Top Searches

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

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​

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!

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. 

Found in Gourmet Foods

Sugar-Free

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

arrangements planning

Amazon black Friday deals

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

Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website

We’re there to provide comfort during difficult times

7 Changes to Social Security in 2020
From what beneficiaries will be paid to what workers

could owe in payroll tax, big changes are

on the way for America's top social program

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.

Proposed Rule - Schedule for Rating Disabilities
The Genitourinary Diseases and Conditions

​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend the portion of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities that addresses the genitourinary system. 

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.

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!​

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

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!

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 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.

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

Let's Review Effective Dates
​M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 5, 
Section C - Effective Dates


​The general rule is that the effective date is assigned based on the date of receipt of claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later.  Before applying the general rule, however, all information gathered during evidence review must be considered to determine whether a more specific effective date rule applies.​


​Effective Dates for Claims for Increased Compensation

Impact of Intent to File (ITF) on Effective Date

Claims for Earlier Effective Dates

Effective Dates for Direct and Secondary

Service Connection (SC)


In some situations, different theories of entitlement allow for assignment of different effective dates.  In such cases, consider each effective date rule when assigning an effective date and assign the most advantageous effective date that applies for the facts of the case. 

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

Voiding dysfunction:
Rate particular condition as urine leakage, frequency, or obstructed voiding.
Continual Urine Leakage, Post Surgical Urinary Diversion, Urinary Incontinence, or Stress Incontinence:
Requiring the use of an appliance or the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed more than 4 times per day...60%
Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed 2 to 4 times per day...40%
Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed less than 2 times per day...20%


Urinary frequency:
Daytime voiding interval less than one hour, or; awakening to void five or more times per night...40%
Daytime voiding interval between one and two hours, or; awakening to void three to four times per night...%20
Daytime voiding interval between two and three hours, or; awakening to void two times per night...10%

7528    Malignant neoplasms of the genitourinary system ...100%  

(This is service connected prostate cancer.)
Note: Following the cessation of surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure, the rating of 100 percent shall continue with a mandatory VA examination at the expiration of six months. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of §3.105(e) of this chapter. If there has been no local recurrence or metastasis, rate on residuals as voiding dysfunction or renal dysfunction, whichever is predominant.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but it can often be treated successfully. If you have prostate cancer or are close to someone who does, knowing what to expect can help you cope. Here you can find out all about prostate cancer, including risk factors, symptoms, how it is found, and how it is treated.

Dependent on Depends!

Post-surgery incontinence

If you choose watchful waiting (many men today make that choice) your rating will continue at 100% temporary. You will have regular C & P exams to determine whether you still have cancer.

Your VA isn't really prepared for the recent trend to choose watchful waiting when diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The reasoning behind watchful waiting is simple. Most prostate cancers are very slow growing, men often die with prostate cancer but not of prostate cancer. The treatment for prostate cancer is brutal, surgery will often leave you leaking urine and impotent. Statistically you're more likely to die of another cause than you are your prostate cancer.

In the ratings schedule VA assumes that every veteran diagnosed with a cancer will choose to be treated. VA also assumes that every cancer treatment will be succesful and the cancer will be cured. Ratings for service connected cancer are always 100% and they are almost always temporary ratings.

Once you've declined treatment you have to be alert because VA will assume you've been treated even when you tell them you haven't.

After a C & P exam you may get a letter telling you that since your cancer has been treated and your symptoms aren't really present, VA is proposing to lower your rating from 100% to 0%. The examiner paid no attention at all to you when you told him you still have cancer.

Don't panic, this is pretty easy to resolve and you can DIY this one. You appeal promptly and that usually fixes the issue right away. In your appeal you briefly explain that you have cancer and that you have had no treatment. Bingo, that usually gets the job done.

No, you do not have to have any further prostate biopsies done to prove you have the cancer. VA can monitor your PSA and the lack of any records of treatment is enough to show you continue to have an active cancer.

Prostate Cancer

The Bash Bulletin: Prostate cancer reduction-ratings

​Prostate cancer reduction-ratings (medical diagnostic codes) are confusing because often the patient has a 100%

disease cancer code for 6 months then the code is reduced and the reasoning is often unclear to the patient. 

§4.115a  Ratings of the genitourinary system—dysfunctions.
Diseases of the genitourinary system generally result in disabilities related to renal or voiding dysfunctions, infections, or a combination of these. The following section provides descriptions of various levels of disability in each of these symptom areas. Where diagnostic codes refer the decisionmaker to these specific areas of dysfunction, only the predominant area of dysfunction shall be considered for rating purposes. Since the areas of dysfunction described below do not cover all symptoms resulting from genitourinary diseases, specific diagnoses may include a description of symptoms assigned to that diagnosis.

Prostate cancer & the Future Exam


Hey Jim,
Thanks for the solid advice in the past. I received a 100% Compensation Rating in 2012 for Agent Orange Viet Nam Prostate Cancer. I had my first Reevaluation test in 2015 with a Contractor Doctor. He sent in some false reports saying I wasn't seeing a doctor and was in remission. I had all my info with me, which he didn't look at, I answered all his questions politely, and was denied. I appealed and won, receiving all back pay and started receiving checks again in march of 2017. It took 2 years for them to read my appeal, which was basically My doctors letter simply stating that he saw me regularly, that my cancer was not in remission, and was active prostate cancer. My question is, I have a Re evaluation C & P test coming up in 2018. Any advice for this C & P test, and how to avoid another failure?


My reply,

Your story is very typical, this happens daily. VA rates all cancers as temporary. VA assumes every patient will be treated promptly and that every treatment will be successful and that every cancer will disappear.  Once the cancer is gone they rate you on the residuals of treatment and most ratings for prostate cancer are 20% to a max of 60%. The post-treatment rating is usually based on how many absorbent pads the veteran must use each day to control leakage of urine.
I don't understand the disconnect. Active surveillance or "watchful waiting" is an accepted process in our modern era since the treatment for prostate cancer is often worse than the disease. I have to think that the C & P examiners must know about watchful waiting but if so, they don't explain that to the rater back at the regional office.
All too often the active surveillance veteran patient will have been on a prostate medicine for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH - or enlargement of the prostate) and the rater will see that and assume that is treatment for prostate cancer. But the patient has no symptoms, uses no disposable pads so the rating comes back as 0% service connected even though the veteran still has an active cancer.
This has been the status quo at VA for years. I've talked with dozens and dozens of veterans over the years who have had to do just what you did...appeal. VA has had zero interest in any fix to the problem...fixing this won't add to their bonus so why would they?
In the future, you can try to talk with the C & P examiner like he's a 6 year old. Carefully explain what you're doing and that your cancer is active.
Keep your fingers crossed.

/s/ Jim

The Vietnam veteran who served with "boots on the ground" in the Republic of Vietnam is generally eligible for Service Connected Prostate Cancer & Disabled Veterans Benefits once the medical diagnosis of prostate cancer is made.

Prostate Cancer

Symptoms & Causes

VA Form 21-0960J-3

Prostate Cancer Disability Benefits Questionnaire (Fillable)
File Type: PDF  Issue Date:   06/01/2017
Revision Date:   02/2015  Total Pages:   3

Prostate Cancer  Watchful Waiting

Watchful Waiting or Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer

If you are a Vietnam veteran (or any other veteran who believes your prostate cancer may be service connected for any reason) and you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your first move should be to file a claim. Filing the claim sets the effective date and no matter how long it takes VA to sort out the claim, the effective date will ensure that is when your disabled veterans benefits will begin.

Your rating will be 100% but it will be a temporary rating subject to a future exam, usually 6 months or so after treatment.

Now you have choices to make. You can choose treatment (surgery, radiation, chemoterapy or a combo of all the above) or you can choose active surveillance...often called watchful waiting. More on watchful waiting in just a minute.

If you choose treatment, the rules you see above will apply. Your rating will fall from 100% to 60% or less determined by your symptoms of leaking urine requiring absorbent pads, the frequency of your daytime urination and the frequency of awakening at night to urinate.

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.

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

Website Monitoring Tool

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!