Calling the VA. Again.

In theory, I have undergone all of the physical examinations, evaluations, pokings, and proddings that are part and parcel of transitioning from Active Duty to becoming a veteran.  After over a dozen trips to various clinics and hospitals at the end of my time in uniform and during my first year or so of post-military life I have been informed that all of my examinations are complete.  To make sure that they were all indeed finished, I logged into the VA website regularly to see if my status had changed.

To my utter lack of surprise, it didn’t.  Growing tired of logging in and viewing at an unchanging screen on the VA’s eBenefits webpage, I looked forlornly at the telephone on my desk and resigned myself to another early morning attempt to get through to the VA.

So, early the next morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and staggered into my office.  I punched in the VA’s telephone number, and much to my surprise (not really) found that even though it was a couple of hours before the rooster would crow (on the West coast, at least), all operators were busy.  I was, however, offered the option of having a VA representative call me back the following week at a time that would be convenient for me.

I figured that the following Monday at about 0900 was convenient enough, so I hung up and waited for the weekend to pass.

It did, and sure enough my phone rang at about 0905, with a live human being on the other end!  Very exciting indeed.  After providing my social security number and other identifying information, the nice lady on the other end asked how she could help me.  Although deep down I didn’t think that there was much help to be had, I asked anyway.

“Can you tell me the status of my case?”

After a few moments of furious typing on the other end of the line, my VA friend replied:

“It’s under review.”

Which is exactly where it has been for nearly nine months.

We talked for a few minutes, and then I hung up.  In order to spare you from the rather boring conversation, I’ll just cover what she had to say.

1.  All of my examinations are complete.  That said, if they find something that they need to look into I will again be headed off to the examination clinic.

2.  My results are somewhere between the clinic and my case file.  Even though it has been nearly two months since my last exams, the results have not made it to my case team.  Not surprising, but still disappointing.

3.  Once my team receives my results, they will merge them with my file and put it in the queue.  When my file comes to the top of the pile they will evaluate it and let me know the result.

How long will that take, I asked?

“Nine to twelve months.”

Sigh.  Good thing I’m not in a rush.

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4 responses to “Calling the VA. Again.

  1. I feel funny hitting “like this” because I do not like this situation one bit. But there wasn’t an “I support you as you deal with this ridiculous situation” button. When you write that your results are, “somewhere between the clinic and the case file” I truly hope that doesn’t mean they are located in the room with the avalanche of paper documents I saw in news profiles on the VA backlog.

    I can’t fathom how they got this bad to begin with. After all, they know exactly how many people are in the military. How can they not have known, been prepared for or guesstimated how many “customers” they’d have on the back-end?

    • It would be comical if it weren’t so serious for so many veterans who are relying on their VA compensation claims to be completed.

      The VA is overwhelmed, and unfortunately the people who are suffering are the veterans who are part of the backlog.

      Thanks for reading and posting!
      Mike

  2. Mike,
    I am not sure why you choose to “go this alone” – There are Veteran Service Organizations (especially good is the DAV) who can assist and advise you.
    Though I will grant you – it is the “right person” you are looking for – not someone who just blows you off. I suggest Sui Lee (DAV Miramar Office) Mike Warboise was great, but I think he is no longer with them – Bruce Hillman is also pretty good (though gruff). I know your experience with the DAV representative at Camp Pendleton was not particularly great, it is because they are mostly outreach and Medical record screeners. When you get a caseworker thing improve dramatically.
    Semper Fidelis

  3. Hi Dan,
    I have been working with the DAV on my disability claim. I contacted them about my status, which at the time was a partial settlement. The representative told me that until my claim was fully settled there wasn’t anything they could do, but to contact them as soon as the initial claim was completed.
    I’ll surely contact the again if that was bum scoop. Thanks!
    Mike

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