How Do You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Information on social security disability benefits

Website Monitoring Tool

Presumptive Benefits...what are they?

When you claim that a disabling condition is caused by military service, you have to prove that allegation.

Or do you?

How to Fight VA Debt
Military members know that when DoD gives

you too much money, it will come back for it.

The VA is similar, but the system is worse.

Thinking of Filing a VA Disability Claim?

You need an IMO...Here's why;
We propose that veterans who are filing claims

take charge of the process, avoiding the flawed C & P exam report by having their own Independent Medical Opinion and DBQs completed by expert doctors who

are not employees of the VA. Although this brings about

an expense the veteran must bear, we believe that
any out of pocket expense is an investment
toward

a faster claims resolution and is thus justified.
Keep Reading...

Your Health

Urgent Care Centers

One of the most important benefits you have today is

the authorization to use an urgent care center

near to you. But first, you have to

print your paperwork

to take with you. Don't wait until you need this

benefit to prepare for it. Read this now,

print your papers and be prepared!

Top Searches

Google Tracks You

and we don't.
​DuckDuckGo apps block

Google's hidden trackers.
​The world needs an alternative

Robert Wilkie  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​855-948-2311

November 19th 2019

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Forms

Nothing happens until

you complete the

form. Get over it.


Submit your claim ​21-526EZ


Other-than-honorable discharge?

You’re still eligible for VA mental health care​

INN TO THE FOREST

​Lodging & Camping in southern Illinois with access to the Shawnee National​

We offer lodging, camping,

​stabling, corral, pasture,

access to a hunting lease and

discounts for America's

military veterans!

The 5 Best Perks of Social Security
Chances are that Social Security has your

back in more ways than you realize.

Get your VA medical records online
Our online tools can help you view, organize,

and share your VA medical records and personal

health information. Find out if you’re eligible

and how to sign in to start using these tools.

C&P Service Clinician’s Guide

Scheduled For A C & P???    Filing A Claim?

This is a must read for you!!!

I've been posting this again and again over the years

and it's still one of the best ways I know to win

your case. Published in 2002 the principles and much of

the verbiage still applies and is in daily use at the VA. 

Found in Gourmet Foods

Sugar-Free

So it's healthy, Right?

How to download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter proving their status. Access and download your VA Benefit Summary Letter (sometimes called a VA award letter) and other benefit letters and documents online.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate
The IT Support Professional Certificate, developed by Google and hosted on Coursera, can help you become ready for an entry-level job in IT support in under six months. No experience is necessary.

VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide
Reference guide to help during final

arrangements planning

Amazon black Friday deals

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.

Traveling?

​How to ensure seamless care while traveling

Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website

We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times

7 Changes to Social Security in 2020
From what beneficiaries will be paid to what workers

could owe in payroll tax, big changes are

on the way for America's top social program

Veteran Disability Claims: Nexus and IMO Letters

To meet the nexus requirement, the veteran must have an evaluation by a physician that will establish that the veteran is indeed disabled and also that his disability is as likely as not caused by his military service.  There are two methods used to establish such a nexus; one is independent medical examination and the other is independent medical opinion.

Proposed Rule - Schedule for Rating Disabilities
The Genitourinary Diseases and Conditions

​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend the portion of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities that addresses the genitourinary system. 

Should You Get Medicare

Supplement Plan F?

How about  Medicare Parts A and B?

Maybe Part F+? Part D? 

​Oh, unless you live in

Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin.

​Confused? Just wait until you hear about 

programs such as Medicare

Part C or a Medicare Advantage policy.

It's Your Right To See Your Medical Records.

It Shouldn't Be This Hard To Do

​​At a time when many insurers and health information technology companies are busily assembling databases

of hundreds of millions of medical records, Americans

find it difficult to get access to their own.

Jim's Mailbag

No-Cost Flu Shot Options for Veterans

This year, enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system have several options to get a flu shot. VA now offers more options, easy access, and seamless records.


​ When and Where to get your flu shot today

Marijuana Accessories

Upload evidence to support

your disability claim
If you’ve filed a claim for disability compensation, you can continue uploading more evidence for up to one year to support your claim. Evidence may include supporting documents like medical test results, doctor’s reports, and other records. Upload your evidence online now.

An IMO by an expert  often makes the difference!

Overpayment? VA proposing to claw back

money from your benefits? Submit a Compromise Offer to the Debt Management Center. 

This is the only thing that works.

Give veterans more health care options!
Tell your lawmaker

Veterans deserve more choice

Florida Veterans

Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog

and ask about veterans discounts!​

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Additional information needed to support claim

Direct Deposit - May I apply by telephone?

Why Getting a Diagnosis Matters

​A diagnosis does so much more than get noted in your medical history. It also can help you apply for programs like Social Security Disability and medical marijuana cards. And maybe even more importantly, it can help you explain yourself to friends, colleagues and family.

Check your VA claim or appeal status

Find out how to check the status of a

VA claim or appeal online

Be a Volunteer.

I did that for years & it's

the best thing ever. Get 

into the belly of the beast.

VA  loves  volunteers!

Do You Need

Medical Care

RIGHT NOW?
​You are already authorized

to use an urgent

care clinic!

Dr. David Anaise

Physician - Surgeon - Veteran

Veterans Law Attorney

The VAWatchdog

doesn't ask for donations, we don't have fees, we don't ask you to register...you can't find a way to give us your money. We're supported by advertising. When you shop via the VAWatchdog,

we'll get a small piece of that.

You get top quality at a good price and you support our mission.

Thank you!!!

​Create or update your will fast / 100% free

Make your will with FreeWill today

Healthcare directives, 

proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.

All are free to use.

Veterans Benefits on Reddit

VA Launchpad for Veterans

​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Launchpad

App for Veterans (VA Launchpad) contains select VA applications (apps) for Veterans and their Caregivers.

New apps will automatically appear in the VA Launchpad when they become available. Organizing VA health information and resources into five categories, it quickly accesses and launches the VA app of your choice. With VA Launchpad, VA intends to save you time and help you better integrate available VA apps into your life.

4 Facts About Your Social Security

Benefits You May Not Know
Arming yourself with knowledge about the

complicated benefits process will

help you better prepare for retirement.

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

If you're thinking of filing a claim or initiating an appeal of a denied claim, this is your new best friend. The details of exactly what you need to meet a rating are here and in use every day. Yes, it's complex. Yes, it's cumbersome. Yes, knowing how to use The Schedule is a necessity if you want to file a successful claim. Go for it!

Social Security and You

Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill

Owe VA Money??? 

​​Submit A Waiver Request

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked

To Loneliness And Isolation For Seniors

Did you know that hearing loss and tinnitus are the

most commonly rated veterans disabilities? Did you

know that hearing loss and tinnitus can cause

other secondary conditions, particularly mental

health problems like depression and loneliness?

Jim's Mailbag

Jim Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA disability benefits

and a member of the Stateside Legal Website Advisory BoardJim's Mailbag, is a regular column where veterans,

servicemembers, and family members can  ask Jim their questions about VA and Social Security disability benefits.  

You can browse all of these Q&As here, and search the Jim's Mailbag archives for helpful answers.

Email Jim your question for a quick and confidential reply.  jim912@gmail.com

Let's Review Effective Dates
​M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 5, 
Section C - Effective Dates


​The general rule is that the effective date is assigned based on the date of receipt of claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later.  Before applying the general rule, however, all information gathered during evidence review must be considered to determine whether a more specific effective date rule applies.​


​Effective Dates for Claims for Increased Compensation

Impact of Intent to File (ITF) on Effective Date

Claims for Earlier Effective Dates

Effective Dates for Direct and Secondary

Service Connection (SC)


In some situations, different theories of entitlement allow for assignment of different effective dates.  In such cases, consider each effective date rule when assigning an effective date and assign the most advantageous effective date that applies for the facts of the case. 

Social Security Reinstates

Reconsideration Appeal Level​

​This year Alabama, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and

Pennsylvania--reinstated the reconsideration.

AT WAR
40 Stories From Women About

Life in the Military​   

"Not Many Women Get to

Do What I Do"

Everything you ever wanted to know about how

the VA benefits system works but were afraid to ask.
Welcome to the

KnowVA Knowledge Base

Read Me Please 

The Users Guide
VAWatchdog Dot Org​

VAWatchdog Dot Org

PAPER Evidence Records

and Claims All Go Here

​V A Claims Intake Center
PO BOX 4444
JANESVILLE, WI

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:

844-531-7818​

The NPRC

Military Records DD 214

Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
Official Personnel Folders (OPF)

Can VA Disability Compensation Be Used

to Calculate Child Support or Income?


​Veterans' disability benefits are compensation for

the veteran's impaired earning capacity and are intended to "provide reasonable and adequate compensation for disabled veterans and their families." They are not supposed to be for the sole support of the veteran, but can be counted in child support calculations to provide for the veteran's dependents as well. If the veteran wasn't disabled, he would be earning an income upon which the court would base child support; since disability benefits replace that income, child support can be based upon it.

Why You Need An IMO!

Accuracy of Claims Decisions Involving

Conditions of the Spine

​The OIG determined that VBA incorrectly

processed more than half

of the 62,500 veterans’ claims.

Veteran Proud

You've Arrived at the VAWatchdog Dot Org!
​Welcome Home
We've been keeping veterans informed of news and events important to them since 2005.
You'll find all you need to file your claim and referrals to professionals who can help you when things don't go well. 
What you won't find here is unending chat or opinions from strangers who like to think of themselves as experts. 
Our goal is to ensure that you are awarded the benefits you earned with your service to our country. 

We're here to help you take charge of your benefits, and that is all.

Extra Schedular Rating

​Extra schedular ratings under 38 C.F.R. § 3.321(b)

​How can I get an extra schedular rating?

​To receive an extra schedular rating the veteran must first show that the veteran’s conditions result in a disability picture that is not covered by the schedule of ratings. 

Wounded Warrior Project Veterans Benefits

There is no fee to use the VAWatchdog.

We don't ask that you register or give us any information.

We don't ask for donations, you can't find a way to give us your money.

We aren't tracking you and using your personal information.

We don't have a mailing list and we won't email you unless you email us first.

We are supported by the advertisers you see on the pages of the VAWatchdog. 

​Because there are ads, we aren't asking you for your hard earned dollars.

Please show them some respect, thanks.


If you'd like to advertise with us, our rates are very reasonable. 

Email Jim to talk about your ad here <jim912@gmail.com>

Filing your VA and/or Social Security disability claim is not a spectator sport.

We believe you are the best person to manage your claim. You're smart enough to hold an honorable discharge, then you're smart enough to fill out some forms and put those forms in the mail.

You must be involved. If you expect someone else to do the grunt work for you and for FREE, you lose.

This web site can provide you with all you need to file and win your well grounded claim. But we can't file that claim for you.

Yes, your VA is supposed to help you. No, your VA will NOT help you. You're on your own.

Research your claim as you file it, do it right the first time. We're here to help.

Questions and comments can be sent directly to Jim.

<jim912@gmail.com>

No, we don't use the phone very much. We won't call you, we don't publish our number. We prefer to use email for the security and record it gives us when we are reviewing your claim or evidence.

The veteran or a family member must contact us by email. We can't reach out to veterans, the veteran must contact us.

The fellow above is Larry Scott.

​He founded the VAWatchdog in 2005. Larry and I started aggressive advocacy efforts together in 2006. 

Larry passed away some years ago from a non-service connected illness.

I promised Larry I'd carry on the tradition of helping veterans to obtain the benefits they've earned.

Crown Memorial Centers - Larry Scott

I'm Jim Strickland.

That's me above, at my VA clinic in Savannah, Georgia. I edit and contribute to the VAWatchdog. I'm a veteran of the Army 1967 - 1970. I served in Germany at the 98th General Hospital. I'm retired from a career in health care that started at Ft. Sam Houston.

​I use VA services just like you do.​ I started working with Larry Scott at VAWatchdog in 2006.

Jim at work editing the VAWatchdog

The Military Veteran's Disability Guide - 2006
Let's see what I was writing 12 years ago.

About the VAWatchdog Dot Org

Privacy Policy

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you.  

We strive to be in compliance with such privacy policies as Google.  

If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

Fair Use Policy 
We believe that we strictly comply with all copyright and trademark laws,
rules and regulations in accordance with accepted fair use policies. We believe that all photographs and other artwork are in the public domain.

If you believe we have violated any of your rights to your work products, please email us immediately.
< jim912@gmail.com>

Photography & Photos

Much of the photography you see on the site is my own.

If you think I've violated rights to your photography,  please notify me immediately at

<jim912@gmail.com>

Contact Us

<jim912@gmail.com>
Fax    1-888-658-5058

You're now at the most informative veterans disability benefits site anywhere. Welcome Home!


Since 2005 the VAWatchdog has been keeping an eye on VA...because somebody has to.

The primary goal of VAWatchdog is to educate veterans. It's our philosophy that a  veteran should understand the reality of what he or she faces when dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other, similar agencies. Rather than handing your Power of Attorney (POA) over to a stranger who  may or may not have any particular skills, education of training, we believe  that you are equipped to manage your own VA claim. All you lack is the information about how the system really works.  You'll find that here in the pages of VAWatchdog.

As the site grows, navigation becomes more of a challenge. Finding what you need on any busy site can be a problem. We're working hard to try and make it simpler for you. You must devote some time to the task. Many veterans believe that they can hand their benefits issues over to a representative  and that the rep will take care of it for them. Nothing is further from the

truth. 

The vet who expects a representative to handle their claim is in for a disappointing adventure.  We teach DIY...Do It Yourself.  A new veterans claim begins with a VA Form 21-526EZ
.Completing that form isn't rocket science.  The quality of
your outcome is largely up to you. The time you  devote to learning how this works will impact the result when you get the award letter.

Our mission, goals and values are simple. We are all about educating veterans.

We do that by providing a headline news aggregation service for veterans and their families. We believe that an informed veteran will fare much better in life.

The benefits we earned through our dedicated and honorable military service can often be complex and not easy to obtain. VAWatchdog provides you with simple instructions that you can use to manage your VA benefits. We believe that most veterans should take a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach  to handling VA benefits claims.

VA does not require that you have a "representative". The fact is that VA would rather work directly with the veteran to adjudicate a veterans disability claim.
Veterans disability claims are often challenging but once the veteran understands the Veterans Administration rules, the process of managing your  benefits is much easier.
Nobody cares about your claim the way you do.
You may be filing a disability claim about obstructive sleep apnea, prostate cancer, agent orange related benefits or you may want information about any of the hundreds of other VA benefits that are available to you. We don't shy from the more controversial topics like marijuana and the VA or your rights as a veteran to own a gun, pistol or to be given a concealed weapons carry permit.We avoid rumors. We aren't here to bash the VA.
We publish the facts that we believe are the most correct and of most use to you. That's all.