January 10, 2013


I am working a couple of days a week at the Santa Ana VA office.  I am still finding my way around and am far from being a great asset to anyone but my heart is in the right place.  My first assignment was to contact all those people who were seen at the VA over the 2012 year.  The powers that be, had done an audit on these files and anyone who had any paperwork missing had to be recontacted and the missing documents sent back to them to fill out and send back.  A pretty mundane task but it was a chance for me to speak directly with some of the veterans and to get some feedback of their reactions to the VA and their treatment.

For the most part, the conversations were not out of the ordinary but there were some that were notable.  One guy was very hostile and felt that he was being mistreated because he was not getting what he thought he deserved from the VA.   He wanted nothing to do with me, no matter how much I tried to apologize and offer possible remedies.  So after hanging up, I researched more as to what was going on in this case.

It turns out that this guy had brought in a letter from his doctor which had nothing to do with what this guy had been rated for, in terms of benefits.  The counselor’s hands were tied in this instance and actually could go no further.  No matter what an individual’s feeling are, they do have to meet certain criteria to qualify for any benefits.  It is important to understand that these counselors are not adversaries.  They are working in these jobs to help the veteran.  Sometimes this means either telling the truth about the possibility of success in the claim or to require more efforts at documentation.

It is very important to answer questions honestly and to produce the appropriate documentation to become eligible for benefits.  Remember that the counselors are expected to act appropriately, not to deny benefits but to help veterans get their deserved benefits.

I saw this article in some of my readings which will show you that there are consequence to misrepresentations.

: Ordered to pay $457,986 in restitution and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison this month was Charles C. Kaczmarczyk, 59, of Knoxville, Tenn., for fraudulently obtaining disability payments from the VA and Social Security Administration. Kaczmarczyk obtained disability payments based on a false claim of combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and supported his PTSD claim with counterfeit Air Force records that reflected the award of two Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars, plus repeatedly lied to government investigators. Awaiting sentencing is David A. Bevilacqua, 65, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who pleaded guilty this month to theft of government property. Bevilacqua applied for VA medical benefits by falsely claiming to have been honorably discharged when he was actually dishonorably discharged for going AWOL. He also falsely claimed to have received numerous medals, to include the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, and claimed to have been in Force Recon and Special Forces in order to obtain increased benefits.

So it is essential that, if you are starting the process, you have patience and respond to questions accurately and supply the necessary documentation in a timely manner.  It is in your best interest.