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These are a few of the little details that we've learned over the years.
Although you'll have to pay for an IMO out of your pocket, think of it as an investment
in your future. The IMO is usually the key piece of evidence that wins your claim. We
do not trust the C & P examiners to be experts in diagnosing your conditions.
Don't rely on "buddy letters" from friends or family to help you establish your disabling
conditions. These statements in support of your claim don't carry much weight unless
they are from people who you served with and they witnessed an event that caused
your disabling condition. You need solid evidence.
Talk with a veterans law attorney. Although you may not be able to retain an attorney
to represent you unless and until there is a denial of a claim, the attorneys you see
featured on VAWatchdog will be happy to speak with you at no charge. The lawyer
you speak with may have some really good ideas for your claim.
The VAWatchdog is a DIY site.
We promote the idea that veterans are smart enough to submit
their own VA disability claims.
We do not believe that any sort of "VA rep" is necessary.
Nobody cares about your claim the way you do.
Do it yourself, do it right the first time.
How To File & Win Your Claim For Disability Compensation - 2016
The following are the steps to take to file & win your claim.
Following these steps in order doesn't guarantee you'll win
but it will increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Think about it. What are you going to claim?
The more precise you are, the better.
Use the VA language when you can.
Register for and familiarize yourself with eBenefits.
Complete and file the VA Form 21-0966
Intent To File a Claim For Compensation, Pension, Survivors Pension, Or Other Benefits
This will set the effective date of your claim. Retroactive benefits will be paid to this date.
Now you have one year to complete the details of the claim.
Gather your records for your own use.
If there are civilian medical records, get those yourself. Do not rely on VA to get them for you.
If you only have VA medical records, they will be accessible to the raters.
Get your records (evidence) organized.
Make copies, collate them in good order. If you plan to upload them on-line, start scanning.
If you want to mail them in, the addresses are:
The VA Claims Intake Center - Western Region
Department of Veterans Affairs
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235
Toll Free FAX Janesville – 844-822-5246
Organizing your records for presentation and review is critical. Eventually a VA employee
(a rater) will sit down at a desk and review your claim submission. If you have given
the rater little to work with, you'll get little in return. If you've given the rater good
evidence, presented neatly and in order, your claim is more likely to win.
File the claim
You've had up to one year to complete the steps above. It's time to formally file
your claim for disability compensation benefits. We recommend that you use the
You'll be completing the VA Form 21-526EZ
Congratulations. You've filed your claim for VA disability compensation. Now you wait.
VA will notify you that you'rescheduled for a C & P exam.
Once that step is completed, you wait for the notification that you've won your claim.
How hard was that?
You Must Understand the New Rules for 2015
The Federal Register
Standard Claims and Appeals Forms
A Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department on 09/25/2014