- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My VA claim has been pending in some form or another since November of 1977. It has been remanded back to Detroit from the VBA (Veterans Benefits Administration) in D.C. This remand was sent back in August of 2012. Is there any way to find out if it is in the expedited status as per U.S. Code, Title 38, and Section 5109B?

Thank you,
Richard K.
Harbor Springs, Mich.

Dear Richard:

By now you should have received the following information from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

The appeal was remanded back to Detroit in August 2012 for a gastroenterology exam with a rationale of the veteran’s symptomatology during the respective period he is claiming Hepatitis C. A Decision Review Officer has written the exam request. The medical center was notified to expedite the scheduling of the exam. The veteran was contacted by VA and briefed on the status of the appeal.

Shaft notes

• Congratulations to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) for the distinction of being selected as one of the 2013 “Best Nonprofit Organizations to Work for.” A special publication that profiled the 50 organizations selected was published in the April 1, 2013, issue of The Nonprofit Times.

To be selected, MOAA underwent a workplace-assessment process that included surveying employees, as well as taking an inventory of organizational benefits, policies and offerings. The information was processed and analyzed and used to determine the “Best Nonprofits to Work for.”

“We are very gratified to receive this distinction,” MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr., said. “We believe our people make us who we are, and they are our number one strength.”

In addition to being a part of the list, the program provides each company that underwent the assessment a report of understandable and actionable information. The information allows participating companies to adjust their policies and activities to meet organizational needs.

MOAA, ranked No. 32 in 2013, also received the “Best Nonprofit Organizations to Work for” in 2011.

• The debate over the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims backlog has been raging the past few weeks in the media, partially sparked by comments made by speakers at the American Legion’s Washington Conference last month.

On March 24, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki gave his first television interview in four years on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. That same day, the Legion executive director in Washington, Peter Gaytan, weighed in on the same show, which focused on the claims backlog.

Mr. Gaytan told CNN host Candy Crowley that the Legion is working with the VA to fix the claims process and that the crux of the problem is inconsistent performance of VA regional offices in adjudicating claims. Once the problems at those regional offices are addressed, the backlog should be reduced substantially, he said.

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