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.
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
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!
Google Tracks You
and we don't.
DuckDuckGo apps block
Google's hidden trackers.
Get unbiased results
outside the Filter Bubble.
Robert Wilkie <firstname.lastname@example.org> 855-948-2311
'How To Lie With Statistics'
You’re still eligible for VA mental health care
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.
Scheduled For A C & P??? Filing A Claim?
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.
VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide
Reference guide to help during final
There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.
We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times
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.
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.
A lot changed in Medicare
this year with more coming in 2020
Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog
and ask about veterans discounts!
Government Accountability Office
Additional information needed to support claim
Direct Deposit - May I apply by telephone?
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.
Find out how to check the status of a
VA claim or appeal online
Do You Need Medical Care
You are already authorized
to use an urgent care clinic!
Physician - Surgeon - Veteran
Veterans Law Attorney
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Create or update your will today – fast and 100% free
We have advance healthcare directives, healthcare proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.
All are free to use.
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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.
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!
Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill
Owe VA Money???
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 Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA 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. email@example.com
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
Toll Free Fax:
Military Records DD 214
Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
Official Personnel Folders (OPF)
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.
You've Arrived at the VAWatchdog Dot Org!
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Craig Bash M.D., MBA
The Veterans Medical Advisor
If you are an honorably discharged veteran, you served your
country well and you earned certain benefits. Sad to say, sometimes
it can be difficult for the veteran to obtain the earned benefits
guaranteed by law. Veterans need a recognized medical expert who
knows the VA system. As a disabled veteran himself and a respected,
board certified physician, Dr. Bash fits the need—and adds even further
insight as a VA-accredited service organization representative.
Call 925-381-7561 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim...my treacherous, drug addicted, philandering, worthless, alcoholic, cheating, lying, violent, fat, stupid ex-wife/husband
is a 100% disabled veteran who is 8 months behind on child support for the 6 kids we have together. She/he tells me there isn't a
damn thing I can do about it since the VA disability money is protected for use only by the veteran and can't be garnished.
What can I do?
You can seek an apportionment. An apportionment is pretty much the same thing as a garnishment of wages but the apportionment is administered by the VA. You can learn how to file an apportionment here.
Hey Jim, I went to a fairly routine check-up appointment a couple weeks ago and I was shocked and awed when my primary care provider told me that when they drug screened me that marijuana was detected. I didn't really know what to say and since she didn't have any more to say about it we finished up and I left. I've thought it over since then and I believe my rights have been violated since I wasn't told I'd be drug screened. What business is it of the VA to know whether I use drugs or not?
Most Americans would agree that the results of a drug screen may be somewhat disruptive if those results were to be broadcast to others. You might not want your friends or employer to know, for example. But most would agree that there's a real drug problem in America that needs to be treated...not prosecuted but treated as a health care problem. How do we learn our own health care status? Often enough, lab work to show the status of our kidneys, liver, pancreas and drug intake. WHOA...treat drug abuse like the disease it is and the issue gets complex. While I understand your angst, I support drug screening for every adult as a part of their routine health care.
Hey Jim, I'm a Vietnam veteran who had boots on the ground...two tours. I came home, got busy and didn't look back. I didn't know that VA existed most of my life but now I have prostate cancer and heart disease, both of those are presumptive conditions to agent orange exposure...I get most of that. But since I didn't know about VA I've existed with these conditions since 2002 and I've had treatments in the civilian sector...I'm fortunate enough to have health insurance through my job at a local business where I worked a long time. I've started filing the claims with a local VSO but I'm being told there won't be any back pay since I didn't know enough to file when my disease was diagnosed. This is bullshit, VA never told me about anything like agent orange or filing claims. I'm sick because of my service and I need help!
I understand all too well. Many of us had no clue that there was a VA and often enough we heard horror stories (true or not) that kept us away. I didn't understand how it worked back then and missed opportunities to appeal and file incidental claims so it took me years and years longer than it should have to recover the benefits I earned. I learned that the effective date of a claim is the day we file unless there are extraordinary circumstances and there are never extraordinary circumstances. VA will tell us that they publish far more information publicly than most federal organizations and that you have to do your part and take it in. Ultimately this is one of those things you may want to let go. Your effective date, the day benefits and all associated timing begins will be the date you filed, not a minute before.
These are the most frequently asked questions I've received over the years.
I won't try to rank them in any particular order although it's easy to say that questions about divorce and how VA disability money may be accounted for by the family court are always at the top of the pile.
Other than that, I'll publish them randomly as we go along. Most will be presented as generic amalgams of the hundreds of times I've been asked something similar. Others I'll publish just as they come to me, misspellings, half-truths and rants.
Jim...I'm getting a divorce from my treacherous, drug addicted, philandering, worthless, alcoholic, cheating, lying, violent, fat, stupid wife/husband. I'm a 100% disabled veteran and I've told him/her that she can't touch my disability pay since I earned that and it's all I have to live on. He/she wants me to pay support for the 6 kids we have together and I've explained that I don't have to do that because my VA money is mine, all mine. Help me convince this low life piece of trash I mistakenly married that since I'm a veteran I owe him/her not a damn thing.
Veterans disability pay is meant to replace income that the veteran would otherwise be capable of earning except for the service connected disabling conditions. Every family court will consider VA disability pay to be income and the money must be factored in to any child support or alimony decisions. You can learn a lot more about divorce and the obligations that may come with divorce here.
We receive many questions about divorce, child support obligations, and so on. The answers never differ.
Jim, I'm really pissed off at the VA examiner who performed my C & P exam yesterday. She didn't look at the records I brought, she didn't examine my arm like I asked and I was in and out of the room in 10 minutes. I want to file a complaint and I want to see the report she made before my claim goes any further. This isn't fair.
The worst thing we can do is to interrupt the process. The process of filing a claim is simple. You submit a form and any evidence you have. Your form is entered into the system and you are scheduled for an exam. After the exam that report goes back to your folder and eventually is in front of a rater. A decision is made and you're informed. If you disagree with the decision, you file a NOD and you're off to the races for an appeal. If you choose to interrupt the process, the train comes off the tracks. When you complain about the examiner (and almost everyone does) VA has to halt any progress on your claim while they investigate. The investigation, such as it may be, will always lead to you having another C & P exam where you'll be known as a hostile and complaining person. You get the idea, all this takes time and adds steps that are prone to mistakes. Get the C & P done and suck it up and keep quiet. If you don't like your decision, appeal. If you do like your decision (surprise!) you're done. Be careful what you ask for...
Hey Jim, I bought a house almost 2 years ago and I used my VA loan certificate. I've since learned things about the house that I didn't know then and it looks like it may cost me a lot of money to have repairs and upgrades done to get it turned into the house I thought I was buying. The realtor who sold me the home isn't in business any longer so I'm not sure what to do? How do I get some help?
I'm not sure what you're looking for? When we buy a home one of the first rules is that it is up to us to do our own due diligence. We can't trust home inspectors or realtors to be 100% invested in our security, that's our job. Unless you can prove some sort of fraud took place and get a local real estate lawyer interested, any future repairs are very likely on you. Yeah, it's frustrating to have to shell out big money unexpectedly, but yeah...it's a part of home ownership you have to prepare for...it happens.
Hey Jim, My disabled veteran boyfriend (girlfriend, son, daughter, cousin, neighbor, et al) has been arrested and jailed because of a false accusation that s/he had a gun and tried to rob some people. That isn't at all what happened but the police here don't like veterans and he's being framed. He needs a lawyer who will fight for his freedom and justice. He doesn't have any money since he is just out of the rehab program so he needs a lawyer who will be able to help a disabled veteran for free.
Once we leave active duty and become veterans, we soon morph into the creatures called civilians. As civilians we have all the rights and obligations of any citizen...we can get in trouble and then we can work really hard to get ourselves out of the trouble we got into. Nobody much cares that you're a veteran when you break the law. The handcuffs and jail will come first and any consideration to your past may come much later. Criminal defense lawyers don't work for free just because you're a vet. If you have problems with VA there may be free or less expensive help available for you. If you go and get yourself arrested and brought up on serious charges, you'll find out the definition of lonely PDQ. You're on your own.
Hey Jim, My hearing sucks. I'm hardly 40 years old and after 2 OEF/OIF tours I have ringing in my ears that makes me crazy and as if that isn't bad enough I can't hear hardly anything people say to me. It makes my work really hard to deal with and I'm afraid I could lose my job. I filed a claim a year ago with a local VSO (who left soon after) and after a quick exam and hearing test I've finally gotten a letter that tells me I have been rated as 0% service connected for hearing loss and 10% for tinnitus. Oh...I got hearing aids that aren't really doing much. The ratings seem low, do you agree? I'm having a helluva time and don't know what I should do?
I hear you brother... Ouch, sorry. I guess the problem is we don't hear each other very well. The number one claims and ratings at VA are for hearing loss and tinnitus. Whether we serve in active combat or not, the job calls for us to be exposed to a lot of noise...acoustic trauma. In my years of advocating for veterans I've witnessed the most absurd denials for hearing loss and tinnitus that you can imagine. My own father was denied his claim for hearing loss. He served on Iwo Jima and in Korea retiring as an E-9 after 20. His specialty...ordnance. VA denied his hearing claim because there was no record of his serving in combat. The Purple Hearts he was awarded apparently didn't count. I tell you that to let you know what you're dealing with and that you need some expert help. You need to appeal and you may want to retain a lawyer for that. You need to consider secondary conditions that are being caused, contributed to or aggravated by the hearing loss and tinnitus. You'l want to think about whether or not hearing loss is causing you to be depressed or become housebound and if so, get a mental heath IMO.