Dear Sgt. Schultz,
I'm so sorry to have to welcome you to the ranks of the disguarded after service. If you are starting to get the inkling that anyone who hasn't filed for C&P and gotten stonewalled is falling to understand that you've done nothing wrong, that there is no magical wand to twinkle away the shock and horror, that you were more respected in uniform at 20 than you will ever be by your country as a disabled veteran, then I am sorry for the wake up call and the state of affairs. However, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You haven't done anything wrong, you haven't failed to prove your disability, you haven't filled out the paperwork incorrectly or failed to convey to your service officier that you are in fact disabled, your VA doctors and nurses know it too, but you won't be getting much help or concern from them. They can't afford to be concerned. They have to work there among thousands of discarded veterans every day. If they weren't capable of blocking that out, they'd find another job.
You may not be aware of it but the truth is some VSOs have not even cleared out all the claims from the Korean War... Most VSOs have still not cleared all the claims from Vietnam, and I'm a Desert Storm era vet who put my claim in back in 1994... I've never even been offered a C&P hearing. I was homeless off and on from 1996 until 2010. The lengths they will expect you to go through to help yourself will be many and mostly bureaucratic. I am LUCKY that I made it through the hoops and just think... some caseworker is getting paid more than you did in the military on active duty to tell you to try harder... what's more when you finally get benefits they will tell you how you are failing to budget properly on the tiny fraction of income you get comparatively and take credit for all your achievements for jumping their hoops until you managed to get a roof of your own over your head. Getting proven service connected is a monumental task all on it's own. Keep in mind that you are in a position where you must use the "INSURANCE CARRIER'S DOCTORS" to prove the "INSURANCE CARRIER" should give you money. We know we earned it. They convienently forget it. What they don't forget is to use every second possible trying to disprove or premptively strike down your claim in your own medical records.
I'm sorry you are facing this. I'm sorry anyone has to, and I am real dang sorry I'm one of the ones facing/fighting it every day. You're going to have to be smarter and more resourceful than your caseworkers, doctors, therapists, etc, and yet let them take credit and climb the ranks on the shoulders of your hard work. Get along. No matter what. But don't let it beat you down. Know deep inside that YOU are the reason you are going to survive this but these idiots DO have veto power over your assistance and they will use it. So the smartest thing you can do is not defeat yourself and go with the flow all the while realizing that your resources are the only salvation because 9 out of 10 of the resources they will give you on those lists are inaccurate, out of date, no longer available or never were so don't waste too much energy running yourself ragged exploring them. Explore them, but pace yourself. They aren't going to let you get out of the program too fast anyway.... remember the number one job of any bureaucratic government agency/agent is to document their usefulness and importance and their billable hours. They need you to take your time so they can prove how hard it is to do what they do or someone might figure out that you are actually saving yourself from homelessness and disability and stop paying all those caseworkers... ;)
I wish you all the best. GG
I know first hand that this process can be more than frustrating. After navigating this river myself, and helping a few others, this is the best advice that I know actually works:
1) Get smart about the entire process--down to the forms, regulations, and publications. You have to be able to talk shop with the VA and understand when you're really not getting good intel. This system is under distress so you have to take Ownership of this process. No excuses.
2) Take control and make time to show your face at the Beneftis office where you're located. If you find individuals whom are not helping you, there is someone likely down the hall that will. Continue to look untill you find them.
3) Get smart with the online resources that are available via the VA and DOD. Establish online accounts with all VA portals and check them often.
4) Stay motivated and continue to conduct in person visits and consulations with various personalites within the VA hospital and benefit areas. You really need to find three or four GO TO people...they are there, but you have to find them and it's not always pleasant doing so.
5) Ensure that you continue to remain professional even though you will likely find service people whom are not. Take a deep breath, be diligent, and if your claim has merit you will find closure eventually.
I've been waiting for VA decision since 2007. I suggest a good attorney who specializes in representing only vets like Katrina Eagle in the San Diego, CA (Poway area). Google her name and check it out. She only takes cases if it looks winable. And attys get paid only if your case is awarded favorably (and then it comes from the back awarded monies). You got nothing to lose but money.
Any who acts as his lawyer has a fool for a lawyer. The same goes with dealing directly with the VA. I have discovered that their sole responsibility is to fill in all the blocks on every form. Go to an experienced VSO (Veteran Service Officer) with either the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, or The American Legion.
Document each event or medical issue including supporting awards, medical files relating to the issue you claim as a disability.Identify each issue with a table of contents. Submit your claim through a VSO outside the VA system. It is important that you make it easy for the VA to say yes. If it can be done, it will be done this way. Good luck
Hi sir, I filed for my claim Nov. 2012 and 15 months later, I got 100% service connected. Since it has been so long, you definitely need to get with your v.a. claim office. Another thing that may help, is if you are homeless, there (at least where I live) is a homeless veterans program who will give the v.a. rep a specific form that states you are homeless and that helps to expedite your claim. Most definitely, get a copy of all your medical records for yourself, as well as make sure the V.A. has a copy themselves. If you have been seen by any civillian doctors for any issues, get documentation from them and have it it your paperwork. Other than that, I recomment going to the web sites, www.ebenefits.va.gov/ and www.myhealthevet.gov/ if not the second one, then absolutely the first! Call the claim office about once or twice a week and check your status. I apparently had pretty good luck... I hope this helps... So sorry youre having to endure this..
Best of luck