The Government

​Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here.

Were you hazed while serving in the military? GAO may want to hear from you

​The Government Accountability Office is looking for service members who were victims of hazing while they served.

The office is collecting the information for a study on the Defense Department’s efforts to prevent and respond to hazing.

The Government Accountability Office


​Lodging & Camping in southern Illinois with access to the Shawnee National​

We offer lodging, camping,

​stabling, corral, pasture,

access to a hunting lease and

discounts for America's

military veterans!

Veteran Disability Claims 

Nexus and IMO Letters

Do you need some help with your claim?

I'm accepting limited appointments to talk live on the phone or to videoconference with you. There is no fee for this service.

If you'd like to talk, provide me with some information about who you are and what's up and I'll be in touch.  /s/ Jim

When You Hit A Dead End

The Department of Veterans Affairs

​White House Hotline

855 - 948 - 2311    

< >

Yes, this really works. No, it doesn't ring in the White House. The email address and phone number are staffed by a seemingly serious group of players, many who are veterans, and if you have a legit issue, telling these folks is like bringing in the artillery.

Let's prepare  for your call or email. Make some notes before you proceed so you don't forget anything.

I prefer email since there's no waiting for someone to answer and I can take my time to prepare the story in just the right detail. 

Be sure to include your DOB, your last 4, contact info...a couple of numbers, your preferred email and such. 

Describe the problem as briefly as you can.  Less is more.  Include the necessary components but don't tell your life story.  

Don't rant.  Be polite...military courtesy will get you places that hollering  IN ALL CAPS  won't.  Respect! 

Don't waste their time with bogus complaints about your feelings being hurt. If you appropriately utilize this

service, I'll vouch that this works like a champ.

Tell them you read about this at The VAWatchdog Dot Org...they know who we are.

​​​​The VA Watchdog Dot Org

Since 2005, We're Keeping An Eye On Your VA

Because Somebody Has To!​

Welcome  Home!  I'm  Jim Strickland.  I'm an Army vet, I was 91-D20 in USAREUR at ​the

98th General Hospital near  Camp Baumholder 1967 - 1970.  I publish the VAWatchdog

Dot Org to help you obtain the benefits you earned by your service  to our country. 

I'll share what I'm reading today, the important stuff.  Feedback  is always welcomed.

​NO DIGITAL ADVERTISING means no ad-trackers. Nobody is looking at your data here.

Three Consequences of Using Marijuana After Your State “Legalizes”

​1. Marijuana users will fail future NICS firearm background checks. 

$113.1 Billion Discretionary VA Bill for ’22 Submitted

​The Biden administration’s proposed $113.1 billion spending bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs addresses delivery of health-care services, homelessness, suicide prevention, support for caregivers, and technological improvements.

CDC updates guidance on how COVID-19 spreads

​The CDC updated its guidance on COVID-19 transmission May 7,

underscoring that the virus spreads via small respiratory droplets and particles in the air.

You may file claims on  eBenefits  or you can mail them in using certified mail or you can even fax them in. 

Download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter proving their status. 

Jim Strickland

New financial tool provides Veterans more control and transparency

Any Veteran with a debt related to VA benefits can now access their debt information online

 Code of Federal Regulations

Title 38 - Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief

​Volume: 1

Date: 2019-07-01

Original Date: 2019-07-01

Title: PART 17 - MEDICAL 

The secret truth of the student debt crisis

Most student debt will be canceled sooner or later, because an ever-growing share

of borrowers cannot possibly repay their loans. Ever. 

Veterans Affairs:Use of Additional Funding for COVID-19 Relief

​As of April 14, 2021, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported 224,538 cumulative 

COVID-19 cases among veterans, with 11,366 deaths.

Rates of Parkinson’s disease are exploding.

A common chemical - trichloroethylene (TCE) - may be to blame

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General

​Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams

COVID-19 fraud is rapidly evolving. This page is frequently updated.

38 CFR Book C 

Schedule for Rating Disabilities

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired.

You quit when the gorilla is tired."  —  Robert Straus

How To

When you deal with your VA benefits there are dozens, maybe hundreds of resources on the Internet, usually way too complex

to read or they want your money to open their do you choose where to take advice and council?  I think I have

the answer. When you want to deal with your VA, whether you're filing a claim or trying to get along with your health care providers,

you need to hear the voice of a veteran who actually uses the VA. I'm in the process of providing that resource for you...for free.

No sign-up, no registration, instant access to reliable information. It's your VA, use it effectively.

This is a Work In Progress throughout 2021. Check back every now and then for updates.

Jim’s Everyday Guide to Veterans Benefits

Let's File A Claim

Filing your claim for VAbenefits isn't as hard as some want you to believe. Let's set the effective date of any claim you file in the next year. This one is easy so let's do it right now.

Intent To File A Claim Form

American Rescue Plan Helps Veterans
As part of the American Rescue Plan, the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)

provides financial aid to help you recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn if you're eligible and how to apply!

Medical Experts For Veterans Disability Claims 

Serving Veterans, Service Officers, & Attorneys since 2015 

Nexus Letters / Medical Opinions  -  Get Started Now

Roger Hale, Esq.

​Veterans Law Attorney        Personal Injury Law

Nationwide Representation        Free Veterans Consultations
Workers Compensation  -  Social Security Disability  -  Pain & Suffering  -  Emotional & Mental Anguish​​

Veterans unemployed due to pandemic now eligible for VA job training funds

​VRRAP covers education and training programs approved under the GI Bill and Veteran Employment

Through Technology Education Courses, or VET TEC, that lead to high-demand jobs.

These include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs.


​V A Claims Intake Center
PO BOX 4444

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:


Gregory Rada  Veterans Law Attorney

Military Veteran - Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

VA disability appeals, TDIU claims, MST, PTSD, other mental health disability claims, appeals and veterans disability claims processes.

Attorney Rada offers free telephone case evaluations and nationwide representation.

Interest rate reduction refinance loan
If you have an existing VA-backed home loan and you want to reduce your monthly mortgage payments—

or make your payments more stable—an interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) may be right for you.

Veterans Psych Evaluations
 Brett Valette, Ph.D.

Providing Military Veterans Personalized Psychological and Medical Evaluations. Complete the Contact form, and you'll get a personal phone call from us. We listen, and want to know what you are going through. We provide Independent Medical Evaluations (IME), Independent Medical Opinions (IMO) and nexus letters for ratings reviews, secondary conditions, medical conditions, discharge upgrades, and many types of denied claims.  We also provide Social Security Disability claim reports.

Some Wounds Can't Be Seen        Contact Us Today

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

disability benefits. Jim writes extensively about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 
Jim's Mailbag is a regular column featured at  Stateside Legal  where veterans, servicemembers,

and family members can  ask Jim their questions  about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 

Type your paragraph here.

Independent Medical Opinion

IMO  Nexus Letters   Independent Medical Exam

Question: i have ischemic heart disease. i had two stents put in my widowmaker artery 6 years ago and, in july,  I had heart attach and they found 80 percent blockage in front of the stents and 90 percent behind the stents or the opposite before and after and they also found 70 percent blockage in the circumflex artery.  So now I have 5 stents in my heart. and I also have an aneurysm in my ascending aorta that has grown from 4.1 to 4.4 in 6 months along with mild dilation in the descending aorta.
I have 30 percent disability from VA from 6 years ago due to agent orange exposure. Would the combination of the heart attack, new stents and the aneurysm possibly rate an increase in disability rating?  Is the prior blockage and the aneurysm associated?  I am a time bomb ticking,  in my opinion
Reply: VA has a unique way of rating our heart disease if we are eligible for service connected ischemic heart disease or IHD. The degree of damage to the heart from IHD is a measurement of how efficiently the heart works. Even if you've had a dozen stents and a number of surgical bypasses, if your heart still works efficiently, the final rating will be lower than most would think appropriate. The measurements used are the 'ejection fraction', a measurement of how efficiently the heart pump works and a measurement called cardiac METS, another way to measure the pump of the heart. An aortic aneurysm isn't generally rated service connected as is IHD,  since the aneurysm is presumptive to agent orange. If the efficiency of your heart has deteriorated, you may deserve a higher rating...otherwise, probably not.

Question: Good Evening Jim, I am trying to find a definitive answer on whether or not I qualify for a VA home loan. I served in the Navy for roughly 3 1/2 years and got out with an “other than honorable” discharge. Can you help? Thanks!
Reply: Eligibility for a VA loan guarantee requires an honorable discharge thus you are not eligible. You can speak to these folks about helping you with a discharge upgrade 

​Question: I've had 3 strokes already how do I find an IMO in my area. Thanks.

​Jim's Reply: don't want or need an IMO doctor in your area, you want someone who is competent to review your records. They can be anywhere since you don't need to meet the doctor face to face. You won't need an examination, the doctor will review your medical records you provide and from that he or she will render an opinion about your illnesses.

Question: I was denied direct connection for major depression and anxiety and I don't want to appeal. Can I submit a claim for anxiety secondary to tinnitus based on the fact that tinnitus causes my anxiety to get worse? I live in south Florida and would like to know if you can recommend a doctor.

Jim's Reply: Yes, you may submit any claims you wish. It will help you to obtain an IMO.

Question: I am currently rated at 40 percent, due to arthritis in my knees, neck and back. A few years ago, I was told that the depression I have been suffering from is made worse or could be a result of the chronic pain and reduced mobility of the disability that I have. I filed a claim for that and it was denied. What can I say, I was depressed. I did not file an appeal. Is there any way I can try again to get the depression I have included?
Jim's Reply: Yes, you can file a new claim most any time you'd like. You'll need some new evidence to support your claim that you suffer depression secondary to chronic pain. Your new evidence should be in the form of an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO). You're going to need the IMO from a civilian psychiatrist or psychologist. That person will have to review your medical records and then come up with an expert opinion that supports your claim. You're welcome to try getting an IMO like this from your VA care people, but I'm not confident you'll get that sort of support.Unless you have an expert IMO that clearly states that it is more likely than not that your depression is secondary to your service connected chronic pain condition, I'd predict that the outcome would be another denial.

I am an unashamed enthusiast and won't stop promoting the use of an IMO for claims and appeals.  Many years ago I had 2 IMO's done and had to take a loan on my house to pay for them. I won both appeals with no problems. The IMO is unquestionably the very best way to win a claim or appeal when you have a well grounded claim. 

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.

A Nexus Letter is similar but that term isn't used as much since the advent of the  DBQ  and the IMO.

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.​

All these doctors are specialists in disability medicine and evaluation of your records. Having their favorable opinion

greatly increases the probability that you will prevail with little fuss. Each of these doctors will charge you a

reasonable fee and they are all open to discussing all that with you. There is no good reason to wait...having an IMO helps.

Dr. David Anaise    Dr. Craig Bash     Dr. Thomas Grieder    Dr. Thomas Seiter     Dr. Brett Valette​



Dependents & Survivor Benefits    Specializing In Veterans Law  Federal Tort Claims  Disability Claims

Free Veterans Case Reviews     Nationwide Representation

Veterans Struggle to Get Copies of Needed Service Records Due to Pandemic
Access to some VA benefits, services delayed as backlog of requests hits 500,000

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)

Military Records

Welcome to the KnowVA Knowledge Base

Locate information more quickly and efficiently

Stateside Legal Help For Veterans

Where did your claim disappear to?

Veterans hit by huge pandemic-related records backlog
National Archives estimates it will take 18 to 24 months to clear the backlog once the records center is fully staffed

How to file a VA

disability claim
Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

or increased disability compensation.

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

DBQs   Nexus Letters Medical Records Reviews  

Independent Medical Opinions

Nationwide Representation

Veterans PTSD Assessments

Independent Medical Opinions  Nexus Letters

Thomas Grieder, MD PhD

25 Years Service as a VA Psychiatrist

Lead Psychiatrist East Los Angeles

PTSD Clinical Team

Get In Contact With Dr. Grieder 

I'm Jim Strickland

and ​I approve of this message.

Never Stop Reading

Never Stop Learning

Vaccine Eligibility Expanded at DoD Sites

All eligible and authorized TRICARE beneficiaries and Defense Department personnel

can now get vaccinated for Covid-19 at DoD sites.

Get Started
Two options explaining the

Benefits you've earned.

Drew Early

Veterans Law Attorney
 Graduate of the US Military Academy West Point, 20 years of active Army service, multiple deployments,

XVIII Airborne Corps, and Third Army, Airborne and Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal badges. 

Free Case Assessment - Nationwide Representation