Tag Archives: Benefits

Wounded warriors battle with VA – Story and Videos

Wounded Warriors Battle With VA

I watched a horrifying story on CNN last night.  I missed it on regular programming, checked the programming guide and waited for the midnight repeat.   The CNN title of the story was:

Broken Government: Waging War on the VA

It repeats tonight, Sunday night (Nov 18) at 8 Eastern, so if you get a chance, please check your schedule.   It is a powerful indictment of the VA’s handling of disability claims.  It is the story of 3 wounded veterans trying to get justice and only able to do it by virtually going to war again to fight for their rights.

One of the wounded warriors and a really heartbreaking story was Ty Ziegel, 25 years old who had been severely injured by a suicide bomber, “sent back to the states to die”, but lived.  Despite losing nearly half of his skull and a large portion of his brain, penetrating shrapnel and bone fragments in his brain, with both ears, nose and lips burned off and impossible to replace,  loss of an eye and resulting enormous disfiguration, the VA listed him as having “10% head trauma”.  10% head trauma.  In addition the damage to the left lobe of his brain,  loss of an eye and jaw fracture as haveing 0% trauma.  0% for loss of 1/4 of his brain, loss of an eye? He also lost one arm at the elbow, and two fingers and a thumb from his other hand, plus numerous other injuries for which the bulk of his small disability payment was granted.    Far below the poverty line disability for a man disfigured and totally disabled.

Ty Ziegel before and after

Ty Ziegel, before and after.   CNN News photo

(Click on the picture or here to see the video).  These videos are short promo clips about 2 minutes long and I don’t know how long they will keep them up on their site.  Go to  CNN and see the real thing.  Click here for part 2

Another veteran, Garrett Anderson received a roadside bomb injury that sent shrapanel into his head and body, and he lost an arm while driving a truck in a convoy.  The VA initially rejected his claim, saying that it was “not service connected”.   He was also suffering from what he thought was PTSD.  In Garrett’s case the letter stating that there were “shrapnel wounds all over his body, not service connected” had the signature cut out of the letter with a knife.  Apparently the signer was not proud of his decision and knew it was wrong.  

Garrett Anderson

Garrett Anderson.  Click on the picture or here for the video clip.

In Ziegel’s case, within 48 hours of taping an interview with CNN, the VA changed his disability to 100%.  In Anderson’s case, his wife took a sneak peak at his case file while a nurse was out of he room and she discovered they had  him listed in their files a suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), but had failed to tell him or give him any disability credit for it.   He went to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois who turned up the pressure on the VA and subsequently has been awarded disability for TBI.

The third story was about Tammy Duckworth who lost both legs and had severe injuries to one arm and her body.   She later ran for Congress with the hope of improving things for disabled veterans.  She lost but has been appointed by the Governor of Illinois to be the Director of the IL Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Click here for the CNN news promo clip for her story.  Go to the link with Tammy’s name above and click on “veteran’s issues” to get a flavor of what she has learned about the Va while she was in their care and her run for Congress.

Our wounded warriors, our heroes, should not have to fight for our country, then fight for their life and still have to fight for their benefits!

Oldtimer

 

Veterans Benefits Administration Work Load Score Card

Veterans Benefits Administration Score Card

 VA Score Card Cases

As of Saturday, November 3, 2007

The VBA keeps a running Monday morning workload  scorecard which you can download, print or review.   The card reflects data only 2 days old.  Here is what they say about it:

The Monday Morning Reports are a compilation of work load indicators reported by Veterans Benefits Administration field offices. VBA’s Office of Performance Analysis and Integrity is responsible for compiling these spreadsheets. Questions or comments should be e-mailed to VBA’s Office of Field Operations, which is responsible for regional office management.

The Regional Offices are clustered according to organizational groupings called Areas. There are four Areas within the VBA field structure: Eastern, Southern, Central and Western. Reports are in Excel. You may download free viewer software to view the reports.

You can access their site with this link to the VBA Scorecard Index.  It has weekly lists for their workload every Monday from the current week all the way back to 1999!

The Scorecard shows cases pending for every city with a VBA field office in the US.    It also shows how many cases are over 6 months old. 

VA Score Card Cases

For example, on November 3, 2007, there were 404,561 rated cases pending of which 102,267 were older than 6 months (25.3%) and 178,267 non-rating cases of which 51,261 were older than 6 months( 28.8%).  The rated cases pending were about 6,000 more than this time last year.

The chart extends downward for all the field offices a total of 64 lines below those shown here. 

The field office with the biggest backlog was in Houston with more than 19,000 cases and 30.9% backlog.  A few examples of  the worst percentage backlogs ranged from Detroit (38.4% rated, 49.2% non-rated), Jackson Miss (42.2% rated), Houston (30.9/34.8%), LA (30.6/29.0%) just to pick some busy places in each part of the country.

VA Score Card Claims

 The total Compensation and Pension (C&P) cases in the Work in Progress system ( WIPP)  was  647,479 of which 170,355 were over 6 months old.  Other information you may be interested in is

VA Score Card Appeals

All of this data is available on a week-to-week basis for each field office in the country.  It may be useful to look at your field office to see where you stand and how they are doing – otherwise, it is just numbers on their scorecard.

I hope this access link is useful to someone.  Click on any chart to get an update.  It is truly amazing how many veterans are being held up for treatment by this terrible backlog. 

6 Months and Waiting

Give Me a Break,

These are Our Heroes

 

(Score Card?  I give them an F)

 

Oldtimer