When Your Back Pay Comes Before Your Decision
I really like planning things out. In fact, I can say that I love logistics more than UPS. I like having control over when things happen, and try very hard to make everything go smoothly. A psychiatrist would likely say that something occurred when I was young that makes me have an opposition to uncertainty, but I feel this is very normal behavior. If something unexpected comes up, I get severe anxiety. Why am I telling you this story? Well, I am trying to show that I can relate to you when the following happens.
A Veteran will often call us and explain that he received several thousand dollars in his bank account, and has no idea how it got there. The only thing their bank account reads is that the deposit from the US Department of Treasury. Most of the time the Veteran is unsure of what to do. This is one of those times in which having an attorney is very helpful. We always explain that this is common, and not to worry because we know what happened.
So, what’s going on? Like Justin Timberlake and Joey Fatone, the department of Veterans Affairs is no longer in sync. Different departments in the VA handle different things. For instance, in this situation, when a Veteran is granted service connection, he is often granted monetary compensation for back pay. The VA will process his approval. The department which handles accounting may have less of a backlog than the individuals who send out award/withholding letters. They may both get notified at the same time, but it takes one longer than the other to process the approval.
This is just like when I did my taxes last weekend. I already received notification from the Department of Treasury that my refund is being processed. However, I still have not received notification that my tax forms have been received by the IRS.
It is also important to note that you may receive an award letter before receiving a decision. Once again this is just an issue with the backlog. Each regional office is different, so some may process one faster than the other, depending which state you live in. We also like to remind everyone that if you did receive a large sum of money without an award letter or decision it is wise to contact the VA before you spend it. I have heard too many stories of accidental deposits or attorney fees not being taken out to count.