the VA reduced my 40% rating for lumbar strain and degenerative lumbar disc to 10%. It has been a battle ever since. In my case, I am losing the function of my left side (I commented on an NOD about my L-Hip replacement earlier). What is agonizing about all of this, is I am also connected for L5 L-nerve root with neuropathy, my left shoulder, left hip and as of a few weeks ago L3-L4 disc is going. I mentioned the latter, because after a spinal fusion, you have to be on guard for what is called the “Skyscraper” affect – where each subsequent disc degenerates due to additional stress caused by the previous fusion. You may be in much better shape than me, but just wanted you to know what to look out for.

      Best Wishes Post Op!

    2. Redelia Ann Ford    

      Yes you have to request an increase and while you are in the hospital and 6 months I do believe you should receive 100% you must notify them of the surgery

  52. James Driscoll    

    Hi, So I will keep my remarks short and hopefully will fit in the box. 95% Issue Rating Accuracy? Oh give me a break. Human input by a “rater” into a computer program is called GIGO. Garbage in-Garbage out. I have SEVERE LATE ONSET PTSD. I had a MENTAL BREAKDOWN and have been in the Psychiatric Ward many times. My diagnosis by a Head of PTSD Psychologist assessment in accordance with DSM-V-R is SEVERE LATE ONSET PTSD – unable to work and unable to form or maintain relationships. My Psychiatrist concurs. Battle of denial ongoing for 11years by Oregon VA C&P. Final Denial stated they could not find VA Mental Health File. VA Judge determined me PTSD. Oregon C&P then gave me 30% without an assessment by their hired Psychologist. Wow … 95%
    correct! Appealed for 100%. Understand since my Senator and now my Attorney are in the case I will be Blacklisted. Info per past employee of Oregon C&P.
    So if I get the CAPTCHA right this time after 3 failed attempts …. I doubt you can or will do anything
    Jim Driscoll, A Marine

  53. john mercer    

    I do not have the time to waste,

    1. arthur l finn    

      You are right but it’s still very frustrating.

    2. Charles Coleman    

      I am sorry to hear that. But, if you do not have the time ot waste, why are you wasting time writing here? Just curious.

      1. Roland M McLean    

        Pretty Chippy Charles. I understand about wasting time but still in frustration taking time to write. Perhaps other Veterans will gain something from this. I am curious why you work for the VA. To give Veterans a hard time?

        How many Veterans do you think commit suicide while waiting for care or a claim to be decided. Stress is a key factor in many of the diseases we have. The VA is a tremendous cause of stress. For care or claims we must keep appointments, write claims in a certain form, and have limited time to answer the VA. The VA, on the other hand, does not answer written communication, does not return phone calls, and tries to avoid any direct contact with Veterans.

  54. john mercer    

    You’ve got to be kidding! This is typical of the VA ‘

  55. john mercer    

    The VA does not serve the veterans as they claim. The VA uses every excuse in the book not to take care of older veterans health problems. They set up criteria that ignores the service of American veterans. Many of these rules and stipulations are govern by congress and voted on by a bunch of morons who never served their country.
    Too much forms and paperwork slow down the claims process and it take years to get any action. Obama did nothing to remedy this problems. Veterans are still dying before they can get the care they need and you can forget about filing a claim because you will be dead before they look at you paperwork.
    All a veteran should have to do is present their ID card and then their health problems should be addressed immediately.
    There is no need for all the forms and multiple copies sent to two or three dozens people for approval.
    The congress of the country doesn’t have a clue of what is going on , and when you contact them for support most of them give a half assed effort to solve your problem.
    There should be no stipulations or barriers for a veteran who needs help. We served our country honorably, 24/7 without wavier. We make America safe but no one gives a shit in the VA administration!!!!!

  56. Alan W    

    Ms. Stratford,

    As a public affairs specialist with the VA, I believe it is your job to state the facts accurately. You stated that the VA’s accuracy level is 95%. This is very misleading.

    You are talking about the three month average of issue-level accuracy, which is the accuracy of individual medical issues contained within a compensation claim, based on a three-month average. The real metric that you should be talking about is claim-based accuracy, which is the VBA’s national claim-level accuracy rate determined by dividing the total number of cases that are error-free by the total number of cases reviewed from the prior three months.

    When you look at the most recently published claims-based accuracy level, it is 86%. So for every 100 claims filed, the VA gets 14 of them wrong. This is unacceptable.

    In the future, please do not spin the VA’s poor accuracy on claims adjudication by presenting misleading metrics. Until the VA takes ownership of its own poor performance, Veterans will continue to suffer as a result.


    Alan W.

  57. john jaklich    

    I was declined with each case I filed and the appeals depended upon ONE person in the VA mental health department who compared me to themselves and to others who experienced Vietnam but came out of it unscathed. My neighbor came out of 3 wars unscathed and lived a prosperous and successful life. I suppose we should gauge ALL veterans who suffer problems because of their duty to their country by this man and others like him which would reduce the numbers of disabled and save the government lots of money. I went into the VA filing a claim thinking they would weigh MY experiences and MY symptoms in order to determine if I qualified for PTSD disability or not. But, that isn’t how it works. They compare the vets with problems to the psychologist without any problems and reject the claim because the psych is handling their life just fine and we should all be like them. The years I spent arguing the case were certainly wasted years that accomplished nothing but to further exacerbate the problems I experienced because of the war and the military service. The VA’s apparent solution to the homeless vets is to tell them to get a job. To the depressed and overwhelmed vets who aren’t handling life can be told to, get over it. I can imagine if I were laying in the gutter that the VA would throw me a quarter, tell me to go somewhere to see someone who is far, far away, and then leave me laying there…thinking they did their good deed for the day. I imagine the VA is looking forward to the Vietnam vets to die off and they’ll be done with that part of the bigger problem that they have.

  58. Ralph Munoz    

    I was drafted in April 1969 graduated from high school June 6, 1969 but I passed the Air Force exam and enlisted for four years (1969-73). We went on a TDY assignment in Vietnam from Aug 1969 to Dec 1969 Tan Son Nhut Air Base, SaigonI. I filed for hearing disability and was denied. My records were lost and I have to prove I was there. The VA said I have to provide proof either finding someone who was with me or contact a friend who was there. The 377th Air Base Wing was responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the USAF portion of the facility from April 1966 until the last USAF personnel withdrew from South Vietnam in March 1973. In addition, the 377th ABW was responsible for housing numerous tenant organizations including Seventh Air Force, base defense, and liaison with South Vietnamese Air Force. To conclude, I gave up finding or fighting the VA. I now have prostate cancer from “Agent Orange” and hearing impairments. According to research, Agent Orange—or Herbicide Orange (HO)—is one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. It was a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. I need a lawyer!!!

  59. R Lopez    

    I am a 20-yr veteran, also waiting for a resolution to my NOD. I have followed the rules, played the game as instructed only to watch others make a muck of our VA system. On my most recent visit to the VA hospital while waiting, a 4-yr Veteran (1980-1984) sat next to me and described his disable condition. He was just awarded 80% disability for PTSD and was now there to officially register with the VA. He had no VA ID and had been previously denied service. When asked then how did you obtain such high percentage he mentioned that he received a appointment to QTC medical VA contractor and told them that he had nightmares and tried to cut himself. As I sat there (with my walking cane) listening in disbelief he actually pulled out his VA letter and it showed 80% for PTSD (alcohol, non-service connected). He was now officially in the system, worst he had just received his license tags DV-disable vet… Disability with tags for alcohol. I served in 3 different war zones, body aches, knees in bad shape, bad back and all the VA could muster was 40%. Still waiting for my NOD results.

  60. clarence eugene gould    

    Was deployed to the gulf war with the 3rd infantry division I was a infantryman. We went into Kuwait. Saw death and destruction , the constant fear of being killed and having to wear chemical hazard suit for hours on end was stressfull,staying out on perimeter security for extended periods of time for stressful after awhile you start imagining things, upon returning home i became sick and and had nightmares,insomnia,depression,anger,and did not trust anyone. Turned to alcohol, that didn’t work,isolated myself from everyone to include my family dealing with this on my own for 20 years, finally getting help through the V.A. mental health diagnosed with ptsd. Went to the Texas rep. To file for compensation, being told sorry about your luck but you did not receive the combat infantry badge even though you went to war so there is no way you can file have a nice day. I need help please
    Thank you clarence

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Why weren’t you given a Combat Infantry Badge? Dd you meet the qualifications? If so, you should petition the Board of Corrections and ask that this “oversight” be corrected. Also, if you have proof you should have been issued one, you can always write one of your Senators for help and personnel in his/her office will submit a Congressional inquiry on your behalf. It may take a couple of months to get a reply, but they will get one for you.

  61. James Driscoll    

    This is my third attempt to write you. Each time I am refused and my letter is dumped. I would say that you have been scanning my letter as I write and certain terms will delete my letter.
    So how do I write to you?
    Jim Driscoll
    A Marine

  62. Dennis Gaubatz    

    I don’t believe the 95% accuracy statement. All you have to do is sit in a waiting room for four hours and listen to the other Vets. Veteran services need to be set up like Medicare, so that we can avoid as much BS as possible. Then we need a Veteran care contribution act that deducts $5 from every paycheck. This will also cut down on the number of wars Americans support.

  63. Jeremiah Campbell    

    Tet Offensive of ’68. Last evaluation done by a clown out of retirement whose sole purpose was to comply with VARO. Definitions improved, but no movement. I am now 70. Think the unofficial VARO policy in Saint Louis is to hope I die soon?

  64. Lysa Fernandez    

    I certainly hope Mr. Trump comes through and helps Veterans receive immediate care. I have received substandard care from the VA but I have also received good care.
    1. I have service connected disability for right knee. Went to VA in March 2016 and a XRAY showed nothing was wrong. VA sent me to physical therapy and that made the knee hurt more. Finally VA did MRI and that showed a torn maniscus. I called the VA back the following week and I was told a nurse would call me to make surgery appointment….that never happened. I called the clinic the following week and was told I would have to wait 6 months for surgery. I was then referred to Veteran’s Choice program but it would take the ortho nurse several weeks to get my records loaded in the computer system. I called a Vet’s Choice rep at the hospital, and she immediately uploaded my records. A week later Vet’s Choice rep called and the process started. Eventually I ended up at the surgeon’s office. He could not believe the substandard care vets get from the VA, and said we deserve better. The hospital billed Tricare and I had to call the hospital to try to clear this up. Of course this took multiple phone calls.
    I even called Vet’s Choice and the rep said for the hospital to call them. Well, thank goodness this is taken care of…..I hope. I don’t know if I will go through Vet’s Choice again. I should write a book.

  65. david white    

    I filed my NOD May 2014 out of Houston and still waiting to here back. Then again Houston is known for shredding claims.

  66. Richard Leger    

    I have My Military records which indicate I was injured during my service time butt I was denied because I waited too long to file for my disability I feel this is unfair and unjust
    Richard Leger

  67. Richard Guido    

    Been waiting and fighting since 2011 and now on “third” time. I have tried twice to get my Medical Records for a specific injury but was just given the usual run around, can’t find it BUT when I had my Disability Evaluation, there was my record on the computer of the one doing the Evaluation (???) I am more than tired of dealing with the V.A. screwing this up for no reason and if this time i am still denied from the appeal, I will just do as a friend did, and hire a lawyer to deal with these bozos ! ! !

  68. James Driscoll    

    So I did a letter and the CAPTCHA Code was RcR3, which I copied however…..

    You did not like my Code so you dumped my Letter….. typical of you subrosa people in the VA

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Did you save a copy of your letter before you sent it? That way you would still have it, if something goes wrong when you click submit.

  69. Roland M McLean    

    Respectfully Ms. Stratford: Obviously you have never dealt with the bureaucrats at VBA. Your PR piece is all spin. 95% accurate by whose estimate. Problems with the VBA !. They do not answer letters. 2. They lose documents. 3. They are not properly trained to make medical decisions. The computer makes the decision? Garbage in, Garbage out.
    Five years since I submitted my Agent Orange Claim for prostate cancer and Heart Disease. For the VA the Johns Hopkins biopsy and the Cleveland Clinic diagnosis was not sufficient and did not fit their norm. They do not understand the aggressive form of Prostate Cancer I have even though their own research showed that I am typical for Agent Orange cancer. Got it early and very aggressive. The problem, I haven’t died yet because on my own I got into an experimental program that saved my life but at a severe cost in side effects. The VBA wants me to die and go away, just as they want most VIetnam Veterans to die and go away. They have not given me a rating in more than six months. They know i will appeal anything less than 100% so they stall, hoping I will go away. The have lost my medical reports, commingled information and inaccurately reported my health. I had a VA doctor tell me that when prostate cancer metastasizes to the bone it becomes bone cancer! No! It is still prostate cancer in the bone. (Bone cancer is not presumptive for Agent Orange, an excuse to deny a claim) In order to confirm my claim of arterial blockage, they did a test that checks heart function but does not test blockage. I was promised a letter on October 17th so I could use the VA for prostate care. I have gone broke paying my own way. I am still waiting for that letter. Personally, I hope the new administration fires everyone in the VBA and starts over.

  70. Paul Coleman    

    I laughed when the author stated that the VA got the decision right 95% of the time.

    That is an outright lie and the author, who is a VA employee knew it was an outright lie BEFORE she posted it.

    That lie makes it very difficult to almost impossible to believe or trust anything else that she posted.

    I’ve been dealing with the VA for over 13 years over Service Connected issues and not a single time has the VARO, which is Little Rock, AR, made the right decision.

    Not only that but the VARO “lost” my original claims which after an 18 month delay I had to start all over again.

    All my claims were denied on the grounds that there was no record of being treated or diagnosed with a condition while on active duty even though all of the items that I claimed were highly documented in my SMC and was being treated for this conditions/injuries on the day I was discharged from AD. All of the claimed items were documented during my Seps Physical plus there were and additional 15 years of private doctors’ and VA medical records included in my claims.

    How could a rater and his supervisor miss all of the documentation?

    Oh, that’s easy! They never bother to look at my SMR, SPR, or any of the additional medical records. They just rubber stamped the claims “DENIED” and took a 3 hour lunch break.

    The Little Rock, AR VARO’s stated policy is: “Lie and Deny”. That statement was made by the Customer Service supervisor.

    Don’t even get me started on the lies that were made during C&P exams by VARO “doctors”.

    But since I’m on the subject………..

    During a C&P exam of my Service Connected right knee I used the phrase “FLARE UPS” 37 times ( I counted them.) but the C&P doctor stated that I adamantly DENIED having any type of flare ups with my right knee.

    In what alternate reality does that “doctor” live in that my statement could possibly mean what he documented on an official Federal Government document?

    I’m currently rated at 60% with a 40% hearing loss pending that I’ve been fighting the VA over for 13 years so no one can say that my claims that were all denied originally were not justified.

  71. lenorel oriley    

    How backed up are the VA judges in DC ?? We have been waiting for a hearing for 3+ years.. Case in hands of lawyer who only represents veterans who have been denied their disabilities. Is there anyway to move them faster ?? Husband says their waiting for him to die… Viet Nam veteran…. Hope President Trump steps in and improves this mess…….

  72. Anthony Joseph Ewing    

    I’ve been told that my disability determination has been decided but yet I haven’t received any kind of notification as to the decision Why?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      How long ago were you told that? And, who told you? If you are online you should be able to go in and see the status of your claim. Also, it seems to take several weeks after the claim is adjudicated before you receive a notification letter. If it has been over six weeks, I would call the VA 800 number and ask the VA representative what he/she can see online and what to expect. The Rep. should be able to initiate an inquiry for you, if enough time has passed.

  73. Norman Duncan    

    Become a Veterans Choice Participating Provider has been in affect for sometime, Trump is spinning wheels. Doctors in your community who are interested can apply. The program is called VCP and you can provide the forms and hand carry to your local medical team if they wish to participate. One problem, the VA has to expedite their reimbursement timetable as some doctors drop out as payments are slow. Norman Duncan

  74. James Fleming    

    It’s interesting that 95% of the claims are accurate. Who determined that – oh yes, the VA did. We all know what a true and accurate reporting agency that the VA is. I guess I’m in that very limited 5% as is so many of my friends. Trump’s going to solve this???? Please!!! The VA has been screwed up since Vietnam. Probably before that.

  75. JOE GONZALES    

    let these veternas know that your NOD claim will tkae 5 years from date of file to get something of responce

  76. Charles David Black    

    I have applied twice for PTSD disability. I supplied new info on my second application. I was turned because it said no new info was supplied. The VA is nothing but a bunch of over paid imbeciles that don’t even read the applications. They must get paid extra for doing so many applications so they just stamp DENIED! I suffered through the TET Offensive on a mountain at Song Be. Location about 100 miles north of Saigon and 5 miles from Ho Chi Min Trail and Cambodia. We had Med-o-vac choppers shot down as they came in to pick up our would and KIA. There was about 130 of us on the mountain of Nui Ba Rah. We could not get supplies, we were out of water, food and hanging on to the last of our ammunition. The cleared area around us was maybe 2 acres or less. I was part of a 7 man contingency team that set up Microwave Communications for the 101st Battalion that was stationed at the base of the mountain. When the TET Offensive started the Army moved the 101st Battalion to Saigon without our knowledge. We were alone. We had a CH47 helicopter try to set down a new generator because our generator was taken out by a rocket, not to mention our sergeant, Trick chief, a laborer from our company and wounded our generator man. Why I did not get hit with shrapnel I will never know. They were also trying to bring in water ammo food and replacements. The pilot was able to get away by dragging a 45KW generator through the tree tops. Friends I had on that helicopter said when they landed at the base of the mountain they could here him screaming from a radio shack that if they didn’t get support for the boys on the mountain they were going to loose every one of them. The guys on the CH47 thought they were all bleeding as rifle rounds going through the bottom of the helicopter were hitting 5 gallon water cans causing them to explode and water everywhere. We were now under small arms fire from all around. My trick chief laid beside me moaning I’m hit, I’m hit until he went silent. another guy was trying to help him and screaming for a medic. We had 2 Vietnamese interpreters on the mountain with us. At the same time all this is going on they set a flare off inside our ammunition con-ex and it was on fire. I was laying down fire from my M16 down into the jungle as I laid beside my trick chief. One of my Friends that I trained with in the States was not wounded but received 70% disability for PTSD for his service on Nui Ba Rah. His name is Stewart Leigh, lives in Oklahoma. We came under attack every night and some times early morning. I was turned down for PTSD even though I have suffer depression, anxiety attacks, and sleep apnea that I have been treated for for years. I had dreams early on for several years and they were always the same. Being over run by North Vietnamese. On the mountain we all performed the same combat duties along with my team keeping the communications up and running. I didn’t think i was going to make it. The Green Berets that were in Song Be Hamlet notified us an intelligence report they received that we were surrounded by at least 10,000 North Vietnamese Regulars and they were going to take the mountain at all cost. The same afternoon we received a call to stay close to a hole or in a hole that support was on the way. The next morning at daybreak we were getting artillery support from two different compounds. When that would stop the helicopter gun ships would come in and fire rockets and machine guns all around. When they were done the Navy flew in F4 Phantoms and dropped Napalm and strafed with their 50 Cal machine guns. This rotation went on non stop until dark. They were able to get helicopters in the next morning with supplies and replacements.
    My question is what the HELL do you have to go through to receive an OK for PTSD. I was later sent to a base called Bear Cat that was a little closer to Saigon. We were hit with mortars and 120mm Russian rockets. Finally in June I took R&R and went to Hawaii and met with my wife. One night while there an ambulance or police car went past our hotel with sirens going. From a dead sleep I baled out of bed and hit the floor and reaching for my flack jacket which of course was not there. My Wire jumped on top of me and was screaming its alright, its alright before I came to my senses. When the sirens went off at base came we had incoming rockets or mortars. Then when I went to the 90th Replacement to come home our flight out of Ben Wah was cancelled the night we were to leave. We ended up being hit with mortars at the 90th Replacement. when I got home I could not stand Loud bangs for a long time. To the VA my medical care has been a night mare. I won’t go on about that right now but I have a patient advocate investigating that now.

  77. jack davis    

    Well if only it were that easy! I first filed with the St. Louis office that office has a 1/3 or one out of every three claims are found to have errors in the decision. I have a claim now pending after an appeal from 2012. I have had my VSO person told by the DRO at St. Louis: “I will never approve his claim and even if I did my boss would never approve”. I have been accused of lying, told my doctors are wrong and the rater knows more about mental health than the doctor the vA hired and my lic. doctor I submitted an appeal 6 months later I get a letter saying “we do not understand” than I send it out again and 6 months later I get another letter we do not understand what you are saying? So I again try to dummy down the language to below the sixth grade only time will tell if I have gone low enough. We that is the veterans pay a very very dear price for the theory of Splendid isolation and the arrogance and self serving decisions it fosters. If you are a veteran you need to know this term it explains how your constitutional rights are suspended in dealing with the VA.

  78. Christopher Jones    

    I would like to say that this article is a joke. Have filed a NOD last year and still waiting to hear something. Have been denied twice because the VA nor the National Archives cannot locate my service medical records. VA has treated me knee, back and ankle issues that they say are not service connected, however they issued braces for knees and ankles. Have sent statements from fellow Marines and pictures wear braces while in service.
    So you tell me how does just say I think my rating is wrong will help.

    Thank you
    Frustrated Marine

  79. Mladen Sudarevic    

    How does one ensure that appeal has not fallen through the cracks and ended up in someone’s trash can?

    I filled two appeals and each time I elected DRO review because I believe (I know) that information was overlooked or not taken into account. I was under impression that DRO reviews are faster. How many years on average do DRO reviews take here in Denver? When I called VA line I was told that one day I will be contacted in writing. No one can ever give time estimates.

    If the goal is for Veterans to just give up…in my case VA won

  80. William Arthur Robert Necker Jr.    

    You can e-mail me your answer directly.
    Thank you again,

  81. Joseph L Moore    

    Contact you Congressman and make them change the way VETRUNS GET TREATMENT, I no longer have any faith in the VA Doctors or SHRINK. IF you as a VET no longer have Believe in that your claims should take years to get NOD, If your congress man cant fix a broken system, then simply do not support them when it comes time to get elected, VETS PAID FOR IT DURING THEIR TIME ON ACTIVE SERVICE. That the only way a vet gets something done, contact your congress man and pressure them. If you thank A VSO is going to help good luck.

  82. William Arthur Robert Necker Jr.    

    I have misplaced my denial of disability. Is there any way to get a copy of this letter?
    Thank you,

    1. lenorel oriley    

      You can try the fiduciary unit….. 1 888 407 0144

      they got me what I needed…

    2. Deborah petersen    

      You should be able to get a copy of all correspondence through your on line account.
      If you don’t have one, you should crate one. Your local VSO can help you.

    3. Charles Coleman    

      Call the 800 VA phone number and ask the representative to have a copy sent to you from your file.

  83. Michael J. Schreiber    

    I filed a NOD in November 2014 and I’m still waiting for a decision. SSDI gave me a 100% for my legs, arms, PTSD and Tinnatinus. My name is Michael J. Schreiber I served 10 years in the US Army as a Paratrooper. The VA only gave me a 20% rating for Tinnatinus. Because SSDI gave me 100% I filed a NOD in November 2014 and haven’t heard a word. How long does it take to hear something? I want to know whether they are going to reverse their decision or increase my ratings so I can get over the 50% threshold for free prescriptions.

    1. Chris North    

      By law the VA can only give a rating of 10% for Tinnitus.

  84. David Bearden    

    Its a real joke going to the V.A. Retired in 1994 and got a appointment in 1995 at the Dallas VA. I walked into the Dr. Office and he asked me how I retired with just 6 years of service. I looked at him and told him I had 21 years plus he goes well we only have 6 years of medical records here, I told him I turned in 21 years two months and 20 days. He calls down to the records room and the clerk tells him that they had fired a clerk because he was throwing away medical records. And St. Louis only had that six years of my medical records. And because of that I can not get anything done because I have no records of anything.
    Another thing when I transfer Oklahoma I check into the V.A. hear in OKC. I was waiting in the waiting room and this WWII Vet and his grandson come out of the back where the Doctors visit was and I get called back and I hear a Nurse saying I wish these old Fkers would die. So after my visit and I leave the area I ask to speak to the Director of the Hospital the lady picks up the phone and talks to someone and her tell me he busy and I should leave my name and phone number So I did and she ask me what it was for and Like a dummy I did. never got a call and could not get another appointment to my doctor for over three years. Now I can and she tell me she have been their all the time and ask me why I have not been in.
    Another thing by claims have been tied up for over three years with out a word. out of room I have more.

    1. Deborah petersen    

      You can request a copy of your complete medical file if you did not make a copy before you retired. Your local VSO can help you request a copy of your complete medical fil.

  85. David Flowers    

    How can a Veteran (who’s a Single parent) with a 100% rating 70% PTSD and 30% unemployability get the unemployability rating removed , so he can get a job, an be able to take care of his 4 children ?

    1. Chris North    

      I would get the job and send the VA a 21-4140 showing that you are able to secure sustainable employment but what you must remember is that unless you fall under the rules that the VA can’t take your rating away, once you open your claim for them to review, they can send you for another C&P exam and if they feel your PTSD has gotten better, they can drop that rating accordingly. That is with any disability not just PTSD. Good luck. Thanks for your service.

  86. Robert T Burke    

    figures VA doesn’t want anyone helping people

  87. Robert T Burke    

    my story is I received a 30% disability , for degenerative joint disease, well after a year I was downgraded to 20% According to the VA My DEGENERATIVE Joint Disease got better? WTF I have terrible pain in my feet , in which an ankle injury on active duty was treated incorrectly and was told my issue would only get worse as I age. I have terrible arthritis and yet the freaking VA says I’m getting better, Glad I served almost ten years 1984-1994. No one can or will help me , I’m afraid if I go back to VA i’ll lose my meek 20% Anyone who can help me I would appreciate it my email address is Thank you for letting me sound off . ( I don’t expect anyone will offer any help)

    1. Gretchen Anne Richardson    

      Mr. Burke, I beg you to go get a good VSO. IAm a Army Nurse and I help vets get their records straight. Iam here for any of your questions.


      Gretchen Anne Richardson

      1. Landa Jackson-Cartlidge    

        Ms. Gretchen,
        I filed a NOD over two years ago, when i check ebenefits it just says that the NOD has be received. Should it take this long for the process to move to the next step? Also, I received 50% for behavior health issues, but the medicine I take lowers my libido. Should I claim that as a new claim or secondary to the BH? I don’t want to take a chance on my BH rating being reduced. In our small town I’m not even sure where to go to find a VSO to help me.

    2. Deborah petersen    

      Something very similiar happened to my husband. He had cervical fusion and was given 100% disability due to hospitalization. 6 weeks later they reduced his rating to 10% saying his condition would improve. We were shocked. We filed NOD and clearly asked them what criteria they used to determine the new rating. We were told that we would have an exam but no exam was scheduled in more than 15 months. We finally got a notice for an exam almost 1 year after we appealed. The doctor was great and his rating was increased to a reasonable rating.
      Now we are just waiting for the retro active pay. My husband was active duty from 1972-1995
      Good luck.

    3. Janelle Wolves    

      Hello Robbert, Did you see my email to you? This is Janelle Wolves, OFFE member

  88. Charles    

    Seems so simple in my case as Vietnam vet what group I’d be in but no, in lowest group. Then I have to send in more paperwork to get it changed. Stupid
    VA not worth the effort

  89. Daniel DeBruhl    

    Why does the article not deal with how long it takes to process an NOD? I filed 4/2016. Per eBenefits “Date Not Available” to decide my claim. I am service connected for my hip, under went total hip replacement 2/2016. VA had all the records (including X-Rays) except surgical report. Reason for denial was lack of surgical report which I was able to submit within four days of initial notification of denial in April. Have had three C&P visits where doctors have verified surgical report is in VA records, along with scar and x-rays showing prosthetic. You would think the X-rays would be enough and the follow up records of me continuing treatment. My VA primary care physician knows I’ve had a hip replacement along with other implants. Why are the VA bureaucrats having such a difficult time?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Probably because of the backlog of NODs. They are processed in order received and I know that the VA does not have enough personnel to keep up with them in a timely manner. Also, it depends on what is contained in your NOD. Have you uploaded the surgical report so that the reviewer can readily see it? If you have submitted all the documentation you can and can see that it has been received, then you most likely will just have to wait until they get to you request in the pile waiting. It seems it is taking almost nine months to a year these days. But, don’t give up. My NOD only took about 7 months, but only because I had the local DAV office helping me and because I kept calling and writing; finally asking for a face to face meeting with the Director of the VARO where the NOD was sent for consideration. After I got the meeting, my issue was resolved that day and the NOD was (I guess because I never saw anything about it) closed.

      1. Daniel DeBruhl    

        With a “95% accuracy rate” – it would seem there should not be that many NOD’s. My NOD contained the requested Surgical Report and this report was also uploaded to eBenefits and listed as been received 04/20/2016. Under appeals it still states: “VA has received your Notice of Disagreement. You will be receiving a communication from VA in the near future describing the next steps of your appeal.” Going on nine months is not the near future.

  90. * Victor J Alvarado    


    Since 1977 I have been waiting for a resolution and 100% unemployable due to my service connected condition. Hopefully one of these days they might reconsider my claim. Good luck to all my comrades under the same condition. God bless you all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Victor J Alvarado

  91. wilbert Jennings    

    I was injured in basic training to neck and shoulder and while in Nam received treatment with shots to my shoulder.I also was treated for severe jock rot and was circumcised. The pain in my neck caused severe pain in my arms and legs and results of test implied no signal from brain to arms and legs, the yeast infection had spread to my face and was given a permanent profile against shaving.I was medivaced to Japan and received a spinal tap and shortly thereafter sent to Walter Reed Hospital. I suffered with neck pain for years and even approached the VA back in the seventies but to no help I was told I looked healthy and if I was hurting I would like it, eventually had to have my neck fused 360%.Both hips have been replaced one in the VA and one outside because I couldn’t get help from the VA. Recently the VA fused my back and I have had stents put in my heart valves.The new VA is much better even with all the complaints than it was when I came home from NAM.By the way my records where convientially lost and I was dischrged after finishing my enlistment at Ft. Belvoir in VA with temporary records. I have the scars between my legs and the missing foreskin and to this day have a problem with arms and legs and left shoulder. What can I do to get help from the VA their answer to any problem any more is physical therapy.

  92. Theodore Johnson    

    What is the procedure to re-open a case?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Probably depends on how long ago the case was decided. You can always file a Notice of Disagreement. Do you have additional documentation or doctor reports supporting your claim that was not in the original claim? If so, you can submit that as well..

  93. Amy Lee    

    I am still waiting for my disability determination. I was medically discharged in 2007 and have not seen a dime for my disability. I receiced a letter in the mail a couple years ago they were reviewing my case and I have not heard anything since. I cannot get anyone to help me. Is this so.ething you can help with or at least send me in the right direction?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      You can call the 800 VA telephone number and speak with a VA representative about your claim. He/she can look it up on the computer and give you a status. Also, if it shows it has been in process for the length of time you stated here, then a followup will be initiated. You should also write your Senator and ask him/her for help; providing the documentation you have (the letter you received from the VA and other documents concerning the disability determination. His/Her office will submit a congressional inquiry and get an answer for you.

  94. Paul Preuss    

    I won my appeal with the Board of Appeals last year after six years regarding the problems I have with my right wrist, have tendonitis, nerve damage and a gap in my right wrist bones. All of which have caused severe problems with my right hand to include loss of strength etc. However, when it came time to give me a rating of disability the local vets office gave me 0%. After almost seven years, no evaluation, no nothing, and now I have to go back in a re-appeal to show them the problems. I have said to before and I will say it again, the VA is waiting for vets to commit suicide or die, and no I am not suicidal, just angry at the process we as vets have to go through, and then after all these years and finally winning the case, having to appeal it again. The VA seems to a policy of denial for every submission, putting each case in appeal, the longer they drag out the case, the more frustrate vets become, and they either walk away and get tired of the process or as many of have seen, commit suicide. Lets hope that some day veterans are really care for and about. For now I am back working with my attorney and having to re-appeal my cases because the VA doesn’t bother to even read its own records or talk to Vets.

  95. Tommy I hill    

    In 2011 I had a colon procedure the next morning I had enteral bleeding rush to military hospital for treatment which lasted for 8 days to return for removal of polop that was left two weeks later the polop was removed 2 days I was back in emergency surgery to remove more of my colon I was coded as dead for more than 30 min stayed at that hospital for 3 more weeks .i have tried to file a claim since that time and it always denied or I am told they never got the paper work which was submitted by my Dav rep last denial was May June 2016 where do I go now.

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Why is it always denied? What reason(s) are given in the denial letter? Do you have proof that would countermand the reason(s) for denial? You are definitely able to file a Notice of disagreement (NOD) and add supporting documentation. Also, what has your DAV Representative said to you about your denials?

  96. Lola Tooley    

    Gentlemen :
    It sad how little respect Veterans are given. Incomplete Disability Forms. No appointment room for Servicemen and women who need services sooner not latter !

    Glad to read Mr. Trump is allowing Vets. To go outside VA. For care, it is time for change. Government needs to be accountable . Congress needs to pass laws to assist homeless Vets., give Federal Money for Education not to be paid back!

    Congress also needs to care for the Federal Workforce, instead of stealing their benefits and money!

    Mrs. Lola Tooley

    1. Jeff Gomez    

      Trump is not in office yet, so how can you believe he will be better for vets? Besides he said Sen. McCain was not a hero only because he was captured by the enemy.

      1. Charles Coleman    

        Anyone will most likely be better than Obama showed himself to be with veterans! Show me any President who has cared less about the military and especially veterans. Remember when Obama came out and said that veterans returning from the Middle East should pay for their own care???
        Senator McCain is a Vietnam hero in many ways. However, as he has aged in place in the Senate, it appears he has become (like many other Senators from the days of Rome forward) power hungry and more about taking care of himself as opposed to representing the constituents of his state and indeed our country. Just another example of why we need term limits in Congress!

  97. Derek J Swanger    

    “If you disagree with the decision VA made on your disability compensation claim, your first step is to formally tell VA that you disagree”
    To whom it may concern,
    Great opening line. I have a good story regarding my claim so far as the end is yet to be determined but I am very hopeful and more so after being denied. I believe I fall into that 5% that slips through and perhaps for good reason. It’s been a year and some months since I first sought help. The day after Veterans Day.
    I went first to the VFW who lead me to the American Legion who sent me for help from the VA the day I asked for it. I have had nothing but the best of help from the VA since then. It took me some time (months) and much thinking to actually file a claim. I was nervous and afraid. Ultimately it was the help I was receiving that convinced me to file. The advise being: The VA needs to know this happened. It was a claim bigger than me and so I filed with much support.
    My claim was one sentence long with a four word note attached that took 30 years to get out of me. My advisors at the American Legion said it was more than enough to get their attention. Perhaps it was too big of a claim to rationalize or more likely something that nobody wants to talk about including me. Hence the problem. We were hoping the VA would do a bit more research on our behalf.
    When I received the denial letter stating there was not enough evidence to support my claim, I called the number provided and explained to the nice lady a bit more than the one sentence in my claim and was immediately put on reconsideration. The denial letter was like a shot across the bow and it was all hands on deck helping me. The “good reason” I mentioned before. This one is not slipping by yet again for another 30 years.
    My four word note read: NCIS has the report. I didn’t know I had to get it, I didn’t want too, I was hoping for some help there as well. Writing a one sentence VA claim was difficult enough but I got the report by re-reporting the crime and now the VA does. Admittedly, it has been therapeutic doing most of the research on my own but now I am being advised to get my mind off of it and being told there is more than enough evidence now. And so I will, after I hit the post comment button. Perhaps write that book I’ve been wanting to do for so long as the son of a Marine Colonel and Marine myself. Going public as this is public and talking about something I’ve never wanted to talk about has helped. The VA videos were inspirational.
    Best wishes to all and I hope this helps those who seek help.

    Semper Fi

  98. Lola Tooley    

    Our Country should be held accountable for I completed Disability no clinics open when Veterans are ill. Homeless Vetrerans., etc.

    I worked for the Federal Government as a VA Nurse injured first in May 9, 2010. I paid a lot of money to get a Disability Attorney and then a Judge and hearing.

    I am Disabiled and VA. Get 300. Every month for overpayment. Judge ruled for Social Security Disability.

    Mrs. Lola Tooley

  99. Lola Tooley    

    I worked at Coatesville VA. Medical Center , PA. 19320 for almost 20 years. As a Nurse, I herniated a disc transferring an Obese Resident from his bed to gerichair, May 9, 2010.

    Back Surgery Jan. 24, 2011. Nursing Career almost over.

    Spinal Fusion for Reoccurance May, 2015. CA-7 filed Dec. 12, 2016, for back workman Compendsation never paid to me by VA.

    Still waiting answer from Dept of Labor Philadephia Branch Office. I called Senator Robert Casey . No answer!

    Lola Tooley

    Do you know anyone who can work at this?

    1. Charles Coleman    

      Are you sure Senator Casey’s office received the letter you sent? All you have to do is call and they will let you know. They keep a record of all correspondence requesting help. Also, it could be that they are waiting for a response. If that is the case, his office will send a second request. Congressional inquiries are high priority and have to be answered.
      See if this helps.

  100. Robert novella    

    To whom it may concern, I had to file a NOD for a service connected surgery that damaged the nerves in both of my legs. I filed for disability SS and was approved in less than 2 months. I also filed for 100% unemployability at the same time at the end of 2013. They denied my claim saying they didn’t have the documents. So I sent again the documents in, this time in came back saying I never submitted anything for the hip, which the documents clearly talk about my hip. I’ve seen VA doctors that have stated in their reports that I can no longer work. I have been out of work now for quit some time. I’m hoping someone can fix the problem with this system. When I go the the VA hospital in Temple, I watch and count how many times the employees visit the cafeteria. About every hour I’ve seen the same people coming in and getting food, sitting down talking about the game that night. Try it sometime, you’ll see. Know wonder it takes years to get a claim thru.

    1. Lola Tooley    

      I am sad for you and your situation. Why won’t Washington fix this unfair treatment?

      Because Government makes to much money on caring for Veterans in VA.

      I am glad Mr. Trump is opening up care to Private Doctors and Hospitals!

      Mrs. Lola Tooley

    2. Charles Coleman    

      Concerning your comment about VA employees at the VA Hospital in Temple going to the cafeteria multiple times a day and that is one reason it takes years to get a claim processed.
      Let me say that the claims are processed through the Veterans Administration Regional Office (VARO) in Waco, TX; not done in Temple. Also, the VARO is separate from the hospital in Waco in another building several miles down the road.
      So, I just wanted to let you know that the employees that you are seeing in the Temple VA hospital have nothing to do with processing of the claims veterans submit (other than perhaps the doctor(s) there might submit a letter or information on behalf of the veterans they see who are filing claims.
      Having said that, I too was upset at the length of time it took to process my last claim; just about two years, even though the new dtreamlining of processing records was supposed ot be making processing of claims faster.. Then, when it was processed, the VA withheld a portion of the backdated award (backdated to the day my claim was received) as the believed I was still drawing retired military pay, which I wasn’t. I reminded the VA that they had last processed a claim for me back in 2005 and at that time they acknowledged that I was not drawing military retired pay; plus I sent them a letter from DFAS atesting to the same. Still, it took me about 9 months to get that resolved. and get the $9800 restored to me that the VA had erroneously withheld. I requested a face to face meeting with the Director of the Waco VARO and also enlisted the help of the DAV office located int he VARO. We met in the DAV office and the VA representatives said they would see what they could do to get it resolved. Believe it or not, the $9800 was deposited into my bank account the next day.
      So, don’t give up hope. Just keep pushing and eventually, your claim will get processed. Ask the DAV for help. Ask for a meeting with the Director of the VARO in Waco, if this continues to drag on.
      Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  101. Corey Myers    

    What should Marines, like myself, do after they have been denied several times due to not providing enough eveidence because of the culture/taboo of going to medical and pushing through whatever the ailment was?

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Hello Mr. Myers,

      You can submit statements from Marines you served with, who can vouch that your injury or illness occurred while you were serving.

      Hope I helped answer your question; if not, please comment below.

      Semper Fi,

  102. Jerry Ray Reece    

    Perhaps I could believe this article if I had not just received a decision letter on a claim dated 9 December 2016 where both the rater and the reviewing authority failed to read or ignored the C&P exam dated November 29th of that year that clearly stated that I was eligible for a higher rating per 38cfr. Perhaps the author would care to explain that and why it is taking 3 weeks to get the NOD in the file even when it was filed by the DAV in the same building as the regional office?

  103. Jerry Higgins    

    I was disabled with 100 percent in 2007 due to unemployability. My question is ; is it necessary to refile for total disability even though there are no future tests or visits required. My health has deteriorated over the years due to service connected problems. Thanks

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Hello Mr. Higgins,

      It depends on the severity of your disabilities and your ability to work. I recommend that you consult with a Veteran Service Officer who can evaluate your situation and help you make the right decision.

      Please also note that although VA may not require future exams for your conditions, VA will periodically request updates of your employment status via VA Form 21-4140-1 “Employment Questionnaire”

      I hope I helped answer your questions. If not, please comment below.

      Semper Fi and thank you for your service,

    2. Roger Rodriguez    

      Mr. Jerry Higgins the VA usually keeps up very closely with those that carry a 100% disability rating. You are claiming that your disabilities are getting worse and/or that your health is getting worse/deteriorating because of your service connected disabilities.
      It is your sole responsibility and you have every right to file a new claim that your service-connected disabilities have changed and you are filing for a higher disability rating.
      Since your service connected disabilities are getting worse as you say you have every right to continue filing. You can go to any private doctor for an examination of your disabilities & file with the VA..
      For veterans with a disability that have a rating that has the clause “due to unemployment” the VA is doing all they can to find out if this vets can work, are working etc. so that they can reduce their disability percentage rating.

    3. Redelia Ann Ford    

      Mr Higgins, I agree with Mr Rodriguez. 100% unemployability is an income based program with the VA so if you did work you have a cap on the amount you can make. If you request an increase and they grant the 100% permanent and total, the verification of your employment status will not be of any relevance anymore.

  104. Diane Vigeant    

    My husband, a 30 year Air Force veteran, has been waiting for resolution of an appeal submitted to the Board of Veterans Appeals since 2008. He finally had a hearing in March 2016, following which he received an incorrect judgment in July in which his records had been combined with another claimants. He just attended a follow-up medical evaluation this month regarding one of his issues. Today, he received another request for additional evidence from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and his records have again been combined with another claimaint’s, different from the one in the July judgment. Who does he need to contact to get this straightened out and get proper and timely resolution? He retired in 1998, and the appeal was filed in 2008. His own conditions have worsened over time, and undoubtedly, so have the other two (or more) veterans whose claims have been erroneously combined with his.

    1. Ronald A. Fenech    

      How can Social Security give you a 100% disability rating and VA rate you at 30%? From what I understand both agencies work for the US government and they should have the same criteria. It makes no sense that a veteran be “raked over the coals” to get what he justly deserves especially when it comes to Mental Health where the wounds are not visible and Psychiatrists do not agree and are confounded by VA’s decisions. VA may have a 95% rating; but the criteria is rigged.

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