Some Department of Veterans Affairs news for you and others.

Discussion in 'VA Procedures' started by DonaldN, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. DonaldN

    DonaldN New Member

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    Some news for you and others.

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.”

    That’s what the veteran gets.

    Senior VA officials who provide substandard care for veterans got $3.8 million in bonuses.

    Veterans Affairs Gordon Mansfield testifying before Congress made this lame argument in favor of the bonuses: they were appropriate and necessary to retain hardworking VA employees. “Bureaucrats” would be a more fitting term than “employees”.

    Mansfield said: “VA remains committed to the statutory imperative of executive bonuses to both reward and to encourage excellence in performance. We’ve got some d--- good people.”

    Beware of a bureaucrat or congressman uttering the phrase: remains committed! That is a favorite of Congressman Terry Everett (R-AL).

    What “excellence in performance”? One sign holder in the Congressional hearing room held up a sign that read: “My 80% disabled son backlogged 1 ½ years.”

    The Associated Press reported that 21 of the 32 officials who were VA performance review board members received more than half a million dollars in payments themselves.

    Among them: nearly a dozen senior officials who received bonuses ranging up to $33,000. Those officials, however, were involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short by repeatedly failing to anticipate needs of growing numbers of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Also rewarded was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who manages a system with severe backlogs of veterans waiting for disability benefits. The current wait for veterans averages 177 days, nearly two months longer than the VA's strategic goal of 125 days.

    How many headstones will $3.8 million buy?

    Thanks Leo!
    DonaldN
    Semper Fi
  2. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    "Senior VA officials who provide substandard care for veterans..."

    One wonders what substandard care that would be. Sounds like sour grapes to me. Been using VA health care since 2000 exclusively and have been very satisfied. My office is in walking distance of the local VA CBOC where I see my Primary Care Physician. If I have any problems or questions I send e-mail to his nurse who takes care of most things. If I need to see a specialist, They schedule me for an appointment at a nearby VAMC. I get my meds by mail. Just log in to the web site and order them. Haven't paid one red cent in over 6 years and don't have to waste my time in a pharmacy.

    Harvard Gives Federal Hospitals Top Grades

    January 18, 2007

    Secretary Nicholson: Second Accolade for VA from Prestigious School



    WASHINGTON – A comprehensive study by Harvard Medical School concludes that federal hospitals, including those run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provide the best care available anywhere for some of the most common life-threatening illnesses.

    “This recognition by Harvard should assure veterans of the quality of VA’s world-class health care system,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. “Veterans have earned only the best. And we can prove that’s exactly what VA is providing.”

    The study was published December 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal for health care professionals. Researchers looked at congestive heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia across the health care industry and found that patients in federal facilities are more likely to receive high-quality care than those in for-profit hospitals.

    Dr. Michael J. Kussman, VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health, said the report is the latest example of VA setting standards for health care in the United States.

    “This study further demonstrates that VA is providing high quality health care to veterans,” Dr. Kussman said. “Our computerized system of electronic health records and performance measurement means that veterans are getting the top-level care and treatment they have earned through service to our country.”

    The study found that hospitals operated by the federal government and the military received higher performance ratings than other hospitals studied. A large percentage of federal hospitals are operated by VA.

    “This suggests that lessons learned from (VA’s) decades-long experience in quality improvement deserve further study,” said Dr. Bruce Landon of Harvard, the study’s lead author.

    The study assessed the quality of care for congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction – commonly referred to as heart attack -- and pneumonia in more than 4,000 hospitals in the United States.

    The Harvard Medical School study is the latest recognition of the high quality of VA health care. In 2006, VA received a prestigious “Innovations in American Government” Award from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for its advanced electronic health records and performance measurement system.
  3. DonaldN

    DonaldN New Member

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    VA BONUSES UPDATE 03: The VA acknowledged problems on 12 JUN in its award of $3.8 million in bonuses to senior officials who put health care at risk and said it would consider changes to avoid conflicts of interest and improve oversight. Testifying before a House panel, Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Gordon Mansfield insisted the hefty awards were appropriate and necessary to retain hardworking VA employees. But he agreed the process might lack objectivity because members who sit on VA performance review boards -- charged with recommending bonuses for top employees -- all come from within the agency and typically get bonuses themselves. Mansfield said VA Secretary Jim Nicholson would consider adding agency outsiders to the VA's review boards. In its last known report on the issue, the Government Accountability Office in 1980 urged departments to include outsiders to add credibility to bonus awards.

    Mansfield spoke as a few members of a veterans advocacy group, Grassroots America, silently held up signs in the hearing room that read, ''My 80% disabled son backlogged 1 1/2 years,'' and ''$$ for vets not execs.'' The hearing before a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee comes after The Associated Press reported last month that 21 of 32 officials who were VA performance review board members received more than half a million dollars in payments themselves. Among them: nearly a dozen senior officials who received bonuses ranging up to $33,000. Those officials, however, were involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short by repeatedly failing to anticipate needs of growing numbers of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Also rewarded was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who manages a system with severe backlogs of veterans waiting for disability benefits. The current wait for veterans averages 177 days, nearly two months longer than the VA's strategic goal of 125 days.

    Earlier in the hearing, government investigators told House members the VA needed to do a better job in linking its bonuses to the department's overall success in treating veterans. The GAO said confusion still exists in the VA on the proper criteria, and executives based in Washington consistently outpaced their counterparts elsewhere in the size of payments -- $19,439 compared with $15,268 to officials outside Washington. In a report to the subcommittee, the Office of Personnel Management said its review of VA practices found inconsistency in the awarding of bonuses. OPM director Linda Springer.Mansfield expressed concern that the hardworking VA officials might leave for the more profitable private sector if they did not receive bonuses. That drew fire from lawmakers from both parties, who decried the payments as evidence of improper favoritism and said it would be illegal to award bonuses on anything other than performance. All bonus recommendations must be approved by Nicholson, who declined to testify before the subcommittee. Rep. Harry Mitchell [D-AZ] who chairs the House subcommittee on oversight said, "
    'When the backlog of claims has been increasing for the past few years, one would not expect the senior-most officials to receive the maximum bonus. Indeed, it appears the bonuses in the central office were awarded primarily on the basis of seniority and proximity to the secretary." Florida Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, the panel's top Republican, said she wanted to make sure the bonuses were awarded based on VA officials' 'actual performance, and not just performance on paper. "The federal government should not be in the practice of awarding bonuses to people who permit failure on their watch. It should be limited only to the very best, particularly in time of war." [Source: New York Times article 13 Jun 07 ++]

    Note:
    I also make use of the VA system. I've never had a problem with the VA and I'm actually pleased with how they provide care for me. I think this particular article is more about the "bonuses" awarded to the top echelon brass and how they were awarded, rather than the treatment the VA provides. These folks receive a substantial salary to do the job, so why are "bonuses" necessary? That is BS! Especially since they are not performing as the changing situations require. The Government job system has a "built-in" bonus system. The higher you go, the greater the bonus. These are almost NEVER denied regardless of poor job performance. Most supervisors are hesitant to deny a bonus to subordinates because the "sub's performance really drops when refused". They actually will challenge the supervisor's decision. I've seen it happen!

    Semper Fi,
    DonaldN
  4. DonaldN

    DonaldN New Member

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    Just received this link and haven't had chance to read it. It might provide some interesting commentary/opinions on the VA.

    http://www.vawatchdog.org/
  5. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Great, I'll quote from your source then...

    "Nationwide, VA hospitals have no more accreditation problems than do civilian hospitals, according to Cappiello"

    You'll note this Cappiello is Vice-President of The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. You know, the folks that did the study.

    At first glance it appears to be serious, Western Washington and all. Then, on examination one finds the Seattle and American Lake VAMC's are the "only" VAMC's in western Washington and they operate as a single administrative entity.

    The VA operates 154 VAMC's nationwide and having 1 or 2, depending how you count, under threat of losing accreditation is pretty much par for the course. The hospital accreditation process incorporates a large administrative component, most of which has little or nothing to do with patient care. You'll also note Patty Murray states:

    “I understand that the Joint Commission raised very serious concerns about inconsistencies in the suicide and homicide assessments of mental health patients, and the safety environment within the mental health inpatient wards."

    This isn't exclusively a VA problem. Both military and VA facilities have been overwhelmed by mental health needs since 9/11 and there simply aren't sufficient mental health providers to go around.

    Personally, I've received excellent care from the VA and I wouldn't give it up although I do have other choices.

    The biggest problem is lack of full funding by Congress and slick Willies Executive Order permitting non-service connected wealthy veterans use of the VA facilities without funding it.

    ...and yes, I'll have to agree, it's more about the politics of the bonuses. Bonuses are a common method of rewarding executives world wide. The VA is no different, they have to compete for talent in the same pool as the big corporations and multi-nationals. If ya want the talent, ya pay for it. These aren't wage employees and ya can't pay them like they are. Looking in from the outside, you haven't a clue what constitutes success. Perhaps the present performance of the VHA is success compared to what it could have been considering the present budget. These bonuses were a total of $3.8 million against a budget of over $80 BILLION. I'm thinking chump change here.

    In the end, the VHA has been doing an excellent job considering the circumstances.
  6. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    OK, Murray is running off at the mouth about the MH/suicide problem but the below list is from the commission report. Do they think plumbing and hinges are life threatening problems? The only serious issue is the last one and it's a serious problem in any MTF or VA facility because of the shortage of professionals and it ain't gonna get fixed in short order. GWII has simply overloaded MH care. FWIW, the lone reported suicide in the VA system didn't occur in Seattle.

    • Risks in the patient room environment that include: inappropriate patient bathroom grab bars, shower curtain rods, shower heads, unprotected under sink plumbing, exposed door hinges, inappropriate beds, fire extinguisher cabinets with glass panels, IV poles under beds, etc.
    • Failure to implement corrective action plans based upon risk assessments of the patient environment
    • Failure to implement Interim Life Safety Measures due to the presence of identified risks
    • Inadequate process for identifying high risk psychiatric patients and providing appropriate protection from self-harm
  7. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    VA has no issues and gives appropriate care?

    I have read the posts regarding the great care that a few of you are referring to when some one else started mentioning the bonuses that the top officials are receiving. I would just like to add my 2 cents worth for a minute. We live pretty far out, so the nearest VA hospital is about 2 1/2 hours away, of which it has limited facilities and doesn't handle most issues there anyway. After my husband retired from the Marine Corps, unfortunately we moved once or twice, so it took the VA from Nov 2004 until April 2007 to decide he was 50% disabled. They still haven't straightened his check out to add any dependants and can't say if we'll ever receive backpay for the past 2 1/2 years. The last time I spoke to our representative, he said they weren't even showing our info had been input so he didn't even know that we started receiving a partial check in May 2007. So, which employees deserve these bonuses? Obviously not the ones handling the paperwork because they are so far behind they will never see the light of day. We recently found out that our representative is the only one in our region, so they have said. Why can't those bonuses go to additional personnel to catch up the backlogged paperwork?

    Just my thoughts! Sorry for ranting! :)
  8. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    cajunragin:

    When you start talking bonuses, we're talking about folks in the very highest levels of an agency. People like the Secretary and his assistants and the various department heads. Most of these folks are appointees and in order to attract anyone with the basic qualifications the government has to compete with industry where bonuses are common. Now you might not think Jim Nicholson is qualified but that would be your politics showing. I'm a DOD employee and DOD pays bonuses as well.

    Looking in from the outside it might seem the whole problem is because of incompetent decision makers but nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that court decisions have interfered with the adjudication process to the point they can't get the job done. An influx of new cases from OIF/OEF has also complicated the decision process. If you want more decision makers, go pester your legislators. They determine the availability of funds to pay additional people.

    Now as far as your husbands claim goes, none of it makes sense. You say your rep tells you your info hasn't been input but you say you are getting paid. If your decision hasn't been input, I can guarantee you, you will not get a check. Go look at your latest decision and tell us what it says. It will list all awards and will list all deferred claims.

    One last thing. Your representative does not work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Typically he works for a Veterans Service Organization such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion (AL), the American Red Cross (ARC), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Military Order of the Purple Heart (MoPH) or any of the other hundreds of organizations. Some states and counties also have service officers. Some of these folks are paid and others are volunteers. Most orgs will also have an office co-located at the VA Regional Office.
  9. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    Tinman,

    I understand who you were referring to receiving the bonuses, my comments are just ths though: if they have enough money in the budget, since that is where they are taking their bonuses from, why can't they hire efficient personnel or more of them to effectively do their jobs? My husband's representative is with the AMVETS organization, I understand that is not VA specifically. However, when we call the 800 VA number, and it transfers to someone in "our region" it stll goes to that office where our rep is located. You're right, my husband's claim doesn't make sense. Since he now works offshore, I am trying to figure it all out on my own. This rep will talk to me, however, most regular VA personnel won't because I am not my husband, and it is not my claim. However, this last time when I spoke to our rep (with AMVETS) and he claims our information has not been put in, I am assuming that he didn't even take the time to look it up at that point. Maybe he was too busy, I don't know. I just want answers and would like to receive the pay that we have been living the last few years without, that he is entitled to. When I ask specific questions to our rep, for example if my husband's disability is listed as CRDP or CRSC, he can't answer any of these questions. I am not sure, since he may have so many people he's handling, if he even reviews our case to see what is happening before trying to fill me with excuses to pacify. I am not totally stupid though, I am also prior military, a Navy Veteran, so I know most of the basics. If I don't know it, I know where I can find it, EXCEPT my husband's informatin because it is personal and not listed in public records, obviously. I will go back and look at his decision that we received in April, I know it was a total of 50%. He received like 30% for one thing, and 10% for another, etc etc. I will let you know when I can sit down with the paperwork. Thanks for replying!

    Oh, also, our rep just told me that the last time that I called, (that he couldn't see my husband's info had been put in), that they were working on it. He had no problems viewing it the previous times I called, so he said. That's what surprised me also.
  10. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Good, If you know that then you will also know the the government competes with private industry for its top executives and private industry pays their top exec's hundreds of thousands in bonuses even in times when the business is failing because it often isn't the exec's fault. Without paying these bonuses, you won't be able to hire qualified execs. That's just the way it is.

    There may not be enough for both. I'm not sure you and I even begin to have the qualifications necessary to decide how the VA ought to be run. We may know what outcome we want but, telling them how to get there is a bit out of line. If you think the VA ought to be able to hire more decision makers, work with your legislators on that.

    Right, that's because CRDP is a DOD program paid by DFAS and CRSC is administered by the service branch your husband retired from. None of the service reps are trained in military pay. CRDP is automatic and you don't have to apply. CRSC you must apply for. You (your husband) can find out if you have CRSC by visiting MyPay and looking at his account. There will be a CRSC pay statement. There isn't anything for CRDP. The best you can do is look at the Retiree Account Statement (RAS). Look under the column "New" for the amount on the VA Waiver line. Write it down. Go to the VA web pages and look up the compensation rate tables for 2007. For 50% with a spouse only (no children) it should be $781.00. Now subtract the waiver amount from that. That's how much your CRDP is this year. I'm 50% and mine turns out to be about $450/mo. There is no entry in your RAS for CRDP. You should be receiving Gross Retirement less deductions, less VA waiver. Normally your entire VA compensation would be waived and deducted, but under CRDP, some of it is restored. $450 this year for 50% disabled class.

    I don't know what to do about the inconsistent info at the moment. I'll get back to you after I do a bit more research. For the moment, the best thing you can do is get your latest decision and see just what it says.
  11. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Cajunragin:

    I got some help with your post and discovered evaluation of the knee is much more complex than I'd thought and dependent on a variety of possibilities. This is what I was told:

    Diagnostic code 5003 is the first place to go when rating arthritis. If you have xray evidence of arthritis and objective evidence of painful or limited motion of either knee, you should get a 10 percent for each knee. The amount of arthritis is not pertinent. If you have xray evidence in both knee joints of arthritis, and you aren't service connected for any other arthritis, such as in your arthritis in your spine, you would be entitled to a 10 percent evaluation (for both knees combined together) for xray evidence only in two major joints. This is a crazy, archaic rule, I don't even know the basis for it except somewhere in the manual, not the regs. Lets say you are service connected at 10 percent for arthritis in the cervical spine. Then you have xray evidence only of arthritis in both knees, no limited or painful motion. The knees would be rated together, or separately, it really doesn't matter, but you could only get 0 percent evaluation. Lets say you aren't service connected for any arthritis. You know have xray evidence of arthritis in both knees, but no evidence of limited or painful motion. The knees would be rated together, with an evaluation of 10 percent, for xray evidence or arthritis in two or more joints, etc.

    I was also told if you have objective evidence of painful motion you should have gotten a 10% award.

    When you call the 800 number you should get a Veterans Service representative who works for the DVA. This person is not a Veterans Service Officer working for the Veterans Service organization you enlisted to be your POA and help with your claim.

    You mentioned you are getting some pay. Is this by some chance Voc-rehab or Educational payments and not compensation?

    The 800 number isn't actually set up as a claim tracking info line. It's really there to help folks submit a claim but everyone wants it for tracking. Some of the phone operators have the skills and will to dig deeper and others don't. Call again and ask if they can bring up your payment history and tell you what you are being paid for. If you don't get satisfaction, ask for a supervisor. It will be a callback and take a couple days.

    Hope this helps. Let us know how you're making out.
  12. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    TinCanMan,

    Ok, since we moved a few months ago, I still have some paperwork boxed up and have yet to put my hands on the Va Award letter that told us about our percentages. Anyway, I did look online at the RAS and found that other info myself. We are receiving CRDP, there's no record for a CRSC payment. Because of the "Phase in" of the full amount up until 2014, we have a waiver of a portion of the disability, that is being deducted from our retired pay. We are receiving the basic amount of CRDP for 50% with over 20 years, however they are still working on the dependants paperwork that I overnighted them 3 months ago. Our AMVETS rep doesn't understand that because he marked it received as soon as I sent it, and he claims he took it to the correct people to handle it. He said it should have been a 5 minute data entry because I sent the completed dependants verification form, each birth certificate, our marriage license and the copies of divorce from his and my past. It should have been cut and dry on the dependants, but they are dragging their feet. I mentioned the other day to you that we received a letter stating they were working on our benefits claim, and I didn't understand because we are already being paid. The rep said that it is a generic letter that must have generated when they started inputting our dependants paperwork, that it is not necessarily to process our original paperwork.

    So, anyway, things are looking better. He explained a little better about the data that he was referring to that he said it needed to be input, it was regarding the Concurrent backpay or something like that. We still have no clue when we will receive any backpay, but we are still entitled to it, so I am happy. I give up, we will just look at it as extra whenever it does finally get here. Thanks for your help and suggestions. I think I understand better... it's all about the concurrent disability and the whole "phase in" until 2014 to restore our retired pay since they now state that anyone over 50% disability will be entitled to both checks without being penalized. Getting the dependants added back into the pay will help, it gives us the increase of about $200 a month instead of the single retiree rate.

    LOL, who knows! :) Thanks again!
  13. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Cajunragin:

    OK, this brings up a couple of important issues. Firstly, your move. Make absolutely sure you have informed the nearest VA Regional Office of your move. This is in addition to the change of address for any checks and if you haven't already done so, set up direct deposit.

    Second, that letter. The VA is required by The Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (VCAA or Act), Pub. L. No. 106-475 to send every veteran a letter each time the veteran sends in new information. It will ask the vet if he has additional info to send. By law, the VA is required to wait 60 days before taking any action unless the vet returns the letter telling the VA there is no more info and to proceed with the claim. This can hold up any action 60 days every time you send in new info if you fail to respond.. This may affect your dependents letter but I don't know for sure. In any event, it might take 5 minutes for the data entry but that assumes someone is just waiting to go to work on it. That's seldom the case. I understand it's taking 2 mos now to get the data in. In any event, read these letters carefully and follow the instructions.

    Third, CRDP and CRSC are 2 entirely different awards. Both are DOD programs and paid by DFAS. CRDP is taxable and CRSC is not. You cannot have both. One or the other only. CRDP is automatic but you must apply to a Navy Board for CRSC and CRSC only applies to conditions due to conflict or training for a conflict.

    OK, now the backpay business. Traditionally the VA paid backpay on all claims back to the date they first became aware of the veterans claim (or should have). A court decision decided this. When CRSC and CRDP came along, DoD said we don't pay backpay. They didn't have to either as they weren't under a court order to do so. After threats of legislative action, they had a change of heart and decided to pay up but it wasn't a simple issue. It requires a complex set of give and go between the VA and DFAS to get it right. I won't try to go into every nuance, but multiple factors can change the outcome. Dates of awards, marriage, divorce, additional children, changes in combined award, and way too many others play a part. At the moment DFAS is saying they have 75%of original claims paid and just the more complex awards and new awards remain. Last, I say they expect to be done in a year.
  14. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    TinCanMan,

    Thanks for the information, I really appreciate it. For the last month that I have been trying to figure out whether we had CRDP or CRSC, I have learned the difference. There's a great comparison chart out there on military.com. I know we do not get both and that's why we are getting CRDP automatically. The move was actually Mar 2006, from Virginia to Louisiana, and then recently, we just moved a few houses down. We immediately changed our information to the New Orleans office which is our closest office. We didn't have to change anything when we just moved because everything still goes to the other address which is my mother-in-law's house. So, that didn't affect anything. I do understand the delay when new information is received, however, the rep we are working with said they only needed the dependants verification form, and it's appropriate documents that I overnighted, so they weren't waiting for us to reply with anything else. They had everything, and this isn't the first time we have sent it in. The original packet that my husband had flled out was just prior to his retirement. The base he retired from had VA personnel there to set it all up and be sure everything was included. She was on top of it all, and it was going very well, until we had to move. She gave us the complete set (of 5 records) that we needed to submit. It was all turned in, with the original dependants paperwork. They didn't ask for the appropriate xrays and final examinations until 2 years (Nov 2006) after he retired, and then it took them 6 months after that to award us the 50%. I have heard that for a while they weren't paying backpay, but we have been told from the first rep, when he retired, that he was entitled to receive pay from the time he filed, which was documented as the day after he retired. That's when the rep at the base stamped his records that they put together. Other than that, we haven't had any changes to our circumstances.

    I totally understand that the VA has alot going on, and they have alot of service personnel to handle. But, occasionally, why can't we expect them to say, "Hey, sorry, your file got pushed aside, but we are working on it now." ?? I know everyone isn't perfect and they make mistakes, as we all do. I would just like someone to tell me what's going on and then I wouldn't complain so much. It is worse sitting back NOT knowing what is happening.

    It really makes sense that they would change the fact of paying backpay, or else the system could really get abused by employees not working efficiently. If a servicemember retires and is entitled to his or her disability when they retire, why should it lay in the hands of an employee to input the info to determine when they will receive it? Do you see what I am saying? Example: A retiree could have all of his or her paperwork turned in immediately, but an employee misplaces their file, or it gets brushed aside. Well, that retiree doesn't start receiving their pay for a while, and the VA says, "oh well, we don't pay backpay" even though it was negligence on the data entry process. No fault of the retiree. If the VA rep could have done their work in a timely manner, that retiree would have started geting paid immediately. In all fairness, it makes sense.

    I think, or hope, you would agree that our men and women work too hard serving our country to be pushed aside after they have carried out their duties. So, it's ok to forget about those that came before, once their 20 years are up?
  15. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    cajunragin:

    FWIW, attempting to understand why your claim takes so long and agonizing over it is going to give you a big headache. The best advice I can give you is get a cane pole and go fishing. I do suspect your move had a substantial impact on the timeline. You moved into a region served by a VARO severely impacted by Katerina. VA facilities, the RO and MC, moved out of the region and then back. Personally, I doubt they were anywhere near recovered 6 mos later. Just a move alone is enough to set back a claim but compounded by Katerina, well... you get the idea. Understand, your claim doesn't sit on someone's desk until he completes it. For the most part, it sits in a filing cabinet waiting for information to come in or waiting for the C&P to be completed. Once ready to rate, it'll wind up in the decision makers filing cabinet while he works on the claims ahead of you. I don't think your claim got pushed aside at all. I suspect it's just winding it's way thru a busy process. It's a complex process I couldn't explain if I had to. Here's a link to the VA claims flowchart as it was in 2000

    www.gao.gov/archive/2000/h100146t.pdf

    Scroll down about two thirds the way to find the chart . You can see that there are many steps in the claims process so even if you're familiar with the process you can't judge with any degree of accuracy how much longer your claim will be at any certain point.

    A poll done in another forum indicates 50% of claims are completed in 1 year. Yours didn't make that but then you moved into a disaster area.

    Where ever did you get the idea that the VA doesn't pay backpay. They do, at least on my watch they do and I'm a really old guy. It is DFAS that didn't do that wrt CRDP and CRSC. That was the decision of DOD, Not the DVA.

    No one is being pushed aside because someone didn't carry out their duties. It's a matter of budget and manpower. If you disagree with the timeliness of the handling of your claim, I'd recommend you hold your legislators feet to the fire and insist on a larger manpower budget for the DVA.

    If fishing doesn't suit your fancy perhaps helping out at the VAMC as a volunteer or maybe joining AMVets and helping the VSO with claims will be more to your liking. So much work, so little time.
  16. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    TinCanMan,

    You had said in a previous response that for a while backpay wasn't being paid, and then they made the change to start. That's where I got the idea. I do understand that you were referring to DFAS and not VA, either way, I just want it finished. I am surprised, however, that you can justify all of their actions and can't say that they ever make mistakes. You know it isn't a perfect world. I am not saying that it has definitely happened to our claim, but I am sure along the way it has happened. The day that the VA becomes perfect in all of their actions, well, that just goes without saying.

    As far as fishing, YES!!! If I could, I definitely would! As a prior member of Women's Bass Fishing Association in Virginia, I miss that too terribly. It's a little more difficult now since my son is still too little to understand the concept or sit still for any lengths, but I am counting the days to teach him the wonderful joys of the outdoors!

    Also, I am all for volunteering, but our closest office is in New Orleans, and that is still 2 1/2 hours from us. They do not have local offices near us. I really do not mind helping the situation and other families like us, if it were reasonably possible. Unfortunately, my hands are tied there also. But, I appreciate the suggestion!

    Thanks for giving me the web address, I will check that out!
  17. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Cajunragin:

    Hope I didn't give you the idea the VA never makes mistakes. That's certainly not true. That's why we have an appeal process that has opportunity for a DRO review, Board of Veterans Appeals and a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. If there weren't mistakes, we wouldn't need them. ...and not every VA decision maker is on top of the game. There's always that 1%. OTOH, there's no plot on the part of the VA to hold up claims or try and do a veteran out of benefits.

    On fishing; I usually don't bait the hook. I don't think the little one will notice. ;-)

    If you can't help out formally perhaps you could help get the word out about VRO. Go here and take a look at this: http://www.veteransresources.org/forums/showthread.php?t=3369

    In the end, wish you good luck with your claim. If you have questions, please ask.
  18. cajunragin

    cajunragin New Member

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    TinCanMan,

    Thanks! I checked out the post that you linked in the last response. I can help out with that (spreading the word, that is)! Thanks for all of your advice. We'll take it day by day, and hopefully it may show before Christmas! Who knows!

    Take care!
    -cajunragin

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