Supreme Court Ensures Fair VA Appeals Process

March 05, 2011 | Benjamin Krause

Prior to a recent Supreme Court decision, disabled veterans’ appeals were usually not considered after the 120-day filing deadline passed. In Henderson v. Shinseki, decided March 2, 2011, the Supreme Court concluded that the 120-day limit was not intended to carry the harsh consequences of the “jurisdictional tag.” For veterans, this means deadlines related to filing appeals and other claims have increased flexibility, in certain situations.

Before the decision, filing extensions for appeals were not commonly allowed (referred to as “tolling”). Once the filing deadline passed, 120 days after an adverse decision for Mr. Henderson, the appeal option was no longer available for that claim. With the new decision, veterans will be allowed more flexibility with filing deadlines, especially when the veteran is too sick to file in time. Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries or psychological disorders who miss filing deadlines may be allowed extensions. Previously, the VA considered the majority of these claims to be “expired” because the time limit of the rule had passed. In other words, filing deadlines are no longer considered absolute deadlines.

In this case, Mr. Henderson missed the appeal deadline by 15 days because he was sick. However, the VA concluded that his illness did not keep him from appealing in a timely manner. For that reason, they denied his appeal, which was later upheld by the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit. Henderson died last October, prior to this decision. Fortunately for his widow, the Supreme Court decided the VA’s application of a filing deadline contradicted Congressional intent. Congressional intent for disability claims holds that veterans’ claims are to be treated in a non-adversarial manner. As such, a non-adversarial system would allow a sick veteran to miss a deadline by 15 days. This same system would allow other exceptions to the rules establishing time limits for justifiable reasons. Thus, any deadline for veterans’ claims is no longer absolute, depending on the situation. Accordingly, the Court reversed the earlier decisions that contradicted this analysis.

Veterans’ claims for disability compensation are unique to other administrative and judicial claims processes, because the VA process is supposed to be a “pro-veteran administrative scheme.” Therefore, when there is a “tie” relating to weighted evidence (ie two doctors say opposing things about a veteran’s condition, one for the veteran and the other against), the decision is supposed to fall in favor of the veteran. Further, Congress never intended for procedural deadlines to be absolute, contrary to other areas of law. Veterans, depending on the specifics of their claim’s status, can now push for extensions that were otherwise prevented. While the VA reputation, “Delay, deny, hope that I die,” strategy worked here, Henderson’s widow will hopefully see a just end to her husband’s fight, which started in 2001.

The lesson? Never give up.

For general guidance with your disability compensation claim, check out DISABLEDVETERANS.ORG for filing questions and strategies. Otherwise, contact your preferred Veteran Service Organization for help with your specific claim.

About Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause is a Veterans Benefits Attorney and journalist who investigates problems veterans face with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He regularly reports on veterans' benefits news and analysis on the website


  1. perry wagner says:

    you are saying don't die in a proclmed amount of time my life is not
    worth as much im to old to be worth the time and money that could better be
    used for a pet project are a senit pay raise. if I live 2 years past my total combate disibility of 100% is my fault I should have went
    sooner I pray the big people who make these laws leave there family in the same pay grade thay leave mine.and there bank account is sent to Mexico.

    • "We often rebel against the strenuousness and chaos of our time and deadlines. But historically it has always been in such time that man won his great inner victories." I.M.McKee,D.D.

  2. sue berry says:

    I don’t think you really want to hear my response. My husband who family on both sides have died of old age. In 2006 they found numerious tumors in his stomach. They took them out and put himmm on gleevec. Befor that he was acting strange we thought he was tired well a few months after that I had to beg the va to do a ct scan on him which they found a brain tumor. He well we went thru 21/2 yrs. Of goin to a world known specialist all the time the tumor was growing. The va team dr. Then got with the surgeon at the hospital & sent him to houston, hospital within a few weeks they did surgery on him and then 6 wks. Later they had to go in & repair the implant they had put in. He is doing better got most of his memory back. Then in all of this during the time we were fighting for his life the va made a ruleing on him that we didn’t even get. They said it was out in may of 2010 his 1st brain surgery was april12th his second was june 3rd. When I his wife got to where I could think cause I had 2 heart surgeries in 2009 3 bypasses on may 7th then in sept. They had to go back in and remove a pocked infection from my sternum. I had power of attorney over him & mine was so sudden I didn’t have time to make other arrangments that when I did get the papers they told me his time ran out in may of 2010. In between 2 surgeries. He couldn’t even open his eyes yet, eat much less think. Its like the blindd leading the blind & they tell us his case has been closed when we were not fileing it on what they were telling was closed we were filing it on soft tissue scaroma. So u tell me where the justice is in that. All of the men in his squad is dead from cancer the 1 he found is fightin cancer.all the medical records he needed has been lost we was told the las request they got for them was from the US gov. You need to pull the news tapes of the service men coming home from vietnam. What thanks did they get. Then the gov. Sprays them with dow chemicals that they know is deadly. So u tell me what’s going on waiting on all of them to die or what?

    • This is in response to Sue Berry's comment. Ms Berry, first, you need to get someone to guide you in your writing techniques. I am sorry to say, I could hardly understand what your comment was truly about. You need to contact a Service Organization to help you with your husband's claim. A Service Organization is like Disabled Veterans(DAV), Veterans of Foreign War(VFW, etc. I believe that you can win his claim because he was ill to the point that he could not properly prepare a claim.
      When you have situations like that you need to fight until you get until you cannot fight any more!
      As they say the reputation of the VA is, "Delay, Deny, Hope that I Die". Girl, you need to talk with someone or get someone to help you contact your Congress Person. GOOD LUCK!

    • Ma’am,
      If you cant find your husbands inpatient medical records they are not kept in St. Louis at the Arpercen, but all inpatient records are kept at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

    • chris bradford says:

      dav service officer
      the reason for your doctors thinking is what you have told them about your contition. one way to gain understanding is to have your wife/ girlfriend to
      sit down and write down all the things that she see's and witness you do.
      remember what she writes is to help you under the degree of your ptsd, also note that she see everything you do and knows you better than you know yourself. she is your best defence when it comes to ptsd

    • THOMAS C. says:


      • My Brother, After filing my original claim back in 1970, when I was Honorably Discharged, I filed my first Compensation & Disability against the VA, on (4) counts. I can finally say after sticking with the program, and filing my (3rd.) comp. case, I finally received (70%) Disability for PTSD, yes its along time, but I am greatful as hell, I pray that all my brothers, from our era, will stick it out, and don't Give-Up, because if you do, we lose & their Win, Keep Up The Fight! ! GOD-BLESS………….

    • I will admit it was extremely hard to read your comment with the capital letters and punctuation but no one needs to be rude about it. As I read I was trying to comprehend the issue. This whole process is just a way for them to get veterans to throw their hands in the air and say ‘I give up.’ After being diagnosed with having a cold and strained back muscle (so they said numerous times), I finally collapsed with heart failure at 26yrs old. After my surgery I was sent home to recover for one month. Upon arriving back I caught a bad case of pneumonia and was sent to clean a slew of latrines. Luckily, another Master Sergent refused that idea amd instead sent me to type up dog tags. I was separated and given a discharge of
      uncharacterized/medical. I filed a claim and they gave me 100% for 2 months and 10% from then on. That was in ’99. Since then I have gotten pneumonia numerous times and have been tested and diagnosed with Lupus. I’m currently in the appeal process. It’s very discouraging. You sign your life on that dotted line and become a number. I tried to check status with the board today and they still don’t have my appeal; eventhough I jumped through all their hoops, 6 months later they don’t even have my claim. I hope all the disabled vets get what they deserve for offering their life to our country. It took 9/11 for me to finally not hate anymore.

  3. For an explanation of what this decision means to Veterans in layman's terms, go to We have the explanation direct from the attorneys who worked this case.

    For help with claims and benefits, feel free to join us at We don't care about "writing techniques" there. We understand that not everyone writes the same as "Mary".

    Sue, I hope you will come join us at Straight Talk so that we can help you.

  4. Hi, Gwen. here, i just want to know what is happening with the case on AO? Is there anyone receiving any pay yet? I am a surviving spouse,I was told that when my husband died in 2010 everything else died with him. That to me was very dishearten to me ,my husband filed for AO for the va. to tell him he was denied.Yes he was sprayed in Vietnam,and died from complication from AO. So if anyone can help me and find out if there is anyway I can get compensated for him please let me know.(Gwen.)

    • Gwen, I have an ongoing claim for DIC etc, since my husband died in June 2009. My husband had an appeal ongoing in 2009 and apparently they have to review that before they can begin my claim as surviving spouse. My husband had numerous issues which can all be tied to AO. From what I've read in the VA regulations, several of those diseases should be 100% disability by themselves, but who knows what the VA will think is fair. :(

      My claim has made it to the AO review team in Seattle WA and the last correspondence Feb 2011 says they should have a determination within 60 days … I am not holding my breath

      If you have not done so, I sugggest you contact the VA or a local VFW, etc for help to make sure your husband's claim is already being reviewed for when he was alive and then file/refile for your benefits under the new AO laws. feel free to email

    • Gwen,
      My husband was denied benefits in 2006 for several service related disabilities – one being exposure to herbicides in Vietnam. He passed away in May 2009.
      I have refiled a DIC claim as of Jan 2010. I was told by my VA advocate that if he stepped food in the Republic of Vietnam and I could provve that he died from Aschemic Heart Disease ( a now rated service disability) as of Nov 2010 that I would be eligible for benefits. It takes about 126 weeks for a decision. DON"T GIVE UP! That's what they want you to do. You will probably have to do the leg work for medical records and such, in the end it will be worth it. Your husbands honor desesrves that much.
      Feel free to contact me and hopefully, I can give you a few pointers.

    • John R. Morgan Sr. says:

      My first claim was denied and fought with the VA. Got a increase to 20% for service connected in Viet Nam. Later more health problems got increased to 40% and took them 2 1/2 years to finally pay it. Have gotten to 70% but trying for 100% which may never happen. You can go to a veterans service organization for guidance and get all his military records to prove where he had been exposed to AO like I was but was on a ship in the areas at least twice on six month tours. If that can be proven and he had already claimed you should be able to get all the back claim money owed him even if he is deceased now. You should be entitled to other benefits since he is gone now. You will have to constantly keep at them for they don't care and get affidavit statements from his war buddies to back the claims. It is very tiring process and just keep at it. Best of Luck to you and all others that they are doing the same way.

  5. I'm an Iraq vet. The culture of the VA has been so adversarial that I gave up. After they denied my claim in 2008 I was told "Well, they always deny your first claim" and that it's a game where you have to persist. A game? We fought and bled for our country first out of a sense of duty, but also under the false promise that those who sent us forth had our backs at home and would take care of our families etc. only to find out it's a "game" to them and that only those who can play it will benefit. My heart goes out to these widows, but I say screw the VA and it's false charity. We shouldn't have to beg for what we were promised, deserve and are denied. Why can't we as a society take care of our own through religious and civic organizations, rather than trust a failed bureaucracy to keep promises which they never intended to keep?

    • As DAV Service Officer in KY, I offer the following advice based on my 6 yrs of service work.
      – Always use an advocate to assist in claim submission. A lot of times we may use a description of a condition more closely related to how the VA describes it. Example we say erectile dysfunction-vet may say loss of sex drive or loss of sexual desire (the latter will result in denial everytime)
      – Always put in as complete a claim as possible. Example when I started out a vet might come in complaining of one issue. When I submitted just that one thing invaribly they came back within a couple weeks saying they had something else. Now I take my time, ask the veteran to tell me his story and jot down notes listing things that seem plausible before I put the first word on paper.
      – The VA does not always deny the first time. By taking my time and being as thorough as I can be on the vet's behalf, I have had many successful claims at the 40, 60 and even 90% level. Some go through the system smoothly; others take some time.
      Do not stop fighting for the benefits you have earned. We must look out for each other. I hope you will seek;out your local service org advocate and continue with your claim. Best of Luck!!!

    • I wasn't denied my first time.. I'm an Iraq veteran as well… I went to an advocate for veterans out side of the va….. I did all my home work first and took out all my paper work from medical records ie, diagnoses, surgeries, mri's and xrays and took it all to my advocate and she did everything for me… I recieved my back pay with in 6mo and a steady monthly dissablity rate.. try going to some one outside the va… google them if you have to but theyre there for you!!

    • Tim O'Connor says:

      Stan, I know how you feel, I am a Vietnam Vet, it took me (3) tries, and 41 years to get my Comp. & Disability, don't give up. You have to keep going to see the shrinks, go to see the VA Doctors, please do not give up, its not (Charity) its your money, keep up the fight! ! ! You will Win, but you must not give up, if you do not go to the doctors, see the shrinks, go for couseling, then all is lost, its your money, you put the time in, fought for your country, now its your turn, GOOD-LUCK my brother, fight for what is yours. Vietnam Vet Tim

    • Stan, please don't give up. Then the politicians who don't care will win. There are many Vietnam era vets still fighting the fight. Don't give up after the first denial. It may even take years to win what is due you, but it'll be worth it in the end. It is a travesty that our veterans have to go through yet another battle when they get home to win the benefits they have earned. I hope one day this will change. But in the meantime, please don't give up. Keep fighting. There are many other brothers and sisters standing with you and many other Americans who stand behind you as well.

  6. Robert Leadbeater says:

    I was medicaly discharged from Fort Hood. The day I got out their were two other people who got out with me, now don't get me wrong but hay I'm piss too. Both of the other people had child hood asmeir. One got 80% and one 90% for the disablity. Now I use to work as a recuiters helper for about 1 year and in that time I learned some of the guild lines for people to get into the army. One was child hood asmeir if you had it you could not get into the army what so ever. Well these two people lied on their paperwork they should be doing time not getting paid for it. I have been fighting with the VA for over 11 years and two years ago they gave me 10% ($123.00@month).
    Now those other two people both got 80% pay for having child hood asmeir on the day they left the army. I can only work 15-20 hours a week, I have two children and have just got ssi after 2 years. Can someone please help me with my VA claim. My E-Mail address is
    Any help would be great please help me

    • Please contact either the Disabled Americans (DAV) or the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) who will assist you with your claim (for free) There is usually a service officer in most every VA facility and clinic.

      • Our VFW does not help anyone.They only want to sell Beer and Whiskey.
        and give there self raises.

    • go to an advocate for veterans outside of the va… that is what i did.. I got alot too// I understand how you feel my ex husband hurt his back before he joined the army and he got medically discharged for his back because he would go to the tmc and complain about it and said it started in basic…

  7. The problem with the claim system is for most case there is not enough passion given to veteran. We are seen as opportunities, untrueful etc. I would give anything to have my life back. When doctors see me they humor me with there opinion and not for the symptons I discribe. Most of the doctors after visiting with them give you meds based assumption that fact. I am more depressed leaving my appointment than I was before visiting the VA clinic. One of the biggest problems I deal with is my appearance. When I file my first claim; I was 6’0 265 lbs and lift weights daily. So most of the doctors discriminated agaisnt becasuse of my physical stature. I receive the same pre-printed letter stating there was not enough evidence in your records to it was service connnected. I don’t know what they are looking at but the records that I forward them contain every illness and injury I have claimed. I even provided records from 1995 of the PGI screening conducted in San Antonio (Lackland Air Forces base). But that was still not enough. So like most veterans I just gave up; what a mistake. Now I have to start over, but this time I won’t stop until I am given what I desire. I served for 20 years, and not once did I give less than 100% each and every day of the year. Now I need the government to give back to me the benefits that was promise to me, the day of and after I retired. Think about it: who would want to live with all the problems that one has, just money. I would much rather have my health and be able to enjoy my wife and family.

    • James I feel for you. I see this so much with the people my husband deals with they get discouraged and give up then when they really need it most they have to start from the begining. The VA workers 95% of the time have no idea what you are talking about. I heard congress passed a law that was going to make VA adjudicators get the training they needed to at least know what the termanology means. All I can tell you is DON’T give up and if you need to get your Senator and Congressman involved. We have awesome Reps here in OK that work for our Veterans

  8. Robert don't give up. Since you can only work 15-20 hrs a week is all the more reason to presue the VA. Yes, I agree it is depressing, but if you give up they will win. Believe me, I too gave up, but am more determine than ever to file claim after claim until someone heards me. Just look at the respones on this site. What we are asking is for is a right and a promise that the govenment made to us. So hang in there; God will answer you pray.

  9. michael queen says:

    i am a veteran of the frist gulf war,upon returning to my unit i told that there was a draw down.i recived a ssb payment when i got out the miltary in 1992,in 2009 i was told i have a service conected disability,with i was awarded a 50 percent disability,now i am told i have to pay all the money i got in 1992 back before i get any disability payment,i do not think this is fair.i hope the va understand it was there choice for me to get out,not minds,after 14 yrs in the miltary who would want to get out with less then 6 yr left before retiring,so it is like we did not get anything for getting out of the miltary.

    • Carrie VanVleet says:

      it is wrong. I received separation pay also to help me over the hump of discharge to civilian and I got my rating on Dec 31 2007 and did not receive my first payment until April of 2009, when my separation pay was repaid. It sucks!

  10. Stan, I totally agree with you. The VA is playing some perverted game. And what's really sick is the vets I see walking, talking, joking, going to meetings and bragging about how easy it is getting their disability percentages kicked. Total gamers, working the system. I flew with a search and rescue team stationed in N. Thailand. We routinely flew over NVN, hovering over the jungle. landing and refilling at various air bases in the South. Have had 2 (two) incidents of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (a big indicator of AO exposure). The VA denial says I never set foot in Nam and they have no records, not even the travel orders sending me from California to Tan Son Nhut in Saigon. I call "Bull Shit" on both the VA and the wise guy Vets sucking up benefits they don't deserve.

    • Hi Mike. I was on the ground on the border of northern Thailand working with the hill tribers. As a matter of fact their were a number of tests conducted on the ground for agent orange and agent purple. Look up AO exposure. Tabs for VIetnam, Thailand, and other locations will appear. Find your info or proof of exposure. Just more info,the navy sailors stationed in the Gulf in Nam were awarded claims for AO. No direct exposure!!!

  11. Who cares wether the lady can spell she needs help jerk.

  12. BArry W.Sellmeyer says:

    I personelly know of the VA bean counters delay for the Blue Water Vietnam Vets over 100,000 denied victims of this same game. My fight has been over 10 years hopefully it will be settled someday and not with a funeral. The VA care is great but getting their is the real fight of your Life. Barry W. Sellmeyer VF-151 USS Coral Sea 1969-70 westpac Gulf of tonkin

    • Barry sorry to hear that the VA is treating you like all the rest of us BWN , I was in the Tonkin Gulf in 1965 abd the USS Midway with a Spad Squadron , 2 of our guys shot down a mig 17 – I was discharged 4 months late due to an unwanted extension of my enlistment. about 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma , when I got well enough I entered a claim thru the American Leigons service rep. it was denighed. I called the A L & they told me that they were no longer doing that & all my paper work had been destroyed , more reciently I was diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer -I have not filed on that as I don't think it would do much good ! In regards to the blurb put out by MTT the spell check freek , I say why don't you go join the teachers union and leave us to our own devices -you wouldn't happen to work for the VA would you ! It would be just like them to put some shit disterber in here to harrass the sick & dieing – regards Bob

  13. I am a Korean era vet. It took me nearly 15 years to obtain my 100% service connected disability rating after initially getting a 10% NSC rating. God Bless the DAV who tirelessly assisted me through three appeals which finally was resolved by transferring the case away from the Houston office to Cleveland where it was finally resolved. We were finally able to obtain the Inchon Hospital and surgical records (water stained) plus an evaluation by a contracted private physician and three va physicians. I might add that all of them agreed in their evaluations.

  14. Passing By says:

    Listen to her words, MTT. It's very obvious what the problem is.

    Remember, you yourself must maintain a certain level of etiquette.

    Looking stupid usually requires a judgement from an outside source, to "point it out", sometimes, in an unfriendly manner, thus standing on their judgement to inflict a punishment of their own decision. This means "just lighten up" to the plainness of the verbage and react to the details.

  15. It's time to close all VA hospitals and clinics and let all veterans go to the doctors of their choice and let it get paid for out of a Medicare-type system. No more extra overhead from all the building maintenance, plus we'd wipe out a bunch of these no-good paper-pushing deniers. Let real doctors make the determination of how service related the disability is.

  16. Im a Vietnam Vet and just because I wasnt on land I couldnt get Agent Orange, Ive been fighting the Va since 2004. It got to St. Louis, Mo. Sat down there for 6yrs And i got a good service officer and he had my records to Washington D.C. Court of appeals and the next 6 months it was through gave to the judge and waitng to hear something. I have pherial neuropathy, disk dease, skin caner, hearing loss just got 10 percent. My name is Dennis

  17. chester baccellia says:

    ok guys sorry i dont have any good news for u on the contrary its just the opposite its ur worse nightmare i was in chu lai vietnam from 1966 to 1968 in 1967 we were getting mortared i was on a f4b phantom air strip as i worked in heavy ordnance (loading bombs on planes) it was raining it was getting dark i my fellow marines were all trying to get away from the planes and bombs i jumped on a crane and hooked up 3 trailers of 500 lb bombs thats 18 500 lb bombs i took them to the bomb dump where we store them when i got there i unhooked the trailers from the crane unknowingly the emergency brake didnt work the crane rolled back on me and crushed me i woke up in sickbay it was crowded they sent me home loaded on pain killers im still fighting and getting denied ive been paying chiropracters and massueses all this time since 1968 they wont give me my bronze star or purple heart oranything else when i got out i had to work and was unable to fight them now im a disabled retired veteran trying to live off social sec.

  18. chester baccellia says:

    now i have plenty of time and its still difficult to get anything accomplished (very time consuming) im working with amvets at the va hospital in reno nv they want me to prove i was in nam and give them names dates etc fortunately i have my med rec and entries by the drs at sickbay in chu lai i didnt get my dd214 until 25 yrs after i got out i didnt know that i wasnt awarded the purple heart or bronze star until then i can write u all night about the problems ive had since i started trying to get what is rightfully mine now i have severe back problems and am getting ready for back surgery i also have had leg surgery already i have fragments floating around and now i have a pinched nerve in my back i havent been able to work so i retired early and man did i get hurt financially for that i still have 2 school kids to take care of HELP if u can

  19. 2429019 says:

    I am a Vietnam USMC combat Vet stationed at the DMZ in 1969 the VA has conceeded that I have been exposed to AO and they conceeded that I was in combat because I was awarded the combat action ribbion however I have had 3 VA doctors and 3 private doctors who agree that I have PTSD DSM IV since returning home in 1970 in addition to other medical problems related to AO since april 2000 at the advice of my VA primary doctor to apply for disability I did file and after 8 years and 3 denials later I got an atty in 2008 and i am still waiting for a decision from the VA it has now been 10 years and eleven months and i am still waiting on a VA decision that will be favorable to me on my claim and I wont stop untill i get the VA to approve my claim then I can get my child who has an unknown lung problem with no known cure due to AO since child hood but I can not get her help from the VA until i recieve of at least 30% rating so see you can never give up fighting the VA until you win or die keep the fight going untill you when your benifits fro the VA
    Semper Fi

  20. WarVet3 says:

    The VA , which is run by mostly non-veterans, has not changed in all these years I and my brother combat veterans have had to deal with them. They just say all the right things but screw the veterans every chance they get. Case in point, brother veteran who I served with, injuried his feet on active duty 2 times. Injuried his feet countless times on reserve duty. Files a claim, all paperwork and medical records asked for are sent in the proper time. Has him go to VA for "look over" by a doctor he has never seen at VA before. Doctor says in his statement "injury may or may not have been caused while in service" . Not one word in medical terms, nothing about the xray results, VA says no to benifits. He files to have case appeal with help of VFW officer. They sent him up with another "outside" doctor at VA to look at hsi feet again.
    Case is now headed into its third year. Nothing has changed. They want him to either give up fighting or die. Nothing has changed, the VA does not give a crap. They have and always will act like the veterans are taking this money out of their pocket.

  21. Frank Bowers says:

    A lot of sad stories. The saddest is the one complaining about some of the spelling. Some of the men did not come up with a computer and spell check to aid their efficiency so for those who complain you have to learn to live with it or change channels.
    Now to get on with the fact i wish to say I was finally discharged in 63 after being told it would take over 3 or 4 months for them to complete my disability claim of 100%.. I would be required to apply when I got home so I move to Houston, Tx. There i started, the year mid 1963, finally in 1998 I got 20% and then in 2005 a full 100%. The reason is they kept loosing my papers or claims. I was told in Waco, Tx if I was to find any of the prior claims that had been lost they would back date my claim to that date. I found one about 6 months back and when to Waco, Tx and turned it in. A few weeks later they, The VA, informed me my 100% would be discontinued if I pursued this prior claim and I had no recourse so as one can imagine I dropped it but it will in the end cost me over 50,000.
    Frank Bowers, FIC, 100% 6/1955-6/1963

    • Yes Frank your's is not unique. In the real world I think it is called blackmail. My husband was cheated out of thousands of dollars when he finally go this 100% too.

  22. they know how to stall and hope you give up.I have a repeal that has been in since 2009,get a note back ever so often that its still in review process.called the 1800 and was told its just like going to the super market,once you get in the checkout line have to wait till its your turn,what a bunch of crap.think they hope you will die,and never hear from you again.

  23. I am a CSO and have done many claims over the last 10 years. My main comment is I believe when you are a Vietnam Vet the VA red flags you. In 2005 and 2006 the VA has paid themselves in bonuses 2.5 million dollars for doing a good job. What a joke. I will admit I have had a few claims that have been dealt with timely but on the whole it’s outrageous. I have worked with Veterans from all areas and it seems like you have to be terminal from AO before they will rate your claim. I also believe the personel working for the VA should be former Veterans who at least know what the termanology and not have to ask what this or that means when considering your claim. Don’t let the VA tell you you can’t get compensated for both TBI and PTSD at the same time they are 2 different issues. I could go on and on with horror stories but the end result is we need start making the VA accountable with the waste of money and if you can’t get any results CALL YOUR COMGRESSMAN and SENATORS and get them involved. If we all stand together and protest nation wide we will get results. If I can be of any help let me know.

  24. I am married to a CSO who really cares for his clients and I watch him get stressed because the VA makes the stupidest mistakes. I would like to say one thing to the women of our Veterans get out there NOW and learn what you need to know about benefits after your Veteran has died. I can’t stress enough that cause of death on the death certificate has everything to do with whether you can get DIC or not. If you don’t want to have to fight for years to get what you deserve find out what you need to have ready upon his death. Know that the VA will take the last months check back and it’s up to you to prove they shouldn’t have. Not all your service organizations are up on womens benefits so keep looking. If you really want to know the waste that goes on in the VA see if you can take a tour of your local VA facility. Have them show you the process your claim will go through before it is awarded. You will be amazed. Lastly DON’T GIVE UP that is what they want you to do. If your need your elected officials get them involved it makes the VA nervous.

  25. M.P. Smith II says:

    The fundamental problem with the VA and other FEDERAL government institutions is that Federal CIVILIAN employess are paid under the Personnel Demonstration Payroll Project. The GS/WG structure, similar to the military service pay system, was abandoned many years ago in favor of this new "Pay for Play" salary system. That is why VA Senior Executive Service civilian personnel have their junior managers turn down a vet's claim. If they save money on their Congressionally authorized budgets, they get a "salary bonus" at the end of the FEDERAL fiscal year (i.e., 30 September). Our elected representatives think they are "helping veterans" everytime they pass legislation, but the FEDERAL CIVILIAN Department of Veterans Affairs Executives are "lining their pockets" with bonuses every fiscal year.
    And, retired Army General Eric Shinseki has done nothing to correct this. All he has to do is opt the VA out of this "Pay for Play" CIVILIAN payroll system and his Congressionally authorized funding will go to those who earned it by serving and protecting OUR country.

  26. Miikeydog69 says:

    The VA is nothing more than a comic book fully of shadey viliants waiting to say no no no. Just try to call and check on your claim all one gets is a recording I have yet been able to speak to anyone. Mr. President appoints a yes man to the VA the top position all he has done is make promises after promises we are all still waiting! Funny as hell we do our time ser vicing our country and our country just turns their back to us. America has the Tea Party, I guess it time for us to ralley and start our own Tea Party against the VA.

  27. reconmarine says:

    Obviously you have no empathy for these sick veterans, some of them probally never touched a computer but felt what they had to say was important to them and therefore they do not need your negative comments about their spelling, maybe they had brain trauma, you don't know. What sounds stupid is you for not showing some empathy for this veteran. Why don't you direct some useful response to the VA there is where the problem is! Freakin Jerk

    Nam Vet

  28. JOSEPH DIGGS says:


  29. DAVID PRIEST says:


  30. DAVID PRIEST says:


  31. what all this points to is the va sucks. I've been in the system since 2005 and all I get is that its' still being looked at. I know a vet who was in the navy set foot on the ground once and is drawing his 100% and to me thats' BS i don't understand how he did it or how the va decides who gets what!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. hope ek says:

    what am i going to do my va work study job got disaprovde and i still going to school full time with no income plus they denide me my extension on my gi bill chapter 30 it stop on jan21 2010. i been still going to school to become more of a dependent to my kid know its may 11 2011 am thinking i cant pay for school or my bills now i gotta move in two months so theres my dream crush right in front of my eyes where do i turn know

  33. Emmett Bryant says:

    Seems like the VA stands for vote against the vet! The fights are long and tiresome can be very taxing and if you have a claim or appeal if you die before anything is decided you lose and your family does also. They make sure that you spend the rest of your life fighting for what you deserve and they put your family through hell also in the process. The vets after Vietnam were all volunteers meaning that we said ok we know the risks and to hell with it you don't have to worry about me after i get out! I am unshakeable in my honor of a vet or a troop we are all family is how i see it. We need to do something march on Washington and the regional offices. They do their little stand downs on veterans day nice jester but whats that doing for the everyday vet that is trying like hell to survive day to day been 20 years since the first gulf war where are the generals that were there hummm lets see they are what retired getting a great pension writing books getting more money good for them but they forgot the peons who made them who they are Stormin Norman was a man I really looked up to motivated me made me proud then turned his back on all of us! I feel for the vets now coming back from the wars now the VA hospitals are full of them I look and wonder and say to myself there is a 20 something year old right there his life is in shambles and his fight just started because he survived the war he was in. Sometimes i cancel my appointments because i fill like i am holding a spot that maybe someone else needs more thats the buddy system still at work in my mind.

  34. Luis Torres says:

    I was in Vietnam during 68-69, in the middle of my tour I came home, and during that time my wife conceived our first son. At the age of nine my son was diagnosed with Lupus the lupus affected his kidneys, and at twenty one my son suffered end stage renal failure, he did ten years of dailysis and two failed transplants. His brother donated a kidney in 2000 and my son had ten wonderful years. He is a 7th grade math teacher. Early this year we were all shattered when he was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer. I don't know what the future holds for my son, but I have made inquiries at the VA to see if my son's lupus was related to agent orange and I never received a response.

    • TonyM1972 says:

      I am an Agent Orange, Vietnam veteran rated at 40% disable because of Agent Orange exposure.
      Check with the local VFW who can point out the proper government office to pursue the issue.

  35. ROBERT CALL says:


    • I have to agree with you, It is a shame that men and women put their lives on the line and have to fight for their benefits!!


    • David Davis says:

      As veterans we should have been smart enough to join the clinton's as draft dodgers and free loaders. I think every American belongs laying down their guns and coming home. Let Americans defend America instead of fighting for what Congress and the President want to fight for. After all they can't get along with each other and make some decisions so they probably started all this crap. If we only knew the real truth???????

  36. I was awarded service connected benefits in May 2011, it has been 9 long years it's the end of August and I'm still waiting on a rating letter. Do anyone know how long it takes to get a rating letter.

    • County, call or get in touch with your Regional Veterans Administration Office to get your Award Letter (rating letter) you need this for some things that you may need from fishing lic. to home purchase…


  37. Sorry I click the wrong area.
    I was tod it could take up to five months more, but maybe just four. It is not the same at all VA offices. It is where you live.

    • David Davis says:


      Don't believe a word they tell ya buddy!!! If they tell you it's raining outside make sure you check first cause they are first class liars!!!!

  38. mike moomey says:

    I'm rated at 100% for ptsd and 20% for diabetes they say I got from agent orange plus 10% for the ringing in my ears and another 20% on each leg. I was told yesterday that I will no longer be getting my glouse strips from the VA. What else are they wanting to take away. I read on the internet they want to take away my benefits for ptsd. If they take away the medication that has saved me from suciside, what is my next move. I don't want to go back to where I was scared to look out my back door because it's a wooded area and I used to see things at first light. I'm not going to move after I was seen by my doctor where he treated me for my ptsd and I live about 85% like I was before Vietnam. I enjoy life a lot better than when I came home and while changing planes in San Francisco a female spit at me then screamed " why did I get to come home alive while her son didn't?" I still have no answer for her or the other 58,148 that didn't come home alive. I don't want to live if I have to go back to that, and I think if it comes to that I will take a couple senators with me. That sounds fair to me. what do you think?

    • Mike
      Never believe anything you hear and only half of what you see. get the facts from the source. As for that woman I think she was a permanent fixture At SFO for several years, I saw her twice yelling a military going to and from the airline gates. 1-800-827-1000

  39. I have got­ten pneu­mo­nia numer­ous times and have been tested and diag­nosed with Lupus. I’m cur­rently in the appeal process. It’s very dis­cour­ag­ing. You sign your life on that dot­ted line and become a num­ber. I tried to check sta­tus with the board today and they still don’t have my appeal; even­though I jumped through all their hoops, 6 months later they don’t even have my claim. I hope all the dis­abled vets get what they deserve for offer­ing their life to our coun­try. It took 9/11 for me to finally not hate any­more.

    • David Davis says:


      I have been stuck on the Hamster wheel for 8 years now just hold on it's a long ride. Sit back, watch the wheel turn just don't give up cause I think shortly maybe sooner than many of us think the whole stinkin corrupt mess is going to come down on those that are supposedly in charge.

  40. My Dear Friends,

    The V.A. spends 75% of its money trying its hardest to deny veterans their benefits. Truly, they are not in the Veteran Care business but rather they are in the Veteran Denial Business. It is well known that if THEY loose your Medical records (And you dont have certified copies, then you are out of luck, (DENIED!). They do this a lot and I believe they should be broken up and their assets distributed to other agencies, then, have us Veterans be able to go to local doctors and just have it paid by the Govt. Saves lots of "Administration" and Our Vets get the care as soon as they need it (Not years later after its gotten worse). Yes The V.A. Sucks! Break them up and give their assets to an agency that deserves it!

    Your Obt. Svt.
    Col. Korn,
    Chief O' Mayhem in the Great WW2,
    Now Chief O' Sanitation an Security an the Complaint Dept,
    OXOjamm Studios.

    • David Davis says:

      Alright Col Korn!!!! Too bad your opinion doesn't count with the VA. They are rotten way down past any core. Is that correct or should it be any corp?

  41. I'm new to this posting…..however, even though I may not write well or very good, I can tell when some veteran needs some help. Perhaps you need help!… seem to be a self righteous, unfeeling jerk!

    • David Davis says:

      jerks can be classified toooooo. Asshole 1 and Asshole tooooo. oh man two is the number but who is counting when it comes to jerks.

  42. This same sys­tem would allow other excep­tions to the rules estab­lish­ing time lim­its for jus­ti­fi­able rea­sons. Thus, any dead­line for vet­er­ans’ claims is no longer absolute, depend­ing on the situation.

  43. The best is when you get denied and in the explanation they state that although it is cited numerous times in your medical records for similar complaints, treatments, and diagnosis there is not enough evidence to present a persistent problem connected while in service. I love that I have it for three of my claimed items. Wow yeah its in your records but ummmmmmm well you only complained about it 12 times in four years so ummmmm yeah thats not enough complaints. LOL. Thanks for your help VA, now how about you go F yourself instead of me.

    • David Davis says:

      The VA has a lot of jerks that read law books all day long. They investigate ways of making it legal to disregard any positive evidence. They hire morons that feel that money in their pocket is worth shafting any veteran they can with writing some bogus medical opinion and rejecting your evidence and own doctors opinions. I personally think this agency needs to be dismantled and at the same time we need to get it out of the Presidents control. Cause he really no matter who is in the position is not going to let anyone take his cut of the billions of dollars that are at stake here. I thing the whole process is founded on a covert corruption scheme that awards employees for denying claims and puts more money in their pockets and at the same time seemingly congresses.

  44. Joseph James says:

    My claim was denied after 8 months of wrangling and faxing to the Tiger Team which is supposed to assist older vets. Then it was denied and now it is in the appeals process for almost one year. American Legion does nothing for vets. They wouldn't even help with the form telling me theydont have time and I should fill it out and they wil forward it. Everytime I call them I get the same runaround I get from the VA. I have recently had a heart attack so I guess I wil be out of their hair pretty soon.

    • You need MEDICAL OPINION from a doctors be for it go to BVA and i know some one who dose then and he doing one for me right now and the BVA do not send your charts out to the doctor who will do your medical opinion and the question they need answers to.

  45. You must work for the Veterans Administration…Your comments make you look as stupid as the following denver Mills, Jeff Jewel, Dr. Remler, Dr. Kim Haraway, Ruben Soto, J.J.Jackson, Ken Winters, Dr. Richardson, Dr. Joan Koton, Dr. Soloman, Dr. Nolan, Dr. Richardson all the nurse Rachets and other low class numbers we have to deal with. Denver Mill's and Jeff Jewel blow my mind because after the "Don't ask Don't tell" status was thrown out by Obama they were reported to be seen together in a bath house together in S.F.. I say the whole Northern California Veterans Health Care System is a big fail! Make that A BIG FAIL!

  46. NIPON GINKO says:

    Hi I was in the Tonkin Gulf for 10 months aboard an Aircraft Carrier in 1965 I was discharged in 1966 – my health was never very good after a bout with pneumonia not to long after leaving the Navy , in 2004 I came down with Multiple Myeloma (bone cancer) when I became stable enough (in remission) I applied for benefits from the V.A. thru the A .L. eventially I got a letter of rejection from the V.A. more reciently I came down with Prostrate Cancer ,thought I would see about reopening my case , called the A.L. & was told they no longer handled claims and to call the V.F.W. -I ask if my paper work had been fwd to the V.F.W. and was told no all the paper work they had for me had been dumped ! ! Now my unine tests indicate that my kidneys are not functioning very well (myeloma kidney). N.G.!!

  47. i'm wondering if anyone ever ran into a situation like i had. the hearing took a long time and i was told that if i waited until i was 62 y/o i would get 4.1 million. i was 54 and said lets play Monty Hall and make a deal. is there an appeal or anything i can do 5years from now? i'm really not counting on it but that would be 1 sweet appeal. lmbo

  48. fuck the v.a. they tried to screw me but i nailed there ass to the wall. the va would do incomplete medical evals on me and then send me letters to keep going for more evals. this went on for 4 years, but under usc. 138 i was having private doctors do evals on me using the va regs. and the va has to accept those evals if they are complete enough to be accepted so instead of going around in circles i told the va they had enough medical evidence to adjudicate my claim and if they tried to through my claim out, that i would sue the u.s. in court and the v.a. would be named as the offending government agency. under usc 126. they did not believe me, but after i filed my form 95 in federal court, asking for 5.5 million, they settled out of court by granting my claim. it took less than 2 months to get my 100% and 4 years of back compensation.

  49. hinton james says:

    received 10% higher rateing on appeal letter stated i would reveiv letter enacting benifits it has been 2 months still no money and no letter

  50. My husband is receiving compensation from the VA but wants to possibly go back into the Marine Corps. Is it possible? What would he need to do?

  51. U A ^& hole, I am a spouse and need help bad still after 11 yrs, getting nowhere, disabled housebound, have no money thanks to no DIC, do you have feelings for me and anyone else in our situation? NO, why don't u get your butt up and offer help filing and spelling! instead of putting someone down about spelling when she/he is trying to survive.I know she is crying and more afraid to ask for help due to your idiotic remark(s) that you/we don't know a lot of reasons out there why spelling, nerves, illness a disability w/ key board as me. for one contact me to help me instead of being a IDIOT u are! second thought don't contact me, u can't help if u don't understand.

  52. My husband was wounded in Vietnam May 14th of 1967. He was a Combat Medic with the 1st Bde 101st Abn Div A Co 1327 Abn Inf. He suffered several wounds that day but the main wound was a penetraing head wound and loss of part of his skull. He is in a program called the Vietnam Head Injury Study and has been since his wound. He goes back to washington D.C. every five years for the last 20 years the last being at the National Institutes of Health where a new study is starting called the War Fighters Head Injury Study because the VHIS was completed. They called his head injury a TBI and during some compensation exam he said TBI and the next thing we knew is that the VA denied him every having a head injury; all because he said TBI. He has had little or no help from the Martinez, Caliornia Medical Clinic and this is where all of his problems

  53. PHIL KINCER says:


  54. can anyone explain–to a teeee.acute and sub-acute,related to peripheral neuropathy(agent orange).i have been reading up on this for over 8yrs.and still does not sink in.just two statments out of many.
    1.i was diagnosed with this(by a va doctor and he stated no other reason this vet would have had this other than exposer toA.O.) back in early 80's.V.A. states-acute/ in the hell would we know that the pain back then was related toA.O. and report to V.A…2.also can this get worse with age?any input would be highly appreciated>thank you–Rag-Dog

  55. Tim Cunningham says:

    My problems are very similar to those already posted. So much so that it may be boring to read. I just received my rating after 20 months. However, I now have to retain a lawyer to try to receive the rating I believe is deserved and not the low rating they gave me. At the same time I am trying to see if there is any exception to the retirement pay rules for reservists. I was unlucky enough to get diagnosed with a terminal, progressive, untreatable, inoperable, and incurable brain disease in November 2011. I am now 56 years old and am asking for an exception to obtain my retired pay early considering I will not live to enjoy it if I even get to see it. I'm not actually expecting anything to come of this but thought I'd try anyway so my wife might have something. Suffice it to say I know the government has no heart and the VA is just an absolute mess. It's time to clean house but what agency of the government do you start with?

  56. I am a Vietnam Vet that was drenched twice with a defoliant and lived in a houch next to a Hella Pad which was 24/ the dirt was in everything.I went through the Agent Orange test ((all day) and after the Doctor gets through he goes this is just for our statistics and has no benefit to you.So to sum all of the things that have been happening to me,Cance Teeth that have nerves dying,Tumers heart attack etc means nothing.Thanks America,I Killed people for you.

    • Ken, write your state senator (search online). They have good power to pull strings to get you the help and pay you deserve. Thanks for serving in Vietnam… I am a female vet that never had to do things you did.. but I did have to set aside my family and children to work and deploy, and now I get the same run-around and appt-shuffle that is being seen on national news. Hopefully something will be done and we will get the care that was promised us.

  57. To solve a lot of these victims problems on claims and appeals , there is a law firm called jan dils attorney at law 304 428 8900 all they will charge you is 20% of your settlement , they only fight for vets with claims , they are helping me as we speak, my name is nick antoniolli you can mention my name , good luck

  58. Rosemary Sabatier says:

    My husband was covert in Cambodia with the 5th special forces. He was a physician there. At the end of 11 months he became comatose for approximately one month and was medivac'd out of Siagon. Supposedly his medical records were "lost" in a fire or other disaster. He suffers from PTSD, chronic depression, past alcoholism. in 1996, he began dropping things, losing his balance, shaking, writing changes, memory changes. He was evaluated by a neurologist extensively who discovered a demyelinating disorder and multiple tiny strokes in his basal ganglia. He was forced to retire from his medical practice to reduce stress related flares in the condition. When he approached VA disability, they said chronic demyelinization was not covered and it was past time to be able to file. Since that time, he went back to do a residency in psychiatry in his late 50s which was much less stressful. He finally quit practice in 2013. For all the sacrifices he made in Vietnam that affected He and his family, the government does not compensate him. Is there anything he can do to rectify this injustice?

    • Al Crawford says:

      I couldn't help but take particular notice of your husband's military history with the 5th SFG. While I only served stateside with the 7th SFG, I lost a family friend in Laos who also crossed over into Cambodia many times as well and I'm sure your husband knew him since he was with the 5th SFG too, serving with the ultra secret MACV SOG Group. His name was "David A. Davidson", but known as Babysan.

      Anyway, even if your husband's medical records were destroyed or lost, buddy letters from those who served with him can be used to substantiate VA claims, especially when medical records can not be recovered.

      However, with any VA service-connected disability claim, even with a stack of medical proof, few Veterans prevail before the VA without an appeal before the BVA or remand by the CVA. Contrary to the myth, the VA claims process is a hardened adversarial process for most Veterans. To prevail with any VA claim through Appeals, expect the entire process from date of claim, to take no less than 5 years and for many veterans, often dragging on for 10 years or even longer, but retroactive benefits are awarded for those who can survive the VA claims gauntlet and ultimately prevail.

      Nevertheless, file a claim now, because otherwise, in 5 or 10 years, you'll look back and wish you did. Once your husband's claim is denied by the VA (as the overwhelming number of claims routinely are) he is then permitted to hire an attorney (usually for just a percentage of any retro-active benefits which may be awarded.)

      Once the claim has been filed, the VA has an obligation to at least attempt to retrieve the lost medical records and make sure he asks the VA as part of the claim, to obtain your husband's military records. You will then have some idle time necessary to attempt the difficult process of networking with any surviving service members he served with for help to substantiate your husband's claims, with written statements. Even if you don't obtain the written statements before the claim is initially denied, you can still introduce such supporting states prior to or during the Appeal and by that time, you can have a lawyer assisting you too.

      By the way, as part of the VA delay gimmicks, once the claim is denied, they will offer your husband a "Reconsideration" of their denial before he proceeds with a formal Appeal before the BVA, but please don't take the VA delay bait of "Reconsideration" because my own claims for example were delayed for more than 3 additional wasted years, simply because I was fool enough to accept "Reconsideration" of my denied claims before proceeding to the backlog of appeals waiting before the BVA. Furthermore, for those who do not prevail before the BVA, there is next to no chance a Reconsideration would have been productive anyway. Even when the BVA remands claims back to a VA regional office for further development, the VA must then expedite the handling of such BVA remands, versus sitting in storage for years on end while waiting for reconsideration of a denied claim by the VA Regional Office (VARO).

      In summary, think of the VARO as nothing but a claim denial processing center designed as nothing more than a roadblock to Appeals for most Veterans.

      What you do today, will matter to you 10 years from now, so don't ever delay filing a VA Claim just because the VA wants you too!

      Be pro-active when building supportive evidence for your claim and appeal, even when you have a lawyer, because nobody cares more about your claim than you do!!!

  59. I am an Army vet that ETSed in June of 1987. After years of fighting depression, mental health issues and physical health issues that began while I was in the military, I was advised by a Veterans hospital PA to file a disability compensation claim. I am now after a year of waiting being seen for my initial claims verifications. I'm wondering if you could tell me if my claim is approved will I receive back pay? And if so, from when? If anyone can tell me this please let me know!!