On October 26th and 27th, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is holding an Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation meeting. The meeting is open to the public. Last year, not one member of the public attended the meeting…probably because it was in Washington, D.C. This year, the Advisory Committee meeting is still in D.C. and still NOT SCHEDULED FOR BROADCAST to the public. Sounds like VA really wants the Advisory Committee to hear from you about problems with disability compensation.
Date & Time: Monday, October 26, 2015 & Tuesday, October 27, 2015. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. both days.
Location: 1800 G. Street Northwest, 5th Floor, Conference Room 540, Washington, D.C. 20001. The meeting is in a government building. That means you have to have a photo I.D. with you. Also, allow at least 15 extra minutes to get through the clearance process at the Guard’s Desk. (Allow several weeks if you need to purchase a plane ticket, reserve a hotel room, rent a car, and take leave from your job to attend the meeting.)
Purpose: The Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation (“Committee”) provides input to VA on maintenance and periodic readjustment of VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD). The Committee is charged with reviewing information on the nature and character of service-connected disabilities. The Committee is also supposed to assess the effectiveness of the VASRD and give advice on the most appropriate means of responding to the needs of Veterans seeking disability compensation. The October 26 – 27 hearings are mostly for VA to provide briefings on issues related to compensation for Veterans with service-connected disabilities and other VA benefits programs.
If You Want To Be Heard, Talk Fast!
While members of the public are permitted to speak at the hearing, individual’s comments are limited to an egg-timer three minutes. Anyone who wants to make an oral statement to the Committee will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. VA would like a 1-2 page summary of the oral comments, for inclusion in the official meeting records. However, the meeting should be transcribed, so you don’t have to offer a written summary of your remarks if you don’t want to.
You Can Also Submit Formal Written Comments
If you have thoughts about the VASRD, you can also submit written comments to the Committee. Your written comments should be sent:
Dr. Ioulia Vvedenskaya
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Benefits Administration
Compensation Service, Policy Staff (211C)
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20420
By Email: Ioulia.Vvedenskaya@va.gov Dr. Vvedenskaya’s telephone number is: (202) 461-9882, in case you have questions about the hearing.
How Could VA and the Committee Do Things Better?
For one thing, they could broadcast the hearing live, the way other Federal agencies do. That way, Veterans wouldn’t have to travel all the way to Washington, D.C. to find out what’s going on. Also, with a live broadcast, Veterans could actually make public comments to the Committee without having to go to Washington, D.C. Just a thought, since we’re in the 21st Century and it’s cheap and easy to have interactive meetings via the Internet.
The real question is whether the Committee will truly listen to public comments and public submissions or simply rubber-stamp whatever proposals VA recommends. Here are the Minutes from the Committee’s last meeting (held October 20 -21, 2014) so you can decide for yourself how independent/influential the Committee is. Chances are good that the current VASRD “update” process will slow-walk any reforms with the result that Veterans will die from uncompensated service-connected disabilities and VA’s “problem” will thus go away.
Don’t be a victim of VA’s foot-dragging! Do you have a service-connected disability? Have you been denied a disability rating – or given a pitifully low rating that does not accurately reflect the impact of your disability? You do not have to fight the fight alone! Public Law 109-461 allows Veterans to hire attorneys to appeal VA benefits rulings. The Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. is one of the few VA-accredited Veteran attorney firms in the United States. Contact https://www.attorneyforveterans.com/contact-us.html today for your FREE consultation.