It finally happened! The VA called and scheduled my final disability evaluation appointment. Hooray!
For those who are wondering why this is a big deal, here is a quick backstory. My veteran’s disability claim has been turgidly moving through the system for nearly a year and a half, and during that time I also entered the VA medical system. As I learned, the VA has two distinct and different sides when it comes to disability claims and healthcare, and they do not talk.
This became a problem for me because I did not understand that important fact. My disability claim was partially settled six months ago, and with the notification letter came the promise of a call to finish the process. Soon after, I was contacted by the VA on numerous occasions to schedule and attend various appointments at the local clinic. Foolishly, I thought that the clinic and the disability claim evaluation were one and the same. As I said earlier, they aren’t.
As it happens all of the calls from the VA clinic were for the medical side and were unrelated to the disability claims side, and none of the appointments had anything do to with my claim. Good news for my medical coverage, but still a lot of frustration on my disability claim.
So, months of frustration, I called the VA. After a few weeks of phone tag, my case was reviewed and I was again promised that I would be receiving a call to schedule my follow up appointment. I was not optimistic.
My pessimism was abated when they called. Actually, they contacted me by mail. I received a letter that explained that I needed to be seen by the VA’s contract provider for a few things that were not completely documented by my initial visit, and with the letter came a questionnaire regarding the issues in question. I filled out the questionnaire, and within a day or two I received a call from the provider’s office to schedule an appointment.
Yesterday I went to the contract provider that takes care of the claims side of the VA house. It was the same provider that I had seen a year earlier, and to their credit they were very efficient and polite. I was in and out of their office in less than 45 minutes, which was a pleasant surprise as I had anticipated spending the afternoon in the waiting room. With that appointment I had, in theory, finished up my claims process. I hope it is done. According to the VA representative that I had spoken with earlier the only items remaining in my case were the evaluation from the contract provider and a few administrative corrections in my file.
The evaluation is done. Now I just have to wait for the administrators to correct my file and then my disability claim should be completed.
I’ve heard that story before. We’ll see…and I’ll keep you posted!
– The Medical side of the VA is completely separate from the Disability claims side of the VA. In my case, the clue to the difference was that all of the medical issues were addressed by my local clinic while all of my disability evaluations were performed by a contracted provider.
– Be proactive. Call the VA and determine your status. I think it helped, as my case was languishing for months until I made some inquiries.
– As always, be patient!