The post wherein I praise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

| April 23, 2013

I was shocked this morning when I got a call from my Veterans’ Service Officer at the Paralyzed Veterans of America in regards to my claim for 100% disability that I filed back on March 1st. It has been approved starting May 1st. I know. Shocking, isn’t it? When my VSO told me that it would take 90 days at the beginning of the process, I was pessimistic.

So, I’m thinking that the VA’s problems with claims processing is a regional thing. My claim was filed at the Martinsburg, WV VA center. Of course, my claim was simpler than most – all they needed was the diagnosis from my doctor that said I have ALS because there’s no way to diagnose the disease, you have to eliminate all of the other things it could be and the doctors at Walter Reed have been doing that for two years. I didn’t need countless appointments to see the VA’s doctors. I did that for the first claim back in 1995.

But, when the VA is wrong, I’ve been quick to criticize, so when they do something right, I have to praise them. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to let up on them while they’re still screwing you guys and the thousands in line with you.

Maybe the other VA centers should send their folks to Martinsburg and learn what they’re doing right, instead of going to Vegas or wherever for their training parties.

Category: Veterans' Affairs Department

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Must be nice…my VA can’t even schedule a C&P interview with the VAMC when they are both in the same city.

Zero Ponsdorf

Regret the circumstances that made it necessary, but happy as hell it was done quickly.


I echo what Zero said above, Jonn – the underlying situation isn’t a good one, but this small part is good news.


Still waiting Filed January 7 2011 … Boston VA, did all my medical appointments at Providence VA October 2012. Yup they are really doing a Great Job.

Old Trooper

I agree with Jonn that this is a regional thing. 3 months from the time I filed to the time I had my rating, which included all the medical tests.

2/17 Air Cav

I guess those unmarked bills stuffed in that brown envelope helped a little too, huh? Seriously, I am glad for you but will point out that what you are thanking the VA for is doing its job as its supposed to do it. Saying thanks is nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s too bad a reasonable response time requires special mention. It ought to be the norm, nationally.


So here is a thought. If some regions are insanely behind while others are pretty caught up, why not load share? It works on computer networks, manufacturing plants ect… Oh wait sorry I took my common sense pills again.


Jonn, I still think it went to the VARO in Huntington for determination. Martingsburg has a Vet Center, I opened it, and a VAMC but I don’t believe they process claims there. Things change in 29 years though, so I may be wrong. Huntington was never known for expediance or being fair so I am really surprised but really happy for you, in a way. You know what I mean. I know it’s not there anymore but when I opened the center in early 85′ it was on King St. We made a photo album of it’s history. Had to go through Martinsburg to a funeral so I stopped in. They acted like I had crawfish coming out of my head and were not a friendly crew. The history is gone.


@ #9, how dare you use logic and common sense…

Honestly though, even load sharing while it sounds like a fix is not always beneficial for the veteran. You may get an answer faster, but believe it or not some VARO’s have really bad reputations for low balling or denying claims compared to others.


Never brag on the VA, I did about some hearing aids and then when there was a defective power cord for the Aids remote and the remote couldn’t recharge thus making it impossible to turn the VOLUME down from FULL BLAST and I wrote, called and even showed up in person with the cord the VA let me down.
I showed them the cord, wrote the part number down and now I sit a wait……it’s been about two or three months now.


Unfortunately my claim went thru the Roanoke, VA office… known far and wide as the MOST incompetent office by FAR…. started July 4 2007….ended Feb this year in….DENIAL



Just FYI.
Does everyone here working with the (against??) the VA have representation? PLEASE contact your DAV office and have them go to bat *FOR* you in case you’re trying to go it alone against the VA. It Is What They DO. They got me through in 18 months 2007 to 2009 and I was initially rated 10% and they got me up to 30% even though I really will be 40% eventually. (VA said I wasn’t “deaf” enough….they should ask my WIFE).
Bottom line… with the DAV to get your stuff through the VA. They Are GOOD!!
/disclaimer – Now Life member AL & DAV.


I applied in Sep 2012, and was approved in Mar 2013. Needless to say I was shocked, but my case is far too rare. I applied in Madison, WI


[…] Jonn posted some praise for the VA earlier, I have some news that might not be so […]


Here in rural Kansas the VA has outsourced a lot of their physical exams and counseling to local physicians. My physician is an Iraq veteran and is very knowledgable.

scalpel shepherd

John, you have ALS? I’m really sorry man.


I have a DAV rep and it has been since 2009 when I started the claim. DAV rep said I need to have a little patience. I’m submitting a claim for dependancy status update for my son. However, the local VA rep called and said they are working on it and wanted to give me an update. Thanks for the update.

Dragoon 45

@#14. While most of the DAV’s VSOs have their hearts in the right place, I would caution that their knowledge base is often times lacking. In my area the DAV does not have a good track record on successfully representing veterans. Fortunately that is changing for the better, but they had a very dismal record up till a couple of years ago. By far in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Dept of Veteran’s Affairs does a much better job of representing veterans than any of the Veteran’s Groups in the state. My suggestion is to find a Service Officer who has had formal training in the maze that is applying for Veteran’s Benefits, self-taught volunteers often times give out wrong information and unintentionally complicate an already complicated process.


I say to all my bro’s on this site, that all the VSO’s are great, just some are better than others. It all depends on the people working there. In Winston-Salem the DAV did a great job for me, the VFW was fantastic and PVA was great. In Columbia the worst VSO’s I’ve ever seen were the DAV and I wrote DAV HQ about it numerous times, no response. As a matter of fact, my Social Worker at VAMC Charleston told me to never use the DAV in Columbia. When I had my hip replaced for the 3rd time they tried to tell me I wasn’t eligable for the 13 months at 100% because I wasn’t in the hospital 21 days or more. I told the girl to read me that in the VA regs. She couldn’t find it and said, “Oh, well.” I went to PVA because the MOPH didn’t have an office at that time. PVA and MOPH were fantastic. I’ve heard the DAV cleaned up the office, but since I don’t know for sure, as the Service Officer for our MOPH chapter…go MOPH or PVA. Your mileage may very.

Joe Williams

The Oklahoma VSOs were the ones who got my rating for me. While living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex the DVA never got the results in 15 years. Yes the area one lives in and the Rep’s ability do count.