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  1. #1

    VA Claims Tips

    Below is a sheet I give to every vet I come in contact. I advise that it be used to help gather evidence to support any VA claim. The main thing that slows up a VA claim is the evidence (in accordance to the 38 C.F.R.) is not in the record. I advise everyone on active duty or off active duty, or reserves to REVIEW YOUR RECORDS!!! Use the website below to see what the VA and DOD is looking for in your records to get the proper rating. This is the law that governs how each condition should be rated by the VA and the DOD. Know your symptoms, discuss them with your doctor, make sure they are documented. For those that records have been destroyed, track down anyone you served with and get statements from them that can back up your injury or illness in service. Lucky for us, the Marine Corps was really good with keeping unit records and morning reports. If your records have been destroyed, or lost, try requesting unit records or morning reports. They should show that you were sent to sickcall; or placed on light/limited duty; or hospital status. If property was damaged or destroyed, you know the unit had to report it in order to deadline or request parts for repair. The average processing time is the national average. Time may vary based on the case load and how much development the VA has to do. It is always good to have a doctor in your corner, because we all know how the VA C&P exams can go.

    Hope this helps, it has been working for me for 8 years.

    q SERVICE CONNECTION: There are three criteria that are needed for the grant of service connection. They are (1) treatment for the claimed condition while on active duty or line of duty determination if a member of the Reserves or National Guard; (2) continuous treatment for claimed conditions after service and/or current diagnosis; and (3) a statement from a physician stating your current condition(s) had the onset in service and/or is directly related to and/or aggravated by your military service and/or service-connected condition. Take service medical records that show treatment for the claimed condition in service to your treating physician and have him/her prepare a statement. The statement must include that your service medical records have been reviewed and state whether or not the condition(s) you are applying for service connection had their onset or were aggravated by your military service. (Average process time 6 – 18 months)

    q INCEREASED EVALUATION: If you think your service-connected condition(s) has worsened, see the website below to review the criteria needed to support a higher evaluation then submit a medical evidence that documents the symptoms of the higher level.Review of your treatment records is a major part of the exam. Make sure you relay all of the symptoms of your condition(s) and the incident(s) in service that caused the condition(s) to your primary care doctor and the C&P examiners. After each appointment get a copy of the treatment records for your records and review. Check them to ensure the doctor has input the information you both discussed. Treatment records from civilian doctors can be used to file a claim for increased evaluation. Lack of supporting medical evidence to support an increase, may cause a reduction in your current evaluation and prolong the claims process. (Average process time 6 – 18 months)

    q NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENTS (NOD): CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE BEFORE FILNG AN APPEAL. You will need to submit: (1) a statement of exactly what you disagree with, and why; and (2) current medical records that support your contentions; and (3) what would satisfy the issue(s) on appeal. If it has been more that a year since your last rating decision, you cannot appeal the decision. You will need new medical evidence to reopen the claim. The effective date will then be the date of the reopened claim. The appeals process may take years to adjudicate without the proper medical evidence. Only medical evidence can refute the VA’s decision. (Average process time 2 – 7 years)

    q SECONDARY SERVICE CONNECTION: If you are filing a claim for a condition that has been caused or aggravated by a service connected condition or its medication, you must provide medical evidence that state the condition you are claiming was either cause or aggravated by your service-connected condition and/or medications taken for service connected condition(s). (Average process time 6 – 18 months)

    q The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and your representative will contact you in writing regarding the status of your claim/appeal (note average process time above), information needed to support your claim/appeal, dates for hearings, and final decision(s).

    q The VCAA Reply letter is sent to each veteran when a claim/appeal is filed. It informs you of the information the VA has of record, and asks if you have any additional evidence from non-VA and/or military doctors that can be used to support your claim. Make a selection on the “VCAA Notice Response” sheet, sign, date and send to your representative for review and submission to the VA.

    q If you have to have surgery or are hospitalized due to a service connected condition(s), please Submit medical evidence that show the number of months you will be convalescening or hospitalized. The VA pays compensation at the 100% rate during this period.

    q For information on the rating criteria used by the VA and the military to evaluate your compensation level go to COMPARE YOUR TREATEMENT NOTES WITH THE RATING CRITERIA Website to request military records:


    Direct any questions to your service representative or the VA Regional Office @ 1-800-827-1000.

    Last edited by SgtDBrownRet; 10-22-08 at 08:24 PM. Reason: formatting issues

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Guest Free Member

  4. #4
    Sicking this to the top


  5. #5
    Veteran's Pensions Update 01: If you are a wartime veteran with a limited income and you are no longer able to work, you may qualify for a Veterans Disability Pension or the Veterans Pension for Veterans 65 or older. Many veterans of wartime service are completely unaware of the fact that if they are 65 or older and on a limited income they may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled. An estimated 2 million impoverished veterans and their widows are not receiving the VA pension they deserve because they do not know about it. The VA has had limited success in getting the information to them. Generally, you may be eligible if:

    * You were discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable, and

    * You served at least 90 days of active military service 1 day of which was during a war time period. If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (There are exceptions to this rule), and

    * Your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law (The yearly limit on income is set by Congress), and

    * You are age 65 or older, or, you are permanently and totally disabled, not due to your own willful misconduct.
    With the advent of the Gulf War on 2 AUG 90 (and still not ended by Congress to this day), veterans can now serve after 2 AUG 90 during a period of war time. If your countable income appears to be near the maximum you should apply. VA will determine if you are eligible and notify you. If you do not initially qualify, you may reapply if you have un-reimbursed medical expenses during the twelve month period after VA receives your claim that brings your countable income below the yearly income limit (i.e. These are expense you have paid for medical services or products for which you will not be reimbursed by Medicare or private medical insurance). Countable income for eligibility purposes includes income received by the veteran and his or her dependents, if any, from most sources. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business. There is a presumption that all of a child's income is available to or for the veteran. VA may grant an exception to this in hardship cases.

    There is no set limit on how much net worth a veteran and his dependents can have, but net worth cannot be excessive. Net worth means the net value of the assets of the veteran and his or her dependents. It includes such assets as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and any property other than the veteran's residence and a reasonable lot area. The decision as to whether a claimant's net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case. All net worth should be reported and VA will determine if a claimant's assets are sufficiently large that the claimant could live off these assets for a reasonable period of time. VA's needs-based programs are not intended to protect substantial assets or build up an estate for the benefit of heirs. The Maximum Annual Pension Rates (MAPR) effective 1 DEC 08 for both living and deceased veteranís surviving spouse/children cannot exceed the following:

    * Veteran or widow/er with no dependents $11,830 or $7,933.
    * Veteran with spouse and child or widow/er with a child $15,493 or $10,385.
    * Veterans or survivor with additional children: add $2,020 to the limit for each child.
    * Housebound veteran or widow/er with no dependents $14,457 or $9,696.
    * Housebound veteran or widow/er with one dependent $18,120 or $12,144.
    * Veteran or widow/er who needs aid and attendance and you have no dependents $19,736 or $12,681.
    * Veteran or widow/er who needs aid and attendance and you have one dependent $23,396 or $15,128.

    Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security Income). It's also important to note that your medical related expenses are considered when determining your yearly family income. VA pays you the difference between your countable family income and the yearly income limit which describes your situation. This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar. You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veteran's Application for Compensation Or Pension. If available, attach copies of dependency records (marriage & children's birth certificates) and current medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports). You can also apply on line through the VONAPP website For More Information Call 1(800) 827-1000.

    [Source: 12 Feb 09 ++]

  6. #6
    Marine Free Member AlwaysWillBe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    'tween here and there.

    Exclamation Update on processing time for claims.

    I'd like to post a bit of an update here.

    I have been DAV rated since 1976.
    Last Nov. a DAV outreach truck was in the area, so I took the day off from work and went to see a National Service Officer.
    That was on or about Nov 7, 2008.
    I appointed the DAV to represent me.
    We filed a claim to increase my back disability and to open a new claim for tinnitus / bilateral hearing loss caused by unprotected hearing during flight operations / missions.
    On Nov. 13, 2008 I was notified that my claim had been received and the usual notice that they have a large volume of claims they are working on.
    On Dec 11, 2008 I received a large packet of material from the Regional VA offfice in Newark NJ.
    Jan 12. 2009 I received a notice they were still working on my claim.
    On Feb 17, 2009 I was mailed a letter telling me to report for a medical exam on Feb. 25, 2009.
    On March 11, 2009 I was notified my claim was still being processed.
    On March 13, 2009, I was awarded an increase in my back disability and it was found that my hearing loss / tinnitus was service connected and I received an additional percentage for that. Along with that notice was a letter of formal finding, various information about picking up life insurance and a number of other items.

    Within a week the back money was in my account. I also filed for additional compensation for dependents and that was approved in 2 weeks along with all back monies being deposited in my checking account.

    From what I can find out, the VA is runnning a pilot program in 13 areas across the country where they want to cut processing time to 90 days.
    In my case, I am very pleased. It was fast, efficent and the results were OUTSTANDING !

  7. #7
    Thank you for this information it is very helpful.

  8. #8

    Wink Very Good

    We need more of this info, thank you

  9. #9
    The VA and military claims process is very confusing and frustrating. It is successful due to the lack of knowledge of the veterans and service members who apply for benefits. In my 9 years of doing claims work I see how the lack of knowledge has been used against veterans and service members. The VA and military process is a LEGAL matter. There are regulations that are used to determine service connection and the level of disability. You can go to doctor’s appointments and act the plum fool; however, if the proper symptoms are not documented you will just be wasting your time. Doctors do not work at the VA Regional Offices. The raters and Compensation & Pension (C&P) examiners review your claim folder looking for the documented symptoms and link to service documented by your treating physician (civilian or VA). If it is there, benefit granted in no time; if not, you’re on appeal for years and mad as hell. Contrary to Marine Corps logic, everything cannot be settled by force. What happened to knowing your enemy, and using their weakness to your advantage? In the days of people shooting up places, the VA is not standing for aggressive behavior. You may get the 100%, but get labeled incompetent and you will have someone giving you an allowance a month. If you can spend the time reading and posting on these threads, you can spend 10 minutes reading the VA rating criteria prior to going to your appointment, so that you can give your doctor the true symptoms you suffer, that are in line with the VA’s rating criteria. I trust that we all have integrity here, and will not relay false symptoms for monetary gain. With that said, I also know that it is hard for Marines to admit to a problem, be it mental of physical. Knowing what to discuss with your doctors can not only assist in the proper benefits, but the proper treatment. The website has been changed since I posted my VA Claims Tips. Here is the corrected one: [FONT='Arial','sans-serif'][/FONT][FONT='Arial','sans-serif'][/FONT]
    [FONT='Arial','sans-serif']Vent here, but be prepared when you go to your doctor’s appointments. Stay focus. Don’t let them get you in a tizzy. Remember, they have to weed out the malingerers, and they too have rules, guidelines, and questions they must ask. If you are issued a knee brace, ask why. Make sure they document the reason for the course of treatment. Getting issued braces, crutches, medications, x-rays, MRIs, etc… does not diagnosis or link a condition to service, that’s just treatment that the government promised every veteran.[/FONT]

  10. #10
    If you follow the advice given to you at the top of this form you should be sucessful at recieving your due compinsation for your wounds and or injuries! Please do not take this as welfare it is not,we owe are Vets. far more than we do. It is a small way to pay back what you lost defending our country. Thank You.
    " Semper Fi "

  11. #11
    Marine Free Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    front range
    Blog Entries
    ONLY problem is if you suck it up as a good marine does,and years pass, like back,hearing,jungle rot, and have no doc records, its a hard hill to climb. now if you got on in right after discharge, and file a claim you are in, but when i got out i thought only the weak made a claim, iam a marine i will deal with my problems by myself, my father said the VA is for the wounded , iam 80% dis able it wasnt that hard ,they just used my c files, i think the key is claim right when you get out . and doctor after yearss go by .and things start happing to your head and body that are service conn its about 50 times faster,i could be wrong, just my take on it,

  12. #12
    Marine Free Member rufus1's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Morganton, N.C.
    Good advise about going early and getting in because I also was one that looked on everything as I am a Marine and I can handle it myself. I was told I had PTSD but didn't seek help until i dreamed that I killed my wife while fighting in a dream. I stay by myself and keep my back to the wall also and I guess it will always be that way but I have a better understanding about what is going on now. Going through my second wife because I stay at home and seldon go out to places but don't drink like I use to but still like to go out in the Blue Ridge Mountains and just sit. Presently 100% due to Agent Orange problems (Cancer).Slipped Back Into The World
    Vietnam. The word brings different images to different people, often with some sort of negative connotation of a quagmire of a war fought as much in the political arena as on the battlefield, although the stakes were much higher for those on the battlefield. Most people I think would even have trouble finding Vietnam on a map, if they could do it at all.
    When I think of Vietnam, I think of "Joe". Joe can find Vietnam without a map. He usually finds it in the middle of the night when he wakes up in a cold sweat and shaking because he just realized that he's still alive... again. He's been finding it every night for 40 years, but he probably won't tell you about it because the first time he tried to tell someone he got burned. The last time, nobody cared anymore.
    Joe isn't one person of course, he's 3 million American's who went to Vietnam for no other reason than their country asked them to and then shamed them for going. 58 thousand of them came home in boxes; 155 thousand came home in pieces and the rest wake up at night shaking. That's Joe.
    My Joe is a smaller group of people, maybe half a dozen that have I been honored to know and have blended together to try and tell a bit of their story. Joe decided to join the service in 1967 because at 18, he thought he could make a difference in the world. He went to his local recruiter and proudly announced that he was there to join the war effort to go stop communists in Vietnam. After an interview and a couple of weeks of meetings and evaluations, it was decided that he would he would leave for boot camp in 6 weeks. Several days later at the dinner table of his parents' home, he received a phone call letting him know that a slot had become available immediately and that he could leave for boot camp the following morning.
    Unfortunately, he had neglected to tell his parents anything about his plans yet. Why should he have? He still had six more weeks, and that is a LONG time... well, it is if your 18, isn't it? "Mom, Dad, I have something I need to talk to you about. I've been thinking about it and, well, I've joined the military and I'm going to serve in Vietnam. I know what you're thinking, but I've already made up my mind and I signed all the papers earlier today." Silence. "Mom... Dad?" Finally, dad mustered up a few words. "When do you leave?" "Tomorrow morning. I go to boot camp for 13 weeks and then probably straight to Vietnam. I don't know when I'll be home again after tonight."
    His mother now lost what remaining vestige of calm she had left and fled the room in tears. Dad was able to keep control of himself in rapt silence, but Joe found out later that he had a nervous breakdown not long after he left for the war and Mom ended up being the glue that held the family together.
    Boot Camp is where you lose your identity and then get a new one back. You are stripped of any sense of self, and you learn a humility that is beyond imagination to most of us. I'm not just talking about sleeping in a bunkhouse with 100 other people or changing your clothes in public. I'm talking about 10 toilets in a room with no walls or doors. Variations on the word "I" will be used only under pain of a million pushups, and replaced with "this recruit". The closest you will come to even being acknowledged by your peers is when you are screamed at by a drill instructor at 3 o'clock in the morning because there is a bug on your bunk, because you have no peers.
    You are a recruit, and that is the worst scum on the earth. Even the other recruits aren't your peers, because they are you. All sense of identity is lost here. What comes out at the other end however, is a sight to behold. Boys come out men and girls come out women with a whole new identity. They are the most polite, cleanest, responsible, and well behaved group of young people you ever will meet. They are also your worst nightmare if they need to be.
    Joe actually liked boot camp. Sure, he would write letters home complaining about the food, or more specifically the lack of it, or about the drill instructors and the physical demands, but he felt like he was starting to fit in. He was learning to trust himself, and to trust the person on his left and the one on his right. And as much of a jerk as that drill instructor seemed to be, Joe was coming to realize that this was a person he would never forget. To this day, he has not.
    On graduation day, Joe and his fellow recruits were marched onto the parade grounds to perform a very elaborate ceremony that would be witnessed by a handful of officers and noncoms but an otherwise empty grandstand. Joe's parents were not there, but he expected that, no one's parents were there. To the outside observer, it must have seemed a very lonely and sad day, but Joe had never felt like he belonged anywhere more than he belonged here at this exact moment. These were his people now.
    For the next three years, Joe's story mostly disappears for those of us who stayed home. To be sure we have movies and books and newsreels, but for the most part we don't hear the stories from the people who lived them and I'm not sure we ever will. I'm not sure we ever want to.
    For something to be so horrible that close to 3 million men and women hold it inside for nearly 40 years, it cannot be easy to bear. What we do hear is the stories of friendship and the bonds that were created between them, which is where my Joe comes back into the telling. His best friend was kneeling over him holding his hand and trying to reassure him that he was going to be all right.
    Joe was bleeding badly and his unit was in the middle of an intense firefight but he could hear the helicopters finally coming in to get him and the other wounded out. He had no idea how badly he had been hit, but he knew that he couldn't move his arm and that he was starting to lose consciousness. His friend had patched him up as best as he could and helped get him on the waiting helicopter, which then sped out of the jungle without time for a goodbye. They would not see each other again for 40 years, not even knowing if the other was still alive but when they finally did meet again, it was as if two brothers long ago separated had found each other. They had both cheated death together, and they knew it.
    His next memory is of being in a bunk on board a naval hospital ship in pain and without enough room in his bunk even to roll over, let alone get comfortable. He had just about decided that his life was as bad as it possibly could get when he turned to look at a young man in the bunk below him who was driving him nuts with all of his moaning and whining. The young man was in a similar bunk, but he was confined to his back not because of the cramped space, but because he no longer had arms or legs. It was at that moment that Joe decided never to feel sorry for himself again; to my knowledge, he never has.
    Eighteen months later, the war now over for him and his wounds as much healed as they were ever likely to get, Joe came home on a commercial flight and landed at his hometown airport. There was no pomp or fanfare or cheering throngs with welcome home signs. He was one of the lucky ones, left alone that night. No protesters were there to meet him because it was too late in the evening to be bothered with going out to spit on another soldier or call him a baby killer and so he quietly grabbed his bags, walked out of the terminal and slipped back into the world as alone as he was the day before boot camp. The country he had given so much of himself to didn't even know he was home, and sometimes didn't care.
    Today, Joe is an executive, and a truck driver, and a teacher, and a police officer, and a friend. Sadly, he or she may have gotten too lost to get back and is no longer with us, but more often he is right among us still hanging onto an anonymity that protects him from any more hurt. More and more though, he is starting to emerge as America finally starts to understand that he is still here and deserving of our respect. He organizes crowds at the airport to make sure that our newest generation of fighting men and women come home to the sort of welcome that he should have had. He volunteers to pack care packages for our troops overseas even after working ten hours and driving 90 minutes to get there, and he gives his dog tags to a young Marine heading into battle.
    As a society, we need to make sure that he keeps coming out; that he knows that we are a grateful nation and understand that without his sacrifice, not even protests would have been possible, let alone prosperity and freedom. If you know a veteran, tell him thank you; it might just be the first time anyone ever has. Write a letter and take it to the Veteran's Affairs office. Do something to let these men and women know that they don't need to hide anymore, that we're proud of them, and that we get it at last. And if you see someone wearing a yellow bar tipped on the ends in green with three vertical red stripes through the middle, that's Joe. Shake his hand and tell him that you know who he is, and that you appreciate what he did. Remember, he's been to h≪ he'd go again if we asked him to, and he might go there tonight before he wakes up shaking.
    Thanks Joe... and Roger... and Mike... and Lloyd... and Jim...
    Reply Forward (THIS SAY IT ALL) (BELOW IS ANOTHER VERY TRUE ARTICLE)I lost my son February 27, 2010. After spending a couple of days with fellow Marines, I was inspired to write this and wanted to share it.
    Kari Underkofer
    A Marine
    To most, a Marine is a young handsome son in uniform serving his country, but there is a far greater depth to he that is called a Marine.
    There are many who desire the title of Marine, but few that are able to give themselves to this calling.
    It takes a great inner strength and fortitude to even complete the training that is required of a Marine.
    A transformation of one's self takes place and a lifetime brotherhood bond is established between each and every Marine.
    A Marine is a different breed of character and only their own understand this tie to one another.
    A Marine is the first one on the battle field, eye to eye with the enemy, knocking down doors and removing threats.
    They will go days without hot meals or showers. Their beds will be shoveled out dirt holes that fill with water and mud.
    They are exposed to the elements of heat and cold, with only their fellow Marine to keep them warm or care to their wounds.
    A Marine may be wounded from blasts or explosions, run on broken limbs, but will continue on until the mission is complete.
    They will risk everything to save one another. They will retrieve their brother's bodies from the battlefield, as no man is left behind.
    But the battle does not end here, it continues on in every Marine's memory, all for the sake of freedom so that we, as civilians may speak our minds, go to a McDonald's or grab a cup of moxie.
    The Marine continues to bear this burden for us. He trembles inside at loud noises, his heartbeat races in crowds of people, he continues on high alert to ensure his safety.
    He sometimes attempts to silence this burden with alcohol, pills, and drugs. His home life is often damaged with anger because he cannot speak of what he feels.
    My friend, this is the price of our freedom. The reason we can take a walk on safe ground, have good food and clean water, raise our children and send them to school so their lives may be better than our own.
    The sacrifices made by these men are daunting.
    The United States Marine Corps took my son Joe and returned to me a warrior, Chango. The good Lord took Chango, but returned to me hundreds of sons in the United States Marine Corps.
    Their love for their fellow Marine, brother and family is overwhelming.
    I am privileged that God would entrust me with such an honor as to give birth to a Marine.
    Although Chango now guards the gates of heaven, he continues to live on through each and every United States Marine.
    May God send his angels of peace to touch each Marine and may every United States citizen take the time to truly understand that your freedom is not free.
    God love the Marines
    Reply Reply to all Forward

  13. #13
    Marine Free Member
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    Nov 2009
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    i didnt make it to hot springs sd for my 6wk program.mile marker 87 in wyoming.two antelope ran in front of me and i total my car ,ended up in hosptal ,to me thats sucks .i was realy looking forword to the program, i wonder why i didnt die in the wreck, its tuff to get loose from this thing(ptsd),when i was knock out went back to nam and remember things i forgot, real bad things, all i have to say is fck............................................... ...........usmc

  14. #14
    Dear rufus 1 and koelobo-How you Do'in?-What you say Rufus-is True-most Marines-are too proud-to ever ask for Help.They keep everything inside-some can manage-for their entire life.Others begin to realize that something is wrong with them.They may have extreme rage-or don't know why they just put their fist through a wall.Things have a way of sneaking up on you.You cant run and you cant hide-When you feel bad-it's real bad-I believe I have been there.Koelobo-I have felt just like you expressed.Sometimes you just have to rough it out.It's you against yourself-Who needs it.

  15. #15
    Dear Ed Palmer, and Always Will Be-You guys said it right.Always Document your" Sick-Call"and make" A Copy OF Your Health Record"-before you get out of the Corps.There's nothing more important.This way if some-Military Official-tells you." UH-the place where your records were kept "Burned-Down"-you will still have your Official Health "Record" to submit if you have to.Make two copies-keep one in a vault-Always Will Be-I know about "Tinnitus"-sorry Brother-God Bless Everyone Here.Semper FI

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