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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
toward

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  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​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.

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.

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

RIGHT NOW?
​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 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.

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.  jim912@gmail.com

Social Security Reinstates

Reconsideration Appeal Level​

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

Pennsylvania--reinstated the reconsideration.

AT WAR
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
JANESVILLE, WI

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:

844-531-7818​

The NPRC

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

Can medical marijuana users have firearms? Police say no



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.



Got a medical marijuana card? You can’t own a gun 

Federal law prohibits selling firearms to marijuana users​


Marijuana, Drug Testing and VA


Lawsuit: SC VA hospital flubs urine sample; tells sick man he’s cocaine addict


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.


Read all of this as a full web page.​

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?

January 2018

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.

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

Do You Take Opoid Pain Medicine?


​Listen up!
​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.

Drug Tests


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_test 


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.