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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Update on Rocco my Service Dog

Greetings my friends,

You've been following my saga for months.  You were there when I first brought Rocco home.  You were there with me when I first started training Rocco.  You have been there with me as I gathered all the necessary paperwork to submit to VA prosthetics.  You have ridden along the train ride while I researched and chatted with the many resources I found along the way who advised me on the best way to go about applying for benefits for my service dog from the VHA.

Today I got my answer.  DENIED.  Am I going to stop here?  What do you think, my friends?  Have you been a faithful reader of mine?  Than you already know the answer.  Hell no I'm not going to stop here.  I'm going to appeal this decision.  

For those of you I've encouraged to apply for benefits for your service dog, don't let my defeat deter you.  I consider this denial just another bump in the road.  It's like any other claim for benefits with the VA.  What's the saying?  Deny, deny until you die?  They denied the wrong Veteran, this time.  I like a good fight.  I especially like a good fight when I know that I'm right and should've been awarded this benefit.

Get this, my friends.  Here is the reason, direct from the letter itself, why they denied my request for benefits:
It is my duty to inform you that your request for this benefit has been denied.  After consideration of your official records along with the supporting documentation submitted, VACO has decided that you do not qualify for this benefit.  The clinical documentation provided does not indicate that the dog assists with any activities of daily living that could not be accomplished by other devices.  For this reason your request for veterinary care for a service dog that assists with veteran's mental disorder and mobility is denied.
 They've got to be kidding.  It's all good though.  I'm not angry.  I'm not discouraged.  Like I said earlier, this is just another bump in the road.  Just another appeal to start working on.  First step, a Freedom of Information Act Request so that I can eyeball all the paperwork that went forward with my packet.  I believe that my paperwork went forward with a recommend disapproval from Tampa but that's just a gut feeling.  Once I can see exactly what they did, then I can start to prepare my appeal.  Getting letters of support from my VA doctors won't be a problem.  My primary care doctor, pain clinic doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist and my social worker all believe that Rocco is a necessity in my life.  My psychologist doesn't want me leaving my house without Rocco.  That's kind of a no-brainer anyway since I'm paralyzed with fear if I walk out of my house without him.  I rarely leave the security of my house unless it's to go to a VA appointment anyway and it's well documented in my records that I'm always accompanied by Rocco.  

The journey continues, my friends.  Will you continue on this path with me?  I hope so.  Have you had any luck with your service dog requests?  Let me know.  I'd love to hear your success stories.  If you've been denied like I have, I want to hear that also.  

Until the next time ......

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