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?

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.

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?
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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!!!

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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

Gregory M. Rada - A Veteran for Veterans
​​Focusing on appeals involving psychiatric conditions
and/or individual unemployability (TDIU)
​Proven Results • Direct Communication • No Fees Unless You Win

Nationwide Representation 
Free Phone Consultations - ​(844) 838-7529

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

Veterans Psych Evaluations
 Brett Valette, Ph.D.

As an expert in psychological evaluations, Dr. Valette
provides Independent Medical Evaluations (IME),
Independent Medical Opinions (IMO), nexus letters,
ratings reviews for all psychological conditions. 

Some Wounds Can't Be Seen
Contact Us Today

​§3.310  Disabilities that are proximately due to, or aggravated by, service-connected disease or injury.

(a) General. Except as provided in §3.300(c), disability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected. When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition.

§4.22  Rating of disabilities aggravated by active service.
In cases involving aggravation by active service, the rating will reflect only the degree of disability over and above the degree existing at the time of entrance into the active service whether the particular condition was noted at the time of entrance into the active service, or it is determined upon the evidence of record to have existed at that time. It is necessary therefore, in all cases of this character to deduct from the present degree of disability the degree, if ascertainable, of the disability existing at the time of entrance into active service, in terms of the rating schedule, except that if the disability is total (100 percent) no deduction will be made. The resulting difference will be recorded on the rating sheet. If the degree of disability at the time of entrance into the service is not ascertainable in terms of the schedule, no deduction will be made.

Thomas J. Seiter, Jr., M.D.
Independent Medical Opinions
Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQ's)
Service & Civilian Medical Record Reviews
Nexus Letters

Get In Touch With Dr. Seiter

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Bringing You Down???


Are you depressed, anxious, angry or moody because of your hearing problems?
Did you know your mental health issues may be secondary to hearing loss or tinnitus?
Dr. Brett Valette is a clinical psychologist specializing in veterans mental health disability. If you're suffering with problems you believe may be caused or aggravated by hearing loss,
contact Dr. Valette and ask if you may have a secondary service connected condition.

BVA Decisions

Board of Veterans Appeals decisions are required reading for the veteran involved in a claim or an appeal.  You should recognize that BVA decisions do not  establish precedent. In legal systems based on common law, a precedent, or authority, is a principle or rule

established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. At VA and BVA every case is decided on its own merit. When you find a case similar to yours, you'll want to read it through and learn what that veteran did to win his appeal or if the case was denied, why? If you pattern your case in a way similar to those with positive outcomes, you're likely to prevail.

BVA Decision
THE ISSUES1. Entitlement to service connection for bowel incontinence, to include as secondary to service-connected lumbar disc disease. 2. Entitlement to service connection for bladder incontinence, to include as secondary to service-connected lumbar disc disease. 3. Entitlement to service connection or numbness and tingling of the right upper extremity, to include as secondary to service-connected lumbar disc disease. 4. Entitlement to service connection for numbness and tingling of the left upper extremity, to include as secondary to service-connected lumbar disc disease.

BVA Decision
THE ISSUES 1. Entitlement to service connection for degenerative joint disease, left hip,

secondary to service-connected left hallux valgus, left great toe, status post-bunionectomy and metatarsal osteotomy.  2. Entitlement to service connection for left lower extremity sciatica secondary to service-connected degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine at L3-L4, L5-L6, and L6-S1. 3. Entitlement to service connection for right lower extremity sciatica secondary to service-connected degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine at L3-L4, L5-L6, and L6-S1. 4. Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder to include anxiety and depression, secondary to service-connected disabilities.

Your VA Disability Rating & ​The Schedule


Let's spend a few minutes talking about how VA arrives at the rating you'll receive once your claim has been adjudicated. The process isn't (or shouldn't be) complex. You have a medical problem you feel is connected to your honorable military service. You file a claim 
seeking compensation for the disabling condition. VA then gathers all pertinent records and any other relevant evidence and schedules you for a 
C & P exam. Once all that is completed, a Ratings Veterans Service Representative (RVSR) will study all of that and issue a rating. 
As the RVSR reviews the evidence, your condition and the amount of disability the condition ​is causing will be derived from

  38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities .
Much of what you'll find there is in need of updating to reflect a more modern medical approach to illness and injury but for now, The Schedule is what we have to work with. As you file your disability benefits claim you'll want to look at the language VA uses to define different ratings for your specific malady. If you have a knee problem, you'll go to 
4.40 - 4.73 - The Musculoskeletal System  

and then explore until you learn all you ever wanted to know about how VA rates knee injuries.​ The same holds true for any illness or injury you believe is connected to your service. If your specific condition isn't listed, that's not unusual and VA allows for symptoms of a like kind to be rated by similar symptoms of similar conditions. As you perfect your benefits portfolio, you should become familiar with The Schedule. The more you know, the more control you have over your benefits.

Secondary Conditions

PTSD, MST, TBI, Agent Orange Exposure, Back Injuries, Gulf War Syndrome, Migraines, Heart & Vascular Disease, DIC, Unemployability TDIU
Free Veterans Disability Consultation! 
     Call Now!  (800) 742-5035

Other examples that may be secondary are:
If you have a rated hip condition and it affects your back, you may want to file for the back pain as a secondary

condition. If you take medications for service connected PTSD, you may be eligible to file for erectile dysfunction.

Many psychiatric medicines will cause or contribute to ED. If you are rated (service connected) for hearing loss,

don't overlook the tinnitus that may accompany acoustic trauma. Severe hearing loss may also lead to mental health

conditions like depression. If you have a condition that has caused significant disability to a leg, that injury

may affect the other leg, the hip or your back.


The VA will almost certainly deny your claim for a secondary condition. That's why we have expert doctors for IMOs and

veterans law attorneys to manage appeals. Appeal is just a part of the process...go for it.


You should  consider obtaining an IME/IMO  at your earliest convenience.

​​Diabetes (DMII) as a primary condition


Diabetes is known to be very hard on the human vascular system. The veteran who has
diabetes will be monitored for diseases of the arteries of the heart, the neck, the kidneys and the legs. If diabetes affects those arteries the veteran may develop ischemic heart disease, carotid artery disease, renal artery disease or peripheral artery disease.Those diagnoses may lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and difficulty in walking or even loss of a leg. If there is a diagnosis of DMI and that diagnosis is rated by VA as service connected, vascular diseases that are diagnosed later will be viewed as secondary conditions and will deserve an award of compensation. Interestingly, the diagnosis of service connected DMII must come first. If a veteran claims carotid artery disease in 2006 and is denied and then in 2009 he is diagnosed as having service connected DMII, the original denial is likely to remain as is. For a claim of a secondary condition, the primary service connected condition must be of record first. If the veteran has service connected diabetes, he or she may consider filing for;


Peripheral Artery Disease 
Ischemic Heart Disease 
Carotid Artery Disease 
Stroke 
Kidney Disease 
Hypertension 
Diseases of the Eye 


There are many more conditions that may be caused by service connected diabetes.

​In our example of DMII, not all other conditions can be successfully claimed. This is a common error made by many veterans.Veterans who have a service connected condition like DMII will often begin to try to claim all other conditions as secondary to that DMII. 

We receive frequent emails asking if we think that a claim of arthritis,  mental conditions like  depression, various cancers and so on can be claimed as secondary to  the DMII. The answer is always "No". Veterans are allowed to make any  claim they believe is appropriate. Our answers are based on whether or  not we believe the veteran will be awarded the benefit or if he is  wasting his time. Many claims of a secondary condition may be won with an  expert Independent Medical Opinion.

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.

The term "service connected"  implies that the illness or injury occurred during your service or if it shows up later in your life, was caused, contributed to or aggravated by your service.The condition doesn't have to be from combat or even while you're performing a military duty. You're military 24 x 7 so anything that happens before you have that DD 214 in hand counts. These conditions can be physical illnesses or mental health problems. Some service connected conditions are pretty easy to understand. If you lose a finger or a  toe in an accident or in combat, you'll get a clear cut rating for the loss of the digit. That loss isn't pleasant but it isn't very likely to disrupt your life to any great extent and it won't lead to any other physical problems for you. Then again, you may be diagnosed with an illness or incur an injury that can cause other problems. If you have a service connected condition and that condition leads to other physically or mentally disabling conditions, you may have a reason to file a claim for a secondary condition.

Veterans who served in Vietnam are known to have been exposed to agent orange.  

Agent orange is known to cause or contribute to a variety of health problems. Your VA cedes that many health problems that occur in Vietnam veterans may be caused by the exposure to agent orange. In fact, there's a well defined list of these presumptive conditions.One of the common conditions that may be seen in the Vietnam veteran is adult onset diabetes, often called Type 2 Diabetes or DMII. Any Vietnam veteran who receives a diagnosis of DMII should file a claim for disability compensation. The claim is likely to be awarded without too much fuss if the veteran has his paperwork in proper order. Once an individual is diagnosed

with DMII his health care team will begin to watch for  conditions that are known to be secondary to the diabetes. Medical science recognizes that diabetes can be a brutal disease and it may cause other physical health problems. Many of these problems may be avoided or minimized with good medical care like a proper diet and medicines. Some manifestations of DMII will come up for some veterans though. These may be viewed as secondary conditions and when they occur, they should be claimed as service connected and secondary to the primary DMII.​

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.
​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​

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...