Claim Issues

If you are having claim issues, such as excessive processing times and/or excessive processes and want to let our government know they must do better; leave a brief summary of the issue(s). Please sign it with your name and VA Regional Center you use.
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  1. I submitted two claims on July 13, 2011 via telephone. I asked him where I could be tested for Agent Orange (AO). I said I was in Vietnam for 18 months from 1966-1967 and had Larynx and Colon Cancer. When the VA representative told me that if I can prove I was in Vietnam during the time AO was used and that I had Larynx cancer; VA would predetermine the cause to be AO; I asked how would I file a claim. He said he could file them for me. He also mentioned that Colon cancer was not on their list. I gave him the information about my RVN service and Cancer. He asked for my marital status. When I said married, he stated that my previous 30% disability has never been paid at the with dependents rate. I said that was strange since I have never been "not married" since I was awarded the 30% for migraines in 1988 and that I was never asked for my dependency status during my claim processing nor during my rating notification. So I submitted a claim to be paid at the correct rate in addition to my cancer/AO claim. I told him I had all original documents for my RVN service and Cancer in addition to marriage/divorce/marriage documents to show a continuous dependency state from 1988 to present. I was divorced one day and remarried the following day. He was very friendly and helpful (so I thought). He said the claims would probably take 3-6 months. I did not call on these claims for 6 months (I still had faith and trust in the system at that time).
    • The dependency claim was strictly an administrative oversight and I thought would be a no-brainer. When I called six months into the claim I was told that there was no claim in the system for that reason. And that they would submit it that day (losing 6 months of processing time). Even getting my Congress Representative to inquire in my behalf had no positive affect. Then later during a town meeting put together by my Congress Representative with VA Claims Manager Doug Chapman in attendance, I asked him for help. He looked at my paper work and mentioned it looked like it was all there and should be 100% disability no problem. He did to our surprise get back to us the next day. He stated that he did verify through office tapes and records that I had in deed filed my claim back in July and that he had approved it that day. He told me what my new monthly rate would be and that the retro payment back to the date of the claim would be around $2k. Finally, someone who cared about the veteran. So I thought. There was no retro payment at all due to waivers and deductions taken out. Once my other claim is finalized I will request a re-look at that. Doug then refused to return my subsequent calls about this claim or my other claim. Soon I gave up trying to get him to call me back. Par for the course. So this claim is still not resolved to my satisfaction.
    • The claim I submitted for the Cancer/AO has now become so disheartening and stressful for my wife and I that would rather jump in a tank of sharks than open an envelope from VA. Not only did they submit my claim for the wrong illnesses but they also refused to correct their errors and sent me to the wrong doctors. They repeatedly asked for documents I had already sent them. Then they asked for my entire Navy Medical records (1965-1969) and my entire Army Medical Records (1970-1988). They stated that I may be able to find a buddy who served with me in Vietnam who could verify my health. What? I sent them the address of where my Naval and Army medical records were supposedly stored and told then that it had absolutely nothing to do with my case. I proved by original orders the time frame and unit I was in Vietnam during the time frame that they used AO ( the river boats were veritably in the area they used it. I also sent them the excerpts from my transferred Army medical records verifying I was diagnosed with Larynx cancer in 2002. With that documentation, VA has stated it is presumed to have been caused by AO (VA's own policy and statement.

    Continued in the next comment)

  2. Continued from previous comment:

    Two months later I get a letter from VA stating that they are just now requesting my medical records from the Navy and Army. TWO months to request the records that have nothing to do with the case. It is now, as of today, over 16 months processing (that is 1 year (12 months) over the estimated time frame and there is still no relief in sight.

    This past Veterans Day, my wife and I again attended the Congressman's town meeting with a VA rep there. Again I provide the VA (Assistant Director of the Atlanta Office Steve Furrer) and the Congressman (John Barrow) a copy of my reply. Steve said he would look into it and call me back. On Friday 16th November there was a missed call on both my home phone and cell phone from the Atlanta Office that we missed. I tried to recall the number but got a recording that if I was trying to call the VA to call their Toll Free number (which I got the proverbial "Call Back Later" message). It has been a week tomorrow since that missed call and no additional call from VA. You can not find the office number for any of the Directors/Managers at VA nor on their VA websites nor in an internet search without paying for them. This is absurd. They are supposed to be working for the American people.
    16 months to process a "Slam=Dunk" as they called it is absurd.

    This blog will make a difference by the next election I am sure. So please add your claim issue to this page via the comment feature and let them know; We are mad as hell and we will not tolerate it any longer at the polls.

    Jack Feeman