Jim's

                     Mailbag

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.

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)

The NPRC
Military Records

The Government Attic.org

​Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here.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

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!

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    

< Denis.McDonough@va.gov >


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.

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

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.

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

jim912@gmail.com

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.

Never Stop Reading

Never Stop Learning

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 secrets...how 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.

​​Alabama

​V A Claims Intake Center
PO BOX 4444
JANESVILLE, WI

53547- 4444
Toll Free Fax:

844-531-7818​

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Permanent and Total (P & T) Disability Ratings

Permanent and Total   P & T

Question: I am 60 yrs old and just received comp for PTSD @ 50%. Someone said they will not re-exam you to reduce the benefit after age 55. Is this true?
Reply: No, that's not true. VA may reexamine a veteran at any time for any reason. The "Permanent" rating isn't ever permanent at VA. This is particularly true of mental health issues like PTSD .
Having said that, the 50% rating is rarely on the VA radar. The focus of the VA is the 100% rating because that's where the money is. While VA can reexamine you, it's very unlikely that they will. Enjoy your benefit, seek as much treatment as you can get and don't worry about it.
Question: Jim. I am 100% PTSD and 70% lower back fusion all service connected and I'm Perm & Total. I took up leather craft for therapy and can sell the items online and make around $10k-15k year. I live in house of (5). 2019 poverty is $25,750 for (4) of us and $4,420 for (1) more. The leathercraft doubles as therapy and I can work 100% at my own pace and can attend therapy of any kind if needed and it would be my own small business. Would I be ok? If so what process should i go through to make sure? Thanks.
Reply: If you are 100% schedular, and it sounds as if you are, you don't have any work restrictions. If you are 100% TDIU (unemployability) then you're restricted to work that earns you less than the poverty level in your region. Either way you're good to go and you shouldn't run into any trouble with VA. You should incorporate as an LLC in your state if you plan to run your therapy hobby as a business and keep your business tax records handy in case VA should ever ask. There isn't any process to ensure this is all OK at the VA. While the SSA has a formal return to work program, VA depends on us to stay within the rules and you're doing that so...I wish you success!

Question: I was awarded 100 percent for a mental health issue 4 years ago. About a month after my last C&P exam, I got a letter in the mail stating my status was permanent with no pending appointments scheduled. It came notarized and signed by the president of the VA. I have built my life around that thinking it was permanent (tax exempt on property taxes exe.) Now I find out they may have made a mistake even though I verified several times. I have a c&p exam coming up. Can I fight the exam? Do I have a leg to stand on?

​Reply: There is nothing to fight about. First up...the VA doesn't send out letters notarized and there is no "president of the VA". Your credibility is your most valuable asset and when you stretch the truth it doesn't help. Like any other business entity, VA may make errors and then VA has the right to correct those errors. When we're scheduled for a C & P exam, we must attend. if we don't attend the VA will default the decision and it won't be in your favor. Go to the exam and be courteous and polite. Explain to the examiner why you believe your condition has not and is not likely to improve. You have a great chance to make your case to continue P & T...don't blow it with anger.

​Question: Hi Jim, I am 39 years old and served 4 years in the Marine Corp. I am currently rated at 80%. I am 70% for PTSD from MST (military sexual trauma), 30 % for right leg injury and 10 % for Tinitus. I was just notified by the VA that my Individual Unemployability was granted but like most people it is not considered Permanent and Total. I was curious to know how hard it's going to be to attempt to get it changed to a Permanent and Total status. I have been receiving treatment and Therapy for my PST for a little over a year and and I was at a residential facility for 6 moths getting intense therapy for my MST .
Hopefully you can give me some insight into what i should expect when going through the process. Any help will be greatly appreciated

Reply: As you've read above, I don't recommend that you pursue a permanent rating. 

The term P & T is sometimes a little confusing.  The T is for Total and simply indicates a rating of at least 100%. The P is, of course, for Permanent and in VA lingo, that doesn't really mean permanent, it means that additional benefits are opened up for the permanently rated veteran and family.

A permanent 100% rating brings with it  Chapter 35 Education benefits  and  CHAMPVA. To receive the permanent label isn't always easy, many vets have a 100% rating but it's temporary.

Those vets should wait for a future C & P exam and ask the examiner to note that the conditions are stable with little or no chance of improvement and the rater is likely to then make your 100% benefit permanent.

Ratings lower than 100% are generally considered as permanent so only a 100% rating can be "P & T".

​Whether a given rating is permanent and/or total can get really complex really quickly. It's usually worth the time spent to study your own rating situation to be sure you're maximizing your benefits.

M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, Chapter 2 - Ratings for Special Purposes

M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 8, Section C - Protected Ratings 

M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 6, Section B - Determining the Issues