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and we don't.
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Google's hidden trackers.
​The world needs an alternative

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

One More Reason You Need An Independent Medical Opinion

VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION

Accuracy of Claims Decisions Involving Conditions of the Spine

A coronavirus outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier is one of

the possibilities facing the US military

How would the Navy react if a sailor aboard a large ship such as an aircraft carrier tested positive for the coronavirus?

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Help fight Medicare fraud

​Con artists may try to get your Medicare

Number or personal information so they can steal

your identity and commit Medicare fraud.

INN TO THE FOREST

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

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Veteran Disability Claims 

Nexus and IMO Letters

Call before visiting your VA facility

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and Coronavirus updates

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

arrangements planning

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

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

Welcome to the KnowVA Knowledge Base

Locate information more quickly and efficiently

Traveling?

​How to ensure seamless care while traveling

Florida veterans health centers moving to virtual appointments to combat coronavirus

The goal is to allow veterans

to stay home and avoid exposure

How To Get Urgent Care For Free

If you have any symptoms

DO NOT DELAY

You are authorized urgent care but you must be prepared!

How Divorce, Alimony, and Child Support

Affect Veterans' VA Benefits
VA benefits can be garnished only for spousal

or child support, and only under certain conditions.

How to file a VA disability claim
Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

or increased disability compensation.

John Prine, One of America’s Greatest Songwriters, Dead at 73
Grammy-winning singer who combined literary genius with a common touch succumbs to coronavirus complications


His song, Sam Stone, is one of the most poignant and touching war stories ever told.

Written about the Vietnam era soldier, the message affects every veteran.

RIP

You Ready???

Are you aware that Amazon will deliver groceries to you? And often enough they beat in-store prices?

Don't worry that you forgot the dog food.

Shop on!

Jim's Mailbag

Medical Malpractice

Download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter

proving their status. 

For Better Brain Health, Preserve Your Hearing
Hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor for developing dementia, exceeding that of smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and social isolation.

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Drew Early   Veterans Law Attorney
Graduate of the US Military Academy, West Point

Adjunct Professor - Emory University Law School
20 Years Army Service - Airborne - Explosive Ordnance Badge
Free Case Review - Nationwide Representation
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Appeals of Veterans & Survivor Claims
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and ask about veterans discounts!​

Where should we retire?

We get $2,470 a month from Social Security

and want a warm, friendly city near the ocean.

VA launches online patient portal for veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

announced the launch of an online patient portal

this month that will provide service veterans

with digital access to their patient statements.

VA Health Care Public Health Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

​What you should know
VA is working closely with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners,
monitoring an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

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Answers to your questions on stimulus checks

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Healthcare directives, 

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All are free to use.

Veterans get more banking options,

under new VA partnership

Some veterans may have better access to banking now, through a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Association of Military Banks of America.

38 CFR Book C 

Schedule for Rating Disabilities

Credit Card Payment Due?

​​Which Consumer Lenders Are (and Aren’t) Helping the Most - American Express (cards), Capital One (auto loans and cards) and JPMorgan Chase said they would allow people to skip payments, interest free. 

​Roger Hale,  Veterans Law Attorney​​

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Amazon Is Putting Book Deliveries Into the

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The retail giant is prioritizing household

and medical supplies, and pushing

everything else to the back of the queue.

Medical Malpractice - Veterans 1151 Claims

Hodes Milman LLP

​Malpractice Attorneys Helping Veterans Harmed By The VA
​​Veterans Healthcare Rights - Federal Tort Claims -

VA Medical Malpractice Claims, Misdiagnosis, ​Hospital Negligence, Medical Errors
For a review of your VA malpractice case contact our lawyers today.
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Key findings about America’s military veterans

​​The experiences of post-9/11 veterans differ from

those who served in previous eras. Post-9/11

veterans more likely to have been deployed,

seen combat, experienced emotional trauma

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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. 

The VA fiduciary program is the most dangerous and corrupt offering from a dangerous and corrupt system. If VA approaches you about a fidu appointment, call a lawyer...quickly!

VA Identifies Additional Beneficiaries in Need of Fiduciary Assistance 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that an information technology system that it deployed in 2014 and enhanced in 2015, the Beneficiary Fiduciary Field System, allowed it to identify claim processing errors affecting approximately 14,000 Veterans and survivors.  These Veterans’ and survivors’ claims were initially filed over many years, with some going back
as far as 2000. The errors concern cases in which VA had proposed that due to disability or age the beneficiary was unable to manage his or her VA benefits without assistance, but did not complete the action by transferring it within VA for appointment of a fiduciary.  These cases represent approximately four percent of such proposals since 2000.

GOP targets veterans gun ban
​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reported more than 257,000 former members of the military who cannot manage their finances to the FBI’s list of people who are not allowed to own guns, Republicans claim, even though "it has nothing to do with regulating firearms.”
​The VA is responsible for appointing a fiduciary to help veterans who it determines cannot manage their own finances, but the agency
is also taking the additional step of reporting these veterans to the “mental defective” category of the FBI’s background check system, even if they do not pose a danger to society, the senators allege.​

Fiduciary Appointment Questions???

These accredited veterans law attorneys will answer your questions for free.

Talk with one or all of them right now!

Department of Veterans Affairs Fiduciary Appointments

If you have received notice that VA is considering the appointment of a fiduciary that means they believe you are incompetent to manage your own finances. This probably came about because during a C & P exam you were asked some leading questions about your money management skills and you flunked.

There is little on this page or anywhere else that will help you once VA begins to investigate you. Background checks may be run on family members to see if they have a criminal history. Credit reports are standard for anyone you suggest who may be appointed as your fiduciary. The process isn't at all friendly.

If you want to be rid of the VA fiduciary process, you must stop it BEFORE the fidu is appointed. Once the VA has completed the process and the fidu is a reality, the task of getting rid of the fidu becomes almost impossible.

You MUST take immediate action...right now.

Talk with any or all of the lawyers you'll find on this web site for free. They're waiting to hear from you...this is what they do.

Do not delay. If you want to stop the VA from running and maybe ruining your life...talk with your attorney today!

Field Examination Analysis

​Purpose
This article provides field examiners (FEs) guidance on the documentation of fiduciary specific information within the Beneficiary Fiduciary Field System (BFFS) FELux, the generation of field examination FElux letters and forms, and work item FElux documentation requirements. 

​CREDIT AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND REVIEW
COMMISSION AND ESTATE PROTECTION (BOND)
ADMIN AND ACCOUNTING
DIARY
NOTES
GENERATING FELUX LETTERS AND FORMS
DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS BY WORK ITEM TYPE

VA will ask to set up a meeting with you in your residence.

This meeting will be with a VA Field Agent (or examiner) who will ask you about your finances, do background checks on people in your home, perform credit rating checks and so on. He/she will tell you that as an incompetent veteran you can not have guns

in your house and you will not have the right to purchase firearms.
Ostensibly, the VA field agent will try to determine who in your family may be appointed
as your fiduciary. Many times the agent will find that nobody in your family has a good enough credit record so he/ she will appoint a  paid fiduciary.
In either case, you will lose control of the money you have earned from VA.
The paid fiduciary will take their cut of the money each month and if you want any of it, you must go through a complex process of asking for it.
Often, your request for money is ignored or denied.

If you have a fiduciary today and you're unhappy about it or if you have just been notified that VA is thinking of appointing a fiduciary, you may appeal.

We urge every veteran who is unhappy with their fiduciary appointment to talk with a veterans law attorney.

The veterans law attorney will provide a free case assessment and let you know what can be done.

If you're having issues with a fidu appointment talk with an accredited veterans law attorney today!!!​

What to do when the fiduciary letter arrives


Most veterans do not understand the VA fiduciary appointment process. When a letter
arrives telling the veteran he or she is incompetent to handle their VA award money, it's usually a shock. Very few Veterans Service Officers or advocates within a

Congressional Representatives office are usually of little help.
VA will often try to appoint a fiduciary when the veteran is rated at 100% for a mental
health problem and there will be an award of retroactive pay that is greater than $20,000.00. There is often no particular reason for the proposal to appoint a fiduciary.
VA should always try to appoint a close family member although that doesn't usually happen.
In any case, whoever is appointed will be required to complete paperwork and clear any expenditures by the veteran through the VA.
If the appointment of a fiduciary can be avoided, it should be.

The process usually works like this:
(1) The veteran has a C & P exam where the topic of finances is brought up. The examiner may write a brief note that "Veteran is incompetent to manage his finances." This may or may not be true. I've observed cases where the veteran said "My wife handles our checkbook" and that has been interpreted by VA as enough to declare the veteran incompetent.

(2) A letter will arrive that is a "proposal" to begin an investigation and to appoint a fiduciary.

(3) If the veteran does not properly and timely respond to this proposal, an appointment is made for a VA Field Examiner (or Agent) to come to the veterans home to discuss the proposal to appoint a fiduciary.

(4) If the Field Examiner does come to the home they will soon after begin to run credit reports and other background checks to determine whether the spouse, parent or perhaps a sibling may act as fiduciary.

(5) If no approval is made for a family member, the FE will see that a VA appointed "professional" fiduciary is appointed. That person may be a banker, lawyer or other VA approved person and they will then take over the veterans VA money.

The veteran will then have to seek any funds through the appointed fiduciary.

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

8 Museums You Can Virtually Tour Right Now
Visit famous institutions in Paris, Amsterdam,

and more—without leaving home.

Website Monitoring Tool

Regional Offices' Public Contact Closures

​The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19.
Regional offices will remain open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services.

Coronavirus distancing: Don't forget about veterans.

For them, loneliness can be deadly.
Legislation already exists to get our service members

the help they need through animal companions.

We must make sure it passes and soon.

Misuse of Certain Nonopioid Analgesics on the Rise
Gabapentin, Baclofen May Be Seen

as Opioid Alternatives

The NPRC
Military Records DD 214

Announcing the Veterans Benefits Banking Program
A partnership between VA and the

Association of Military Banks of America

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!

Your 2020 Guide to Social Security Benefits
Whether you’re claiming Social Security in 2020, have been collecting benefits for years, or are still decades away, here’s what you need to know about this critically important retirement program.

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Do You Need Help Right Now?

Your state runs County Veterans Service Offices

for you and they're working today.

An IMO by an expert  often makes the difference!

How To File a VA Disability Appeal
You have the right to appeal any benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration. The VA appeals process is set in law and is different from other judicial appeals processes. Find out how to file an appeal.

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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.

The Next, Terrible Phase of This Crisis
After cancellation comes triage

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?

Chronic Pain Is an Impossible Problem
A “safe” alternative to opioid painkillers

turns out to be not so safe.

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.

AT WAR
40 Stories From Women

About Life in the Military​   

"Not Many Women Get

to Do What I Do"

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Best way to check on a supplemental claim online?

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​Suing the VA for negligence and malpractice.​​

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Trump: “We’ll be cutting” entitlement programs

White House: He didn’t really mean that.
Following his Fox News town hall, Stephanie Grisham and Kellyanne Conway denied that Trump said what he said.

VA Urgent Care Pharmacy Locations
Find VA-approved urgent care/retail location

pharmacies near a specific

address or ZIP code, or search by VA Facility.

Veterans PTSD Assessments
Independent Medical Opinions    PTSD DBQs​


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​Twenty five years service as a VA psychiatrist
Assistant Professor and Associate Clinical Professor
UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
​Lead psychiatrist for the East Los Angeles PTSD Clinical Team​

Contact Dr. Grieder

Far too many veterans get this sort of notice and then they don't respond appropriately.

This Is Not A Spectator Sport

You Must Act NOW!!!
If the appropriate response doesn't happen in a timely manner, the VA will act on the proposal and appoint a fiduciary. The fiduciary is then free to act to control the
finances and the result is often a major problem for the veteran. The following will apply to actions the veteran must take when he/she is first notified that a fiduciary appointment is being considered. These steps must be done as soon as possible after the letter arrives.

Time spent calling a Congressperson, consulting a VSO and so on is usually time wasted. Note that all these steps must be conducted in writing. There should be no phone calls and no emails. Faxes are not a good idea This is a very serious matter and the veteran must initiate a strong defensive plan of action.

Letters must be as brief as possible and state all the facts. Mailing must be done via USPS Certified Mail with Return Receipt

Requested. When you write to VA you must not display anger or emotion. Ultimately, you must get involved quickly if you do not believe that appointing a fiduciary for you is warranted.​

To get notice that the VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary is always an unpleasant, unwelcome surprise.
The veteran may or may not need help and guidance with the award money he or
she has earned. The VA fiduciary appointment program is one of the more mismanaged and poorly understood problems of your VA.

If you disagree with the appointment of a fiduciary in your case, you must act in your own interests and you must act quickly.
Read this page carefully. Then proceed to protect yourself.​

​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. 

By The Numbers - How This Works-What To Do
1) You receive notice that VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary.You are shocked and you do not agree. This is only a proposal, not a decision. You have the right to appeal.

2) DON'T PANIC! Sit down and read the letter very carefully. Read it again. There is valuable information in the letter you received.

Contact A Veterans Law Attorney For Help

3) Complete a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) form. 
4) Mail the form using Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Do not use anything other than Certified Mail!

5) Do not delay! Don't run around asking everyone what to do. Don't try to collect statements from anyone like family or friends. Don't do anything but get the letter in the mail.

6) Once VA gets the NOD form, they will reply to tell you that you can't file a NOD yet because no decision has been made. Don't worry about that.  Your NOD has notified them that they have made a mistake.  You are now on record with the disagreement.

7) Wait patiently. After VA receives your NOD they will probably  schedule you for another C & P exam. During this C & P exam you will
be asked about how you manage your finances. Answer truthfully and completely.

8) You're done. That wasn't hard, was it?

Contact A Veterans Law Attorney For Help

Fiduciary Appointments
Overall, many of the processes at your VA are badly broken. The fiduciary
appointment system is mismanaged and often abusive to the targeted veteran.
While many veterans do need help to manage their financial affairs, there are a lot
of you who get caught up in the process through a series of errors. Once you are in this quagmire, it is often very difficult to get out.
In 2011 there was a major decision by the CAVC  that is beginning to help change
things. That's usually called The Freeman Decision and you should read it now. This is a complex legal document but it will help to to develop your appeal. In VA terms, a fiduciary is a legal guardian who will manage the money that VA has awarded to you for your service connected condition(s).
VA may attempt assign a fiduciary to manage your financial affairs if you are determined to
be incompetent to do that for yourself. In theory the VA fiduciary will only have authority to manage VA funds but if you have other income mixed with the money from VA, they will often seize it all.

Many veterans aren't aware that they're being examined for incompetence. During a routine C & P exam the examiner may ask you

"How do the bills get paid around your house?" or a similar question. There are a lot of us who would innocently reply; "My spouse writes all the checks. We find it easier to let her do all the banking stuff and she's better at it than I am. It works for us."

To most C & P examiners that means you can not handle your own finances.  They will make a brief note, "Veteran is not competent to manage his finances."
Once that little remark is in your record, you have a world of
problems coming your way. You will then be notified that there is a "proposal" to appoint a fiduciary for you. The first contact may be by mail or by telephone.​