BCNR timeline after docket number received

Ocean

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#41
Hi, My Congressman's military liaison has been involved in my case since 2013....I actually hired a law firm as well....it just became to hard to fight alone...
 

Jason Perry

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#42
Before addressing some of the posts below, I will share my overall experience. I have done many dozens of BCMR/BCNR applications over the past 12 years or so (some as original applications, some on remand from the Court of Federal Claims).

My experience has been that a year or so for a decision is a good and "relatively fast" outcome. It seems to me that the times are taking longer now than in years before.

As far as getting "updates" it is very difficult to get any updates. The phone numbers/emails/written requests really don't regularly get responses.

As far as Congressional inquiries, my experience and view of cases have been that this rarely helps and may well tend to slow cases down. Rarely have I seen this to have been an effective route to a faster outcome. I tend to think this is not a helpful method to get a faster or better outcome.

The only sure fire method to get faster consideration on a case and with specific timelines, in my experience, is to file a complaint in the Court of Federal Claims and to get the Court to order a remand with a specific timeline for a decision (usually within 6 months). In some cases, this makes sense to pursue. But, by no means is this the preffered course of action. The facts and circumstances of each case matter. And there are "outlier" cases that take much less or much more time. I have had a single case resolve before the BCMR in 45 days. I have had cases take 2-3 years. If you count Court of Federal Claims cases, I have had cases take 5-6 years to get a "final" decision.


Kontum6870...do you happen to know what happens "IF" the ABCMR takes longer than 18 months to complete a case? Currently, I have filed my case 533 days ago (Feb 1, 2016 was when my packet was received). By my math, 30 days * 18 months is 540 days, so in a week from now, it will be past the 18 month time frame. I'm not sure if that means they are carefully considering it or just putting it off in the hopes I go away. I emailed them a few times to try and get a status update and one time a board analyst actually replied saying that my case was presented well but that it could take up to 12 months. In an effort not to bug them, I thanked him, let him know I was available any time for any questions or concerns or available for an at-no-govt-cost in-person appeal to the board, and then did not respond again as of yet.
As mentioned above, the only way to get clear visibility and potentially a sooner outcome in my experience is to file a complaint in the US Court of Federal Claims and have judicial oversight of the timeline. This may be expensive and is not always the right approach. Sometimes it takes a long time (way too long).


Submit a Congressional.

That's your last hope for a timely completion. Hold their feet to the fire.
Not a good approach in my experience. If it works, great. My experience is it is not the preferred approach and may well slow things down. (Also, for what its worth, there is some likely difference between the attention paid to various Members of Congress. A first term Representative or Senator likely has no juice. A sitting senior member on the House or Senate Armed Services Committee likely carries more "juice." While my opinion does not change overall on the value of going the "Congressional" route, it does shift a bit depending on which Member of Congress is involved.

I hear you! My ABCMR case is at the 15 month mark and I've yet to hear anything other than my docket number in the beginning. I have a lawyer but she gets the same automated answers I get from email and the phone number. I would just like a "Hey yes! We're working your case, it's not lost in the wind somewhere"...but nothing and no avenues to take to find out anything. I search these forums and see people talked with so and so and ......WHO did you talk to and HOW did you get in touch with a live person?????? If you know of any avenues I could take I would appreciate it very much if you would share with me as I'm out of ideas to get some answers.
At the just over the12 month mark I sent an email and received this:

Sir,

You have an open application is identified as AR # that is being reviewed by the staff of the Board to ensure it complies with applicable statutes and governing Army regulations before presentation to
the Board.

We process over 22,000 applications a year. Based on this volume and our commitment to justice, we strive to complete most applications within 12 months of its receipt date. Unfortunately, due to an increase in
volume and influx of complex cases it currently taking 12 months or more for cases to be completed. The Army Board for Correction of Military Records will notify you of the Board's decision by separate correspondence.

v/r


Every 4 months I've emailed and received a "it's processing". Since its a different email I've been trying to decode this email all morning.
Hurry up and wait. Actually, you are ahead of the game for getting a response at all. I am not convinced or even thinking that the response you got was meaningful. I doubt it impacted the timeline for your result. My guess is they sent a "form" letter response in hopes you would stop contacting them.

I hope I am wrong. I just have no reason to think it matters much, either way.

Well, one of the analysts finally wrote me back to a status inquiry I posted 2 months ago. 1 Feb 2016 was when the ABCMR first acknowledged receipt of all my documents. He let me know that my case has been sent to an analyst for "boarding" which he explained means my case is in the final stages. No mention of how much longer it will take, but it is now just a little over the 18 month mark.

Keeping my fingers crossed. I will let everyone here know the results.
Please let us know how things progress. I think the final answer is the same to the question of "how long is a piece of string?" The answer is "however long it is."

Well, originally I emailed [email protected]il to ask about the status. I did this at the 6,7, and 8 month mark only to get a generic reply. Finally after the 4th time, one of the analysts reviewing my case responded and told me it could take up to a year. He mentioned my case was well presented and wished me luck in the decision. So, I thanked him and waited till 13 months before replying to follow-up. Just now (at the 18th month mark), he responded apologizing for the time it took and let me know my case was sent up for "boarding". Not sure if that helps or not.
Same comments as above. Not sure any of this matters. Hope I am wrong. Just have not seen any difference in proccessing based on the contact like you got.

Print out a copy of that email and have an elected official have them decode it for you.

Go to house.gov or senate.gov and find your local officials, print out the privacy release on their page, sign it, scan it, and fax it to them and include a copy of that letter and your struggle.

They'll inquire on your behalf and it'll magically get prioritized.
As mentioned above, I doubt this helps and actually, I think it may slow things down.

Well, I am going to wait a few more weeks. The issues I see with going to your Congress person are:

1. It takes time and effort. In my case, there is a lot of information and it can not just easily be explained in a couple pages (my packet was over 100 pages including attachments). Trying to summarize it or explain it to a disinterested party is a pain.
2. NOONE in the Army likes it when a Congressional Inquiry comes in. I am speaking from personal experience here being in the Army 12+ years. It detracts time and resources from the mission and is an overall "pain" for the unit being investigated, for whatever the issue is. From what I have seen, most Commander's wont bend a knee to nosey legislators getting up in their business; in fact, they most likely get annoyed by it. As such, I don't see that necessarily "helping" my case. Sure it might speed up the process, but who is not to say that the analysts/board members/decision makers wont take offense to being hurried, investigated(usually the unit will have an investigative officer put in charge of the inquiry and question persons of interest), and called out for not doing their jobs and take it out on the person who was responsible for making them look bad(e.g. the person who contacted the Congressman who they will infer is inevitably the person the whose case they are trying to speed up)? I don't have a ton of faith in a lot of the GS Civ's (I know because I am a contractor and they are all around me and I see a sweeping generalized worth ethic and mentality in their words and actions.), so NOT ticking them off is the general rule of thumb, especially when it comes to matters of your career or money. You might think this would be illegal, but unspoken reprisal DOES happen in the Army; it's just masked or justified in one way or another.

The best I can figure is that the DASEB and ARBA boards are lawfully subjective at best. You can present your best case, but from the hundreds of cases I have read, the genuine care and attention to detail is not always there and truthfully, they can rule on their decisions any way they want because they know the process is painfully time-consuming and most do not have the tenacity or means to want to do an appeal or take it to a higher court. So leaving my Congressman out is the way to go for me. He has enough problems already to fix in my home state.
I agree with your thoughts.
What I suggested was that in MY experience, Congressional Inquiries did not generally benefit the person who they were in reference to. I am not sure if maybe you were in outstanding units where the entire organization and leadership personnel were always moral, adhered to every regulation to the letter, and were always fair and impartial in all their decisions and the handling of Congressional Inquiries. If so, that is great.
Yes, if it works to involve Members of Congress, then great! My experience is that it is not helpful (and may slow things). But, no one can know the impact or say for sure about this. People are free to pursue whatever course of action they think makes most sense for them.

Regarding timelines, ABCMR, 21 months and waiting....Congressional interest in this case simply ignored.
Not sure about Navy or Airforce timelines.
Only good news I have is that over more than a dozen years of filing cases before the BCMR, I have had only a few cases that were "lost" in terms of them not acknowledging or processing cases filed, but, after following up, got relatively expedited consideration of the case. Just yesterday, I got a contact from the BCMR on a case that I filed more than 2 years ago.

Bottom line, the BCMR/BCNR is not a fast process. It is widely variable in processing and decision timelines. The only way to "force" quicker response in my opinion (and based on my experience) is via filing a complaint in Federal Court. This is not necessarily the best idea (can be expensive). Only time I really think filing with the US Court of Federal Claims is a necessary step is when you are running into potential statute of limitations issues.

This subject is complicate and very fact dependent. What is not in dispute is that the appeals process can take a long time.

Hope my input has been helpful to folks! Best of luck to everyone!
 

Kontum6870

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#43
[QUOTE="Your post.."[/QUOTE]

Thank you for taking time to address these concerns. It is really a shame that customer service doesn't exist within these agencies. Their penalty for failing to meet congressional mandates is to submit a report to congress detailing the number late and corrective actions to prevent recurrence. In the meantime, veterans die with unresolved appeals.
 

Ocean

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#44
Before addressing some of the posts below, I will share my overall experience. I have done many dozens of BCMR/BCNR applications over the past 12 years or so (some as original applications, some on remand from the Court of Federal Claims).

My experience has been that a year or so for a decision is a good and "relatively fast" outcome. It seems to me that the times are taking longer now than in years before.

As far as getting "updates" it is very difficult to get any updates. The phone numbers/emails/written requests really don't regularly get responses.

As far as Congressional inquiries, my experience and view of cases have been that this rarely helps and may well tend to slow cases down. Rarely have I seen this to have been an effective route to a faster outcome. I tend to think this is not a helpful method to get a faster or better outcome.

The only sure fire method to get faster consideration on a case and with specific timelines, in my experience, is to file a complaint in the Court of Federal Claims and to get the Court to order a remand with a specific timeline for a decision (usually within 6 months). In some cases, this makes sense to pursue. But, by no means is this the preffered course of action. The facts and circumstances of each case matter. And there are "outlier" cases that take much less or much more time. I have had a single case resolve before the BCMR in 45 days. I have had cases take 2-3 years. If you count Court of Federal Claims cases, I have had cases take 5-6 years to get a "final" decision.




As mentioned above, the only way to get clear visibility and potentially a sooner outcome in my experience is to file a complaint in the US Court of Federal Claims and have judicial oversight of the timeline. This may be expensive and is not always the right approach. Sometimes it takes a long time (way too long).




Not a good approach in my experience. If it works, great. My experience is it is not the preferred approach and may well slow things down. (Also, for what its worth, there is some likely difference between the attention paid to various Members of Congress. A first term Representative or Senator likely has no juice. A sitting senior member on the House or Senate Armed Services Committee likely carries more "juice." While my opinion does not change overall on the value of going the "Congressional" route, it does shift a bit depending on which Member of Congress is involved.





Hurry up and wait. Actually, you are ahead of the game for getting a response at all. I am not convinced or even thinking that the response you got was meaningful. I doubt it impacted the timeline for your result. My guess is they sent a "form" letter response in hopes you would stop contacting them.

I hope I am wrong. I just have no reason to think it matters much, either way.



Please let us know how things progress. I think the final answer is the same to the question of "how long is a piece of string?" The answer is "however long it is."



Same comments as above. Not sure any of this matters. Hope I am wrong. Just have not seen any difference in proccessing based on the contact like you got.



As mentioned above, I doubt this helps and actually, I think it may slow things down.



I agree with your thoughts.


Yes, if it works to involve Members of Congress, then great! My experience is that it is not helpful (and may slow things). But, no one can know the impact or say for sure about this. People are free to pursue whatever course of action they think makes most sense for them.



Only good news I have is that over more than a dozen years of filing cases before the BCMR, I have had only a few cases that were "lost" in terms of them not acknowledging or processing cases filed, but, after following up, got relatively expedited consideration of the case. Just yesterday, I got a contact from the BCMR on a case that I filed more than 2 years ago.

Bottom line, the BCMR/BCNR is not a fast process. It is widely variable in processing and decision timelines. The only way to "force" quicker response in my opinion (and based on my experience) is via filing a complaint in Federal Court. This is not necessarily the best idea (can be expensive). Only time I really think filing with the US Court of Federal Claims is a necessary step is when you are running into potential statute of limitations issues.

This subject is complicate and very fact dependent. What is not in dispute is that the appeals process can take a long time.

Hope my input has been helpful to folks! Best of luck to everyone!
Hi Jason, I know you are busy. Thank you for the insight. I sent an email to your law firm and I left a Vm. Hoping to hear from you.
 

leeiswhoibe

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#45
Before addressing some of the posts below, I will share my overall experience. I have done many dozens of BCMR/BCNR applications over the past 12 years or so (some as original applications, some on remand from the Court of Federal Claims).

My experience has been that a year or so for a decision is a good and "relatively fast" outcome. It seems to me that the times are taking longer now than in years before.

As far as getting "updates" it is very difficult to get any updates. The phone numbers/emails/written requests really don't regularly get responses.

As far as Congressional inquiries, my experience and view of cases have been that this rarely helps and may well tend to slow cases down. Rarely have I seen this to have been an effective route to a faster outcome. I tend to think this is not a helpful method to get a faster or better outcome.

The only sure fire method to get faster consideration on a case and with specific timelines, in my experience, is to file a complaint in the Court of Federal Claims and to get the Court to order a remand with a specific timeline for a decision (usually within 6 months). In some cases, this makes sense to pursue. But, by no means is this the preffered course of action. The facts and circumstances of each case matter. And there are "outlier" cases that take much less or much more time. I have had a single case resolve before the BCMR in 45 days. I have had cases take 2-3 years. If you count Court of Federal Claims cases, I have had cases take 5-6 years to get a "final" decision.




As mentioned above, the only way to get clear visibility and potentially a sooner outcome in my experience is to file a complaint in the US Court of Federal Claims and have judicial oversight of the timeline. This may be expensive and is not always the right approach. Sometimes it takes a long time (way too long).




Not a good approach in my experience. If it works, great. My experience is it is not the preferred approach and may well slow things down. (Also, for what its worth, there is some likely difference between the attention paid to various Members of Congress. A first term Representative or Senator likely has no juice. A sitting senior member on the House or Senate Armed Services Committee likely carries more "juice." While my opinion does not change overall on the value of going the "Congressional" route, it does shift a bit depending on which Member of Congress is involved.





Hurry up and wait. Actually, you are ahead of the game for getting a response at all. I am not convinced or even thinking that the response you got was meaningful. I doubt it impacted the timeline for your result. My guess is they sent a "form" letter response in hopes you would stop contacting them.

I hope I am wrong. I just have no reason to think it matters much, either way.



Please let us know how things progress. I think the final answer is the same to the question of "how long is a piece of string?" The answer is "however long it is."



Same comments as above. Not sure any of this matters. Hope I am wrong. Just have not seen any difference in proccessing based on the contact like you got.



As mentioned above, I doubt this helps and actually, I think it may slow things down.



I agree with your thoughts.


Yes, if it works to involve Members of Congress, then great! My experience is that it is not helpful (and may slow things). But, no one can know the impact or say for sure about this. People are free to pursue whatever course of action they think makes most sense for them.



Only good news I have is that over more than a dozen years of filing cases before the BCMR, I have had only a few cases that were "lost" in terms of them not acknowledging or processing cases filed, but, after following up, got relatively expedited consideration of the case. Just yesterday, I got a contact from the BCMR on a case that I filed more than 2 years ago.

Bottom line, the BCMR/BCNR is not a fast process. It is widely variable in processing and decision timelines. The only way to "force" quicker response in my opinion (and based on my experience) is via filing a complaint in Federal Court. This is not necessarily the best idea (can be expensive). Only time I really think filing with the US Court of Federal Claims is a necessary step is when you are running into potential statute of limitations issues.

This subject is complicate and very fact dependent. What is not in dispute is that the appeals process can take a long time.

Hope my input has been helpful to folks! Best of luck to everyone!
 

leeiswhoibe

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#46
Thank you for your thoughts and information Jason. Yes, the problem with congressional mandates is that there is no one enforcing them or no real penalty for breaking them it seems. The 18 month timeframe doesn't stipulate repercussions or recourses for the applicant if the BCMR doesn't adhere to that timeline and it seems the Army in particular gets away with "doing their best" when it comes to mandates.

Yes, the analyst I have corresponded with seemed legitimate. His response came from his personal [email protected] email versus the group account for generic responses. I am a contractor still working for the Army, so I would suggest if you really wanted to contact someone there, you can easily find them (phone numbers and emails) on the global directory if you have access to it (use advanced search and type in the right info...fairly easy to filter out. PM me if you want info.).

However, like you said, I still believe that may not be the best course to go. Someone mentioned "the squeaky wheel gets the grease", but I would argue that sometimes the "grease" may not be the kind you want. My experience with reprisal from over-worked, under-caring military and civilian workers, who would rather prefer be left alone to do their job than be micromanaged by legislators or applicants, is to give them a wide berth and NOT stir their pots.

The way I look at it is like this: Say there are, hypothetically, two exactly identical cases submitted by two different people, but submitted at slightly different times. Case A submitted first is at the 20 month mark and Case B is at the 18 month mark. Case B decides enough is enough, and decides to submit a Congressional Inquiry. Now, not only does the BCMR have to still continue to work on both these cases, but now they must investigate and/or be investigated and respond to the Congressional Inquiry, adding more time and resources away from their normal job. Is it possible that they bump Case B up and finish it sooner? Possibly. Do you think they will still be equally fair and impartial in their review and decision? An idealist might argue so, but people and organizations, no matter their missions or individual integrities, are fallible. I would think it is entirely in the realm of possibly for an analyst/board member to either even further delay Case B or to purposely expedite Case B with less review and consideration and decide an unfavorable outcome, just because. To me, all things being equal between Case A and Case B, I would argue they would be more inclined to respond better to Case A since they didn't cause a stink or have an applicant seemingly try to make their organization look inept.

This is just my opinion, but having to wait another entire year for an appeal or having to resort to federal court (more time/money), is not what I ultimately want. Even if it breaks federally mandated timelines and takes a few extra months than it should, I would rather wait it out and get a favorable decision for this case, without anything potentially being rushed or reprised against, rather than going to the next level.

As with everything in life, it is all about DOTS: Depends on the situation.
 

leeiswhoibe

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#47
Update: So the ABCMR had received all my documentation on 1 February 2016. I emailed the analyst who was working on my case a few days ago and here is his response. It seems the processing time, according to him, is now 500-600 days. I'm anticipating/hoping the Board reviews my case next week. Not being overly optimistic given what I've read on this board and in the past cases reading rooms, but at least I'll hopefully finally have an answer. See below for his response.

I wish I had better news to give you but reality here in ARBA is that cases are now in the 500/600 day range. With over 22,500 cases in our inventory, the length of time has increased significantly. Over the last year we have seen a dynamic increase in the amount of cases that have been submitted. Here is what we are dealing with:

- Between Congress and the Department of Defense, the word is getting out to Soldiers, Veterans and Family Members to submit an application if they believe they have sort of correction to their military records.

- We have had a Business Processing Re-Engineering team on site for the last 24-months helping find ways to make us more efficient. I will tell you that we have moved from a complete manual process to 100% digital.

- We have revamped the way we Intake cases so that right from the beginning of the application we scan all documents into our data base tracking system.

- Unfortunately our tracking system is late 1990/early 2000 technology. We are in the process of implementing a new tracking system but it will take until late 2018 to finalize.

- We conducted a manning survey and we are short at least 30-personnel.

I can go on and on but I think you get the drift of my email. I just walked over to the ABCMR who will board your case and they stated that it will be seen next week. Once completed we will send the results to you by mail once all administrative matters are completed. Once again I truly appreciate your patience and I hope my email has been helpful.
 

Ocean

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#48
Hey leeiswhoibe,
Thanks for the update I submitted my case Nov 2015. It is not a PDBR case, anyway, I spoke with ABCMR Sept 2017, advised my case was decided...but with Sec of The Army for signature .....I was told not to worry ( but like so many so much is on the line)....so that is about 710 days for me and the process to exhaust all avenues 2 yrs or was another 73o days ....it is so hard waiting & waitng...sad thing after all this it could be a denial.....
 

aamonroe

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#50
AFBCMR is no better, either. Husband’s appeal was marked as received on December 16, 2014. So that’s more than 1,000 days. They previously acknowledged a deadline of August 2017, but when my husband checked in at that time they said they’d asked Congress for 6 additional moths for all cases...so if this new February 2018 “deadline” sticks, it’ll be 3-3.5 years since he submitted his original appeal. The advisory opinions came back within 10 months but it seems perhaps they misplaced our response to these because when my husband called last April, the person on the phone was so confused. “Wait, what is this? This is so confusing. It says “return to duty” but this is from March of 2016. Let me put you on hold.” Got her supervisor on the phone next who acted like my husband was trying to get classified information. He then acknowledged the deadline was August 2017. That was 3 months ago... His case should have gone out for additional advisory opinions because in his rebuttal he presented a boatload of newly discovered information, new laws pertaining to his case and asked for something new, but since it was emailed, rather than snail mailed, it appears his rebuttal was lost in the files and maybe that explains the person’s confusion on the phone.

My only hope in this for a beneficial outcome is that the JAG’s (now a judge) advisory opinion had several comments akin to “we would have likely decided in his favor had we been charged with a de novo review of this case,” “service member would likely still be in uniform today had it not been for medical error,” “while we do not find legal error, we leave it to the board’s discretion to decide whether this case, with all the facts and circumstances, constitute injustice;” they even disagreed with the medical personnel (in my husband’s favor) about whether he was a “well controlled patient” and seemed to go out of their way to elaborate (three times in a 3-page memo) what an “exemplary,” “stellar,” officer he was. We’ll see...