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VA SPOTLIGHT

Brett Valette, PhD


UPDATED...April 2017

This is a series of stories

bringing light to the dark side of the

VA’s treatment of some Veterans

applying for disability.  Whether out

of frustration, desperation, anger, or

‘just to make it right” they contacted me, and together, we fought the injustice. 

These are actual cases and claims. 

I have changed names and identifying

information for confidentiality reasons.


Spotlight March 2017

This is the first in a series of stories bringing

light to the dark side of the VA’s treatment

of some Veterans applying for disability. 


Spotlight April 2017

Claim Killer DBQ Questions.
VA Spotlight is a series of stories bringing

light to the dark side of the VA’s treatment

of some Veterans applying for disability.

Whether out of frustration, desperation,

anger, or ‘just to makeit right” they contacted

me, and together, we fought the injustice.


Click Here To Contact Dr. Valette


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

VAWatchdog​

America's Leading Resource For
Military Veterans News & Benefits Information 

Over Ten Years of Service to America's Military Veterans

Since 2005 This Is The Site VA Reads When They

Want To Learn What They've Been Doing

Welcome Aboard!

Veterans Clinical Psychologist

Secretary Shulkin: “VA health care will not be privatized on our watch”
“President Trump is dedicated to maintaining a strong VA, and we will not allow VA to be privatized

on our watch. What we do want is a VA system that is even stronger and better than it is today.

To achieve that goal, VA needs a strong and robust community care program.”

Veterans deserve the best. If a VA facility isn’t meeting the community standard for care,

doesn’t offer a specific service, or doesn't have an appointment available when it's

needed, veterans should have access to care in their community.

“Outpatient Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Hiring Initiative”.


From: Office of the DUSHOM Communications
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 4:42 PM
To: VHA VISN Directors; VHA VISN Admin Reps; VHA 10N MCD

cc: REDACTED

Subject: Memorandum: Outpatient Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Hiring Initiative
Good afternoon Network Directors,
Please find attached memorandum,
“Outpatient Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Hiring Initiative”.
1.  The Secretary of VA (SECVA) has announced a goal of hiring 1,000 new outpatient mental health and suicide prevention staff by December 31, 2017 as part of VA’s suicide prevention initiative.
______________________________________________________________________


The email goes on in great length and detail about how VA leaders will prepare to submit data and hire  more mental health professionals.

It's deja vu all over again. Didn't we just do this?

May 8, 2012 Shinseki:   VA may need more mental health workers

June 11, 2012   VA Announces Aggressive National Recruitment Effort to Hire Mental Health Professionals
Problem #1: There aren't that many mental health professionals in America who are seeking employment. America has any number of mental health crises going on (jails, opioids, homelessness)  and mental health professionals are in very short supply.

Problem #2: Health care professionals aren't exactly beating down the doors of the VHA to fulfill their lifelong goals of working for the VA. It's the VA Catch-22...if you're applying for work at VA you aren't likely to be qualified for work in the civilian sector and the problems continue at VA.

Once again the VA public relations people spoon feed you what they think you'll believe. Just like the end to veteran homelessness and the efforts to hire reliable employees in the past, this is smoke and mirrors.

Never confuse motion with progress. VA is very good at one, not so much the other.

The White House Veterans Complaint Line is open;

855-948-2311

After you call, please let us know what the response is.

Email Jim <jim912@gmail.com> and share your experience.

As always, you'll remain anonymous.

Veterans Law Attorney
Veterans Law Attorney
Veterans Law Attorney

Did Agent Orange Cause John McCain’s Cancer?

The chemical was used by the U.S. military while the Arizona senator served in

Vietnam. It has been linked to the glioblastoma cancer suffered by many veterans.


Mayo takes a pass on Veterans Choice

"Similar to many health care providers across our local communities, state and the

country, Mayo Clinic is not participating in the Veterans Choice Program because of the

significant administrative burden and necessary staff increases to meet the requirements."

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Claims

Roger Hale, Veterans Law Attorney


As most veterans that have suffered from a TBI know, the rating system used by the VA is anything but easy.  Most of these same veterans and their families also know that the VA finally admitted to performing “improper” screenings on at least 25,000 veterans.  This admission did result in major changes to the TBI screening and rating process, but it is still far from perfect.
               What a lot of TBI victims or their families do not realize is that there are multiple other “disabilities/impairments” that come into play when dealing with a TBI and the VA rating system. The VA often just messes up when evaluating these medical problems due to the underlying TBI. These problems might be mental, physical or neurological.
               The VA uses a Manual called the M21-1 Compensation and Pension Manual. This “manual” is basically the “Bible” for the VA in working claims.  It has 11 “Parts” but we are really only concerned about “Part III” which is further broken down into numerous Sub-parts, Chapters, Sections and Sub-Sections.  I bet a lot of heads are spinning already and we have only just started!  Anyway, we are going to look at “M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 4, Section G- Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders”.  This “part” of the M21-1 discusses TBI’s.
               What happens in a lot of TBI claims before the VA, the veteran (or his family member) has filed a claim for a “TBI” or maybe even just said “head injury” or “brain injury”. However, there are other problems that often go along with a TBI that MIGHT be entitled to a disability rating which is IN ADDITION to the rating for the TBI itself. Things such as migraines, generalized anxiety disorders, memory problems, self-care, pain, vision or hearing problems and many, many others are associated with a TBI, and could result in additional compensation for the veteran.
               The VA, in making their evaluations of the other diagnosis associated with a TBI will always rely upon the “C&P” medical exam/opinion that they have requested.  The Doctors writing the opinions will sometimes take the easy way out when preparing their report and ends up causes problems for the veteran.
               For example: The C&P exam finds that the veteran has a TBI and adjustment disorder with anxiety & depression. However, the Doctor finds that he/she is not able to tell the difference (differentiate) in what portion of each symptom was due to each diagnosis. So, seeing this finding, the VA Rater might issue out a Rating Decision that says the TBI is entitled to 10% and the Adjustment Disorder with anxiety & depression is 50%, BUT since the Doctor can’t tell which symptoms are related to which diagnosis, the veteran is only entitled to the higher rating of 50%, NOT to 10% AND 50%.   This would short change the veteran 10% in benefits.
               The veteran will be confused for sure with this type of finding. Especially since IF the “Rating Decision” sheet is included with the “Notification of Award” sheet that is sent to the veteran, and the Notification of Award letter says the veteran is entitled to 30% for “TBI and adjustment disorder with anxiety & depression”, yet the Rating Decision findings say he is entitle to 10% for the TBI and makes a separate finding of 30% for the Adjustment Disorder with anxiety & depression.
               So, again, in the above example, the veteran is awarded 50% total instead of 60%.
               TBI claims are very complex and the VA follows very complex regulations and policies when evaluating these injuries. I would always strongly recommending that the veteran or family member assisting the veteran contact an experienced and accredited representative after receiving an award for a TBI.  In fact, contacting someone before filing your claims COULD make a huge difference in the outcome. While it is possible to “win” a TBI claim on your own, it is one of the very few claims that I believe require at least the input of an experienced and accredited representative. It normally should cost the veteran nothing to at least get some pointers before filing the claim. 


Have you had problems filing your TBI claim? Speak with veterans law attorney Roger Hale today!

Waco Veterans Affairs office denies 92% of Gulf War claims

Department of Veterans Affairs benefits officials in Waco have denied a whopping 92 percent

of claims related to Gulf War illness, giving Central Texas veterans one of the highest denial

rates in the nation, according to data in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

The report found serious and persistent problems with how the VA handles the complicated

Gulf War benefits claims, ranging from poorly trained examiners to inconsistent methods

of handling claims in different regions of the country. For example, in the continental United

States denial rates ranged from 47 percent in Boston to 95 percent in Roanoke, Va., according

to an analysis by the advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense.


Public meeting held for veterans to discuss allegations at VA center
Whistleblowers say medical center provides substandard care


Veterans Air Their Frustration About Manchester VA Hospital
The interim director of the embattled Manchester VA Medical Center has told nearly 100 veterans he's working to address allegations of substandard care at the facility.Alfred Montoya, who took over in Manchester a little more than a week ago, heard from veterans Wednesday about shoddy care, being misdiagnosed and frustration over inadequate mental health services.


Veteran Commits Suicide at Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center

Veterans Medical Malpractice Attorney

From the Desk of Drew Early

Veterans Law Attorney


VAWatchdog readers may not be aware of some recent nominations made by the

Administration to fill vacancies at the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. 

One of those nominated is Michael Allen, a dean at Stetson University’s College of Law.  Its

noteworthy to have him nominated—he’s a well known academic in the area of veterans law

and one of the few who have critically written on the topic. 

So, he knows what he’s talking about.  Better still, he also understands the

greater concept of the law in general and I think can be a force to help incorporate overarching

legal principles into the specialized world of veterans law.  A lot of our current veterans law

is every much a stove-piped amalgamation of rules and regulations that simply

looks at veterans, without considering underlying legal principles applicable to all US citizens.    
I view his nomination as a good thing and wish him well. 

He’ll provide a different, and I think valuable perspective to the Court.  

/s/ Drew Early   


Director of Stetson Veterans Law Institute Tapped for Federal Judgeship

Stetson University College of Law Veterans Law Institute director and Professor of Law

Michael P. Allen has been selected by President Trump for a federal judgeship on the

United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims based in Washington, D.C.

The appointment is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Veterans Medical Opinion Doctor






Are you a former member of the United States Armed Forces?

Have you exited active duty in the last 12 months? Researchers at Indiana University are interested

in your experience with transitioning out of the military. You're asked to complete an online survey – between 20 to 30 minutes of your time. In the survey, participants will also be asked to partcipate

in an interview. Interested individuals will be contacted at a later date to schedule a date and time.

Questions or need some more information? Email Sarah Shue <smcgary@umail.iu.edu>

Veterans Clinical Psychologist


Purple Heart recipient shares his VA story
Veterans from all over the country have faced extensive wait times at the VA, and many have

stood up to share their experiences. Marine Corps veteran and Purple

Heart recipient Ben Rangel is one of those veterans.

Veterans Law Attorney
Veterans Law Attorney

Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military



























I’m A Trans Veteran And I Fought For Your Right To Hate Me
For someone who claims to value loyalty, the president fails to comprehend

the ultimate loyalty of our nation’s transgender service members.

Veterans Law Attorney
Veterans Law Attorney


Things You'll Need














Mail your forms, documents
and evidence here...
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235


Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246


We recommend that you mail a copy
and then fax a copy!  Yes, it's twice the
work but maybe VA will only lose one
and the other will be processed.
Remember: Use Certified Mail!

Forms to File Claims

VA Form 21-526EZ
For...
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection

IncreasedDisability Compensation

Temporary Total Disability Rating
 Individual Unemployability
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151
 Special Monthly Compensation
Specially Adapted Housing

Special Home Adaptation

Automobile Allowance/Adaptive Equipment
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child


VA Form 21-0958 - NOD
​Notice of Disagreement

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension
Change of Address​

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
Declaration of Status
of Dependents
VA form 21-686c


How To

How To Apply For SSDI

How To Apply For

TDIU Unemployability

How To Use

Disability Benefits Questionnaires

(DBQ's)

How To Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

to an existing rating

How To Retrieve Your

Military Personnel Records


Research Your Claim

The M21-1MR
The CFR
TDIU
SMC

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities