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Author Topic: VA not giving RFCs  (Read 7960 times)

Different Perspective

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Re: VA not giving RFCs
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2016, 08:33:27 pm »
(This post was written prior to reading Hudgins17's Reply #7.  For that reason it is somewhat duplicatory.  I would hope that since the link that Hudgins17 and I have used are official government links they would be appropriate. )

"It seems that contrary to VA Directive 2008-071"  Reply #2.

As Hudgins17 indicated, Directive expired 10/31/2013 and replaced by Directive 2012-002 is the replacement.  (See http://www1.va.gov/VHAPUBLICAtIONs/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=2856.)

Being a bureaucrat, I look at the technical aspects of the words.  Admittedly, I have not read the CFR authority for this Directive and I see verbiage that suggests "DBQs (Disability Benefit Questionnaires) are a documentation tool that provides sufficient medical evidence needed for disability claims adjudication", I see nothing that directs any medical provider to complete the Disability Benefit Questionnaires.  This seems to be underscored by the statement "If the VHA clinician is not confident completing a DBQ or finds the DBQ requires diagnostic testing not indicated in the history or current symptoms, or would otherwise be inappropriate to complete, the VHA clinician must not complete the DBQ but assist the Veteran in filing a claim for disability benefits. Depending on local processes, this may include directing the Veteran to the Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP); ..."  I read this to say that anyone who wants to can "pass the buck" by saying they do not feel confident in completing a DBQ.  I may be misreading the whole directive but that is the way I read it. 

The statement "For mental health disability examination requests, it is recommended that the Veteran’s treating provider not complete the disability examination to maintain the integrity of the patient-provider relationship" seems to support my opinion that the completion of DBQs is not mandatory. 
Obviously, some treating sources are more willing to help than others - even to the point of ignoring Policy.

Back to the original post of this thread.  "Wonder if the Judge will hold that against me and deny my claim even though I had no control over what the VA does or maybe he knew this was the case dealing with the VA and will just go by my very extensive longitudinal medical records?"

The ALJ will not hold the lack of a specific form against an applicant, but neither can s/he consider any information not provided.  (For the record, most positive determinations and decisions are made without a Residual Functional Capacity form completed by someone outside of SSA.  Remember, any form completed by a medical source outside of SSA is nothing more, or less, than a Medical Source Opinion that will given no more, or less, weight than SSA feels is supported by the totality of the medical record. 

"DBQs are disease and condition specific...".  (VHA Directive 2013-002 2.b.)  Looking at a few of the individual DBQs forms (http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp) confirms the idea that these forms hint at things that SSA would consider when it prepares a RFC but do not come close to assessing RFC.  They are, in fact, MSOs - nothing more, nothing less.  It will be up to the applicant and his/her representative to show how the medical and non-medical evidence in the records supports certain limits of function and those limitations prevent the performance of Significant Gainful Activity after considering, age, education, and Past Relevant Work.