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

8 Museums You Can Virtually Tour Right Now
Visit famous institutions in Paris, Amsterdam,

and more—without leaving home.

Website Monitoring Tool

Regional Offices' Public Contact Closures

​The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19.
Regional offices will remain open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services.

Coronavirus distancing: Don't forget about veterans.

For them, loneliness can be deadly.
Legislation already exists to get our service members

the help they need through animal companions.

We must make sure it passes and soon.

Misuse of Certain Nonopioid Analgesics on the Rise
Gabapentin, Baclofen May Be Seen

as Opioid Alternatives

The NPRC
Military Records DD 214

Announcing the Veterans Benefits Banking Program
A partnership between VA and the

Association of Military Banks of America

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

One More Reason You Need An Independent Medical Opinion

VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION

Accuracy of Claims Decisions Involving Conditions of the Spine

A coronavirus outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier is one of

the possibilities facing the US military

How would the Navy react if a sailor aboard a large ship such as an aircraft carrier tested positive for the coronavirus?

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Help fight Medicare fraud

​Con artists may try to get your Medicare

Number or personal information so they can steal

your identity and commit Medicare fraud.

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

Call before visiting your VA facility

Free Veteran resources through PATRIOTlink

and Coronavirus updates

VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide
Reference guide to help during final

arrangements planning

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

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

Welcome to the KnowVA Knowledge Base

Locate information more quickly and efficiently

Traveling?

​How to ensure seamless care while traveling

Florida veterans health centers moving to virtual appointments to combat coronavirus

The goal is to allow veterans

to stay home and avoid exposure

How To Get Urgent Care For Free

If you have any symptoms

DO NOT DELAY

You are authorized urgent care but you must be prepared!

How Divorce, Alimony, and Child Support

Affect Veterans' VA Benefits
VA benefits can be garnished only for spousal

or child support, and only under certain conditions.

How to file a VA disability claim
Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

or increased disability compensation.

John Prine, One of America’s Greatest Songwriters, Dead at 73
Grammy-winning singer who combined literary genius with a common touch succumbs to coronavirus complications


His song, Sam Stone, is one of the most poignant and touching war stories ever told.

Written about the Vietnam era soldier, the message affects every veteran.

RIP

You Ready???

Are you aware that Amazon will deliver groceries to you? And often enough they beat in-store prices?

Don't worry that you forgot the dog food.

Shop on!

Jim's Mailbag

Your 2020 Guide to Social Security Benefits
Whether you’re claiming Social Security in 2020, have been collecting benefits for years, or are still decades away, here’s what you need to know about this critically important retirement program.

Marijuana Accessories

Do You Need Help Right Now?

Your state runs County Veterans Service Offices

for you and they're working today.

An IMO by an expert  often makes the difference!

How To File a VA Disability Appeal
You have the right to appeal any benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration. The VA appeals process is set in law and is different from other judicial appeals processes. Find out how to file an appeal.

Food Delivery Services

The apps

CraveBox Healthy Care Package

Whole Foods Market

Schwans

​Grocery and Gourmet Food Store at Amazon​

Food Delivery Online - Deliver Near me All-in-one

Medical Malpractice

Download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter

proving their status. 

For Better Brain Health, Preserve Your Hearing
Hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor for developing dementia, exceeding that of smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and social isolation.

Dog Food

Drew Early   Veterans Law Attorney
Graduate of the US Military Academy, West Point

Adjunct Professor - Emory University Law School
20 Years Army Service - Airborne - Explosive Ordnance Badge
Free Case Review - Nationwide Representation
BVA/DRO Appeals - Fiduciary & Caregiver Issues, Trusts, Wills
Appeals of Veterans & Survivor Claims
(770) 939-1939

Florida Veterans

Medical Marijuana Card
Tell the doctor you saw it on VAWatchdog

and ask about veterans discounts!​

Where should we retire?

We get $2,470 a month from Social Security

and want a warm, friendly city near the ocean.

VA launches online patient portal for veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

announced the launch of an online patient portal

this month that will provide service veterans

with digital access to their patient statements.

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.

The Next, Terrible Phase of This Crisis
After cancellation comes triage

VA Health Care Public Health Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

​What you should know
VA is working closely with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners,
monitoring an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Be a  VA  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!

Answers to your questions on stimulus checks

Are seniors on Social Security or

veterans on disability eligible?

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 get more banking options,

under new VA partnership

Some veterans may have better access to banking now, through a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Association of Military Banks of America.

38 CFR Book C 

Schedule for Rating Disabilities

Credit Card Payment Due?

​​Which Consumer Lenders Are (and Aren’t) Helping the Most - American Express (cards), Capital One (auto loans and cards) and JPMorgan Chase said they would allow people to skip payments, interest free. 

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?

Chronic Pain Is an Impossible Problem
A “safe” alternative to opioid painkillers

turns out to be not so safe.

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.

​Roger Hale,  Veterans Law Attorney​​

​Personal Injury Lawyer - Free Consultation For Veterans​
​​Industrial Accidents   Nursing Home Negligence   Car Accidents   ​

Workers Compensation   Veterans Law​     

Pain & Suffering     Emotional & Mental Anguish

(​405) 531-9983

Amazon Is Putting Book Deliveries Into the

Slow Lane Thanks to the Coronavirus
The retail giant is prioritizing household

and medical supplies, and pushing

everything else to the back of the queue.

AT WAR
40 Stories From Women

About Life in the Military​   

"Not Many Women Get

to Do What I Do"

Medical Malpractice - Veterans 1151 Claims

Hodes Milman LLP

​Malpractice Attorneys Helping Veterans Harmed By The VA
​​Veterans Healthcare Rights - Federal Tort Claims -

VA Medical Malpractice Claims, Misdiagnosis, ​Hospital Negligence, Medical Errors
For a review of your VA malpractice case contact our lawyers today.
Our firm serves throughout the nation, 

and is one of the few firms to have specialized experience in VA malpractice cases.
Call Now!  (949) 640-8222​​

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​

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

Should I file a claim?

Potential VA claims?

​What am I missing in the VA claims process?

​r/VeteransBenefits

Best way to check on a supplemental claim online?

​Confused on what to do with claim.

​Dependent status with education benefits.

​Suing the VA for negligence and malpractice.​​

Veteran Proud

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed

By All The Pandemic News???

Call and talk about

it right now!

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

Trump: “We’ll be cutting” entitlement programs

White House: He didn’t really mean that.
Following his Fox News town hall, Stephanie Grisham and Kellyanne Conway denied that Trump said what he said.

​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. 

VA Urgent Care Pharmacy Locations
Find VA-approved urgent care/retail location

pharmacies near a specific

address or ZIP code, or search by VA Facility.

Cooper Continued 

Additional Benefits
A total disability rating based on IU can result in eligibility for additional benefits for a veteran’s dependents and survivors.  Educational benefits for the veteran’s spouse and eligible children are available under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (title 38, United States Code, Chapter 35).  The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides reimbursement to eligible dependents for most medical expenses, provided that they are not also eligible for health care benefits provided by the Department of Defense.  To be eligible for both of these benefits, the veteran’s IU determination must be considered permanent.  Permanency for eligibility to Chapter 35 and CHAMPVA requires that there not be a future examination scheduled.
​  Continued Below

Published in 2005, this is the best

explanation of the TDIU benefit you'll find.


THE HONORABLE DANIEL L. COOPER - UNDER SECRETARY FOR BENEFITS
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS - October 27, 2005
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:  Thank you for the opportunity to review with you the issue of Individual Unemployability (IU).  I will discuss what IU is, its history, the criteria used to determine eligibility, the number of veterans receiving IU benefits, the May 2005 study by the Inspector General (IG) of state variances in average annual compensation, and other issues.  I am pleased to be accompanied by Ms. Renée Szybala, Director of VA’s Compensation and Pension Service, and Ms. Judith Caden, Director of VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service.

What Is IU
Individual Unemployability or IU is the basis on which the Department of Veterans Affairs pays service-connected disability compensation at the rate payable for a 100-percent evaluation to qualified veterans with combined evaluations that are less than 100 percent.   Regional office decision-makers assign IU ratings when veterans meet minimum combined evaluation criteria and, in the judgment of the rating official(s), are unemployable due solely to their service-connected conditions.  In exceptional circumstances, regional offices may refer cases that fail to meet the minimum combined evaluation criteria to the Director of the Compensation and Pension Service for consideration of an IU rating.

Authority
Section 1155 of title 38, United States Code, charges the Secretary with responsibility for developing and applying a disability rating schedule that is based, “as far as practicable,” upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from service-connected disabilities.   Recognizing that the intent of the rating schedule is to fairly compensate veterans for their disabilities to the extent to which they impair earning capacity of the average veteran, the schedule none-the-less cannot always adequately compensate an individual veteran in his or her particular circumstance.  To address the inevitable situations where the schedule does not adequately address a particular fact pattern, the schedule adopted by the Secretary provides both IU and extra-schedular provisions.

Brief History of IU
In 1925, the Schedule for Rating Disabilities provided the first definition of total disability.   Total disability was defined as an impairment of mind or body that is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation.
In 1934, total disability was expanded to provide that total disability ratings may be assigned without regard to the specific provisions of the rating schedule when the veteran is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of the veteran’s disabilities.  To be eligible for consideration for IU benefits, the schedule required that a veteran have a single 70 percent evaluation or, if the veteran had multiple service-connected conditions, that the minimum combined evaluation be 80 percent with at least one disability considered 60 percent disabling.
In 1941, the minimum requirements for consideration for IU entitlement were revised to today’s standard of 60 percent for a single disability or a combined 70 percent evaluation with at least one 40 percent disability.
​​

Continued below...

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

Cooper Continued...
VA may schedule a reexamination for any veteran when VA determines there is a need to verify the continued existence or current severity of a disability.   Generally, VA requires reexamination if it is likely that a disability has improved or if evidence indicates that a disability has materially changed or that the current rating may be incorrect.  Periodic future examinations are not requested if the disability is unlikely to improve, if symptoms have persisted without material improvement for a period of five or more years, where the disability is permanent in character, or in cases where the veteran is age 55 or older.  After a veteran has received compensation at any level of disability for 20 years, to include total disability benefits based on IU, that compensation rate is protected.
Veterans receiving IU benefits are subject to VA’s annual income verification match (IVM).   The IVM uses Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) income records to verify that IU beneficiaries remain below the earnings threshold for entitlement to IU benefits.


Reviews of VA Claims Processing Related to IU
Former Secretary Anthony J. Principi, in response to media articles about state-to-state variance in average compensation payments to veterans, requested that the VA Inspector General (IG) study the payment variance issue.  The IG found that payment variance was affected by several factors including demographic factors and representation by veterans service organizations, as well as the incidence of PTSD and the subsequent award of IU benefits for that condition.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also issued a report in 2004 pointing to a need for increased analysis of the consistency of decision-making across regional offices.  GAO is currently conducting a study of IU benefit decision-making.
Based on the preliminary findings from these reviews, as well as a significant increase in the number of IU case referrals received in the latest IVM with IRS and SSA, we have been analyzing our existing IU procedures and regulations to determine if changes are needed.  As discussed earlier, we have reinstated the annual employment certification for veterans receiving IU benefits.  We have also reinforced existing procedural and evidentiary guidelines for IU determinations through conference calls with our field stations and at our recent Veterans Service Center Managers Conference.  We will continue to work to provide additional training for our employees, and to identify ways to strengthen and clarify our long-standing procedural requirements and ensure the integrity of this important benefit.


The IU benefit has a long history.  It fills a critical gap when the rating schedule fails to fully address the impact of disability in a specific veteran’s circumstance.  We believe that during this period of conflict and danger for our country, IU continues to be an essential tool in serving America’s veterans and fulfilling the country’s commitment to them.  We at VBA are fully cognizant of this as we work to ensure those who have served this nation are fully compensated for their injuries and assisted in returning to participation in society to the maximum extent possible permitted by their injuries.


/End/

Cooper continued...
Recent court decisions have also had an impact on IU ratings.   For example, in 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Norris v. West held that VA must infer a claim for IU if the veteran files a claim for increased disability, meets the schedular minimum combined evaluation criteria, and there is evidence of inability to engage in substantially gainful employment due to service-connected disability.
Continued below...

Cooper continued...

Interplay with Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)
In its September 1987 report, “Improving the Integrity of VA’s Unemployability Compensation Program,” the then General Accounting Office (GAO) recommended that VA revise its regulations to require that all veterans applying for a total disability rating based on IU be referred for a vocational rehabilitation evaluation.
VA does not currently require an employment assessment by VR&E program staff as part of the IU entitlement determination.   If the Secretary decided to require an employment assessment in connection with determining a veteran’s entitlement to IU, VA would first promulgate regulations defining the scope, purpose, and criteria for conducting such an assessment, and the manner in which VA would implement such assessments.
A veteran’s participation in a program of rehabilitation, education, or training does not preclude a total disability rating based on IU.  Veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities, including those with IU ratings, may be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation benefits under the VR&E program (chapter 31, title 38, United States Code).  VA also may not deny a veteran’s IU claim on the basis that he or she is participating in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program of therapeutic and rehabilitative services, or consider therapeutic and rehabilitative activities as evidence of a veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation.  Our regulations allow a veteran receiving IU benefits to work 12 consecutive months in substantially gainful employment before any change is made in the IU determination.

Continued Below...

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

Cooper Continued...

IU Eligibility
Once a veteran is awarded IU benefits and until he or she attains age 70, the veteran is required to submit an annual employment certification.   This procedure was resumed in September after having been suspended for approximately six years.  The veteran must list all employment for the preceding 12-month period.  VA uses the certification to verify continued entitlement to IU benefits.  Failure to return the form will cause VA to send the veteran a contemporaneous notice of reduction of the monthly benefit payment to the rate justified by the underlying rating.

Continued below...

GLOVERLUCK
Veterans Law At Your Service

​PTSD and other mental impairments
Military Sexual Trauma
Traumatic Brain Injury
Agent Orange exposure
Camp Lejeune water contamination
Gulf War Syndrome
Asbestos or Radiation exposure
​Federal Tort Claims/Title 38 U.S.C. 1151
Also known as FTCA and Section 1151 Claims
​Nationwide Representation 
844 244 VETS (8387)

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

Cooper continued...Number of IU Beneficiaries
The number of veterans rated totally disabled based on IU has more than doubled in the past six years from 97,275 veterans in 1999 to over 221,000 veterans today. There is no single clear explanation for the increase in IU ratings over the last six years.   However, the rise has occurred concurrent with other significant changes.  Since September 30, 1999, the number of veterans receiving compensation has increased from 2,252,980 to 2,636,979 at the end of fiscal year 2005.  This increase of 383,999 veterans represents a 17 percent rise in the number of veterans receiving compensation.  There has also been an increase in the average combined disability evaluation over the same period.  At the end of 1999, 57 percent of all veterans receiving compensation had combined evaluations of 30 percent or less.  Today it is 46 percent.  The percent of veterans with combined evaluations of 60 percent disability or more has increased from 17 percent at the end of 1999 to the current 29 percent.  An interplay of advancing age, diabetes, and various presumptions of service connection for cancers associated with herbicide and radiation, as well as a significant increase in the number of veterans awarded service-connection for PTSD, account for a substantial portion of the increase.

Continued below...

Cooper continued...

Throughout the rating schedule, a 60 percent evaluation or higher reflects significant disability.  A 40 percent evaluation assigned to a condition generally reflects a serious handicap.  Therefore, when multiple service-connected conditions are involved, the higher 70 percent minimum combined evaluation is reasonable to allow for the interplay of multiple disabilities.
The 1945 rating schedule established that age was not to be considered a factor in evaluating service-connected disability, and that entitlement to IU could not be based on advancing age or additional non-service-connected disabilities.
Under VA regulations, if a veteran’s earned income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person, currently $9,570, the veteran is only marginally employed, and marginal employment does not qualify as substantially gainful employment.  Also, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims held in Faust v. West that employment that provides annual income exceeding the poverty threshold for one person, irrespective of the number of hours or days actually worked and without regard to the veteran’s annual earned income prior to the award of the IU rating, constitutes "actual employability."
​​

Continued below...

Cooper continued...

Role of the Medical Examiner
If the rating official determines that a medical examination is necessary to determine whether a veteran is entitled to a total disability rating based on IU, an appropriate examination or opinion request is submitted to a VHA medical facility or our contract examination pro
Medical examiners follow the appropriate worksheets to perform a complete and adequate examination for rating purposes, answering all questions and providing opinions as requested.   A diagnosis is to be provided for every condition listed on the examination request.  The medical examiner should describe the disability’s effect on the veteran’s daily activities and ability to work.  For IU claims, the examiner should also obtain the veteran’s occupational history (i.e., type of occupation, employment dates, wages for last 12 months, and detail any time that was lost from work in past 12-month period). Continued Below...

Cooper Continued   Application Process
In most cases, to be considered for IU benefits, a veteran must apply.  However, in the Norris case mentioned earlier, the court held that a veteran need not apply for IU for a claim for IU to be inferred.  Thus, VA is required to consider the issue in certain circumstances, even if the veteran did not explicitly apply for an IU rating.  Recent guidance to the field directed that, once an IU claim is inferred, an application must be sent to the veteran for completion in order to obtain the essential information requested on the application form.  The form asks the veteran to furnish an employment history for the five-year period preceding the date on which the veteran became unemployable, as well as from that date to the date of application.
As part of the development of IU claims, field stations are also required to solicit information from each employer during the 12-month period preceding the date the veteran last worked.  The employer is asked to provide information concerning the veteran’s employment history including the date of employment, the type of work performed, and if the veteran is not currently working, the reasons for termination of employment. 
Continued below...

Total Disability Individual Unemployability

TDIU, IU, Unemployability

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