Three Consequences of Using Marijuana After Your State “Legalizes”

​1. Marijuana users will fail future NICS firearm background checks. 

$113.1 Billion Discretionary VA Bill for ’22 Submitted

​The Biden administration’s proposed $113.1 billion spending bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs addresses delivery of health-care services, homelessness, suicide prevention, support for caregivers, and technological improvements.

CDC updates guidance on how COVID-19 spreads

​The CDC updated its guidance on COVID-19 transmission May 7,

underscoring that the virus spreads via small respiratory droplets and particles in the air.

You may file claims on  eBenefits  or you can mail them in using certified mail or you can even fax them in. 

Download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter proving their status. 

Jim Strickland

New financial tool provides Veterans more control and transparency

Any Veteran with a debt related to VA benefits can now access their debt information online

 Code of Federal Regulations

Title 38 - Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief

​Volume: 1

Date: 2019-07-01

Original Date: 2019-07-01

Title: PART 17 - MEDICAL 

Never Stop Reading

Never Stop Learning

Rates of Parkinson’s disease are exploding.

A common chemical - trichloroethylene (TCE) - may be to blame

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General

​Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams

COVID-19 fraud is rapidly evolving. This page is frequently updated.

38 CFR Book C 

Schedule for Rating Disabilities

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired.

You quit when the gorilla is tired."  —  Robert Straus

How To

When you deal with your VA benefits there are dozens, maybe hundreds of resources on the Internet, usually way too complex

to read or they want your money to open their do you choose where to take advice and council?  I think I have

the answer. When you want to deal with your VA, whether you're filing a claim or trying to get along with your health care providers,

you need to hear the voice of a veteran who actually uses the VA. I'm in the process of providing that resource for you...for free.

No sign-up, no registration, instant access to reliable information. It's your VA, use it effectively.

This is a Work In Progress throughout 2021. Check back every now and then for updates.

Jim’s Everyday Guide to Veterans Benefits

Let's File A Claim

Filing your claim for VAbenefits isn't as hard as some want you to believe. Let's set the effective date of any claim you file in the next year. This one is easy so let's do it right now.

Intent To File A Claim Form

American Rescue Plan Helps Veterans
As part of the American Rescue Plan, the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)

provides financial aid to help you recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn if you're eligible and how to apply!

Medical Experts For Veterans Disability Claims 

Serving Veterans, Service Officers, & Attorneys since 2015 

Nexus Letters / Medical Opinions  -  Get Started Now

Roger Hale, Esq.

​Veterans Law Attorney        Personal Injury Law

Nationwide Representation        Free Veterans Consultations
Workers Compensation  -  Social Security Disability  -  Pain & Suffering  -  Emotional & Mental Anguish​​

Veterans unemployed due to pandemic now eligible for VA job training funds

​VRRAP covers education and training programs approved under the GI Bill and Veteran Employment

Through Technology Education Courses, or VET TEC, that lead to high-demand jobs.

These include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs.


​V A Claims Intake Center
PO BOX 4444

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:


Gregory Rada  Veterans Law Attorney

Military Veteran - Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

VA disability appeals, TDIU claims, MST, PTSD, other mental health disability claims, appeals and veterans disability claims processes.

Attorney Rada offers free telephone case evaluations and nationwide representation.

Interest rate reduction refinance loan
If you have an existing VA-backed home loan and you want to reduce your monthly mortgage payments—

or make your payments more stable—an interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) may be right for you.

Veterans Psych Evaluations
 Brett Valette, Ph.D.

Providing Military Veterans Personalized Psychological and Medical Evaluations. Complete the Contact form, and you'll get a personal phone call from us. We listen, and want to know what you are going through. We provide Independent Medical Evaluations (IME), Independent Medical Opinions (IMO) and nexus letters for ratings reviews, secondary conditions, medical conditions, discharge upgrades, and many types of denied claims.  We also provide Social Security Disability claim reports.

Some Wounds Can't Be Seen        Contact Us Today

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

disability benefits. Jim writes extensively about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 
Jim's Mailbag is a regular column featured at  Stateside Legal  where veterans, servicemembers,

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

Type your paragraph here.

My rating increased to 100% P&T increasing my benefits. SNAP reduced my food stamps from several hundred dollars to $18. The food stamps helped offsetting cost for groceries. I thought SNAP puts Veterans with 100% P&T in a different category as disabled. I spoke with the SNAP personnel and they said that my monthly income is over their eligibility. Any advice?
Advice? Sure. Any time we apply for anything we should read the fine print and understand what we're getting into. You apparently had no clue you were facing a means test and that's on you.
Most financial benefits awarded to use for one reason or another are means tested. Means testing tells us that the agency will examine our 'means' or our finances to determine what they may offer us to bring us up to a certain level of financial health. 
It stands to reason that if you already have (x) amount of money that they won't give you more. I'm not sure what made you think you'd be able to keep everything but that was not correct and I can't think of anything else to do but to be appreciative of your new VA benefits and to adjust your budget appropriately.

How to convert/change a TDIU rating into P&T?
The 100% Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) rating is often Permanent and Total (P & T) although it may be a temporary rating with a future exam scheduled. 
I think what you're asking is probably how to convert a 100% TDIU rating to a 100% schedular rating and the answer is we don't do that. The two ratings are exactly the same other than the TDIU rated veteran isn't allowed to work at 'gainful employment'...a more or less full time job.
Veterans who want to convert from TDIU to schedular 100% ratings so they can work full time are often surprised that their TDIU rating falls to the underlying rating and they lose the 100%.
Be careful what you ask for...VA may deliver.

Hello Jim, can you explain the 55-year-old protected ratings VA rule? Thanks
You're a bit off track...there is no such thing as a 55 year old protected rating rule. The "protected rating" is a topic that creates a lot of confusion so let me begin by saying there is no such thing as a protected rating. VA can and will investigate possible fraud no matter how long you've held a given rating. 
There is some protection after you hold a rating for a long while that says that the rating won't change even if the underlying law changes. Age 55 is the usual point that ratings may be made permanent rather than temporary and doesn't have anything to do with protecting a rating.
In the end no rating is ever really protected from VA so we should always be on the lookout for any VA shenanigans. 

Question: Seeing how I was at 90%, my lawyers highly suggested that I filing for TDIU. Fast forward, I was granted TDIU. However, I hate the fact that I am unable to work to include capped financially knowing I have high earning potential. I would have preferred 100% scheduler and/or P/T instead of TDIU. At least with 100% scheduler and/or P/T a veteran is not capped financially and able to continue earning and feel worth/not worthless. Of course, I should be happy (shut up and color) that the VA understood my multiple chronic disabilities thus granting me TDIU... My question is; how to convert/change TDIU to 100% P/T? Is that evening possible? How would the change impact my overall case for 100% P/T?

Jim's Reply: I hate to tell you this but these aren't choices you get to make. This is how the system works and it won't adapt to you because you think it should. If you are so confident that you have a very high income potential, why don't you simply return to work? It was many many years ago that I was very relieved to get my TDIU rating and prior to that I had a very high income. If I had been able to return to work I'd have traded that for the TDIU rating in a heartbeat.You're asking to keep your rating of 100%, maximize the money VA is giving you yet you insist that you don't really need these benefits because you are very able to work.Trying to turn a 100% TDIU rating to a schedular rating almost always ends up with the vet losing the TDIU and reverting to the base your case, 90%. ​​

The laws that govern the sales and purchases of weapons and ordnance very wildly across America with the federal government, each state, every municipality and some private communities each developing their own laws, rules and regulations.

The Mother Ship for all enforcement is National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICSIn addition to federally prohibitive criteria, the NICS must delay or deny firearm transfers based on applicable state law. A delayed transaction will be purged from the NICS within 88 days from creation. The NICS Section recommends that you wait 30 days from the date initiating the check prior to filing an appeal on a delay to give the NICS Section’s staff time to complete the initial transaction. If your original background check is completed, the Federal Firearm Licensee ​will be notified with a final status.​If you're denied for any reason, you'll have to appeal. Read up on Firearm-Related Challenge (Appeal) and Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) as well as the Federal Categories of Persons Prohibited from Receiving Firearms ​​

Department of Veterans Affairs Guns and Weapons   Concealed Carry Permits   

FBI-NICS   Firearms PTSD and Other Mental Health Conditions

Were you hazed while serving in the military? GAO may want to hear from you

​The Government Accountability Office is looking for service members who were victims of hazing while they served.

The office is collecting the information for a study on the Defense Department’s efforts to prevent and respond to hazing.

The Government Accountability Office


​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!

Welcome to the KnowVA Knowledge Base

Locate information more quickly and efficiently

Stateside Legal Help For Veterans

Veterans Struggle to Get Copies of Needed Service Records Due to Pandemic
Access to some VA benefits, services delayed as backlog of requests hits 500,000

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)

Do you need some help with your claim?

I'm accepting limited appointments to talk live on the phone or to videoconference with you. There is no fee for this service.

If you'd like to talk, provide me with some information about who you are and what's up and I'll be in touch.  /s/ Jim

How to file a VA

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

or increased disability compensation.

The secret truth of the student debt crisis

Most student debt will be canceled sooner or later, because an ever-growing share

of borrowers cannot possibly repay their loans. Ever. 



The Government

​Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here.

Thomas J. Seiter, Jr., M.D.

DBQs   Nexus Letters Medical Records Reviews  

Independent Medical Opinions

Nationwide Representation

Veterans Affairs:Use of Additional Funding for COVID-19 Relief

​As of April 14, 2021, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported 224,538 cumulative 

COVID-19 cases among veterans, with 11,366 deaths.

Vaccine Eligibility Expanded at DoD Sites

All eligible and authorized TRICARE beneficiaries and Defense Department personnel

can now get vaccinated for Covid-19 at DoD sites.

Veterans PTSD Assessments

Independent Medical Opinions  Nexus Letters

Thomas Grieder, MD PhD

25 Years Service as a VA Psychiatrist

Lead Psychiatrist East Los Angeles

PTSD Clinical Team

Get In Contact With Dr. Grieder 

I'm Jim Strickland

and ​I approve of this message.

Get Started
Two options explaining the

Benefits you've earned.

When You Hit A Dead End

The Department of Veterans Affairs

​White House Hotline

855 - 948 - 2311    

< >

Yes, this really works. No, it doesn't ring in the White House. The email address and phone number are staffed by a seemingly serious group of players, many who are veterans, and if you have a legit issue, telling these folks is like bringing in the artillery.

Let's prepare  for your call or email. Make some notes before you proceed so you don't forget anything.

I prefer email since there's no waiting for someone to answer and I can take my time to prepare the story in just the right detail. 

Be sure to include your DOB, your last 4, contact info...a couple of numbers, your preferred email and such. 

Describe the problem as briefly as you can.  Less is more.  Include the necessary components but don't tell your life story.  

Don't rant.  Be polite...military courtesy will get you places that hollering  IN ALL CAPS  won't.  Respect! 

Don't waste their time with bogus complaints about your feelings being hurt. If you appropriately utilize this

service, I'll vouch that this works like a champ.

Tell them you read about this at The VAWatchdog Dot Org...they know who we are.

Dependents & Survivor Benefits    Specializing In Veterans Law  Federal Tort Claims  Disability Claims

Free Veterans Case Reviews     Nationwide Representation

Drew Early

Veterans Law Attorney
 Graduate of the US Military Academy West Point, 20 years of active Army service, multiple deployments,

XVIII Airborne Corps, and Third Army, Airborne and Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal badges. 

Free Case Assessment - Nationwide Representation

Where did your claim disappear to?

Veterans hit by huge pandemic-related records backlog
National Archives estimates it will take 18 to 24 months to clear the backlog once the records center is fully staffed

​​​​The VA Watchdog Dot Org

Since 2005, We're Keeping An Eye On Your VA

Because Somebody Has To!​

Welcome  Home!  I'm  Jim Strickland.  I'm an Army vet, I was 91-D20 in USAREUR at ​the

98th General Hospital near  Camp Baumholder 1967 - 1970.  I publish the VAWatchdog

Dot Org to help you obtain the benefits you earned by your service  to our country. 

I'll share what I'm reading today, the important stuff.  Feedback  is always welcomed.

​NO DIGITAL ADVERTISING means no ad-trackers. Nobody is looking at your data here.

Veteran Disability Claims 

Nexus and IMO Letters

Military Records