|AGENT ORANGE DESK Regional Claims office|
Here's VA's deception.
For years, VA has insisted on their website, in communications with Congress and the media, and with all the veterans' organizations, that C-123 claims are evaluated on a"case-by-case basis." VA objected to our use of the phrase "blanket denial," insisting each claim receives a full, fair, impartial evaluation.
Nuts. VA bosses might somehow consider ours a case-by-case evaluation only in that each C-123 claim is individually stamped "DENIED" and then tossed into VA's trash heap with 100% of all other C-123 applications. Vigilant VA gatekeepers have insured that not a single C-123 claim got approved on their watch!
VA's rule book VAM21-1MR, requires claims from veterans who didn't serve in Vietnam but who claim Agent Orange exposure to be forwarded from the regional offices to VBA's Agent Orange desk.
And that's where all C-123 veterans' claims are denied through an automatic negative "advisory opinion." VA's Agent Orange desk has already determined that none of the C-123 veterans were exposed. They misinterpreted the 1991 Agent Orange Act and the burden veterans no longer have regarding proving medical nexus for illnesses already recognized by the Institute of Medicine and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as among the "presumptive illnesses."
Here, VA's Agent Orange consultant is respected, very highly thought of, and his influence clearly seen. In fact, the consultant while an Air Force officer was assigned to VA's Agent Orange desk. The consultant's no-bid sole source $600,000 VA contract (2012-2014) would have its greatest impact on encouraging the Agent Orange Desk to continue rejecting C-123 claims.
Thus, personal policy at the VBA Agent Orange desk where administrators predetermined all C-123 claims were to be denied trumped the VA's assurance to Congress, veterans, and the media that each claim is evaluated on "a case by case basis."
• How can this be when the evidence shows 100% of C-123 veterans' claims are denied?
• How can this be true when VA's own paperwork trail shows, as in the Agent Orange Desk email below, that VA's Agent Orange desk informs VBA, VHA and the regional offices that "there is no basis for service connecting AO disabilities" for our veterans? Golly...why bother applying?