Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hold the Cheese. I'm Only Interested in the Whine...

***Edited to Add: Several of you have suggested I contact our congressional representative so I thought I'd better add this: When I said "we have to start a huge, time-consuming, irritating, aggravating and heartburn causing campaign to stop the VA from ruining our financial lives", that's what I meant - that I would be sending a package containing all the pertinent facts to our congressperson. I'm sure we'll obtain relief that way, but man...have you ever had to do something like that? It's effective, but very time consuming to get every little bit of evidence together, write a letter detailing the problems, compile the information in a clear and concise way and then sit around and wait for a reply. Then, usually, that reply entails the need for more information, which you then have to get together and send. Then comes another reply asking for even more stuff. And on and on it goes. I've availed myself of the services of our congressional representatives numerous times in the past (in fact, I'm sure the FBI has a file somewhere with my name on it and the subtitle "Professional Bitcher"). I know I'll feel better once we've sent the initial package off to congress. It's getting that first one together that I find so tedious, time-consuming and aggravating. (See? I am a professional bitcher - I'm even griping about the help I'm going to ask for. lol).
What is "Luck" exactly? Something you're born with? Something you earn? Something you can touch, smell, feel or hear? I have no idea. What I do know is, our "luck" ain't good. Not good at all. Remember the other day when I mentioned something about a $25,000 problem with the VA? Listen to this...then tell me what kind of luck you think we're having.
As a special Happy New Year to Randey and me, the VA sent us a notice saying that they feel sure they've overpaid Randey by $25,444.23 (this overpayment being a result of Randey's switch from the Reserves to Active Duty from October 2001 until May of 2003) and that we can pay the debt in full by check, money order, VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover or even Western Union. Sweet, huh? And just to prove what a reasonable entity they are, if we are unable to make payment in full, they will work with us to establish a monthly payment schedule to clear the debt "within a reasonable time frame". Extra sweet. There's just a few problems with the whole thing, however. A) Randey's VA disability entitlement during the time in question was approximately $88 a month. Now I'm no math genius, true. But even I can tell that 21 months @ $88 per doesn't come anywhere near $25K. B) Randey never received any money for his disability until this year because all entitlements for the last 15 years went towards a repayment of the separation pay he received when he went from active duty to reserve status back in 1992. C) The money he has received (he's only been paid since April of this year) in no way, shape or form, totals anywhere near $25K. So, in other words, the VA is requesting a "repayment" of more money than they've ever paid him and they want repayment for a period of time when his total entitlement was less than $2,000.00. Either they have one hell of an interest rate working for them, or there's a problem with their accounting section. I'm going with the problem in the accounting section myself. I say that because Randey has actually requested a full audit of his VA benefits compensation account 3 times in the last 2 years and has yet to receive one. Two of his requests were made prior to any actual payment from the VA. What does all this actually mean to us? It means we have to start a huge, time-consuming, irritating, aggravating and heartburn causing campaign to stop the VA from ruining our financial lives. Randey called the VA "debt office" the other day and was given a fax number we could use to send some documentation to. By documentation, I mean a freakin' financial statement, detailing our assets and debts, so that the VA can decide whether or not to "waive" this debt. Not that we want the debt waived. We don't. We want it expunged because it doesn't actually exist! But sending the financial statement is the only way we can get the VA to put a freeze on the collection activity until this mess can be straightened out. The woman that Randey spoke to said she didn't see where he owed that debt, but then again, there were so many agencies involved that it was just too hard to tell...she saw activity from the Department of Defense (his current employer), his local VA office, his regional VA office, etc., etc., etc. She also said it looked like too many offices were involved and that none of them were talking. Great. ****Oh my gosh. This is too funny. As I'm writing this, Jake brought me the mail and in there is a letter from the VA. It's a form letter that starts "As you transition from the Military, VHA invites you to contact the local VA medical facility" blah, blah, blah. As you transition from the Military???? Say what?? Geez. Maybe the VA knows something that we don't and maybe we'd better check it out. Quickly. Randey is, at this very minute, in Seattle in military status. Sure hope he gets paid for it. Don't think I'm not seriously questioning that, either. After all, the VA seems to think he's out of the military all of the sudden. Do yourselves a favor and place both hands over your ears so I don't damage your hearing with the glass-shattering scream I'm fixing to let loose!!!!!
Does stuff like this ever happen to anyone else? I only ask because this isn't the first time we've been faced with something this irritating and downright unfair! The most recent was back in 2005 when we sold our house in Florida and moved here to Texas. Seems that the title company that handled the closing on the sale of our house in Florida didn't pay our house off. Yeah, you read that right. They didn't pay off the loan on our house. We had no idea until a month later when we received a late notice from what we thought was our former mortgage holder. We called the mortgage holder to tell them we no longer owned the house and that the funds should have been transferred at the time of sale. They didn't care. They flat out said that they did not care who, how or why the error had occurred - their only concern was when payment was made. And since payment for the previous month had not been made, they reported to the credit bureaus that we were 30 days past due on our mortgage. It took months and several letters to the Department of This and the Department of That within the state of Florida to get our credit reports corrected. And you want to know what the real kick in the pants was? The title company that caused all of it in the first place actually asked us to pay them for the additional interest it cost their company for paying our mortgage 30+ days later than they were supposed to. Can you believe that? And yeah. We declined their request. Loudly. So I ask you things like this happen to anyone else? Or are Randey and I just living under some sort of Four-Leaf-Cloverless Cloud? You know, I have to laugh about it a little bit or I think I'll go insane. Personally, I'd just as soon get an attorney to handle the VA, but Randey...well, Randey's an optimist and actually believes he'll be able to get the VA to see that they're wrong. God loves an optimist, eh? And, apparently, so do I.


  1. Just so glad to see you back in here and guess I can call Teresa and tell her to stop packing...and honeychile anyone having anything to do with the government gets's sort of like they're obligated to screw you and therefore, be prepared...always. And don't expect a kiss. Or dinner.

    love ya
    Aunt Sandi

  2. Oh what a mess! In our family, it's called Pistilli luck - like Murphy's Law but worse.

    I hope you can get this all straightened out quickly. I'm sure it's going to be a lot of work, but I'm sure you'll get it handled in time.

    And I can't believe the mess from your house sale in Florida!

    Are you sure you're not a Pistilli??

  3. Before you call an attorney, please call your senator or representative. One or the other should be able to get it straightened around.

    Hang in there!

  4. I agree with "a haven for vee" someone in congress or your state representative...they need to help with this...and seriously, this could be happening to more than just you guys...I can almost GUARANTEE it is...has somebody been getting your mail???...Cashing checks you were unaware of getting?? know checks that the VA said you were getting...then said you weren't entitled to HATE things like this...anything to do with paper trails...just gives me heart burn and high blood pressure... you know what I THINK... sometimes these things happened b/c ONE person didn't do their job correctly or in a timely fashion...they didn't punch in the numbers correctly or someone forgot to do something that impedes the whole process...I think folks out there like the Title company you mentioned count on folks like NOT fight it...hoping we just get tired of dealing with it and forget about it...or hire an attorney and let them make the big $$. Don't get me wrong...I think attorneys are great...they do some wonderful things....but in a situation like this one...your reps. should do just that...REPRESENT you...okaaaayyy! Stepping off the soap box...reaching for the xanax...boils my blood...really it does!

    Hang in there...I'll be praying for a quick resolve for you guys!

    Blessings...and glad you're back!


  5. I was just about to suggest your Congressman. That is your first step.
    He/she should be able to get this corrected with no problem to you. Hey! This is an election year ya know.
    And oh yes am I agreeing with Aunt Sandi. No one involved with the government on any level has NOT been screwed somehow, somewhere.
    Pay, no pay, over pay, pay back, you name it.
    I have a mortgage company horror story too so you are NOT the only one.
    My friend T and I always call ourselves the "Murphey Twins" as in Murphey's Law? As in, if something bad is gonna happen, it will be to one of us!

    You write SO, so well.

    Well, you do!!

    Now, go look up the number of your congressperson and call them first thing tomorrow am.

    Keep us posted. Prayers and love and good thoughts are headed your way!

    Love and hugs,

  6. Bless your heart!
    Ain't the government wonderful?? I'll say a prayer for you all and hopefully, soon, it will all be taken care of. In the meantime, take care of yourself and try not to stress too much.
    God bless.

  7. I could go off on BS I have had to deal with my father's bank and truck note and his Comcast Cable bill. My father died this past year and I have been handling all the affairs of estate.
    The bank would never tell me anything I needed to know to disposition (in a manner that we desired) his brand new truck. They said I had no legal authority to get the information and to call them when I did. However, I needed that information to submit paperwork to get legal authority. The truck ended up being reposessed by the bank and has since been sold at a surplus (the bank actually gave US some money).
    I will spare the details of the Comcast Cable debacle accept to say that nobody seemed to be trained on the difference between a deceased customer and a delinquent customer. I cancelled service with them less than 3 weeks after he died. Four months later I was still receiving nasty letters of collection for absurd amounts. After many letters to corporate, BBB, FCC, Texas Public Utility Commission, and multiple phone calls with customer disservice, they ended up resolving the issue in way that was satisfactory.
    So don't lose hope. It's aggravating, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  8. Holy crap. I'm so sorry, I can feel my chest tightening up just READING about this. A few years ago I had a lot of health problems, $35,000 worth to be exact, and Blue Cross dropped my coverage. Yep, dropped it. So, I can understand the scope of what your dealing with. Keep us posted.

  9. Oh does require a lot of paperwork...we had to go through something like that a few years back. Not for the same reason but it was a loooong drawn out thing but in the end, we won and THEY (a travel company) did not. Our Congressman in Illinois AND one in TN (we were still claiming TN as our home of record while active duty) and one in the state where the travel company was
    joined together. It was so cool when it all came together! Yours will to...right is right.

    I will still send a hug and a prayer. You are an amazing lady...and I love a good bitch-er...someone after my own heart!

    Love and hugs,

  10. Hi Kari, ok fist we will say we do not know about the intricate workings of your goverment, except they seem very very complicated!! What we do know is this, if they are anything like ours, they are SO FRUSTRATING to deal with! You are in our thoughts and prayers. Do what you need to do, keep your sense of humour, not that you would feel like it and know that no, you are not alone !! Jenn and Jacqui

  11. Kari,

    What a mess! I don't know which is worse, trying to get something fixed with the goverment or an insurance company--either one will drive you batty. Hope you get it figured out, and so glad you are back. Hope you're feeling better.

  12. What a mess! I sure hope Randey is able to get it all straightened out!

  13. I will pray that this gets resolved quickly (never hurts to get the Big Guy involved).

  14. holy crap! that's freakin' weird. Leave it to a government agency to totally screw up something and then bury you in red tape to sort it out. The newest requests are wacked! you've got a road ahead of you sorting things out! RYC: Mmm Cracker barrel is so yummy. Love their hash brown casserole and shrimp platter. And thank you for the compliments about my layouts Kari. {{HUGS}}

  15. Echoing/Dittoing Sandi and Suzy Q and others. It really is frustrating!! I hope all is resolved soon!

    And O are paying your representative's's his/her responsiblity to take care of matters like this. Yep, they are in our employ!!


  16. Headaches for sure! I sure hope it gets better for ya Kari!

  17. Geeeeshhh!
    The crazy thing if that WE pay all of these people in the government agencies.
    You may want to get George W on this before he leaves town.

  18. Hey, girl, my luck sucks, too.

    Listen to this one though... my dad is a Korean vet. Did secret service stuff and he almost didn't get "time" for it since it was, hey, a SECRET. That all got straightened out after a few years. Then my dad got thyroid cancer, probably from the radiation that spilled from the equipment he used while in Korea. Ok, the VA hospital here cared for him EXCELLENTLY until the Patriot Act went in. Then the hospital stopped seeing him because we couldn't prove that his cancer was caused from being in the war. So, they stopped certain treatments (they were WORKING by God and had already extended his life by 5 years) and within 9 months my dad was dead, thinking that the VA no longer wanted to treat him and that his country had failed him. This was after he was DENIED entrance to the emergency room at the VA, not once but three times. THREE TIMES. He took a two hour ambulance ride three times and was denied. My mom said it was the saddest thing you ever saw. You talk about bitter??? My mom and I could wring the government's collective neck with our bare hands and smile while doing it.

    Good luck with your struggles with the VA and I hope you are more successful than we were.

  19. Unbelievable! I'm thinking of you. Keep us posted.


  20. Oh awful! Said a prayer that this gets straightened out. Hope you get over that flu too. No matter what size you are, I think you`re still beautiful.
    Is that a quilt you have those books on? It`s so pretty!


  21. I am SO sorry this mess is happening to you. It is disgraceful the way our military and their families get treated...we should be doing everything possible to thank you for your sacrifices.
    Hmmmm. I can't tell what part of Texas you live in, but if you live in the DFW area like I do, you might write to the Watchdog at the FortWorth Star Telegram. He might not be able to do much, but it's worth a shot.

  22. Okay...when you get done with the congressman and the senator and whoever else seems like they may be in a position to your local TV station or heck, just call 60 Minutes or hey, how about Andy Rooney?? Scream it out from the rooftops...or National TV, whichever may be easier for you!

    Thinking of you guys...Cassie


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