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Presumptive Benefits...what are they?

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.
Keep Reading...

Your Health

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

print your paperwork

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!

Top Searches

Google Tracks You

and we don't.
​DuckDuckGo apps block

Google's hidden trackers.
​Get unbiased results

outside the Filter Bubble.


​The world needs an alternative

Robert Wilkie  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​855-948-2311

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Other-than-honorable discharge?

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.

C&P Service Clinician’s Guide

Scheduled For A C & P???    Filing A Claim?

This is a must read for you!!!

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

arrangements planning

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.

Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website

We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times

Veteran Disability Claims: Nexus and IMO Letters

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.

Should You Get Medicare

Supplement Plan F?

How about  Medicare Parts A and B?

Maybe Part F+? Part D? 

​Oh, unless you live in

Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin.

​Confused? Just wait until you hear about 

programs such as Medicare

Part C or a Medicare Advantage policy.

It's Your Right To See Your Medical Records.

It Shouldn't Be This Hard To Do

​​At a time when many insurers and health information technology companies are busily assembling databases

of hundreds of millions of medical records, Americans

find it difficult to get access to their own.

Jim's Mailbag

No-Cost Flu Shot Options for Veterans

This year, enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system have several options to get a flu shot. VA now offers more options, easy access, and seamless records.


​ When and Where to get your flu shot today

Marijuana Accessories

Upload evidence to support

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. 

This is the only thing that works.

Medicare Changes

​A lot changed in Medicare

this year with more coming in 2020

Florida Veterans

Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog

and ask about veterans discounts!​

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Additional information needed to support claim

Direct Deposit - May I apply by telephone?

Why Getting a Diagnosis Matters

​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.

Check your VA claim or appeal status

Find out how to check the status of a

VA claim or appeal online

Do You Need Medical Care

RIGHT NOW?
​You are already authorized

to use an urgent care clinic!

Dr. David Anaise

Physician - Surgeon - Veteran

Veterans Law Attorney

The VAWatchdog

doesn't ask for donations, we don't have fees, we don't ask you to register...you can't find a way to give us your money. We're supported by advertising. When you shop via the VAWatchdog,

we'll get a small piece of that.

You get top quality at a good price and you support our mission.

Thank you!!!

​Create or update your will today – fast and 100% free

Make your will with FreeWill today

We have advance healthcare directives, healthcare proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.

All are free to use.

Halloween Costumes
Veterans Benefits on Reddit

VA Launchpad for Veterans

​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.

4 Facts About Your Social Security

Benefits You May Not Know
Arming yourself with knowledge about the

complicated benefits process will

help you better prepare for retirement.

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

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!

Social Security and You

Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill

Owe VA Money??? 

​​Submit A Waiver Request

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked

To Loneliness And Isolation For Seniors

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's Mailbag

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

and a member of the Stateside Legal Website Advisory BoardJim's Mailbag, is a regular column where veterans,

servicemembers, and family members can  ask Jim their questions about VA and Social Security 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.  jim912@gmail.com

Social Security Reinstates

Reconsideration Appeal Level​

​This year Alabama, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and

Pennsylvania--reinstated the reconsideration.

AT WAR
40 Stories From Women About

Life in the Military​   

"Not Many Women Get to

Do What I Do"

Everything you ever wanted to know about how

the VA benefits system works but were afraid to ask.
Welcome to the

KnowVA Knowledge Base

Read Me Please 

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
JANESVILLE, WI

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:

844-531-7818​

The NPRC

Military Records DD 214

Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
Official Personnel Folders (OPF)

Can VA Disability Compensation Be Used

to Calculate Child Support or Income?


​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.

Why You Need An IMO!

Accuracy of Claims Decisions Involving

Conditions of the Spine

​The OIG determined that VBA incorrectly

processed more than half

of the 62,500 veterans’ claims.

Veteran Proud

You've Arrived at the VAWatchdog Dot Org!
​Welcome Home
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.

Extra Schedular Rating

​Extra schedular ratings under 38 C.F.R. § 3.321(b)

​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. 

Wounded Warrior Project Veterans Benefits

Five Reasons to Appeal​​

1. You filed a claim for a disability benefit and were denied.

2. You filed a claim for a benefit and the rating is too low.

3. You've been denied a health care benefit, for example...prosthetics or dental services.

4. You have had a temporary rating and VA tells you that they are going to reduce that rating.

5. You've been notified that VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary.

How to Appeal


1. You filed a claim for a disability benefit and were denied.​​

File a NOD

Use this form

Use certified mail and send the form to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235

5. You've been notified that VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary.


Your best bet is to talk with a veterans law attorney.


You have the right to appeal any benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration.


The VA appeals process is set in law and is different from other judicial appeals processes.
Have you already filed an appeal? When the Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office receives your

Notice of Disagreement, you’ll be able to check the status of your appeal on Vets.gov.

​How long does it take VA to make a decision? 12-18 months.

The Veterans Benefits Administration usually takes 12-18 months to review new appeals and decide whether to grant some or all of the appeal.
When you request a review from a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of
Veterans’ Appeals, it could take 5-7 years for you to get a decision.

3. You've been denied a health care benefit, for example...prosthetics or dental services.

You must appeal in writing to the director of your health care facility.

To appeal a denial of a health care benefit, you'll have to contact the director of your facility, usually at the VA hospital that is the hub for the facility that denied your benefit.

You must send the letter to the director at the VAMC address and you must use certified mail.

In your letter you should be as brief as you can when describing the problem you're having with your health care benefits.

Veterans PTSD Assessments
Independent Medical Opinions    PTSD DBQs​

​Thomas Grieder, MD, PhD


​Twenty five years service as a VA psychiatrist
Assistant Professor and Associate Clinical Professor
UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
​Lead psychiatrist for the East Los Angeles PTSD Clinical Team​


Contact Dr. Grieder

Has VA medical care caused you an injury or other harm?
You can sue the VA for medical malpractice but it's a complex process and you'll want lawyers who have
done this successfully in the past. There are strict time limits and draconian regulations to follow. 
​Get some advice today...call now!

​Medical Malpractice - Veterans 1151 Claims
Hodes Milman LLP

​VA Malpractice Attorneys Helping Veterans Harmed By The VA​
​​Veterans Healthcare Rights - Federal Tort Claims -
VA Medical Malpractice Claims, Misdiagnosis, ​Hospital Negligence, Medical Errors
For a review of your VA malpractice case contact our lawyers today. Our firm serves throughout the nation, and is one of the few firms to have specialized experience in VA malpractice cases.


Call Now!  (949) 640-8222

Prostate Cancer Evaluations


Many veterans who are diagnosed with PC choose a new way to deal with it. Men are more and more often choosing "watchful waiting" or "active surveillance." Men who choose this option receive no treatment and their cancer remains active. Thus, they are entitled to the 100% temporary rating for the duration of their disease process.
Simple enough, right? But VA will still manage to screw this up. If during the follow-up exam (this may be a phone call exam) the examiner doesn't  understand that your cancer is active, he may rate you as 0% disabled because you aren't having the typical post-procedure problems like frequent urination or erectile dysfunction. If you are taking any medicine for your benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) the examiner may note that as prostate cancer treatment and VA will propose to reduce your 100% rating. Common medicines for BPH are tamsulosin (Flomax) or terazosin (Hytrin) dutasteride (Avodart) or finasteride (Proscar).
If you take any of the above medicines for BPH the VA is likely to try and reduce your 100% PC rating to 0%.
If you are a veteran who is service connected for prostate cancer and you have chosen watchful waiting and VA proposes to lower your rating, you must take action right now.
Nobody will help you with this, you must DIY.
VA usually encloses instructions of what to do if you disagree with their decision or proposal.
Carefully read any instructions. Read them again. You must notify VA in writing that you still have cancer.
You must notify VA in writing that they made the wrong decision. You should tell them that due to an inadequate examination, they are making a mistake attempting to lower your 100% rating.

Be brief, be courteous, stick to the facts in your letter. One single page is enough.
Use certified mail to send your letter to:


Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235
Then fax a copy to:
Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246

We've used prostate cancer as our example here but the above instructions apply to other conditions as well. ​

4. You have had a temporary rating and VA tells you that they are going to reduce that rating.

Prostate cancer is the most frequent rating VA tries to lower. Many, many VA ratings are assigned as temporary ratings during recuperation or are conditions that VA believes will improve with treatment over time.

The term "future exams are scheduled" is your signal that a benefit rating is temporary.​ The term "permanent & total" is the signal that the benefit is permanent although "permanent" may not mean what you think it does.

Click here for our statement on P & T.

All cancer diagnoses are rated as temporary. 
VA assumes you will get treatment and be cured. This is why there is a conflict when prostate cancer (PC) is service connected.
The prostate cancer rated veteran is usually a Vietnam vet who has a presumptive agent orange associated cancer. The usual course of the claim is that the RVN veteran gets a diagnosis of PC and then files a claim. 
There is always a perfunctory C & P exam. The VA will respond with a temporary 100% service connected rating. The veterans file 
will be flagged to schedule a future exam, usually 6 months or so after the assumed treatment. If the veteran chooses treatment such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, the C & P exam will determine the residual effects of treatment and the 100% temporary rating will usually adjust downward to reflect any disabilities caused by treatment of the service connected condition. ​

2. You filed a claim for a benefit and the rating is too low.

File a NOD

Use this form

Use certified mail and send the form to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235

Also send a copy via fax to:
Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246


If you have applied for a disability benefit and the benefit is awarded but the rating is too low, you're probably going to have to manage the appeal yourself. Since you weren't denied the benefit, a veterans law attorney won't be able to help in most cases.

You can manage your own appeal. File the NOD as above. As you fill in the NOD form, tell VA that you believe you should have a higher rating.

Explain why you believe your rating should be higher. Compare ratings at The Schedule For Rating Disabilities.

Use examples from The Schedule to support your appeal for a higher rating.​

How To File An Appeal Of A Benefit Denial

​Notice of Disagreement    NOD

We urge vets to talk with an attorney.

It doesn't cost anything to discover your options.

VAWatchdog does not recommend that any veteran proceed into an appeal unless he/she is represented by a skilled attorney.

Appeals, indeed all claims, have become much more complex. The RAMP appeals process has made the system more complex than ever. This has opened a door to the VBA making more mistakes than any other time in history 

Along with all this is the fact that VBA has become more willing to fight appeals. 

You deserve an advocate who is trained in law and skilled at the task.

How To Hire A Lawyer