VFW Leadership Vehemently Opposes New Rule
By USVCP Staff Writers
April 16, 2020
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander, William Schmitz is extremely upset with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) new decision in eliminating final document review by Veterans Service Officers (VSO). His fury is being felt in Washington, D.C., but, will it have an effect on VA leadership?
William Schmitz said, “It is ‘despicable’ and ‘inconceivable’ that the VA Undersecretary for Benefits Dr. Paul Lawrence intends to eliminate the accredited VSO 48-hour review period for claims effective April 30, 2020.
Additionally, Schmitz said, “The VFW strongly opposes the repeal of the 48-hour period in reviewing VA decisions for accuracy, as this is a final quality control check that we perform on behalf of our veterans to ensure that their rating decisions are correct for the first time.”
By current law, VSOs have the opportunity and the responsibility to review proposed VA rating decisions to ensure that all claimed conditions have been addressed and properly adjudicated prior to VA finalizing its rating decision and sending notification to the veteran. For decades, VA has allowed VSOs 48-hour to review the applicable laws and regulations that were applied to the claim. During this time, VSO representatives can go back to VA to seek corrections before each claim goes to promulgation. This quality review allows VSOs give the claim an independent quality control check before it is reviewed by VA and undergoes VA’s internal quality review process.
Veterans are feeling the burden of being a quasi review specialist, and blaming the VA of undermining the credibility and expertise of an accredited VSO. Army veteran Tony Barbero said, “This is a way for the VA to deny more claims than they already do. What would motivate the VA to make such a bad decision?”
Juan Garcia, 5/22/20
Why is the Administration trying to take away the Veterans complete representation from the Veteran Service Organizations (VSO's)? So if this takes effect, who is going to represent/assist our nations Veterans with the final process of their claims. Please, we as Veterans, do not need our benefits to be politized, its enough already with all the years we have to wait for our claims or appeals to be completed, even with Veterans providing all the medical evidence to the VA! It's like VA is processing our claim one step at a time, on purpose! I hope the pushback continues. Mr. Secretary and/or entities involved in trying to take away Veterans representation, if it's not broken, please don't try to fix it! Please leave Veterans complete representation in place because we need it completely to the fullest, thank you!
Donald Frederking, 4/29/20
It is bad enough that a Veteran waits for years (some times up to 10 years) for a decision and now our representative isn't allowed to review the decision. Is this a LAW that the V.A. is going to ignore? Is that Legal? I thought Congress made Laws!!! Agent Orange all over again.