Adventures at the VA

So I walked into the Veterans Administration last week and walked right out.

About this time last year I also walked into the VA and tied to get a handle on my disability claims. Back in 2000 I was rated as a “Zero”. That means that I was technically disabled but accrued no disability payments because I was rated as zero percent disabled.

This year, I tried again and was informed that my zero rating had disappeared from my records. So last week I tried to enroll again and see what was up with my rating. I proudly limped up to the enrollment counter I presented my “financials”. the nice lady looked at them and said I made too much money to qualify.

“Huh?”. My current income is ZERO.

After waiting a little while this same woman ushered me into her office and typed on the computer for a while. “Yep”, she says, “your income is too high to qualify”. “How do you get below a ZERO amount of income?”, I ask. She tells me that income is judged by last year’s income tax and I made too much last year to qualify for care. “Come back in January and reapply.”

Is there anyone else I could talk to? So down the hall we go and I talk to another nice lady. She’s a Benefits Counselor”. She taps on her computer and says “Oh My” for about 20 minutes. Good news, my zero rating has reappeared. But she tells me that I don’t qualify for non service connected care. “I don’t want non service connected care, I want to be evaluated on my SERVICE CONNECTED disability.

She tells me that my claim is pending awaiting justifications of my claims. I say that’s what I’m here for. She’s I can’t make an appointed to see a doctor but does inform me that I can fill out some forms and the “process” will take 400 days. I ask her if that was 400 days from last year or 400 days from today. She’s not

So I walk back out of the VA with nothing accomplished.

17 thoughts on “Adventures at the VA

  1. Praise God and pass the ammunition! I got TWO disability evaluations yesterday. It seems that I’m stone deaf and a little crazy. These have been submitted to the VA for final disapproval. Stay tuned Loyal Readers.

  2. After 22 years the VA has finally figured out that I’m 70% disabled. My disability compensation will be $1396 per month. Because of the Special Separation Bonus they paid me in 1992, I’ll will get my first VA check in November, 2016. I’ll probably be homeless or dead by then. I went to get my VA medical enrollment card and they said I couldn’t have one for a week because the lady updated my mailing address with the one they already had and it takes that long for the computer to update. Meanwhile I wonder how that spot on my left lung is doing.

  3. It has been a year and so far the VA has given me glasses, nicotine gum and drugs that tried to kill me. No Cat Scan for lung cancer yet. I asked my Doctor if my civilian records (with the cancer per-diagnosis) had been received. He told me he sees 2000 patients a month and to bring my records on my next visit. That was two months ago. He did ask for my fifth lung X-Ray but the X-Ray tech was on lunch and I had to take the car back so wife could go to work. I have since gotten that X-Ray and me and the Tech are on a first name basis. Good Guy.

  4. Behold! Reno DAV called me back today and a nice fellow fixed most of my problems. Or at least started the ball rolling. Cross fingers. Check. Hold breath. Check. Why couldn’t Las Vegas DAV do this in person last year?

  5. Last week, after having three other “meet and greets” with other Primary Care Physicians I finally met my PCP, Dr. Tom rocked. I suspect that’s it because he just came from private practice. I’m scheduled for a Cat scan and he gave me a handicapped placard after watching me try to pick up a pen on the floor. Still no movement on my “emergency” request for relief of my SSB payback. Originally submitted that in 2014. Will be homeless on 1 MAR 2016 if I do not raise $1000 with an income of $563 per month minus $110 for child support.

  6. Thank you to all the Loyal Readers that helped us this month. Keep the donations rolling in, we have to make it to October.

  7. On the 25th of March I will start VA appointments to evaluate my service connected disabilities. That’s 662 days from the day I posted this article. Well over the predicted 400 days. Remember that this is just the start of the evaluation and will still have to go through the disability determination phase.

  8. I’m really glad that you have been continually updating this. It shows a good timeline of the struggle and how long it takes to get shit done in the system. With all of this, they continue to try and cut away more and more from the VA budget. You’re not the only one I hear about having this kind of struggle. The use of GOFUNDME sites for people struggling to stay off the streets and using social media as their sign to hold as they ask for help has become too common. At least you have light at the end of your tunnel, but it is obvious how difficult your fight has been. It should not be this hard and we should be taking better care of our veterans. Hang on and good luck bro.

  9. Thanks Ken. I’m trying to keep this Bitch in the air. Engine’s out. Running out of altitude but the runway’s in sight.

  10. As of today the VA has completed a battery of tests and interviews on/with me. A determination is imminent as my case percolates to the top of the stack. The DAV regional rep in Reno did a heroic job getting these evaluations quickly.

    He was fired or quit in disgust. Not sure which.

  11. So I called the VA and actually talked to a few people. I wanted to know how much was left on my separation pay repayment. “Nothing”. That’s great but what do I do about the taxes you took? “We don’t do that anymore.” Oh really? Look at my DD214 and look how much you took. “We are so sorry. We’ll fax the finance people and get the exact amount (11K to 13K). A couple of key strokes and we’ll have your check in the mail tomorrow.” That was on a Thursday. On Monday they were, “What check?” Now ebenefits says it will take until 2017 to sort things out and send me my check.

    Check out the completion dates.

  12. 1 SEP 2016, first Disability check in hand. Total wait time: 822 days. Still waiting for reimbursement of over payment.

  13. I made a few phone calls and found out that my non-rated claim for my SSB refund was approved on 7 FEB 2017. On 7 MAR I found out that my regional office is right there in the VA hospital. Since they gave the final approval, I marched right in and asked what’s the hold up. I talked to the person that’s supposed to have approved it but she didn’t know why I didn’t get paid and will look into it. “It’ll take a couple of days. Give Jeff your phone number (you know, the one on record) and he’ll tell you what I found.

    I gave it two weeks and walk back in. No news from Jeff or April and she was in a meeting. I said we made a 50 mile trip and will wait. He said go have lunch and I’ll call you. I handed him my number and said, “you said that the last time and you lied. Call me back win lose or draw.”

    Lo and behold he called back and said that it’s in the Non_Rated Claims Office and my claim was “Next”. How long? He didn’t have a clue.

    I researched the NRC Office and found this. Apparently, my $10,300.18 is somewhere in the $45 Million Dollar back log . But that was back in 2008 so who knows today.
    Audit of Veterans Benefits Administration Non-Rating Claims Processing

    The AVERAGE wait for pending claims was 417 in 2008. Scroll back up and notice when I first walked in to be evaluated I was told it would take 400 Days to be rated.

  14. Okay, I’ve got a lawyer now who says there’s no reason I shouldn’t be rated at 100%. Wish me luck as we push out that last 10%. Shout out to Marylin at the VA. She was pleasant, respectful and efficient. Well done. Top marks. She’s a new hire. Yay!

  15. Still at 90%. My therapist says my financial irresponsibility determination is bullshit. I was told that my 70% for depression would preclude me to ever get %100. She said that was bullshit too. Still trying to get %100 unemployablity.

  16. Still at 90%. By applying for SS disability, I got a copy of my VA records. It seems I was diagnosed with service connected PTSD back in 2013. Recently I was evaluated for PTSD and was found suffering from it. However, the doctor doing the evaluation refuses to lay a claim to it. Looking for DAV rep. in the Low Country. So far….zip…zilch….nada.

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