VA Changes Policy On Handling Disability Claims From "New Vets"
But, new policy or old, Jim Strickland says it's just more of the VA "Hamster Wheel."
02.20.09


I receive quite a few emails from older veterans who decry that younger ones may cut ahead of them in the endless line to secure earned VA benefits.

There is a policy that allows more recent veterans to move ahead of us. It's been revised and I offer the revision to you now.

Some of you believe the policy that allows this is unfair. Perhaps it would be unfair if it worked. VBA even says it doesn't work. 

From the above VBA Letter:
  "With the growing volume of reopened GWOT claims, it is becoming increasingly difficult to process such a significant portion of our pending inventory on a priority basis."

In my experience, the policy to allow GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) veterans any priority has failed. The soldier who is encouraged to file his VA claim prior to ETS may be hung up for months waiting for his medical board. Once the soldier / veteran is in the VA system and his or her claim is processed, the same rate of error with denials and lowered ratings applies. DOD paperwork rarely transfers as it should and so it begins.

The GWOT veteran who must appeal a denied claim falls into the same traps as we all do. You have to give the C & P section of the VA credit for its mission to treat us all equally and without any bias or prejudice for any reason.

It doesn't matter if you're WWII, Korea, Vietnam or any recent era. You'll all receive that same unfriendly service, your paperwork will be lost at an astounding rate, nobody will return your phone calls and you can depend on the fact that you're in there for a long haul, probably years.  You are caught in the VA's "Hamster Wheel." More on the notorious "Hamster Wheel" here...
http://www.yourvabenefits.org/sessearch.php?q=hamster+wheel&op=ph

Whether you're a Navy cook who was offshore of Japan after Hiroshima or a PTSD afflicted jobless 24 year old who has had 3 tours in Iraq, your adjudicated award will probably be wrong.

I don't sweat the young guys getting to cut in front of me.

If they are there, it gives me a chance to know them and to offer my hand out when they may need it most. I welcome them home, I try to give some advice without being too obnoxious or overbearing and I want them to know that I salute their heroic service to our country. More than anything, I want them to know I'll be there if they need me.

I wish someone had done that for me in 1970
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