The A to Z Guide to Military Veterans Benefits is designed for the do-it-yourselfer.
If you DIY your claim, you are in control. If you hand it over to a stranger, you give away your Power of Attorney and that's a serious step.
Filing and winning a claim for veterans benefits isn't that difficult. You must have a well grounded claim. You must be patient, thorough and detailed. You must have the patience of a saint and the tenacity of a junkyard dog.
We are old school. We do not ever recommend using eBenefits, VONAPP, the toll free number or any of the many electronic services offered to you by VA. The VA electronic sites simply don't work as advertised.
How long does it take?
We hear these questions every day. "How long does it take after my C & P exam?" "How long does it take if I filed a hardship claim?" "How long does it take for my DRO appeal?"
Everyone wants to track their claim to determine when they'll receive the disability compensation benefits award.
We hear about expedited claims, the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) process, Fast Track benefits claims, Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) and many others. None of these programs work.
There is no way to determine where your claim is in the system. VA isn't interested in helping you find it.
You may always email us to ask a question if you don't find your answers here. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The A to Z Guide to Military Veterans Benefits
is maintained in memory of
USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9) Roy Strickland
you a veteran? The spouse or dependent of a veteran? Have you served
in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or are you one of our WWII heroes? Do
the terms OEF, OIF, GWOT Do you suffer from the lasting effects of
agent orange, TCE, radiation exposure or another injury or illness
that occurred during your honorable military service?
you have a disability benefits case or a pension application filed
with VA or an appeal at the DRO, BVA or CAVC. You could be waiting
for your compensation and pension exam (C&P exam), or hoping that
VA will send you the copy of your C-File you requested months ago.
probably one of us who wonder "How long will it take...?"
for the VA to do its job and to process your disability claim. You
may be a Vietnam war veteran who is deep into a divorce and you have
questions of what can happen. Can the family court garnish my VA
disability pay? What about the child support order? What does that
word apportionment mean?
you're a Vietnam veteran, your concerns about agent orange include
prostate cancer, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease (IHD), PTSD,
other mental health concerns, and diabetes (DMII). If you're an Iraq
or Afghanistan vet, you're probably concerned about Traumatic Brain
Injury (TBI) or the chemical exposures of burn pits you suffered
while on a long deployment. Cancer of all types are a concern to any
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA or chronic snoring) is
recently being recognized as a serious problem for all veterans. Were
you exposed to agent orange in Thailand or Guam? Did you volunteer
for a test? These and thousands of other little known things have
happened to many of us. You may have a secondary condition
that has its source the other service connected conditions you
veterans have their own special concerns. Military Sexual Trauma
(MST) isn't strictly limited to women but there's little doubt more
women are assaulted or raped than are men. Women vets want their
health care to be delivered securely and separately from their male
veteran counterparts, just as they deserve.
your claims for VA disability benefits have been denied. A denial is
a crushing blow if you don't understand why it happened and the
myriad of choices you have to appeal. You may need a veterans lawyer
to help you to appeal. A qualified and expert veterans attorney may
be vital to your future well being if you are appealing to a DRO, the
BVA, the CAVC or any other court. Most lay veterans don't have a
chance to really understand the complexities of the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR). Nehmer class claims are very complex.
prevail in your claim you may need a nexus letter, an Independent
Medical Examination (IME), or an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO).
At some stage of the process you'll have to have a power of attorney
(POA) assigned to a representative. VA may have informed you that
you're incompetent and that a fiduciary will be assigned to manage
your disability compensation for you.
veterans are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. SSDI,
SSI, Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU or just IU)
matter what your claim, no matter what your disabling condition may
be, VAWatchdog probably has it covered.
VAWatchdog dot Org was a concept brought to life by Larry Scott.
After Larry became too ill to carry on his work, Jim Strickland
accepted the task and continues to provide the most reliable
information available today for veterans who want to take control of
their VA benefits.
believe that with the proper knowledge of how the system works, you
are capable of filing your claim for yourself. You are not required
to have a representative who serves as a middleman between you and
the details of this guide carefully. File for the benefits you've
earned. Ask us questions via email.
You are responsible for the success or failure of your claim.
To Do It Yourself (DIY) method isn't difficult. If you use a Veterans
Service Officer or another person to handle your claim, about all that
accomplishes is to add a middleman to the already complex process.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is set up to work directly with the
veteran. Applying for a disability benefit is an administrative process,
not a legal one.
If you do it right the first time, if you complete the required
paperwork, if you have your records in good order and if you use
certified mail, return receipt requested...you'll be ahead of the crowd.
How To Navigate This Web Site
Look to that column over on the left. It's in alphabetical order. Each page you go to will have links to other sources of information.
No Membership or Fees
We do not require you to register. There is no membership to use the
site. There are no mailing lists. There is no fee. We don't ask for nor
will we accept donations.
If this site has helped you, we ask that you pass it forward. Help one
other veteran. The veteran who directly helps one other veteran is the
best benefit we have.