Check this out. After two centuries of dawdling and foot-dragging, VA has finally decided to embrace what we’ve all felt was a twenty first century way of approaching VA claims. Yes, just like the IRS, your tired, over a year-old claim will now be granted on a “provisional” basis if the amalgam of the evidence is in your favor. Why this is only available to antique claims is a mystery. Why it is suddenly an option now when it was forbidden to even consider the topic prior to April 19 of this year leaves a yawning chasm in the VA’s credibility of why they are so far behind.
Considering that it took VA over a year and a half in 1989-1991 to deny me, and an additional year at the BVA to completely spell out the word NO!, they have not progressed forward in their timeliness. As most know, it is nothing to wait 300-500 days for a meaningful denial you can appeal to DC. Add another 600 days waiting for “certification” and you have about four or more years invested in that “No”.
Suddenly, a light has dawned down at Vermin Ave. Someone opened the suggestion box. Why, what could be more simple than to grant a claim based on something called the benefit of the doubt and then come back later and audit it more closely? Surely if the Vet is cheating, this will become apparent and he/she can be carted off to jail like a Keith Roberts for four years. It’s too bad this option is only available at the RO.
It would seem far more fair to zip on up to the BVA and grab those decisions first. Obviously these folks have been waiting far more than a year or two. Some, like me, are into it over twenty years with no resolution in sight.
I once made an analogy to the new tuna nets they came out with in the eighties that provided an escape hatch for dolphins and porpoises. Who, pray tell, speaks for the Tuna? I find it more than appropriate to voice it here and now. The tuna, of course, being the rank and file Vets who have been waiting ever so slightly less than that magic year.
For years we have been told to be patient. Ordinary citizens, who experienced nothing more than too many missions over McDonald’s, have been getting their Social Security benefits in a matter of months- certainly none measured in decades. Vets, on the other hand, have been told to be patient and wait for a horribly flawed decision. 53 die every day still awaiting that decision. Suddenly, along comes the new improved VA net that allows the year or more old claims to be released and adjudicated promptly on an accelerated basis that is “provisional” . What does this say about an ages-old institution that is staid in its ways? Why now? Is it simply because the backlog is so interminable that Vets are on the verge of marching on DC like the Bonus Army in 1924?
The tuna net has kept us all captive and caged-some for decades. If provisional adjudications are the new norm, does that mean they will become the de facto method for all claims in the future? I think we can rest assured that as soon as the backlog is manageable and not such a political hot potato, that the VA will revert back to form. “Form” being the 300-day, 40% accuracy we have all come to see as the norm.
Yes, the dolphins have been released or are on the verge. The oldest will suddenly get an advancement on the docket as the Agent Orange Vietnam Vets just did. This will engender all kinds of ill will among the the different cohorts of claimants. It seems this class warfare is intended to distract Vets from the problem at hand. Meanwhile, back at the VBMS ranch, the troops are hard at it running the scanners into the wee hours.
For actions above and beyond the call of duty, we award the Alfred E. Neuman Expedited Badge of Common Sense to none other than the rapscallion who put that suggestion in the box anonymously. We salute you. You deserve a promotion and, of course, a big bonus.