Recently, I sat in a meeting held by Secretary Shinseki. The Secretary, Chief of Staff John Gingrich, and Deputy Secretary Scott Gould were being briefed on the state of VA’s claims backlog. Cue ominous music.

Here’s the thing: We know we have a claims backlog. And we’re working hard to fix it. The hard work was obvious to me when Secretary Shinseki summed up the efforts to break the back of the backlog in terms I understand, Mexican food.

The Secretary opened the briefing by reminding us that Veterans didn’t invent the process of applying for benefits. We did. Now, not only is it our job to help Veterans navigate the current system, we must augment the system by bringing technological advances and business practices together in one big enchilada. His words. Not mine.

Sitting on the side of the room, I smiled to myself. As old school as the sentiment is, Secretary Shinseki nailed it—we are striving to bring Vets the whole enchilada: integrated technological systems that provide easy access to the benefits Veterans are entitled to, avoiding another claims backlog, and chipping away at the backlog that already exists.

Two weeks ago, VA released the Fast Track claims processing system (see note below regarding Fast Track).  Fast Track, to follow the Secretary’s analogy, is in the deliciously seasoned meat in your claims backlog enchilada; we can paperlessly process claims from end to end, rendering a decision precisely and quickly.

Fast Track will be used by Veterans who suffer from the newest Agent Orange Presumptive diseases (Ischemic heart disease, B cell leukemia and Parkinson’s disease) as a result of exposure to the herbicide during in country service during the Vietnam conflict.

The system is web-based.  Veterans can log on to submit their information, supporting medical evidence and any other documentation needed to establish a claim.  Doctors will also have access to the system, taking the Veteran out of the role as middle man between care providers and VA.   Physicians can fill out the forms and submit them online quickly and easily.  VA employees also win with Fast Track: Rating specialists will be able to log on to the system, identify outstanding information on the way to fully developing a claim and be given a suggested rating at the end of the automated process.

Are you a Veteran that isn’t so excited about a web based system?  It’s okay, my Pappy, who was a Veteran, probably wouldn’t be either.  You and your doctor can mail your information to our Fast Track Claims processing center.  From there we’ll digitize your information—eliminating the massive amounts of paper that claims processors deal with and ensuring that your claim is processed just as quickly as those submitted online.

There are lots of other reasons to be excited about Fast Track, too.  We’ve re-engineered the way we do business to make this automated process a success.  We’re changing our culture to be a little more forward leaning—to make the process we created for Veterans easier.  We also did the whole project in less than 150 days for $10 million less than we thought.

I would like to think that the next time I have Mexican food in our cafeteria it’s a way of celebrating one step to breaking the back of the backlog—to creating an enchilada of technological advances that benefits Veterans navigating our compensation and pension system.  Advances that make your lives easier.

Have you used Fast Track?  Do you know anyone who has?  What do you think?

Note: Since the date of this post, the Fast Track process has been discontinued. eBenefits is the platform to apply for disability compensation and much progress has been made toward the goal of processing claims electronically. For more information about electronic claims processing, see this post about our 5-millionth electronically processed claim.

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  1. David Sullivan May 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    VA Experience I posted following on forum for my Bros to see Brotherhood of Marines
    I suppose whatever opinion any one has of the VA, will depend on,how was your claim process, and have you been satisfied with the health care, that you received.
    With the proper guidance and advice from Bro, Ron, my experience was a good one.
    Having never given a thought for forty years, as to being eligible for any VA Benefits, mine seemed to go at the estimated times, around 9 months.
    The VA never requested any additional info, or clarifications.
    Medical info and such was from 1986 to 1992.
    Only thing i didn’t like was having to site incidents that may or may not have scared the shit out of me.
    The C&P exam for PTSD turned me upside down for 6 months. I’m about half way to upright again
    Award letter came, allowing 70% for PTSD and they also filed a presumptive claim for Total due to individual unemployable and included the form i needed to complete.
    Sent it in and the award letter arrived back here in about ten days

    will follow up later about the about the VA Health Clinic in Canton Oh.

    Thanks Bro.

    ope that all Vets. That go through toe process will come out feeling like they were treated with dignity and that, yes they still matter.

    You know first hand of the doubt and uncertainty that I went in with.

    Really though while the cash benefits for me are good, The real benefit, is the peace of mind knowing that my wife will have the CHAMPVA coverage and prescription benefit and some extra cash when I crock

    Started going to the VA about 4 months ago. Various stuff. Treated like they actually cared. Nurse is a nammer Corpsman vet. Nothing but good words for them there. Wasn’t like this 20-30 years ago with Dad.
    I love it when it comes out in favor of the veteran!!! Sully, just think how much that would be if multiplied by 42 years back pay!

    Started going to the VA about 4 months ago. Various stuff. Treated like they actually cared. Nurse is a nammer Corpsman vet. Nothing but good words for them there. Wasn’t like this 20-30 years ago with Dad.

  2. Bill March 22, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Can anyone tell me where the claims submitted via the Fast Track system are actually reviewed and rated. Is there one central place or are the claims farmed out to to each veteran’s respective VA Regional Office of jurisdiction?

  3. vietnam vet February 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I dont think it matters where or how you file your claim. Its still going to take 5years to hear anything. Im really starting to believe like so many others , that they are hoping we die and all just go away before they have to award our claim. Little do they realize, a living family member who has all there documentations in order, will still pursue there claim and take legal action.

  4. Frederick Bower January 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    My 93 year old father applied through Fast Track in May 2011. To date, he has not received a single call or letter from the VA. His local VA representative called DC to check on the status of his claim, and they said they had everything they needed and that he just had to wait his turn. He is convinced they are waiting for him to die. I applied through VONAP in August 2010, and was awarded my disability in March 2011. Either Fast track is a scam, or my dad is right. After three wars, he still can’t get squat from the VA.

  5. vetsfoejustice inc January 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm


  6. vetsfoejustice inc January 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm


  7. vetsfoejustice inc January 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm


  8. Frederick Bower December 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I filed for IHD in August 2010 under the old system and was awarded 60% disability in March 2011. I got my two war father to apply for IHD in May 2011 under Fast Track. To date, he has heard not one word from the VA regarding his claim. His local representative called and was told he filed properly, and he just needs to wait. At 93, he can’t wait too long. Could it be that a Lt Col (me) goes to the head of the line, but a MGySgt (him) has to wait? I can’t help but wonder if the VA is waiting; waiting for him to die.

  9. mike anderson December 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    fast track is a big joke. a private company our goverment is pay to input the veterans information. which could give a blank about us veterans

  10. alvin e thomas December 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I am a 1964-1965, Navy Vietnam Veteran who has had 4-5 Ischemic Strokes (1996) and 1 Ischemic Heart attack (2008). i was sent to the Minneapolis VA Hospital Benefits Dept. The doctor service connected me, but the Wisconsin VA refuses to do so. What does the Milwaukee VA expect for me to do after the VA said, “service connected”?

  11. malcolm hinson November 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Filed on the glorious Fasttrack site August 23 2011. Have written letters to regional office and received no reply. Have enlisted 3 NSO’s who have done zero. Have written to 3 congressmen, one of which is on the Armed Forces Committee, and got nothing. My claim is now 4 months old, and is sitting in the Fasttrack office. To top that off, I work for a Regional office, and I work in the section that processes claims. Unfortunately, my case had to be transferred to another regional office because VA will not permit a case to be processed where that individual works. The problem is that these regional office employees do not know anything about Fasttrack. The term “expedited claim” is enough to gag a maggot. It is nothing but a bunch of crap.

  12. Paul George November 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

    check with your SSDI in your area. CAD and most cancers are on the compationate and Blue book list as a legit complaint. Go get your money!

  13. Robin October 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    As a recent user of Fast Track, and a retired IT APPS Manager, I applaud the efforts of the VA to mechanize the application process to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancy. However, I might offer a suggestion. The file size that can be uploaded is not adequate. The 4 page IDH questionairre, saved as a PDF, exceeds the permitted file size. And Zip files do not seem to be allowed. If your business process does not work with zip files given that a person must unzip them on your end, perhaps you could consider a pdf servelet where pdf files could be uploaded. And viewed. A chief frustration for me was in not being able to see precisely what had successfully been uploaded or faxed and entered into the record…which no doubt ended up in redundancy. I was sending in a fully developed claim. It was complex and had a huge amount of documentation. I ended up mailing a complete file since I could not upload most of the scanned files and had no insight into which faxes had successfully been uploaded. A facility to view my files would have saved that kind of redundancy. Just a thought for any future development that might be done. .

  14. Charles T. Cauthen September 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    In the year 2000 the VA was only paying 7,585 veterans for exposure to AGENT ORANGE. In 2009 VA received 99,000 claims for AGENT ORANGE, they awarded a little over 24,000 claims, most at 10%. If there’s away, even when they lie, you will be denied. They know we are dying from exposure, they know what it’s doing to us, they really don’t give a dam. They’ll deal with it once we are ALL DEAD.

  15. John K September 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    My Nehmer claim was submitted in June 2010, and I haven’t heard anything on it since. I understand that Nehmer claims must be reviewed either 2 or 3 times, especially those that go back several years (My initial claim was made in 1987). I disagree with anyone who thinks that Nehmer claims should not have priority. Vietnam vets have been screwed over by the VA for about 50 years, and the time has come for the VA to set things right.

  16. Vern Weaver August 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Richard, while my claim is not nearly as old as your submittal, I have submitted my claim (June, 2011). Fast Track is an outrage. It appears that no one manages the site or for that matter even cares that requests are attended to. I have called the VA about this and finally am working with a real person who seems to actually care. I too, truly believe that I will die from IHD before my claim is processed. Does anyone actually read this blog?

    • richard lansing November 4, 2011 at 1:16 am

      I think people here need to relax a bit, and especially, be patient. It is the government we are dealing with here after all. And the government takes its time. And, you know, it is this kind of impatience, that has led to many of the heart attacks.

  17. Richard Bawol August 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Fast Track is a joke. I filed back on Feb 7, 2011 and it still shows developement phase. I’ll die from IHD before they do anything. I went for C&P on the 16th and the female Dr never even examined me. Asked questions, said goodbye and that was it. Greast job Fast Track

  18. donald Asselin July 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Fast track works fine because I believe it was established for another stall tactic in the VA’s endless lies and postponement procedures. For that reason it works fine.

  19. Frank Watts July 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Please let me very honest, reference my IHD, PTSD. etc claims I have in the VA process for over a year! I have contacted the VA numerous times via VA gov, ebenefits, toll free number, through my Congressman, and every time I receive a different story. For 4 months I have been told my IHD claim is with a rater. Does the rater come in each morning and stare at my claim? VA has told me they have all my information regarding all my claims. As many have said here, there is no reason to be so darn slow! I hate to think of the VA work ethics, but I have seen some goverment civilians at work. If it was their claim it would have been completed months ago. I am 65 years of age, and as many vets say, my claims will be approved long after I am gone. Thank you

  20. Mark Novak May 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Let me start by stating that I beleave vets exposed to agent orange should be given what is do them. But NON agent orange claims should have the same priority as an agent orange. St petersburg fl Va office is currantly working on agent orange claims received on or after 18 Dec 2011 while NON agent orange claims sit pending as far as i can tell if your claim is not agent orange related nothing will be done with your claim until all agent orange claims are completed I know non agent orange claims for Sept 2011 are sitting in pending status with nothing being done with them

    dis·crim·i·na·tion   /dɪˌskrɪməˈneɪʃən/ Show Spelled
    [dih-skrim-uh-ney-shuhn] Show IPA

    1. an act or instance of discriminating.
    2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

    all claims should be processed in order received, or atleast in order of month received

  21. tom May 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I have had a claim at the Waco VA Regional Office since Oct of 2009. I have written to two Texas senators and 1 Texas congressman and to the Regional VA Office in Waco Texas. I have had no responses to my claim from any of the senators or the congessman but the VA in Waco say they are working on my claim. I have three diseases from agent orange exposure while in Vietnam. I have submitted all the evidence that the VA needs, but still no response. My health is going down hill and I fill that I have probably seen my last christmas, which I am somtimes thinking, that is what the VA hopes. Good luck to all of you. Tom Texas

    • Maureen September 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Tom Texas:
      I understand your concerns with the Waco VA Regional Office. I have a claim for DIC dating back to early 2007. When IHD was approved, it went to Waco. Just this month, the toll free number says my claim was decided on August 11, 2011, but they can’t discuss the decision with me. My SBP monthly payment has been stopped and I’ve received a strange check from DFAS (which they said was a payment of $70 per month dating back to 10/1/2008, due to DIC). So DFAS has apparently been notified of approval of DIC, but I haven’t. So beginning 10/1/2011, I have no SBP payment and as far as I know, no payment for DIC. I just received a letter from the head of the Waco center stating I will be notified when a decision is made and for me to contact the call center with questions. Call center says claim was approved. Talk about going in circles…I’ve called VSOs, senator, and a representative…none are able to get an answer. Unbelievable. Good luck to you…hope you make it to see your claim approved. If you don’t have heart problems before, you certainly have them after dealing with this stress.

  22. Halrow April 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I heard many combat vets from Nam are gettin retro check in the 6 digits.
    How would that be ,if your saying all vets with hear disease nedied in th past is getting only 10 % ????????????how could 60 % plus 70% new equal
    10% ??????

    • Chief Bill May 1, 2011 at 11:14 am


      Go to and read the Agent Orange thread. Agent Orange has been declared a presumtive for Heart desease..If you have had heart trouble in the past and had it denied as a VA claim, you can refile and get retro pat all the way back to date of priginal claim.Theat website will answer your questions.

      Chief B

  23. Marconi Barretto April 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    MB/Marconi offers affordable collectible fine art photographs, that enhances and enlighten homes and offices; bring the beauty of nature to your home or office walls

    • Chief Bill April 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      This is not a website for commercial posts. Take you business elsewhere.

      Chief B

  24. James G. Grant April 11, 2011 at 8:32 am


  25. James D.Cravey April 10, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I just received a 60% award letter for Coronary Artery Disease (Ischemic/Nehmer Grant) I was 60% prior to this and I am now 80% w/IU..It staed my payment would not change monthly// My award is for 24-Months retroactive benefits But have not received any compensation money yet..My VFW S/O told me way back when that I would be comensated for new claimawards even though I an drawing a 100% rate now..
    I would appreciate a firm answer to this..Thanks V/R Jim Cravey-USMC 66/69

  26. David Pendergraft March 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I have ihd was in nam 69-71 americal divison but i already have a 100%sc
    should I file for IHD any comments will help . thanks thepenn

    • Chief Bill March 31, 2011 at 12:59 am


      Yes, file…..You can get over 100% as smk’s…This is xtra comp. for service connected items..What are you rated for now?

      Go to This is a site set up for vets by vets…Some of the best info you will ever get. Go to the AO site and start reading. If you have any specific questions, get back to me…We can go off line if you want.
      Some guys and gals don’t like to open up where the world can read it.

      Chief B

  27. bm2 rogers March 25, 2011 at 8:55 am

    i had triple heart bypass in 1997, i filed claim secondary to ptsd .but i am already 190%sc been rated at that rate for 15years, just wandering if i should refile now that its a proven fact that agent orange had a role in my heart condition. vietvet 68@69

    • Chief Bill March 29, 2011 at 2:42 am


      File for IHD now….You can’t get rated too high…There are always smc’s
      If you got med records and were boots on the ground..Get it in.

      Thanks for your service..

      Chief B

      • bm2 rogers March 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        thanks for info i will apply again,also would like to say that the va system has to process thousands and thousands of bogus claims and that is why system is backlogged for deserving vets who really deserve a faster rating some claims people never in service good luck to all deserving vets on ur claim

  28. dots March 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Husband has Nehmer claims at Muskogee, OK RO. One on IHD/Lukemia and DBII from Vietnam 1967-69 Army. Have had letters and phone conversations saying claims being worked and being rated. This has been since May 2010. The IHD/lukemia was said to go back to 1985. We dont know never know for sure with va. Any advice or help on getting results.

    • Chief Bill March 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      You will just have to wait it out like the rest of us.Any claim that goes back as far as yours does is going to take a long time to figure out. Look at it as money in a savings account. Just try to forget it for awhile and find something to do that makes your time go faster…You will get retro pay back to dates of first claim…..


      Chief B

      • dots March 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm

        Wait and see. We are getting good at that .Bless all who learn to wait .VA has its own time .

    • dots June 13, 2011 at 6:24 am

      Got the white envelope. Boy what a surprise. Get yours yet? Dont be surprised what is in it. We been waiting and waiting and have been told what good news we had over the phone from 1-800-peggy. Our good news for IHD 10% for medication, 2 bypasses, anurisium at a # 6 the largest heart surgeons have ever done around this area and still at # 2 after open heart surgery/and a value replacement . I am so glad whomever evaluated the records used what they wanted to and listed them but did not use all we sent in – ugh- the surgeons name was not on the list by the way. The nehmer claim was 0% from years ago with anemia -G6PD, aplastic anemia , sphercytosis, polycythemia, lukemia . Oh well an disagreement has been filed and we will continue the fight. yes the DM/AA is still pending . God bless all and mercy be with you. Grace will be waiting at the end.

  29. Larry Feigenbaum March 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I served in Army 67-70. Was 11B in Korea and Vietnam. Left Army ’70, but returned few years later and retired in Apr 2000. After retiring, I submitted medical recordes from Walter Reed to VA for clam. VBA lost records not once but twice. In 2008, I refiled my claims to the VA through an outside organization and 18 month later I was fianally approved for 80% service connected. This in June 2010. In August I had a heart attack. Had 4 way bypass. I applied for IHD in Oct 2010. Hand carried all of my medical record to the regional VA office in NYC 1st week in Dec 2010. Along with the medical records, I submitted VA Form 21-0960A-1 (Isdhemic Heart Disease (IHD) Disability Benefits Questionaire) filled out and signed by my heart doctor. Had a medical review in December at VA Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. The doctor reviewed all of my medical recorda and asked a few questions. I was shown that I had a left ventricular ejection fraction of 40% and a MET between 3-5 with Dyspnea. My medi9cal history shows documented Myocardial Infarction and also Coronory Byp[ass Surgery. The doctor also checked of the box stating that I did in fact have IHD. According to the CFR, I am ellegable for a minimum 60% for the bypass surgery and another 60% for the Myocardial Infarction. This past Fri, I went to the Regional VA office to find out why after everything required was accomplished in Dec 2010, it was still concidered in a developmental stage, I was told by a counselor that I may get get lucky and receive a total of 10%. I showed him a copy of a page that I copied from the CFR and he seemed truly amused. He then took a final parting shot at me and said “maybe you will hear from us soon”. This VA system is broke. Has always and always will be broke. They hire inept and totally respobsible individual to work for them. One day, just one day I would love to know in advance when there are hearing in Washington and would love to share my experiences with these “elected officials”. Everytime I watch the politicians on C-Span during VA hearings I get sick to my stomach at the bull–it that is spoken.

    • Chief Bill March 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm


      I saw this post on the vets network..I hope you got some answers..Whoever you talked to at the VA has his head up his ass..With you LVEF and mets score you will probably be 60 to 100% easy. Relax, the longer your claim goes back, the longer it takes. Just another savings account.

      Chief B

  30. Chief Bill March 19, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Nehmer claims,(Agent Orange)a court ordered suit has priority over all other claims at the present time. If you are a VN,boots on the ground vet with a heart problem, Parkinson disease or hairy cell sicanoma.Let me know and I’ll help you get going on your claim. Even old appeals are on hold.Go to the website I have referenced in some above posts and you will get all the info you need.

    Chief B

    • Terry W. Davis April 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

      I filed in November of 2010, for IHD…My Doctor said the VA sent forms and the doc sent forms back, but I haven’t heard anything fromt he VA….When do you think that might be?

  31. Pat Willson March 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I just don’t get it. My claim has been in Phoenix forever. Anyway – I really beleive that all claims, with the exception of cases with severe disabilities (and that does not include PTSD as all veterans of combat have that to a degree) should be processed in the order of their date(s) of service. This way the older troops (Viet Vets) might have a chance at seeing their claims answered. I have not been notified at all in over 18 months from the VA except for the one time they wanted more info sent. That was done last January after having submitted my claim in July 2006. It was denied then – but in Nov 2009 things started rolling again, but only to the extent that the VA has my name somewhere.
    I don’t want to take anything away from the VA – their great – but the process needs more common sense regarding aged vets.

  32. Jim February 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Can a veteran who is awarded disability for IHD continue to work if the doctor says he cannot work on the VA form? Anyone know the answer to this? I am wondering because t here is a box on t he VA form that the doctor can check saying whether t he claimet can work or not.

    • Chief Bill March 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      If you all would go back a few blogs you will find where I have told you all where to find all the answers to your questions…

      This is a website setup by vets for vets.With a little searching all your questions will be answered.Jump right in and ask your questions. The people on this site are going thru what you are….

      Chief B

  33. Fay Payne February 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    BACKLOG, is another word for BROKE

  34. Debbie February 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Why does it take so long to receive an answer back from VA when they contact you first? My father who has since passed away was contacted in June about his claim from 1985 for IHD? We have sent in all required documents and still not a single reply wait we did receive a second request in October for additional information which was not mandatory as they had enough to go on, but we sent the information because it is important that EVERYTHING be documented. Still today Feb. 22, 2011 no information can be given. Other than the claim is in the final review, how long does a final review take when the Veteran passed away with IHD. It does seem that new claims are processed much faster than claims from 1985!!!

    • Chief Bill March 19, 2011 at 1:45 am

      The VA has decided to process what they call 681 claims first (Recently filed)
      your dads claim, like mine goes back a long time and is very difficult to complete. Easy ones first, hardest last. We are 687 claims….Some are starting to come through…Go to and you’ll learn all you need to go through this process.

      Chief B

  35. Halrow February 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    looks like the goverment is monitoring by computor and when i talk of cutting waste in all goverment offices , the board od ED..Hospitals.Insurance
    fraud ..sanitaion company waste …..lets face it there ia loads of trillions
    of dollars in waste to be cut.These cuts could save the economy and reduce
    the huge Taxes going forward on small landlord properties in the cities
    that they can no longet afford to run as a business.Treat veterans with
    justice and use the funding signed into law by the senate and congress for
    entitled service connected benefits and compensations…Dont tell veterans
    we will never cut your benefits ,especialy during war time..then Hawaii
    senetor Okaka after agent orange rules went into effect and announced
    60% for Ischemic Heart Disease presumed caused and excellerated by agent
    orange Dioxin ,decided one day during a senate meeting to cur off 10% and
    so it was…Now i hear veterans complain they are getting earned compensation
    of only 10%……….i big disappointment to trusting loyal warriors.
    Why did Miinasota governor Bachman call for total funding cuts to disabled
    veterans to save some funding (minimal) in helping the economy.WE need
    oversight in waste but also need oversight in VA keeping laws real
    and honest when awarding warriors entatled medical and financial compensations
    earned and entitled under LAW.

    • Chief Bill March 19, 2011 at 1:49 am

      Vets are getting awards that are mostly correct…..All the politicians got shot down..average award is 60% for IHD,a lot of 100%,some 30%.Most of the guys are not complaining..After C&P exam, if you have the test #’s, you get it. A lot are getting benefit of the doubt and getting higher award.

      Go to and get educated

      Chief B

  36. Kay February 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Reference: New Agent Orange Claims Increase VA’s Backlog, Article in VFW Magazine dated February 2011 by Mr. Dyhouse

    In one of the paragraphs in the article Mr. Dyhouse stated:

    “VA expects that veterans with Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemia will receive 100% disability ratings and those diagnosed with ischemic heart disease would receive a 60% disability rating on average.”

    My husband received a letter advising him of the Rating Decision of 30% on his claim for Parkinson’s Disease dated 17 Nov 2010. He had a previous service connected disability rating of 50%. The 30% rating of disability for Parkinson’s Disease stated that it is for tremors in the right upper extremity. Although tremor is one of the most common signs of Parkinson’s disease he experiences other additional and sometimes severe symptoms. Their explanation of the overall rating is as follows:

    “Your overall or combined rating is 60%. We do not add the individual percentages of each condition to determine your combined rating. We use a combined rating table that considers the effect from the most serious to the lease serious condition.”

    We submitted a written disagreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs decision and they gave us 60 days from 16 Dec 2010 to submit a Decision for a Review Officer or the traditional Appeal process. On 30 Dec 2010 we sent back the paperwork asking for a Review Officer along with a VA Form 21-0960C-1 dated May 2010 that was not available when we originally submitted the claim. This VA Form is a Parkinson’s Disease Disability Benefits Questionnaire.

    I am submitting this explanation so you can see that the disability rating is not 100% and if you have a previous rating it can get rather sticky with their combined rating table. As yet we have not heard from the local VA Office in Waco, TX.

    I hope this clarifies some of the erroneous information that is out there and gives you a more realistic idea of what is really happening.

    • Chief Bill March 19, 2011 at 1:52 am

      You can find a large amount of info on PD awards at

      Give it a look and get back to me.

      Chief B

  37. Ray B. February 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    What are “mets”?

  38. Chief Bill February 10, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Mr. Herman,

    Have you filed a claim for IHD ? Yes or no…Do you have a VSO (Veteren service officer) Where do you live.? If you can answer my questions I’ll get you going.You can e-mail me direct at

    Chief B

  39. charles herman February 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    i filled for ed,glacoma,nerve damage in june 2010, it was put on hold when i filled for ihd in oct 2010. had my c&p in dec 2010. dont know how i was rated. my dr rated me 1-3 mets w/45% ejection factor. my va rep said they will not use my dr but use the va,s. they have all required info since jan 6 2011 still in development. wonder how i will be rated and what will they do with my other claim. the va diag me in 2001 for ihd.

    • Chief Bill February 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      If your mets stay at 1-3 and LV is 50% or below, your almost an automatic 60%.
      You are classified a 687 end product. We who have this are looking at late summer or early fall for notification of award. Make sure you got Direct Deposit setup and they know it. This blog is ok, but if you really want to learn whats going on and how the system works is by going to

      Read all the threads that interest you, and just read. You’ll soon find out how everything works in the VA system….Good luck

      Chief B

      • Chief Bill February 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm

        I didn’t answer all your questions did I? Your other claims that were deferred will probably be taken care of when they rate you for IHD.Did you have a claim denied in in 2001 for Heart problems. If so, you’ll probably get retro pay back to any date of claim, but no farther back than 1985. That is the limit for NEHMER claims.

        Get back to me at my e-mail address if you have any more questions.

        Chief B

        • charles herman February 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

          chief bill i never aplied because they where not doing anything about ihd then. i do have a 20% award for dm11

  40. carol stevens February 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    While I appreciate the fact the goverment is trying to establish a fast track system, we just were contacted for a C&P exam on a 100% P&T rating from 2002, for IHD (sudden cardiac death in 2000) and an inplanted defibrillator, with “no examination will be scheduled in the future” statement on the VA decision letter. His whole rating is at 190%.

    We received a notice from the Houston VA 10 days ago “welcoming” him to the local office and then a letter for a 1-5 hour C&P for this Monday specifically about his IHD and Hypertension. I called the VA and received answers from its standard to he is listed as having a “new temporary claim.” The VA is creating its own work, since that event he has had a second heart attack 3 years ago and an upgraded defib inplanted. Heck my ChampVa expiration date on my card says 2022.

    So good job on the fast track application. Very bad ju-ju on what is being done to us.

    • Chief Bill February 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      Maybe not. Was he ever denied for heart problems?Was he a VN vet.Boots on ground? If so, he may have retro pay coming.

      As I have said in previous posts, you can get so great correct answers by going to

      Your answers are there.

      Hang in there

      Chief B

  41. Chief Bill January 22, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Would all you guys go to You will find out to get people going on your claims….Just check out the site..It may solve your problems………..

    Chief B

  42. Halrow January 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Vietvets with old denied CAD claims,still waiting in
    fear of death and getting mentaly frustrated and ill.
    Many vets have suffered 30 and 40 years of pain and
    very same illnesses ,yet still wait in horror as they
    hear of other vets dying..ofcorse this is my case
    i have many of the ills on VA record and on VA med record
    its noted in plain medical diagnosis ” mets were 2 and now
    it is 4″….yes like most Nehmer class vets i had a 4
    bypass and my Dr told me i have leacky heart valves..also
    said ” you dont die from them only with them” i am still
    very scared about that ,and not sure what that means.
    A couple of years ago .during a VA medical exam ,just one of
    many ,with a female VA doc, i was called over the VA loud
    speeker to report to the nearest VA office and tell them my name …i walked into the nearest room telling them i was
    called on the VA loud speeker.They summoned a wheel chair
    and rushed me to the ER ,thats the VA Emergancy room. What
    happend was ,that a routine pressure test showed severe
    high pressure.and i spend about 4 hours on intravenous
    meds to get that bad pressure down…personally i think
    this happened because walking around the VA caused
    combat memmories to serface ,that i tried un successfully
    to stop thinking about ,but instead it intensified and
    shot my pressure up…what i didnt know is that i was
    having a bad fibrilation……anyway a few weeks later
    the VA called me down for a very needed medical consultation.When i went to the VA they sent me to a heart
    surgion who wa talking me into a needed ABLATION surgery
    where they destroy the part of the heart that may cause
    the irregular and very dangerous abnormal heart beats.
    I told the VA surgeon, that i was still traumatized by my
    quadruple heart surgery ,but i will go home and think
    about that procedure…i subsequently read that the procedure works ,but can return the same problem…i
    decided it was dangerous and did not have it done…i still
    get fibrilations from time to time ,to the point of not getting off the couch and feelingm pressure and a pulsating
    neck artery…i hold my breath a while ,and after a few
    minutes it begins to abate…In my mind im thinking that
    in some way i can control the severity ,as i try to relax
    my brain..its hard but seems to work ….or its just my
    imagination…in any case i hope the VA wont hold that
    against me that ,i felt the ablation procedure might kill
    me…so i said no to it….in the meantime being 68 months
    since my CAD VA CLAIM was DENIED….i did have a 10 hour
    emergancy surgeryfor a funaplication ,that is a twisted
    torn stomach that detached and went up my asophagus so i
    couldnt eat or drink …i was home vomiting 4 days not
    knowing how serious my illness was till i got my self
    to a hospital ER and subsequent same night 10 hour surgery.
    Now emagine ,and this is all true ,that 8 weeks later
    im sitting on my old couch and develope the worst severe
    pain ive ever had…i was sure i would die…I barely
    made it to the same ER in the same hospital and was
    treated by the same surgical team….a couple of pain
    intense hours,in the ER to get 2 catscans and other X Rays
    that my doc said would light me up like a christmas tree.
    Again i went up to emergancy surgrey for a twisted and partially dead intestine…a 3 hour surgery with 20 staples
    down my stoomach reaching my groin…pre surgery pain was
    like being shot by a machine gun with several rounds…i was
    on TORIDAL for many days after ,for the pain…i still have
    some surgical pain as i write this..anyway i am telling
    this story as i think its AO related but that will get me
    no where fast…oh and by the way i was told that while they did the first stomach surgery ,the surgeons also
    fixed a 40 year old GERD felux disease Hiatal Hernia..i
    secretly remember having this in vietnam but with the VA
    doctors back then treating me more Malaria and shell shock
    they overlooked the GERD on the Xrays ….i wonder why.
    Tho my VA med record show GERD and Hernia going back,any many years….any way i am mending and not working
    as,its painfull now to walk…i stopped the pain killers
    like oxydodene as it was messing to much with my head.
    well this seems like another fine mess my vietnam “Dioxin”
    poisons seems to be doing to my once strong body.I now look
    like a gutted fish who survives with hoorific keloid scars
    from head to toe…and who cares right…at least some
    might find this veterans ills story interesting and maybe
    even entertaining… least im still around to post.
    A Vietnam Combat Vet on the mend again.

  43. Deb Russo January 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    3 new persumtatives. Claims that were submitted oct 2009 still have not been rated. Vietnam veterans that are sick that have been denied years ago and submitted new claim oct 2009 still sit and wait for ananswer. I don’t see the VA catching up on any back logs. When they call the 800 number they don’t get the same answer in the same day, clerks are confused. Why are these clims not rated, since early 2010 they added additional raters to handle the nemher claims yet non were rated till nov 1, and most are still waiting. what have those aditional raters doing from jan till nov. and why are these veterans being stalled on getting answers for their claims

  44. Gary Moore January 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I filed a claim for AO. The VA sent me to an independent doctor. I was diagnosed by two of the physicians there as having neurapathy in both feet that they said was a result of exposure to AO. That was nearly two years ago. First the VA denied my application because they said there was no record I had ever been in contact with AO, and had never been to RVN. Really? Well, my 214 says I was there for 13 months from 66 to67, and the VA has my 214.

    All my military medical records from treatment for various problems while I was in RVN are in their file. I am on the AO List, have been on it for years. Very aggrevating because not only does it show how incompetent they are, but you know you’re never going to hear from them again for months. It just the way they do business, and we all know it.

    Anyway, I filed the disagreement for that decision and one for the decision they made to only approve partial credit for PTSD because I had not included all of the symptoms. Actually, the VA’s own phychiatrist report addresses every issue they claim I didn’t put in my application, and they had the report. What am I supposed to do, diagnose myself, and put all those symptoms in my claim. Doesn’t the doctors report sort of overshadow my diatribe on a claim form?

    Makes me wonder if the people in WACO VA office know how to read? They had all these reports right in front of them, and instead of reading the file(s) submitted by the doctors, they just throw out arbitrary and capricious decisions, just so they can move on to the next case. They couldn’t care less that they overlooked the medical diagnosis.

    My file clearly shows I was in the Marines in the I-CORPS Theater of Operations in RVN from 66 – 67. So, now I have waited for a response to the appeal/letter of disagreement that I submitted last February.

    Absolutely nothing has been done with my claim. I’m glad you think this “Fast Track” idea is so great. And, I don’t begrudge you winning your claim, Good for you. But, at the same time, my claims must have gone to the one guy/gal, at the Claims Center, who can’t or won’t, or doesn’t want to read one word more than he/she has to. He or She evidently just wants to impress the bosses by playing the numbers game. Maybe they get a cash award if they rubber stamp larger numbers of denials, faster than anybody else alive.

    It is SOOOO frustrating not being able to depend on them to take the time they need to adequately adjudicate the claim properly in the first place. General, you are trying to figure out why there’s such a backlog? Well, maybe because since your people didn’t do their job right in the first place, contributes to the problem to a large degree.

  45. Combat veteran Vietnam January 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Juat a comment for anyone who knows the following….when VA called me down
    for the C&P exam …..i was in the examaning room with the doctor…i was just asked how i feel….i said i am just glad to be alive…and the pains
    and sleepless nights i will deal with….the doctor then took my blood pressure….it was 180 over 105 so he said …the exam is over now and i should go home and lay in bed and rest…..i asked the DOC when he will have me take the cardio exams like treadmill or exrays etc….he simply said
    i have all your surgery and cardio issues on VA medical reports so a
    new treadmill test is not needed now …..and with that the Doc sent me home.
    I must have looked like shit and i think he was afraid of giving me a stress
    test as my pressure was wild….it scared me since i took my daily dose
    of pressure meds ….anyway he sent me home …this was in early 2009
    after i put in a second claim to the denied IHD claim of 2005…its now
    68 months old in the VA system and when i call the VA for a claim update
    they symply tell me to call back in 60 days……so i am very confused and
    exhausted…….any ideas on this issue ……..thanks Halrow a viet
    Combat vet with
    many Valor awards

  46. Kay January 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    My husband has Parkinsons Disease. He had 50% disability already and they gave him 30% for the Parkinsons. They run it through their system and came up with a total of 60%. Interesting since Parkinsons is a progressive disease and we are already seeing the results!

    • Chief Bill January 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      If you Google “Veterans Benefits Network”, There is an entire section on PD. You will be able to get any questions answered there.

      Chief B

  47. Chief Bill January 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Not something I would worry about.I’ve had 2 wives and 4 kids since my time in VN and have had no problems.

    Chief B

  48. Missy January 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I just started to date a man who was infected with agent orange. He says, it’s out of his system, had acne leasions all gone now. I’m just wondering can I get infected with agent orange problems through sexual contact with him?

  49. John January 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Got my official notification today in the mail.
    My MET”S are 5 to 10, with no cardiac hypertrophy or dilation
    Ejection fraction was 65% 10% was the highest they could allow with my MET’s at an 7 average. Received 536 dollar retroactive. John

  50. Chief Bill January 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I’m in the same boat as you…Already at 90%SC…Got nehmer ltr mid November and had Auburn,WA. processing call me twice to make appointments and make sure I was doing everything they wanted. Got all paper work in and have had C&P and Echo exam. Sitting around waiting just like you. Where are you located? I travel around alot and may get over your way.


    Chief B E-mail at

  51. John January 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    In Oct. 2010 I received notification that I mignt be eligible for IHD from the VA, in Boise Id. Fill out papers, 20 days later went to Salt Lake VA. I had no other previous claims in backlog. First claim was the one the VA sent me. As of today I have not seen my rating, just a guess,its the same as most that are being treated with meds. 10% Got news of payment increase on my ebenefits account. Signed in with no problems at all got access to all the portals on it. John

  52. Chief Bill December 31, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Three months is great time. You are one of the lucky ones. What VRO did it go through? How far back did you go.? How high were you rated. This is the info everybody wants to know. Mets and EF are important…

    Chief B

  53. John December 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Filed for IHD in Oct 2010 received compensation 12-30-2010

    • robert stone January 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      you filed for IHD in Oct 2010, however, would you like to address retro
      pay and keep us Informed.

  54. Robert Twigg December 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I just found out that my claim was sent to NEHMER, could anyone be able to tell me just what that means, has my claim been approved or what and about how long from here

    • Chief Bill December 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Go to google and search “Veterans Benefits Networks” That site was set up for us by other vets going through exactly what you are now. They have more down to earth answers that VA does….Go to the agent orange parts of it and all
      your questions will be answered as best you can hope for. I can’t recommend this site enough.

      Chief B

  55. Chief Bill December 21, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Auburn,WA> Processing Office. They put the claims together and then send them to the Regional Office in Seattle for rating. The nemher process is moving very fast as compared to just filing a claim. In fact, I have an appeal pending that they are sitting on till this nehmers claim is settled..I’ve learnrd a lot about the process in the last 3 days.If I can be of any help to you,just ask..We can do it off-line if you want.Let me know.


    Chief B

    • Chief Bill December 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm


      I have copies from the first time I stubbed my toe. I didn’t take my private
      Drs records cause I didn’t think it would really change things.They’re going to look at all records.All I got left to do is echo on thur.this week…I’m happy with my C&P…Nice lady internistWhen she started asking me what I could do I just told her my METS were 3-4..She said, reading up on this ..I told her yes. If you haven’t done it yet. Google “Veterans Benefits Network”
      Best site you’ll ever read regarding what we’re going through.


      Chief B

      • Larry Bachura December 22, 2010 at 8:38 am

        Thanks good to know the information sources. I was suprised that very little attention was paid to my mets score. But the echo is a more subjective test that can be visualized. I also think postivie feedback such as yours and the sharing of information with our peers will remove a lot of their frustation and accelerate thier claim processing. Regards and happy holidays. LJB

  56. Chief Bill December 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    What office did you go through?

    • Larry Bachura December 21, 2010 at 9:01 am


  57. Larry Bachura December 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I had a C & P exam of Ischemic Heart disease. Based on the questions I was asked, I make these recommendations to those veterans who have not yet gone but will be in the future.
    Make a list of all your hospital procedures, along with the dates and the locations where the test was performed. Take with you copies of records for all tests and procedures you have had in the last 12 months. Take records for all stents you have had implanted. Take records of all your meds for treatment of the IHD.
    Have a history of all LVEF values starting the day of your first heart attack.
    This is the primary no-test information the ARNP will enter into the record to support your claim. The ARNP will not have your C-file but will have access to your VA medical records. The caveat is that your private medical records will not be available in the C & P examination, unless you bring them.
    I felt that my C & P exam was professionally and thoroughly done.

  58. Chief Bill December 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    If you guys haven’t learned about it yet. you should google “Veteran Benefits Network” This will give you more info then you will ever need to know.
    Just read all the threads there. I spend the whole last weekend there and learned sooooo much.

    Chief B

  59. John December 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Dinkiedow check the Va home page in the media releases. 28000 claims done in the first 6 weeks nor bad I would say!

    • Dinkiedow December 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      Who would expect a straight answer from the phone staff 42 yrs i am use to first claim ischemic heart 1988,1996 A/No, appeal A/No 2005,2009 complained again
      told No,60% non-service,3/2010 app t/open.Long hard battle!

  60. Dinkiedow December 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Just got off the phone with V.A.
    women i spoke with stated only two ischemic Heart claims have been paid!

    1,000 agents helped.Great Job V.A. as usual.

    So that’s how all those convicts got Billions!

    So 1500 first week looks to had been another Obama Administration Lie!!!

    • Chief Bill December 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm

      Do you have a claim in, and if so, what was the date approx. of your claim.

      Ch. Bill

      • Dinkiedow December 22, 2010 at 12:56 am

        they reopened may

  61. Chief Bill December 16, 2010 at 12:38 am

    My last routine claim that went through seattle office was almost 1 yr to the date of application I got a check and rated up to 90 from 60. I have an appeal
    pending also for total unemployability.Thats been in there for about 3 months. The first gal that called me from the Auburn office said all appeals were on hold while they were on this Nehmer deal.

    Now my son is a sorry case. Had nerve damage in both feet from jumping out of croppers with 70 lbs on his back and weapons..When he got out about 6 years ago, they gave him 20%. Now we can’t even get a Dr. to say whats wrong with him. He was going to take over my construction co. when I retired, but he’s in such bad shape we just sold it. My private Dr. has taken him under his wing
    (Retired Navy Doc) and has written letters to VA in a very strong language and has threatened to take it all the way to a congressional investigation.
    We’ll wait and see what happens with that one.He’s in college full time now
    learning to do something sitting down most of the time.

    Ch. Bill

  62. Chief Bill December 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Even though I live closer to Portland,Oregon, I have always been serviced through the Seattle Regional Office.This is the first time I’ve ever had contact with Auburn Office..

    Chief Bill

  63. Chief Bill December 15, 2010 at 12:47 am

    12-14-10 As per above post, has appointment today in regards to Nehmer claim.
    Had a very nice lady Dr. ask me a lot of questions..When she started to ask me what I was able to do in regards to physical activity,I told her I was a METS 3…She gave me a strange look and asked how I knew what she was asking. Told her I just do a lot of research on the internet. She seemed to accept that and completed the exam. Now all I got to do is go into some place in downtown Portland and get an ecocardiogram on the 23rd. I’ll keep you posted.

    Chief Bill

    • Ken December 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Chief BILL: Is your RO Portland or Seattle? The special processing center in Auburn, I believe, is handling all the Nehmers for the area.
      Maybe that is why you think Seattle is such a good office because you have not delat with the Seattle RO only the special processing center.

    • Mike D February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      where can I go to get info on METS 3 ???????
      you said you do a lot of research on the internet….
      can you tell where i can get information……

      Thank You Mike

  64. W.L.Gillingham December 12, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Just a note…I have always kept very complete records , both service and physical This is very important..Get a copy of your service record and medical records…I even keep a journal of when I ever visit a VA facility.
    I also use my own private Dr’s because I can get in on a days notice if I’m really sick…Adding their records to my claims only adds to information when filing claims. Get you S**t together and it will may your claims go a lot better.

    Chief Bill

  65. W.L.Gillingham December 12, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I have read this entire blog, and can see somewhat of a pattern here. Looks like population in a geographical area is a large factor in the time it takes to have a claim for anything processed.I can’t say anything bad about how my claims have been processed since I retired with 22 years of service on 1 July 1975.
    Filed first claim in 1978 for service connected injuries to right hip.
    Granted 20% in about 6 months
    filed 2 more claims in the next 10 years and had claim increased to 30%
    Filed 2 years ago for hips being really trashed after screwing up hip replacement.Increased to 90%
    In a claim in 1996 I was turned down for IHD (Had Heart attack in ’87)
    and a couple of more trips to the ER in last 3 years. Have been on at least 2 meds for heart since the beginning.Thats the history portion on my case. Now I will tell you what has happened in the last month, and you guys can follow over the next few months and see where I go now.

    11-8-10 Received Nehmer letter from the VA with forms and instructions.
    11-14-10 Received phone call from processing center in Auburn,WA. asking if
    I received notification letter and did I have any questions…
    11-18-10 Submitted all forms and copies of records to Auburn,WA. facility
    12-10-10 I called the 800# and talked to a nice lady that told me my pkg
    had been received and I would be contacted shortly for further
    12-11-10 (This is a saturday) Received phone call from VA wanting to schedule
    a C&P exam on 12-14-10 at 3:00 PM..OK with me….

    This is the kind of treatment that I have received since I have filed my first claim…I think the Seattle Regional Office has got it together..This is why I go back to my first statement that I think its a GeoPopulation. They
    are dealing with a lot less people in their area, and can service their clients like they do.

    I will keep an eye on this blog and keep posting what happens.


    Chief Bill

    • Ken December 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      Chief BILL: Sorry I have to disagree with you about the Seattle Office. To me it is the worst I have ever dealt with. I agree about the special processing center in Auburn. That was my first hint of life from the Seattle Regional Office.
      I will not bore you with my horror stories but Seattle (not the temporary office in Auburn) does not send letters, wait for a C&P exam on appeal for three years, deny claims based on “interpretation by (as they say) a new employee who did not know any better…You name it they have done it.

      I am Happy for you that you have had good results so far.

  66. Combat veteran Vietnam December 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

    ken what would va report saying on record in 2006,
    that i had 2 mets before my quadruple bipass surgery
    in 2002.The Va Medical report clearly states my after
    surgery mets level as 4……i was denied c/s for cad
    in 2005.My new claim to open the denied claim was in
    nov 23 09…my original denied claim was in May 31 05 .
    Therefore va owes me for 67 months ? Ive had other surgery
    recently and suffering now with a vocal chord GRANULOMA.
    Ive had 2 digestive surgeries,and have osteo arthritis
    pain…that pain is all the time.I was early on diagnosed by VA
    with ptsd and hearing loss with tinitus…they assigned me
    comp of 50 % and 10% ….how will that old comp effect my
    agent orange presumptive s/c comp for 40 years of worsening
    ischemic heart disease ?

    • Ken December 9, 2010 at 10:28 am

      I am NOT a rater but here we go…The VA will rate you on how you are NOW. You had by-pass which took you from METs of 2 up to 4 after surgery. So you got better. With MET of 4 you would get 60%.
      Combine 60% with 50% with 10% comes to about 82% now round it down to 80%.
      That is what I figure you will be looking at.
      Forget what the medical reports of the VA says. That will ONLY help you if you filed a claim back then.
      By Law they cannot pay for a disability until a claim is filed. Seeking medical help or being treated is NOT a claim.
      Did this help you?? Ken

      • Combat veteran Vietnam January 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Hello ..i havent been able to reply ,with a thanks for your input
        to my e-mail inquiry….i had recently to emergancy surgeries
        to the stomach and intestin…..i thought i was a dead veteran
        waiting for my IHD claim that goes back to a Denial in May of 2005.
        By the grace of God i am hear to read all the messages on this forum.
        Im not sure if the rate info on hear is actual and factual…in fact i hear
        that nehmer class claims are being treated with more care to be more
        acurate because of new presumptive LAWS….i can only hope that VA
        adjudicators with in fact up hold the LAWS in its proper form.I hear
        that some Nehmer Retro Veteran combat Warriors are getting compensated
        properly and others are not….i still love this country and its proper
        laws and still hope for proper LAW to be constituted in properly
        compensating …sick aging vietnam veterans …i hope the days of putting
        down our warriors of the vietnam comflict are finaly over and honesty
        and integrity based on the constitution would indeed prevail now…dated
        1/15 2011

  67. Fay Payne December 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    After reading all of these comments, I’m glad I didn’t join the army. This is a Disgrace to all the VETS. I hope you live to get something for all you have suffer for.

  68. Sandra Smith December 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    As the widow of a Vietnam veteran,I am waiting to hear from Waco, Texas about my claim.My husband had acute myloid leukemia and has been deceased since 2004. He submitted a claim in 2003 and was denied as it wasnt on the AO list. Then our service rep. had me to submit death certificate and all needed documents for D.I.C.benefits in 2004, again denied.On Sept.1st.2010 I received information fromVA. in Waco, Texas that it would possibly be added to AO. list..I have been told it is in the decision making process and so have no idea when I may hear.My husband was sick for 7 years. First strokes,then myxoma in the heart with open heart, by pass surgery,mylodysplasia,full blown AML. stem cell transplant and then death.I would just like to know the time frame for expecting an answer.I always get no-where with the 1-800 number..Anyone know any answers..Thanks for everyones service to our country..God bless you..

  69. Just Wondering? December 3, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I am wondering with all the exposure claims with Agent Orange as well as Radiation exposure what is going to happen with Asbestos exposure claims now with all the forthcoming studies and science that is being brought forward? Seems to me that if you served on-board a Navy ship and I can’t speak about the other branches of service, but in the Navy if you set foot on-board a Navy ship you were exposed to asbestos. Not only in specific jobs, but just by being a member of the crew at all. As the latency period from initial exposure to the development of cancer’s, mesothelioma along with asbestosis is 10-50 years. I was exposed to asbestos while serving on an aircraft carrier in the 1980’s, have filed a claim for my cancer with two occurrences along with my newly diagnosed case of asbestosis. My wife and I feel that since asbestos is such a silent killer that the government we feel will have to acknowledge presumptive conditions by the VA if you served ob-board ship. Unfortunately we will be long gone before the VA ever does this, is there any other veterans out there that are encountering such hassles, delays, negligence with their claim(s) for asbestos exposure, we’d surely like to hear about some of your experiences to compare notes.

  70. Lee Land December 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I was granted service connected compensation for conditions related to military service in both Korea and Vietnam a total of 80% it was granted.

    I had also claimed for IHD due to Agent Orange and it was Deferred

    sence I have 80% at present what canI exspect total %

    • Ken December 5, 2010 at 10:21 am

      That is a loaded question.
      First is your rate exactly 80% or is it 75 rounded up to 80?
      Once you find the base line the next step is what % you will get for IHD.
      This will be based on your doctors report on METs(treadmill) or Heart function which can be done on the echo.
      You could get 10% for just taking meds but you could get 100% for 3 METs.
      Sorry but to give you a straight answer need more info.
      You may get NO increase even if they rate you at 30% for the IHD
      (example 75% rounded to 80,,but you use the 75 as base,,leave you 25 to the good,,take 30% of the 25,,comes to rounded 8%,,add the 8 onto the 75 and you end up with 83% which would be rounded down to 80%)

  71. Dinkiedow November 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I was given a non-service60% rating for IHD a year ago.I am already 90% being paid at 100%
    since 1/2002.I had my first Heart Attack in 1987 been Disabled since oxygen 24/7 home
    bound.Now IHD is service do to Agent orange in which I am 40%
    along with over 200% more due to loss of eye multiple shrapnel wounds entire body what does Nehmer mean to me?

    I was told it went to be signed off,than mark up?

  72. Thomas November 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

    In the Nehmer Training Guide dated June 14, 2010, to all the regional VA offices, the comparison of Nehmer verses traditional claims comparison states on page 11 that the timing of payment of claims is governed by court order. Payment is required to be received within 21 days of receipt of information confirming entitlement (the 21 day period begins once the whereabouts of a class member is known). Exactly what does this mean? It also states that Nehmer claims must be handled as a first priority, under court-ordered deadlines. Exactly what does this mean?

    • MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm


      Outstanding questions about the Nehmer claims, I also would like to know and hope someone from VA will give you and us answers?

  73. Combat veteran Vietnam November 29, 2010 at 11:53 am

    CLAIMS WORKERS. WHY did SENETOR OKAKA early on TAKE 10 % right off MBAT vets COMPS

  74. Combat veteran Vietnam November 29, 2010 at 11:45 am


  75. MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Was on Thanksgiving holiday, came home on Sunday the 27th. Opened a letter from VARO, in Roanoke, VA and they stated that 2nd request sent to Tripler AMC in HI for treatment records as result of a October 2000 heart attack (IHD), due to AO in Vietnam in 1967. First inquiry sent in May, 2010 no answer from Tripler. Not my responsibility to check on a government endity to see if they responded to a VARO request. But come Mon the 29th I will phone Tripler AMC in HI and ask questions and see if they received the rquest from the VARO, the first and now the second.

    Here is another example of why it takes sooooo long for the VA to respond to claims. If the first request went out in May 2010 to Tripler AMC, why did it take 8 months for the VARO to find out that there was no responce? And now I have to pick up the ball and investigate the why’s and where’s.

    • MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      Strike “Sunday the 27th”, I meant to state “Saturday the 27th”.

  76. Hambric November 27, 2010 at 6:43 am

    I was told that my claim went to rating on Nov 19, that was from a VSO VFW rep at Ft. Roots. My claim is in Lincoln NE. What is the average time from rating to award?

    • Thomas November 29, 2010 at 6:09 am

      What date did you file your claim, and did you file fast track or the old fashioned way?

  77. Ed November 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I have been having trouble but I have stopped worrying and given it to God. The fast track is helpful, but still the only thing i believe can really help is faith.

  78. Jon Hofer November 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I’m a Viet Nam Veteran and I have Diabetes. I was diagnosed 10 years ago and I have a 20% compensatory rating. I was recently placed on insulin and my rating should increase and it will take forever for this to make through the system. We should be able to use the fast track for all Agent orange related illness not just the latest presumptive diseases.

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Jon, our next phased roll out with continue to expand the presumptives that can be processed by the system. Stay tuned!

  79. Ken November 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Does anyone know why there is a differance in status between e-benefits and the 1-800 number?
    E-Benefits says for me to call 1-800 and listed my claim as closed on 11-22-2010. Had been in development since Jan 2010.

    1-800 this morning tells me claim is still in development. Told them what e-benefits had listed they said all they can tell me is what their computer says.

    Which computer system is more accurate? Does anyone know?

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Ken – this is actually an issue that we are working to fix right now. I’ll be in touch to help sort out the discrepancy.

      • Ken November 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

        Thanks for your reply and talking to me on the phone.
        It is hard to believe someone from the VA actually responded.
        You and Your actions were prompt, kind and courteous.

  80. Terry Arrington November 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Have been following the news releases and information on the new presumptive on IHD. I have had a quintuple by pass surgery in July of 2000. Diagnosis was Congestive Heart Failure , my infraction rate was 15 percent. VA took care of me medically from that point forward. Yes I was turned down @ that time for no rating for IHD, but was rated with PTSD. VA has taken care of my health issues including my CHF. In early part of 2009 i filed a claim against AO hoping that some how this was all connected to my health issues. In march of 2010 I received a letter of denial, but only because a decision to make IHD a presumptive had not been made yet. But it did say it was being held for later review. In November 2010 in contact w /the VA it is currently in ratings. I will wait and hope for the best. My experience with the VA over the years has been very adequate and the Drs I have been through and seen remarkable. Thanks to all that have helped me.

  81. Frank T Perez November 23, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I have tried registering with ebenefits using my healthy vet authenticated login, it doesn’t work. I have tried fast track, it says that I can’t have access. Although I have IHD and am a boots on the ground Vietnam vet already rated for diabetes, PTSD and have had a triple bypass. The government needs better computer techs or stop wasting our money. All I want is some kind of an estimate about when I will receive the benefits I applied for a long time ago and they are deciding and paying new claims.

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      Frank, we’re still working out the glitches between My Healthevet and eBenefts. Have you tried to get an authenticated account with eBenefits separate from your MHV account?
      I will be in touch about your issues with logging into the Fast Track system.

  82. John November 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    For some reason the website did not post. Here it is again:

  83. John November 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Noticed quite a few comments regarding the process, adjudication of claims and disability percentages. I have included a link that may assist you (or at least inform you of how this process works). Check out Title 38 CFR Book B and C.. Little difficult to understand however information is there. Also after you have received your determination and if you are retired from the military, check out the CRDP and CRSC entitlements which provides for concurrent receipt of military as well as VA Disability. Really is advantageous to you to apply and is quite easy.

  84. Shirley Hensley November 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    prior to the time all of this had started, we switched from a private doctor to the VA for his heart problems. The private doctor sent all of the records to the VA. So, they already had them. I talked to the person at the 800 number and they said that they have everything they need and everything was in place. Then they told me that it was under review. Guess thats not too bad then

    • Al November 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      The claim is in the right spot and will get its due attention. There are 97,000 of these claims nationwide so patience is the key. Everybody wants theirs now and the truth of the matter is that this is going to take some time. The extra procedures put into place by NVLSP has made the review process longer than usual. Remember there are things the VA has to do as mandated by a decision in a court of law and they can’t deviate. They are truly trying to get the cases done but there is a 2 ~ 3 level review required before the case can be blessed as ready to finish.

  85. Al November 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Here are the steps in the simplest explanation.

    1. Claim is filed. The file goes to a development team for the initial review. There are some mandatory requirements that must be accomplished, by law, before a decision can be made. A letter must be sent to the vet telling him we have the claim, we ackowlege what he is filing. The vet must be notified about what the VA will do to assist him with his claim and what the vet needs to provide. The vet is instructetrek d to tell us what medical evidence he has in his possession and if there are private medical treatment records. The VA will try and get all the medical evidence to assist in rendering a decision. The VA is responsible for obtaining all federal records. Any private treatment records remains the responsibility of the vet to ensure we get them. We are required to give 60 days by law for the vet to give us any evidence or information. If an examination is necessary, one will be requested. If the vet tells us he has private medical records, we will provide assistance. This can add another 30 days. In some cases we can make a decision with the medical information that is already in the file, but this is not the normal course of events. In the best scenario a decision could be rendered in about six months. However, you have to keep in mind that there are hundreds of other cases that require the same attention… adding the number of cases like yours, this adds to the time. It’s not the way the VA wants it to go, it’s a simple matter of procedures mandated by law and the number of cases. ALso NVLSP has made additional requirements the VA must accomplish which adds much more time required to finish the case from start to finish.

    • Ken November 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Filed in 12/09 recived a letter stating we have recived your claim for IHD never anny thing after that they never ashed for futher evadanc or anny thin else even though the VA stated atreament time that I have had two MI’s after a nuke stress test they did send me toQTC for Dr exam,x ray and stress test they said no probles noted and i still recive bill from the Dr’s because QTC doesn’t pay

  86. Shirley Hensley November 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Ours goes back to 1991. I have a copy of my husbands records. I am also his payee and in charge of his medical care. Because he has mental problems and on disability since 1997 for PTSD. The records I have are about 30 pages long. I know it will take awhile. It would be nice if someone would tell everyone what the steps actually are. That would get a lot of people off of their backs.

  87. CHuhi November 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Regarding the Fast Track claims processing for the new agent orange claim. The article is somewhat misleading. The Fast Track processing is not being used on all the AO claims. I believe it us being used on claims filed on or after October 1, 2010. These claims are being sent to a processing center in Virginia. My understanding is this a a test site in concert with the Secretary’s initiative to make the processing quicker, more efficient for the vet. However, it’s also my understanding that this is being done thru a private insurance company.

  88. MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 20, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Based upon inputs here and with regards to the IRIS, I really beleive that VA is overwelmed with inquires, especially since the new presumptives came out, and they just can’t keep up.

    I too want to get a status on my VA, AO claim that I submitted in March 2010, but, thought it best just to wait it out and get my answer via the US Mail. Yes it is frustrating for all of us to wait, wait and wait; and again I say VA is doing their best to answer all the claims as soon as they can. I beleive this because of SECVA’s views on the subject. I know some of the VV’s may/will disagree with me, but that’s my honest opinion.

    • CHuhi November 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      BY law the VA could not process any of the new AO claims for 60 days after the law was signed on Aug 31. That means November 1 is the first day to make any payment. The Courts decision mandates that each claim be reviewed with more scruitny as all evidence in the claim file has to be listed in the decision. This takes time. Many claims are 4 ~ 5 volumes, and some even more. A review of all this evidence is madated by the Courts decistion Nehmer vs VA. So the long process is not the VA way of doing work, its a mandate by law and subject to review by the Justice Department. There is no fastrack system to process these claim “thru automation”. It requires a person to sit down and review the whole claim. In some cases, it takes the rater a full day……so there you have it. That’s the way it is.

      • Shirley Hensley November 20, 2010 at 7:33 pm

        I realize that, but I was just wondering how long it takes to get it together once it is being reviewed. Is it put into review to sit and wait its turn again? Or when it is put into review does it mean the process is going to resolved soon? Thanks

        • CHuhi November 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

          when the case is being reviewed by a rater, he’s actually reviewing the case, all the medical evidence (military and civilian medical reports), taking notes, etc. the rater is literally reviewing all the documents and it’s only fair that it’s done this way to: 1. make a favorable decision for the vet and to determine the earliest effective date to grant the benefit. The review is not complete then put back on the shelf as you think. Once the review is done the rater has to then write the decision, list all the evidence used in making the decision and state the rationale and legal basis for making the decision. It’s a legal document and as such is treated as such. If vets want a quicker turn around time, key evidence may be missed resulting in an unfavorable decision. And it’s also important to remember your claim isn’t the only one. There are literally thousands of the Nehmer cases being reviewed. About 97,000….and this is in addition to the other claims as well. The VA is doing the best that it can but you have to understand, the review and adjudication is going to take time. Remember the law allowing the 3 new presumptive conditions was only signed in effect on August 31 then they had to wait the required 60 CRA (Congressional Review Act).

  89. Shirley Hensley November 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    How long does it take to recieve a answer from the VA after it has been in review for about 2 weeks? How long will it take now

  90. Ken November 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Randy: I have tried for two weeks and cannot even get a IRIS sent off.
    I keep getting a GCI or something like that error.

    • Randy Watson November 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

      @Ken…I’m able to send an inquiry with no problem…they are just NOT responding to my questions….going to send yet another one today and see what happens….their suppose to respond within 3 to 5 business days but it’s been a few weeks since I first sent one and have sent several others since then…

      • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm

        Randy and Ken – I’m looking into the IRIS question now. I know first hand that the system isn’t the most user-friendly and I’m sorry about that. Hopefully I’ll be able to track down some answers soon!

  91. Randy Watson November 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Has anyone else been having problems getting a response from doing an IRIS inquiry??..I have submitted numerous inquiries using IRIS for the past few weeks and can NOT get a reply in reference to my NEHMER REVIEW for IHD due to Agent Orange.

    Is the IRIS system down or just being ignored??…

  92. ALFRED D. FERRY November 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    I served in Vietnam 1966-1967.I am 100% disabled due to PTSD and AO exposure. In 1977 I suffered with an extra large brain tumor and had to have surgery to get rid of it. I suffered a near fatal heart attack in 1981. I was 35 years old at the time.I started on heart& blood pressure meds.and have been on them ever since. I had a 5 way heart by pass in 2002. I filed for service connected Hypertension over 6 years ago and it was denied. I filed an appeal after 2years I finally got an answer I was granted service connection for Hypertension and Coronary Artery Disease. Since then, I have recieved my rating from the VA. ( 0 %)ZERO Percent! I don’t understand how this is possible. How is this possible? Is this how our VA SYSTEM works or does work at all!!

    • MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 20, 2010 at 7:19 am

      Mr. Perry,

      First of all I am not an expert on VA and AO issues, however, based upon your case, and if you can definetly prove that you had “boots on ground” in Vietnam, I beleive you should appeal VA’s decision as soon as you can. Now, with that said, if you are already receiving 100% compensation from any other previous VA claim, then I don’t think you’ll receive any additional compensation. You did say that you are 100& disabled. Are you receiving VA compensation due to this 100% disabled condition?

      After reading your case, I too just did not understand how this was possible: No VA compensation after all you have been through!

  93. Gary Pruden November 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I have had atril fibrulation for 14 years now and recently underwent catheter ablation at a VA hospital in June. I have had a claim in for IHD since January. I currently receive 30% for PTSD and was wondering what my chances are for the IHD I am on warifin and probably will be for some time any info would be a help.Thanks Gary 101st 2nd 501st 68,69

    • Donna & Charles November 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Your chances are pretty good on IHD.You can get at least 10%
      just for medications ,dont how they rate the other problems. Good Luck.

  94. Daphne Ramos November 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

    I am really not impressed with the VA way of conducting these determinations. After submitting a claim (diabetes, heart disease, ED, and ptsd) my husband was examined by VA doctors and told he was healthy as an ox other than his diabetes. Less than 3 months after this finding he was dead of ischemic heart disease. His autopsy showed that his best artery was 78% occluded and the worst 95% occluded. Seems to me it is a conflict for VA doctors to determine what rating you will recieve. He was told he did not qualify for PTSD because he was in the 95th medical squadron and was not considered a battle unit. I guess for a 18 or 19 year old kid to be picking up body parts all day should not be traumatic. He had screaming nightmares til the day he died. Sorry I am venting here. I have a lot of bitterness towards the whole broken process.

    • Terry Allen Sr November 17, 2010 at 9:43 am

      @Daphne Ramos I think you have all the rights to vent and I hope that the VA comes to your needs ASAP! Sorry for your Loss!

    • Ken November 17, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Daphne, looks like the VA spoiled another claim. PTSD can be claimed by a medical person who attended to combat personnel. It says so in their PTSD section of the adjudication manual.
      On the claim for IHD, you need only wait and then provide the info VA will ask for. Such as his date of death and hopefully for you the cause of death will be IHD. Then you can collect DIC (monthly payments for you of about 1200)plus you will get any back pay from when his claim was denied till he passed.

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Ms. Ramos,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I will be in touch.

  95. Daphne Ramos November 17, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I am the widow of a vietnam veteran who died of ischemic heart disease. I got a letter in sept saying my husbands case was being reviewed for retro pay. Do I need to do anything? The letter wasn’t very explanatory.

    • Debbie November 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      I also received a phone call and a letter for my father who passed away. Claim filed in 1985 and denied he also passed IHD, still have not heard a word???

  96. Hugh Smith November 17, 2010 at 3:34 am

    These comments are all way too familiar. I, too, have claims that have been pending for years. I have had C&P exams where the doctors never actually checked anything, and instead automatically signed off ‘no findings’. I have had botched surgery by the VA that despite ‘buddy letters’, outside medical exams, and my VA medical records, the VA fails to recognize. It seems that the SOP at the regional VAROIC is to rubber stamp all claims not involving AO or PTSD as denied. Low level VAMC employees too often just do not care about the quality of their work, about putting in the time for which they are being paid, nor their attitudes towards the vet patients. I have the impression that these problems are not present at some VA facilities, but they should not be prevalent at any of them. The VA puts out a lot of great sounding PR about such things as clearing up backlogs, veteran online access, etc., but it is not filtering down to where these programs are needed. Many problems at the local and intermediate levels could perhaps be resolved if the folks higher up, such as th hospital director, would come out of their nice offices some time and walk around their facility, making direct contact with employees and patients. At the very least, they could pretend that they care. And the backlog? Who really believes that the VA will clear it up when we have so many veterans returning from the recent wars, and the VA has still not cleared up the messy backlog they created with claims from Vietnam back to the Korean War and even WW2.

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      Hugh, I hear you loud and clear. Thank you for your comment. Many hospitals are actually working to improve customer satisfaction at VAMCs; I’ll see if I can provide more information.
      Secretary Shinseki and his leadership team really are committed to breaking the back of the backlog. And (this is what is most exciting to me) doing it realistically. The message is that we’re doing it incrementally, handling the new challenges (a surge due to new AO presumptive) while simultaneously working on a longer term solution for the other backlogged claims and the thinking through the newest C&P claims issues for our returning Vets. As someone who is not a senior leader this approach really seems to make sense and is working.

  97. Terry Allen Sr November 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    @ R Stone
    congestive heart
    failure (CHF), That is one thing cased by IHD

  98. Kenn November 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve had 2 MI’S filed in 2008 denied apiled in2009 denied what will hapen now that hart conditions are on the AO list what perecent is possible and do i have to resubmit allreadt rated at 30% PTSD

    • Ken November 16, 2010 at 11:06 pm

      The VA is suppose to have a computer review of all IHD (heart) cases denied before they were published as presumptive. However nothing will prohibit you from a re-file on new evidence, that is the condition is now presumptive. You should be back paid, providing you meet the quailifications (diagnosis of IHD, boots on the ground)

      • Ken November 16, 2010 at 11:09 pm

        Sorry I forgot about the rate you asked about. It can be from 10% for taking meds to 100% for results from heart testing and/or implant devices (NOT STENTS).

        • Ronnie April 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm


  99. Terry Allen Sr November 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I have also a class Nehmer claim in and I was told at the VA in Col. Ohio that my case should be finished by the 15 of Dec No talk of % I had CHF in05 put in a claim in 07

    • robert stone November 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      terry that is good news, What is CHF if i may ask? I also have Nehmer class claim and still waiting and waiting..bob

  100. Bill Poole November 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Start paying monthly comp on all legit AO claims. We (Nehmer class)have already been waiting years. The retroactive benefits can be determined later. Don’t add to the homeless problem. Pay us now

  101. Mark Johnson November 16, 2010 at 8:48 am

    It should also be mentioned that AO was used on the DMZ in Korea 68-69.

  102. John H. Koning November 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I am an Air Force, Viet Nam Veteran and I recently submitted an e-mail request for VA benefits and identified I had been exposed to agent orange. My question
    is can I still use the fast track process as well? Or will that actually slow the process down

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      John, where did you submit the email request to?

  103. MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    For Lauren Baily:

    I have a question: BACKGROUND; I had a heart attack in Oct 2000 in HI, called ambulance that took me to Kona Community Hospital, stayed about 3 days and transfered to Trippler in Pearl Harbour and stayed there fir about 4 days. I submitted a VA claim for the heart attack due to Agent Orange exposure in March of 2010.

    My QUESTION IS: Will I or should I receive 100% compensation during and for 3 months following the heart attack and then after, based on my C&P exam, stress test, etc; X amount of monthly VA compensation?

    • robert stone November 16, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      Robert: this sounds reasonable to me, 100% following your heart attack for three Months. if related to (IHD) and agent orange. Depends on your C&P exam you could recieve monthly
      compensation from 10% and up. The lower the (METS) the higher the comp….Bob

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      Mr. Colonna – I’m not sure but I’m passing to some claims experts who will certainly have more insight.

  104. kenneth keith November 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I had my first heart attack at 50 from a blood clot. Several yrs later I got 3 stents. A few yrs later I had emergency carotid artery surgery. I filed for benefits in January, took a stress test in May and received my disability rating and 1st check in November. My rating was set at 10%. If your heart problems are controlled with medication and you pass your stress test (due to medication) your disability is considered under control. The 10% rating reflects the current status, not what I’ve been through before. This isn’t to say I would rather be worse, but I have been a lot worse many times. From filing to receiving a check took 11 months.

  105. David Apperson November 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

    The link was from Vets Helping Vets ~

    • Lauren Bailey November 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you for the shout out! We welcome anyone from your organization to submit a guest post! Thank you for participating!

  106. David Apperson November 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    We have just posted a link to the Veterans Affairs Blog ~

  107. David Robinson November 14, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    this porcess has not changed for over 35 years thae dame sloppy people do the dam sloppy prcess. I have waited now for over 15 months in ohio for the first step in a claim. I provided copies of my medicl records to substaiante all this. yet they lost my papaer work three times so they say yea right. they must think we caint put the dots together. the claimsporcessshouldhave time limits like the veterans do. If you cant’t do a first step calim in less then 6 motnhs then the veterens should win at least 30 percent. I have heard thattheV.A.hopes we die before we get nay diablaiy now I see that to be true with this turtle process. I think that this sholud be privatized. It only take ss about 4 months to do thiers. they also need ot be more transparent they are not even close to this and yet our president promised a more transparent goverment. you can’t make system sork that is clomplety broke along with the coruption that is in this system. no accuntablity to nooen that is alot of the problems with your rude call center employees that talk to us like dirt, with no responses to any complaints that we file aginst these people. the V.A. is a disgrace to the veterans of this counrty which I am a veteran.

  108. Walter Shockley November 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Here is the biggest question; who is the adjudicator for these claims? Are they following the same guidelines for all of us? What training have they received to do this, and what medical background do they have if any?

    • LB November 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

      VA will adjudicate these claims, as they have been doing with all other claims.

      The guidelines are the same for everyone – even for those who have made an IHD claim that’s NOT part of the new presumptive group.

      The raters receive training on reading and interpreting the medical reports they receive. The medical reports are supplied by private physicians and/or VA clinicians. The VA reports come from C&P (compensation & pension) exams.

      Hope this answers your questions!

      • Walter Shockley November 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

        Thank you for the information..

  109. terry temple November 14, 2010 at 4:07 am

    When are they going to start sending money out for the heart condition?

    • LB November 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

      They started the week of 11/01.

    • Curtis Finney November 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      I just talked to the 1-800 # and was advised that no claims had been worked prior to 11-1-10. Sono money was paid out on 11-1-10. Most claims are still being worked.

  110. Mack November 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I had a stent in 1999 and a six-way bypass surgery in 2000, didn’t file a claim because I didn’t think the VA would cover anyway…not sure what to expect for C&P, VA med exam is scheduled for 11/22/10, does anyone know what the exam includes and can a claim already be made from the medical history I have had since 2000, I do take daily meds.

    • Donna & Charles November 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      My husband went for an exam on IHD last year. The dr. told him right off that she didnt believeAgent Orange caused this. She didnt know what to say when he told her he had 8 ofthe 15 diseases. She examined him and then asked him a bunch of questions. Have you ever filed on ony of the new diseases just added? If you have any medical evidence take it with you to the C&P my husband had to. If you havent filed go file immediatly. Hopes this helps.

      • Mack November 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm

        thanks…i’m working thru the VA rep and have everything with me for the exam, hope results are good for your husband

    • Ken November 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm

      My C&P was done by a contractor (QTC). A Dr. measured my scars from by pass, did about 5 blood preassure readings asked a bunch of questions then sent me for a chest x-ray and then a stress test (treadmill).
      His write up gave me a bunch of secondary issues that HE attributted to the IHD and by pass surgery and ED for the meds I am required to take. Hope this helps

      • Mack November 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm

        thanks Ken…expect much the same i guess, disappointed in ratings eval from CFR 38 however glad VA is recognizing the new presumptives

  111. RF November 13, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I applied for benefits over 5 years ago, denied!!! I had a 5-way by pass at the age of 49, 3 of the by-passes failed three months later, I take 5 different medications and was never able to work again..not at all in my plan of life, I would love to be working..I am trying not to get too hopeful on the new agent orange development,just hope the stress of waiting for another 5 years for the va to decide to issue these long awaited benefits doesn’t bring on a heart attack..

  112. robert stone November 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    lets see, i submitted claim for IHD back in 2005 had 5 stents placed in 2002, and 3 stents in 2005 also, in May 2010, i had triple bypass surgery, hopeing to get more than 10% what do you think. Bob

    • LB November 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      You should have retro pay starting in 2005 (date of original claim). Your rating will be based on your Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction and/or your METS score – but you should get at least 3 months at 100% following your admission to the hospital for your CABG surgery. Good Luck!

      • Eddie Beville November 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        Diagnosed in 1991 with CAD. Surgery in 1993. Started taking meds in 1999 and still on meds.

        Completed C&P and AO Exam. Filed my claim July01, 2010 per VA Doctor(s). October 27, 2010 I received the “typical” letter from VA advising me my claim for hearing loss(2-years on a 155MM Arty.) was denied based on the fact that I drove a log truck years ago and I ride a motorcycle.

        The letter stated my claim for IHD was being held until the AO review made the Federal Register. When the AO process is complete the VA will make a determination on my claim.

        If I only receive a 10% rating I will refuse it. This is turning into a joke. Total BS from the VA telling Veterans to file a claim and then get little to nothing for the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT exposing us to AO.

        If you can’t tell…I’m bitter and pissed.

  113. Jason Kahl November 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Set this up like a blog and not a bunch of rolling stories. Tighten up!

  114. Peter Herrick November 13, 2010 at 8:37 am

    I resubmitted my IHD claim which was denied 3 years ago before the Fast Track system was born. Is there any advantage to resubmitting the documentation etc under the Fast Track system or will the VA somehow incorporate my documentation into the Fast Track system or will the VA keep the two separate?

  115. MCPO (SW) Robert J. Colonna, USN (Ret.) November 13, 2010 at 8:11 am


    You may loose this one, as I may also, as it appears I may be in the same boat as you are. As yet I have not heard from the VA on my IHD application that I submitted in March 2010. In accordance with 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), if you are taking continued medical presciptions for your condition you will be assigned a 10% rating. (Are you in that catagory, as per your VA decision?)

    Now with that said, it would appear to me that the 10% assigned rating should apply to each medical condition such as MI and CAD, but I don’t know for sure. You may need profesional medical opinion. Go onto the internet and read the 38 CFR to get additional info, and if you think it is in your favor appeal your case via a NOD.

    You are right about the rating structure, it seems to be unfair but in the VA’s eyes, and as per the law, 60% + 10% does not necessary mean 70% as the VA uses a combined rating table as you dessribed.

    • John November 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      I have CAD. According to my C&P exam I do not have to take continuous meds for my heart disease. If I understand it, if I DO take meds for it all I can expect is 10%

    • Ken November 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      The compensation is for the specific ORGAN not the specific injury to that organ.
      They cannot rate an MI as CAD because the Cad is the disease and the MI is an event.
      Looks like this..If you get three stents you dont get 10% for each stint and then 10% for the operations

      • John November 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

        Ken thanks for getting back to my question. I’m new at this and really don’t know what to expect. Do you think since my problem is CAD that I could expect more than 10%?

        • Terry Allen Sr November 17, 2010 at 9:15 am

          @ John when you take Meds for IHD you can get a 10% rate & if no Meds are taken then a 0% can be all you will get

  116. Lou November 13, 2010 at 2:18 am

    My rating for Coronary artery disease was assigned 10% for IHD. According to VA they do not add individual percentages of each condition to determine your combined rating. They use a combined rating table that considers the effect from the most serious to the least serious conditions.
    My overall rating stays the same 60% and my compensation payment will continue unchanged. Since my rating was 60% before I went through all of this and now it will be the same, why did they make me go through all the BS and waste my time for nothing, if they weren’t going to compensate me for IHD why bother.
    Does anyone know where I can go to appeal this or get some help, it does not compute, if this being the case if anyone has other disabilities don’t expect a dime from VA because they will find a way to screw you.
    Good Luck! 3BDG/82nd Airborne 1969 VN

    • CHuhi November 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      Lou. You’re correct about how the combined rating is determined. You made the comment of how the VA made you go thru all the VS. You are the one who filed the claim. You obviously know the procedure since you file previously. If you want to know how the rating is determined look it up under CFR Part 3 and 4. Try educating yourself instead of blaming the VA for not giving you what you want….

      • Lou June 27, 2011 at 9:24 am

        Thanks for the info, I now received another letter from the VA dated May 5, 2011, 7 months after the decision letter indicating the 10% granted. The letter states they are still processing my application for COMPENSATION? I spoke with someone at VA and they said the initial decision should be disregarded and that they sent it out through fast track and now they are reviewing my records throughly and this would be the final decision and if not in agreement I can file an appeal when I receive the rating?
        I’ve haven’t heard or read anywhere that this is or taking place with other claims or process?
        Also I need a 30% rating for a 70% total rating for an increase from 60%.

  117. Lou November 13, 2010 at 1:54 am

    I had 2 stents put in back in 2008 for IHD, I just received my compensation letter today 11/12/2010. Even though I had the 2 stents put in due to blockage and the VA claims I was exposed to AO and I had all the symptoms related to they only gave me a rating of only 10%, I currently have a 60% rating 50% PTSD and 10% for hearing. They say my overall rating will be at 60%?? I thought 60+10 equaled 70?
    So unless you were very sick or dying from IHD don’t, (if I had not gone when I did to the emergency I could have easily had had a massive heart attack and who knows) don’t expect the 40%-60% rating they had mentioned earlier during the year. Looks like my IHD rating is equivalent to my hearing loss, doesn’t make sense, you would think IHD was a little more serious?
    I went to the VA in Ann Arbor for C&P exam back in April of this year, I submitted my claim back in January, FAST TRACK is a joke, I checked it today and they still have it under Development Stage, so apparently they are not inline.
    Needless to say I am very disappointed with my rating and now I will have to file an appeal and go through all the BS again. Hope fully I can get a better rating.
    Again I knew it was to good to be true and we get screwed again from VA.

  118. joe todd November 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    i filed parkinson claimon 03/2006 and was denied. I refiled last year and was told i had provided all needed info, till law was approved. Now they are asking for proof in country, which provided notizied statements showing date i left for Da Nang. I CALLED MY U.S SENATORS and congressman who called va who then called military records who shipped records to va on 11/09/2010.

    Why did i have to call congress to help get my info.

    These actions by va should be unacepable.

    please review my case using current info and approve within 30 datys.

    thanks loyal vet.
    joe m. todd

    • David L Hykes November 18, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      I was in Vietnam in 69/70 stationed in Tay Ningh.
      I filed a claim with VA for Parkinson’s in 2008. Went through medical interview August 17th of this year, and was told I would be approved for compensation. Still waiting at this point for my confirmation letter? Doesn’t seem to be going fast to me.
      Good luck to all my fellow vets.

      • Daughter of Vietnam Vet November 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

        I filed with fast track online Nov 8, 2010 for my Dad’s parkinsons. The VA website is like an onion- you keep peeling and peeling for bits and pieces of info. I’m kinda worried since I did all the work without benefit of counsel and I see where you are still waiting. This is pretty typical, am I right?

        • Donald Duvall March 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

          I filed a claim for Parkinson’s on 3 Dec 2010. Have you gotten a request for a Pension and Compensation evaluation? I had mine on 6 Feb and waiting to get results on my claim. V.A. Doctor said to wait 9 weeks and then call the 800 number and inquire. Hope you get results for your Dad.

  119. Barbara November 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    We have been waiting since Feb. on a decision for 50%. We are about to lose our house and not able to pay our bills.

    Where is this FAST TRACK ???

    • Al November 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm

      You’re dependent on VA disability compensation for making your monthly house payments??

      • Larry Marko April 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

        Ya dumb fuck there are a lot of people out there hurting. I hope it happens to you someday then you will know there pain.

        • randy cotter October 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

          Larry, you’re a foul-mouth, illiterate lout with no heart or compassion for others.Please note your spelling, mental midget.

          • randy cotter October 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

            Larry. My sincere apologies. My comments were aimed at the previous blogger, named “AL”. I appreciate your compassion for sticking up for this poor woman and her situation. Thank you.However, why the foul mouth?

  120. AL, VN VET w/metastatic lmfs (cancer) November 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Just to be clear: I’m not talking about a hypothetical case. The only thing faster than receiving benefits under AE fast track was having the benefits reduced when someone at VBA made a mistake… Then told me to submit NOD and “be patient.” It now has been over seven months to correct a simple error which in privat industry would be fixed in 5 minutes….

  121. AL, VN VET w/metastatic lmfs (cancer) November 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Fast track worked for me. Now VBA needs to fast track corrections when mistakes are called to their attention. Presently, if VBA makes a mistake, Veteren must submit an NOD and then wait…and wait…. For further info, contact me…

    • Faith November 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      mistakes, yes I know that one, VA made two of them on a claim that was with them for 3 years, now I’v been waiting for another 2 years + for the answers.

  122. Ken November 12, 2010 at 10:45 am

    My case for IHD goes back to 2003 (denied). 2006 tried as a secondary for DII (denied) and appealed after SOC. Appeal never went foward but sent in 2009 to C&P. VA even got themselves a Independant Medical Review. ALL went in my favor.
    Appeal still not settled as VA shifted it from appeal to presumptives. Got a call from AO processing center (Nehmer) on 15 Oct 2010. Told my case is now going to her boss for signature but nothing can be done for 2 more weeks.
    Still sitting back waiting. Per 800 cal line and e-benefits case is still listed as development stage,
    I do not see any improvements…

  123. James R Martin November 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I was told by the Muskogee Regional Office that they had my entire claims folder. They said it was sent from my local Regional Office to them for the AO claim I filed back in April of 2010. I inquired as to the status of my other pending (years older)claims/NOD’s for PTSD,Depression, CAD, etc. etc. and was told that no action would be taken on those until the AO claims were processed. I was in country with 3/9 and 3/26 USMC in 65,66,67,and 68. I’ve had 4 cardiac events and 5 stents total. My last PTSD exam in July, 2010 was rated at 100% disability and The VA psychiatrist in writing stated that my PTSD at least as likely as not caused or aggravated my other medical conditions (heart etc) Does it seem unreasonable to think since all these are inextricably intertwined they just couldn’t issue one ruling on all of them at the same time?

  124. Roger Repstien November 12, 2010 at 8:08 am

    In reply to Roberts Twigg’s request, yes I have heard back on the Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases call-up for IHD and had yet another “medical interview”. The original claim was denied was submitted for claim reconsideration based upon the CAD claimed upon my Agent Orange Registration. (Coronary artery disease; Arteriosclerotic heart disease; CHD; CAD).
    The “MD interviewer” despite medical and surgical proof of CAD stated I did not have Ischemic heart disease; Cardiomyopathy – “Ischemic” means that an organ (such as the heart) is not getting enough blood and oxygen. “Cardio” means heart and “myopathy” means muscle-related disease.
    As this is also undera an appeal I have not gotten the official response to the denial of the original claim for CAD.
    My reason for writing is informative, learn and understand the terms when dealing with claims process and medical terms.
    My thanks to those that have served before, with and after me. medical profoomedical

  125. Robert Twigg November 12, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Has anyone heard anything from VA or received any money from them on the 3 new diseases from AO yet

    • James F. Widener November 12, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Robert, I filed a claim thirteen months ago. I still don’t know if my claim is approved. All I know is that they have all required info.

    • Donnis Koehn November 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm

      Filed claim in 2009 for heart disease at that time it was approved. When it was approved Nov 1,2010 received a letter from Va an 2 days later received money. The VA was very efficent in handling my claim I have not had any problems .

    • Jennifer Lenard November 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      I represent veterans in their claims for compensation and pension. I received notification and a copy of a decision just last week for a veteran who filed his claim for heart disease and ischemia in 2009. We were very hopeful when the rules changed. However, he received his decision which quoted a statement of the test results after all his heart cath-which says there is no remaining artery disease. I had also submitted definitions of Ischemic Heart Disease and the other names used by practictioners to name this condition and related conditions of the heart. I was disappointed because this veteran met the criteria for service in RVN, has a qualifying heart condition, and VA used information that was taken out of context to decide his claim in a negative fashion. Also, the decision indicated that this condition did not manifest to 10% within one year of last exposure?!?
      Just disappointed for this Vet. We are filing a Notice of Disagreement.

      • Vivien September 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

        I am trying to help a friend that has agent orange( diagnosed by VA). His claim was denied and he appealed so far no answer. In the meantime VA is setting him up for emergency surgery because of agent orange issues, does this mean he should be getting his disability he has been fighting for? Any help or contact info would be helpful he lives in Idaho.

    • David Leslie October 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      Filed in August 2010 and received final answer April 2011. I listed every illness of any import and included PTSD. I was in USMC Stationed at Chu Lai and East Da Nang in August 1965 thru November 1966. I was in a chopper group (MAG 36 then 16) and was not in heavy combat – some – just not heavy. I have extensive heart disease with 11 stents and diabetes.

      I was awarded what equals 100% as follows – 70% PTSD, 30% IHD and a finding of IU (Individual unemployable). The 70% and 30% equal 80% in VA math. I don’t really understand it and am not able to explain it. Just saying I’m aware of it. Payment was retroactive and immediate and the rating opens all the doors at the VA including dental. I’ve been out there 8 or 9 times and must admit that I am really impressed – someone has done some good work on this organization.

      I printed the forms from the VA website and mailed the hard copies.

    • alvin thomas February 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

      I am a 1965-66 Blue Water Navy Veteran. I have had claims in since 1997. In 1996 I suffered 4-5 Ischemic strokes, and in 2008 1 Ischemic heart attack. I have had claims in since 1997. All have been disapproved, including one after the VA sent me to the Minneapolis VA Hospital Benefits Doctor, who service connected me. Now I am waiting for the first appeal process, then I go to a lawyer. My first claims were placed in Minnesota, now Wisconsin. First I had to prove I was on a ship, Now I fine out they don’t want to pay Blue Water Navy. We stayed 10 miles off shore and closer. We distilled, drank, it and showered in it. My daughter was born with an extra toe immediately after Vietnam. Strokes at age 53 is pretty early. I don’t think since 1997 is not dragging there feet. Two different states and they know what is causing all of our problems. Were to get the money, let them figure it out. We bailed out the auto industry, how about its Vets. Majority of people in the auto industry did not fight for there country! All they did was make bad cars until TOYOTA CAME ALONG.

  126. Tim Sorrell November 12, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Paul, it is nice to dream, and wish, on Veteran’s Day. But tomorrow brings reality and nothing much changes. Michael, if any consolation, I know it means very little when you are frustrated, but there are us thousands who have spent years in the claim and appeals system. 200,000 pending appeals is nothing to brag about. It is said. The numbers do not reflect how many years those appeals have been pending. Where is that number? Will the Fast Track claims processing, require staff at the expense of the pending claims and appeals? The system has so many trial programs in so many parts of the country, that no one is quite sure what is working and what is not. My regions trial program has been in place for 1 year and is not working. Even the VA staff will admit it is a disaster. The VA needs a central person, to assess these programs before starting others.

  127. Michael Jarrett November 12, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I just went through a claim for a spine disability and at the examinations the physicians did not do any of the checks or other tests which I have had done to me hundreds of times over the past 30 years by other physicians to determine just how bad my spinal problems are. I was extremely troubled when I read the denial letter for the claim. It actually stated the physicians did tests/checks having to do with my spine and neither one even did any of the things they stated they did and stated that they had and gave results as well. Negative results for my claim. Also the results stated on the denial letter were very vague to say the least. I DO NOT see where this part of the claims process has changed for the better at all !!! SERIOUS PROBLEMS HERE !!!

  128. Walter Shockley November 12, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I was called on 2 Nov 2010, about my claim for IHD asking questions. I informed them I wild be having a stress test on Thursday. The committed they would send out the request for more info forms the next day, which they did. I failed the stress test and had a heart cath and three stints installed and a diagnosis of coronary artery disease. We will see how long it takes them to act on the info provided.

    They have been working on my PTSD for 11 months and have now put it on a deferred list with no action.

  129. Paul Sullivan November 12, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Lauren, Thank you for your open assessment of VA’s serious backlog. Top VA officials should be commended for their recent efforts to improve VA the past two years. Congress, veterans, advocacy organizations, and academics have played key roles working together to define and fix VA’s serious claim backlog problem – now 1.1 million claims pending an average of about five months. One key item, usually missed, is the urgent need for increased training and oversight to improve quality. VA’s own IG continues issuing investigations showing high error rates at some VA regional offices up to 20 and 25 percent. Are new electronic claims good for veterans and VA? An improvement. Are streamlined PTSD and Agent Orange regulations good for veterans and VA? An improvement. Is having more staff beneficial? An improvement. Yet VA needs comprehensive reform – especially quality. When VA has improved training and oversight, then VA may begin to reduce the backlog, especially the 200,000 pending appeals often caused by incomplete for incorrect VA claim decisions. When VA sits down frequently, consistently and transparently with attorneys, Congress, advocates, and academic experts to improve quality, then VA may begin moving in the correct direction. Together, we can fix VA’s backlog. VA’s goal should be 30 day processing and 98 percent accuracy. VA should be wide open to hearing bad news and “out of the box” creative solutions. So far, listening to employees is good. Yet the quality and oversight need to transparent, consistent, and regular so veterans and VA can see marked improvement over time. Veterans might be more patient if we saw transparent measurements that are simple to understand. A simple count of total claim work to be done, total appeals awaiting action, total error/quality rates, and processing time for each office and the country would be a good start. Good luck, and keep reforming VA.

  130. Dale Maki November 11, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    The VA is still the old VA. No action, just continued delays with no updates.

    • Joe Average Vet November 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      Dale nailed it. Dont talk to me about “fast tracking” my claim that I have been waiting 8 years on, while the VA has paid millions of dollars of VA executive bonus ON TIME without delay. Just do it..we have heard enough promises. Why are VA claims not processed in the order received? Why are some claims “fast tracked” while others are 8, or 10 years or more old, still sitting in the “waiting list” pile?

      • Mike September 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

        FAST TRACK is basically a DEAD END. My claim for IHD due to AO has dragged out for over a year without any contacts from Fast Track other than repetitive request for the same information that had already been sent twice. I tried to track the progress of my claim with their website, eventually, after a year or so, I was dropped from the website and discovered my claim had been sent BACK to the regional office for decision? Great idea this Fast Track stuff, just poor planning and as usual limited or non-existent resource for Veteran.

  131. Sidney Clouston November 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I was a Vietnam Vet and in Bien Hoa and then other areas that had a history of Agent Orange. My VA provider does not include his email address.
    What to do in Ann Arbor, Michigan to get a claim?

    • Al November 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Go online and complete the required form or go to a service organization and ask them to help you. http://WWW.VA.GOV

    • John November 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      Have found that the State Officers were a great help during the processing of my claim. Have attached the Michigan web site for these guys along with phone numbers/email addresses, etc. Hope this helps.. also most VFW’s have a link to their representatives who assist in completion of the paperwork.

      • John November 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

        Website for Michigan VSO’s. Sorry it dod not post previously,1607,7-126-2362-136501–,00.html

      • ron rubinstein May 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

        I used the Virginia veterans assistance office to file my claim and it was approved and I received compensation within 6 months. They, Virginia, did a great job; I believe it would be a grave mistake to go it alone, us your states assistance office they know what they are doing and get it done right the first time

  132. William Eldrich November 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Is this for all presumtives or just the Heart, Lukemia and Parkinsons, or all the presumptives?

  133. Jon Anderson November 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I believe that the VA is making a real effort to process claims faster but I noticed that only 1300 claims were completed and mailed out during the first week after the 60 day congressional review period.Yes, I read that the computers were responsible but I would have thought that during that 60 days, scores of claims specialists could have completed many thousands more “by hand”. The meager number completed fits in too closely with the “Army waiting to die” belief.

    • Faith November 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      It’s not only the Armys belilf of waiting to die it is also the VA’s Airforce, Navy and Marines., I find it so hard to belive that they can process the new 911/yellow ribbon money in a matter of a few months, longest is a semster, close to 4 months, but it takes years to get medical help and a claim approved.

      • Fay Payne February 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

        Call me crazy, but have need to read more and find out what’s really going on. It not that the goverment don’t want to pay you all. America is BROKE.

        • James Holland, SFC Retired March 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

          Did you call the Democrats Crazy when they gave over US$26.1 billion to bail out the Unions Retirement Pension & Medical?
          Aug 10, 2010 … Your Congressman, Mike Castle, just voted for the $26.1 billion union bailout. Castle was one of only two Republicans to vote yes on this.
          This is nearly as much as what was cut from tyhe Veterans and Military Cost of Liviing increase for this year. We did not get any for this year or next year. But your UNION SCUM DID.

    • Trina September 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      My husband went the long paper route. Applied in July 2010 and finally by April 2011 we got a result. It was 10% for his ishemic heart problems (6 stents), 20% for diabetes and when added to the 30% he was getting for PTSD, the VA came up with a total of 50% now. That is why the government is going broke they can’t add to start with.

  134. Randy Watson November 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    As a Vietnam Veteran and one that has suffered from IHD for over 20 years due to AO, I filed many years ago for my heart issues and just recently awarded TDIU P and T. Although I was not able to use the Fast Track System and had to go the Long Hard Road,

    I believe the Fast Track for the new Agent Orange Presumptives will be a HUGH Benefit to those that will now be filing claims for the first time for these new diseases.

    I have heard from others that have used Fast Track and they haven’t had any complaints, so it does appear the VA has established a Better Way of filing claims.

    Congrats to you all and Have an enchilada with all the toppings…

    Best Regards to all Veterans and Happy Veterans Day to ALL VETERANS…

    • Mike September 28, 2011 at 9:51 am

      I filed to VA for IHD due to AO. VA sent to Fast Track Program. Fast Track sent same documents twice to me to complete? Fast Track has now sent back to VA Regional office. So far Fast Track has been a Dead End.

    • David M Dial Jr November 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Fast Track is a failure as far as I am concerned. I completed an online application for IHD May 6, 2011 and on May 18 they closed the file. I contacted the VA and they told me that Fast Track couldn’t close a claim. They checked while I was sitting there and confirmed it was closed. They were not able to get an exclamation from anyone as to why. The claim was then forward to the RO and now has a date of May 31, 2011. It is just a private company manipulating the numbers to look like they are doing a good job. My claim has now been in the raters since Aug 6, 2011

    • David Smith March 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Fast track???? Yeah right. I have type two diabetes, Ischemic Heart, which has now confirmed my claim of congenital heart disease due to a heart attack this past June, and PTSD. All of which have been confirmed by the VA Doctors that the VA requested for me to go see. They found for Ischemic Heart a year ago at 60%. They defered my claim for congenital heart disease, PTSD, and type2 diabetes at that time. It has now been over a year and my claim is in the “gathering of evidence” stage. It has been there for 6 months. They have all the evidence, and confirmations by their Doctors, that they need. I also had to pay for the Doctor bills that were charged due to the heart attack. I submitted for reinbursement due to service connected disability. That request is still on the back burner and has been for the past 5 months. If you only want a lollypop the fast track works. But if the issue arises that you are entitled to the enchilada dinner….fast track??? whats that???? haven’t seen one. Sometimes I think they are just waiting for me to die so that the issue will go away. If I hadn’t had the scar from tripple bypass surgury in the early 90’s the Ischemic heart thing would probably still be on deferment also. Social Security alredy has me on total disability. Yes…I know…Social Security has nothing to do with service connected issues. Can’t seem to figure out why they show you the sugar coating but all you actually get is lemons. Boggles the mind. Anyway….that’s my experience with the “Fast Track” system.

      • David Smith March 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

        I forgot to qualify myself.

        Sp4 David Smith
        62nd Aviation Company.
        11th Combat Assault Group
        1st Aviation Brigade

        Served at Marble Mountain and Danang Air Force Base 72-73.

        For those that were at Danang. That weird contraption at the end of the runway was a mixing cylo for agent orange. They did a test, at Danang Airfield, in 2004 and found that there was still 80% contamination on the Airbase.

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