100K chart
This week, VA reduced the disability claims backlog to 98,535. This is the lowest it has ever been in VA’s history, and it represents an 84-percent reduction from its peak of 611,000 claims in March 2013.

But this milestone is also personal. I am a Veteran, my husband is a Veteran, and I have countless friends and family members who are Veterans. I came to the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) four years ago knowing there was no more noble mission than to care for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and Survivors.

On day one, I knew that demand for compensation and other VA benefits was exploding. The backlog of claims older than 125 days was over half a million and climbing, and the claims inventory was nearly 800,000 and rising. You were waiting too long for your disability claim decisions, and that wasn’t right.

In 2009, VA set a goal to process claims in an average of 125 days. Shortly after my arrival at VBA in 2011, we set in motion the Transformation Plan – a series of people, process, and technology initiatives that, when integrated, would bring the backlog down. Today’s numbers are a reflection of the success of this plan.

It hasn’t only been personal to me. It’s been personal to all VBA employees – 53 percent of whom are Veterans themselves and many more are family members of Veterans—and to Veterans Health Administration physicians and staff and IT colleagues who have gone above and beyond to provide you with the medical examinations needed to support your claims.

It was through the efforts of these employees, our team members and partners that we were able to achieve such a dramatic reduction in the backlog, without sacrificing quality: claims-based quality has risen from 83 percent at the start of transformation to 91 percent today – and holding strong – and on the eight separate quality categories measured within a claim, employees are making the correct decision more than 98% of the time. With the help of the Congress, our partners in Veterans Service Organizations state and county Veterans service departments, and the support of our Labor partners:

  • We are on track to complete nearly 1.4 million claims this fiscal year – exceeding 1 million claims for the fifth year in a row, and setting a new historical record.
  • We’re expediting your claims – thanks to you and our VSO partners, nearly half of the claims we receive are Fully Developed Claims – and today, Veterans with a pending claim have been waiting, on average, 105 days for a claim decision, 177 days less than the March 2013 peak of 282 days.
  • We’ve completed nearly 75 percent more non-rating work than before transformation – and we’ve already completed more non-rating work this year than we did in all of last year. Most non-rating claims are filed after receiving a rating claim decision that opened access to other VA benefits and services, such as adding dependents.
  • Our appeals rate has remained in the historical average range of 10 to 12 percent amidst our increased production – volume went up, because we decided more claims. When you work a record-setting number of claims, volume goes up. There are only two ways to best tackle appeals – legislative reform or more full-time employees authorized by Congress.

As you can see, many people had a hand in personally helping VA reach this backlog milestone. But I know it’s most personal to each and every one of you.

We (VA) changed for you.

We streamlined our processes; we moved out of antiquated systems; we got away from thousands of tons of paper; we met you online so that you could access us wherever and whenever you needed; and many of you changed right along with us. You’ve embraced new things like filing Fully Developed Claims and using standardized forms. Your teamwork with us as we implemented these changes was significant, and we thank you for doing your part in making VA better for every Veteran.

For the fastest processing, your evidence should be submitted as early as possible in the claims process, but we will always consider additional evidence or new medical conditions you add—no matter how late in the claims process you add that material. We take seriously our legal duty to assist you in fully developing your claim, but there are some instances where your personal circumstances – and our legal duty to assist you – may cause it to take more than 125 days to process your claim:

  •  If you add a new disability to a claim you already submitted to us or submit new, additional evidence for an already submitted claim
  • If you are unable to make scheduled medical exams for personal reasons, such as travel, living overseas, medical issues, etc.
  • If VA identifies additional disabilities while we are processing your claim that are related to your service-connected disabilities that you did not claim
  • If VA identifies additional entitlements, such as adapted housing benefits or additional monetary benefits if you are unable to achieve employment as a result of severe service-connected disabilities, we will still complete your claim but these entitlements may take longer than 125 days.

We anticipate that these categories will only account for approximately 10 percent of all claims we receive – the vast majority of your claims will be decided in 125 days. These situations do not mean we will stop striving to give you the best possible service, or that we no longer need your support.

Far from it!

As we mark this important milestone in our history, we commit to you that we will continue our efforts to improve; we will never waiver in our dedication to providing the best possible service to you, your families, and your Survivors. With our success in reducing the backlog through transformation, we have called on our VSO partners and the Congress to support us in ensuring we continue to receive the resources and legislative authorities we need to build upon our improvements – especially for non-rating and appeals work. I need you to echo that call.
We are not done. We will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf. Above all, I thank you for your service to our country – for you are our inspiration every day.

AHAllison Hickey serves as VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs leading more than 20,000 employees in the Veterans Benefits Administration delivering of a wide range of integrated programs of non-medical benefits and service to more than 12 million Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and Survivors. Under Secretary Hickey served 27 years in the United States Air Force on Active Duty, in the Air National Guard, and in the Air Force Reserve, retiring with the rank of Brigadier General as the Director of the Air Force’s Future Total Force office at the Pentagon. She is also a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the first class to include women.

Raymond F. Schinazi, Ph.D., senior research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2015 William S. Middleton Award.Atlanta scientist earns VA’s highest honor for biomedical research
In Memory PlaqueIn Memory program honors Vietnam Veterans for their sacrifice

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  1. Dian D. Hughes September 14, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I found this VA email insulting!
    I have had a claim submitted for my father a veteran of WWII since June 2014 with no results I have visited the local VA office several times, I have called the 800 number & have even been told I would receive a phone call or email within 7-10 days… that was in May 2015. I have emailed my Senator & congressman… to no avail. I am glad some of the claims have been handled but, I do not think I am alone in my experience.

  2. Daniel "Joe" Roach September 13, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I served in the USAF from 1965 to 1991. I worked with heavy metal plating; chrome, copper, nickel, cadmium plating, machined beryllium copper, steam heated 1,1,1-trichloroethane, along with many other chemicals as a machinist and training instructor. Also, I was stationed in places that are known to cause lung issues.

    My first C & P shortly after I retired was a joke. Because I showed no active health issues everything was denied. I refiled in 2008 and I’m still fighting with the VA over my respiratory problems. I am rated service connected for Chronic sinusitis and depression issues. My other medical issues are: Chronic asthma, Bronchiectasis lung disease, Interstitial lung disease, Type II diabetes, High Blood pressure, Calcifications in the lungs ,Compromised immune deficiency system, and hypothyroidism.

    In 2008, had the PA at C & P looked at my records they would have realized the difficulty of treating pneumonia and other issues was documented from the early 70’s. I had Veteran’s Court in March and I feel like the Judge listened to me. My attorney submitted the last of the medical statements in August. I suspect I’m 9-12 months from a decision.

    I’m of the opinion that most of the doctors at the VA could not support themselves in a private practice. My first VA general practitioner told me that if I went to church I would have an epiphany and would not have an more depression issues. I won’t say what the second doctor did other than I should have filed charges. I’m told my current doctor is well rated; however, all of about 2 minutes of an appointment he is answering the myriad of questions on the computer. He does not even make eye contact until that’s done. I complained about the first doctor and was assigned the second doctor. It was close to 2 years, at the insistence of other VA employees, before I complained about the second doctor. The clinic director did not have the courtesy to call me to tell me I had a new doctor. My first VA Psychiatrist told me it was better that my son died. When I went for the C & P interview for PTSD I was made to feel like a second class citizen. Two months later I went to the local clinic for help. The Psychiatrist asked me what kind of medicine did I want today and then answered the phone. I terminated the session and went to talk to the nurse. She told me that this job just sucks the life out of you and she cannot wait until she can get out of there. Christ, she is a retired USAF full Colonel. That was over two years ago and she is still there. Oh yes, the doctor falsified her entry in my medical records saying I terminated the session when she asked me what she could do for me.

    There is more but I’ll leave it at that.

    The head of the Gulf Coast VA system from Biloxi was here at the local clinic last week and I repeated these things to him. His comment about I was doing what was required for my appeal process irritated me since if the PA had read my records I would not have needed to appeal my case. He asked if I wanted to file a complaint about the other issues and I said yes. When I commented about the doctor asking me what kind of medicine I wanted a Psychiatrist who was listening to the information knew and told me the name of the doctor. DUH, there must be a problem if I didn’t say who the doctor’s name and she knew who it was.

    The other thing I told the Biloxi director was: The VA is waiting on my generation to die, then they don’t have to deal with us anymore. If you want a veteran for the poster of what is wrong with the VA, I’m your guy.

    Several years ago my daughter commented; if it were not for 9/11/01 the military, and the first responders, would not be getting the respect they are getting now. I firmly believe that is true.

  3. Randall Pard September 13, 2015 at 11:55 am

    How long is the wait time for moderation 10 yrs.

  4. Randall Pard September 13, 2015 at 11:30 am

    The VA is nothing but B.S. They are so brazen they don’t even obey a federal judge’s order, (the phila. regional office), they cancell your appts. without telling you, then supervisors & representatives don’t call you back with a correct explanation. This has been going on since 2008..

  5. Barry Brown September 12, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    What does”awaiting moderation” mean?

    • Gary Hicks September 14, 2015 at 6:56 am

      It means, that someone on the staff has to read your comment and then approve it to be posted.

  6. Barry Brown September 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I have an ongoing issue that my local VA reps and no will even listen. Hopefully, this is the venue to take my issues seriously.

    I have a very intense medical history. I live with HIV for 30 years. I suffer with severe peripheral neuropathy, chronic pancreatitis and diabetes.

    More than 10 years ago, when I was in massive pain, I was prescribed Fentanyl Patches 50mg. After trying other options, Fentanyl worked best for me.

    Now my ongoing issue: Seven or eight times a year I am put through periods of intense withdrawal and pain, because the VA Pharmacy chooses not to mail me the Fentanyl Patches. Realize that if the refill date falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday the patches aren’t mailed until Monday. I am left without my medicine for three, four or five days. On and on, I ask for help from my primary doctor, from the VA Pharmacy and the Patient Representatives, to no avail. My doctor suggested that I cut the patches in order to stretch my days without the Fentanyl. All the literature says not to ever cut the Fentanyl Patches.

  7. LTC(ret) Kim D. Zimmerman September 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    The VA has provided the worst health care possible since I retired 2.5 years ago. And it’s free! Can’t beat that! Except I am getting what I pay for…Not what I paid for! I have had nothing but difficulties…It is sad…

  8. Anthony Woodson September 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    What date in September will Ebenifits be up and running.

    Thank you
    Anthony Woodson

    • SJ September 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      They don’t specify a specific date in September. They don’t want anything you can hold them to. I and all other Veterans a waiting for them to fix their website as well. I’ve never seen such a worse website developed in my life and I use to do technology.

  9. Pam N September 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    OK, here it is, I have been fighting VA for several years. The last appeal, I sent a letter from my doctor (not a VA doctor) who has been treating me for 18 years. stating that my depression was more then 50% due to an injury I received in the military. And again they denied it. now I have to wait more years for this, because now waiting on BVA. Here are my thoughts on the numbers for claims the VA is saying they have finished. I believe they went down the list of claims and appeals and denied most of them so their numbers look good. With that being said, I wonder what all the numbers are for appeals now? Screw the veterans as long as their numbers look good. Wonder how long it will take this time to get in front on the board?

  10. Robert Pike September 6, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I wonder if this is part of the disability claims that the Los Angeles office has been shredding?? I send all my needed paperwork there and now have to wonder if it ended up in the shredder and not in the large pile on someones desk??

    If this IS part of that “miraculous” reduction, then, it really doesn’t count for anything and the VA is just trying to improve it’s image in the eyes of the public, never mind the eyes of the veteran!!!

  11. Michael Shill Sr September 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    M Gill, Send a letter to your Local Veterans Affairs Regional Office that handles your VA claim. Send address to the ATTN:Office for the Release of Information. place the following line in your letter “Request a Complete copy of my VBMS record, from (1st claim filed) to present”, including any hand written, typed, scanned, and received correspondence from the date exited from the military. I recommend to send it “Return Receipt” at the bottom of your letter add the address you wish the record to be mailed, and insure you sign and date. Do not forget to add your social #. All veterans are authorized ONE copy of the record the VBA uses to rate, and make decisions.
    I did it, and found out the Seattle VBA intentionally altered medical evidence in 2 decisions to forgo a rating, however the VAOIG feels that “It is not a matter of the office of the Inspector General for the VA” . Not surprised, Dave Engelen in the VAOIG office did try to help with the provisional decision. However, communication has come to a halt.

  12. Delisa Allen September 5, 2015 at 1:25 am

    I just found out many veterans, that are patients, at the ENDO clinic, did not receive care, from
    December 2014 until August 16, 2015. Most did not receive their medication, during this time
    frame. Plus, for me my disability has been reduced, starting October first. This is the money,
    that pays my rent. I will be homeless around Christmas time, thanks to the thoughtful people.
    I will see a doctor finally, in the next couple of weeks. But October first, no travel pay, no
    medication and no money for rent. I’am service connected. If I do not have my medication,
    I will get sick again. Last time, I had seizures, lost my hair, lost sixty pounds in three months.
    I felt like, I was waisting away. I was also told, when first coming to the VA Hospital, if I wouldnt
    of came, when I did, I might have lost my eye sight. So please, do not reduce my disability.
    Please help, the Veterans seek their medical needs and prayers.
    Very concerned.

  13. Dean Terrell September 4, 2015 at 4:06 pm
  14. shaWn M Gill September 4, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Where can I get my VA disability file?

    • VA VERITAS September 5, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      google “how to get your c file” go to hadit.com and search there as well. File a VA FORM 3288 and mail to your claims intake center (google that as well) and in the comments section…

      I hereby request a copy of all documents contained in YOUR NAME claims folder, including, but not limited to, all documents in the right flap, left flap, and center flap, and the reverse side of any documents with writing on both sides, including all handwritten notes, post-its and all decision forms or blue sheets as they are sometimes known.

      Please note that this request for documents is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as well as 38 C.F.R.§1.550 and 38 C.F.R. § 1.577. Your agency has a duty to respond to this request within TWENTY (20) DAYS of the date of this request pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(6)(A)(2)(i).
      Additionally, although an extension of time to respond may be requested, it may only be granted for “unusual circumstances.” “Predictable agency workload” is not typically considered an unusual circumstance as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(ii). Moreover, even to the extent that unusual circumstances could be demonstrated in this instance, the time limit for the extension is limited to “10 working days” pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.553(d).

      Please also be aware that your agency’s failure to respond to this request within twenty (20) days may result in the filing of an administrative appeal with the office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.557 and 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(2)(ii), and potentially, the filing of a federal lawsuit to compel the production of the information.
      This may subject your agency to contempt of court and a fine, including attorney fees and litigation expenses in compelling the production of this information pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(l) of the Privacy Act, and 38 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) of FOIA.

  15. Donald Wilmore September 4, 2015 at 9:56 am

    What is a disabled veteran to do to receive his earn disability. After services we are no longer a part of this country we are just old news no longer needed. VA please pick up the pace and start approve these claims. Sign In So Much Pain

  16. Donald Wilmore September 4, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for this opportunity to explain my circumstance. I filed for disability back in 2010 and I was denied so I have been appealing since my last response was ruled unfavorably so I wrote another appeal and have not heard back yet. I was told that it may take as long as 2 or 3 years. What is a veteran to do about these LONG delays . please help me by telling me what am I to do now. I also need a hip replacement and I am on a waiting list for that. Sign In So Much Pain. . . .

  17. DP0214 September 4, 2015 at 12:28 am

    You tell me to file an FDC claim so that I can get a quick decision, then you deny my claim based on a C&P examiners opinion that bipolar disorder is never able to be service connected because it’s genetic, which is in complete conflict with VA compensation law and policy, but because the deadline to issue a decision on my FDC was looming, you just deny it and throw me into a 2 year wait. It didn’t matter to the VA that the doctor they sent me to never even mentioned me or my medical and military history in his opinion on bipolar disorder. It didn’t matter that this exam was obviously and grotesquely inadequate. All that mattered was meeting that FDC deadline,so they tossed me in the denial bucket and cost me 2+ years of waiting, just to get the fair adjudication of my claim that I should have afforded to begin with. How many veterans have you done this to in order to get your official backlog numbers down?

    • SJ September 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      They did the same thing to me too. You need to get an attorney; the V.A.’s excuses to deny you are ridiculous. Is diabetes genetic, is hypertension genetic no? Everyone knows that either it’s the kind of lifestyle you live (diet, exercise, smoking, etc…) or a trigger in your life.

      Like something traumatizing that can create your problems (i.e. PTSD); so don’t listen to their lies and hire an attorney even someone from New York.

  18. Lonika September 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    These stats have been fudged. I am 30% disabled due to a hip injury and arthritis in my knee. The VA approved me to use Veteran’s Choice program for physical therapy. I called and they said 5-6 days and they would get back to me. It has been 3 months and every time I call Veterans choice program they tell me longer. The backlog is down because it has been passed on. I don’t believe veterans are getting any better or quicker care!

    • Lonika September 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      It took the VA 12 years to approve my appeal for the arthritis in my knee even though it was in my Army medical records.

  19. Michael Crisman September 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I’m a decorated, disabled Vet. I get it. I know what you guys are talking about. But I have a few things to say:
    (Read to the bottom. This isn’t all sweet).
    1). Imagine that the VA didn’t exist and the help you seek wasn’t available… period. Your blessed that the VA is there.
    2). I personally want to thank the VA hospital staffs for showing an extraordinary level of respect for who we all are.
    I can feel it every time I go into a VA hospital. It’s not that there aren’t an immense number of damned issues.
    But if you think anything about the government was going to be fast and effecient… then perhaps you learned nothing
    while serving your country. What part of hurry up and wait don’t you get?
    3).There is a new program that if you can’t get an appointmnet within 30 days of the request you can go to a public hospital and get help there and charge it back to the VA. Talk to your provider about this. Call the emergency line if needed.
    4). Hello: It takes two to three years to get any claim approved. It’s insane. It’s horrid. It’s the military…. it won’t change.
    Get your mind and planning set to this time clock.
    5). Finally: Here’s my best advise to get your claim approved. When you get therapy, take tests for PTSD, etc. Don’t hold
    your feelings inside. Let it all out. Barf it all out all over the floor. We’re taught to be gentlemen, to be in control, to hold
    our feelings inside. WRONG. Get in very close touch with exactly whats happening to you and let it all out. No sceaming. no swearing and do not be threatening. Be real… be honest and describe, in detail, the living hell your life has become.

    One interesting thing to keep in mind is to build up evidence to support your claims. Just saying that your life is hell isn’t enough. Present what evidence you can with your claim.
    And if your bothered to deal with the VA in the first place… seek out the Vet run groups that help Vets in your area. Their everywhere. They are there because they hate the government too…

    Don’t stop until you win. NO MATTER WHAT! You are not alone: Reach out to Vets groups for help. They will always have your back. Always.
    And here is what drives me to keep up the fight. I hate the government with a passion that can not be described with words. Winning my cases and taking money from the government is the only way I know of to get back at them.
    I’m at 50% and will fight until I’m at 100% and then I’ll start to work on campaigns to help other Vets. You in?

    • Adam Gravseth September 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      I’m in… I have two separate claims in now. My first is awaiting a video conference hearing later this month. My claim was denied because my witness statements said shoulder, not “right” shoulder. Instead of a two minute call to ask for clarity I added months! I should be thankful it is not years like many others however, I am not – I am disappointed, disgusted and ready to make it change.

      Semper Fi

    • VA VERITAS September 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      1) The VA is part of the contract they signed with us when we said we would go wherever they wanted and do what they wanted and get killed it need be. so “something is better than nothing” is a non starter.

      2) Its hit and miss, some are great yes, some are shitty, but they dont police their own. It takes over a year to fire a guy who oversaw a hospital responsible for dolling out pain meds like candy and killing vets.

      We are no longer in the military, this is a civilian organization, and if it was the military theres no hurry up and wait when medical attention is required? whats next picking up cig butts while waiting for an exam? its what happened in the military so thats ok right?

      3) yes the choice program that they just raided, because they spent the money building new hospitals to hire more employees for the union and then couldnt pay for life saving treatment for hep c vets, so they raided it.

      4) It would change if it was in their interest to do so. its not so your right it wont. the idea that “its the military” so ‘duh’ just deal with it.

      5) your absolutely correct.

  20. Richard Nimchuk September 3, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I served 6 years in the Marine Corps from 1983 to 1989 and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and when I needed help from the VA, I was told I am not a veteran and I do not qualify for any type of assistance from the VA. Why is this? I have had two back surgeries (not military related) but any type of help from the VA would of been welcomed. I do not understand how a person who can serve 6 honorable years in the United States Marine Corps not be a veteran?

  21. Rob miller September 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    More smoke and mirrors.

    Roanoke Regional just told me to keep being patient – they are over four years behind in processing appeals. Further, they are receiving more appeals than ever.

    VA simply denies (‘processes’) millions of claims very rapidly – “Wonderful news America, claims processed in record time”

    Unfortunately, this caused appeals to be increased substantially. Going through the NOD and appeals process still is taking decades, as has happened in my claim. It’s just getting much worse, looking much better.

    Still, typically, no one held accountable.

  22. Franklin J Miller September 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I’m writing in reference to the Veteran Choice Program I had an appointment that was 45 days out for an MRI all this took place the first week in August 2015 and my appointment was originally for Sept 2015, to make a long story short the programs does not work. To this date Sept3, 2015 I have not even heard from the program about an outside appointment, I myself think this a waste of GOVERNMENT FUNDS being wasted to a company that has no in sight on how to work with GOVERNMENT AGENCY something needs to be done to correct the problem. Good thing I didn’t cancel my appointment for Sept 15,2015 or I would have wait another 45 days. The system is broken and needs to be fixed ASAP or some other poor VETERAN DIE from incompetent people who don’t know what they are doing. Disabled

  23. golfinwi September 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    My claim, fully processed with help from my Veterans Service officer who I had just met, was approved in less than 60 days. That was back in 2010. I thank my VSO and VA for your prompt response, and although I empathize with those who posted here….I wonder why mine was processed so quickly. I will take credit for gathering literally every medical record I had, both from military care and cilivian care, and I did provide the supporting materials requested by my VSO and the VA. I am confident that my accurate and succinct claim submission had much to do with my quick and positive outcome.
    I thank Ms. Hickey for her efforts recently.

  24. Anthony Lyons, LTC, FA, US Army (Retired) September 3, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    This is great news…..unless you are one of the 98,535 still waiting or one of the hundreds of thousands still fighting the red tape of appeals and appointments to receive the care that was promised by a Nation.

  25. Art Berk September 3, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I was medically discharged from the VA in July 1947. My 100% was dropped to 60%. I finally received my 100% total and permanent rating in Sept 2013 at age 90.

  26. don peters September 3, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Not Forgotten Outreach, Inc. provides recreational and therapeutic activities for Military Families in Northern New Mexico to over 4,000 participants since 2013. NFO has seen & heard of the effectiveness of the VA reducing the backlog times for Veterans claims. Way to go VA, it’s a great start!!!!!

  27. Barry R Brown September 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Being service- connected when l ETS, being told not to shave because of psudofolliculitis barbae. I sent out for my personnel folder which contained all Military info and told them not to send none of my info to anyone but myself, please. I never recieved my folder from the St. Louis Office. Then I recieved a letter from the Wichita Regional office saying, we recieved my letter saying I authorized them to send for my records with a false signature. Then they sent them to me with all files being altered and most records removed. So everything I deserved was totally stolen out of my folder.These convics should be put behind bars that work in the Regional Office.

  28. Harry Lawrence September 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I was stationed at Eglin AFB and exposed to Agent Orange and exposed to a solvent used to clean radio parts. I have early onset Parkinsons. Was diagnosed since the age of 48 and I am 65 now. I have filed two claims and have been denied twice. I worked on the radios in the planes that carried the agent orange. I really don’t see what the VA can or will do for me. I don’t know why some get disability and some do. We were made to go into a small room and spray the solvent so that the fumes did not escape into the room. They were vented out. But we had to inhale these fumes. My hopes and dreams ended when I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. I can no longer do the things that I once enjoyed doing. I can no longer drive. I have become dependent on other people for many things. So you tell me what can the VA do for me now.

  29. Thomas Knopf September 3, 2015 at 10:23 am

    My hat’s off to Allison Hickey. She helped me when other VA employees were not sure what to do. After I e-mailed her, I got results with-in 24 hours. Only took 3 years to get done…but with-in 24 hours from a single e-mail, I got results….Good Job and WELL DONE to Allison Hickey.

  30. Emma Lester September 3, 2015 at 2:43 am

    I saw this and decided to leave a message as well. Most of us here have been moved around this system for years. It’s a frustrating process and we are missing out on the benefits we duly deserve. I retired from the Air Force in 2001 and have been going through some type of VA process to get my original 20% rightly upgraded. A few years ago I was upgraded to 30% but appealed it over 18 months ago and have heard nothing. Last time I checked I was told it was not in the system, that they have not received it. My guess is it’s sitting in a pile unprocessed. I need some help in locating my appeal and moving it forward. My site is Bay Pines, Florida. I have a situation that qualifies for a 50% ,since retirement I have had surgery extenuating from my problem at James Haley in Tampa. While these claims are mishandled and lost our families are missing out in vital benefits they deserve as well. Please contact me directly at my email address that I signed up with. I feel for all the Veterans here, I understand their frustration. I appreciate that the numbers are down, but unfortunately most of us here weren’t in those numbers..Thank You! I need some help.

  31. Emory Whitty September 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I submitted a claim due to error in the effective date for my Hepatitis C on May 2014. I also have an Appeal for Sleep Apnea that was submitted on April 2005. I was told it is at the Philadelphia Regional Office awaiting Remand since 2014.

    The claim for change of effective date should have been completed September 2014,and my Appeal should have been completed by April 2009 by VA policy. E-benefits is useless, as it is never updated. My DAV is just as useless, as they say the same thing as the VA telephone unit, “your claim and Appeal is being worked and you will receive a letter upon completion”.

    You know what is so funny? I worked over 19 years at a VA Regional Office.

  32. Stephen e Mitchell September 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I was just searching for some sanity on this site ! They are actually asking veterans to sign up for benefits they deserve. COMMON YOUR NOT HANDLING THE ONES YOU HAVE NOW ,and its painfully obvious to this veteran the VA has a difficult time doing the right thing ! INSANITY REIGNS

  33. Stephen e Mitchell September 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I just spent hours reading all most every one of these posts !You know what I find most disturbing ? Where are any positive comments from all these people who have been help with the claims process ? This blog is as depressing as the reality of dealing with the system . You would think since they published this crap almost a week ago someone would have stood up and said yes they helped me settle and in a respectable time ! Well its not happening, no one got positive help. The worst kind of propaganda WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT JASON D ? I’m sure your extremely sick of defending these outrageous, outlandish claims IT IS NOT HAPPENING

    • jjfritschie@msn.com September 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      I would hope that Jason D is well compensated for his diplomacy and b.s. in finding every possible explanation for
      the reasons for denial, and delay for claims since at least the Viet-nam era. Many of the medical records have been
      either lost or destroyed and are impossible to find. How does one go about getting records from service hospitals which are no longer in existence, or were destroyed in St. Louis fire some years back?

  34. David J Forde September 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I am seeking Financial assistance for my son Shawn k Forde who is a Marine Veteran facing some very serious financial difficulties in Portland Oregon. He is also in need of housing help, Transportation & Medical, he was very depress when last spoke to him, so i am reaching out to you for any help you can give to save my son, who have served his Country in four tour deployments, and now cannot received his benefits claims to support himself. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for you consideration & support with very urgent matter.

    Respectfully Yours,
    David Forde Shawn K Forde Father,

  35. Arthur Massey September 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Wow !!! I am new to the VA and i am scared to death reading all the negatives . I recently filed a claim 6/25/15 for service-connected traumatic events along with other issues . Maybe the new system will help us out . The day i received eligibility i had my first VA exam two weeks later . One month later i had my Med Eval with QTC in Columbus,Ga . Shortly after that while checking ebenefits my claim had moved up to Pending Decision Approval . I was also given an estimated date between 9/14/15 – 10/6/15 for completion . My Eval experience was a good one , the staff was friendly and the Dr. who did my evaluation was great , he even gave me his email and phone number and told me to keep in touch . It is possible my claim will be denied , if so i will appeal . My wife and i were able to complete everything online , we scanned mountains of documents and all required info the VA asked for . We did not use an outside source to help us . Fellow vets and families please keep the faith , i will pray for everyone who has had bad experiences with the VA and the ones who are filing new claims, I also pray for the VA employees . God Bless

  36. Chris H. September 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    The only reason claims are down is because they are denying benefits out of hand and only investigating those who go through the long stupid process of appealing your denied claim. I have been fighting the VA for 3 years concerning my back, eye and wrist injuries from Iraq and they continue to tell me over and over the daily pain and trouble seeing and moving I have isn’t a real I jury and I’m making it up… anyone who tells you the VA has your best interest at heart obviously has never tried to get disability for an injury

  37. Edward Mayfield September 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Just one question, How can a service connected injury not be service connected. the V.A. says that my bilateral hearing loss meets V.A. standards and admits that I did in fact have the bilateral hearing loss while serving in the Navy but it is not service connected???????????. It turns out that it is a numbers game for the V.B.A. and no lawyer will take on my appeals. In my opinon the V.B.A is not out to help the vets.

  38. j sprague August 31, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    So, with 333k appeals, statistics show that around 75% of them are given benefits.

    How many of them are due to faulty C&P exams?

    I read a lot about bogus C&P exams.

    Why do the let it go on?

  39. DENNIS LEE BROWN August 31, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    “…………..we commit to you that we will continue our efforts to improve;”

  40. Rickey August 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I wonder why I have so much trouble with getting my travel pay when I go to doctors appointments ? I go to the doctors and I put in travel form. And week later I checked on it and they tell me they lost the form. So I have to either fax it or download the form and mail it in. This had happened 7 times in the past year. And after I fax it they even lost that so I had to fax it another time every. It needs to stop or I’m going to stop going to the appointment I can’t travel 80 miles one way 3 days a week and not get paid. I’m on disability and don’t get much money. I shouldn’t have to wait 2 months to get travel pay.

  41. Robert A. McCombs August 31, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I can see the headlines real soon, “VA reduces the number of appeals to under xx,xxx from xxx,xxx.” And how will they do this? The same way they did to my appeal; just cancel it.

    I like many others check ebenefits about once a month. When ebenefits started saying the appeals portion was being changed and you couldn’t get any information until September I called the 1-800 number to only be told there was nothing new. So, I wrote my Senator, who is still being stonewalled by the VA. Last wee I called the 1-800 number again to see what was going on with my appeal and was told my appeal was cancelled in June. Huh?!!! So, I ask the obvious question, “Who cancelled it?” The representative I was talking to said he dug through all my file, but there was nothing in it stating why it was cancelled. He said someone from the NC office where my appeal was filed will call me within 10 days. Not holding my breath.

  42. jody August 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Several years ago, I asked for VA support for my husband who was in the AF for 29 years. I was told he had no help coming since he never served in a declared war. Since then, I have come to understand my naïvete and will ask again. My husband has suffered a brain injury and resultant dementia rendering him unable to care for himself. I am his sole caregiver and would sincerely appreciate some relief.

    Thank you,

    Jody Payne

  43. James Edward Gallaway August 30, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Bull S. Going on 2.5 years on knee claim 13 months on appeal. VA doctor said knee problem was from past injury the only injury came from falling from a F100 in January in 1959. The VA said I did not inform within 1 year from discharge .

  44. Stephen J Everett August 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    August 26,2015

    Dear Sir,

    Congress approved the Choice program. It is NOT working!!! My name is Stephen J Everett and I am subjected to this program. Although it is supposed to HELP the veterans when they are forced to go outside the VA it is a disaster to deal with and fails badly.
    Let me explain what has happened to me. I originally saw Dr baker from Florida orthopedic, which I didn’t get an address for; all I was told was that his office was by the Dade City hospital. After many phone calls I finally found his office strictly by accident. I could barley walk. After I got to his office at the appropriate time I was supposed to get there I was told that the Dr. couldn’t see me because the VA had not approved the consult. I was mad as I looked like an ass just being there. They finally called and got it approved. I got a shot of cortisone and was told to come back when I needed to. By the way, the Dr had none of the x-rays or notes on me.
    When I visited him in his telecom office in about 2 months I was given an 8:00am appointment. When I got there the same thing happened. I called fee basis and raised hell in their, the Drs., office. They got it approved in about 15 min. he still had not received the x-rays taken by the VA in December. I again got a shot in the rt. knee this time and was refereed to Dr Brian t Palumbo, his assistant.
    I had a total left knee replaced June 18, 2015 by Dr, palumbo
    Of Florida orthopedic. The surgery went fine and I was discharged June 20th and sent home. While in the hospital someone changed my primary billing from the VA to Humana without my knowledge or consent. Also before I went into the hospital some girl called me and advised me that if the VA did not cover the cost of an ice chest with a pump that it would be billed to me. This unit was to keep the swelling down after the surgery. The cost was $150.00 if I bought it now or $250.00 if the VA turned it down. What a shock to me. At home therapy was ok and I got through that. The Dr felt I needed outside therapy so I went to select physical therapy and they started to do what they were supposed to do. I called Dr palumbo
    And told him I was in severe pain and it was on the right side of my body as far as my leg and hip were concerned. He faxed an order over to select therapy giving them permission to work on my rt. side. That was Aug 10.2015
    I then called choice to let them know what he said and they told me that the office girl sue needed to go to their website and download a form and fill it out. I told sue what the girl on the phone had said and she said ok.
    She filled out the form and faxed it to them along with the Dr Palumbo order for additional therapy, she either faxed it Monday or Tuesday.
    When I got there on Wednesday they still hadn’t received the form. She called them and got a verbal ok to treat me assuring her that the form was going to be faxed to her. She said ok, that was sue that they talked to. My next appointment was on Friday at 11:00 am and I said ok.
    When I got there the office girl Sharon said that they couldn’t treat me on my rt. side because they had NOT received the package form from healthnet. She said she called them and they said it would be faxed to them. We waited about 10 min and I called Healthnet to see what the holdup was. The girl at the other end seemed like she didn’t know what she was doing or didn’t care so I asked to speak to her supervisor to which she gave me a hard time. I DEMANDED then that she give me a supervisor and she put me on hold for 30 min. I was in excoriating pain at that time and they didn’t help! I hung up and called them back and finally got a supervisor I think his name was Jeramy. We went through all the info again and at this time it was after 12:00pm so I MISSED another appointment. I was mad because I was in excruciating pain and he ASSURED me that they wold have the fax by the end of the day. Select did not have any openings for the rest of the day, so I left in pain and thought that this had been rectified. I went home to try to get some relief from my pain, to witch there was none. I called some friends and they took me to the ER at James a Haley on Saturday am. By the time I got there I could barley walk and again I was in severe pain. I was taken in the ER in a wheelchair.

    I got registered and was waiting to be called. I told them after a while of waiting that I HAD to lie down but I was told that all the beds were full and they couldn’t help me. It was then I proceeded to lie on the bare floor to get some relief for my pain. They called some other patient’s and they saw me there and didn’t even give me the time of day. I felt like I was just a piece of shit that no one wanted or that they didn’t care about. When they did call me and four or five others to come back we were instructed to come to a unit that they had not been using. Wow empty beds!!! May I say at no time did they offer to help me at all to get up.

    They put me in a room and proceeded to take my vitals. I told them I was in excruciating pain and they said the Dr would be right in. after about a ½ hr the Dr came in and I told him what was wrong with me that I was in a LOT of pain. He left and after about another ½ hour the nurse came in and gave me a pain shot and left.

    After about 15 min the Dr came in and said that I needed a MRI but the department was closed until Monday. He asked if the shot had helped and I told him no it did nothing for me. He then proceeded to discharge me as normal.
    He did NOTHING for me!!! What the hell were they doing??? I was STILL IN PAIN! I went home and waited till Monday.
    Monday am I called the MRI department and was told that they didn’t have any openings until Tuesday at 1:00 PM. I went to my physical appointment at 11:00 that I had expecting to be seen as Jeramy had said and promised. Well when I got there at 10:45 the girls at the front office told me they had called 2 times and that they had not received my paperwork from healthnet (choice) and they called again to which they were told that the fax was on its way. I was fuming mad. I was in pain and they were not doing anything to help it, healthnet. I waited till 11:00am and then called them. I told them I wanted to speak to a supervisor and again they gave nme a hard time. After a while I got a supervisor and told them I wanted to speak to their supervisor and again I was given a hard time but was eventually passed on. I told the lady at the other end what happened and she said their was no record of Jeremy’s and mine conversation on Friday or Monday but she PROMISED that the fax would be there in 10 min and she would call select and me back. To this day as you read this we are still waiting for her call. Nothing. I called health about 15 times to try to get a fax from them and gave my phone to the office manager three or four times and she gave them their id, my s/s number and told them what she needed. This went on for four hours giving her the phone 3 tines and her repeating her information. We finally received a fax from them at 4:00pm. She said she finally got it. Again I was not seen, as they had no appointments open. I called Melissa at the VA in Zephyrhills and talked to her and asked if there was anything she or they could do. When she said it was out of her hands I almost cried and at that time I was in so much pain that I threatened to end it all because I couldn’t take and more pain. She then transferred me to Dr; Newsbaum at witch time we talked and she got me calmed down. I went to the MRI apt on Tuesday as I was supposed to. The Dr told me that they could put me in the machine backwards because I was extremely clostrophic.
    The tech told me that they couldn’t do that and asked me to try going in the regular way. I tried but it didn’t work as I freaked out. They told me I had to get an outside MRI as they didn’t have an open one and it would take about 2 weeks. They said that I had to go through the choice program. I was horrified at the thought. Today is the 26th and I still haven’t heard from them. Wednesday I went to my 11:00am appointment and I saw Ronny and he had to do another evaluation on me. Again no treatment to ease the pain. It was Friday before I got any treatment on the right side. I again called the VA in Zephyrhills and talked to Melissa and she put me though to the nurse and she got my tramadol and my muscle relaxer increased. I needed a new tens unit as well as the VA did not issue me one and she got it for me right away. Her name was Sasha.

    No wonder the suicide rate is up among veterans. If they have to wait this long and it is this hard for them to get in, I understand the reason why they do what they do. If they have to wait this long and have this much trouble it isn’t right. My father gave 30 years of service to this nation. We were going to give up our lives for this country and flag and all that it stands for and this is how we are treated. What a slap in the face that we have. It’s sad to see this happen to this great nation. This is NOT what our for-fathers wanted or thought.

    Stephen J Everett
    Mary Hart Fee Basis
    Dr. Zarinczuk Chief of Service for My Healthy Vet
    Dr. Cutolo Chief of Staff
    Gus Bilirakis Representative from Florida’s 12th District
    Bill Nelson Senator
    Marco Rubio Senator
    Sandra L Tate Patient Advocate
    Randy Wiener Vice President of Select Physical Therapy

  45. Willie Weldon Busby August 30, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    (You Apply,They Denied,Wait Untill,You Die)

  46. Kenny Cellilo August 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I put in a new claim for my B-40 rocket injuries in ’69. QTC set me up with all my Dr. appts.
    How long will I have to wait to hear from the VA? Is there a way that I can track my claim?

    • Harry Lawrence September 3, 2015 at 11:29 am

      You are right They lie!

  47. terry roberts August 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    All the Vets say Lies, I agree. took my claim past it in one week, denied, Docs said close, you lie !,, VA. lies. lies lies lies.

  48. Charles Raymond Anderson August 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    The VA has lied to me, disrespected me, doubted me, insulted me, misquoted me, denied me benefits I believe I have earned and deserve.

    The VA (Vet Reps) have lied to me. The say, “YES”, you should get benefits. I can help. But, their help never gets anything done. I followed the advice of the first VA (Vet Rep) on filing my initial claim. Everything I claimed (based
    on his advice) was denied. I have been told, “Now, go home and be a good boy”. I’m 64 years old. I am certainly not
    a boy. I was awarded The following: Combat Crew Badge, Air medal (with 3/olc) for flying over a 100 combat missions, NDSM, RCVM, AFGCM, VSM, SAEMR). The VA “mental staff” doubt what I have told them even though my
    DD214 shows what I was awarded. Further, Most everything I have told them is supported by the documentation
    I have submitted to the VA in my file. I have submitted over a 1,000 pages of documentation it seems as though
    the haven’t looked at my file. In fact, the VA’s mental health examiner for my PTSD claim wrote the following:

    1 ) The “expert” examiner stated as the 1st thing in his Clincal Findings was:
    “Was the Veteran’s VA claims file review ?
    []Yes [X]No”

    2) “The veteran therefore cannot be definitively diagnosed with PTSD even if one accepts his reported
    traumatic experiences. It is hard to verify his military history and the could not be certain that the
    events occurred like the veteran reported. A more likely explanation for the veterans presentation is a
    bipolar disorder which is more consistent with his history of contact with mental health providers.”.

    OF COURSE, he couldn’t verify my military history if he didn’t review it !!!

    I have been told (by a VA Rep) that veterans that complain to their congressmen will never get benefits
    because their file gets lost.

    At a VA Rep run PTSD meeting, I was told: “You talk too much and interrupt too much”. Also, the same
    Rep told me , “I don’t want to hear any “war stories”, I just want to hear how things are today”.
    Everyone else talks about their kids, their Christmas, etc. How are they suppose to know what bothers
    me if I can’t talk about what bothers me ?

    I have many more complaints of this nature. I have been fighting the VA for about 6 years for benefits
    I (and others including friends and VSO’s) believe I qualify to receive.

    Why does it seem like everything I try to get done with the VA is an uphill battle? It seems as they
    “doubt” everything I show or say to them. It seems to me they are more determined not to provide VA
    benefits than they are to provide benefits.

    This type of attitude is prevalent in both the L.A. Calif and the Phoenix/Prescott facilities.

    I have many more complaints that concern both my claim(s) for VA benefits, and my treatment at the VA.

    The VA staff keeps congratulating and patting themselves on their backs for doing such a great job
    they are doing helping the Vets.

    The VA (Vet Reps) have lied to me. The say, “YES”, you should get benefits. I can help. But, their help never gets anything done. I followed the advice of the first VA (Vet Rep) on filing my initial claim. Everything I claimed (based
    on his advice) was denied. I have been told, “Now, go home and be a good boy”. I’m 64 years old. I am certainly not
    a boy. I was awarded The following: Combat Crew Badge, Air medal (with 3/olc) for flying over a 100 combat missions, NDSM, RCVM, AFGCM, VSM, SAEMR). The VA “mental staff” doubt what I have told them even though my
    DD214 shows what I was awarded. Further, Most everything I have told them is supported by the documentation
    I have submitted to the VA in my file. I have submitted over a 1,000 pages of documentation it seems as though
    the haven’t looked at my file. In fact, the VA’s mental health examiner for my PTSD claim wrote the following:

    1 ) The “expert” examiner stated as the 1st thing in his Clincal Findings was:
    “Was the Veteran’s VA claims file review ?
    []Yes [X]No”

    2) “The veteran therefore cannot be definitively diagnosed with PTSD even if one accepts his reported
    traumatic experiences. It is hard to verify his military history and the could not be certain that the
    events occurred like the veteran reported. A more likely explanation for the veterans presentation is a
    bipolar disorder which is more consistent with his history of contact with mental health providers.”.

    OF COURSE, he couldn’t verify my military history if he didn’t review it !!!

    I have been told (by a VA Rep) that veterans that complain to their congressmen will never get benefits
    because their file gets lost.

    At a VA Rep run PTSD meeting, I was told: “You talk too much and interupt too much”. Also, the same
    Rep told me , “I don’t want to hear any “war stories”, I just want to hear how things are today”.
    Everyone else talks about their kids, their Christmas, etc. How are they suppose to know what bothers
    me if I can’t talk about what bothers me ?

    I have many more complaints of this nature. I have been fighting the VA for about 6 years for benefits
    I (and others including friends and VSO’s) believe I qualify to receive.

    We, Combat Veterans, volunteered to risk our lives and in some cases died for our country. For those of
    us that lived through the war were told that were entitled to VA benefits. Yes, we are entitled to them.
    But, actually getting them is another story. It seems that the VA does not help the Vets as they say they do.
    Instead, they seem to block the Vets from getting the benefits we have earned. I believe the VA staff
    believes “We the Veterans are there to provide them a job instead of “the VA is there to care for the Vets”

    I can’t understand how the VA staff can live with themselves. Do they really think they are doing a good job?

    I am now nearly 66 years old and have been waiting for 6 years for the VA give me my earned benefits.
    At the rate they are going, I’ll be DEAD before they give them to me. I believe the VA is so inept that
    should be completely dismantled. That is to say, eliminate the pencil pushers (benefits staff, etc.).
    Then, leave only the medical staff to care for the Vets. The Vets should be given the choice of
    using the VA or the non VA to satisfy their medical needs.

    The only thing to qualify for VA benefits, should be proof of U.S. military service (DD214)


    Charles R. Anderson
    only thing left requirement

  49. Barbara Howard August 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Above caption date should be 2015,not 2005

  50. Kenneth Darby August 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I have asbestos disease and four years ago I reapplied for more benefits because my lungs showed from new testing they were getting worse. The VA then said my lungs are normal now and cut may benefits by 2/3. New testing from outside doctors say they are not better and may be worse. I reapplied and it’s been two years and I haven’t heard from the VA yet.
    Kenneth Darby

    • joseph comerro August 31, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      also have asbestosis both lungs with a 60% rating. mine also got worse so went to see the DVA rep when he was in the area and he said the only way they raise it to 100% is if you go on oxygen. There is no 70-90 either 60% or 100%

  51. Barbara Howard August 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I would very much like to add my voice about the VA service to this blog. In Jan.2005, upon filing for a burial allowance did we discover that my late husband was granted a disability from the Korean War,in 1956/early 1957.We never received notice of this .Who knows why. We were given phone numbers to call and fill out papers but first,they can’t find him in their records,after several months they claim his file has burned in a fire in St.Louis,so the buck is passed around once more.Would so appreciate any info.On getting a solution that anyone has to offer.My theory is,he served, and deserves to know what the disability was.

  52. Paul Horgen August 29, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    I have sent in paperwork a number of times…no acknowledgement. Recently I sent in a question? 5 Day turnaround it is now about 3 weeks…no acknowledgement. Also called in and rec’d info from a Rep online on what forms to fill out and where to send:
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Eligibility Center
    P.O. Box 20729
    Winston-Salem, NC 27120
    Sent in via UPS on June 2ndof 2015…sent back 6 weeks later via USPS:not deliverable as addressed. I’m at a loss..every time I’m asked to do this…do that…nothing! I’ve done everything that I’ve been asked. I’m at the end of my rope. Very disappointed in the way this has been handled.

  53. Dean Terrell August 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Thomas Preuss
    You can file a Tort claim for the death. You have the right to. That’s how you sue the V.A. You don’t need a lawyer.
    I help Veterans with the claims process. The V.A. is forcing everyone to file their claims through the Ebenefits website now. https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage
    Email me at help-a-veteran.org and I will try to help anyone. I have made up some questions which will help you with a claim. I am also disabled, so it might take me a little while to reply, but I will reply ASAP, That is as soon as my pains allow me to. You can see my website here… http://www.help-a-veteran.org
    I can’t work miracles, but I will help in any way that I can.I use my own money from my V.A. check to run my Organization and I don’t get outside help. I am in Georgia, but I can still hedlp and give advice. I have been doing this for 20 years. I worked my own claim since then, and I am still fighting for everything that I deserve.
    Dean Terrell
    C.E.O. Help A Veteran Inc.
    Please text me your number, before you call. That way I can put your number into my phone and know who you are, when you call or text. I also need to know where you live. I.E. State….. It really doesn’t matter if you live in Georgia (That’s where I live.) or not. As long as you can sign up for the healthyvet website and get a Premium account, I will be able to see your medical records so I can go over them for your claim. If you do live in Georgia and you don’t have a healthyvet account, you can call the Gorgia Dublin V.A.M.C. @ 1-800-595-5229 or your local one and ask for the healthyvet coordinator. Just tell him that you are working with me on your V.A. claim and he will help you get a Premium account set up. After you get a healthyvet Premium account, you will need to get an Ebenefits account set up. This will enable me to see your claims that have been submitted, and the stage that they are in. I can then add more information to your claim, or start a new claim. That will go directly to the V.A. regional office in your area.

    My Veterans Facebook page with links to information is listed on my website in my forums.

  54. Willaim M Smith August 29, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I have a VSO that was working well with me until lately. Needed backup for a previously filed claim. Got it and forwarded on to my VSO Oct. 9, 2013. Then had some new claims faxed to VSO Aug. 14, 2014. When I did follow up regarding both, VSO claims he never received. So sent everything Certified Mail/RRR. Receipt showed his office received May 11, 2015 but his office still claims they never received. I submitted all the information directly to the VA July 2, 2015 to their requested address since I was having a problem completing it on line. My problem now is that nothing has updated online and I have not been able to reach the VA by phone when I have tried various times throughout the day on several occasions over the past 2-3 weeks to see if they got it. It’s pretty bad when your VSO and the VA are difficult to reach. My original claim was filed in May 2007.

  55. Stephen e Mitchell August 29, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I talked with my veterans service rep about a month ago . he was excited ,just left a conference where the VA blew smoke so far up his ass it blinded him I Quote “2016 will be the year of the appeal resolution” What the hell were they passing out at that meeting? I said well they said that crap before! He denied it So i done some research The goals for the claims process From the director since 2003 same # 1 goal reduce the backlog 16 years in a row Reduce the back log .Now i guess after spending 10 years fighting for my benefits and getting ,denied ,denied ,remand, denied remand What a game these assholes play with our lives . That’s what you get when you have a job where no matter how useless you are you can’t be fired from it
    I had surgery in may 2015 service connected,applied for temporary 100% some sweetheart threw it back to a claim I filed in December of 2014, With an expected resolution date Feb of 16 – to may of 16 that will be 14-18 months for a simple temporary claim. I am from Indiana now my claim is in Hartford Connecticut Can not get any answers at all . I have never had a claim settled in 125 days or less I have been denied that quickly, never approved B.S B.S. B.S. (edited) To all of you that are frustrated Burn this blog up with your comments Don’t let them get away with these Lies

  56. Jose L Suarez Jr August 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I added my wife and step-son to my claim in January 2011. The V.A. denied my marriage and addition of dependents. Not to mention, every time I appeal, they change the submittal date. Now the V.A. claim they are at a record low wait times for a decisions, Well sure if the first response is to deny all claims. Does that constitute as making things better for the Veteran?

  57. Robert C. Hill August 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    my name is Robert C. Hill (SSN redacted) I appealed my case in August 2013 and I am still waiting for an answer. I was told when I file my appeal that it would take 18 months. I do not see any improvement in he process.

  58. Elpidio Osteria August 29, 2015 at 11:06 am

    the problem with the VBA is that they are not working to help veterans. They are working just to support the decision of the DRO. I filed a case with the VBA and apply for advancement in the docket on account of the severity of my illness and they just immediately deny my claim without going over the merit of my case which severely missed by the rater. I filed for reconsideration on account of new development on my illnesses which is the recent findings of Hypoxia and cardiomegaly. After a period of 30 days ,they immediately denied my request for reconsideration claiming my case does not satisfies the criteria for cases for reconsideration. I do not know if it is because they are lawyers and have no medical knowledge because the Hypoxia and Cardiomegaly are new findings which should satisfy their criteria. This is the sad state of the VBA which every veteran should know that there is nobody who will help you except yourself and do not believe the VA when they say that they are here to help you.

  59. Alan Murray McDonald August 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Looking Good VA, Thank for Your Recent Support at The 2105 Annual Air Force Sergeants Association, Team Meeting, Grand Hyatt Hotel San Antonio, TX. The Honorable Sloan D. Gibson, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was “Front and Center.”

    Alan Murray McDonald, CMSgt, USAF, Ret. Vietnam.

  60. o. jackson August 28, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Hello, VA..
    I have read quite a few of the comments that my fellow vets have written. I am in the same boat and it is a shame, I hope that it is true that they are trying to get rid of the backlog of claims. I have had my claim in since 2012. I first put in the claim in 2011 but some how it got lost in the mail (lol) so I had to put in an appeal in 2012, I have not head anything to this point. I even called the Dav for help and still no answer. I have checked the E-benefits website and again (lol) there is no information on my case, I thought you would be able to check the status of a claim or appeal but they do not update the website nor do they allow you to see the claim that I put in.
    I hope they get to my claim soon.
    I know if I put in for an increase in one of my existing rating it will severely delay my claim that I put in 2012.. so in the interim I have to suffer with my current condition.
    I have given my time in service like everyone else and I have heard from other vets that I know who put a claim in and get a rating in a few months to a year. so why is it that of all of us who put in claims in 3 to 4 years ago are still waiting ..
    do not get me started on trying to call the infamous (800-827-1000) phone center that just put you in a loop and tells you to call back another time and you can call all day and every day and still not reach anyone LOL that is what we have to deal with. .. not all of us can get to; the office to see someone in person.
    well all I can say is I hope that all of us who have been waiting years for some kind of word on our case will receive a reply.. soon..
    take care my fellow vets..

  61. Steve L Butts, CWO, USA, Retired August 28, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Although the backlog may be down and while the VA has always made a sincere effort to assist those in need; it is somewhat disheartening to wait over a year for a response. On a personal note, I became unemployable in August 2014 and applied for a change in my disability status. After a series of follow up letters, I was instructed to report to Atlanta (2 1/2 hours from my home) for a physical and disability evaluation. This was done in February 2015; and to date have heard nothing further. My latest letter of July 2015 requesting a status has remained unanswered.

    It is significant to note that I have a spinal cord stimulator (implanted); wear a clam shell brace when traveling; and use arm crutches; as such, prolonged travel of any type is painful to say the least.

    One would think that it would not take a year to issue a determination; especially when such has been documented by Proper Medical Authorities as well as the VA’s own Doctors who performed the physical and disability evaluation.

    My financial posture is worst than it was when I first entered the Army. My savings are depleted and I survive on my pension; which has to pay for the mortgage; taxes, insurance; utilities; food; and yes medical…

    Sure could use an expedited approval of my pending application.


  62. mark a smith August 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Dear Undersecretary Hickey,

    I am asking for any assistance you can provide in getting my compensation claim , originally filed in year 2009, adjudicated. I received a denial letter in 2010, and I then filed a request for reconsideration in 2011. I finally received correspondence from the regional office, in Atlanta, GA, denying every Issue in my compensation claim. The issues that I am claiming negligence and gross injustice are: 1. Before rendering a decision on my request for reconsideration, I received no new WCT’s/C&P exams. 2. The rater used only the original information I supplied in 2009, when my claim was first filed. The rater did not consider any of the new information, relevant to my compensation claim, found in my VA records since 2010. The VA filing form specifically states that any new information contained in my VA records need not be submitted since the rater has access to, and will automatically review my files for related material. After receiving the second denial and consulting my congressional liaison, I submitted a request for a hearing with the BVA. I ask for relief resulting in a proper review of all pertinent documentation and to receive any/all C&P exams consistent with my claim. Your consideration in this matter is greatly appreciated.

    Mark A Smith
    US Navy Veteran
    186 Hunnicutt St. NW
    Atlanta, GA 30313

  63. Ricky Scott sr. August 28, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    the va just lie,lie,lie I fill back in 2007 for and increased and keep getting denied even after you appeal

  64. Katrina love August 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    They say the numbers have gone down. But how many of these claims have been sent into appeals status? Once a case is sent into appeals status its out of their hands. This makes the numbers look good on their end. A revent claims clinic advised many veterans that attended to do a nod or get a doctor to do a dbq or nexxus statement. Well the problem with that is va doctors do not want to do thr dbq’s because the VBA does not pay them for those. So why are va raters telling veterans to do something their doctors will not do?

  65. Jodi Morano August 28, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I know my issue is not as bad as others on here, but my status has been in the same place for over a year. When I first
    applied for benefits in Nov 2011, I put my husband as a dependent which I have been married to since Jan 2004, and he was denied, additional info was requested on ex-husbands. I provided the info in the time requested, the VA kept asking for more info instead of asking for it all at the same time. I don’t understand why it is taking so long to add my spouse who I’ve been married to for 13 1/2 years. When I call the 800 number they give me the same info I get off of eBenefits, and when I submit a question, that says you will be responded to in 5 days, there is no response. I have done that twice. I guess when we are married for another 13 1/2 years or the VA learns to look in DEERS the mystery of is he or is he not my spouse be solved.

  66. patricia marcotte August 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    You reduced the time in claims are you just denying more claims. I know the VA has a policy to deny the first claim to see if the veteran is persistent and they pay the VA claims workers by per claim the more they deny the more money they receive. So are you really helping the veteran or is this just a mouth piece article to make it look like you care about the veterans. I had to wait 2.5 years for my back pay and it took a Congressional to get it done and my husband has been waiting 5 years and the VA conveniently looses his appeal every two years so he will not be eligible for back pay. We contacted the Congresswoman to see what is going on, our next step is get a lawyer and see how fast the VA moves then.

  67. Danny Sample August 28, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    The VA made a major error in not advising when my seperation pay had been recouped in 2005 and VA in now holding my back pay for claims. I am communocating with DFAS and they acknowledge the lack of communication with the VA.
    I cannot get VA to talk with me however DFAZS is very cooperative.
    Now waiting since 2005 to get settlement that shows in the “bogus” ebenefits the the claim is complete!!!

  68. LARRY W DAVIDSON August 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm


    • LARRY W DAVIDSON August 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm


  69. Michael Octon August 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I have been waiting for my back pay for an additional dependent claim since August 20 2012, (effective pay/marriage date). How much longer must I wait?

  70. william galloway August 28, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I hate the VA. The us army messed up my leg then said it was a pre-existing condition. Furthermore sent me home without any second opinion, no legal representation, no VA help and then took my VA identification card. Stating that I didn’t qualify for benefits. some of you are complaining about 5 to 10 years. What if I told you that I have be trying to get my benefits since 1986 that is more than 25 years. Yes I hate the VA because they ruin my life and now I am completely disable and they will not take responsibility of their actions. Damn right I’m furious. I even worked for the VA medical Center before joining the Army. Now I see how this country treats its vet and I see why some of the younger generation have decided to side with the other haters of this Country. If the damn civilians cant get the job done then give the jobs to the Veterans they can do a better job and they know how the system functions. This backlog is a bunch of bull and the VRO reps are slacking as well. Damn the benefits just give me a job at the VA and that will be compensation enough for me. Because plainly they are hoping I die before a approval decision is made on my case. I have written 2 Congressmen and still haven’t heard any thing from the VA and you are right about those who answer the phone calls. Always an excuse which has no validity to them. Just pay me what I am owed. That is all I ask. And pay my other brothers what you owe them as well. I am 60 now I might have another 20 years left to fight with the VA.

  71. Bill Gilcrist August 28, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I agree taking care of the back log.
    That is great.
    However what is the hold up on HR 303 CRDP, Concurrent Receipt of Disability Payment?
    Those that have 50% or Less disabilities and retired have been paying their own Disability Payment to themselves.
    This Bill has been on the floor since 2004 and still NO end in site.
    If Congress cant pass a law in 11 year for veterans, why are they first to accuse VA of a Back Log.
    Veterans are passing away waiting on their pay.
    I have wrote Congress and Senate for the state of OHIO.
    Their answer is, I will keep you in mind when it comes to the floor. It is on the floor and pushed back.
    Also President Bush and Obama. both leaving office and no answer.
    Same Printed Letter with a copy of their signature.
    Unless we force their hand nothing will be done for another 10 years.

  72. Kevin D. Foy August 28, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I have had a claim in since 2010 & preexisting injuries that are documented as service connected, I also remarried sent the VA my paper work and still have not received my compensation after calling in repeatedly to rectify the matter, I’ve gone to training to become a VA peer support specialist passed the exam applied to the VA only to be turned away or to really describe it best. I was blown off by a gentleman who repeatedly keeps asking me if I’m 30 or more percent disabled. It’s gut wrenching just thinking about how many times I’ve emailed him, not to mention how many calls I’ve made to him. I would love to be a part of the solution to what my fellow Vets are going through. I realize I’m not the only one but this system is broken & it needs to be fixed.

  73. Robert Walsh August 28, 2015 at 8:23 am

    I have been waiting 13 years on an appeal. They say 5 years but a backlog is a backlog. I do not understand that the VA is claiming they are catching up yet they actually are not.

  74. robert J rubalcaba August 28, 2015 at 5:18 am

    robert J rubalcaba file number: (redacted) E mail address is rubalcaba 60 @yahoo.com I wish to reopen my claim to show that have been examine by the VA hospital for herbicide exposure and do have diabetes II you can check my hospital records if you need too

  75. Martin August 28, 2015 at 4:13 am

    If this wasn’t so sad it would actually be funny. They are denying the initial veterans claims in record numbers. That’s how they caught up. This in turn is causing the backlog of appeal cases that they claim they can’t catch up on. Could someone explain to me how the VA can take in billions of more dollars in funding from the feds and yet never, ever increase the staffing required to handle all the appealed claims? This is either dishonesty or incompetence, both of which are on a criminal level.

    DELAY,……………… DENY, ………….. WAIT TILL THEY DIE

    • Stephen e Mitchell August 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Get the Attorney The people you expect to help you all WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT the Calvary is not coming

  76. Steve Gamble August 28, 2015 at 2:26 am

    This statistic is nothing more than lipstick on a pig. At the end of the day, it’s still a pig.

    I am currently entering my 13th year of my initial, and only, VA claim which listed the things I was treated for while on active duty. If I hadn’t have gotten a VA accredited lawyer, there is a very good possibility that I would be homeless right now. After I got with my lawyer, they were forced to include all of the test results that the VA themselves had conducted that supported my claim, greatly changing the outcome of my 4th appeal for the same initial claim. Three times, I had to appeal through the Court of Veterans Appeal process, which isn’t a fast process by any means. After winning each appeal, all it did was send my claim back through the same prehistoric system for review. That’s like having a criminal be his own judge and jury, nothing more.

    This statistic is nothing more than a juggling of numbers, like the current unemployment numbers. Sure, there’s been a drop in them because the ones that aren’t counted anymore aren’t drawing unemployment anymore, so it looks better. As many others have already said, this is a result of them denying the majority of initial claims, then forcing the veterans to go through a long, drawn out appeals process.

    What’s that saying that many like to use, describing the VA’s unofficial motto? “Delay, deny and hope they die.” If at all possible, have your claim reviewed by a lawyer that handles veterans claims, before you end up becoming a statistic of the aforementioned motto.

    • Shawn James August 28, 2015 at 7:51 am

      That’s Right! That’s what I did (Lawyer) and I got better results (behavior) from the V.A.. Now it’s just a waiting game, shorter I expect.

      • David Tomko August 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

        It’s completely ridiculous that veterans need to hire a lawyer for this process. Having to give up sometimes tens of thousands of dollars in owed benefits just to get the VA to follow through with their “Duty to Assist”. I have thus far not hired an attorney myself. However if the emails to the congressional senate, and VA leadership get me know where, that’s exactly what I will have to do. 20-33% less of what I am owed is better than 0% in the long run.

  77. Clyde Kopp August 28, 2015 at 1:05 am

    You say things are moving faster,if that’s the case why do I receive Medical bills that are over a year old,and I don’t remember if I made the bills.I tried to have a waver and was told there are no exceptions,I Live on a limited income and don’t have money to pay the total bill and what ever I can pay toward the bill is not good enough because they charge me intrest on the remainder of the bill until I get It paid this is not right I have a mortgage to pay and utilities insurance home repairs and car repairs so which do I pay first?

  78. Michael F Kvintus August 27, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    I’m a Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran who has been exposed to Agent Orange thru the drinking water , air and direct contact with helicopters from the carrier USS Coral Sea serving on the USS Buchanan DDG 14 doing several tours 1964 thru 1967 providing Naval Gunfire Support for the US Military within eye sight on the land , searching vessels for contraband . I have several medical conditions directly related to exposure to agent orange. The VA has turned done all my claims because of their policy boots on the grounds which is bogus . When will the VA do what is right and allow those claims ? It should not be about money but what is best and right for us veterans who has served our country proudly . Thanks Mike

  79. Mrs.Keith Moriarity August 27, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Been waiting for 18 years for information on agent orange causing esophagus cancer still no answers.

  80. Michael F Kvintus August 27, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I’m a Blue Water Navy Veteran serving aboard the USS Buchanan DDG 14 with two tours a duty 1964 thru 1967 . We provided naval gunfire support for the US Military within eye sight of the land also on the USS Coral Sea . I have many medical conditions contributed to exposure to agent Orange . The VA had turned down all my compensation claims because of their boots on the ground polcey even though evidence shows other wise . When is the VA going to changed their policy and approve these claims . Thanks Mike

  81. David Janecek August 27, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I served in the USN from 1969 – 1973. At this time I won’t go into my service related issues. I’ve taken care of myself since, but in the 2000’s I realized my service related problems. I’ve filed with the VA 5 times to get an appointment for assessment. In the 5 times that I’ve filed not one single time did the VA contact me. Nothing. So you’re saying I should believe the VA is getting better? I think you’re spinning. Make an effort to contact me and maybe I’ll consider otherwise.

  82. Cris M. Hamilton August 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    That should have been “automatic denial” not “auto EVERYTHING”. EVERYTHING should have started another sentence.

  83. Cris M. Hamilton August 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Never use words like “sometimes”, “intermittent”, “part of the time” or any synonyms to them in a Doctor’s/PA’s earshot in a C&P or regular appointment. It’s an auto EVERYTHING is “constant or chronic” with VA Disability when they read medical records. That’s how the very poorly written CFR-38 that governs disabilities implies and how I believe the Ajudicaters are trained. The CFR-38 also says to “give the Veteran the benefit of doubt” but as a certified Veteran Service Officer (volunteer not paid) I’ve very rarely seen that happen.

  84. Cris M. Hamilton August 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    That all sounds good. As a certified VSO helping Veterans with their claims I can see that denying claims (often times with out reading or looking at the information sent) makes it easy to decrease the backlog. I spent 16 months in Vietnam 4 different times TDY. My DD-214 shows I have all the VN medals/ribbons plus the Republic of Vietnam Palm decoration given by South Vietnam. I have Ischemic Heart Disease (with 4 stents) that was diagnosed before I retired so I am get disability for that, the broken back injury I had in service and bilateral tinnitus for 70%. I get nothing for Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma and never have received any disability for it when going through 7 years of 2 Chemos and a bone marrow transplant, that is on the Agent Orange exposure presumptive list. Non-Hodgekins is an incurable cancer and every Oncologist in the world knows that. VA disability says there is no evidence I was ever in VN. Unfortunately I have lost any copies of TDY orders during all my moves and divorces so I have no paper evidence – just the decorations that I was awarded and didn’t just purchase at the local Military Surplus. I also spent a year in Ubon Thailand that is also on the list of bases and was denied because I wasn’t in Base Security. Some of our FOD barrels on the flightline had to orange strip – hmmm, 2+2=3 with VA disability. Agent Orange is sprayed and filtrates to groundwater and impregnated dirt and spray blows in the wind. But, no evidence. At least I only have 2 thins on the presumptive list. I know several other Veterans that have more and have been denied their disability benefits. PTSD is another goat rope fiasco with disability. The Code Of Federal Regulations 38 (CFR-38) that governs disability benefits needs TOTALLY rewritten to give our Veterans what they deserve and earned by signing the dotted line. Stop giving money to all the Countries that do not even like us would probably pay for it plus the outrageous retirement plan and benefits for politicians and their wives when they pass away. Veterans disability payments stop when they pass away!!

    On the VA Medical side I’ve had great care. Just about everyone I’ve had dealings or contact with on the Medical side have been pleasant and professional.

  85. Terry Baxter August 27, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I applied for PTSD compensation clear back in the nineties. This has been denied and appealed so many times, I’ve lost track. The VA absolutely has lied in their decisions, time after time. Once, they denied it because they said there is no diagnosis of PTSD in my medical files. I took this to my VA Psychiatrist, he looked at it and said “I’ll be right back”. He returned with the notes (from my medical file) for the seven visits we had had together. Every single one of them had Axis one listed as PTSD. I of course sent them in and haven’t heard that lie again. But the latest denial (January) was the best. In that appeal, were my VA Psych’s reports and a new report from my outside Psychiatrist. The reason for my denial was “The reporting doctors are not Board Certified”. I showed this to my VA Psych, and he stomped out of the room ( I assume to cool off). He returned and told me that he and the other doctor are both board certified. He since has been writing an appeal for me, been working on it for months. He said they will pay for this! I filed my intent to appeal. and can’t wait to see what is going in my appeal this time. Also, I will be demanding a sit down with BVA at the Regional Office, along with a well known PTSD Attorney in Los Angeles. Let’s see them lie their way out of this one.

  86. Paul Pomykala August 27, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    I filed a claim last year in Sept (2014), the VA website lists it as “Claim Received ” My expected day of an answer is Oct 5, 2016-Sep 2017. That is two to three years, or 740-1100 days. That is a few more than the 125 day average. It took me three tries and a 2+ hour drive to Chicago just to get the claim filed. For some reason the local attempts I made, were either never received or never processed, I’m guessing from recent news reports that they were filed in the round file.

    Apparently all 98,000+ of us are posting replies.

  87. judith l almer August 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    you are full of it i was raped while at ft mclellan;when i tried to tell my commander he sluffed it off

    • Leon Modrowski August 28, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      HI Judy, Gosh! Whenever I think my issues are burdensome, I read something like what you wrote. As a former VA manager, I apologize most contritely for what happened to you.

  88. Calvin Brinson August 27, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    If you all have cleared a good part of the back log how many of themwere approved for VA benefits and how many disapproved.and how far do they go back for the approval rate or disapproval rate from what year and how much longer will we have to wait for our checks.

  89. Leon Modrowski August 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    What federal agency negligently failed to follow up medically with veterans who died due to its failure to perform follow up exams timely; shred veteran claims and/or supplemental evidence; and, lacked proper hygiene practices at certain medical centers which ultimately spread the AIDS virus?
    Now this is the same agency that expects us to give them credibility.
    I am a retired VA employee. With 27 years of service, I blew the proverbial whistle on statistical misrepresentations which only served to allow senior managers to receive awards and promotions.
    I assume these same managers felt threatened by my coming forward to the Regional Office Director. Why not? Their finances and security was threatened.
    After a few months of bringing this revelation to the director, I received a “proposed removal notice” and approximately one month later, I was terminated for cause. The cause: participating in the sales of acquired properties (repo’s) to my son-in-law while I was a supervisor of such properties. And if this was the rule, I whole heartedly deserved some form of discipline.
    But was it the rule? Neither the technical manual nor the real estate purchase contract defined an in-law as a close family member and thereby requiring agency approval prior to sale to an in-law. When agency disciplining authority provided the evidence to this author, it was a technical manual published after the in-law purchases, and therefore was not inoperative.
    Unfortunately, the Administrative Law Judge was simply incapable of understanding the complexity of the matter and ruled for the agency; after nearly three decades and a dozen or so performance awards, the writer, a service connected disabled veteran himself was terminated.
    Fortunately, five years after termination, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit saw the foolishness of a termination, and ruled that the agency had deprived me of my civil rights, viz., the right to legal representation when threatened with a potentially criminal matter.
    With the Grace of our Lord, I avoided bankruptcy. And, the lesson learned was never challenge the false statistics provided by VA.
    So my fellow veterans, the agency is once again blowing smoke or, if you prefer, using mirrors to place itself in a positive light.
    After my termination, I filed a few compensation claims for my service in Vietnam in 1997 and 1998. Each claim was denied for some basis which was inconsistent with fact or law. My 27 years with VA gave me considerable insight and knowledge of what issues are compensable and which factors are consistent with 38 USC. If you have not appealed a denial, do so immediately. Appeals of a claim are subject to timeliness limitations.

  90. Count R. Buckingham August 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve been waiting over 5 years on an appeal hearing, nothing, Two tours in Vietnam, USMC, agent orange related, nothing

  91. Jerry Galloway August 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I want to know how it is that the V.A. can’t find my Medical Records? I got out of the Army in 1996 and have been told that my records burned up in a fire that happened before I joined the service. I injuried both knees and shoulders while on active duty. I don’t need to file a claim as I have rehabed on my own. That said, I still want them for later reference.

  92. CR Colon August 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I truly don’t know where they get such results. It’s truly boggling. I have been appealing FL’s RO decisions since 1964 and my friend since 1968 and we are still waiting; that’s only 51 and 47 years, respectively.

  93. bruce blount August 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    My claim has already been processed. Now I am waiting for the retroactive disability compensation. I’ve been waiting since January 2015. DFAS processed their audit in March 2015. Why does it take the VA so long to issue payment? Calling the VA toll free number is a joke. Requesting a response on the VA website is a joke.

  94. james b bost sr August 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Every time i leave a comment it says error.

    • David Tomko August 28, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Above the section you type your comment in is a 4 character “CAPTCHA Code” You have to type that code exactly in the little box next to it.

  95. walter l. thompson August 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I filed a claim for compensations which was offered to me when I got out of service in 1965. I made the mistake of turning it down then because I was healthy I thought and did not need it. Forty years later I am now having serious long term problems and need the money promised. I first filed for it in 2009 and have not heard anything except that my claim is being processed and a decision is pending, I have since filed for my Military records so I can challenge the claim on all points if necessary this was about a month ago. My Veteran adviser said it will take approximately 6 months to receive my records so I am waiting to see. I am currently trying to survive off of Social Security retirement which puts me in the low poverty class.
    I do have VA health coverage which is very helpful.

  96. Loyd Tolle August 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I’m Viet-Nam vet I have pending appeals from 6 years ago. I have one appeal With Evidence from VA file and VA Doctors and Privet Doctors Showing I should be 100% due to Unemployability because Of PTSD. I had to get an attorney and had my Ohio Congressmen look into the status because they would not respond to me or my attorney. Its sad when it is clear evidence according the VA requirements and still they take their good old time about it. Many of us are in financial crises because unable to work and no help of compensation that is due to us form the VA department. The VA has a long way to go yet.

  97. David Molchany August 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I filed increase claim back in 2012 was denied.The VA DR I saw told me one thing but wrote entirely different in my notes.Asked VA to see same DR but was told not possible. My only option was to appeal they said. I did but forgot to tell me appeal process is 4 to 5 yr wait. Iam still waiting. The game the VA plays is to deny claims and hope you die before the appeal process is over. Lets face it most Vietnam Era Vets are in their late 60’s. Time is on the VA side. FL is one of the worst if not the worst state to appeal to VA because of the number of appeals. Yet if I filesd a appeal in another state my wait time time would be 4 or 5 months. I thought we had 1 VA?Forget about contacting elected officials from FL. ITS A JOKE

  98. joseph j nitecki August 27, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    This is as much BS as your so-called Veteran’s Choice Card!

  99. j sprague August 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    How many people contracted HCV in basic using the old style injection/needle guns? Have hey notified all the people that were in basic at those locations that they should be checked?

    Shouldn’t every single one of them be checked and automatically given coverage for this issue, rated for liver problems, DMII, etc?

  100. Harry McNally August 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I filed a claim in January of 2014. That claim was over 300 days old when the VA summarily denied it without so much as an exam or a request for more information from me and you want to boast that you’ve lowered the backlog? This is so monumentally infuriating that I can only conclude that you’re so divorced from reality that next you’ll be telling me that the best way for the VA to lower the rate of veteran homelessness will be to actively murder them (which is similar to the VA’s approach to veteran suicide).

  101. j sprague August 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    What baffles me is when you have VA doctors treating and caring for a Vet and they say this and that is a problem and it is more likely than not service connected, then they send the Vet out to a stranger, a different doctor or sometimes just a PA, who says just the opposite.

    Forming a consensus based on common sense, unless you are advocating an adversarial atmosphere to deny the Vets application for disability, why send the Vet to a stranger at all? Maybe just working with current medical files would suffice to eliminate any C&P at all in these type of cases.

  102. GI JOE August 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Yea…right…more (redacted)…..Everyone knows most claims were shredded and (redacted)canned….of course claims are at the lowest level…..You lowlife mother(redacted) are throwing them away!

  103. Miguel De Jesus August 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    The above web page states the lowest backlog under 100,000 in department history. And yet I have applied since initially Sept 2011 been denied in Oct 2013 and appealed with the American Legion as my representative in Nov 2013. Now still waiting presently in Aug 2015. I guess I should wait till they find more pressing disabilities and / or drop dead so they don’t have to give me an answer.

  104. Richard Bartzer August 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    My mother has had an Aid and Attendance application in for 8 months and still hasn’t gotten a decision, so she’s not feeling like there is any improvement.

  105. Lonnie Evans August 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    My “Fully Developed Claim” (FDC) submitted with the assistance of a VSO has been outstanding for 328 days and has an expected completion of between 394 and 509 days. On the same day the VA emailed a link to this story publicly praising themselves for having the lowest number of outstanding claims ever (“only” 98,535 claims that are more than 125 days old), I got a letter from the VA saying they don’t have the supporting paperwork I submitted last year and I have 30 days to resubmit or the “VA may deny your claim”. Is this how they’ve been able been able to “process” the “disability claims backlog”?

  106. Joel D. Prickett August 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I have an NOD that I filed August 2013 I’d like to know how it’s going??

  107. kristina mereness August 27, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I was diagnosed with hiv while I was in and as of 2011 I have finally been given 100%. What I don’t understand is, why haven’t they paid 100% since I was medically discharged with a disability? I strongly believe I contacted it from a needle I’m basically training while blood was drawn and the guy used a dirty needle.

    • kristina mereness August 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      And I was discharged May of 2000.

    • Elva Hutchinson August 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      I am sad for your long wait, I have tried so many avenues, but everyone says the same thing,” it takes time”, “we are back logged”. Every-time someone is up for election, they make so many promises, however I have never seen any changes. It’s a smoke and mirrors trick!

  108. Herbert Eugene Belt August 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I have a claim in appeal since 2009. I have been waiting for a traveling review board for over a year now. I checked and the review board came to Los Angeles in March of this year and they only dealt with the oldest claims. Because their budget was reduced they only can come to town only once a year. They will be back in March 2016 and there is no guarantee that they will deal with my claim. I since have changed from a traveling review board to a video conference board because it could take another year or two to get them to look at this claim. Although you have adjudicated a large number of claims I am still stuck in limbo as many others are also. I still have not heard from the video conference board regarding a date to process my claim.

    I am in that number of under 100,000 and I feel like it’s 1,000,000. I don’t know if this reply will help to expedite matters any at all but it helps to vent if nothing else.

  109. Troquita Moore August 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Can you please tell me what’s the purpose of the 3rd Party company better known as QTC. I had to see two of their physician for problems that I’m already being treated for by the VA and both are service connected in which I’m waiting for my decision to come back from the VA hopefully any day. The first doctor I seen, he was me for approximately 20 minutes to exam me for 5 service connected injuries, the other seen me for 45 minutes for PTSD. If, the VA is currently treated a VET for illness/injuries; then why do you have the VETs going to this 3rd Party for a one time visit in order to determine the service members rating for disability. This was a waste of my times, I have asthma and take rescue inhalers daily multiple times a day, especial when I wake up because the air quality is so bad where I live. So why do QTC need to evaluate this condition when it’s already been determined that this is a service connected matter, that gets worse due to bad air quality? If I’m not going to be seen on a reoccurring basic, then don’t waist my time by sending me to other doctors just to look at me; especially when I’m seeing my VA PHC on a regular basic for the same condition. This seems to prolong the process for making a determination on a claim because for what I called a BS appointment that just add to the frustration of this untimely wait for veterans who served their country.

  110. Robert George Fitton August 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    While in Florida at the VA I was diagnosed with two cataracts that should be removed ASAP. The VA doctor told me that there was such a long wait most veterans go to their family doctor for the surgery. I returned to Philadelphia and the VA told me it would be sometime in 2016 before I could get an appointment. I am a 100% disabled veteran form the Korean War and the surgery cost me $2044.38 is there any way I can be reimbursed from the VA?

  111. Richard Hale August 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Status of my claim

  112. Alfred E Blanchard August 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I submitted.an application for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) on line. I received an email informing the application was being returned. I was informed additional information was required. I am required to provide a copy of my DD214.
    If a copy of the DD214 is required. Why wasn’t that indicated online? What purpose is served by my completing the application online, if I must mail or present the document.
    It seem to be more of the same old, run around. The VA seems to be riddled with idiocy.

  113. Ronald M Spate August 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    I am still waiting for my retro pay from the claim settled on Feb 27, 2014. I have called but keep getting a response of, I don’t know when they will be finalized. They have to be audited. I have had prior claims that were settled within three months of receiving my completed paperwork. Can anyone shed some light on this problem with VA?

  114. Tom Bobb August 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I had 8 items I appealed in 2010 that I felt were service connected. I have been in front of a law judge in January. She made a decision in favor of 7 of the 8 items and indicated they are service related. How long does the VBA take to make a decision on such an decision by a judge.

  115. frank Richard Green August 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I just wish I could get someone from the V.A to call me so much has happen to me over the last year. Michigan VA doctor have a hold on helping vets and helping Florida doctor don’t care or under stand what I have I’m 60% & 100% can’t work and what they are doing to me is a bad dream my phone number is 734 250-0482 frank green any help is needed thanks

  116. pat m gray August 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Good day,filed my claim 6-10-14 heard back 6-17 15 c&p exam doctor in Atlanta va had a terriable attitude my diability rating was reduced by 20% and pending to be reduced 20% more for a total of 40% to reduce my rateing to 80% in stead of 90% I am 57 tears old the doctor put in my va file that my conditions improved to keep me under 100% disability rateing.i have had pain injections/thearphy pain killers.so this is how the va is lowering the claims by jerking veterans around I have filed an appeal so all I can do is wait.please help.

  117. Thomas W Faver August 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Instead of posting everyone’s complaints try reading them. We all already know system is slow, show us its working. My appeal has been in the system since 2008

  118. Danny S August 27, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I have been waiting for a decision on an appeal for three years. Funny how they say they’re making progress, but there are so many people on here saying they’ve seen none. Where is this progress being made? Are the smaller VAs with fewer claims being ignored so the more visible VAs can show progress? I have called several times to ask about the progress and they always tell me it’s at the regional office. Is it lost in a circular file at the regional office? To make matters worse, I am a former VA employee. My record is flagged for privacy and when I call I am placed on hold for an hour while they find someone with access to view my record.

  119. Benny August 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I wish that I could say the VA is on track but in my case the VA in Oakland CA lied to me. I put in a claim in 2011 and still waiting for a decision. The VA said that they weren’t able to verify my active duty status in 1986 but said that If I could gat a letter from my ex commanding officer that would suffice the claim. After several months of tracking down my commanding officer (a LT Colonel) he wrote a letter to the VA confirming that I was on active duty. The VA then denied his letter.
    My experience with the VA hasn’t been that great. They say one thing and turn around and do the opposite.
    I only hope that other Veterans have a better experience and get the benefits that they deserve for serving an ungrateful nation.

  120. Jerry W. Reynolds August 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I have two claims pending or in review. I don’t know which because I keep getting different answers each I call the 1-800# One is for hearing loss and the other is for IUD. I wear hearing aids in both ears but, they only rated one ear for a claim? I was in Da Nang Viet Nam in 67-68 during Tet Offensive and their were rocket and gun fire about every day. I am rated for PTSD and mental health issues and should qualify for 100% disability due these problems plus heart and diabetes. I’m at a loss on what to do. Can anyone HELP!!

  121. patrick warren roddy August 27, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I service in us navy 5/16/52 thur 1/18/56 ineed help my bills need

  122. Antonio G Garza August 27, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I have my appeal in since 2011and have not heard anything back, all I ever get is that it is scheduled to go to Washington. How long does it take to have my appeal sent to Washington.

    • Jeremy August 31, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Sign up on the myhealthevet and follow links to ebenefits and sign up there too. You can access all ur benifits. Applications. Track ur claims, etc.

  123. D Whitmore August 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I have had pending claims for what seems like forever. I am being treated for PTSD, major depression, and several other issues that are in process or appeal. I have tried since as early as 1992 to get approved for care at a VA facility and I never got past administrative staff. I was rejected for every reason from current salary to conditions stated to being employed. My conditions have escalated. Even worse, my current benefits are temporary. At 51, I can’t find a job!!

    Backlogs I can understand due to the number of veterans being assisted, no responses or extended responses is excessive. I can barely put food on my table and keep a roof over my head, not to even mention having having a child in college.

    I served my time. Now that I have unbearable issues, it’s as if everything Is hurry up and wait.
    I have a clear understanding as to why there are so many homeless and suicidal veterans.

    God Bless our Veterans with Strength and Peace!!

  124. NEIL KWIATKOWSKI August 27, 2015 at 11:23 am



    • Jeremy August 31, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      go back to dav and show them ur denial letter. They will advise and even do paper work for. Go grt a problems list from ur drs and take with you to the dav office

  125. ISAAC FRASIER August 27, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I have wait for a answer over 2 years ago for a answer for a appeal can you tell me how much longer do I have to go.

  126. Matthew Fitzthum August 27, 2015 at 10:50 am

    on another note, why is it taking so long for burial benefit claims to be paid. I never turn a vet away for their ability to pay. But it is taking 18 months for us to get paid

  127. LEROY BRANDON August 27, 2015 at 10:46 am


    • Edward Payne August 28, 2015 at 6:33 am

      I was diagnosed with PTSD. Had my colon torn on a minor test. On the way to homelessness . Still trying to receive some compensation . I guess I will be trying til the day I die. My father was a prisoner of war. They lost his records and he died with no compensation. Look at my records I was all I could be until a girl lied on me. All I worked for was down the drain. If you can find in your heart to just look at my file . Thanks

    • patricia marcotte August 28, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      get ahold of your congressperson. All should have a section that works for Veterans, I was waiting 2.5 years for back pay got them to call and 4 weeks later I received my money.

    • Jeremy August 31, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      Most problems can be resolved or helped by the DAV

  128. MIKE August 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I served 21 years in the military and had perfect hearing when I went in. When I retired I was told I had loss my hearing and probably needed hearing aids. A year ago I submitted a claim because my EMT said I definitely needed hearing aids. I submitted all the paperwork with a copy of the doctors hearing test.
    The VA comes back and denies it saying I needed a Mayland CNC test which I never hear of or knew I needed when I submitted my claim. Then they said I had an appointment with the VA Hospital which I never received. I even checked with the VA to insure they had my address, telephone number and email address. Then they said I didn’t have a hearing loss according to the VA. That’s funny because certified ENT doctors over the years said I did. Did even a ENT doctor look at my paperwork? They probably just stamped it DENIED! Now I have to go and purchase hearing aids for about $5,000.00 because the VA doesn’t want to buy them for me. I served my country for 21 years faithfully and I deserve them but the VA won’t buy them for me. It took my colonel friend two years to get money so that he could purchase hearing aids. If you want something from the VA good luck on that. It will take an act of Congress to get what you want.
    A few years ago I asked the VA to darken the lettering on my son’s VA stone and they told me they couldn’t do it. So I had to call my Congressman to get them to do it. One phone call and it was done within a couple of weeks. The VA personel won’t do anything for you.

    • Elva Hutchinson August 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      I am sorry for your loss. My brother was in Vietnam, was diagnosed with many ailments due to agent orange exposure. He put in claim after claim. He finally did receive 100% disability, YAHOO!!!! It was awarded 2 months after his death! So the government kept it all.

  129. Loretta Sullivan August 27, 2015 at 10:26 am

    My husband passed away in Oct o 2013 from Brain Cancer caused by radiation exposure.
    The original claim was started just prior to his death and a new one filed in Dec of 2013.
    The VA has received all of the documentation they have requested. It was sent to the Minneapolis Office and forwarded to the Jackson office where the radiation claims are worked. They received the complete file in May of this year and as to date have not opened the file. The documents I sent were scanned into their system but they have failed to open the claim, contact me or respond to the three notices sent by the Minneapolis office or my Congressman. What is it going to take for them to even open the claim and send me notice or to even respond to the Congressman? I was told this morning that the Congressman was as high as I could go and if they don’t respond to them, they can’t do anything about it. This going on two years and I am hung out to dry so to speak. Please tell me how we can get them to open this claim and start the process on it.
    thank you

  130. Jeffrey Sweeney August 27, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Ms. Allison Hickey
    I cannot believe it (VA reduced the disability claims backlog to 98,535) I have been waiting since 2009 to have my appeal heard and keep on getting the same letters that mean nothing to me, we all did our service for love of country and expect to be treated with honor.
    From the first time I met with a PA in Watertown, NY (after retirement because of duty location in Cuba) who could have cared less about me or what I had to say. I do admit the VA in San Antonio is much better. but the fact remains some of us have been fighting with the VA for far too long, and I know some military members just give up or die while waiting how tragic to be treated in this manner. DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY

  131. Lauren Dean Just August 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

    another site that doesn’t work

  132. Kathleen T. Holland August 27, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I retired from the Navy after over twenty years of honorable service. I was rated and considered Service connected. Problem is that we had a fire and all my DD 214’s, VA documentation including my rating letter. I realize that is not the correct term.

    Bottom line is, how can I get these documents replaced?

    • Jeremy August 31, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Go to the va hospital close to you and ask for the dav rep. If not there search for dav rep in ur area and they will help you

  133. Ricky Scott sr. August 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

    the va will lie to you as long as you let them my clai.m was fill in 2007.

  134. Edward Frank August 27, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I filed a claim in 2006 and it was automatically denied same as the claim in 1971. I appealed in Oct 2008 and have supplied more back up info. I have not had a reply since I sent in my last communication. I had contacted Senator Milkulski last in 2014 and she had communication with the VA.

  135. Kenneth cockrum August 27, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I understand how the VA is catching up. I got a letter after a year and a half saying a contractor would set up an appointment to see me and determine my claim. Three weeks later I get a letter saying my claim is settled, As I look at the letter I see that I have been marked as a no show for the appointment scheduled for the next day after I received the first letter. I can’t even find out who I was supposed to see much less when and where. I assume the VA paid this person who lied about scheduling an appointment with me. I have tried calling the Phone number on the letter but I just get a robot telling me there are to many calls and hangs up on me. You might want to check and see if you were a no show for an appointment that never was scheduled also.

  136. Denise Hoppess August 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

    My son received an honorable discharge after OIF with the Army National Guard. During active duty he was having PTSD like issues and was sent by his unit to the LaJolla, CA VA and seen in the Psych ER. After he was discharged by the Army he spent over 30 days there on a psych hold and was diagnosed with PTSD, TBI and Schizophrenia. The same VA Psychiatrist that saw him on active duty put a letter into his VA file that these symptoms had been noted while my son was on active duty.
    My son cannot work at all, infrequently goes to the VA in Portland, OR for street injuries and cannot advocate on his own behalf as a result of his combat induced mental injuries.
    How can I advocate for him to get the appropriate VA benefits and also get his Army discharge changed to a medical discharge?
    Thank you,
    Jack’s Mom

  137. Jeremy August 27, 2015 at 9:39 am

    To all you vets nd family. Thank you for your service and support. Thise of you waiting on claims, be patient and ise the online services available. Declined, keep working if u truely think you have a claim. Keep in mind, a bunch of people that call therselves vets and had no issues are trying to screw us all and our country bu trying to make faulty claims. These frauds are causing the majority of the backlog and other issues.
    Ive waiting for a yr, had my issues, got denied, sent in proper proof, got approved, get healthcare( which is awesome if thats all any of us got) but we are lucky enough to be born in this country and most of us made the free choice to join the services yo be honorable and serve and defend. We hopefully did just that.
    Any company, service, government is only as good as the employees. Thankfully they dont treat us like we talk about them when things dont go our way

  138. Phyllis Bunch August 27, 2015 at 9:36 am

    My husband is a Viet Nam veteran with Agent Orange effects. He is currently rated 40% disabled with heart disease (a 5 way heart bypass), diabetes, high blood pressure, neuropathy, vision problems, etc. He applied for a raise in his disability rating. It was denied because the VA claims he did not keep appointments they scheduled for him. That is BULL!!! He was not informed of any appointments, has NEVER missed an appointment with the VA (even though it is 80 miles from us) and cannot get any answers as to who the appts. were with, how he was “informed” of them, etc. He appealed the ruling over a year ago and we have heard nothing. What happened to his appeal in the “backlog” that was eliminated? Also, he was informed that he does not qualify for the program to see civilian doctors as we live 15 miles from a VA facility. When we challenged that, we were told they measure from the EDGE OF OUR COUNTY to the nearest facility! What about the 25 miles we have to drive to reach the EDGE of our county? Phyllis L. Bunch

  139. Lauren Just August 27, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I filed a claim in 2011 the first time for injuries I received in Vietnam after a land mine blew up the tank we were on,back problems, hearing loss, diagnosed with PTSD and several other health issues not to mention being exposed to agent orange and having a ostomy bag the rest of my life because of colon cancer. I have a Purple Heart and honorable discharge. I was denied all claims several times being told I needed medical documentation. I contacted my local VA rep. and have been appealing my claims since 2011. I live 48 miles from the DesMoines VA and asked my local VA rep for a shuttle ride to DesMoines to meet with the VA to determine the extent of my back injuries. No one ever called me back to confirm when I was going to be or if I was going to be picked up.I tried calling several times to confirm the ride with no success. The next morning I watched for the VA van, the van pulled in the driveway and turned around and left while I was waving and coming out the door trying to stop him! I then had to get my own car out get gas and drive myself to the VA while experiencing great back pain and by then late for my appointment! My next appointment to have a CT scan done to see if my cancer had spread any where, I sat in the waiting area for 1 1/2 hrs. the reception person had logged me in at the desk but forgot to tell anyone in the rear I was there! On one of my hearing test the lady looked in my ears with her light and couldn’t even tell I was wearing hearing aids! I had to tell her! Now I am told there isn’t anything else they can do for me. I contacted our senator Joni Ernst who sent a form to have my medical records released. I understand she was checking into another Vet who had PTSD and committed suicide up in a park in DesMoines last winter! This whole process is a circus beyond comprehension! The public is being made to believe how well the Vets are being taken care of and this is far from the truth! I can truthfully say the VA does not care about our sacrifices and the risk of our lives we gave to serve our country! Everything is made as difficult to contact them, and get things accomplished. Many become so discouraged and just give up, nothing is user friendly to old Veterans especially without a college degree in computer technology! It is no wonder there are so many depressed alcoholic drug using Veterans and suicides! We risked our lives sacrificed time and hardships to serve our country only to be treated like we are worthless dead beats trying to seek hand outs now! I suffer great pain and health issues but worked and paid large taxes for 48 years till I could no longer work because of my health and forced to retire now when I seek a little help being 66 years old, I get denied claims and appeals! A lot of thanks and appreciation in that! Is it an honor to serve your country? Makes you wonder sometimes!

  140. Shawna Hall August 27, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Then why does my claim for DIC and service related burial expenses that I filed on 7-6-2015 have an estimated completion date of 1-15-2015? It’s bad enough that we have to lose our husbands, many times sooner than they should have died, then we must wait months for money we are entitled to and that we need to live. I’ve heard of DIC claims not being settled for over a year and that is completely unacceptable. And by the way, mine was filed as a fully developed claim. I had heard nothing on my claim so I tried to call the VA three weeks ago to check status. 4 times I called and each time I got a recording saying something like, “the VA is too busy to accept your call right now, please call back later. I then tried emailing my question to the VA. I received an email acknowledging the receipt of my query and stating they would get back with me within 5 working days with an answer to my question. Today is 14 working day and I have yet to receive a reply. I did receive a call back that I put in for, only to be told that my claim will not be decided until next year.

  141. Frank asp August 27, 2015 at 9:27 am

    They keep stonewalling me when I ask for knee surgery. And they keep telling me that I should loss 3lbs and when meet that they turn around that I to loss 5lbs more. I have gone to the patent Advocates several times they say they can’t will not do anything to help get it. My knee has got so bad at times I have to use a wheel chair to get around.. Nx tell them that and show them my knee. They just look it and not away a thing to me. But pat me on the back and send me on my way .. and I live about 40 miles away and I don’t even get paid for coming all the way out there and back home. What they trying to do play God with my life

  142. ANDREW HARWOOD August 27, 2015 at 9:14 am


  143. Michael H Williams August 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Great news glad, to see the progress. My last claim after 8 years of rejections was sent in January 2012
    What is your estimate of date of review?

  144. Troy H Cabe Jr August 27, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I first applied for VA Benefits in 2010 and got denied. I appealed in 2012 and have not heard a thing. I call and they tell me to call back in 3 months. Why is it taking so long if a new system has been put in place to go through claims faster? It sounds like new claims are getting a decision faster then the older claims. January will be 6 years since I started this process and can’t seem to get anywhere.

  145. Dale Mikolak August 27, 2015 at 8:19 am

    It has been a few years since I visited aan outpatient VA clinic in Fort Myers, Florida. I was not happy with the extremely long wait time. I had and still have a PTSD problem. I did not want to complain since I was a Medic on flying status in Viet Nam and there were many others in combat that needed the VA benefits.
    Basically, I keep the PTSD problems to myself but would benefit from the VA services if services were provided to me.

  146. RICHARD JOHNSTONE August 27, 2015 at 8:17 am




  147. Shawn James August 27, 2015 at 8:16 am

    This report regarding a reduction in the backlog is a LIE! I’ve been waiting nearly 20 years for my benefits and kept getting these nonsensical denial letters over and over again. In 2014 I refiled my claim and a year later once again I got a demeaning, non-logical denial letter; their reasons stated for denying me again made no sense and was not a logical excuse to deny my claim.

    So I had enough of dealing with the V.A. Regional Office, specifically the Regional Office located at 1000 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4004. I went and hired an attorney whom concluded I did qualify for my benefits and took my case. And I’ve notice a change in behavior with the V.A. once I hired my attorney, but their service still sucks, recently online they indicated that I could expect a decision next month (September 2015).

    A week later they pushed back my right to a decision for 2 more yrs. into the future (2016 to 2017), I have already been waiting years for a decision and now they are making me wait 2 more? The V.A. is worst organization I’ve ever seen, I served my country honorably and this is how they me?

  148. Kristin Doherty August 27, 2015 at 8:10 am

    You’re probably streamlining and reducing because you’re not examining the veteran. My husband received a phone interview without being examined. How is that accurate?

  149. Mary Milliron August 27, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I’m echoing what others have already said: the appeals process needs to be streamlined, fixed, additional resources added, etc. It’s like a black hole. There’s no feedback to even give us a clue as to when our appeal might be processed. I have contacted a number of folks like the VA, DAV, etc. and have received a different answer from each one as to the status of my appeal. I entered my initial claim in 2007. Eight years later I’m still waiting for a final answer.

  150. Julia Kathryn Schneidewind August 27, 2015 at 7:46 am

    After 18 years I had my disability physical. The doctor did not and refused to exam me for all my injuries, primary and secondary health issues that have developed as a result of my primary injury. As a result I had to submit a new disability claim. This is part of the problem. It was clear the claim disability physician was only interested in doing what the paperwork asked and nothing more. This is part of the problem. In addition since I am a female and the examine doctor was make, I asked for a female escort to be present such as a nurse. There was no nurse. I was forced to have a secretary with no medical training be present while I was roamed. I felt violated. The rooms at John Cockran medical center are all filthy. When will my second disability claim be reviewed?

  151. Pamela August 27, 2015 at 7:42 am

    My father recently passed away from his 100% disability serving in Desert Storm. As he was planning for his inevitable death he trusted the VA and DAV to take care of my Mom as the surviving spouse and assured her she would receive a portion of his pension. What he didn’t plan for is how long that Survivor Benefit would take! We are approaching 7 months with ZERO income for an 80 year old who is under extreme anxiety and depression from his death and on top of that has no way to pay her bills which falls now on me. All we are told is to apply for financial hardship…yet another claim with another set of people to deal with is unacceptable. We don’t even know what the amount will be to PLAN for when it finally arrives if it ever arrives. What is the plan for the Survivor benefits portion of this improvement plan?
    Here is the note we just received from the DAV after reaching out thru a general “Contact Us” Website:
    …..I am sorry to say that the processing of your claim still falls within “normal limits” for processing within VBA. At present, it is taking the Benefits Administration approximately 9 months (up from 6 months on average) to complete processing a claim when they are vetting the materials for both DIC or Survivors Pension.
    However, if you would like to claim financial hardship in order to expedite the completion of your claim, you may do so by calling VBA at 800-827-1000 and speaking with a representative. Regrettably, our office is not able to enact this protocol on your behalf, since we do not fall within the Benefits Administration. I am not sure if it will make a significant difference at this time, since you are approaching the end of the processing window, but it may be worth the effort.
    Please let us know if you have any questions, or if there is anything we can do to further assist you!
    Sincerely, Office of Survivors Assistance

  152. Gary L. McCormick August 27, 2015 at 7:35 am

    When I was being discharged back in 79, I was told by the medical staff to file for hearing loss. At that time I was told that I had hearing loss of 40%. I filed and was told to go to the VA facility in Columbus, Ohio. They put me through another full physical examination, then sent me to Brecksville, Ohio for another hearing exam from there they sent me to the VA hospital in Cleveland for more hearing tests. My claim was rejected. Some 30 years later talking to some friends (all former military ) they told me I was allowed to appeal this rejection. This was never mentioned to me back in 79. So I re-applied, now they say I can only get compensation from the time of my appeal, because they have no ( can not find ) records from 79.I appealed this finding, but was told they never received it. Long story short, I was approved for a 10% loss of hearing and compensation was retro to this new filing date, not back to the original date some 35 years ago. I did receive hearing aides which is a huge blessing, for this I am grateful. I know my problems are small in comparison to other vets, but if they also run into the time consuming paper work ,rejections and appeals, there has to be a better way to stream line this process.

  153. EDWARD SEROW August 27, 2015 at 7:19 am

    QUESTION:If a VA guaranteed house purchase loan is applied for and an individual is approved for it than why all the proof paper works from the loan companies?.The APPROVED eligibility FORM SHOULD BE ENOUGH——-NO?

    • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 10:23 am

      The only thing you should need to provide from the VA is the certificate of eligibility. After that the underwriters are responsible for anything else you are required to provide. The VA Loan isn’t a guarantee that you will get a loan. You still need to qualify with the bank. There are other requirements that must be met as well such as inspections and appraisals.

  154. Robert C Smith August 27, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I have been waiting for my COLA increase since Dec 1, 2014 now for nine months because the VA is doing a review of my records. Been with VA since the early 60’s and never had a problem. Do not know why i am under a review and the VA will not tell me why. Called in May i believe or June and they said it was being taken care of. My Question is why have i been waiting for nine months for a review when i do not know what the reason is?????

  155. neal August 26, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    8 YEAR OLD claim. Remanded …BVA … November 2014. C and P exam 4 months ago. No matter who I contact, cannot find what is current claim status.

    • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 11:55 am

      You mean you can’t get the canned response ” At this time your appeal is awaiting review for any further action or necessary development. If no further action is necessary, your file will be certified to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) for their decision on your appeal. If any further action or development is needed, we will notify you. The processing of most formalized appeals takes an average of 1,036 days.” ?

  156. Jack Flanagan August 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Kudos on reducing the backlog.

    Can we see the weekly trend on appeals as well ?



  157. james spoon August 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    After 30 years with two honorable discharges I still cannot get the simple things of life from you such as hearing aids or glasses so the peace time vet don’t rate. thanks for nothing.

  158. Duane Michael Gonyon August 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, they are quicker at denying claims like mine – even though I had medical records. They also penalize you if you make too much money and won’t provide any health care. 8 years active duty for what?

  159. Cody MacDuffee August 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I started my claim in March of 2013, was denied due to my discharge. I went to qtc in 2013 of November and was rated 100% by the psychologist and Dr. Had to file a notice of disagreement. Now it’s at the vba since my discharge was oth. I then have gotten my discharge uprgraded to honorable due to lots of fighting the army. You have received my dd214 sent back in July 20 2015. Asking for more information to make a decision to my claim when my discharge hasn’t been upgraded into the system yet and has been a month so far. I completed all necessary forms, which said a decision of my claim will be completed within 30 days or after if not sent in and needed more info if I could not provide which I did. Received another letter saying it will do all it can to retrieve the documents from qtc and other hospital stays within 15 days. I spoke to a representative who’s it wouldn’t be until August 16 2016. So is the paperwork just lying to me or is the representative? October is my time limit, I will proceed with the law and the status of the paperwork which was sent to me. Can you tell me what the issue is, why isn’t my discharge changed into the system and why haven’t I received my benifits it’s been 53 days total. 8 days overdue of what was told to me!

  160. John C. Davidsoln August 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    The gotcha code wiped my comment out. Not sense trying again. I stopped using your services last year.

  161. L Flournoy August 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I was a peace time vet. and in 1982 after being honorably discharged from the Army, I went into the VA hospital to correct an injury that I had while on active duty. During the surgery at the VA Hospital in Augusta, GA I lost over 1000 cc of blood and was given a blood transfusion; in the blood was the AIDS virus and the VA denied it for many years. Now 30+ years later and I am still alive, the VA states that it was not their blood, however, they never denied giving me blood as it is documented in my medical records, however, they state that it was Red Cross Blood, not the VA blood. Ain’t that some (redacted)? That is just like my saying that my child which came form me is not my child, but my husbands child? Huh?

    Plainly stated, the VA hospital in Augusta, GA gave me tainted blood that carried the AIDS virus during my surgery and lied about it. What should I do?

  162. Diana Hobbs August 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    ive been waiting since 2010 to find out that the government employee never even put my claim in. Thanks to Carmen Turner a government employee that couldn’t give a damn about this veteran.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Diana, who did you give your claim to? Did you mail it? Fax it? Send it online through eBenefits? Or did you give it to a VSO to submit on your behalf? Where is your claim right now?

    • jay vanderford August 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      I received two claims back with shoe prints on them and sealed in different envelops from the post office that stated found on mail room floor, yet when I called the RO in Phoenix, they had processed them. I’m not sure how this could occur, but its best that any business you do with the VA in any capacity is keep records, emails to and from, send anything they request by mail through a VSO or registered mail return receipt… because in the end, you have the burden of proof.

  163. NACY NICKS August 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Question for my brother in law, his wife was my sister and she died Dec 25, 2014, he was in the Korean War I have papers stating if he came down with cancer to notify the VA I have taken him to Bartow, Fl, did get him connected to the VA in Lakeland for help with medical, but I am trying to get him a little financial help, I went to Bartow again all they keep saying was he was not hurt in Korea, but the automic bomb went off next to him how do I get him help, he has got to have surgery on his ear again for the cancer this makes the fourth time, he has had to have cancer removed from his head and arm. Any direction would be appreciated. I have power of attorney and trying to help him with his medical.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Nacy, I’m sorry to learn of your sister, and also to hear of your b-i-l’s issues. The first thing you should do is have your b-i-l gather ALL of his service records. This include service treatment records, discahrge, awards, medals, everything he has related to his service. Next, you’re going to need a good advocate, someone who can really assist and walk you through the compensation process. We call these groups Veterans Service Organizations, and you may know them as DAV, American Legion, VFW, and many many more. They are free. They are not VA employees, but they are trained in VA processes, and you can find them at your local VA Medical Center. Either make an appointment, or walk in to see them. Now, this, compensation, is for injuries incurred during active service.

      You may also consider VA pension, of which there are a few kinds, and you can learn about them here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/index.asp

  164. Larry August 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Jason D. I received your email and you will hear from me. I am concerned though that ALL of your responses to the comments posted are “rigid” “Policy gobbledeegook”! I don’t see very much help in your responses, however, you do at least take time to respond. I agree that much of the problem is in the Comp and Pen doctors shady practices. My comp and pen was conducted by a PA. She told me that she needed to do things to check my “range of motion”. She said that she didn’t care how bad it hurt, she wanted to see how far I could bend or lean to the right or left. She instructed me to do this REGARDLESS how much it hurt, keep going until you physically impossible to continue. I followed her instructions even though I thought I was going to die. The PA then wrote that I was able to complete the tests with “above normal” range of motion. She had me do things that I would NEVER do. She also did NOT report the pain or difficulty that I had trying to complete her test. She also did NOT report on my condition for the following 2 days, (the amount of time it took me to recover from her “exam” that I spent much of it either laying down or in a hot bath).

    Based on her report, my claim was denied. She NEVER reported the actual pain or difficulty I was experiencing during and after her test. When I left that appointment, I could barely walk and asked for a wheelchair. THAT was not in her report either. She was clearly there to deny claims PERIOD. She is a fraud who only reported things that were detrimental to my case and NOTHING that would have helped my case. THAT is part of the problem with the claims process. You rely on Comp and Pen who in many cases are NOT honest and do not report EVERYTHING to you. They do NOT consider the after effects of the test. I also explained that I was raised to follow instructions/orders without questioning the person who gave those orders/instructions. I was also in the military. You know what happens if you DON’T follow orders? Unless you have an extremely good reason for refusing orders you wouldn’t last long in the military. The claims process is still a joke and the appeals process is even worse!

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Larry, I have personally been there. So have many of the people I work with. I hope I can help.

      • Paul Pomykala August 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        Shouldn’t you be processing claims, instead of surfing the internet?

    • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Larry, that has been my experience with some of the C+P doctors as well. It is ridiculous that they have been trained for so many years to deny deny deny. Find any reason other than a service connected one and deny.

  165. Rodger R Eaton August 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve been waiting since November 2014. I went thru the DAV they told me I shold receive 60 – 70% and receive it in 5 to 6 months. I am still waiting.

    Rodger R Eaton

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Rodger, we love our VSO partners and we appreciate the great work they’re doing on behalf of our Veterans, but please understand that that is opinion and estimation based on that one person’s experience in your area. There are many many factors which contribute to how long it takes to process a claim, like which RO your claim goes to, what its workload is like, how many medical conditions on your claim, how complex they are, and which kinds and how much evidence you’ve submitted to support it. Generally speaking, though I can’t say for certain based on limited info, you could/should be nearing completion. You can track the status of your claim in eBenefits and, if you’re unsure what that step means, here is a breakdown of the process: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/process.asp

  166. James Franklin Clark August 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    It took over 6 years and 2 appeals to win a presumptive tinnitus claim. Over 7 years 2 appeals an attorney pro-bono to win dysthymic disorder claim ; claimed as PTSD. I now have a 1969 “documented” back injury claim under appeal, and I filed a claim April 2015 for sleep apnea.

    ‘ back injury

  167. Gary Viano August 26, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I really want to believe, I really do. However in just two years the efficiency of the VA is off the charts.
    I would like to see how the study was done with all the footnotes etc. You can do an awful lot with statics.
    I’m not saying that our Government would not be telling the truth,.just want to see how they got there.

  168. Al Tetrault August 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I simply don’t believe your numbers. I see no progress in processing claims. Perhaps you have changed the criteria to make the numbers look good, a tactic used in Phoenix and elsewhere in VHA, but my clients are still waiting YEARS to get hearings, SOCs, and affirmative decisions. The only thing that is “easy” is a denial.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Al, I hear you. This is something I’ve been looking into, in explaining in a future blog. However, this blog is about claims, not appeals. And no, denials are not easy. They take even more work and more people to double and triple check to ensure that it cannot be granted.

      • Mary Milliron August 27, 2015 at 8:24 am

        Is there a blog about appeals?

  169. Vincent Neuroth August 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    E-benefits should never have been launched until everything was a go…..it is horrible. Why did they add a non-service connected (2013) to a current claim and denied. Not what I applied for, in the first place. Avoid Philadelphia if at all
    possible, they have the same attitude as the iggles fans………………………….Hillary, what was your bonus for this tale
    of untruths?

  170. Michael Wil August 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    We don’t need additional and ongoing excuses from the failed VA Regional Offices. Congress should close them and outsource claims processing to the private sector.

  171. Michael W August 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    After many years of false promises and excuses from the VA Regional Offices about delays in processing Veterans Compensation Claims, and constant mistakes, Congress needs to admit the VA process is broken, over costly and inefficient ! It’s past the time for our Veterans to receive prompt responses and processing of their claims, by closing “all” the VA Regional Offices, and outsourcing this responsibility to the private sector.

    • DannyG August 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Michael, giving up – QUITTING, is not an option! We, the veterans, MUST force the gov’t to keep it’s word to us! That is my mission, & I will not abort until it is complete! Part of the problem is that so many of our elected “representatives” have been in office so long, they feel like WE owe THEM. Write your elected officials, & remind them of the upcoming elections, & the fact that there are over 20million veterans ready to vote! EVERY VETERAN SHLD REGISTER & VOTE! I feel that we should also push real hard for TERM LIMITS; the president & governors can only serve 2 terms, what makes senators & congresspersons better than them?

  172. Amber Armbruster August 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    My claims were denied because the VA said I didn’t show for my scheduled medical exams and did not provide good cause. I was pregnant and in the middle of a move (husband still active duty) and could not attend the appointments. VA rep annotated this in my file and told me to reschedule once I moved and had my baby. That was ignored and they made a decision on my claim anyway. I’ve tried for months to speak to someone on the phone and keep getting a recording that all reps are busy assisting other customers and they can’t help. Then it hangs up!! It’s impossible to speak to a real person who can help me. I resorted to writing a letter and mailing it last week. Let’s see if that works. I doubt it! So glad my file, like many others, enabled the VA to reduce their backlog! I truly feel sorry for those veterans who are in need of immediate care!

  173. Edward Hill August 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    All that means is that you are denying claims faster and not giving deserved needy Veterans like myself the help and assistance that they need .

  174. Billy D. Greenlee August 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    These comments are so sad. It is unfortunate what we don’t do for our Veterans.

  175. Louis Paterno August 26, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    This article is a joke been waiting on an appeal for while, but reading some of the other comments that they have been waiting for years make me truly sick and sometimes question whether I did the right thing in fighting for my country and I can tell you that hurts more than any wound I’ve received!!!! Because I love my country more than anything these poor veterans can’t even log on the website it’s always down for maintenance just very sad how we are treated sometimes hope it will change all I can do is sit here and hope our government starts caring about us one day!!!!
    New Jersey

  176. Patrick Flannery August 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I was active duty Airborne for 16 years of 21 years, 11 months and 13 days, and received 10% disability for my left knee which was scoped on active duty. Did it hurt, yes, and went to a local VA Center here in the Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska border. I had it checked out, given something like a Motrin (cure all correct?) and patted on my ass and told me move out as usual. I went back a couple times and told it was because I was getting older, and had them twist and turn my knee. But, other Vets need the care worse than I did and tolerated it.

    It got worse, and so did the wait to be seen, the time for the doctor, and so did the, “We are servicing someone else, please hold,” message. I could no longer even walk and went to the local doctor, and was informed there was less than 1% cartilage in my left knee, and about 10% in my right. The left was more pressing, and had to have a total left knee replacement. That was a year ago today and I had surgery. Despite having called too many freaking times to count and get an appointment, I have YET to hear back from my first message left on their machine. I have gone by their office and walk-ins are not taken and has to be scheduled online.

    I guess as long as they string us along long enough, we will just die. One of the doctors bumper stickers made me laugh at the VA clinic. It reads, “VA Doctor: we die to serve you.” Someone crossed off the words and put, “Vets die waiting to be served by me.” Like I say, “The person with the lowest GPA in Med School that graduates is still called a doctor.”

  177. Ernest Peter Di Nardo August 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    the year 2012 I was told to have my right knee replaced by a Surgeon out of the V.A. because they didn’t have a Surgeon available at the V.A . July 12th 2012 my total Knee replacement was done out side of the V.A . I have been complaining the replacement is not right but all the Surgeon would do is X-Ray it and said everything looks good. the knee is always swollen , loose and with pain . I had an appointment with the V.A. a year later and was told there was looseness and swollen , the knee is to be replaced, it was not healing correctly . Then I was scheduled for appointments with Cardiologist to check my heart because of the problem I have. I was suppose to be scheduled for surgery but it was never done. I have been in contact with the V.A. but I’m still waiting. I’m trying to be rescheduled for re-evaluation and still waiting for that too .I do have Medicare and Blue Cross and do use this more than I go to the V.A.

  178. william h warming August 26, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    my name is william h warming and was in the Korean conflict and discharged in 1956..MY Medical records from the National Personnel center were destroyed in a FIRE in 1973..So therefore I have been unable to present my case to the VA..They awarded me a 40% disability and I appealed the decision and as of 8/26/2015 i have heaed NOTHING…I am totatally disabiled and cannot walk, blind in one eye aqd totally deaf all fro m my time is the united states army..Can you please help mr..thank you….

  179. tony s huskey August 26, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    It’s about time for us Viet Nam vets to get the real world to let us now we aren’t forgot about peace &war

  180. Walter Williams August 26, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    This progress is commendable. However, in order for it to be sustainable, changes must be made in the way claims are initially reviewed and processed. It would be a good idea to review the number of appeals that are reversed. If the initial reviewer fails to ask, capture, or consider statistical facts surrounding the case, but instead relies on personal bias, assumptions, or the belief that virtually everyone applying is a malingerer, the additional non-value added work will continue to add to the backlog.
    When I was given a hearing exam at the Columbia, SC VA Hospital, I explained that I was experiencing a ringing in my ears as well as a significant loss of ability to hear and understand what others were saying. I went on to explain that I had worked on the flight-line at Andersen AFB, Guam from July 1968 to January 1970 without hearing protection. I explained that we worked in close proximity to passenger/cargo jets preparing for takeoff. In addition, in the interest of safety for wounded Vietnam casualties, we remain with the Medi-Vac C-141 should there be a fire which would require evacuation. The noise level was compounded by the fact that auxiliary power units were required for patient care. The APU’s were quite loud.
    When presented with this information, the audiologist’s only response was “We cannot prove or disprove tinnitus.” I was authorized hearing aids for the tinnitus, but the hearing loss was regarded as not being a service disability.
    In my appeal, I provided factual data which refutes the initial “opinion” of the audiologist. I have provided the physical layouts and distances of the three runways in Guam, the types of aircraft serviced, the decibel noise ratings of the jet engines of that day and the time weighted noise levels encountered considering that work requirements varied from 5×8 schedules and 6×12, depending on activity levels. Aside from passenger and cargo jets, the noise levels of a fully loaded B-52 preparing for takeoff is impressive. I suspect that any of these issues would violate current OSHA guidelines.
    In addition to the statistical data, I requested and paid for a hearing test from my private physician. He submitted this along with his medical opinion that the combination of factors experienced had a direct impact on my hearing loss. This report was dated 7/8/13. All of this information has been included with the appeal.
    In closing, I appreciate everything that the VA does and the services provided, but the actions of a few can create the backlogs that have been experienced. An examiner’s performance review should be somewhat based on the initial ruling as opposed to the number that are reversed in appeal. I would suggest that something of this nature be considered.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Walter, regarding your suggestion at the beginning of your comment, VBA is already tracking this information. We know that on average, Veterans file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) 11-12 percent of the time. After receiving an in-depth explanation of the rationale behind the decision through a Statement of the Case (SOC), roughly 4-5 percent of those proceed to file a formal appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). Ultimately, just 1.2 percent of claims decisions made in any given year are adjusted as a result of the appeals process.

  181. Robert August 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I had my claim since 2008? for PTSD and 2011 Anxiety, Panic Attacks and depression. The 2011 was suppose to be an appeal for my PTSD but turned out to be a second claim all paper work filled out and filed by Texas Veterans Commission.
    At the present after 7 years, I just had my appeal hearing about 2 months ago. I can not get an answered as to how much longer for a decision.

    How much long, I can not live forever.

    R. C.

    • Tony August 27, 2015 at 7:46 am


      Good luck. I filed an appeal in 2010. I had my appeal hearing in 2012. The BVA remanded back to the Regional Office in Cleveland Ohio. I worked constantly with my VSO for three years with no response from the region office. Got a letter from the Region Office for additional psychological testing. The letter was loaded with threats that if I did not make the testing on the scheduled date the claim would be delayed or denied. Now that the latest psychological testing is complete, I would image this will be the start of the 120 day turnaround on the claim decision. I can only hope that I will find out something in 6 months.


      • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 9:05 am


        There is no 120 turnaround on appeals. That is only for “new” claims. Once a decision is made appeals get sent to the back of the line. If you read testimony or forum posts from VA employees the large majority of reps are working this backlog with a skeleton crew working the appeals. And that is only for straight time. The mandatory over time all employees are working only goes towards the backlog. So if the appeals team is on OT you can bet they are not working appeals, they are helping with the backlog.

  182. wallace R. kari August 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    nothing has changed with the VA. Business as usual. Good public whitewash.

  183. Ron Perri August 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I’m not sure that I see the connection between allegedly reducing the backlog and processing the claims more accurately.

  184. Timothy Ard August 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Meanwhile the backlog on claim appeals has gone from under 100,000 to over 1 Million.
    Enough said.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Timothy, that is incorrect.

      Here’s the data:

      June ’09: 171,911
      June ’10: 193,739
      June ’11: 236,949
      June ’12: 256,089
      June ’13: 250,196
      June ’14: 275,704
      Now: 313,338

      In six years, it has increased by 142k. Meanwhile, in that timeframe, VBA has processed more than six million claims. Want to see the data? You can find the weekly archives all the way back to 2004 here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/detailed_claims_data.asp

      Just click on the MS Excel document of your choice to see that week’s numbers.

      • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 8:03 am

        And do you have the numbers of veterans that were denied their benefits and have since died or committed suicide thus preventing them from filing their appeals? Or is that a metric not worth measuring?

      • alvis woodall August 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        You can put up whatever VA produced numbers you want but until you listen to the Veterans on the receiving end of the BS they serve up you will never have the right data. It took me 7 years to go from 10-30% even though after 40 VA physicals which all said I should be at 50% or more it still took 7 years. I was so frustrated with the system I never even called for another 8 years when health issues forced me too. I am now at 100% but it took an incredible fight. Back when I separated from the Army I was given a small severance pay because they said I could not fulfill my duty. The VA gladly took what little entitlement I was supposed to be receiving until the severance had been paid back so what exactly did I get? Nothing. Now I am told they do not recoup the severance pay but for those of us who they did oh well just take it on the chin. And don’t dare say double dipping because it is money from two different agencies dealing with two separate pay types. It is just the VA ripping vets off again.

  185. Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Hillard, we announced earlier this summer that the appeals tracker in eBen was being removed. It’s our goal to have it back–and better than ever–in mid-September. This does not mean that your appeal has disappeared, simply that you cannot see it.

  186. Rafael Caraballo Munoz(1955) August 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I have to many claim pending and at this moment I don’t know any decision yet,always tell me than they are working with my claims. And that was to many years ago and I know are to many veterans like me,for that we can’t believe in Va after we risk our live and then Va pay us like that

  187. Hillard Scott Smith August 26, 2015 at 11:42 am

    My claim has been bounced around for years. I have followed it on the ebenefits webpage and saw when it reached D.C. and a Veterans Law Judge. Then it sat again. Today I read this article so I checked my status and they are saying I don’t have an open appeal filed. This is one of the most corrupt dept’s in the gov and another reason that I refuse to go to a VA facility for healthcare.

  188. Jimmie DeLoach August 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

    I am a Honorable discharged Marine Corps Veteran. It is hard for me to believe that the Va would come up with this B.S. numbers when they can’t even just add my wife to my award which was filed in February, 2013, and not its been 30 months and they are still telling me bull. But here this, They dismissed my dependency claim because the requested information neded was not there but guess what, whoever received that information requested was there and been there and was filed under information. What a sad story. I will continue to fight for veterans and myself because the statements released from the Va is nothing but lies to the public.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Jimmie, dependent claims are part of the non-rating inventory, which means they are not counted in the backlog statistics. That doesn’t mean they’re not important, it means they’re tracked and worked differently. In April 2014, we developed a solution for many experiencing this. Please watch this 3 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsR4y7kX5Pg and then follow the instructions in this 6 minute video to refile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYQU4ADGImI

      Two tips: do NOT upload any documents on a dependent claim, and do NOT delete your old pending dependent claim, as that is how VBA knows from when to backpay you.

  189. RM August 26, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Its good to see the numbers going down but its the quality of the claim as many have mentioned. I went through the Integrated Disability Eval System (IDES) and was just medically retired. There was nothing integrated about it between the VA and the USAF. They could barely talk to each other or share medical records. Everyone had to be sent back and forth via PDF scans.

    My claim was closed out in what would be considered a fairly timely manner but it was not classified correctly per Part 38 and despite USAF legal representation the VA provided no followup or explanation. So now I have to open a new claim on the old claim but only after I am off active duty.

    I would urge the VA to expand their metrics and paint a more accurate picture. Many veterans do not have the energy and resources to keep fighting and eventually give up.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      RM, Servicemembers are not eligible for VA compensation. If you are in the retirement or transition process, then you can begin and submit the claim, but it cannot be awarded until the day following your exit from service. When VBA decide a claim, it provides the Veteran a decision letter. This decision letter spells out VA’s decision, as well as what the Veteran can do if s/he disagrees with the decision.

    • KENNETH V. HORTON August 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Jason, does this “close to 70% figure” include appeals as well as claims? The data I found had 85% of initial claims being denied. I do not have source handy, but there is a huge difference between the two figures. This data came from GAO, not the VA.

  190. Ray Stone August 26, 2015 at 11:06 am

    This article is so bogus. The VA is clearing claims by denying everything which forcing us vets to either accept the decision or appeal it which takes years.
    I’ve been battling for 9 years and still no end in sight. My original claim took 2 years to get any response. I claimed for hear in loss, ademia, my knee and back above my hip which both part of the same injury. Then the VA responded with a denial for my knees and my hip. I appealed and said I was not claiming my hips and proceeded with my appeal. As my appeal went on all that was addressed was my knee and finally in Oct 2014 the VA appeal approved my knee a 10% service connection. I asked about the other issues and found they dropped the ball and had not even developed the claim for the others after 9 years!

    Then they tried to shove it thru and setup a C and P appointment in Jan 2015. On arrival the Dr asked if I could stand for 15 minutes to do the tests and advised I can’t stand and she said she could not do the test and I left. 2 weeks later they denied my back saying I had disease in my back and I was normal. Then I got a copy of the c and p report. Reading it, the doctor reported that she did the tests and marked everything as normal. The doctor clearly filed a false report and has been disbarred as a doctor in florida. I have been gathering documentation that cancels that previous c&p doctors bogus report. I have been battling with my doctors to get a full back mri and for 7 months it is one delay after another. All my fellow vets with less hearing loss are receiving 30%. However my claim still remains unresolved and has 2 undeveloped issues that are more than 3000 days old! The DAV has done nothing to help, senators and congressmen have tried and the va responds thinking my claim is completed and that far from the truth. I need help and no other place to turn. I pray that the VA will put aside all the politics and be fair and honest in handling our veterans issues.
    Anyone reading this who has any ideas, I’m fed up and ready to testify to Congress and go to the media as something has to be done. I’m in a wheelchair, 100% unemployable and service connected injuries that are being ignored and expected to live on $133 a month. Does anyone have any ideas or is there anyone in VA who really cares or willing to actually do their job and get my claim done properly. I’m NOW AT A POINT OF BEGGING & NOT GOING AWAY, PLEASE HELP!

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Ray, VBA is not simply denying claims. In fact, VBA has historically–and currently–grants close to 70 percent of all the claims it receives. If VBA was denying claims to clear the backlog, then there wouldn’t be a backlog, and there would similarly be an escalation in the rate of appeals. This isn’t the case. As for your appeals, you’ll have to review your claim and previous appeal decision letters to understand why VBA made those decisions. For the record, “knee” and “back” are not medical conditions, though pain in those body areas are symptoms of a medical condition. When you file a claim, you need to have a current medical diagnosis with supporting evidence of an injury or aggravation from active service. While we can’t get into PII here, you may find my co-worker’s blog of some interest when providing evidence for your appeal: http://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/21304/what-does-new-and-material-evidence-mean/

  191. James Edward mullins August 26, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I was told in march of this year that an answer on my appeal would take 20 to 30 months from filing which occurred in November of 2014. It was filed in Florida. That is an inordinate amount of time.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      James, no one knows for sure how long any claim or appeal will take. Anytime someone gives you a date, it is an estimation. It is VBAs goal to process claims in 125 days. This blog spells out when some claims will take longer. Appeals have different laws and timeliness, and they require much more work. It would be inaccurate for me to give you a timeline, but you can see how this is being tracked nationally and handled regionally here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/detailed_claims_data.asp#Reports

      Open the MMWR Excel file for the newest date, then click on second to the last tab at bottom of document to see current snapshot.

  192. Joseph L. Dresch August 26, 2015 at 10:52 am

    My Appeal is over 7 1/2 years old (2008). I am still awaiting AMC’s decision concerning my Appeal. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the statement “You were waiting too long for your disability claim decisions, and that wasn’t right.” Perhaps Allison Hickey, VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs, you could personally look into my Appeal that is currently at the AMC, to make a final decision. Thank you!


    Joseph L. Dresch
    Rancho Mirage CA

  193. James T. Martin August 26, 2015 at 10:52 am

    I sent a request for records a two weeks ago. I happen to have the fax numbers but not a phone number to talk to someone for an additional conformation, Can someone give me a number of the VA request for records office? Thanks

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      James, which records are you requesting?

    • Mark Ledesma August 26, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Hi James, for questions regarding a Privacy Act or FOIA request for VA Benefits records, please contact the VA Records Management Center at (888) 533-4558

  194. Maurice Baker August 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

    They are making inaccurate or incomplete claims decisions, then it looks like they have decided on claims, but they have effectively moved your claim from an untouched to touched claim. Also, if you submit collateral information or paperwork, then they consolidate your claim to the date they performed the consolidation versus your claim keeping the initial date and they will not correct this because it allows them to make it look like your claim is not as old as it is.

  195. Al August 26, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I am a proud Veteran who like many found themselves waiting, and waiting, for word on appeal which had been submitted a few years ago, when contact was made with Secretary Hickey, and results from Secretary Hickey involvement all actions taken were done so in a most professional manner, the waiting is frustrating, however as a 26 year Veteran, I became aware that each case and contention regardless of time served must be looked at verified and decided upon, which backs up the claims process, moving forward as claims are decided, and backlogs decreased, the recommendation would be get more Veterans involved in helping one and another and share experiences that may assist fellow Veterans.

  196. Kenneth Friedman August 26, 2015 at 10:26 am

    It’s easy to reduce the backlog by just denying the claim. Appeals ARE a part of the claim process and the total time for a claim and appeal should be noted. After 3 years my claim was inappropriately denied just to get it off the backlog. It was denied for missing paperwork that was not required. The person reviewing the claim made an assumption that should not have been made. My NOD was received by the VA early 2012 and no one has even looked at it yet. The paperwork to invalid the assumption was included.

  197. Calvin Grant August 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

    DFAS submitted audit to VA for retroactive pay that should have been process within a year. I have not received my retroactive yet and it has been over a year. I claims in for appeals since 2012 – 2014 and have been processed in average time set by VA. The appeals are not complex at all.

    • Calvin Grant August 26, 2015 at 10:23 am

      My claims have not been process in the average time by Va. The backlog now is denied claims for appeals.

      • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        Calvin, not every claim will meet the average, and, as the name implies, some will take longer and some will take less time. That is the nature of an average. Also, USB Hickey wrote about some of the reasons why a claim will take longer.

        • Raj Motiani August 28, 2015 at 9:38 pm


  198. John R Donajd August 26, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I have a claim that has been awarded since 2013 for a increase i
    on my claim and haven’t received yet why. Could you send me answer.

  199. Robert Hauk August 26, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Still waiting for my wife’s less than $100 additional amount for going on two years last time I asked Waco office a year ago send it was pending And the worst part was took 4 days to talk to any one as every time I called it was busy and said leave name and someone would return call. Never happened and finally gave up Maybe this will help All the people in medical care have been wonderful but the processing is still to this date poor to non existent. Thank you for any help Bon

  200. Rocky Bixby August 26, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Sure glad they can pat themselves on the back for getting caught with their pants down and having to fix the mess they made. I have called numerous times to make an appointment and either get stuck on hold, or I leave my name and nobody calls me back. I asked what was the problem when I finally got through and the lady recommended I contact my congressman because they are short on personnel and their budget was froze. This is a terrible way to run a business. Even grocery stores open up more cashiers when it gets busy. Please write to your elected officials like I did and ask them to make this a priority.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Rocky, it’s true that VBA has repeatedly requested additional resources. This is your VA. If you feel that VA could benefit from additional resources, then contacting your elected representatives is the way to ensure your voice is heard. :)

  201. Hubert Gregory August 26, 2015 at 9:49 am

    My son served in the U.S.Army and was sent to Kuwait after the Iranians left Kuwait. I am not sure how long he stayed and under what conditions. After he came back from the military he could not hold a job and had extreme dificullty sleeping. He was diagnosed at the Roudebush Medical Center in Indianapolis as having PTSD. He filed for his PTSD and was turned down, but giving 10% on his hearing. He has since had a lot of health problems and got his disability through the Federal Government. He used the money he recieved in a lump sum to pay off his mortage, but his house is needing a lot of repairs and because he could not hold a job does not have any credit worth getting a loan to fix his house so it will be comfortable and safe for him, his wife and three children to live in. Winter is getting ready to set in and I do not know where to turn to to get him help. I am on SS and I have been helping with all of his bills till now. He did file for his disability through thr VFW and they still have his files and as long as they have them I can not get help from any other service. The state VFW person over claims is out sick and other than taking messages the office said there was not much they could do. Please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to relay any information that is availible. God bless and keep up the good work for those of us who are disabled.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm


      The first thing your son–or an advocate for him–needs to do is read his compensation claim decision letter. This will explain exactly why VA made its decision–as well as what he can do if he disagrees with VA’s decision. Generally speaking, there are a few reasons why he may have been denied. To receive compensation, a Veteran must show a current medical diagnosis and evidence that links this diagnosis to an event from active service.

      What does evidence mean to VA? Ask your son to read this: http://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/20982/what-va-means-by-evidence-when-processing-claims/

      And this: http://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/21304/what-does-new-and-material-evidence-mean/

      Depending on when your son received his decision, he’s got a few options. Enlisting the help of a VSO like VFW (or another org.) is a great first step. They are free. If they’re busy, sick, whatever, then you can have him find another one. You can have him walk into his VA Medical Facility and there he’ll be able to get a new one. They will best be able to advise him, though we also resources on how he can do it himself, if he feels able.

    • jay vanderford August 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Hubert, I would add that while the VSO’s are excellent, I would also search for a local Lawyer that specializes in VA claims. Like any system however, there are a lot of sharks out there, do your homework and check the person out, specifically if they themselves have served or not and how many cases they have successfully represented. I’m not saying this will speed the process, but it will keep you from wasting years of going down the wrong paths. Its unfortunate, but if a claim is not done the right way, the VBA doesn’t care you waited 4 years, they tell you what they want and send you again back to the bottom for several more years. Good luck with your son, and let him know he doesn’t stand alone as a Veteran we all stick together.

  202. David Tomko August 25, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Here is some really good information to go along with this “win”:


    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Is there something specifically you’d like to point out about that 1-year old document, David? Maybe a key line from a certain page, and then how it’s relevant to today?

      For any kind of discussion, it may be best to start with context. And by that, I mean we should examine what happened, why there is even a backlog, right? This story from TIME is great in that regard, but what really makes it exceptional is that it also shows what VA proposed to do, then what VA did do, and then what was happening–at the time (2013)–as a result: http://nation.time.com/2013/06/03/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-va-backlog/

      And speaking of old documents and information, here is the VBA transformation home page: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/

      But, back to what VBA DID do. We became transparent. We gave you our data. Want to see? You can click this: http://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/index.asp but really, I think you should start here, as THIS is where you can find archived data that goes back to 2004: http://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/detailed_claims_data.asp

      Since we’re discussing backlog, that is the graph you should look for. You can see the week-by-week dips and gains. You can see how, re: the bullet points mentioned in the blog, that our technology, our processes, and our people have improved the accuracy, efficiency, and quality.

      After that, consider re-reading the blog above. This isn’t a win. It’s not a pat on the back. It’s an acknowledgement. It’s VA saying we are committed to doing this, to making us better for you, here is an update on our commitment, and welp, yes, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. If you read the news, you’ll find that our elected representatives still have some questions, but that they’ve noticed and applauded our efforts.

      We’re not there, but we will be.

      • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 7:57 am

        Specifically I am pointing out the whistle-blowers testimony on how VBA employees change “end product” codes on claims so they get passed out of this “backlog”:

        “It’s important to note that, in your report, you don’t include End
        Product 930, the number which, in fact, has grown substantially as
        of late, and End Product 400, which includes provisional ratings.
        If you were to include the End Product 930, which essentially is
        a place to hold rushed and incomplete claims, your backlog percent-
        age would jump by 10 percentage points to 60 percent.
        In addition, over a 14-month period, March of 2013 to May of
        2014, the inventory of End Product 400, which includes provisional
        ratings, surged from just over 29,000 to over 107,000, by a 367 per-
        cent increase.
        So explain to me what you’re doing with End Products 930 and
        400. It simply makes them a secret category whereby you’re able
        to hide incomplete or prematurely decided claims to improve the
        appearance of your backlog numbers.”

        Or we could look at the portion of that one year old document that points out the VBA’s stance on appeals which is the real crux of most veterans issues in the C&P system:

        “I think, Ms. Hickey, the concern that we have is that the Amer-
        ican public, when you say you have cut the backlog in half, they
        think that half the veterans have gotten their disability, but that’s
        not true, because the Veterans Board of Appeals is going through
        their process, there are other machinations that are being handled.
        So, what we’re trying to do is get to the bottom of how many vet-
        erans are actually receiving a check for their disability claim, not
        how many you have moved out of the VA, because we know that
        you don’t count them when they go to the court. Is that true?
        Ms. HICKEY. Congress—or chairman——
        The CHAIRMAN. Yes or no.
        Ms. HICKEY[continuing]. We have three different processes.
        The CHAIRMAN. Yes or No? No, ma’am. Yes or no. When you goes to the Veteran Court of Appeals, it goes——
        Ms. HICKEY. The Veteran Court of Appeals is not counted in any VA metric. It’s not a VA organization. ”

        So by pushing claims into limbo, or to appeals it cleanly gets them off the VA’s “books”.

        Or we could talk about the testimony of how Regional Offices were using some fast letter to change the effective date of a claim? Not only screwing the veterans, but making the VSR who did it look good and get bonuses for it in the process?

        As for context? How about this backlog is an inconsequential metric to be measuring. You have less than 100,000 claims now in the backlog. How about you report on the number of veterans claims that are in appeals? How about we talk about Butch Long? https://asknod.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/lz-cork-va-runs-the-table-on-butch-46-years-later/

        Also if you notice in my original comment that you have ignored, I gave the VBA credit for trying, but this is a long way from where you should be focusing. The reality is that you should take a random group of veterans in various stages of the process. Ask for volunteers. Have your brain trusts sit down with them and ask the veterans where the disconnect is. Ask them “How can we make this system easier to navigate?” Look at their initial claims. See what it was lacking. Look at their RRs, NODs, and Appeals and see why exactly they got awarded to the veteran 10 years later instead of on the initial review. There are multiple points of failure in this whole process, and yes the veterans themselves are probably the largest point. But it is the VAs duty to assist them to ensure they are getting the information they need in order to provide everything expected to work their claim.

        So while you can sit at your computer and calmly reply to veterans comments on this blog, try not to get distracted by the number of veterans who are committing suicide daily, or are dying from service related conditions because they are stuck in a broken system for sometimes decades trying to get the benefits that President Roosevelt deemed they earned with their blood sweat and tears.

  203. j sprague August 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    What is the processing time for an FDC when they put a hardship coversheet on the file?

  204. j sprague August 25, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    So why is it that the VBA is so far away from the VHA when just about everything that needs to be done by the VBA for the injuries a Vet brought home with him must be dealt with at the VhA? Claims are all about detailing those injuries and certifying that they got worse or better, but its like the process to do this is routed to a foreign nation where they have no clue what the injuries or the Vet is all about.

    It would go a long way to resolve the claims trifecta in the VBA rep was at the local VHA, taking the claim directly from the Vet, at the team level, where everything else is provided. That way the VBA would have trained eyes on the claim, and the claimant, at the level where DBQ’s can be done rapidly to document conditions, and in a building filled with medical professionals and specialists who can provide direct medical opinions and examinations to insure that claims are handled as effectively and accurately as possible.

  205. David Tomko August 25, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    This is great for those who are recently entering into the hell that the VBA has been for the last 30+ years. But it does nothing for those of us who have been fighting tooth and nail for decades. This whole “1) INTEGRITY, 2) QUALITY, 3) GRANT IF YOU CAN – DENY ONLY IF YOU MUST!” is the exact opposite most people I and most people I have spoken to have experienced. Over 2 years waiting for a BVA video conference, after waiting 2 years for a denial of a NOD, after waiting 4+ years for a reconsideration, after waiting almost 10 years for the VA to even acknowledge I had had a disability when I was medically separated from service. The VA C+P examiners don’t even appear to read your medical file/history. They just pencil whip the exam and if there is ANY reason other than a plausible service connected reason they push the exam that route. Prescribed NSAIDS in service, and have frequent heartburn document as well? That isn’t a nexus for GERDs according to VA C+P docs. “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s are not known to cause GERD. It is more likely the veterans weight gain and other factors contributing to the severity” Have a service connected leg or foot injury that caused you to walk with a limp for over a decade? Don’t count on that being a nexus for causing nor aggravating any spinal issues you may have. VA C+P docs feel “any relationship of his spinal condition to his service connected limp would be purely speculative.” You have physical therapy as well as X-rays confirm that you have flat feet? Not according to VA C+P docs. “No diagnosis of flat feet”. That’s apparently why I get custom molded orthotics 2 times a year. Because my feet are great.

    One of these years they may fix this broken system and put the vets first, but this small win for the VA does not make up for the decades of damage the system has done and continues to do to deserving veterans.

    • j sprague August 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

      This is true.

      I walked into a C&P exam. I have drop foot diagnosed by a VA neurosurgeon and a VA orthopedic surgeon because of nerve damage, and verified in an EMG that is all in my VA Medical file. I wear an AFO, a prosthesis that prevents me from tripping. I took it off, and I put it on during the exam.

      Not one word of the foot drop or the AFO made it in the C&P exam. In the real world, where medical examiners have to maintain their own liability insurance, and they answer to medical boards, this doesn’t happen.

      Why does the VA allow this to go on? According to the C&P report, I have a slight limp. Yup, I need spinal decompression and fusion from my S1 to L3 because I have a slight limp. If the RO relies on the C&P and does not survey the rest of my record on the subject, I get 10%, but I should be looking at 40% to 60%.

      Whats up with that!

      • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        Yes, j, VA will treat your injuries. You mentioned in this comment that it was diagnosed and verified by VA neuro and ortho, but you didn’t say that those injuries occurred in service. Maybe you left that out of this comment, so I’m not sure, but to receive compensation, you need a current medical diagnosis and evidence linking that diagnosis to an event from active service.

        If you have questions about evidence, check out my co-worker’s blog here: http://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/20982/what-va-means-by-evidence-when-processing-claims/

        And here: http://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/21304/what-does-new-and-material-evidence-mean/

        • j sprague August 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

          Been there. Done all that. C&P was for musculoskeletal and neuro exam DBQ’s. My PCP didn’t want to fill them out. The Specialists didn’t want to fill them out. Nobody would give me an appointment to get them done. So I turned in the claim without the DBQ’s.

          Why would I be talking about it, in this blog about claims, if it were not relevant? Think.

          They don’t do C&P’s for nothing. Honest. And the idea that the VA Examiner didn’t mention specific facts that could not be missed, and didn’t note it for the exam, is a breach of good faith. Honest. His duty was to review my records, its all detailed in the records, and then I was right there in front of the guy, in living color, wearing this AFT attached to my foot. He stood there watching me as I removed it, and helped pick it up off the floor when he was done checking the reflexes.

          Facts are evidence. Facts can be gathered from multiple sources and strengthen a case. When those facts are ignored, it is dereliction of duty.

    • Adam Hanners August 28, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      I agree with you David. I believe that many of the claims would have better results if the C&P Doctors would read the file. And not trying to be prejudice in any way but it would be extremely helpful if the Doctors could speak better English. The last two C&P exams I have had over the past 5 years have been conducted by Doctors who had broken English at best. I am not sure if it was the language barrier or the possibility that my file was not read but my last C&P exam left me in agony. By the time she was finished checking me I was in so much pain that I was hyperventilating, pooling sweat (so bad you could hear and see it leave my body and hit the floor) and in tears from the movements that she was trying to make me do. Another frustration is my feet and Anxiety/PTSD claim. My feet have been diagnosed as flat with pinched nerves and even the insoles that they provide keep the pain barely at bay. With the insoles I can tolerate being on my feet a few hours at a time, but if I ever am on my feet with out them I can barely last 15 minutes. But they have already denied my feet once and I am currently awaiting a decision on my appeal. The same with Anxiety/PTSD. I have records from a Doctor and fellow soldiers supporting my issues and they have denied my PTSD and given me the bare minimum for Anxiety. It is very frustrating to know that I fulfilled my obligations and served my country to the best of my ability and now my country cannot hold up to its promises.

  206. KENNETH V. HORTON August 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I agree with the other comments. The VA is doing another shuffle. One of my appeals, since 7 October 2013 has now been changed to a “claim” and moved to estimated completion date of 22 December 2016. The VA is really good at only one thing, juggling the figures. Wait, this organization has had decades of practice:) Heck, I had one claim that was scanned into the VA system, yet never processed until over one year later, in spite of my asking repeatedly what happened to the claim. Makes your stats look good if you can hide claims- but this same VARO- St. Petersberg got bonuses last year, except for the Director. Bonus for what? Hiding claims and shuffling appeals and claims!

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      An appeal cannot be changed to a claim, as they are two separate things. We announced earlier this summer that the appeals tracking status in eBenefits would be down until September. This limits what you can see, but it does not change what is actually there.

      • jay vanderford August 27, 2015 at 11:59 am

        Sorry, but its never truly been operational in terms of usable data, additionally, anyone wander why its conveniently down while the claims of backlog numbers dropping are being pushed out via the news?

      • KENNETH V. HORTON August 27, 2015 at 6:09 pm

        So you say. This is simply not true. PLEASE SEE my pm copy that I sent you where I noted that my appeal of 7 October 2013, is now listed as a claim and bumped down the road two more years. Yes, we can not see appeals status, but claims that in in appeal status can still be seen as appeals, but to simply change them from appeal to claim is juggling the books.

      • KENNETH V. HORTON August 31, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        Jason, they combined my my later claim with my earlier appeal. This is what caused confusion, especially when eChat told me that my claim was closed and package in mail. Talked with VARO today and this is just not true. They did combine my later contentions/claims with the appeal, since similar issues. This makes sense. Back on hamster wheel. This denial will be 2 years on 7 October 2015.

    • David Tomko August 27, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Ken check the mobile ebenefits site. You still have access to some of the appeals information through that method.


      • KENNETH V. HORTON August 27, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        David, thanks for tip. this is same site that I access but is called the full version. I tried to use link, but site would not open today. Will try again.

        • KENNETH V. HORTON August 29, 2015 at 3:54 pm

          David, same site, same info. My appeal of 7 October 2013, is is now listed as a claim!! Hard to believe. This is listed under pending disabilities. Another email to Ms. Hickey!

  207. Thomas J. Mccall August 25, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Been in Appeals since 2012 with RO in Atlanta, In May 2015 had TKR at Eisenhower MC with intense Rehab at Augusta VAMC and have been waiting 4 Months for my Temp Compensation, According to 38 CFR 4.71a dc 5505 is 1 Plus 12 Months 100% Temp Compensation, I went to Blue Button and pulled up all DOD/VA Records in a couple minutes, All they say is in Review and Moving as Fast as Possible, I planned on this Benefit Prior to Surgery on Service Connected Condition and to help during Recovery, Why does VA put me in Hardship, Why does VA make it so Tough on a Veteran?

  208. Stephen Hargrove August 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Dear Under Secretary Hickey; Just a couple of suggestions to help reduce the existing backlog on initial filings and the soon to be backlog under appeal. 1. If there is a known and previously developed nexus between an injury and a down stream illness, please use this in deciding the claim. It is unreasonable to require the Veteran to again develop a nexus where one has already been established historically. I recognize that each case is different however there are know diseases that develop downstream form many injuries. To require each Veteran to research and then develop another nexus places unreasonable demands upon the wait times and there are Vets that die awaiting these developments or maybe this is the unspoken expectation. You thought enough to trust these Vets on active service, trust them after service also. Manage the exceptions, do not make the exception the norm. Right now the VA is treating the Vet as though they were the exception every time. 2. Open the claims file up so that the Vet can see All Notes and documents in the file so that these can be addressed before the decision is final causing the Vet to have to refile and add to the backlog.

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Stephen, thanks for your feedback. To clarify your first suggestion, are you talking about secondary conditions? Regarding your second suggestion, the Department is taking a very hard look at this, however, the process isn’t as simple as it is.

      • Stephen Hargrove August 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        Jason, Thank you for answering my notes it does show that someone looks at these! I am speaking in #1 about both secondary claims and issues that have a known medical nexus even for primary claims. Even though each case is separate and apart from other vets, there are common threads that are known downstream aggravations of either to or from a service connected condition. These should be accepted and the Vets should not have to reinvent a medical nexus that is already a known relationship to or from a service connection. this is unreasonable expenditures to the Vet that cause a laps of time and money. On the secondary issues these should be considered if a service connection exists that may have a potential downstream relationship. Example; If I claimed service connection for PTSD and OSD (C-pap) and the PTSD is accepted but there is no direct service connection for the OCD, then the OCD should be viewed as a secondary service connection to the PTSD since there is a known medical nexus between the two Claims.

        • Stephen Hargrove August 28, 2015 at 2:26 pm

          Sorry about any confusion, but I was meaning to write OSD in all References not OCD.

  209. Thomas Preuss August 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Lets wait until it’s zero backlog before patting ourselves on the back. 100000 backlog is not good. Since VA Hospitals are so messed up they should all be closed. All Veterans should be given insurance so they will be able to go to any hospital and get the care they need that day. A few years ago my dad was in the Va Hospital in Phoenix. The Doctors discharged him even though it was obvious that he was too weak to move. He was put into a wheelchair and wheeled him out of the hospital. They didn’t want to deal with him anymore. He died a few minutes later. He couldn’t even make it up the stairs to my sisters apartment. An ambulance was called, but he was dead before they arrived. After several hours of dealing with his death my Sister came and noticed a message on the phone. It was the VA Hospital calling to say they made a mistake and to bring my dad back immediately to the VA Hospital. Va Hospitals have always been bad and always will be bad. Close them all down. I wished we would have sued. But it would have been to painful for my mother.

    Thomas K. Preuss
    Cathedral City, Ca.

    • Paul Pomykala August 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      I have to disagree with this, the VA hospital in Danville IL, is very good. I have had little to no problems, and always get prompt courteous service.

  210. Simon Ortiz August 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I have three Appeal benefit claims since 2012. One of my claims was for my right ankle they said I was a no show and I clearly tried to call for two or three days the number that was on the instructions if you could not make it I tried to explain it to the VA that no one ever answer the phone and they did not want to hear it. Another appeal was from me suffering for from PTSD. Instead of writing down PTSD on my benefit claim form I wrote down mental disorder or mental illness and they said since I did not write down PTSD that I was entitled to nothing. The Adjuster or whoever makes a decision can clearly see in my medical records that I have been being treated for PTSD. I started taking medication for PTSD in 1994, I got out of the army in 1990.

  211. momo August 25, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Must’ve been great having all the shredders working up to task, got rid of your work load!
    Hey here’s a suggestion, if you’re going to put up arbitrary numbers, say number of claims left to complete, break it down for us, disability claims, dependency claims, things like that, I’m betting you’re under the mark buy about 1 million vets that need and require services!
    Also, what the holy hell is with the VA giving out bonuses to employees “working” said claims?
    I’ve been waiting for a dependency claim since September of 2009 and now because it’s been in so long the VA says it’s some how my fault they didn’t do their (redacted) jobs?
    Tell you what, you hire me and I’ll guaranty we cut the paperwork down under 100,000! I’ll hire people who would like to fix this sadly broken system! It’s a disgrace to all vets to deal with the VA and their accusatory whey they handle us vets.
    Yeah, like we want a below poverty level paycheck?!?!

    • Jason D. August 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Momo, actually, every claim is worked in a digital environment. If it comes to us on paper, it’s scanned and worked in VBMS.

      As for the info you’re requesting, we publish it every week, including archives back to 2004. You can find it right here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/…/detailed_claims_data.asp…

      Just click on the MS Excel file for the newest date. :)

      As for your dependent claim, please watch this 3 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsR4y7kX5Pg and then follow the instructions in this 6 minute video to refile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYQU4ADGImI

      Two tips: do NOT upload any documents, and do NOT delete your old pending dependent claim as that is how VA knows from when to backpay you.

      • Mike McCaver August 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        Thank God for the VA . They have taken good care of me from my service connected lung disease . The doctors were very professional during my C&P exam . Thank you again VA

      • Paul Pomykala August 27, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        Your link only goes to the http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/ not to the information you claim.

        I really think that you need to go down and find all those claims processors, and fire everyone you find on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Ebay, playing solitaire, etc.

        • DannyG August 28, 2015 at 5:17 pm

          Don’t forget Ashley Madison & the other porn sites! Even though I support Secretary McDonald, & want to see the VETERANS Health Administration get straightened out, I will not be silent abt the lackadaisical, rude, & downright abusive employees that need to be s#$%-canned NOW! From directors to MSAs (clerks), they need to know that WE, the veterans, which includes the top 3 people in the Dept. of VETERANS Affairs, will no longer tolerate their abuse! Just complaining obviously doesn’t work, so, TRY to be civil, & respectful. If that respect is not returned, file a complaint, & follow up with it! I have had good luck with my Patient Advocate, who is also a veteran. That is a good way for us to start standing up for ourselves!

  212. Vernon Cole August 25, 2015 at 8:02 am

    This is a smokescreen. The claims have decreased because it’s easy to decrease them by just denying them. They are then in limbo until the Veteran files an appeal the they go into the appeals file. The appeals are a different category and that category has increased by 27 %.
    Don’t play games. The appeal is still a part of the claim and the claim hasn’t vanished until the appeal,is settled.

    • Vernon Cole August 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      I want to thank you for contacting me about my comment and talking to Muskogee about my appeal and helping to solve the communication problem between the Vet Center and the VA. Just a simple zip code mix up that nobody could solve for me, but you did.

  213. kenneth horton August 24, 2015 at 8:50 pm