​​How to apply for VA health care

Find out if you’re eligible for

VA health care benefits.

C & P Exams unemployability

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I forgot to tell the examiner some things, ​now what should I do?

Hearing Loss Now A Military Epidemic

U.S. soldiers and Marines caught in roadside bombings and firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home

in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears, prompting the military to redouble its efforts

to protect the troops from noise. Hearing damage is the No.1 disability in the fight against terror, according to the

Department of Veterans Affairs, and some experts say the true toll could take decades to become clear.

Hearing loss and tinnitus can cause significant mental health challenges. 

If your hearing loss and tinnitus are leaving you depressed or otherwise suffering from mental health issues, you may have a secondary service connection that may be rated.

Talk with Dr. Valette todayand ask if you may be service connected for your hearing loss and subsequent mental health problems.

VA Research on Hearing Loss

​Hearing loss affects approximately 37.5 million Americans aged 18 and over, including more than half

of those over age 75. Hearing problems—including tinnitus, which is a perceived ringing or other type

of noise in the ears—are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.

What is acoustic trauma?

​Acoustic trauma is an injury to the inner ear that’s often caused by exposure to a high-decibel noise. This injury can occur after exposure to a single, very loud noise or from exposure to noises at significant decibels over a longer period of time.

Veterans Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Disability Claims


I am filing for Sleep Apnea secondary to Hypothyroidism for which I am approved. My ENT wrote a nexus letter, but it was not good enough. It seems they want more details on how he got to the nexus. Do you know of any references I can use to justify the connection? Thanks.

​​Jim's Reply:
Whenever a provider writes a nexus letter to help us establish service connection and an appropriate rating that person must provide a rationale for their opinion that is based in current science. If your doctor says that your OSA is more likely than not secondary to your hypothyroidism, the doctor must then state how and why he or she arrived at that conclusion. It isn't your task to sort out the science and that you're trying to isn't a great sign.
I can think of a couple of options that may help. First, go to the Board of Veterans Appeals site and use their search engine to learn how cases similar to yours have done in an appeal. Enter your key words and choose 1 or 2 years to search and read some cases. You'll learn a lot about how VA views cases similar to your own.
The other option...and the one most likely to prevail...is to retain a disability medicine professional to provide the nexus you need to prevail. You can learn more about the 
Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) here.
Good luck!

Military hearing loss and tinnitus

a ringing, buzzing or whistling in the ears — are the top two reasons for VA disability compensation claims. Most cases of military hearing loss are caused by exposure to loud noises that damage delicate hairs in the inner ear


Clear & Unmistakable Error

The CUE Claim

Justices to consider scope of “clear and unmistakable error” review of Veterans Affairs decisions.

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. 

national cemetery administration veterans affairs

C & P exam?

I am a Camp Lejeune contaminated water survivor. In Feb. 2022 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which is on the CLCW presumptive illness list for compensation. I meet the requirements as set forth by the VA. My VSO filed a claim in the middle of March. Now a week ago the VA notified me I will have to attend a C&P exam. My question is: since I qualify as a contaminated water survivor and have a diagnosis, which is the 2 requirements for this to be service connected, why is the VA requiring me to attend a C&P exam? Thank you for your time. 

Jim's Reply:
As you read through this keep in mind that I'm a professional cynic, a curmudgeon by nature. I'm also a Lejeune survivor, I was a child when dad was stationed there...we lived at Tawara Terrace so we had the full benefit of the contamination. Both parents passed with bladder and kidney diseases, I'm being worked up for mine in the coming weeks.
There is no good reason for you to have a C & P exam. Nada, zip, zero...not a single good reason for you to show up for an exam, period.
However, the businesses that make up the providers for those exams are owned by retired VA executives. Their businesses are paid by the exam so if they can schedule you for 2 unnecessary exams, so much the better.
Believe it or not, VA even has thought this through and they have a process in place that will keep most of us from needing an exam.
The ACE process makes a lot of sense and would reduce processing time and save a lot of taxpayer dollars so you can bet you'll never hear of it!
In the end there's not a thing you can do about it. If you fuss or choose to skip an exam, VA will default to denial and call you a no-show. Once that happens your records will forever reflect that you're a no-show and thus not profitable to the company.
Yes, you're correct, this is an outrage and shouldn't happen. However, it is what it is and the best I can tell you is that this time you embrace the suck and enjoy your visit with your examiner. Good luck sir.

Hearing Loss, Tinnitus & Mental Health Ratings

Dr. Brett Valette explains the connection or nexus

between profound hearing loss, tinnitus and mental health conditions.

Has your hearing loss and tinnitus caused anxiety and depression?  ​​

There's a reason for that.  

Talk with Dr. Valette today

and learn if you may have a well grounded claim for a mental health

condition secondary to your hearing loss.

Other Than Honorable

It's been a very long time since I was in the army in Stuttgart Germany. I was in during the Vietnam era. I was only 18. I suffered a very traumatic tour in Germany and was discharged early. I didn't get in any trouble, but was subjected to many unchecked tragic moments. I was not given council nor advised what was happening to me. I did not want to be short changed in my service credit or classification and was promised, or at the very lease told, I would be receiving a regular honorable discharge. I just shut down and never spoke to anyone about my disagreements with my separation. I was never explained why or what was being said and how it was done. I know it's way too long for anyone to care but I will say that if my case had been explained to me, I wouldn't have agreed to anything less than a full discharge. I never had or caused any problems. What happened was done to me!!!!!!! My dad was an honorably discharged WW2 veteran and my brother was an Air Force vet. I can't even use facilities and don't have a military ID. I did serve well over there. Stuff just happened.

​​Jim's Reply:
I was there at the 98th General Hospital Neubrucke/Nahe, close enough to Stuttgart and probably at the same time you were. It sounds as if you had some issues adapting to the military life and you were offered and accepted a less than honorable discharge. 
If you'd like some help getting that discharge upgraded, these are the folks to talk with
Get in touch with them and they'll review what you've got and they'll take it from there.
Good luck!

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Military Health

History Pocket Card

Did you see combat, enemy fire,

or casualties? Were you or a buddy wounded, injured or hospitalized?​ 

Do you have a claim pending for illness or injury related to your military service?

​Do you have a service-connected condition?

Welcome Home​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The VA Watchdog Dot Org

Let's Talk About The Benefits You Earned via Your

Honorable Service To Our Country​​​​​​​

What You'll Find Here

​Up-To-Date News About Your Benefits,  Headlines Important To You, How-To  Articles  & Links to Pros Who Can Help. 

Disability benefits can enhance your independence and help you care for your family
​​Veterans’ Benefits Rating and Rates   Disability Compensation
Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service —

no matter when or where they served — may be eligible to receive tax-free monthly benefits.

Veterans Benefits Administration Reports

​Detailed Claims Data    Status Reports
Reports contain data covering claims inventory, claims
backlog, claims accuracy, and Fully Developed Claims. 

U.S. Code: Title 38


Budget Projects Employment Growth

at VA, Agriculture, Other Agencies

​​Some 29,000 of those

positions would be at the VA

38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities   tells you the standards you must meet to be awarded a % rating for

a given condition. Below we've selected

a few of the most frequently 

needed sections of   The Schedule

Stateside Legal Help For Veterans

You Are Not Alone!

Right now is the time for you to

connect and begin to heal.

Right. Now.

Federal Tort and

Section 1151 Claims
When something goes wrong and

the veteran suffers an injury or

death due to the negligence of

a federal employee, the veteran

or his/her spouse may pursue

claims under the

Federal Tort Claims Act

Are You Having A Claims Crisis?

Delays? Misinformation?


855 - 948 - 2311

Or Email


 ​Yes, this really works.

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. 

detailed claims data veterans administration

Entitlement to service connection

for bilateral foot disability claimed

as secondary to

carbon tetrachloride exposure.

What You Won't Find Here

 User Fees, Hidden Fees, Rumors,​ 

Requests For Donations, Mailing Lists

or Registration Requirements.

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C & P Exams??

You should read:

C&P Service Clinician’s Guide

The reports of American decline

are greatly exaggerated
America is wealthy, influential, powerful,

and increasingly equal.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

A veteran is entitled to disability compensation if he or she were

(1) discharged or released from the military under conditions other than dishonorable,

(2) their disease or injury was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, and

(3) the disease or injury was not the result of the their own willful misconduct

or abuse of drugs.

Need Help?

This is who we recommend

Many service members use industrial solvents in regular military tasks

​Benzene   Tetrachloroethylene

(PCE or PERC)   Acetone    Trichloroethylene (TCE)   Xylenes​