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VFFTSGT
05-16-2013, 04:05 AM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

Measure Man
05-16-2013, 04:49 AM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

I filed through my county Veteran's Service Officer.

I did it almost a year after I got out...I retired on short notice and didn't have time to do it beforehand...and I'm a procrastinator.

It took 14 months before it finally got approved after submittal.

Tooltime
05-16-2013, 05:06 AM
Filed my claim with a Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Representative. I highly recommend that you use a Veteran representative, and obtain an E-Benefits account before departing Active Duty. As frustrating as this website can be, it does provide something for you to follow your claim.

I filed a "Benefits Delivery at Discharge" (BDD) claim, and am now thinking this was a huge mistake. I sent in my complete package in April of 2011, with a Retirement effective date of 1 September. BDD claims are only handled at certain offices, so mine ended up in Salt Lake City, UT. After speaking with my new DAV rep, it appears that I would have been better off waiting and filing after I retired. That way, my claim would have stayed in Alaska and I wouldn't have to go through nearly as much hassle. BDD is a joke. Even after receiving my claim and completing the C&P physicals in June of 2011 - they didn't decide my claim until the following May (and they deferred part of my claim for further exams). My pay was screwed up on the first Compensation payment (VA didn't pay me as much as they were supposed to, and DFAS deducted an extra $260 - because that is what the VA told them to do). Here it is almost a year later, and the VA hasn't reimbursed me yet. My claim is still not finalized, and I have 2 new C&P exams scheduled in the next 4 weeks. My "Benefits Delivery at Discharge" claim will probably finalize 2+ years after my discharge date. Get ready to test your patience and start looking into hobbies...

Here are a couple of links for you:

E-Benefits: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal

VBN: http://vets.yuku.com/forums/63#.UZRmVEqTicq

VBN is a site where you can find an enormous amount of information pertaining to VA claims, and the frustrations Veterans are having when dealing with the VA.

Hope this helps.

SENDBILLMONEY
05-16-2013, 12:10 PM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

I did my own. My opinion is that some people should not do their own. I read the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD, you can find it online at 38 C.F.R. Part 4) and was able to assess what my rating would be for each condition I have. There are a lot of people out there who get emotionally attached to the idea that they should get a particular percentage because they "knew a guy who had X percent" or because their friend told them that being Infantry is an automatic 30 percent, etc. When their rating comes back, they feel short changed.

My opinion is that veteran service officers, just like attorneys or anyone else, can be very good or very bad at what they do. I believe claimants should know enough about their claims to know whether their VSO is going to help them or hurt them. I believe claimants need to approach disability claims like a career make-or-break personnel action or getting your taxes done at VITA on base. Be an active partner in your case rather than a passive recipient of assistance. Have an educated idea (from the black and white references, not emotion) what the outcome should be and why. If you don't get a warm fuzzy that the VSO is as least as schooled as you are on the issues, you might be better served elsewhere or by doing it yourself.

Chief_KO
05-16-2013, 12:11 PM
I filed through my county VSO, and selected the DAV to be my representative. Since I was retiring and staying put I applied six months before retirement. In South Dakota the process is smooth, quick and the VA is good. I got my tentative rating while still on AD (terminal leave) and my disability pay the first month after retirement.

Claim everything, list every surgery you had. Be specific and detailed with your compensation & pension (C&P) examiner on what limitations (if any) you have based upon what you are claiming. Request any medical records from private docs as well (the VA has the forms). Some states are better than others, so be prepared. Remember that even a C&P rating of 0% is good (it is a service connected disability), so if things get worse later you could get it upgraded.

Hope all goes well for you!
Chief

tiredretiredE7
05-16-2013, 12:36 PM
I did my own. My opinion is that some people should not do their own. I read the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD, you can find it online at 38 C.F.R. Part 4) and was able to assess what my rating would be for each condition I have. There are a lot of people out there who get emotionally attached to the idea that they should get a particular percentage because they "knew a guy who had X percent" or because their friend told them that being Infantry is an automatic 30 percent, etc. When their rating comes back, they feel short changed.

My opinion is that veteran service officers, just like attorneys or anyone else, can be very good or very bad at what they do. I believe claimants should know enough about their claims to know whether their VSO is going to help them or hurt them. I believe claimants need to approach disability claims like a career make-or-break personnel action or getting your taxes done at VITA on base. Be an active partner in your case rather than a passive recipient of assistance. Have an educated idea (from the black and white references, not emotion) what the outcome should be and why. If you don't get a warm fuzzy that the VSO is as least as schooled as you are on the issues, you might be better served elsewhere or by doing it yourself.

+1 SBY is 100% correct. I would recommend reading the reference regardless of how you claim then go through your medical records from day 1 of AD to retirement. It is very important to remember some of your medical records could both be electronic and hardcopy so it is very possible you will not have a complete copy of your medical record. An example is any MRI will have to be copied to a DVD in addition to the MRI tech and MD review. I highly recommend you conduct a 100% review of your entire medical record to ensure the medical record is complete and then make a copy of your medical records. Do NOT allow someone else to make a copy of your medical records. The American Legion is an awesome Veteran's representation organization that has very high requirements for their employees. Check to see if the Veteran's representation is certified to complete a "fully developed claim". A "fully developed claim" is the same claim package as if the VA completed the same review. This will help you save a lot of time by cutting through the VA delays and can result in very quick rating. My example is I retired overseas so I completed my own claim and filed as soon I was allowed. It still took me 18 months to get an approved rating from the VA. I could have waited a couple of months and filed a "fully developed claim" through the American Legion in my state and been approved a lot quicker. A good Veteran representation will recommend against claiming some of minor issues in your medical records that will only delay your claim and have a high likelihood of not resulting in a disability rating from the VA. Hopefully this helps and feel free to PM me with any questions you have.

CYBERFX1024
05-16-2013, 01:48 PM
I filed myself onlineabout 3 years after I got out. I wish I could have filed before I got out, but I got stuck with having to do a change of command ceremony, and my platoon sgt. was a dick. But I filed back in October and I am currently still waiting. I am not expecting anything high, just want to be assessed sooner than later.

Luvnlife
05-16-2013, 01:59 PM
I had a VSO do my initial claim 4 months before I retired. I was already pretty knowledgeable beforehand but just decided to let the VSO handle it.

I should have done it myself because the VA awarded me for other ailments that the VSO left out. So I went through my records again and found another diagnosis left out and submitted it and I just received 2 1/2 years of back pay for it and it bumped me up to 90%.

When my spouse separated from the service over 10 years ago they were never informed about going to the VA for disability. 6 years later I requested the service/med records from St. Louis and did the claim myself. My spouse is now at 80%.

I've heard veterans complaining about how bad the VA is screwing them about their claims/percentages, but if you have the medical records to document everything there's really no reason to be upset with the decision. Everything has been smooth with the claims I've dealt with. It did take long (years) but the back pay was pretty nice.

Rainmaker
05-16-2013, 05:45 PM
Rainmaker didn't file. but, word on the skreet, is that If a muhfugga really wanna get P.A.I.D. then HE need to use lotsa breevieations on his claim. The Biggest one to have is a CPAP. it PAY a automatic 50% and the latest is MST. No one really know what it mean. but, its BIG. Tell them it affects your famblee life too. NomSayin'?

RetC141BFCC
05-16-2013, 05:48 PM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

I had the DAV look thru my medical records and due my initial claim. Unfortunately the AF lost my records somewhere so I was missing over 18 years of medical records. My advice is claim everything you never know what’s going to come back and bite you in the ass later. The DAV claimed my back problems I never would have claimed them that’s what will one day put me out of work.
I filled after I got out. When I retired in 2003 you did not get both your VA Disability and retirement check so I was in no hurry to file. When I originally got my rating back from the Roanoke VA Regional Office my rating was 60 percent they turned me down for everything except for Sleep Apnea, Acid reflux with Hiatal Hernia and tinnitus s .I fought them and won. I am now rated at 90 percent and let me tell you the VA math is unlike any math you have ever known. I give you an example I am rated at 50 + 50 + 30 + 10+10+10 = 90 in VA math The DAV is good for doing you initial claim after that you are on your own. Always remember nobody care about your claim as much as you due. If you get lowballed in your claim or denied you have one year to appeal its simple to do a VA NOD which stands for Notice of Disagreement. The best website I have found out there to help you is a website called Hadit.com It is totally free site run but VETS for VETS. IF anybody needs help with a sample of a NOD send me a note and I will help you out. Just Like the AF we need to take care of each other.

VFFTSGT
05-16-2013, 08:03 PM
Well, it seems I am on the right track then.

Got e-benefits account.

Reviewed entire record page by page.

Made duplicate hardcopies (one for me and one for them) and made a digital copy by scanning everything and backing it up to a cloud drive. Even created secondary digital file breaking it all up based on medical issues. Using the 'Print to PDF' is a nice feature.

Made a list of all chronic issues/symptoms and compared them to the diagnostic codes/disability ratings. For anyone that may need it, here is the link for codes/ratings: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&rgn=div5&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5&idno=38

Met with a VSO and go back soon to review what they came up with and compare it with my notes.

And have read a lot online and a couple books about the VA, their processes, etc.

I guess the only matter of debate is whether to file before or after I get out. I have always heard before, but it seems some have had better experiences after... *thinking*



I've heard veterans complaining about how bad the VA is screwing them about their claims/percentages, but if you have the medical records to document everything there's really no reason to be upset with the decision. Everything has been smooth with the claims I've dealt with. It did take long (years) but the back pay was pretty nice.

Aside from all the exaggerated complaints...the one I see common and legitimate is the inconsistencies of the VA office to office such as taking two veterans in two different locations with the exact same condition and come out with 2 completely different ratings.

And I guess this is my biggest concern...getting rated objectively, especially after reading that a lot of claims representatives are not medical professionals and may not understand X symptom is equal to Y condition. And with all the backlogs, I have to wonder if there will be a increase in rapid denials just to clear the backlog.

WeaponsTSGT
05-16-2013, 11:18 PM
I'm at 18 right now and have had 5 back surgeries in the past 4 years, but thanks to a great PCM and shirt nobody has initiated an MEB even though I've been profiled going on 2 years. My plan is to have my PCM initiate an MEB 6 months out from retirement. The process is taking around 9 months right now so the process should be completed upon retirement.

Slyoldawg
05-16-2013, 11:26 PM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

20 years after I retired I signed up at the local VAMC in San Francisco, only to register as a veteran. That was 2001 and I was registered within weeks. I am amazed when I read about how long it takes now. A year after I signed up I learned through a physical at the VA that I had a combat related disability. The paperwork to confirm that status took 4 months.

efmbman
05-17-2013, 12:01 AM
If you have filed a claim... How did you file your claims?

Did you use a Service Officer through the VFW, MOPH, etc. or did you file directly with the VA online, mail, or what?

Did you file while still on active duty or did you wait until you got out?

What was your experience?

Date placed on retired list: 1 SEP 2012
Date VA claim filed: 9 OCT 2012
Date of physical exam at VA compensation & pension: 26 NOV 2012
Date claim finalized: 21 FEB 2013

When you go through TAP, you may be offered to start your claim early before leaving active duty. I advise against it. I have only anecdotal evidence... but I know of 7 people that have retired in the last 16 months (including me). Three did not start the claim process while still on AD. All three (including me) have their claim finalized in less than months. The others are all still waiting with the most recent retiree one the 12th month since claim was filed. I do recommend visiting the VA intake site. Almost all bases have one now, and they can be of great assistance.

Use a service organization to assist you like the VFW or American Legion. You can also look for the Dept of Veterans Affairs community offices in your area. There are there to serve you. That is the route I took and you can see the timeline. I honestly feel that many of the pending claims are placed on the back burner simply because the forms are not filled out correctly or something is missing. The claims people are under tremendous pressure, so any claim they can stamp as approved will get more attention that something written on a cocktail napkin. Get the VA Office or a VSO to check your application first.

CYBERFX1024
05-17-2013, 01:08 AM
What I have read is that they are allowing overtime for their 10,000 claim personnel. Which is great for those of us who have been waiting and waiting to even get a exam and a claim finalization.


http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2444

Tak
05-17-2013, 01:35 AM
Ha, having people on forced overtime decide claims, good solution...
Imagine, its 7pm, missing dinner with family, they pull out your record.

RobotChicken
05-17-2013, 04:35 AM
Ha, having people on forced overtime decide claims, good solution...
Imagine, its 7pm, missing dinner with family, they pull out your record.
:help On a Friday..1937hrs...GS-11 Bruin at your service missing happyhour????.. "WTF is this??" 'Clunk'! (circle file) :lock1

Tak
05-17-2013, 04:39 AM
:help On a Friday..1937hrs...GS-11 Bruin at your service missing happyhour????.. "WTF is this??" 'Clunk'! (circle file) :lock1

Go cluck yourself

RobotChicken
05-17-2013, 05:32 AM
:tape2 OK..2000 hrs