Is the Disability Claims Process Broken?

The House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs latest hearing was held to determine if the current disability rating systems at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are best serving America’s veterans. For most veterans the answer is easy – they are not.

Veterans have complained for years about the VA’s disability claims backlog and confusing rating system. In fact, most veterans wait a year or more to get a low-ball rating which requires additional paperwork and time to process, essentially postponing their benefits even longer. One veteran recently told me that he was surprised to find that after waiting a year for a determination, he would not get his benefits retroactively to his date of separation or even the original claim date.

Note: There are currently more than 886,000 claims in backlog with 66 percent of them taking more than 120 days to process.

Another issue veterans complain about is that the disparity in final determinations or disability ratings between VA regional offices. Some offices are known for granting high ratings, while others have a well-earned reputation for low ratings or denied claims.

So the question isn’t whether or not there’s a problem. The question is what is Congress really going to do about it?

Last year Congress passed legislation that would move to a paperless claim submission process and retrain claims specialists in hopes of reforming the system. However, as Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Chairman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee put it, “The fact of the matter is veterans still don’t have a seamless transition. Veterans are getting stuck in the system between the bureaucracy of DoD and VA.”

According to Runyan, “the [VA disability claims] system has not been comprehensively revised since the conclusion of World War II.”

While paperless claims and retrained claim processors will help, these fixes will hardly make a difference when it comes to the issue of fairness and doing right by our disabled veterans.

According to a House press release the Committee will continue look at the recommendations of the 2007 Dole Shalala Commission and numerous other reports and studies from the past three decades to determine if the transition from DoD to VA is being conducted in a way that will ensure greater access for our veterans to the care and benefits with the least red tape and greatest efficiency.

Well, at least it’s a start…

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

84 Comments on "Is the Disability Claims Process Broken?"

  1. I retired in 1988 after 24 years with the army, and I find the comments to be true. What rating a VET get depend on where he/she places their claim. It seems to be better west of Oklahoma. I wonder can VA be fair?

  2. Damn right its broken, bad. I filed claim for ptsd in '09, was denied in two months, went to counseling for a year, appealed claim, nothing for eighteen months, I started calling to check on it, weekly, seems claim was pulled denied and mailed to me in three days, damn what service on a denial. thru the Huntington WV VA office

  3. As some one that has benn involved in all facets or VA benefits for 20 years I can tell you that there is plenty blaim to go around. Many vets file claims and then move around and VA spends lots of time "looking" for them and rescheduling exams. Managers force people to do things that are wrong based on "local" policy and there is no way to get them to stop. The courts have made the system very complicated, and on, and on. But how come we don't hear about the almost 1/4 billion dollars paid to veterans with herbicide related conditions in the last 12 months?

    There are many changes coming to the VA, but I'm not sure you are going to like them all. In the mean time find a good representative and read the correspondence. You'll be surprised how many people make their claims take longer that necessary. If you don't understand something call 1-800-827-1000 from anywhere in the USA.

  4. Henry Martin | January 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    yes, its broken bad and needs to be fix asp. i injury my arm serving in operation Iraq Freedom. file claim when got back to states in 2006. was denied for 5yrs. kept filing appeal. finally claim went to D.C. claim was approved in 2011. got back pay for 5yrs. file claim for PTSD in 2010. being going to counseling and on medication nearly 2yrs. have not heard nothing from the VA. “Yes it needs fixing bad.

  5. It's FUBAR for sure. Every few yr's. they say they're gonna' fix it,but I've not seen it get much better since I first began dealing with V.A. in 1975.
    Good luck this time. Maybe results will be better,but I ain't placing any bet!

  6. It's FUBAR for sure. Every few yr's. they say they're gonna' fix it,but I've not seen it get much better since I first began dealing with V.A. in 1975.

  7. No human organization can ever be perfect, including the VA. However, I've found that solid documentation is key to speed of decision. I've been treated fairly by both the disability and medical sides of the VA, and my life has improved immeasurably.

    Perhaps the VA should establish some sort of triage system for determining which claims need what level of immediacy. All claims are not equally urgent and some are fraudulent, exaggerated or incomplete. I also think it would be helpful for the VA Inspector General to maintain statistics on how many claims are denied or overturned due to veteran error and/or VA error and report annually to Congress and VA leadership.

  8. George Battle | January 26, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    I was a victim of kipnap and robbery VA say they don't have records I was denied benifits could someone help me please

  9. I don't understand. I was medically retired from the military in 2010. And now they say i can't collect both my retirement and VA Disability, cause of some paper the CONGRESS has passed now. So I had to apply for Social Security Disability.

  10. I am a VIETNAM Vet.The VA has done me right.It took a while,but now they do everything for me.If you have all your paper work in order and show up for you doctors.appointment's.Claims moves in a timely manner.The VA always has been there when I needed them.I am one who says I am proud to be treated at the VA. They have treated me fair.Been there for what I ever needed.Even save my life twice.Just a old Marine giving his two cents worth.

  11. I have a claim in for P T S D from Vietnam, I was denied the first time said it was filed wrong, redone with help, still waiting ,long wait for answer, even with letters from V.A. doctors, yes system is broken bad, needs alot of help

  12. This new system of a paperless claims filing is going to lead to a lot of problems in the future if allowed to be used. What evidence would you have if a piece of important is missing? No "paper trails" have been the problem with a lot of claims from the Vietnam era IMO. A lot of the troops were located in areas where medical reports were kept very well in at all leading to big problems down the road.
    This is just my opinion but I feel the VA system is ripe for corruption in the fiduciary field. This is an area where a vet that is judged to be incompetent must have a VA appointed fiduciary to handle his/her financial affairs. When a vet are "turned over" to a fiduciary large amounts of money are turned over to a total stranger that sometimes doesn't have the vets best interest in mind. Fiduciaries are entitled to 4% of all monies deposited in the vets account set up by the fiduciary. The VA doesn't have enough people in the field to monitor this system and there are many claims of corruption. Monies can easily be stolen from the vet without worry of being prosecuted due to lack of personal. We are not talking about nickels and dimes here. If a vet has a case dating back 10+ years rated at 100% that could mean an amount of close to $300,000.00 of which the VA appointed fiduciary would be entitled to a payday of $12,000.00 just for cashing a check.

    On April 26, 2011 there was a very important court decision that was made in favor of the vet facing the hells of the Fiduciary System where as the vet has the right to have a trusted family to act as his fiduciary. Though this new ruling might not be perfect it does help to eliminate corruption in the VA system where regional managers might be persuaded to assign certain cases to certain fiduciary's in hopes of a "kickback" which could amount to thousands of dollars.

    So the answer to the question is quite clear. The system is not only broken but prone to corruption as well. If you know of a vet that is facing being declared incompetent please steer him or her away from that choice if at all possible.

  13. USA_Cares_Inc | January 26, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    I work at a USA Cares, a nonprofit organization that helps post-9/ll military service members and veterans get financial assistance. We see evidence of the broken system every day! If you are waiting for a claim, you may be eligible for financial assistance for things like rent, utility bills, food, etc. Please check us out. We are here to support the service members who have given so much to us. http://www.usacares.org

  14. When you are overworked, short on staff, and pressured everyday to get an certain amount of claims done this leads to huge mistakes, don't care attitude and in the end the veterans are the ones suffering. There is no end in sight as I can see no matter what happens! Also the big one they know already is that these rating specialist some of them are bringing in their personal feelings to come into play in which I said above is a don't care attitude. If this don't get under control more and more veterans will suffer.

  15. It is broken. Vet's are having to go homeless, loss homes because the system is SO D*$# slow. I had a 5 minute exam in 1984 and got a measly 10%. Should have been close to 50% if you look at the rules that they go by. My claim has been in the works for over 9 months and there has been NO movement at all out of the St. Petersburg Regional office. Get it fixed and help the old and new vets!!!!!!

  16. My claim process was problem free, except it took 20 months. What pisses me and other soldiers off is these phony PTSD types that invent problems just to get money. That costs us all.

  17. Atlanta VARO is a cluster F&^K! it is amazing how slow and easy it is for your c-file to be lost. I just dont get it. you see all these commericals about helping vets and the place where we are suppose to get help(VA) is a complete wreck. well atleast it is better than nothing.

  18. JOSEPH DIGGS | January 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |

    BEING A RETIRED VETERAN WITH "DISABILITIES" MULTERPULE TYPES I TRY WHEN I APPROACH MY "DOCTOR" THE FIRST THING I TRY NOT TO DO IS MENTION "MONEY" I USE THE TERM BENIFITS IT SOUNDS BETTER AND IT TELLS THE DOCTOR YOU ARE TRYING TO GET SOMETHING YOU "EARNED' BY YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. I AM MORE THAN CONVINCED THAT MOST "VA. RATERS" ARE NOT VETERANS SO IT GET'S MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT. THE ANSWER THEN IN MY OPINION IS GET SOMEONE IN PLACE WHO ARE MILITARILY INCLINED OR IS ON ACTIVE DUTY,THAT WAY ALL IS DONE IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER TO GET THE CLAIMS PROCESSED EXPERDITIOUSLY AND ON TIME.

  19. Robert W. Pavlich | January 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm |

    I am a Nam Vet and have been fighting for approx. 43 years and in the last 6 years have gotten more done than all the years before. Every time I moved I had to refile, get turned down and than do it a over again. Some VA's I have been to are for the pits others are good. Hire all the vets that are about to lose thier jobs with the cutting of the brigades. Lets get it done!!!!!

  20. I too think VA is playing a game with Veterans benefits, I have CLL (Cancer) and the 9th court of Appeals in Calif. has already awarded veterans money to be paid from the time we were discharged. I've had CLL (Cancer) since 1984 and no one told me about it. I 've been to several VA hospitals and clinics, taken so many blood test and no one told me, when it was on all my medical tests when they returned to the doctors. I have been turned down from asking for back payment and I have appeal each time. I served in the USMC and did a 13 month tour of duty in VietNam. Va takes its sweet time and always deny your 1st claims.

  21. It almost always comes down to lack of access to, incomplete, inaccurate, unfindable or otherwise not complete copies of Military Personnel and Medical records, including Unit and In patient records in the hands of the veteran claiment. The burden of proof should be shifted (back) to the VA, away from the individual veteran. This would save money and lives.

  22. It's a shame that Dems and even Republicans talk a good game when it comes to Vets—but it's the first place they cut–even when they are looking to give "free" medical to free-loaders.
    Shame on Them!

  23. Richard Kath | January 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

    I filed my claim in early 1978 and it was recently remanded back to the board. Could be a record and I might contact CNN.

  24. If a claim takes over six months, a vet should be able to sue the VA and hold them accountable. (Six months means counting the weekends also, not just working days). Hire veterans to help with the backloged claims. OK, train them just like anyone else! I enlisted into the service of my country – I hope all these volenteers don't see all these comments, knowing what they are going to have to go through to get a pension or compensation. Take part of your military pension in order to get VA compensation. Talk about a rip off…Do they take part of a veterans Social Security Pension if they didn't retire from the service? Talk about an unjust, corrupt and broken down system! Things are going to change, but not for the better, bet your pension on that.

  25. preacherman | January 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    It is mind boggling to me as to why it takes so long to process a claim oh I know they have trouble keeping up with veterans claims file, mind got lost and it got mixed up with another veteran that had been incarcerated and now when I call to check on the status I have to speak with a supervisor because I am a sensitive 7. I am considering writing my congressman to see what can be done because I deseve something for there negleigence and incompetence.

  26. RVN-FMF-DOC | January 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    There are several problems;
    !. It's political. This is an election year. Don't expect much compassion. The ole boys n' gals gotta git reelected. So tighten up the belt a couple more notches.
    2. The employees doing the work are unionized, "Don't get too much done today cause we don't want to run out of work"……"or you'll get taken to the woodshed"
    3. Ever been to Washington, D.C.? Nothing moves beyoud a "slugs" pace any how.
    4. Nobody in charge thinks anything is wrong, so what is your problem?
    5. Sticky fingers, slow the award cash flow and get a raise. Stop the cash flow and get promoted beyond your ability to perform.
    and
    6. It's political!

  27. I separated from the Navy in 1986. I had a head injury while serving but took it in stride and went on with my life. I started work with the Air Force and was advised by other veterans to file a claim because I was never advised of this when I separated. I did and recieved a 10% compensation rating. This took over a year to complete. My letter states the effective date is Dec 1st, 2011. As I stated it took over a year and I have been advised by others that I should at least get compensation from when the claim was started and others have said back to my seporation date. Can someone advise me which is true.

  28. Bill Craddock | January 31, 2012 at 10:23 am |

    What can we ask for in life? I applied for disability, was told it would take six months and it did. I was told I would get back pay to the application date, and I did get that pay.

    I guess I am just lucky….. outside of the disability

  29. Richard Kath | January 31, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    Bill C.,Your the only one though.

  30. Dwight D. Cox | January 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

    I first applied for my benifits went to the contract doctors as requested and received only 20%. Not knowing what or where to turn I learned talking to other vets and learned somen things. So I reapplied to up my benifits. Again I was sent to the contract doctors and still have been waiting for 10 months for my money. Tried calling and/or e-mail to find out the status. no answer from anyone. I can not work due to the illness I have and was just notified I am going to have to move as the bank is taking my home. I thought we are to get help we need, not just do the old hurry up and wait game.

  31. I filed with the VA over two years ago, and my case is still ongoing. I was turned down and then asked to submit proof of which I did because I had copied my medical records before retiring in 1991. The records clearly state my case, but every time I call my representative he tells me its in a basket with many others and it may take them from one to two years before they get to it again. I'm 61 soon to be 62 and not in the greatest of health. I had six heart by-passes in 2004, nerve problems in both arms and my back has been a problem since 1974, and my records prove it all. So what can a person do to help get the ball moving on something like this, call their Senator?

  32. My claim went through Winston-Salem. Still trying to claim dependents and I retired in Oct 2010. The VA that works claims have a new facility and enough office space to hire 300 people. Unfortunately, they do not have the money to hire 300 employees. This is why there is a backlog. Combine that with all the Vets that are coming back from two wars and the backlog will only get longer. These guys need help now! I started the Benefits Before Discharge prgram and it was almost a year before I received first benefits. The VA folks work very hard. I am most impressed with the medical care that I have received since I retired. I am convinced that the VA is doing the best they can, with the the resources they have available and fiscal restraints. I do get frustrated when I can't talk to anyone or put on hold for 20 mins, but patience is a virtue that has elluded me, most of my life. BZ to the VA Reps that provide service to our Veterans!

  33. It took years to get my husbands and he passed before it came in. They do all they can to slow it down. It is not broken.. it is sabotaged! They go on the attitude that if they are slow the vet will give up. Many do.

  34. Terry, I filed a claim for an increase at the NYC VARO in March 2010 , Two years next month and they say they are working on it to stop calling. Almost 700 days now and counting. I have more and would like to share my story if you are interested? Thank you -Brandon M

  35. i was denied a disability claim and my personnal back doctor will not write a statement on if my injurys being military induced.. help! don,t know which way to turn.

  36. David Morales | February 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    I am a Vietnam veteran who served inland Vietnam for a year I am entitled to disablility because of agent orange Last year I found out that I have prostate cancer can some one out there tell me what the disablity rate for prostate cander is ?

  37. A REAL SHAME FOR OUR COUNTRY & MILITARY!LKWB

  38. I was in artillery in Vietnam and was denied tinnitus but the guys with me it Vietnam were granted 10%. I got 0% for hearing loss after a four years of appeals.

  39. Willard.W Hunter | March 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    Yes it is broken. I like thousands of other military retirees have to pay for our own service connected disabilities out of our retirement pay. You tell me how that is a fair. I call it discrimination. Its time that Congress fix that. I served two tours in Vietnam. I really feel sorry for our troops serving in a war zone today that are getting the same if not worse treatment.

  40. Dave Davis | March 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |

    The system isn't broken it is CORRUPTED by the President and Congress. The disability claims process has been designed to delay and deny veterans a fair adjudication of claims. When a government such as ours allows veterans to have to wait for years on end due process then we need to wake up to the fact that Henry Kissinger said that soldiers are dumb and stupid. We need to unite for a common cause it is called JUSTICE. When you serve your country and watch your fellow veterans with cancer from AO, radiation poisoning, exposure to improper vaccines, contaminated water, and yes many other cover-ups to hide the fact that our own Congress knew about the dangers that we would be exposed to and also knew that if they kept denying benefits through their antiquated laws and procedures that the VA has used for years that veterans would eventually either give up on claims or DIE. Let us open our eyes to this corruption and send a message to this congress that we will not stand for it any longer.

  41. Broken is an understatement! My AO claim was originally filed in Feb 2007..Nothing yet…

  42. Since we fought for 40 years, I'd say our Vets are not getting taken care of.

  43. This system is broke and the definition of a disability needs to be redefined. There is a problem when no one ever gets better with todays medical advancements, why do veterans never get better? they just get worse so they can get more money. This is what I see on a daily basis…and when every other veteran suffers from PTSD? veterans who were never near combat, there is a problem. It ALL COMES DOWN TO $$$$ and it is disgusting, when veterans who never were near combat file disability claims for every ache and pain and age related problems that ever occurred in service or parlay a minor problem, an ankle sprain into being to disabled to work, it is a slap in the face to the veterans this country really owes. AND please do not say veterans serve their country, ALL Americans who hold a job serve their country. The intent of the VA disability compensation problem was lost some time ago. AND please don't say veterans are heros, YES there are veterans who are heros and we as Americans owe these people, however there are many veterans who are not heros and many who are actually bad people i,e, Timothy McVeigh comes to mind . I see claims daily filed by veterans who are in prison for horrendous crimes but their rights to file VA disability claims and get compensated aren't taken away. The VA "disability" compensation is not based on real medicine and evaluation are based on an outdated rating schedule.

  44. Richard Kath | April 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

    Jen,True,So true.The system was intended to compensate those with blown off limbs in the Civil War. Now everybody and their aunt files a claim for each scratch they get and then appeals denials(’til the cows come home).

  45. The system isn’t broken. The sense of entitlement over ingrown toe nails/scars and law suits have truly stonewalled the process. Coming from a veteran… blame yourselves. For a time we couldn’t even throw away gum wrapper without multiple signatures, all because some Shiite bag filed a law suit against the VA for a laptop being stolen. Its truly sad to see people throw their vets cards out every time they don’t get what they feel like they are entitlement to. A lot of crappy characters hide behind their barley veteran status.

  46. John Mayfied | May 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

    Been trying since Oct 2009 to get disability beifits. I have a friend who is 40% disabeled spent three years in servive and gets a check each month for $610.00. I spent 22 years in service one in Vietnam and get also $610.00. Now her comes the problem . He gets a check each month but they deduct my $610.00 from my retirement. I actually receive nothing other than the $610.00 is tax deductible.What the hell is going on here. Are there any programs so us vets with less than 50% get both payments?????

  47. Terry Grant | June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    I retired in July 2006 after 26 years in the service. Claim process is rediculous, I have an appeal that was submitted in Oct 2009 that is still open and I cannot get anyone to give me an explanation of why it is taking so long. I received a 10% increase in Jan 2012 and still have not received the associated back pay. I submitted a change to dependant status adding my wife in Jan 2012 and the status in ebenefits states under review. Each time I have submitted claims I provide copies of medical records supporting my claim. Several times I have received denials stating that there was no supporting documents.
    I have yet to talk to anyone who is able to tell me anything other than what ebenefits states. I have yet to talk to anyone that could actually make something happen.

  48. Janet Darling | June 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    Broken, for sure. My husband waited a year and a half to get his rating. We had to call a Senators office to get his MEB/PEB process moving, Then AR635-40 Section II/III B-18 stated cancer with mastasis etc was automatic 100% disability rating, so Dr's, VA rep, Peblo, everyone said dont worry about writing down alot of your problems, the cancer is an automatice 100%. ( He had to fight to get them to write down things because of this regulation. ) Now as of March 20, 2012 this regulation was deleted. He got 40 % from the Army, and 70 % VA. Had the process worked, he would have 100% now. We lost 60% of his pay. Are we balancing the budget on the backs of the severly disabled, really, he is at a high risk on dying, with service connected cancer, and almost 19 years in service ( 25 or more with reserve years) We waited 1 1/2 years for this, a slap in the face, and no recourse to start over even. He has gone to JAG but I am not encouraged. In constant tears, and by the way , I moved to WA for job as I thought he would be here a year ago, he is still in TX. Does anyone care? This is just wrong.

  49. I was in a bad car wreck while stationed in Germany, I injured my back, neck and right knee. My buddy sitting next to me broke his back and had to be medivaced back to the US. I did not seek treatment and have had problems with those injuries ever since, lately more severe due to arthritis. I have buddy statements of the wreck but no records, can I file for compensation on my current Xrays and buddy statements. Thanks

  50. I have received 40% VA disability since getting out of the service in 1982. Since that time, I had non hogkins lymphoma, stage IV which almost killed me in 2009. While looking, I discovered that the base that I was stationed at, Andrews AFB in Maryland was on the Superfund List and I was not told while there for my duty station but found out that I was exposed to alot of different chemicals to include agent orange and asbestos. It had been 2 years since I first filled out to increase my disability rating. I just got the ratings last week and they said that there were "no such chemicals" but yet I have all the proof. I even went so far in contacting Senator Nelson's office but that went no-where. My service rep was the American Legion but they did nothing for me. My time to go get an attorney to fight them.

  51. I was injured in Peacetime and worked in the civilian world from 1981-2007. I was making $60,000.00 per year and gave it up due to pain etc. all related to my original military injury. I had a QTC appointment in 2009 where the Doctor stated I could not work anymore. Of course the VA does not read anything and leave it up to the Veteran. I contacted my state Senator and local Congressman and every time I call the VA I am told since I am a "congressional Interest" case, my files have been put on hold. I even had a VA Doctor fill out a 3 page form for Social Security Disability and have been receiving disability payments for 2 years now based on the same information the VA has.
    This is a game the VA likes to play. The longer they can put you off, the more interest they earn on what you would of gotten plus they want you to go back to work, no matter what is wrong with you.
    Thank you to the VA & Congress & The President for the lack of dealing with the backwards VA.

  52. Waiting too long | July 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    I filled in 2002, and have gone back and forth with the VA for over 10 years now. Still not resolved. I have not worked since 2001, I'm on SS disability, and have been since 2002. Tha VA has doled out 10% here, and 20% there. It all helps, but I should be on unemployability. I go through the Houston office, and they have been so slow, I've had to be reexamined because it had been "to long" since last exam. ( almost 5 years) This whole thing has been a nightmare. I wish I had not been hurt, and discharged because of my injuries, maybe I could have retired, and be working in the private sector now!!!

  53. In '96 a rapelling accident out of a helicopter tore up my shoulder. I had surgery in '98 that took most of the good stuff out of my shoulder. It took the Army so long to fix me, the ligaments had eaten into the bones and the muscle had atrophied.
    The VA gave me service connection with 0% on my shoulder. They did this because of the scar and only the scar. They had no consideration for the actual surgery, or what I had lost from it. The did not take into consideration the pain I experience, or the weakness I have in my dominant arm. I appealed the decision and they kept it at , "scar 0%." They were just worried about the friggin scar and not what was done to me, or how it affected me.
    This is the VA system and it is broken beyond repair.

  54. I have been reading alot of these posts here & I can say I feel for each one of you fighting the system and feel lost.
    What I have done is stayed on top of the VA & the DAV via phone to assure they both have my papers, doctor notes etc get to them. The DAV will send you a confirmation letter on what you sent, so keep a paper trail always.
    Never give up and eventually you will get what you are asking for. I filed a claim in 2007, because I could no longer work. In 2008 I got denied, so filed for IU-Individual Unemployment. The VA in either case sends you to QTC appointments, so make sure you go. And make sure the Doctors there know what you are dealing with.
    Keep on calling your representative organization, DAV etc. & the VA 800-827-1000. I even went up to a Senator & Congressman, which can push your claim up.
    Never give up & eventually you will win. Just like Social Security, the VA likes to stall your claim , hoping you will give up. Never give up!

  55. What crap!! The va system is like the political system Fubar'd .. you help me and I'll help you ,,we both get rich and to hell with the veterans.there is no way any veteran should wait on a claim for as long as I have, 17 months.
    my claim laid somewhere for 8 months before they even claimed they got it.
    I've heard all the excuses that I care to hear. Somebody needs to held accountable for the terrible inefficient way the VA works. If it took 17 months for me to finish a project for an emplpoyer,, I'd be fired and so would my BOSS.
    Come on people get it together

  56. john c.fisher | August 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    I just retired on 2012/04/26…from the US.ARMY OHIO NATIONAL GUARD,and my first claim was file back in 2005. However,since then i refile my claim for 2009-2010…in regards to my PTSD, back injury in the line duty! They always say leave no one behind. Well when the DOD send you orders to go 9000 mile's away to fight in a war an come back ***** up can you help me show me the money. S.SGT.JOHN CLAYTON FISHER,RETIRED.

  57. Hi
    I was rated 90% but here are my issues. I applied for unemployabilityt was denied. I have been unemployed and on ssdi since 08. Applied for TBI due to memory issues and was told its due to caffeine addiction not the 2 bombs I hit. Lastly, I wassn for sleep apnea and was told I have seizures while I was sleeping. SSI test andtstatedave seizures. Va pue on meds but stated that I do not have seizurees put me on seizure medication which I am still taken.

  58. I was rated 90%. Placed on ssdi and unable to manage finances but was denied tdui. SSI stated I have seizures after a va sleep apnea test but was denied compensation but giving medication monthly ( that’s like giving a person with a bad heart red bull and viagra shots twice a day)If I do not have seizures why keep me on meds. Also they stated that my memory problems were due to caffeine addiction. I was blown up twice and received 2 purple hearts. It’s not about the money in my case bcuz I am well off trust me and the last time I checked you don’t get rich collecting disability. Do what’s right and stop the bull*@$# ratings.

  59. What ever happened to the 25 percent increase for fixing the percentage system with today's cost of living I know it was approved then a senator put a hold on it.

    WHAT HAPPEN TO IT. ROY C.LINDER
    23332787

  60. I am a 100% TDIU veteran. I received my rating on December 25th of last year (2011). I am very grateful that after a 26 month wait I was granted my rating. However, the retroactive date that I was paid was one year and eight months short of the claim date.

    At this point my representative states that it will be another 24 months (from January 2012) until my NOD is reviewed and evaluated for the retroactive pay that was originally due.

    I know this sounds trivial since I am already receiving benefits at 100% but the rules and what happened don't jive. Anyone else in the same boat?

  61. philip kent | October 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    what needs to happen at the VA is they need to fire a few dozen of there incompetent people and then start kicking some but. im almost into my 6th year of fighting my claims and even though i am at 70 percent because of the VA math its only about 40 percent of what 100 percent pays. its sad that veterans are put through this. they keep saying most claims are resolved in 125 days, yeah right.

  62. Charles Taylor | October 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

    Yes, I just got my first C & P exam this july 5 and my claim was submitted in 1998, had been waiting for 14 years because they lost my medical records and when I sent my addition support material (event of a plane collition) that put me in the hostipal for 14 days. they told me they couldn't wait to see it ( 1 day) so they jude me with out the proof of the accidited, Charles good luck to you all

  63. BTW, I filed a Compensation caim 02/24/2012 and they tell me that estimated completion date is, "08/23/2012 to 01/27/2013." Why would i even think this would happen if it taken a year to put in system that I am married? Makes me fell helpless and depressed.

  64. Had big problem with the system from day one. Finally got a rating and they approved it at the single Vet rate. My approval was last day of Feb.,2012. I took my Marriage license to them on 03/01/2012. Mind you I been married forever and all of my paperwork reflects that. The estimated completion date of 05/06/2012 was given me. Sept 27th I recieved this notice, " The estimated completion date of 05/06/2012 is past due we are still working your claim." Hmmm, that was a waste of time. I knew that. Why not tell me when it will be completed. This is kind of late to tell me that they are late. Been like this forever!!!! What are we to do??

  65. Can someone tell me is this right, you it goes. I received a rating back in Dec 2011, the claim was dated for May 2010, so ok, you get your retro pay. Well just received something from the VA on18 Oct 2012. Now i know I had to pay back my separation pay that I received back in June 1992. Va took all of the money back be before taxes was taking out. I was under the impression that VA was going to take back what I actually received after taxes. I need to know if VA did the right thing or not. How can VA take back something that I never received, that just like the IRS, making you pay taxes twice on the same money. Please help.

  66. Philip V. Bulone | October 25, 2012 at 9:24 am |

    I'm a Vietnam Veteran receiving VA service connected disability. It took several years to get approved and now the condition has gotten worse I filed for an increase in percentage in July 2011. I was sent for 2 new C&P evaluations and received copies both of which stated my condition has worsened. I was told six months for a decision. It's nearly 1 year since the C&P and the 800 number tells me my cliam hasn't moved. It's frustrating to know that someone applying for welfare, medicade and other government entitlements get them much faster than a veteran's claim. So how long do we have to wait? Or, is the VA waiting for Vietnam Vets to die so they can close the case.

  67. Anyone interested in a Class Acton Law Suit to get the VA to make decisions on disablity claims? I have a claim from 2010, with still not decision? Honestly, I did not know what I was doing and my first claim I put in was in 2004. Must vets die before anyone is willing to help? If is very frustrating and depressing to get up the nerve to ask for help, just to be put on hold for years!!! I served 20 years in the Army, serving my country, spent a year in Iraq. I have many "Undiagnosed Illnesses of Gulf War Vets", listed on VA.Gov own web site, yet NO action from the VA. We serve our country, but our govement lets us down.

  68. I hear the easiest state to file your claim in with a quick response is Alabama. It only took two months for a friend of ours from the time he filed until the time he got his approval.

  69. wesley white | February 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

    i had a stroke on xmas,was unconcious.i was taken to a none va hosp,so the va wont help pay the bill.the va seems to care more for pets than vets!!!! nor have i recieved any more treatment for my condition.

  70. Looking for anyone who filed a claim with the VA for CLL that served on a nuclear submarine

  71. i submitted a claim on 2 september 2011, still no response. when i submitted my claim i told them they the majority of them were not qualified to rate us cuz they have never been in the military and have no clue about anything. all they do is go by a list and if you don't fall within one of their subjects on that list you are not qualified for any disability. i literally told them that they could do whatever they wanted and for all i care they can shove it where the sun doesnt' shine. i am sure it will be disapproved.

  72. I have been gong back and forth with my VA claim since June 2010 and everytime I call that 1-800-827-1000, the VA rep can only tell me that my paperwork is pending. I have the DAV representing me and they basically tell me the samething as the 1-800-827-1000 number. What can I do? It has been 2 1/2 years and I provided all requested documents initially and I'm still waiting. REALLY….The government does not care about the Veterans.

  73. I was in the marine corp. While in boot camp i injured my back. I finished boot camp with my injury. At my next duty station, i had back surgery. I remianed in the service to complete my 4 year obligation. I searved overseas including Vietnam for a year. While i was still in i always had back pain even after surgery. I applied for disabity when i got out. they awarded me 10% disability.
    After being out for 8 years I decided to join the seabee reserves. I searved a total of 25 years between active and researve. My disability has increased to 40%. I was told that I cannot collect Disability and pension at the same time. What does one have to do with the other. I searved my country proudly and in pain at times. I feel they are screwing me out of my pension. If someone can help or advize me I would greatly appreaciate it. Maybe its time for me to see an attorney and fight this thing

  74. James Knopp | June 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

    The VA in not only broken, they have a bunch of incompetent doctors reviewing the C&P medical records. When I went in for an exam to have my benefits, he took every bit of 10 minutes with me and asked me only two questions. After waiting a year and a half I finally got a determination stating they could not prove my worsening back condition was the result of my service connected disability, although the VA wanted to fuse my entire lumbar spine and I had several other doctors examination reports. And please, don't waste your time with the DAV. they're useless also, tying up my claim for most of a year. They also never answer their phone also. I think the VA is thinking all of us Viet Nam era vets will be gone soon if they drag their feet.

  75. matthew williams | October 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

    I filed my claim with the VA in 2010,the doctor that checked me out ,I must say was some what aged.he ask me three questions,not one of which was about my cancer.Being my first time doing this,I was very confused about the entire process.and more confused about why it's taken so long to be process.

  76. I am a Nam combat vet. Contacted malaria which led to kidney disease that led to kidney failure. 1 1/2 years on dialysis. Kidney transplant failed after 5 years. Another transplant which is still functional. Now have prostate cancer(terminal). All of this cost me 2 kidneys, my brother a kidney(donated one for transplant which failed) ! prostate and loss , any semblance of a man(hormone therapy) Also cost me my profession as fiirefighter..I started the va claim process in 1975. Finally awarded 100% in 2002. Was a long and overly hard fight. I would pay back all money I have received 10 fold if I could have my kidneys and prostate back along with my career. Yes, va is broken.

  77. You know it doesn't matter how fast they get the claims processed or how many are digital, if they still give the wrong disability determinations. They deny, deny, deny and then deny again. That seems to be the case in the Atlanta Regional Office. Maybe the money went for all the bonuses for the Executives of the VA and VA Regional Offices. It appears that there is plenty of money available for $100 million dollars for conferences for a year, but not enough to give us the correct disability ratings we unfortunately earned. It is incredible that they just don't care. The incompetence of the records examiners missing serious diseases in your medical records that the Army as well as the VA didn't bother to tell me about or even treat me! How can they get away with it? They say it isn't "service-connected" when I know it is, but say it isn't, then they at least could have told me and treated me, right? Wrong. I find out over a decade later that I have it and could have died from it, but they both refuse to do anything about it. Well, I am sick and tired of the crappy determinations they make. The examiner could be someone who has a high-school education, has no disability, was never in the military, never served in a combat zone and has absolutely no professional medical training. This is one of the big reasons that our determinations suck so bad. I asked for the statistics of the examiners as far as training, education, experience, veteran's status, etc., just the numbers, but the VA flat out said NO!!! Imagine that. I tried a FOIA, but even that didn't work, so I am figuring if they don't want to give it to me, then there must be a problem otherwise, why can't I have the info??? Guess I am going to have to take all my medical records and put them in a wagon and go down to CNN and see if someone will do a story on what is going on. I wonder if even that would work. I am sick and tired, sick and tired, sick and tired of the VA just denying claims because they want to and can. They have no regard for the Veteran and are not interested in helping us get the right ratings and grudgingly after years, give you a small percentage. They act like it is their money, and want to continually deny us and keep the money expenditures down. When are we going to get some relief? When are we going to get some people with a spine in the VA that will fix these problems? It is painfully obvious that the VA isn't going to do it, the Veteran Service Organizations aren't going to do it, our politicians aren't going to do it, so what's left? I guess it will just have to be public humiliation that might just do the trick. Anyone agree or disagree. What is the SOLUTION????

  78. Yes its broken and need a major Over haul ASAP.

    It may be here but I got tired of looking.

    Please tell me why Does the VA treat Reserve Military as though they do not exist when it comes to disability? Their Regs refer only to Active duty. Reservist complete IDT, AIT, ADSW, ANNUAL TRANING. Almost All conducted on orders. They have accidents and get hurt during these training days. those that know better get LOD's to cover them, and most of the time are told to file it as a claim with VA. Only to be Denied disability by the VA because they claim it did not happen on active duty. Every time a Military Member puts on a Uniform and report for duty they should be covered. Military members get Disability from the DOD and VA denies it all. How can this be when the Army says the issues did not exist prior to service and was aggravated by service? How can a Line of Duty not be Service connected when it happened while on duty? Please make me understand this or tell me where to post it.

  79. Richard Kath | April 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

    The VA is a fairly new administration -what 8-9 decades. As any organization , you learn more as time and experience take place. The VA just recently figured out the correct spelling of denied. Have patients these new devises that do some auto spelling should help.(in our lifetime !!!)

  80. No, It's in perfectly working order#1

  81. SGT.E5 CROSS | May 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm |

    I AM VIETNAM VET WITH PURPLE HEART.I DIDNT KNOW A THING ABOUT PTSD UNTIL 2000 I THEN WENT TO DUBLIN VA.THE FIRST DAY I WAS THERE I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD AND AWARDED 30% I HAVE TRIED NOW FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS TO GET THE RATEING CHANGED I HAVE SEEN MULTIPLE DIFFERENT DRS.FROM DUBLIN AND AUGUSTA AND ATLANTA AND IM STILL BATTLING NOW ITS A NEVER ENDING FIGHT I DONT KNOW WHERE TO TURN NEXT IT SEEMS THAT A FEW PEOPLE INSIDE THE VA WANT TO HELP BUT WE ARE WAY WAY OUTNUMBERED THANKS FOR LISTENING

  82. benfits for vet is far from broken, It is a mess the right hand and left hand are lost,they send your claim to other offices in another state you get benfits then it goes back to state you went to and they have no clue you are getting anything.do the paper work all over again.

  83. I was drafted in Army, at the age of 18 teen in 1968 to 1970, during my training in World War 11. I was hit in the head with a but of a gun, it causes my hearing to go away. I also saw a person get killed, and I tried to kill my wife three time, I did not know what I was doing, until she said something is wrong with me. she made a appointment for me at the VA clinic they told me I suffer with PTSD there was other issue, they issue me some hear aid. They always say we thank the Vet for serving, they never help them. But they want them to go to war. when everything is said and done. who is going to help the Vet when they need help.

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