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.
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
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!
Google Tracks You
and we don't.
DuckDuckGo apps block
Google's hidden trackers.
Get unbiased results
outside the Filter Bubble.
Robert Wilkie <firstname.lastname@example.org> 855-948-2311
'How To Lie With Statistics'
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.
Scheduled For A C & P??? Filing A Claim?
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
There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.
We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times
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.
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.
A lot changed in Medicare
this year with more coming in 2020
Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog
and ask about veterans discounts!
Government Accountability Office
Additional information needed to support claim
Direct Deposit - May I apply by telephone?
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.
Find out how to check the status of a
VA claim or appeal online
Do You Need Medical Care
You are already authorized
to use an urgent care clinic!
Physician - Surgeon - Veteran
Veterans Law Attorney
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.
Create or update your will today – fast and 100% free
We have advance healthcare directives, healthcare proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.
All are free to use.
(Yeah, it is...)
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.
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!
Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill
Owe VA Money???
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 Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA 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. email@example.com
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
Toll Free Fax:
Military Records DD 214
Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
Official Personnel Folders (OPF)
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.
You've Arrived at the VAWatchdog Dot Org!
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.
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.
An IMO is an Independent Medical Opinion. The opinion is usually a report that describes the experts review of pertinent records that include service and civilian medical records and any other records that may have an impact on the opinion.
The IMO is based on records provided to the reviewer by the client. There is rarely a face to face meeting as there is no physical exam required. The veteran client must provide adequate documentation for the expert to render an opinion.
An IME is an Independent Medical Examination. This is a less frequently used option as face to face scheduling is required and the review of records and completion of DBQs is still required so the IME may add time and expense to your case. But if you don't have an accurate or clear diagnosis of a medical condition to claim as a disability, the IME may help you sort that detail out.
DBQs are Disability Benefits Questionnaires and a DBQ is required for every possible condition that you may seek disability benefits for. Your choice is pretty simple...you can have a DBQ completed by your IMO doctor and get it done right or you can wait until the inevitable C & P exam and hope the examiner will do you a favor and pay attention.
I'll let you guess which DBQ will help you the most.
There is no substitute for a medical opinion that is accurate and completed by an expert with significant experience and credentials.
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
2019 Update regarding Independent Medical Opinions/Examinations/DBQs
An IMO costs you money you may not have. You have to pay the doctor up front and out of your pocket because insurance won't help and neither will VA. This is an investment in your future but nonetheless, it can be expensive.
In the not too distant past we recommended that veterans wait to seek an IMO until they were denied a benefit. We figured the best use of your money was to wait and hope you were awarded the benefit you applied for so that you wouldn't have to deal with an appeal and the expense.
We've changed our thinking on this and today we believe that the IMO is the single best way there is to win your claim while avoiding a lengthy appeal. The appeals system has become more onerous and convoluted than ever before so it becomes more important that we avoid it altogether.
When you submit an expert IMO and appropriate DBQs along with your original claim, you increase your chances of winning to almost 100%. We have to say "almost" because this is VA we're dealing with and they can FUBAR anything. But if you go in fighting, you've probably already won.
This includes getting the correct DBQ completed before you file your claim or as you file your claim. A DBQ is required for everything and if you have yours completed by your IMO doctor, that's the one that is more likely to help you prevail. If you don't go in with your own DBQ, the VA will have their employee or contractor complete it for you and you can guess how that will go.
The bottom line is that you really need to get the IMO done up front and early on if you're serious about winning your claim with as little fuss as possible. Here's a little secret I don't tell everyone...if I hadn't had an IMO done 15 years ago, I'd still be fighting with VA about my rating. I took a loan against my house to pay for 2 IMO exams as I was going through appeals. That was one of the hardest decisions I ever made and it was one of the best.
The IMO works and it works well for you. Talk with one of these doctors and get serious about your claim!
Speak with any or all of the doctors here for free
ask how the doctor can help your claim.
Craig Bash M.D., MBA
The Veterans Medical Advisor
If you are an honorably discharged veteran, you served your country well
and you earned certain benefits. Sad to say, sometimes it can be difficult
for the veteran to obtain the earned benefits guaranteed by law. Veterans need
a recognized medical expert who knows the VA system. As a disabled veteran himself and a respected, board certified physician, Dr. Bash fits the need—and
adds even further insight as a VA-accredited service organization representative.
Call 925-381-7561 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do Your Homework!
When you arrive at the landing page for the BVA search function, use words like 'IMO' and 'IME' and 'medical opinion' along with your claimed condition to learn how the court views an IMO tied to a condition like yours.
For example, if you are researching how the BVA views the opinions of expert disability doctors on degenerative arthritis of the hips, type in 'hip arthritis IMO medical opinion' and choose the years you want to search.
Remember that BVA decisions do not establish
precedence and just because a veteran prevailed in an appeal similar to yours doesn't mean a chip shot for you.
What does it cost?
GREAT question. Only the doctor you choose can answer that directly. Here's how it works...
Prices for work are set by each doctor for his or her own practice. There are no rules or regulations governing these fees, insurance doesn't play into the equation so the doctor can charge as much or as little as they wish.
You can barter, you can negotiate and in the end you'll have to pay for the work you need up front. Why do you have to pay in advance? Well, some people aren't as honest as you are and they'll try to stiff the doctor even if they win tens of thousands of dollars.
There is no refund if you lose. If the IMO doesn't seal the deal, then you have no recourse but to continue your appeal with the help of a lawyer. The IMO greatly improves the odds that you'll prevail but guarantees absolutely nothing.
We trust that the doctors you'll meet here are offering fair prices for their work product. Having said that, an IMO and the appropriate DBQs can mean that the doctor has to invest hours of time reading your records and writing reports and filling out DBQs. You already know that the time a doctor spends on you doesn't come cheap...of course there's a reason for that but that's another discussion.
How can you afford it? If you're like most of us, you can probably get a loan that covers medical procedures. There are finance companies out there that will help you pay for medical procedures and if your credit isn't totally broken, this may be what you need.
OK...I never recommend credit. I don't have a credit card and I don't borrow money. But I have when it was the right thing to do and getting your claim resolved with as little angst as possible is one of those moments.
If we assume that getting an IMO will help you to prevail and get there faster, we can plan that you'll use any new money to pay off the loan that you took for the IMO and you're a winner!
Should we have to do all this to be awarded the benefits we worked so hard for? No, of course not. But it is what it is so you may as well accept that and move ahead with your claims...and consider an IMO today!
The Law Offices of David Anaise, MD JD
Board Certified Physician/Surgeon Accredited Veterans Law Attorney
DRO, BVA, CAVC Appeals Nexus Letters
Independent Medical Opinions
Has Your Claim Been Denied? Do you need an IMO or a DBQ?
You'll need to speak with an expert physician and then a veterans law attorney.
Why not speak with both at the same time?
(520) 219-7321 Free Case Evaluation (520) 219-7344
IMO/IME Independent Medical Opinions Independent Medical Examinations
We recommend that every veteran consider seeking an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) for their VA disability benefits claim. The VA has become increasingly difficult to navigate.
Because of the difficulty in receiving a fair decision from VA, we at VAWatchdog have recognized that veterans who have even the simplest claims can no longer rely on a fair decision. Every veteran should prepare to have expert help as they develop their claim. This includes legal representation by a VA accredited attorney as well as expert opinions from highly skilled and well qualified physicians.
There is a difference in the IME and the IMO. The IME requires your physical presence in front of the examining physician. The IMO is based on the opinion of the physician after he has thoroughly reviewed your records. It is our opinion that the IMO may
be the better choice in most cases.
To write an acceptable IMO is not a simple task. The physician must first understand the law that applies to the claim.
The physician must know the details of how disabling conditions may affect the overall quality of life of the veteran patient. Disability law is not something that most physicians are trained in. Each of the doctors featured here is expert in the arena of
disability medicine. We urge veterans to review their claims with one of these physicians and to seek the help of an attorney.
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.