VAWatchdog dot Org

                      This Is The Site VA Reads When It

                      Wants To Learn What It's Been Doing

The VAWatchdog is neither sponsored

by nor endorsed by the VA.

Aren't you glad of that?

The VAWatchdog has published trustworthy and accurate information about your Department of Veterans Affairs and your VA and Social Security benefits since 2005

If you want the complete and correct ratings for each of the benefits you've earned, you must do most of the work to get there for yourself. Nobody will do it for you. This is not a spectator sport. You have to get in the scrum.

We will provide the intel for you to manage your benefits, you do the rest. Nobody cares about your benefits the way you do.  Nobody.

You're at the home page of the VAWatchdog. Welcome Aboard!

Stateside Legal is the home of Jim's Mailbag.

You'll find that and many free legal resources at Stateside.

Jim's Mailbag


Hi Jim, 

Your site has been such a help through my response to Incompetency and Fiduciary Program. Last month I received a letter stating my benefits were increased to 100% T & P and I was referred to the Fiduciary Program. Even though I live in PA, the decision letter was sent from Providence. I decided to sent my request for an in person hearing as well as evidence showing I have been taking care of my own fiances for some time to both The PA and RI Regional Offices (I am glad I did since turns out that PA has jurisdiction even though RI sent the determination, but the Fiduciary hub is in Indiana, so it is all confusing).
Less than a month later, the PA Regional Office sends me a letter stating "Please be advised that your attempted Notice of Disagreement is premature as we have only made a proposal to reduce your benefits and as of this date we have not carried out this action. This letter and the information attached will be considered in the determination process". 
This was a one page letter with no information attached and only provided this information (I read it a few times, but everything else is 'call 1-800 number if you have questions'). I decided to call the 1-800 number to see if they knew anything, but they do not have this letter uploaded in their system and could only send a request asking why I received a letter stating my NOD is premature when I sent the correct information in within a time frame they gave me. 
Is it possible that my benefits are now being reduced less than 30 days after receiving my new rating and have you ever heard of this before? Are they using my ability to pay my own bills as a reason to reduce my 100% T & P (the determination is based off of a mental health diagnosis of Bipolar Type I)?
Your time and consideration is greatly appreciated. 


They are not reducing your rating. You have appealed the appointment of a fiduciary prematurely. VA says that you can't appeal a "proposal" because they haven't taken any action to appeal. I recommend that veterans appeal even though VA says you can't. They have to consider it...just as they tell you.

What's happening now is only about whether or not to appoint a fidu. I'll guess you'll get another C & P exam and that they will ask you directly about your ability to manage your finances. Then all this will go away.

Click A Topic Below
To Go To That Page

American Military Veterans VA & Social Security Disability Benefits

Quick Facts

VA Disability Compensation and SSDI

Veterans may receive VA disability compensation and the SSDI benefit simultaneously. There is no financial offset. This is one of the few benefits where concurrent receipt is acceptable. Every year politicians discuss removing this duplicate sort of benefit saying that it's "double dipping" and shouldn't be allowed. Every year the debate goes nowhere.

SSDI assumes the beneficiary is totally disabled and unable to work at gainful employment. SSDI is either off or on (0% or 100%) whereas VA  creates divisions of degrees of disability and rates them in percentages stepped from 0% disabled to 100% disabled.

Each benefit allows a small amount of income producing work if the beneficiary wants to try to return to the workforce. The beneficiary is allowed to try to return to full time work for as much as a year before he/she will lose the benefits.

For more about SSDI and VA compensation benefits, click here.

Where's Your Claim?

Va Promises To Cut Claims Backlog  June 2009  The VA plans to hire 1,100 new processors to more swiftly handle claims. The agency also plans to spend $3.3 billion to enhance its technology next fiscal year, partly to help process claims. 

Veterans Affairs works to reduce claims backlog  August 2010   "We intend to break the back of the backlog this year," Shinseki said.   

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki   August 2011  You asked me to fix the backlog in disability claims, and I have committed to ending it in 2015, by putting in place a system that processes all claims within 125 days at a 98 percent accuracy level.   

VA Leadership: An Absurd Vision for Ailing Veterans  July 2012   “Shinseki: Backlog means VA reaching more vets.” My first reaction was, this can’t be real; he can’t be standing up before the oldest veterans organization in America and telling them that a dismal failure is actually a smashing success.

Veterans Affairs chief aims to clear VA claims backlog by 2015  August 2013  During a visit to Seattle, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said Thursday he is committed to clearing the backlog of approximately 480,000 veterans’ disability claims by 2015. A paperless system designed to expedite the process was installed in Seattle in June. 

Eyeing disability backlog, GOP Rep. pushes VA accountability  March 2014  Citing a backlog of disability claims that leaves many disabled veterans waiting months to receive their benefits, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., slammed the Department of Veterans Affairs for mismanagement Saturday, saying the VA has "become the epitome of bureaucracy run amok." 

A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list    

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to
wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

Veterans group says it was duped by man claiming to be Vietnam vet