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We believe that the more you know about the laws,
rules and regulations that govern the VA disability
compensation process, the more likely
it is that you will receive the correct award.
Here we'll review some of the more frequently cited parts of
Title 38 as well as other pertinent laws, rules and regulations.
§3.12 Character of discharge.
(a) If the former service member did not die in service, pension, compensation,
or dependency and indemnity compensation is not payable unless the period of
service on which the claim is based was terminated by discharge or release
under conditions other than dishonorable. (38 U.S.C. 101(2)). A discharge
under honorable conditions is binding on the Department of
Veterans Affairs as to character of discharge.
compensation rate for a surviving spouse.
(a) General determination of rate. When VA grants a surviving spouse
entitlement to DIC, VA will determine the rate of the benefit it will award.
The rate of the benefit will be the total of the basic monthly rate specified
in paragraph (b) or (d) of this section and any applicable
increases specified in paragraph (c) or (e) of this section.
§3.102 Reasonable doubt.
It is the defined and consistently applied policy of the Department of Veterans
Affairs to administer the law under a broad interpretation, consistent, however,
with the facts shown in every case. When, after careful consideration of all
procurable and assembled data, a reasonable doubt arises regarding
service origin, the degree of disability, or any other point, such doubt will
be resolved in favor of the claimant. By reasonable doubt is meant one
which exists because of an approximate balance of positive and negative
evidence which does not satisfactorily prove or disprove the claim. It is a
substantial doubt and one within the range of probability as distinguished
from pure speculation or remote possibility. It is not a means of reconciling
actual conflict or a contradiction in the evidence. Mere suspicion or doubt
as to the truth of any statements submitted, as distinguished from impeachment
or contradiction by evidence or known facts, is not justifiable basis for
denying the application of the reasonable doubt doctrine if the entire,
complete record otherwise warrants invoking this doctrine. The reasonable
doubt doctrine is also applicable even in the absence of official records,
particularly if the basic incident allegedly arose under combat, or
similarly strenuous conditions, and is consistent with
the probable results of such known hardships.
§3.155 How to file a claim.
The following paragraphs describe the manner and methods in which a claim
can be initiated and filed. The provisions of this section are applicable to
all claims governed by part 3.
(a) Request for an application for benefits. A claimant, his or her duly authorized
representative, a Member of Congress, or some person acting as next friend of a
claimant who is not of full age or capacity, who indicates a desire to file for
benefits under the laws administered by VA, by a communication or action, to
include an electronic mail that is transmitted through VA's electronic portal or
otherwise, that does not meet the standards of a complete claim is
considered a request for an application form for benefits under §3.150(a).
Upon receipt of such a communication or action, the Secretary shall notify
the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information
necessary to complete the application form or form prescribed by the Secretary.
§3.160 Status of claims.
(a) Complete claim. A submission of an application form prescribed by the
Secretary, whether paper or electronic, that meets the following requirements:
(1) A complete claim must provide the name of the claimant; the relationship to
the veteran, if applicable; and sufficient service information for
VA to verify the claimed service, if applicable.
(2) A complete claim must be signed by the claimant or a person
legally authorized to sign for the claimant.
(3) A complete claim must identify the benefit sought.
(4) A description of any symptom(s) or medical condition(s) on which
the benefit is based must be provided to the extent the form
prescribed by the Secretary so requires; and
(5) For nonservice-connected disability or death pension and arents' d
ependency and indemnity compensation claims, a statement of income
must be provided to the extent the form prescribed by the Secretary so requires.
(b) Original claim. The initial complete claim for one or more
benefits on an application form prescribed by the Secretary.
(c) Pending claim. A claim which has not been finally adjudicated.
(d) Finally adjudicated claim. A claim that is adjudicated by the
Department of Veterans Affairs as either allowed or disallowed is
considered finally adjudicated by whichever of the following occurs first:
One of our biggest gripes about the federal government is its proclivity for throwing
money at a problem without accompanying accountability. Continuing problems,
including excessive wait times for veterans in need of medical care, within the
Department of Veterans Affairs provide fresh evidence of this troubling reality.
Two years ago, a national scandal erupted over waits at VA hospitals, including
stories about veterans who died waiting to see a doctor. The scandal resulted
in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and passage by Congress of a
$15 billion VA reform bill. What did veterans and American taxpayers get for $15 billion?
Not nearly enough, it appears.
Phoenix VA to Get 6th Boss In 2.5 Years
Deborah Amdur, the Department of Veterans Affairs senior executive brought in
to bring stability to the scandal-ridden Phoenix VA hospital, is retiring after just
eight months on the job. Amdur was transferred there from Vermont,
succeeding a series of short-term leaders and billed as the person
who would end wait-time manipulation that left scores of
patients dead, even as VA executives collected bonuses.
Federal authorities have charged dozens of Southern California postal workers
and their associates with mail theft, embezzlement and an array of
other crimes as part of a sweeping investigation into
criminal activity at the U.S. Postal Service.
Long Been Flagged for Shortcomings
Inspector general highlighted issues with management, hospital conditions.
The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center that was the site of a
veteran suicide earlier this week has a history of failings and shortcomings.
Custom carvings by a veteran.
I do military themes, sports logos,
business logos, Bible boxes,
occasional canes and much more.
These make great gifts!
(I ordered the Big Red One you see above
as a gift. First class work and service!)
/s/ Jim Strickland
We build low cost web sites at steep discounts for veterans.
We're the team that builds the VAWatchdog site as
well as many other popular business and personal family sites.
We'll design and build it to meet your needs
as we work to keep your costs to a minimum.
If you've ever wanted your own web site but don't have the time,
here's your opportunity.
There's a growing homeless encampment around the Veteran's Health Center
in Oakland, and some believe it dishonors veterans.
The Veteran's Administration wants the city to do more to clean it up.
Mallory Dinkel is in many ways broken. The 31-year-old walks with a noticeable limp
and often needs a cane to get around. She gets tired quickly and is often is pain.
"Sometimes I would wish I would get hit by a car," said Dinkel. There were
thoughts of suicide, bouts of depression and a brief but
dangerous period when she turned to alcohol.
In one case, a patient died after being baptized in a spinal cord-injury pool.
In others, a patient and employee died by their own hand in facility restrooms.
Those reports from the VA Medical Center in Dallas were among the
shortcomings substantiated by the inspector general of the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs, which on Friday issued its findings
about untimely deaths and quality-of-care irregularities at the hospital.
Officials with Chillicothe's VA Medical Center are defending a 2011 purchase of
a $21,500 Christmas tree for the center's Building 9 auditorium after an Illinois
senator recently singled out the purchase as one example of
what he feels is frivolous spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The blast, he would say, was massive: “Rubble and debris from the impact showered
the sky for scores of meters.” The attack left Wright with post-traumatic stress
disorder and a brain injury, he told federal agencies. As a result, he would
lie in the fetal position in his bed most days, unable to hold
down a job, cook meals or button his shirt.
But the story, prosecutors say, was a lie.
Veterans with mental disorders that prevent them from leaving their homes
or moving around may qualify for a service dog under a new Veterans Affairs
program introduced this month. VA officials said Tuesday that a Service Dog
Benefits pilot will cover the veterinary costs of a service dog for a
veteran with a mental health condition that limits their mobility.
A group of veterans met Wednesday to voice their concerns with the
Veterans Administration. Larry Webber is one of about a dozen
veterans demanding improvements to health care.
A Buffalo-based company has agreed to pay a $12 million penalty and to divest
itself from a large federal project in California to resolve criminal
liability from a kickback scheme for which the former Cleveland
Veterans Affairs director was sent to prison.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Craig N. Bash M.D.
The VA has codes for both tinnitus and hearing loss and both can be rated simultaneously
without regard to the pyramids rule, which essentially states that each organ system only
is to be rated with one code (not an absolute rule as there are exceptions). In my
experience almost all veterans suffer form some level of tinnitus/hearing loss
due to the nature of military service. All veterans are exposed to excessive
noise even from common ubiquitous items such as diesel engines, jet blasts and
explosions. Thus does not even consider the need for weapons training. Historically
most veterans were not supplied with Mickey Mouse type acoustic muffs and/or
earplugs or these items were ill fitted or they item were not always available in
training or combat. As rudimentary test, when I talk with veterans over the phone and
I they can not hear me in normal conversation that is a good basic indication that they
have moderate to severe hearing loss. If I note this defect, I send patients out for
private hearing testing as in my experience the private testing is more accurate
than the internal VA testing maybe due to superior equipment or better more
soundproof laboratories. The private tests results are important as the VA codes
for hearing loss are based solely on data form the hearing lab which is entered
into an X and Y axis graph. Once the data is grafted the hearing loss rating
percentages are read off directly the graph. Tinnitus is a subjective noise ringing
in the ears and is often associated with hearing losses. Tinnitus can also be
associated with Meniere’s disease, which carries a higher percent rating.
Tinnitus is usually rated at 10%.
1. Any veteran who was in service should have formal (civilian) hearing tests.
2. Veterans should write lay letters about their experience with tinnitus as this
can be rated in addition to hearing loss.
3. Veterans should also write lay letters about any vertigo as this can be a
seriously disabling condition which may be related to acoustic trauma.
4. All patients should have a private medical nexus opinions and exams by a
physician experienced with acoustic trauma. Physicians should do DBQ
forms for all hearing loss cases prior to all VA decisions.
5. All patients should go to any BVA in-person hearings because the outcome of the
cases is more accurate. The decisions are more accurate because the BVA as the
judge is able to ask the patient real time detailed questions based on the
medical record and offer suggestions to the patient concerning any
information that is needed for a favorable decision in line with the duty to assist rules.
FYI *** VA has a new policy of “ No Form No Benefit” (NFNB) so please do all VA forms as
carefully as possible. The use of an accredited agent is prudent.
Craig N. Bash M.D. Associate Professor
email@example.com cell 240-506- 1556
Independent Veteran Medical Opinion (IMO)
Medical Nexus Opinion based on veterans medical records
Benefits Basic Training
Or Boot Camp, If That Brings Back Fond Memories
We're on a mission to define
better than ever before. Follow along as we show you...
How To File A Claim For VA Disability Benefits
Honorably discharged (and some OTH) veterans are
eligible for VA disability benefits. Before you file you must be prepared to prove
that you have evidence of an event (an injury or illness) that occurred during
your active service and that caused or contributed to a condition that is
medically diagnosed today. An example of that might be a badly broken arm that
happened on active duty and that is still some measurable degree of disabling to you.
Once you feel that you've established a factual cause and effect of the disabling
condition you wish to claim, you begin the process by completing the
We suggest that you download and print the form.
You do not need a VSO or other advocate even though the form may appear complex.
You can and should Do It Yourself.
Complete the form as accurately as you are able. Only state facts that you are
able to prove. Keep any comments brief. Clearly identify any conditions that
you believe are service connected...a medical diagnosis is necessary.
If you have evidence (medical records) from a civilian source, make good copies
and include them with the form. DO NOT wait for VA to collect your civilian records, DIY.
Sign the form. Neatness counts, be sure each page has your name and last 4.
Mail & Fax the Form.
We urge veterans to use certified mail as well as the VA fax number.
Yes, this sends them 2 copies of your claim, a necessity as VA loses a lot of paper.We
believe that this is the only reliable way to get your claim filed.
The eBenefits site is sketchy, at best..
Make copies for your own records and mail a copy to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235
Now, use the VA toll free fax number and send the same papers to:
You should get receipts confirming delivery, save them.
Within the next month you should receive a letter from VA that your
claim is being worked on.
The next step that should occur is a C & P exam that VA will schedule for you.
You can not reschedule or miss this exam.
While in theory you may be able to reschedule a C & P exam, in our experience
you'll cause yourself problems. Get to the exam, even if it isn't convenient for you.
Once the exam is completed, you wait. While you wait we suggest that
you do nothing else about this claim. If you disagree with the C & P examiner,
don't do anything but wait for a decision letter. Anything you do will slow the process.
You'll eventually get the BBE.
That's the Big Brown Envelope that veterans get the official word in.
If you're happy, you're done. Congratulations.
The truth is that you probably won't be happy. VA will somehow FUBAR your
claim and you're going to have to appeal.
We'll address appeals in our next article.
Now, drop and give me 50!
Dr. Brett Valette provides Military Veterans with psychological
Independent Medical Evaluation, Independent Medical Opinions,
Nexus Letters and Ratings Reviews. For more information visit
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection-Increased
Total Disability Rating -
Individual Unemployability -
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151 -
Special Monthly Compensation -
Specially Adapted Housing/Special
Home Adaptation Automobile
Allowance/Adaptive Equipment -
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child
Notice of Disagreement
The first step to appeal
Application for DIC, Death Pension
We practice virtually all areas of law related
to VA benefits or military disability, and we
represent veterans at all levels of
the VA benefits adjudication process.
Clear and Unmistakable Error
Gulf War Syndrome / Medically Unexplained Illness
Speak With A Veterans Law Attorney
Or An Expert Physician
Case Evaluations Are
At GloverLuck, helping veterans is our only business. We are veterans law, at your service.
Federal Tort Claims
Title 38 U.S.C. 1151
The Data Dump
Vital Links to
Support Your Claim
A Comprehensive Collection
of Materials Relating to the
A monthly publication that
serves healthcare professionals
working in the Department
of Veterans Affairs, Department of
Defense and U.S.
Answer questions to find out which
benefits you may be able to receive
Every Benefit - Every Detail
Even More Benefits & Details
CFR › Title 38 › Chapter I ›
Part 4 › Subpart A › Section 4.26
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii,
Chapter 2, Section F -
Compensation Based on
Individual Unemployability (IU)
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii,
Chapter 2, Section H -
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv,
Chapter 8, Section D -
Reductions in Awards
M21-1, Part I, Chapter 5,
Section B - Notice of
Were you improperly denied
entitlement to reimbursement of
medical expenses incurred for emergency medical services?
You need to speak with a
veterans law attorney today!
How To &
Apply For SSDI
The Schedule For
Apply For TDIU
Apply For A Disability Rating
Apply For An Increase to
an Existing Rating
Replace Service Records
How to Replace military
service records and awards
Permanent & Total
What exactly is P & T?
Where Do I Submit
Remember: Use Certified Mail!
Fax Is Preferred!
For Addresses and Fax
Numbers Where to
Your VA Claim
If you haven't figured it out by now,
it's time to realize you're involved in a giant paper shuffle
and this IS NOT a spectator sport.
Put down your gun
and pick up your keyboard.
The battlefield has changed.
Leah Wingeart is a clinical psychologist
who served honorably in the U.S. Navy from
2008 to 2015. Her specialties are conducting Independent Medical Examinations and writing
Mental Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Disability Benefits Questionnaires
(DBQs) for veterans or service members.
Independent Medical Exams (IME)
Disability Benefits Questionnaires
Above are the executives who control the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, your VA benefits and your health care.
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About Your Claim?
The process of filing a claim for
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and confusing. If you have questions
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advocate, an agent who is
accredited by the VA to represent veterans.
Ask Gisela about your claim,
how to file a claim or how to
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