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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

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  <>  ​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.

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

​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 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.

Social Security Reinstates

Reconsideration Appeal Level​

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

Pennsylvania--reinstated the reconsideration.

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

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:



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

Thomas J. Seiter, Jr., M.D.

Independent Medical Opinions
Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQ's)
Service & Civilian Medical Record Reviews
Nexus Letters

Get In Touch With Dr. Seiter

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 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!

/s/ Jim

Speak with any or all of the doctors here for free

ask how the doctor can help your claim.

Veterans Psych Evaluations
 Brett Valette, Ph.D.

As an expert in psychological evaluations, Dr. Valette
provides Independent Medical Evaluations (IME),
Independent Medical Opinions (IMO), nexus letters,
ratings reviews for all psychological conditions. 

Some Wounds Can't Be Seen
Contact Us Today

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. 

925-381-7561    Email

Do Your Homework!

Search The Board of Veterans' Appeals Decisions

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    

Military Veteran​
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.