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!

Google Tracks You

and we don't.
​DuckDuckGo apps block

Google's hidden trackers.
​The world needs an alternative

Robert Wilkie  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​855-948-2311

November 19th 2019

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.

Traveling?

​How to ensure seamless care while traveling

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.

Be a Volunteer.

I did that for years & it's

the best thing ever. Get 

into the belly of the beast.

VA  loves  volunteers!

Do You Need

Medical Care

RIGHT NOW?
​You are already authorized

to use an urgent

care clinic!

​Create or update your will fast / 100% free

Make your will with FreeWill today

Healthcare directives, 

proxies, living wills and durable financial power of attorney.

All are free to use.

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

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.

In Future Wars, the U.S. Military Will

Have Nowhere to Hide
New technologies enable Russia and China

to destroy U.S. bases and logistics networks

—including those on the homeland.

Found in Gourmet Foods

Sugar-Free

So it's healthy, Right?

Key findings about America’s military veterans

​​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

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

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.

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.

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​


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.”

How Do You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Information on social security disability benefits

Website Monitoring Tool

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?

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.

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.

Marijuana, Drug Testing and VA


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

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

Give veterans more health care options!
Tell your lawmaker

Veterans deserve more choice

Florida Veterans

Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog

and ask about veterans discounts!​

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!!!

Wounded Warrior Project Veterans Benefits

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

arrangements planning

How Much Can I Earn Without Losing

My Social Security?
The amount you can earn will depend on your

age and through which program you're

getting Social Security benefits.

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.

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.

Hey Jim...

Can you offer me some advice about;

​Discharge upgrade from "general under honorable", a Statement in Support of Claim, Hypertension and aortic stenosis, Total Knee Replacement, Married only one year and now divorcing, Endoscopic sinus surgery before separation from the USAF, Heart diseases and Agent Orange, Facing eviction from home of 20 years, TDIU and DOD disability, Can't get medical because supposedly get ChampVa, Korean vet and Agent Orange, Mother is VA fiduciary but won't give vet $$, Bad paper discharge for smoking pot, Becoming guardian for son with TBI, Getting service-connected rating for injury, SSDI denial even though 100% P & T for PTSD...

and many other topics that affect your life.


Yes...I'll answer just about any question you have, I'm privileged to have resources that I can ask when I don't know the answer...often enough as it happens.

We publish the messages we get from you anonymously, we won't use your name or give up your email address. We publish your emails exactly as they arrive here otherwise and we share the answer with other vets and their families so we all benefit.

We'll be around...ask us.​

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.

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. 

​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. 

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Forms

Nothing happens until

you complete the

form. Get over it.


Submit your claim ​21-526EZ


Other-than-honorable discharge?

You’re still eligible for VA mental health care​

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​

INN TO THE FOREST

​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!

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.

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.

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

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?

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

VAWatchdog Dot Org