Pushing Through An Uncooperative Veterans Affairs Office
Does it feel like the Department of Veterans Affairs offices aren't listening to you? Do you rarely receive a callback, or are your claims unceremoniously denied despite evidence that you think is perfect for the situation? There are many situations where miscommunication or policy confusion can leave veterans and Veterans Affairs (VA) offices on uneven understanding, but some issues are from individual misconduct. Here's a few ways to figure out whether your issue is a simple policy issue, or if you need to root out misconduct at a specific office with legal help.
The Difference Between Delays And Misconduct
The VA is unfortunately in a position where a certain level of performance problems are accepted. Although not new to the decade, the 2014 VHA scandal outlined a lot of systemic issues that plague the VA, and wait times are still a significant part of the claims, appeal, and healthcare experience.
Healthcare has a few ways around the wait time, such as the VA Choice Act that sends veterans to non-VA care at low or no cost to the veteran, but claim and appeal wait times are still a problem. Unless notified by letter or on the eBenefits website, there's no reason to wait for a claim response beyond 6 months without contacting a claims office.
If you've been waiting for more than 3 months, you need to be calling the claims hotline. 1-800-827-1000 is the hotline for all VA benefits information, and the reps can transfer you to other Veterans Affairs-related systems in most cases. Get a timeline for your claim decision, and take note of the offices involved.
If you aren't given a timeline within 3 months, the regional office handling your claim isn't doing its job. A claim denial immediately after complaining about your claim is also a sign of some misconduct, as your claim may have been lost and quickly denied to get your issue out of the backlog. Finally, if there's no record of your claim, despite your evidence such as recording yourself on the eBenefits website or keeping a transcript of the fax, be sure to get a lawyer on your side.
Don't Challenge Government Misconduct On Your Own
When a specific office or employee at the VA makes a mistake, it's not impossible to correct the issue. Honest mistakes happen, and if you're able to bring documentation showing that a certain issue was ignored, you can usually get a correction without waiting through the queue system.
The bigger issue is that the VA is a government entity, and even the act of getting your evidence into an unofficial channel can be difficult. Your complaint may also be mixed in with a lot of veteran complaints who simply disagree with their decisions without supporting evidence, or people who don't understand their situation. To the system, you could look like just another confused complaint submitter.
To get around these problems, go to an injury lawyer immediately. A personal injury lawyer can examine your evidence, consider the VA's decision, and devise a plan. If your claim really is missing vital information, the lawyer can direct you to the right areas to get the proper evidence, then draft a new document for your appeal with concise legal language.
If you did everything you were supposed to do, a lawyer can take legal actions against the proper offices with language and clout that is sure to grab someone's attention. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation and to get a professional touch on your claim or appeal.