Jim's

                     Mailbag

"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.

Question:
I have severe restless legs syndrome, and was wondering if you have any knowledge if PD-680 dry cleaning solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) has had any neurological affects on those vets who used it. Thank you.
Reply:
TCE has a long history of causing neurological problems. You'll have to ask your doctor if he or she believes your RLS may be caused by TCE exposure or
you may want to seek an IMO.


Question:
Hi Jim. The VA doctor who took over my medical care and kept me on my Xanax usually does drug screens on patients every 90 days. They stopped doing them when COVID started but are doing them again now. Are they only looking for the narcotics or are they looking for everything? I do smoke weed to help with my anxiety so when it shows in my urinalysis what will they do?
Reply:
Veterans disability benefits aren't predicated on the veteran being drug free, the only determining factor is the degree of the service connected disabling condition. So, no worries about losing benefits. Veterans are screened at almost every encounter for 8 different substances.
Medications, particularly opiates and psychoactive prescriptions are a different matter. Most providers don't care if you're using marijuana other than mental health providers. They don't like to have a psychoactive drug in combination with the drugs they may prescribe so the mental health provider may decline to write prescriptions if you test positive.
Other providers may cease any further prescriptions for narcotics or drugs like Xanax or Valium. That decision is up to each provider. VA treats substance abuse or use as a health problem, not a criminal issue...a good thing. If other drugs are detected you'll get invited to a rehab program, nothing more.

The very best way I know of to learn about how VA views your condition and rating is to search for similar cases and their outcomes when appealing various issues about them. If you'll  use the BVA search engine ...it's simple...you'll learn just how others have managed their similar claims and appeals.

Secondary Conditions

Secondary Conditions are disabling injuries, illnesses or diseases that may be caused or aggravated by your

existing service connected conditions. 

Nomenclature is very important when working with VA so it helps for you to understand  the language.

The term "condition" is used to describe any physical or mental health problem you may have.  A condition is an injury or an illness that occurred during your military service. The condition may be disabling or not.  

You may have had a condition like a fungal infection that was treated and cleared up with treatment.

That isn't disabling but it may be rated as service connected at 0% disabling.

Or you may have had a significant injury such as a gunshot wound.

Even though it was treated, that wound may have left you with only a partial use of the affected limb and a big scar.

That's a disabling condition and will likely be awarded an appropriate rating for purposes of compensation.

Use the search engine provided below to learn more about your rated conditions.

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

Dependents & Survivor Benefits    Specializing In Veterans Law  Federal Tort Claims  Disability Claims

Free Veterans Case Reviews     Nationwide Representation

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.

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)

Get Started
Two options explaining the

Benefits you've earned.

The NPRC
Military Records