13 Rules Of Engagement

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This is a pretty complete list of 13 things that a veteran must do or more importantly, not do, while you attempt to win your compensation benefits. These aren’t in any particular order, each is as important as the next. I know these are all very important. I know the results of not catching mistakes and of making simple errors.

Following these simple rules won’t win your claim for you but it will help ensure you don’t lose it.

(1) Don’t call the toll free number. Don’t email the VA Regional Office. Don’t use the electronic system to file your claim. Do not ever, under any circumstances communicate with the VARO except by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you break this rule, you are sure to get the wrong information. When you call or email you aren’t contacting your VA Regional Office, you’re in touch with a call center. The call center has access to a computer system that is rumored to be powered by kerosene and data is stored on IBM punch cards. The employees are under orders that you are allowed 3 minutes and not any more. They will tell you anything you want to hear to get you off that telephone. If you insist, try calling 3 days in a row. Ask the same question each time. It’s likely you’ll hear 3 completely different answers, all the wrong answers.

(2) Know who is representing you. You hand over the future of one of the most important legal moves you’ll ever make where the stakes are counted in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and you aren’t sure who the person works for? On the other hand, you’ll walk into any office that looks official, sign over a power of attorney, complete financial paperwork that exposes your weaknesses to the world and walk away not knowing what to expect or when to expect it. Spend much time thinking about your claim and who that representative works for, you’ll be a lot happier down the road.

(3) Be patient. Take 2 hours of quiet time early in the process and read from all the stuff that is available all over the internet. The VA site itself is a wealth of information and will answer a lot of your questions completely. Your application for benefits will follow a process. If you’ve done your part that paper you submitted is going to slowly wind its way to the first step in the process, then the second step in the process, then the third step and so on right through over 100 steps that must be accomplished before it is adjudicated. Whether you think all that is necessary or not doesn’t matter. It’s the process that counts and you need to accept that very early in the game. Once you’ve submitted your paperwork and you’re confident that you have given VA all the evidence that there is, you’re done. There is nothing else to do but wait. Calling the VA (see #1) to ask where your folder is truly a waste of your time. Don’t write any more letters to the VA. Don’t call your VSO to ask if she has heard anything about your claim. She hasn’t.
Do anything at all but think about your claim. Your claim will be adjudicated when it gets adjudicated and not a minute before. Live with that.

(4) Don’t ever display any anger to a VA employee. Yeah, OK…we’re all pissed off. Every last veteran I know can feel their blood boiling at the mention of how the VA treats those it’s supposed to serve. We were trained to be angry. Extreme pain was a sign that weakness was leaving my body. My most basic and most important job was to kill people and destroy their stuff. We were not emissaries of peace, we were warriors. That was then and this is now. If you show your angry side to a VA employee by yelling, expressing your displeasure at waiting, slamming your fist down on a desk, cursing, storming out of a room and slamming the door or making a direct or veiled threat…you have created trouble for yourself and all those who have to follow in your footsteps. Most, not all, but most VA employees at the clinics, hospitals and regional offices want to help you. They’re usually every bit as frustrated as you are at the bureaucracy they work for. They have the same problems of paying bills, raising teenagers, flat tires and headaches that you have. Many of them are veterans. Many others weren’t born yet when you were injured. The bureaucracy wasn’t intentionally made tougher for you by that 23 year old student intern sitting across from you. A lot of these people are afraid of you. I was born with a scowl. At my happiest, my brow is furrowed and my eyes narrow down to slits and I sigh a lot. I’ve been told often that I intimidate people so I work hard to overcome that. Before you interact with a VA employee in person, on the phone or by letter, take a deep breath and let that anger go. The amount of courtesy, respect and smiles you give is directly correlated to what you’ll receive. Otherwise, you may find that your record is flagged to warn others about your erratic, threatening behavior and if you think you have problems with getting things done now, you haven’t seen nothing yet. Worst case scenario, the VA police are serious. Most VA police officers are real cops, not ‘security guards’. The handcuffs they use are pretty much guaranteed to show you what they think of your attitude. Think before you open your mouth. You’ll be glad you did. The rest of us will appreciate it too.

(5) A well written letter is your best friend. When you moved and changed your mailing address, it appears you told everyone but the VA Regional Office that handles your folder. Neither the toll free number nor the IRIS email system is at your regional office. Your VSO can’t be relied on to run errands for you. If you had written a letter, mailed it to the correct address and used certified mail with return receipt requested and kept the receipt along with your copy of that letter, it is very likely the address change would have happened just as it should have. If it didn’t, you have good evidence that you did your part correctly and timely. Without that little green postcard, you got nothing. This action applies to every action you take with the VA. Any time you want VA to accomplish anything for you, you must put it in writing and you must be precise in telling them exactly what it is you want. When you put your request in writing, you’ve just created a piece of evidence that can be held in the hands and reviewed by another person months or years down the road. It’s real, it’s solid and if it disappears from your folder, you have a back-up copy and that little green post card to prove it was delivered. A telephone call is a faint memory the moment the connection is broken. An email may roll up and off the screen, out of sight and out of mind. Emails are often purged whether by accident or intent. Your letter and your copy of that letter are the most powerful tool you have. A single letter that is brief and tells the reader just exactly what you want is more potent than a hundred phone calls. There is just no reason for you to communicate with VA by any other method than a letter.

(6) Don’t call your Congressperson or a Senator. Your elected representatives in Washington makes laws, they don’t enforce them. Each of them maintains a number of very busy offices staffed by a dozen or more people. In that mix are “Military & Veterans Liaisons” or an individual with a similar title and responsibility. When you write or call to complain about the VA and your claim, your call is routed to that person. He or she will ask you to complete documents that allow them to view your folder, privacy issues must be addressed as you have medical records in there. Then they send a “Congressional Inquiry” to your VARO. The VARO maintains a team of people to respond to such inquiries within 45 days. Your folder is located, pulled out of line and examined for any particular glitches or errors. Then it may be sent to the Representative’s liaison for a review. If the folder and your application are merely going through the usual routine of numbingly slow progress, that’s what you’ll hear. If there is missing evidence and VA can’t find records or something is lost, they’ll assure the Representative that they’re doing all they can and that message will be passed on to you. Your Congressperson or Senator won’t be aware that you’ve done any of this with their office. They each have hundreds of these requests every year. Often enough, the impatience is rooted in ignorance. The vet doesn’t understand the process and nobody told him that his claim may take as long as 18 months. Some requests and complaints are filed with these offices because the veteran is in dire financial straits and is depending on a compensation benefit to save the day. The wolves are at the door, the car is being repossessed, the credit cards are maxed out and the vet needs the money right now. This is probably the worst reason to call as an inquiry may cause even more delays. Your folder could have been next in line to be distributed to the desk of a Ratings Veterans Service Representative (RSVR) and you caused it to be pulled out of its place in the line.

(7) Don’t ask advice from everyone you meet. Once you begin the journey to that compensation benefits award, you should soon develop a plan and stick to it. An integral part of the plan is where you’ll get guidance from. Have you decided to use a Veterans Service Officer who you trust?  Are you going to DIY? Are you in an appeal and you’ve signed some agreements with a lawyer? Whatever path you choose, stick to it. There is no one perfect answer to any of the thousands of questions that may come up during the course of your claim. Different people will have different experiences and those experiences will shape the way they will advise you to handle your claim. This happens in appeals too. The veteran speaks with a lawyer who agrees to take him as a client. Papers are signed and the lawyer begins the process by notifying VA of the new POA and requesting a copy of the folder. Six months pass and the veteran hasn’t heard anything so he calls the lawyer to discover the VARO only delivered the copied folder 2 weeks ago. The veteran once again starts looking for advice elsewhere and the result is always the same, the vet is lost, confused and unsure of what to do next. Changing representation in the middle of the process may be one of the worst actions a veteran can take unless there is a very good cause. That the claim is taking too long or the lawyer isn’t calling you every week to tell you nothing has happened isn’t good cause. You should only change your POA in a circumstance where you’ve discovered and can prove incompetence, your representative is on an extended leave or the representative dies. Even then, you will want to give a lot of thought to upsetting the flow of progress, as slow as it may be. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that it’s better to allow the claim to proceed to a denial than to try to make a course correction during the process. When you make the decision to file a claim, give a lot of thought to how you’re going to proceed and choose your representative carefully. If you’ve done your homework up front, when you hit those bumps and delays that come with working with VA, you’ll remain confident that it’s just the routine and you’ll be happier for it.

(8) Prepare for the worst. Approach your claim as if it is already determined that you’ll lose and have a lengthy appeal. There are no reliable, precise statistics that allow us to predict which claims will be approved or the ones that are doomed to failure. We know that even when you submit a perfect claim with perfect evidence there’s a good chance that you will be tied up for a year or more and then receive a denial letter. When you get that denial, you’ll be stunned as you read along. In the required explanation from VA you’ll see that it’s almost as if not one single person actually read your evidence and/or they just ignored it all. The language they use might make you think that they’re speaking of someone else’s claim, not yours. You may read incomplete sentences, pages that don’t seem to connect from one to the next or the date on your letter may be days, weeks and even months previous to the day you get the documents. The truth is that it’s entirely possible that your complete folder was never examined for all the evidence. It’s possible that evidence you delivered wasn’t ever matched to your file. It’s not rare for papers from one file to be accidently included in another file and your denial may be based on a single page of a report from another veteran’s medical record. If you are already in need of the financial help that you deserve when you take that first step towards compensation, you must begin to develop your budget as if you aren’t ever going to see any help from the VA. I have met many vets who are suddenly unemployed or underemployed due to their service connected disability when they decide to file for a benefit. They hear from friends of the retroactive pay and that monthly deposit and the free medical care and they file and sit back and wait for it. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to find any sympathy for the knee injuries that you’ve asked for and been denied 3 years earlier. Even if your claim is valid and you’re unable to find work, unless you have a situation that is life threatening, you probably won’t see any help at all from VA. No matter what your situation, after you’ve completed your filing of the paperwork for your claim, you must then address your long term finances. You should involve your family in the discussion so that everyone understands that you’re facing a long road ahead. If you start the process knowing how you’ll pay bills each month until the point that you are awarded your deserved compensation, the time you wait will be less of a stress on you as well as your family.

(9) Read the fine print. Each time the VA writes to you you’ll find a page that applies to your claim and a number of pages of boilerplate instructions regarding your rights to appeal and other matters. Too many of us get to the part that reads, “We propose to reduce your benefits…”, or “Your claim for compensation is denied…”, or any one of a number of messages that we didn’t want to receive and we never read past that. The blood boils up in the brain, eyes cloud over and we get tunnel vision and we never see the instructions that can save us time and trouble. The fine print included with a VA letter is as good as it gets. Often enough it will detail why a particular action is taking place and once you understand that, you can correct the problem in short order. In a denial letter you may see that they didn’t consider an important piece of evidence that would have supported your claim and you have an instant reason to appeal. The most important detail you’ll find is that of timing. Your VA is obsessed with timing, yours, not their own. That fine print will tell you that if you wish to halt the apportionment of the money your ex is trying to withhold from your compensation, you must take certain actions within 30 days or 60 days. If you ‘timely’ reply you can request a personal hearing that can halt proceedings for months while VA makes room in the schedule for you. This can give you valuable time to gather evidence or get advice on how to fight a proposed negative action by VA. Reading those pages of legalese will provide the veteran with almost never-ending routes of appeals, hearings and opportunities to prevent decisions from going against us or to reverse decisions that aren’t favorable. Using the law to enforce your rights is smart. Getting smart beats getting angry every time.

(10) Get involved. You served your country. You wore the uniform, took the oath and you agreed that if ordered to do so, you would lay your life on the line for the principles we believe in. That isn’t enough. You aren’t done yet. When you were active duty, you could vote and that was about it. Now you’re a veteran and you have the knowledge and experience required to understand how our military forces need the support of the civilian leadership that control them. If you haven’t ever written to your elected representatives before, don’t embarrass yourself by thinking that they should jump up to help you when you have an issue with the VA. You Congressional representatives want to hear from you on an ongoing basis. Your Senators each have an easy, simple section on their web site for you to write them a note to let them know how you feel. Once each month, it may take all of 5 minutes of your busy schedule to write to say that you support some piece of legislation for veterans. If you do that on a regular basis, if you aren’t a ranter, and if you are contributing your thoughts to them even when you don’t need their help, they’ll pay more attention when veteran’s issues come before them. Today, the younger veterans need your wisdom, your guidance and the benefit of your experience. When you returned to the world in 1969, there were few people who were willing to offer you a hand up. If you haven’t lifted a finger to help our newest veterans but you have time to bitch and whine and cry about your own benefits, you need to reassess the situation you’re in. Giving your time to assisting these warriors will give you something to do while VA muddles around with your claim. You won’t get the sort of reward from the VA that you’ll discover helping a young veteran rebuild a life.

(11) Learn how to use your computer.  If you’re reading this, the odds are you’re reading it on a computer. It’s often said that filing an application for disability compensation isn’t a spectator sport. It’s time for you to get in the game. How can a person who manages to log on and use email not know about that phenomenon known as the Google search engine? The Internet is as amazing an invention as the wheel or sliced bread. To have Internet access is something most of us couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams as we entered our military service. Today’s soldier can’t recall a world without the Internet. If we take it in it’s simplest terms, the Internet is nothing more than a library that houses information. We all access the same Internet. It doesn’t matter if your portal is AOL or Bellsouth or Comcast, those are just doors that open to allow you access. Once you step through the door your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has for you, you are surfing along the same “Information Superhighway” as everyone else. Once you’ve arrived on the Internet, the “library” is full of billions and billions of pages of information. That information is piped up into the Internet from other computers, called servers, from colleges and governments and private citizens and even businesses that want to sell things to you. If you want to see what they have to offer, you have to be able to arrive at their Internet address and then view the information they provide. To get to a specific place or find specific information on the Internet requires that you know the exact address of the place you’re looking for. If you don’t know where you’re going, how on earth can you find your way among those billions of addresses? Thankfully, that was made easier for you years ago by the development of the “Search Engine”. The first Internet search engine came about 1993 and has quickly evolved into today’s Google. While there are plenty of competitors around, many consider that the Google engine is the best available. How do you use it? Simple. If the Google search bar isn’t already a fixture on the landscape of the web page you’re looking at, go to the address bar of your browser and type in http://www.google.com and you’re ready to search. Bingo, you’re on a page that shows you the results of the search by the engine. It may tell you that it found hundreds of thousands of “hits” of pages that are relevant to your query. The engine, being as smart as it is, has listed them in the order it thinks you’ll want to see them. You’ll see the main page of the DVA site (http://www.va.gov) and also the main page of the VBA site (http://www.vba.va.gov) Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to use a search engine. You entered a “search term” and then directed the engine to find a likely page of information for you. Once at the DVA web site you’ll see links to almost everything the DVA has available. A “link” is a word, phrase or symbol that you may click on that will take you to another place on the Internet or within the pages of the site you’re on. To find the facts about dependents benefits is easy once you’re on the VA site. Look around, you’ll see links to benefits, from there links to dependent’s benefits and so on. I recommend the DVA web site as a first stop for almost everything you need to know about the VA. The site is massive and it can be complex but with a little time, you’ll soon discover all you ever wanted to know about VA.

(12) Retrieve and then organize your own documents and evidence. The VA has a duty to assist you. The obligation to help you includes a reasonable effort to track down records and to notify you of your rights. The word you want to pay attention to is “reasonable”. If 10 years have passed since you were treated at the infamous Our Lady of Pain and Suffering Medical Center, located in beautiful Dog’s Breath, Georgia and you want those records, you better work on getting them yourself. That VSR may fire off a letter in the direction of that hospital and include a copy of your release but there is never any guarantee they’re going to respond. He may even try again. After that, it’s your problem, not his. Many hospitals today have medical records outsourced to a vendor in another city and state. If the VA writes to the hospital asking for your records they may get a message to contact the vendor. In turn, that vendor may require a stiff fee to research and copy records, and yes, they can do that. The vendor may require a photocopy of your driver’s license or other identification for security. Their rules may require all of that and then they must send the records back to the hospital where the hospital releases them to you or the VA. Upon encountering those kinds of barriers, the VSR at your VARO will note his attempts and move on, only without your important records. If you were treated by a handful of different physicians over the years, practices may have changed hands, doctors may have moved on. If you were treated by Dr. Quackenstein 12 years ago and his notes will prove your disability, you’ve got problems if he gave up medicine and is now a back-up singer in an unheard of band. Your file may be in storage, it could be that the entire practice moved to another building or that the practice, including your chart, was sold to another group of doctors. The VSR may send a letter and might even make a phone call on your behalf. If that isn’t productive, he’ll move on. In the circumstances above, had you taken the initiative yourself, you may have been able to track down your record. Yes, it may have taken you 30 phone calls and days of frustration but if you are persistent and you find the right person, the one with the keys to the storage facility, you may get that single piece of paper that wins your case.

(13) You’re not in the military anymore.You no longer have to accept answers you get as if it was handed down from authority and, or through the chain of command. Question everything. If the answer or decision is not favorable to you, disagree with it. Our government’s agencies do not always get things right, do not have your best interests in mind, and will not always tell you everything you need to know. If you think your claim has merit, and your belief is based on facts, law, and evidence directly on point to your claim, then appeal and persevere. Do not shrug your shoulders, give up, and think the VA must know better and, or must be right. They make wrong/bad decisions all the time; hence, the incredible backlog that exists in the VBA claims process today.

Read this disclaimer: The above information is provided to you to describe general processes and procedures that occur during the application for disability compensation and pension and other benefits within the Department of Veterans Affairs System. You are not being provided with any legal advice. Any information provided here is not intended as and should not be construed as legal advice. The DVA laws and regulations are subject to change. I cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information provided, or any results or outcome as a result of the use of this information.

Uphill Battles & Gaining The High Ground

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Many of you have been around here long enough to know I’m a disabled United States Air Force (AF) veteran who has been in an uphill battle with the Veterans Administration (VA) since the day I got out of the AF. I’ve asked why it must be a battle to receive veterans disability benefits, I’ve asked why there must be so much red tape, and repeatedly I find myself with the same damn answer, because this is the way it is, just accept it. Well, I’ve called bullshit, and that answer is not only un-acceptable to me and shouldn’t be acceptable to any living breathing veteran on the face of the planet. The word needs to get out, we need to share what we know with everyone, the more information we are armed with can mean the difference of one’s success or failure with the VA. So, here’s my personal challenge to all of you, veteran or not, disabled veteran or not, family members, friends, and co-workers, share this post on your web page, your blog, Facebook, Google+, and so forth. This following information will help you whether you want to file a claim or you wish to re-open an existing claim. But this information needs to get out there, the word must be spread. I won’t mention her name here, she knows who she is, who she is to me, but she knows first hand the battle veterans fight in the VA system, whether it be on the medical side or the claim side of the VA. We have spoke extensively and I want to be the one that gives something back to my fellow veterans. She has been an inspiration to me to keep my head held high and keep fighting. I owe her a debt of gratitude for lending me an ear and being a dear friend. So, again, the more this information is shared with everyone the better.

There is information within the walls of the VA which is very important to each and every veteran. I’ve spent many years just taking the VA’s word for it about my personal disability claim, but I’m done with that nonsense, real done with it, everyone who is a veteran needs to come to the very moment I did, and just flat say that enough is enough, its time to get to higher ground, its time to win my battle and claim the high ground. I didn’t do this alone, I’ve had help along the way, I’d love to mention each person out but I would rather thank all of them in mass for they each helped me in their own particular way or supported me when I thought it wasn’t worth fighting for any more. But why do we need to fight? Why can’t the process be easier? I’ll tell you why, it has the appearance that the VA makes the process of filing a claim overly complex and hard simply to discourage veterans from filing a claim. When, in reality, it should be just the opposite, our Veterans Administration should be helping us, not fighting us at every turn, they should want to be there for us as we have been there for them. But, we all know it to be very different, a scenario that resembles a battle plan with contingencies to set in play for the setbacks. Again, we must be prepared, we must be three steps ahead, we must have a hand in the grand scheme, and the only way to win any battle is to be well informed.

I have read many blogs, web sites, forums, reviews, papers, and government documents than one single man should ever have to endure. I’m no lawyer, not by any means, and this post will only point out your legal rights as a veteran, but in no way constitute any form of legal council. And, for the purpose of the contents of this post I offer you my disclaimer. The information you obtain on this blog or this post specifically is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney or advocate for advice regarding your individual veterans claim situation. This blog post is intended for informational purposes only. Got it? Great, lets move on then, there is much to cover. The following information has been researched by me personally, shared with me personally, all for the purpose of being better prepared to do battle with the VA. With that being said, I’ve collected quite a stack of useful information. Today we will talk mostly about a veterans “C” file or claims file, it’s contents, and why the information might be the single most important resource a veteran can have.

What is in a C-file? When I casually say everything about you, I truly mean it. For simplicity purposes, let’s separate the contents of a C-file into 11 different categories so each one of them can be examined. Your claims file is being reviewed by the VA to evaluate your case, it is your legal right to have a copy so each party has the same information. See what is missing, see what is being overlooked, and provide yourself with ammunition to fight back, you need a page by page copy of your entire claims file, without it you have already lost your battle.

Miscellaneous: Basic information can be found here like birth certificates, employment information, and more.

Military Administration: This area pertains to everything from your discharge to your awards and personal records.

Compensation and Pension Exams: Any records pertaining to your C&P Exams.

VA Medical Records: Record for any occasion in which you have sought treatment at any VA facility.

Private Medical Records: Any medical records from non-VA facilities, or from your active duty period.

Military Medical Records: Any medical records from your time in service.

Entrance and Separation exams: These exams are performed when an individual enters and when they exit the military.

Ratings Decisions and Statements of the Case: This section is rather large and will contain your application for benefits, appeals, decisions, statements of the case, and so much more.

Statements in Support of Claim: Any statements or questionnaires that you may fill out will be located here.

Transcripts:  This simply pertains to transcripts from hearings.

Transcripts: Any applications, decisions, and records pertaining to Social Security.

The claims file is kind of like the lifeblood of your case. A C-file is something that every Veteran has once a claim is filed with the VA. Some C-files are small, and others contain more 7000 pages, but no two files are the same. Unfortunately claims files are not currently electronic, and they arrive from the VA unsorted. One of the first things to do when your claims file arrives is sort it into the eleven categories above. Those eleven categories contain all of the essential information about your case. So, how does one obtain a C-file? That part, unlike the review, is simple. All you really have to do is ask for it from the VA. Remember, the word simple with the VA is a relative term. As I mentioned earlier, the files are not electronic. They are paper.  As they are paper, they are stored in filing cabinets. Further, depending upon when you served, where your case is in the process, and which Regional Office is handling your claim, the file may be in multiple locations. Because of this, it takes time to get your file together.  Also, it is important to note that only one copy of your file is free. If you request additional copies you will be charged. I recommend, if you have the technology, scan it all, scan everything, make that digital copy for your records, store it on a thumb-drive and/or burn it onto a DVD or CD. Saying that your claims file is important to your VA Disability claim is an understatement. Honestly, the records found within the claims file really determine your eligibility.

I mentioned above that a veteran just needs to ask for his/her claims file, below is an example of what I used.

———————————–

(Date)

Privacy Act Department

Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office

6900 Almeda Road

Houston, TX 77030

Re: (Veterans Name) Claims Folder FOIA Request

(Social Security Number or Claim Number or Case Number)

Dear Staff:

I hereby request a copy of all documents contained in (Veterans Name) claims folder, including, but not limited to, all documents in the right flap, left flap, and center flap, and the reverse side of any documents with writing on both sides.

Please note that this request for documents is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as well as 38 C.F.R.§1.550 and 38 C.F.R.  § 1.577.  Your agency has a duty to respond to this request within TWENTY (20) DAYS of the date of this request pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(6)(A)(2)(i).

Additionally, although an extension of time to respond may be requested, it may only be granted for “unusual circumstances.” “Predictable agency workload” is not typically considered an unusual circumstance as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(ii).   Moreover, even to the extent that unusual circumstances could be demonstrated in this instance, the time limit for the extension is limited to “10 working days” pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.553(d).

Please also be aware that your agency’s failure to respond to this request within twenty (20) days may result in the filing of an administrative appeal with the office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.557 and 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(2)(ii), and potentially, the filing of a federal lawsuit to compel the production of the information.

This may subject your agency to contempt of court and a fine, including attorney fees and litigation expenses in compelling the production of this information pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(l) of the Privacy Act, and 38 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) of FOIA. Thank you.

(Veterans Name)

(Veterans Signature)

(Veterans Contact Info)

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Hand write the request, type it out, print it, be sure to sign it, put it into an envelope and send it. But, wait, be sure to send it certified mail requiring a signature. Why? You will be notified of the date, time, and person signing for the letter. Why is this important? Their time to reply starts on the date signed. Remember its business days, excluding weekends and federal holidays. Once you get a copy of your claims file, categorize it, read it, get to know it frontwards and backwards, then use the information to better prepare your initial claim or to help you re-open your claim. Personally, I’m in the information collection phase of my battle, soon I will soon be finished preparing my package to be submitted to the VA. I will continue to update this blog with my progress and/or road blocks. Remember, the more this information is shared with fellow veterans, family members of veterans, co-workers of veterans, and so forth, the better we, as veterans, can better prepare. If the playing field is level then the veteran once again has a fighting chance. The resources are out there, the information is out there, and the almighty answers are all out there, find it all and live a better life.

Taking Time To Breathe & Step Back

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Some months ago I was contacted by a twenty one year old young lady who asked if I had any suggestions in a direction to proceed if she was attempting to locate her biological family. She had read a few posts here on this blog about my own personal journey and how my personal search took place. She mentioned to me that I stated more than once that I would pass on my methods, recommendations, and free agencies that are available to the general public. We communicated much through email, then texting, and eventually over the phone. Then, out of the blue, everything just stopped cold, all communication between us ended, and we fell out of communication. I did wonder what happened, but I left it alone since I figured there was good reasons.

Until yesterday, the day when I got a fantastically wonderful and surprising email from her. She wanted to update me on what had been happening with her search. Before I get into the results I think, after I received her blessings, I need to tell her story. She has a story not unlike many, she found out she was adopted purely by accident, and it turned her entire world upside down as she had no idea to ever think she was adopted. I will begin her story from the point she found out at the age of nineteen.

She was on her way home from college to spend time over the holiday break with her mother who had become very ill over the prior year. Unfortunately, during her visit her mother passed away. After the funeral she tasked herself with clearing her mother’s house of personal belongings so the home could be put on the market. She had made arrangements for everything to be placed into storage after she had taken the time to box it all up neatly. She wasn’t really sure what to do with anything, so she figured storing it all would give her time to sort through her emotions first. After a few days of packing up the rest of the house it was time to start in her mother’s bedroom, a place specifically left until the end because she figured it would be the hardest for her. After countless hours in the room, folding clothes neatly, wrapping the breakables, and taking down pictures from the wall, she entered the closet to get it over with. Midway through the closet she sees a small metal box on the shelf above and when she gets it down she sees it is locked. She remembered there was a small key in her mother’s jewelry box and after digging it out she gave it a turn, and to her surprise it opened the lock. Now, she has never seen this box before so she was pretty excited. In the box there was a single legal sized envelope inside, nothing else, just the envelope. She struggled with the decision to open the envelope, as much as she wanted to open it she really understood the importance or secrecy, because, as it is, the sealed envelope was in a locked metal box on the top shelf in the closet under years stuff which secluded it nicely.

She set the box to the side, envelope remaining inside unopened, as she finished her task of packing. It has been an emotional so far since she found boxes upon boxes of memoirs of her entire life, she remembered most of the captured glimpses of time, so the emotions were grand and somewhat severe. That night she prepared a pallet to sleep on in the middle of all the boxes in the living room and decided it was time to get some rest. As she layed there she could see the metal box resting atop other packed boxes. Still wondering about the contents she sits the box in front of her on the floor. She opened the box. She again sees the envelope. But this time she opens it up, she removed the contents and placed them on the floor beside her, and now it is time to review the paperwork which much be very important information. The first letter was from an attorney, addressed to her parents. It was a message to inform them that their wait is finally over because a newborn girl was immediately available for their review and potential adoption. Enclosed was a picture of the newborn, she recognized the picture, why wouldn’t she, it was a picture of her. Needless to say she reviews all the documents, trying to process them mentally, and trying to find the sanity in the madness.

The following morning she started googling information, names, agencies, and in the crazy mix of it all landed right here on this very blog. She chooses to not leave any public comments on any of the posts she found dealing with my own adoption story. Instead, I get an email asking, and I will quote, “are you for real in your offer to exchange information about being adopted”? She said quite a bit more, asked a few more relevant questions, and then closed out the email. I replied to her, answering her questions and reassured her that I will share whatever I know. Soon enough, we exchanged 20 plus emails which evolved into texting which evolved into actual telephone conversations, there were even two occasions we did the Skype thing so I could physically show her a few online processes. As I mentioned earlier, our communication stopped abruptly, and I have been left wondering about her and her situation.

I got an email yesterday, it was from her, and she explained that she had some luck in her search but thinks she will put it all to rest because she was heading down a road she didn’t want to travel. She did, however, locate her biological grandfather, who was a disabled Marine veteran who now lives in a VA sponsored retirement home. To make a long, wonderful story short, he is her only surviving blood relative. I was asked not to share anymore than that, so I know it seems as if the story has taken a bad turn, but I assure y’all that after talking with her last night that just the opposite is true. This story isn’t actually over, there’s more, but I was asked to follow up with her in a few months when she goes on summer break, where, if I choose to do so (her words) I can write more in detail about her personal journey. I agreed.

I lead a super simple life, I like it this way, and I am very pleased that somewhere in the midst of all the different crap here that at least one person found something that happened to me personally to be useful or beneficial in some way. I just wrote about my life knowing that sometimes, not always, shit happens that you just have to deal with, being adopted is one of those times, one of those things, that a person can either roll with or fight, its all about your own perspective in life.

Struggling With Dueling Personalities

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As my 18 year old daughter pushes through her second semester in college to become a RN she has come face to face with the fact that there are many psychology and sociology classes to attend. She knows the human brain really fascinates me and she knows I have my own out of the normal box way of thinking, meaning I question everything. Because of my age and personal experiences I tend to have a jaded opinion about my fellow human beings. It makes me hard to talk to at times because I don’t want to talk about “how” I got where I stand today because much of my personal past is still unknown to even the closest people in my life. Simply put, there are things I choose not to discuss, its just the way it is.

Anyway, she had a paper to write about personality disorders versus mental disorders. She didn’t know the “line” between them is often blurred, often confused, often misidentified, and very often a person gets mislabeled. Now, she is familiar with bipolar disorder since her brother struggles daily with it. She had to learn the “disorder” in order to live in peace with her brother in a comfortable manner for both of them. She thought she had this paper nailed until she asked me to review it. Its not that she had it all wrong, because she didn’t. But, because the terms are confusing, it makes the information available confusing. Jokingly, I told her that the specialists who study these and other disorders make it difficult to learn for job security, which is both true and false in every conceivable way. So, I gave her my interpretation, whether it helped or not we will have to see when she gets her grade. Below is how I see it.

Sometimes people confuse two mental disorders, only one of which could be referred to as “common” within the population which is bipolar disorder and then schizophrenia. This confusion has largely resulted from the common use of some of these names in popular media, and as short-hand by people referring to someone who is grappling with a mental health issue. The disorders, however, have little in common other than the fact that many who have them are still stigmatized by society.

Bipolar disorder is a fairly common mental disorder compared with the other two disorders. Bipolar disorder is also well-understood and readily treated by a combination of medications and psychotherapy. It is characterized by alternating moods of mania and depression, both of which usually last weeks or even months in most people who have the disorder. People who are manic have a high energy level and often irrational beliefs about the amount of work they can accomplish in a short amount of time. They sometimes take on a million different projects at once and finish none of them. Some people with mania talk at a faster rate and seem to the people around them to be constantly in motion.

After a manic mood, a person with bipolar disorder will often “crash” into a depressive mood, which is characterized by sadness, lethargy, and by a feeling that there’s not much point in doing anything. Problems with sleep occur during both types of mood. Bipolar disorder affects both men and women equally and can be first diagnosed throughout a person’s life.

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to treat because, while a person will take an antidepressant medication to help alleviate a depressed mood, they are less likely to remain on the medications which help reign in the manic mood. Those medications tend to make a person feel “like a zombie” or “emotionless,” which are feelings most people wouldn’t want to experience. So many people with bipolar disorder find it difficult to maintain treatment while in their manic phase. However, most people with bipolar disorder function relatively well in normal society and manage to cope with their mood swings, even if they don’t always keep on their prescribed medications.

However, schizophrenia is less common than bipolar disorder and is usually first diagnosed in a person’s late teens or early to late 20’s. More men than women receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which is characterized by having both hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Delusions are the belief in something that isn’t true. People who have delusions will continue with their delusions even when shown evidence that contradicts the delusion. That’s because, like hallucinations, delusions are “irrational”, the opposite of logic and reason. Since reason doesn’t apply to someone who has a schizophrenic delusion, arguing with it logically gets a person nowhere.

Schizophrenia is also challenging to treat mainly because people with this disorder don’t function as well in society and have difficulty maintaining the treatment regimen. Such treatment usually involves medications and psychotherapy, but can also involve a day program for people who have more severe or treatment-resistant forms of the disorder.

Because of the nature of the symptoms of schizophrenia, people with this disorder often find it difficult to interact with others, and conduct normal life activities, such as holding down a job. Many people with schizophrenia go off of treatment (sometimes, for instance, because a hallucination may tell them to do so), and end up homeless, without friends or family, and sometimes end their life as a plausible solution.

All people suffer, period. No person wants or needs to be a “lab rat” in the discovery of what ails them mentally. But, society dictates we label and judge others based on our opinions, ignorance, lack of understanding, and the pure lack of compassion. I know what y’all are thinking, and yes I do judge people myself in regards to stupidity and the utter lack of common sense. So, I do live the double standard in many ways, I ride that double edge sword like the evil bitch she is. Its one of many of my personal faults. I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, but in my defense I have read about and studied this topic for many, many years because the subject is very near and dear to me. Nor do I claim that what I have interpreted or formed my own opinion on is dead nuts accurate. As with all things, interpretation is the ultimate devil in the woodpile.

We can learn allot by paying attention and observing our fellow humans, but more often than not we choose to just ignore the people around us. We have become dependent on others to guide us in life for some fucked up reason. However, I do know two doctors, y’all know who you are, who take a different approach to medicine, they look at the person first, not the diagnosis. They take into consideration that we a people with feelings, emotions, and look at alternative ways to treat the various symptoms of life. I appreciate my two friends a great deal, one day I would like to shake the hands of Kris and Rexi because they have taken time out of their lives to include me into their lives. They are both amazing women in my opinion and anyone who has them in their daily lives are truly lucky.

Anyway, in closing, helping my daughter helps me more often than not because it gives me a chance to reevaluate the things I think I know well and opens my mind to the possibilities that there are other options. I get pretty set in my damn ways sometimes but my thirst for knowledge will never be quenched as long as I’m still breathing. My dad once told me, the summer he died, that people prey on the closed mind, they prey because the closed mind is that of a victim, and they begin with the upper hand because they know how defenseless a victim is. Is it true? I still challenge myself to this very day not to be a victim with a closed mind. Do you?

I Love It When It All Comes Together

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In the still of the morning air a breeze would stir letting you know fall is trying to be here, but can’t quite get it’s act together yet. All is quiet except for the cars racing down the feeder road in a grand hurry to get somewhere ten seconds in front of the other guy. And then, this is a big and then too, the first concrete truck arrives, ready to begin the pour. I was taken back, back to when I was doing predawn concrete pours with my dad, back in the day so to say, and I was reminded how exciting pour days really are.  I realized then I was home again, being involved in construction, knowing that this was the job I had been waiting for, knowing that I had missed being away. One day I need to take some time and tell that story, but not today, today is about present time, and how one more step in this process has been completed. So, yes, I’m very excited it is done, that the day is done, and tomorrow we press forward just a little bit more with progress. Right now I need a nap, so I will post more tonight.

Still Looking For A Job, Found This

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Okay, I will be the first one to say being unemployed really hugs a root. As well, the job hunting process blows pretty hard to say the very least, especially because I’m seeking federal employment so I can apply my years of military service towards retirement. I’m beginning to wonder if having a bachelors degree, the disabled veterans preference, top secret clearance, fast and accurate typing skills, and other qualifications is enough. Where I suffer the most is lack of management skills, sales skills, and customer service skills. Because one or more of these skills is what has been biting me in the ass as I seek federal employment. Yesterday, I received my 14th letter of declination. But, this morning, I had an email giving a link to the following job announcement which I applied for. This one took 72 minutes to complete with all of the questionnaires, surveys, and background information. Anyway, just wanted to share how these official announcements look, because sometimes they are quite complicated. I think my wife and I have had quite enough background checks, I assure everyone we are legal US citizens with no international ties to ANYTHING OR ANYBODY.

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Job Title: IMMIGRATION MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT (OA)

Department: Department Of Homeland Security

Agency: Citizenship and Immigration Services

Job Announcement Number: CIS-PJN-1229419-HOU

SALARY RANGE:

$35,659.00 to $57,424.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD:

Monday, October 6, 2014 to Friday, October 10, 2014

SERIES & GRADE:

GS-0303-05/07

POSITION INFORMATION:

Full Time – Permanent

PROMOTION POTENTIAL:

07

DUTY LOCATIONS:

1 vacancy in the following location:
Houston, TX View Map

WHO MAY APPLY:

United States Citizens

SECURITY CLEARANCE:

Public Trust – Background Investigation

SUPERVISORY STATUS:

No

JOB SUMMARY:

Do you desire to protect American interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career? If so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling. DHS components work collectively to prevent terrorism, secure borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard cyberspace and ensure resilience to disasters. The vitality and magnitude of this mission is achieved by a diverse workforce spanning hundreds of occupations. Make an impact; join DHS.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system. Visit us at http://www.uscis.gov/.

This position of IMMIGRATION MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT (OA) starts at a salary of $35,659.00(GS-05 step 1), to $57,424.00 (GS-07 step 10).  Apply for this exciting opportunity to become a member of the Field Operations Directorate, Office of Field Operations, District 17, Houston TX Field Office, Houston, TX, within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For definitions of terms found in this announcement, please click here

This position is in the bargaining unit.
This position is not considered “essential” for purposes of reporting to work when the facility might otherwise be closed.

Relocation expenses are authorized if you are assigned to the RAIO program and have been approved for rotation from an overseas assignment. Relocation expenses for employees assigned to an OCONUS location will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Note: USCIS may fill one or more positions using this vacancy.

TRAVEL REQUIRED

Not Required

RELOCATION AUTHORIZED

No

KEY REQUIREMENTS

You must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National to apply for this positionSuccessfully pass a Background Investigation including financial disclosureYou must pass a drug screeningMeet relevant experience and/or education requirementsYou must submit resume and supporting documentationMales born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service

DUTIES:

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The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence, and limited complexity.

As an Immigration Management Assistant, you will support the administrative and operational aspects of USCIS management and program operations, by performing a variety of clerical andtechnical work in support of management and program analysis functions and processes. Other duties may include the following duties:

Update systems with current information required for reports and data analysis and administers management information systems. Complete limited, uncomplicated management and program analysis projects and segments of larger analytical projects and studies under the direction of higher level employees.Prepare reports, spreadsheets, and provides program and administrative information based on findings.Complete a variety of physical, database and system file checks to prepare cases for adjudication and coordinates with other units to resolve non-routine issues and cases.

 QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

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GS-5: You qualify at the GS-5 level if you possess one of the following:

(1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-4 grade level in the Federal government collecting data, organizing data into a usable format, and using personal computers and software to enter and retrieve data from an automation information system and various types of software; answering routine questions from other employees and distributing information to appropriate personnel; receiving, assigning, monitoring, reviewing and verifying documents through an automated information system; searching office records to respond to inquiriesORSuccessful completion of a full four-year course of study above the high school level in any field for which high school graduation or the equivalent is the normal prerequisite can be substituted for specialized experience. This education must have been obtained in an accredited business, secretarial or technical school, junior college, college or university. One year of full-time academic study is defined as 30 semester hours, 45-quarter hours, or the equivalent in a college or university, or at least 20 hours of classroom instruction per week for approximately 36 weeks in a business, secretarial, or technical school.  Equivalent combinations of successfully completed post-high school education and experience may be used to meet total experience requirements at the GS-5 level.

GS-6:  You qualify at the GS-6 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 grade level in the Federal government such as:

Update data systems with current information required for reports and data analysis;Create and update electronic profiles for employees to access tracking systems;Prepare files for expedited adjudication requests;Communicate with other offices to request records and update data systems.

GS-7:  You qualify at the GS-7 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-6 grade level in the Federal government such as:

Complete a variety of physical database and system file checks to prepare cases for adjudication;Respond to information requests from external sources;Provide weekly statistical analysis of pending files;Recommend corrective action for procedural errors and issues.

COMBINING QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION:  If you do not qualify based on experience or education alone, you may be able to qualify based on a combination of your experience and education. For more information on combining education and experience, visit the following website:  http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=List-by-Occupational-Series

Probationary Period: You may be required to serve a probationary period of 1 year.

The qualifications for this position must be met by 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on the closing date of this announcement (Friday, October 10, 2014).

Residency Requirement:  There is a residency requirement for all applicants not currently employed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  This residency requirement states that candidates must have, for three of the last five years immediately prior to applying for this position; (1) resided in the United States; OR (2) worked for the United States Government as an employee overseas in a Federal or Military capacity, OR (3) been a dependent of a U.S. Federal or Military employee serving overseas.

Typing Certification: You must be able to type at least 40 words per minute. You can self certify by submitting a statement that you can type this speed.

General Office Skills: Applicants must possess knowledge of general office automation software, practices, and procedures. Physical Demands: Applicants must be able to lift moderately heavy items such as file tubs and record boxes or bins weighting up to 50 lbs

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:

We will review your résumé and supporting documentation to ensure you meet the minimum qualification requirements. If you meet the minimum qualifications, we will place you in one of three categories based on your responses to the on-line questionnaire regarding experience, education and training.

Best Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a superior level of all evaluation criteria.Well-Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a satisfactory level of the evaluation criteria.Qualified: Applicants possessing the basic qualifications, with general knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The competencies or knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform this job are:

Technical ProficiencyData ManagementCustomer ServiceCommunication

NOTE: Your resume and supporting documentation will be verified. If you rated yourself higher than what is supported by your application material, you may be excluded from consideration for this job. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating or consideration for employment

Supervisory references must be provided and will be contacted as part of the hiring process.

If you fall into best qualified category, you may be referred to the hiring manager for consideration and may be called for an interview.  To preview the job questionnaire, click here View Assessment Questions

Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) Eligibles:  If you have never worked for the Federal government, you are not CTAP/ICTAP eligible.  Information about ICTAP or CTAP eligibility can be found by clicking here to access OPM’s Career Transition Resources website.  To be considered well qualified under CTAP/ ICTAP, you must be placed in the Well-Qualified   category for this position, as described above.   In addition, you must submit the supporting documents listed under the required documents section of this announcement.

Veterans:   Veterans with 5-point preference who meet the eligibility and qualification requirements are placed above non-preference eligibles within the category in which they qualify. Veterans who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10% are listed in the best qualified category, except when the position being filled is scientific, professional at the GS-09 grade level, or higher.  This position is not considered scientific/professional.   For information on veterans’ preference, please click here.

BENEFITS:

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DHS offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package, including:  health, dental, vision, life, and long-term care insurance; retirement plan; Thrift Savings Plan [similar to a 401(k)]; Flexible Spending Account; Employee Assistance Program; personal leave days; and paid federal holidays.  Other benefits may include:  flexible work schedules; telework; tuition reimbursement; transportation subsidies; uniform allowance; health and wellness programs; and fitness centers.  DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of employee training and developmental opportunities.  For more information, go to www.dhs.gov/careers and select “benefits.”

OTHER INFORMATION:

Background Investigation: To ensure the accomplishment of our mission, DHS requires every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet those standards, this position requires completion and adjudication of a background investigation. This may include a review of financial issues such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support and/or tax obligations, as well as certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.  The background investigation process is initiated after a selection is made.

If a SECRET or TOP SECRET clearance is needed, all selected candidates must meet the requirements for these clearances prior to placement AND maintain that level of clearance while encumbering the position.

Individuals with Disabilities, VeteransPeace Corps/VISTA volunteers: You possess a wealth of unique talents, experiences, and competencies that can be invaluable to the DHS mission. If you are a member of one of these groups, you may not have to compete with the public for federal jobs. To determine your eligibility and to understand the documentation that would be required with your application, click on the links above and contact the Servicing Human Resources Office listed at the bottom of this announcement. We encourage you to apply to USCIS vacancies using these special hiring authorities.

USCIS uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees.  To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.

HOW TO APPLY:

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Your application must be received by 11:59PM EST on Friday, October 10, 2014.  To begin your online application, click the Apply Online button and follow the prompts to register or sign into USAJOBS, take the online questionnaire, and submit the required documents.  See Required Documentssection for more detail.

 We strongly encourage you to apply online.  If you cannot apply online, you may FAX your resume, assessment questionnaire, and supporting documents to (478)757-3144. You must print a copy of OPM Form 1203-FX, document your responses to the assessment questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire, and use the official FAX cover sheet found here.

If you do not have access to a computer or fax, you must contact the Human Resource office listed below at least one day prior to the closing date for instructions.  Applications will not be accepted by mail.

To Fax a Resume or Supporting Documents:

If you previously uploaded documents to this vacancy, please do not FAX the same documents. If you need to fax a part of your documentation:

Use the official FAX coversheet found here.Make sure that you include the 7-character vacancy identification number: 1229419”. Provide your SSN, name, and address in the blocks provided or we will not be able to associate your document(s) with the rest of your application.Print your SSN and Name neatly using the exact name as the one used when you filled out the assessment questionnaire.The fax number is 1-478-757-3144.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

Your resumé

Are you qualifying based on education?  You must submit a copy of your college transcript (unofficial is acceptable).  For verification purposes, the transcript submitted must include your name. Those with foreign education, click this link. 

Are you a veteran?  Submit Member Copy 4 of your DD 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty).  Those applying for 10-point preference must fill out the SF-15 (click here for the form) and provide the required documentation listed on the back of the form.  If applying as a disabled veteran, submit a copy of the letter from the Veterans Administration, or other formal documentation, that clearly identifies overall rating of disability.  If applying based on eligibility under the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act, you must submit certification from the armed forces that you will be discharged or released from active duty within 120 days from the date on the certification.  This must indicate your dates of service, your rank, and confirm that you will be separated under honorable conditions.  Click here for more veterans’ information.

Are you claiming special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP)?  Submit:

·  a copy of your agency notice,

· a copy of your most recent performance rating, and

· a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, noting your current position, grade level, and duty location.

AGENCY CONTACT INFO:

HR OPERATIONS CENTER-TEAM ONE
Phone: (802)660-1145
Email: HROCTEAM1@DHS.GOV

Agency Information:
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
70 Kimball Avenue
South Burlington, VT
05403
USA

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT:

Once you submit your application, we will assess your experience and training, identify the best qualified applicants, and refer those applications to the selecting official for further consideration and a possible interview. We will notify you by email at various stages in the process (learn more). Your status will also be updated on USAJOBS throughout the process. To check your status, log on to your USAJOBS account, click on “Application Status,” and then click “More Information.” We expect to make a final job offer within 90 days after the deadline for applications. If you are selected, we will conduct a suitability/security background investigation.

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Keeping An Eye On Technology

sperm-extractor

In my own defense, this post should prove to everyone concerned that I do indeed look into almost all the weird shit sent to me as “leads” in my e-mail and even from much of the useless spam I tend to accumulate. Sometimes the science is more bizarre than most fictitious bullshit. Plus, if its found on the internet it has to be true, right? Wrong. I try to keep my bullshit filters on high guard when looking into miracles in modern medicine. What better machine could be invented than one that will jack you off in public. Yea human race, another medical breakthrough.

It would appear that a Chinese hospital in Nanjing has introduced a new machine that makes sperm donation even easier than before, an automatic sperm extractor. I’m all for hands-free technology, but have scientists gone a little too far with this invention? Who funded the research I wonder. Who decided there was an actual real need for such a device? How long before these trendy little machines show up in the United States? Maybe just put them in train stations, bus stations, and airports. We’re pretty greedy here, they would be fitted to take credit cards, PayPal, or even have an app to pay for it.

This effortless machine features a massage pipe made from a comfortable material, which is a patent secret, that can be adjusted to suit the height of the user. All the gentleman has to do is to insert his penis into the machine, then the frequency, amplitude and temperature can be adjusted to suit personal comfort, and off they go. These automatic sperm extractors are also fitted with a small screen to watch preloaded movies for those feeling uninspired. Surely they come equipped with a USB port so a person can watch what he prefers or better yet have free WiFi so we can keep it current.

According to the director of the urology department of the hospital, the machine is designed to help individuals that are finding it difficult to retrieve sperm the old fashioned way. I’m not entirely convinced that standing in a room shared by many other men and being milked like a cow is going to help, but their efforts are very commendable in my book. Here’s to technology, right? Society is on the cutting edge of science right this very second and very few of us even are aware of it happening.

A website which is selling the machine for $2,800. Promoting it by stating ‘it can give patients very comfortable feeling’. I wonder if one could purchase a automatic sperm extractor for home or personal use. I wonder what kind of licensing is required to own and operate one of these machines in your facility. Yes, in the end, I have more questions than I have answers. I can’t wait for the first damaged pecker lawsuit, hopefully its live on CNN or Fox News so we can see the dramatic reenactment live!

Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!