The A - Z Guide: Veterans VA Disability Benefits
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to Military Veterans Benefits

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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. <> 

The A to Z Guide to Military Veterans Benefits

is maintained in memory of
USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9) Roy Strickland

Read about Roy Strickland

and his USMC Career
by clicking here.

You can help other veterans
in his memory by clicking here.

How To Use the A to Z Guide   

Are 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?

Maybe 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.

You're 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?

If 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 veteran.

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 suffer.

Women 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.

Maybe 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.

To 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.

Many veterans are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. SSDI, SSI, Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU or just IU)

No matter what your claim, no matter what your disabling condition may be, VAWatchdog probably has it covered.

The 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.

We 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 VA.

Read the details of this guide carefully. File for the benefits you've earned. Ask us questions via email.

It's that simple.

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'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.

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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.

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