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!

VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION

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.

Processing errors included improper evaluations, missed secondary conditions,

and evaluations based on inadequate exams. 

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.

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.

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

The moment that you file a claim someone will be waiting to schedule you for a Compensation and Pension (C & P) Exam.

The C & P exam is the precise point where so many claims go south. The C & P examiner is often not qualified to render an opinion of the condition in front of them. I recently received an email from a veteran who I had advised to file a claim for his carotid artery disease as secondary to his service connected diabetes. His claim was denied because the C & P examiner opined that there was no medical evidence that diabetes caused or contributed to carotid artery disease. That it is well known that diabetes is a leading cause of atherosclerosis didn't phase anyone at VA and now we have to have a doctor and a lawyer get involved in a lengthy appeal.

Think about it...the veteran was denied service connection because the VA examiner reported that there is no medical evidence that diabetes causes carotid artery disease. Now read this.

Months ago when I first advised the veteran to file the claim for a secondary condition, I didn't advise him to get an IMO. I couldn't have believed that VA would deny a vascular condition as secondary to DMII...it defies all logic. But here we are and it's become very apparent that if you want to avoid an appeal, you'll get an IMO as you file the initial claim.

​The report above is a confirmation of this...the VA does a very poor job of C & P exams. Avoid the fuss of an appeal...get an IMO.

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.

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.

Check your VA claim or appeal status

Find out how to check the status of a

VA claim or appeal online

​Create or update your will today – fast and 100% free

Make your will with FreeWill today

We have advance healthcare directives, healthcare proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.

All are free to use.

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.

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!

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.

Drowning in Debt?

It Could Reduce Your Social Security Benefits
Think twice before taking on certain loans.

VA MISSION Act

Answers to the top five questions about urgent care

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.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Additional information needed to support claim

Direct Deposit - May I apply by telephone?

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

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

Website Monitoring Tool

Google Tracks You

and we don't.
​DuckDuckGo apps block

Google's hidden trackers.
​Get unbiased results

outside the Filter Bubble.


​The world needs an alternative

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

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Other-than-honorable discharge?

You’re still eligible for VA mental health care​

Jim's Mailbag
Halloween Costumes
Veterans Benefits on Reddit

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?

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. 

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.

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

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

Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website

We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times

Florida Veterans

Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog

and ask about veterans discounts!​

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!!!

Have you been denied a claim for a condition of the spine (Or any condition???)

Inadequate (lowball) rating?

You're going to need an IMO sooner than later

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.

Social Security and You

Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill

Owe VA Money??? 

​​Submit A Waiver Request

How to get Social Security disability

benefits when you can’t work

Getting Social Security disability benefits when you’re unable to work can be challenging. Last year, more

than 2 million people applied for Social Security

disability benefits, but two-thirds of them

were denied, because most applicants fail to prove

that they’re disabled and can’t work. Here are some

steps you can take that can help improve your odds.

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.