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Title 38
Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief

Title 38 of the United States Code outlines the role of

Veterans' Benefits in the United States Code.

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.

§3.10   Dependency and indemnity

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:

Two years after scandal erupted, VA problems continue

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.

USPS employees accused of hoarding parcels,

stealing veterans' medication

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.

VA Facility Where Veteran Killed Himself Has

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.

DAVIS Relief Carvings

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

Web Sites For Veterans

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.

Click here for more info.

Some upset by growing homeless camp

near Oakland VA Health Center

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.

Retired Air Force sergeant battles VA

to help cover pain treatments

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.

A death after baptism and other

irregularities at Dallas VA hospital

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.

Chillicothe included in VA spending attack

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.

‘He hurt the heroes’: The Iraq War veteran who lied

his way to a Purple Heart and $750,000

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.

VA program to provide service dogs for some

veterans with mental health conditions

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.

Veterans gather to voice concerns with the V.A.

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.

Buffalo company fined $12 million in scheme involving

former Cleveland Veterans Affairs chief

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 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

How To

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

VA Form 21-526EZ

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


VA Form 21-0966 - Intent To File A Claim

VA Form 21-526EZ -  File A Claim

Disability Service Connection

Secondary Service Connection-Increased

Disability Compensation-Temporary

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

VA Form 21-0958 - NOD

​Notice of Disagreement

The first step to appeal

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension

Change of Address

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140

VA form 21-686c

Declaration of Status of Dependents

Greg Rada

Veterans Law Attorney

OEF/OIF Veteran

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.

Agent Orange

Clear and Unmistakable Error

Disability Compensation

Gulf War Syndrome / Medically Unexplained Illness

Individual Unemployability


For A Free Case Assessment

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Physician, Surgeon, Veteran

Let a Lawyer & Physician Manage Your Appeal

DRO   BVA   CAVC  Appeals

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Speak With A Veterans Law Attorney

Or An Expert Physician


Case Evaluations Are

Always Free!

Veterans Law Attorney

At GloverLuck, helping veterans is our only business. We are veterans law, at your service.

Service-Connected Disability

​Federal Tort Claims

Title 38 U.S.C. 1151

​​Family Law for Veterans And Active Duty Servicemembers

Click Here​ For More Information

The Veterans Medical Advisor

Nationwide Representation

Independent Medical Examination


Independent Medical Opinion


Medical Records Review

​Nexus Letters

​Expert Witness & Opinion

Click Here To

Contact Dr. Bash

Robert Friedman

Veterans Law Attorney

Nationwide Representation


 Severe Back Injuries

Gulf War Syndrome

Traumatic Brain Injury

Agent Orange Exposure

Unemployability Claims

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Case Review

​​​​​​Veterans Law Attorney
Appeals of Veterans Disability
& Survivors Claims
Aid & Attendance Claims
Fiduciary & Caregiver Issues
Trusts   Wills
Nationwide Representation
Click Here to
Contact Drew

The Data Dump

Vital Links to

Support Your Claim

Veterans Law Library

​A Comprehensive Collection

of  Materials Relating to the

Veterans Benefits

Adjudication Process

U.S. Medicine

A monthly publication that

serves healthcare professionals

working in the Department

of Veterans Affairs, Department of

Defense and U.S.

Public Health Service.

Veterans Benefits


Fact Sheets

Answer questions to find out which

benefits you may be able to receive

The M21-1MR

Every Benefit - Every Detail



Even More Benefits & Details

Bilateral Factor
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
Disagreement (NOD)


VA Forms

​Search VA Forms

If you can't find it here,

it may not exist

Military separation pay

impact on VA compensation

Under federal law, until veterans

pay back their involuntary separation

pay, they can have their

VA disability

compensation withheld.

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!

Click Here To Talk With A

Veterans Law Attorney For Free.

Veterans Affairs Improperly Rejected Vets'

Emergency Medical Reimbursements



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Veterans Disability

Claims & Appeals

​TBI     PTSD     MST

TDIU Unemployability

Agent Orange Claims


DRO, BVA, CAVC Appeals

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Free Case Evaluation

How To &

Frequently Asked


How To...

Apply For SSDI

How to apply for Social

Security Disability (SSDI)

The Schedule For

Rating Disabilities

How to determine just what

your rating should be

38 CFR Book C, Schedule

for Rating Disabilities

Apply For TDIU

How to apply for

the TDIU benefit

Disability Benefits

Questionnaires (DBQ's) 

How to use DBQs
List By DBQ Form Name
​​DBQ Provider Instructions

Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For A Disability Rating

Apply For An Increase to

an Existing Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

Replace Service Records
How to Replace military
service records and awards


Frequently Asked


Voc Rehab​
What is Voc Rehab and
how can it help me?

What is CHAMPVA?

Home Primary Care
Am I eligible for Home
Based Primary Care?

P & T

Permanent & Total
What exactly is P & T?

Where Do I Submit
ALL Paperwork?

Remember: Use Certified Mail!
Fax Is Preferred!

Click Here
For Addresses and Fax
Numbers Where to
Deliver Forms
& Documents

Brett Valette, PhD

Veterans Clinical


​Veterans Psych Evaluations

PTSD    MST    Depression

Too many veterans have

waited too long!

I'm here to help you

get the benefits you deserve.

Click Here For More

Information and to

Contact Dr. Valette

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.

Dr. Leah Wingeart

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



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More Information

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.

Adam Luck

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About Your Claim?

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accredited by the VA to represent veterans.

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how to file a claim or how to

get an increase in your existing benefit.

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