Believe me I don't claim to be an expert on all the VA Benefits. I started the process by going to the County VA Benefits Office. They were a great help in filling out all the forms. I have never spoken to the American Legion but it was submitted through them to the VA? I had timely answers from the VA whenever paperwork was submitted. I don't know if the close location of the VA Hospital at Bay Pines had anything to do with it. Scans and consoltations were done local.
I do know that if you are filing for CRSC through the USCG the address the VA supplies is wrong. It's Commander PSC-PSD-de, Coast Guard Mail Stop 7200, 4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 20598-7200, ATTN: CRSC Coordinator. YN1 Sylvestor was a great help to me yesterday. It's nice to know that we still take care of our own. She suggested that the Army site: www.hrc.army.mil/site/crsc/index.html was most helpful when applying for CRSC.
I did find the forms/correspondence loaded with could be's, maybe's, and possibly's. All pretty much canned letters. I've had good luck talking to people once I found the right person to call.
As long as you don't have to deal with PSC or PPC. Dealing with them is horrible! But, they had more important things on their mind, like new office furniture and changing their name. I'm sure their much better now.
I went to the TAPS Class and listened very closely to the VA and DAV Reps who were there. I followed their recommendation to the letter and I applied for the Benefits Delivery at Discharge Program through the Bremerton, Washington office. Fortunately the VA Rep and the DAV Rep are in the same building across the halway from each other. They work together to help the Veteran.
I filed in July 2010, and I received my decision (80% Service Connected) on December 15, 2010. A little longer than I was told, but I was happy with the quick decision.
Glad to hear it's working for a few. I did all the same things you did. Went to two TAPS classes, filled all the paperwork, filed BDD ahead of time. Then waited, still waiting, and waiting. I do not recommend the Winston Salem office at all. But I was never given the choice on where the claim was sent.
I even tried to get the file pulled to my local office after I had moved from where I retired. Apparently the Veteran does not get the luxury of choosing which office is allowed to work on their claim. Once it goes into the black hole that is the VBA, you just wait. The local reps, (who's office I can physically go into and have a nice conversation with) have been very nice, but even they couldn't do anything to shift or even tell me anymore than "Winston-Salem has it and will contact you when they do something." It's not worth a drive/flight across country to actually show up in a supervisors office there so they can explain the delays, but I've been temped. At least I'm getting treated by the VA hospital for the same conditions that I've claimed. I have to say the VA hospital has been great.
I guess I was lucky, I submitted all my pre-discharge paperwork in May 2011, had my VA medical exam in June 2011 and retired from Active Duty on 1 September 2011. I received notification last week that I have been rated at 60% disabled so from start to finish it took me a total of six months. I highly recommend attending a TAPS or other separation seminar that has VA representation and be sure to apply before you retire. You can apply for VA benefits up to 180 days before you separate from service. Also, keep copies of everything you submit, the VA misplaced some of my paperwork that I had to resend and they were still able to process my case pretty fast.
In Michigan it took about 1 year before I received my C&P decision from the VA. Then about another 3 months before I was able to get into the Chapter 31 VocRehab program,which allowed me to go to nursing school,well worth the wait.
I applied to Voc Rehab just as a shot in the dark and was picked up because they want success stories too. I was more than halfway through Graduate school and knew I had guaranteed employment when I had completed the program. I have gone on to complete a residency and advanced work in counseling.
Voc Rehab has rules on what they will pay for. It is not considered an education program, but a program to get people back to work. I used it to get a BS in the 70s.
If they determine you are already employable with the training and education you have, and your disability does not prevent employment in the area of your skill set, then they will not approve a program.
1. Regional Office workload 2. How well the claim is documented when filed 3. Number of items claimed (1 vs a dozen) 4. How soon before or after discharge 5. Did you have a Med Board on discharge and were all items claimed in Med Board 6. Are things in your Service Medical Record or Service Record
A good VSO will help you put a good packet together. If the Regional office want more, they will help you figure out what and where.
I filed a claim for increase once in April and had the decision right after labor day. One item, treated both at the VA and outside for a number of years, with objective tests to document the claim. The time before might have taken almost a year, as they hospital kept sending my C & P reports to my old address and somehow the RO did not know that. The RO had my new address, and at that time, I was not using the VA hospital.
I took the BDD route, submitted my initial application to the VA at Coast Guard Headquarters in June of 2011, and within a month had my physial at the VA in Martinsburg WV. From there, the claim sat in Huntington WV for a few months before being transfered to Baltimore MD and sat until my DD-214 arrived in December. The package was then sent to Winston-Salem NC where it has been sitting pending the receipt of my VA medical records from Brooklyn NY. Apparantly the VA can not acces or request records from within their own system. I had signed a blanket autorization for release of all medical records, and the brooklyn VA records were the only ones not to show up, I checked e-benefits weekly, and called the VA hotline weekley (usually ended up setting a up a call back), and every phone call resulted in the same "have you checked e-benefits? the gatering of evidence phase can take 311 days....we are waiting on the records from the VA....yes we have noted in the file that you have signed a release...no, we can't find where any follow up was done" speech. I finally found a direct line to the records branch in Brooklyn, and had my records mailed and received to me in about a week. I made copies and sent one to Wiston-Salem, registered with return receipt last Thursday, and according to the USPS tracker, it ws mis-directed...on the bright side, it will be one nice check when it s all resolved.This message has been edited. Last edited by: dartzz,
I just had my PTSD screening with a psychologist. I was going in purely to get what I figured would be a 0% rating, just to get my foot in the proverbial door.
It was professionally done - and done FAST - it took about 20 minutes, tops. She was quite interested in the TWA-800 response, and kept asking probing questions about seeing the stacks of bodies and such.
Now I'm wondering if I may be able to scrape off a 5-10% for seeing "icky" stuff.
Next week, my physical and the following week I do my auditory tests. I'll keep y'all posted.