Ok folks in addition to just sending the info to my congressman with my concerns I've written this letter to respond to the PDAs' "findings".
It long but -I like it!
I will try to get right to the point of things because I know your time is valuable. First of all I present to you the fact that the PDA not only returned a boilerplate response ( as you can see from comparing the response letter I received to the one sent to LTC Parker – paragraph 1 and his paragraph 2 with my paragraph 3). The PDA also failed to respond to any of the questions that where asked with my rebuttal letter which alarms me very much and arises the questions in my mind (did they truly review my rebuttal letter or was it just skimmed and then considered not worth their time?- do they feel that their work load is to much and my case that I presented before them would of taken to much of their time and energy to actually research the info that was provided to them and they wanted to pass the buck to the next entity ( Army board of Corrections to military Records)?; Or maybe they don’t feel that I’m worthy of a detailed response and their very vague answer of “Your health is better” (which in no way is accurate or founded) is all they feel they need to say to get rid of their obligation to the me and my fellow veterans;
The PDA also stated in this letter that the findings and recommendations of the PEB are “supported by substantial evidence and therefore affirmed”, I’m simply wondering what substantial evidence they are referring to; if it happens to be the fact that I have been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and therefore they opined that the only rating for it (by word association) in Code 5240- they are proving their lack of knowledge and understanding of what codes correspond to AS. When I attended the formal PEB board in October I asked or it was asked on my behalf what guidance the PEB used for rating disabilities; they answered the VASRD and stated it was the same regulations and guidelines used by the VA in rating disabilities this only strengthens my case that the PDA and PEB refuse to face the fact that at least in the case for rating AS they are going about using the wrong methods for their decisions. Attached is a case that I recently discovered dated 5 July 05 (Citation Nr: 0518317) that went before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. As you will notice on the second page of the case under the heading of CONCLUSION OF LAW that when the VA correctly applies all ratings to AS to include Diagnostic code 5002 ,5240 and 5243 (effective from September 26, 2003); ( I ask you if the PEB and PDA are to use the same guidance on use of diagnostic codes for disabilities why do they say the only code for AS is 5240 when this case clearly shows that the VA is applying all of the correct code to rate AS? Do the PEB and PDA have the authority to change what methods they can use? - I thought all changes made required Congressional approval?-Are they exempt from the rules?). The fact is the VA is actually rating AS under the correct process and the PEB and PDA failed to when my case was brought before them (had my case been properly adjudicated the rating of 40% if not 60% under the guidelines of the VASRD would have been awarded to me; and I ask for less that what is fare; and not thrown to the side and placed on the shoulders of the VA.
Furthermore I believe that the Inquiry will be returned by the PDA that “They have looked into it and everything has been done correctly” I personally believe they’ll cover it up and obviously they aren’t doing things correctly. What I will believe is that myself and scores of other Veterans (and Active Duty Soldiers) with AS will continue to be abused by the system and denied the proper disability rating and compensation by the Active Military Branches and passed off onto the already burdened/overburdened shoulders of the VA.
Myself and Other’s that share my disability are being made to feel like second class citizens/soldiers/veterans by being betrayed by the very system that promised so much when we signed up to serve for our country – It truly seems that the PEB/PDA feel that if you haven’t lost a limb or an organ they can get away without taking the proper RESPONSIBILITYS for the soldier that the soldier is due.
- They need to be held responsible.
For your continued help THANK YOU,
SPC (R) USA