Should I file a claim?
Potential VA claims?
What am I missing in the VA claims process?
Best way to check on a supplemental claim online?
Confused on what to do with claim.
Dependent status with education benefits.
Suing the VA for negligence and malpractice.
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.
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.
VA is also aggressively screening you for drugs.
The lab results you see are real, taken about 3 months ago when the veteran had no idea he was being drug screened.
OOPS...someone has been smoking some weed.
States That Allow Both A Medical Marijuana And Gun License
Ever wonder which are the states that allow both a medical marijuana and gun license? Us too. Take a look at what we found.
Federal law prohibits selling firearms to marijuana users
Help Needed to Prevent Veterans’ Suicides
22 veterans commit suicide every day in U.S. Proposed state program addresses issue.
Drug Screening & Your VA - Have You Been "Drug Screened" By Your VA Clinic?
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has a little known (and apparently unenforced) policy that requires practitioners who are authorized to order laboratory tests to give you informed consent prior to a drug screen. VHA HANDBOOK 1004.01 Page 7; "(b) Information about certain tests must be considered “information that a patient in similar circumstances would reasonably
want to know” because these tests are particularly sensitive and may have consequences that the patient might reasonably want to avoid.
These tests include, but are not limited to, specific tests to identify illicit drug use...
In April 2017 VAWatchdog asked the Secretary to explain the VHA policy for screening veterans for illicit drug use. Read the reply as a web page here. Note that the VHA Handbook has been updated for distribution after we inquired.
Bottom line: You have a right to be fully informed before any drug screen. The ordering practitioner must document that you were given informed consent for a drug screen.
If you have been drug screened and not fully informed as to the reasons for the drug screen, you can have that removed from your medical record.
Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration Washington, DC 20420
VHA DIRECTIVE 1315 Transmittal Sheet December 8, 2017
ACCESS TO VHA CLINICAL PROGRAMS FOR VETERANS PARTICIPATING IN STATE-APPROVED MARIJUANA PROGRAMS
Guns 'n Weed - Can you own guns & smoke medical marijuana?
Probably not. At the time this is being written, it's becoming apparent that the current administration plans to vigorously police federal marijuana laws. This means that if you apply for a medical marijuana license, your data will be shared with NICS.
NICS is the FBI database for gun ownership/registration. Smoking weed is against federal law. Even if you have a state issued medical marijuana license, the FBI will have you entered into their database.
You get to choose, guns or medicine?
For the first time, U.S. panel recommends screening adults for illicit drug use
“We have a pretty high prevalence of adults using illicit drugs and we’re seeing harms every day from that. This is a big change that we’re really excited about. Effective treatment is where we will finally begin to move the needle on the epidemic.”
Screen All Adult Patients for Drug Abuse, National Panel Urges
With 1 in 10 Americans saying they misuse drugs, doctors should ask everyone about both illegal and prescription use, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said.
No, you can tell your provider you do not want to be screened for drug use...
but that raises the question...why? What are you afraid of?
Drug Testing and Your VA The Policy
"Informed Consent" are the words you need to know. Any time a health care provider does something that may cause you pain, injury or any sort of awkward social embarrassment or employment problems, you have the right to be fully informed up front as well as the right to refuse treatments or tests. In the
VHA HANDBOOK 1004.01 Page 7
we read that Information about certain tests must be considered 'information that a patient in similar circumstances would reasonably want to know'. Tests include, but are not limited to, specific tests to identify illicit drug use.
This policy is never enforced at VHA
Seriously? The positive indicator for a marijuana test is POS High? Well, we would hope so.
Do You Take Opoid Pain Medicine?
Have you had prescriptions for Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Meperidine, Morphine, Oxycodone or Tramadol to treat your pain? Have you been notified that your doctor isn't going to refill your prescription?
We are being inundated with emails and messages from you about how VA won't refill your pain medicine prescriptions. Most of you are very angry. Some of you have already started calling your Congressperson or a local VSO for help getting a refill on your Vicodin. Quite a few want me to tell you who you can complain to at VA to ensure that your refills of narcotics continue uninterrupted, just like always. You all blame this on the damned VA.
The facts aren't all that elusive. This is happening to you because the law has changed. The VA didn't change the law, the push for the change happened at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The DEA decided the potential for abuse and risks required tighter restrictions than in the past. This affects every doctor across America, not only VA doctors. When you tell me that your civilian doctor always refills your narcotic prescriptions, that lets us know you haven't been to a civilian doctor lately. The DEA controls their license to prescribe. If the doctor doesn't follow the new rules, he or she may quickly lose that privilege. Many doctors have decided they will no longer write any narcotic prescriptions. The narcotics prescriptions of the future will be written mostly by surgeons for short term treatment of pain caused by operative procedures.
Chronic and long term pain relief won't generally be treated with narcotics.
One problem you're confronting is that the more you ask for your narcotic prescription to be refilled, the more you appear to fit the profile of "drug seeking behavior". Once you display anger because you ran out of Vicodin, you get that label and you're even more unlikely to get any sympathy. Our advice? Talk with your primary care doctor. Be open about it if you may be dependent on narcotics and you need some help to leave them behind. Don't get angry.
The VA isn't putting up with your anger these days. Before you raise your voice, look around. The VA police are serious in their work and will have you on the ground before you can say much.
If you want to complain, give the DEA a call. Tell them that you have the right to get narcotics free from VA. Get really pissed with the agent you speak to.
They'll be happy to hear from you.
Much of the testing in both civilian and VA and military settings is done with a standardized 4 drug detection kit. The test of your urine would show the presence of narcotics (Vicodin, Oxycontin, morphine, etc.). marijuana, cocaine (or crack) and amphetamines. In some tests benzodiazepines (Valium and similar) may be detected.
Therefore, if you are tested to ensure that you are taking your prescribed medication and you have been smoking marijuana, you'll likely get a call from your doctor. Some VA doctors won't tolerate your marijuana use at all. Others don't pay it any attention.
The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't care much about you smoking marijuana.
You will not lose any disability benefits if you test positive on any drug screen.
You may be referred for drug abuse counseling...that's it...no penalty!
The only people who are concerned are in the health care arena of the VA...your doctors. Most enlightened physicians recognize that marijuana has some medicinal benefit and that there is no evidence of harmful side effects other than the obvious...inhaling hot smoke.
Most agree that the single most devastating side effect of recreational marijuana use is that it remains illegal and you may be arrested for it.
Having said that, your doctor may feel differently. If your doctor makes a decision that you shouldn't be smoking, he or she has the right to ask you to stop. Few people will try to help you with that sort of problem as the doctor is the clinical authority and makes those decisions.
Most mental health providers will ask that you refrain from all recreational substance use. If you are diagnosed with any mental health problems, your doctor will want your head to be as clear as possible during treatment. You should comply.
Doctors who treat your chronic pain with narcotics may also tell you to lay off the recreational marijuana. They want to be able to judge the effects of the treatments they offer you without any other substances interfering.
Orthopedic doctors today are often refusing such surgery as hip and knee replacement unless the patient gives up tobacco and marijuana. They believe that smoking anything will displace vital oxygen and interfere with the critical healing process.
Doctors who do transplants like kidneys or other organs also frequently tell the patient to quit smoking marijuana. This is as much a matter of discipline as anything else. They know that if you refuse to follow their orders, you may not do as well with your transplant and they can offer the organ to another patient who will be more compliant.
Although society is undergoing some positive changes in how we view recreational substance use, marijuana remains an illegal drug. Federal laws are strict and in some states, even a small amount can earn you jail time. You do not have any "rights" to smoke pot. If you're smart, and you want to keep your health care provider happy, you'll pay close attention to what the provider tells you.
So it's healthy, Right?
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.
The Google IT Support Professional Certificate
The IT Support Professional Certificate, developed by Google and hosted on Coursera, can help you become ready for an entry-level job in IT support in under six months. No experience is necessary.
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.
Disclosure of Certain Protected Records
Without Written Consent - (VA) proposes to amend its regulations on disclosure of certain records. now authorize VA to disclose certain protected records to non-VA
entities (including private entities and other Federal agencies) for purposes of providing health care or performing other health care-related activities or functions.
How to ensure seamless care while traveling
How to file a VA disability claim
Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation
or increased disability compensation.
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.
Just who do you think you are?
Stats about veterans.
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
PAPER Evidence Records
and Claims All Go Here
V A Claims Intake Center
PO BOX 4444
Toll Free Fax:
The experiences of post-9/11 veterans differ from
those who served in previous eras. Post-9/11
veterans more likely to have been deployed,
seen combat, experienced emotional trauma
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.
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.
How To File a VA Disability Appeal
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. Find out how to file an appeal.
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!
For Better Brain Health, Preserve Your Hearing
Hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor for developing dementia, exceeding that of smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and social isolation.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
announced the launch of an online patient portal
this month that will provide service veterans
with digital access to their patient statements.
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.
Physician - Surgeon - Veteran
Veterans Law Attorney
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proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.
All are free to use.
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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?
Chronic Pain Is an Impossible Problem
A “safe” alternative to opioid painkillers
turns out to be not so safe.
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.
Veterans Who Apply for Social Security Disabled-Worker Benefits After Receiving a Department of Veterans Affairs Rating of “Total Disability” for Service-Connected Impairments: Characteristics and Outcomes
A Few Of The Most Common Processes You Need To Know To DIY Your Claim
VAWatchdog Dot Org
Your 2020 Guide to Social Security Benefits
Whether you’re claiming Social Security in 2020, have been collecting benefits for years, or are still decades away, here’s what you need to know about this critically important retirement program.
Give veterans more health care options!
Tell your lawmaker
Veterans deserve more choice
Can you help me with....
Family Medical Leave Act problems after husband's deployment
Vet being harassed at work
VA doctor malpractice
Child support arrears create hardship
68 year old veteran with cancer
When did the Vietnam era start
Radiation treatment for prostate cancer and now C& P exam
Diabetes claim secondary to OSA
Revisiting child support order
Gulf War veteran behavior found to be willful misconduct
All these and many more answers to your questions can be found at
Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog
and ask about veterans discounts!
We get $2,470 a month from Social Security
and want a warm, friendly city near the ocean.
Government Accountability Office
Do You Need
You are already authorized
to use an urgent
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!
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken
steps to maintain its leadership commitment and develop its action plan, but still needs to demonstrate capacity
and establish metrics to monitor and demonstrate
progress addressing VA health care concerns.
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.
How Do You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Information on social security disability benefits
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Google Tracks You
and we don't.
DuckDuckGo apps block
Google's hidden trackers.
The world needs an alternative
November 19th 2019
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You’re still eligible for VA mental health care
When you claim that a disabling condition is caused by military service, you have to prove that allegation.
Or do you?