The Department of Veterans Affairs in their infinite wisdom finally made a decision on my appeal for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I logged onto my ebenefits account one day and noticed that I had been granted service connected disability for TBI. I was so excited! The long wait for the VA to do the right thing was finally over. My excitement was short lived until my eyes journeyed to the right hand side of my computer screen. The VA had granted me service connection disability for TBI which was awesome, but they rated it at 0%.
Are you kidding me? 0% service connected rating! I was so pissed off, so I called the Veterans Affairs customer service phone number to give them a piece of my mind. I probably shouldn’t have called them, because it only added to my frustration. If you are a veteran and are going through or have been through the VA claim/appeal process you understand my aggravation. To her credit the VA representative I talked to on the phone was very nice, which took the sting out of my pain a little bit. She explained how she was a veteran herself and understood the struggles veterans face with the VA claim process. She actually had a claim being processed by the VA herself.
She tried as hard as she could to calm me down and put a positive spin on the decision the VA had just given me. She said that getting the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge a disability as being service connected is the biggest hurdle to jump for a veteran. The VA representative went on to explain that once a disability is labeled service connected it is a lot easier for the veteran to apply for an increase in that rating.
Give me a break! You can’t polish a turd. The VA could’ve done the right thing and instead they gave me a rating of 0%. It was just another stab at me by the Department of Veterans Affairs. I told her that I appreciated her kind words and that I knew it wasn’t her fault. In reality she was just the messenger. She was not the Decision Review Officer (DRO) that administered the jacked up decision on my appeal.
So, what do I don now I asked? This VA claim has already been appealed all the way up to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) in Washington D.C. The VA representative told me that I could appeal my appeal decision. Seriously? Appeal an appeal? That makes zero sense to me. Here we go again with the VA! I guess all I can do is keep fighting the VA for what is right.
I encourage every veteran that is currently stuck in the abyss of VA claims, like me, to remain diligent in your fight. Don’t give up. The process is long. Sometimes it’s just one big suck fest of getting your VA claim/appeal denied. The VA wants us veterans to give up. They want us to quit. Don’t you quit!