Chuck has asked us to re post this information! I am still available via computer to assist my fellow AMMO guys and any honorably discharged veteran when it comes to filing a claim with the VA for "earned" benefits. I do not assist with frivolous or unsubstantiated claims and those who are obviously trying to beat the system. Together we can determine if you have the basis for a valid claim, and if so, we will work as a team preparing a claim. I will walk you thru the entire process up until the point of having the claim ready to be submitted...all FREE! My way of giving back to the AMMO folks.
Take a closer look at my email address and note that it is [email protected] .
I use this address exclusively for assisting my fellow vets with filing claims with the VA.
Quite probably there are more than just a few of us who know way too little about our Veterans Benefits and how to get those that apply to us. Well Chuck Norton just gave us all a link to some help. Here is what Chuck has to say:
Just for you info and for our fellow AMMO chiefs, I speak at Robins AFB each month on how to “properly prepare” a claim before submitting it to the VA. I have been doing this for 5 years now. I also am the service officer for my local VFW and my local American Legion Posts. I am willing to assist every vet out there who is honorably discharged, has a medical condition which can be directly associated with their ACTIVE DUTY military service. I work with many fellow Vietnam Vets, as I too am 100% service-connected due to my service in Vietnam.
Any vet can contact me at this email address for absolutely-FREE-assistance. I communicate with as many as 25 fellow vets on any given day and walk them thru the process. I never have to meet them or actually speak to them. I do it all on the computer and I give each vet personal assistance from me. I stick with them thru the claims process, thru the C&P exam, any follow-up paperwork and wait with them for the results back from the VA.
I am three times retired…never need to be paid for anything I do for the remainder of my life, and simply want to give back to my fellow veterans.
By all means feel free to spread the word that I am willing to assist. It would be helpful if everyone put something like “VA assistance” in the subject block so it does not go into the junk mail file. I will need info such as…what are you claiming to be a service-connected disabling condition. If you currently have a VA disability rating are wanting to increase the rating, I need details. If you are a Vietnam or Gulf war vet, I need that info as well. Several presumed diseases are automatically awarded VA compensation.
I have lots of info already stored on my computer and can easily send it to anyone who would like it. I put it in my own words so it is easy to understand. I will send you some of the info so you can see what I am talking about…
You can contact Chuck at: chuck norton <[email protected]>
TEN RULES FOR DOING BUSINESS WITH THE VA
RULE #1… There is no claim if it cannot be proved.
You bear the burden of providing sufficient evidence that your injury or illness is more likely than not to have occurred in the service. Otherwise, the VA will deny your claim.
RULE #2…Do not file for compensation benefits unless you have all
This is especially true if you are filing while on active duty. Instead, file an “INFORMAL CLAIM” for the benefits. This action protects your date of entitlement up to one year and allows you to do the job right. It prevents the VA from prematurely denying benefits because you have not submitted sufficient evidence for them to rate the claim.
RULE #3…What do you do if your claim is denied? APPEAL it!
The VA is not right just because it said no. Claims for complex issues, such as PTSD, undiagnosed illnesses, and heart disease, often are denied because the individuals responsible for rating the claims have no experience in law, medicine, or occupational limitation imposed by injuries or illnesses. Another reason for so many errors is that the adjudication groups are pressured to clear as many claims as possible or it affects their annual performance pay bonus. If the claim is denied, they get credit for completing a claim action.
RULE #4…Know the rules the VA must follow.
It’s easy to access their statutes, regulations, manuals, legal opinions, and pertinent case law. If they in any way stray from the golden rule then drop the hammer on them.
RULE #5…Take your medical records to a non-VA specialist along with
the appropriate VA diagnostic code.
It is more likely than not that a physician’s assistant will perform the VA medical evaluations, nurse, nurse practitioner, or a retired general practitioner. The findings of these marginally qualified medical staff members are another reason why many claims are denied. If this happens to you, start yelling “flawed examination” by filing a “Notice of Disagreement” (appeal) immediately. Take someone with you when being examined. Later they can offer a sworn statement as to what kind of questions you were asked, how long the exam lasted, what the medical findings were, if the examiner followed the proper protocol, and if the Compensation and Pension (C&P) examiner had your claim file and reviewed it prior to the exam. One last thing: C&P examinations have been known to tell you one thing and file a report that is entirely different. Remember to yell “Flawed” and file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD).
RULE #6…If you are claiming a disability based on a combat injury or illness and have related awards or decorations, be sure to mention this in your claim.
The VA must accept your explanation if your service records show you have a Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, or Air Medal with V device along with other awards and decorations. This cuts out all of the guesswork on their part. They only have to evaluate the degree of disability as indicated by the medical evidence.
RULE #7…Become a paper PI, learn how to track key evidence to support your claim.
Here are several examples where evidence may be hiding: after-action reports, unit’s history, sworn statement from those who were with you, and your sworn statement detailing the events and circumstances.
RULE #8…Look for a qualified advocate if you need assistance.
You can measure their worth by how well they know VA regulations, manuals, and case law. You do not want to join up with a service officer who can only fill out VA forms. Ask them how many appeals they have filed and how many cases they have won. Look for the service officer who says “OH YES!! I’ll go head to head with the VA”.
RULE #9…Read every letter from the VA with great care.
Immediately after filing a claim (approximately three months later), the VA will send you a notice titled Expedited Action Attachment. Do not let yourself be forced into allowing them to expedite the process of you claim. You have ONE YEAR by law from the date they received your claim to submit all the evidence before they can render a final decision. They may even send you a notice after sixty days to say that they are denying your claim for failure to provide compelling evidence. Do not ever believe them! Respond by sending then a Notice of Disagreement stating you have by law one full year to submit the necessary evidence to support your claim.
RULE #10…Join and support service organizations (such as VFW, DAV, American Legion, etc).
ALWAYS REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT A “CUSTOMER”!!
In VA facilities throughout the country there are signs and banners stating “We support our veteran customers!”. American Indians expressed it best by saying “The big Washington chief speaks with forked tongue”. Always remember the White House, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Department of Veteran Affairs see you as nothing more than an expense they wish to minimize. You have already paid dearly for these benefits. Therefore, to keep what you are entitled to, band together with your fellow veterans and dig in. Hold the line when they want to cut benefits. Make them comply with the laws as provided by Congress. A report establishing how many of the White House staff, including the executives, OMB, and all the political appointees in the Department of Veterans Affairs have had actual combat experience would make interesting reading.
The only way veterans can tip the odds in their favor is to know exactly what their rights are and how to go about protecting them.
I recommend the following books for everyone who is currently serving or who has served in our military forces.
A. 2008 edition…Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents…The cost is $5.00…toll free 1-866-512-1800..credit cards accepted. This book tell about your EARNED benefits because of your military service and is a must read for veterans and their spouses.
B. 2008 edition..Retired Military Almanac..cost is $15.50 which includes shipping and handling..toll free 1-888-872-9698.. credit cards accepted. This book contains all sorts of info about your different benefits, such as…SBP, Tricare, Tricare for Life, Social Security,ID cards, Health Benefits and too many other items to write here.
C. For those who are in active duty, the Guard or Reserves, there is a book tailored especially for you. You must ask for the active duty, Guard or Reserves book specifically. Same price, same phone number.
Let me comment again, about why all veterans should belong to and support a Service Organization such as the VFW, American Legion, and DAV. Not only do you have the opportunity to learn more about your benefits, you have a Service Officer in each of these organizations whose duty it is to assist every veteran, their spouses, and their children in understanding their benefits and assist them in filing a claim with the VA.
I also want to remind everyone that you can submit a claim with your local State Veteran Service Representative or if you have a VA representative in your area you can submit it through them. Any questions you may have should be addressed to the VA at their toll free number… 1-800-827-1000.
It is my opinion that if a veteran truly has a disabling condition which can be directly attributed to their military service and is adequately documented in their military medical records, they can win their claim every time by following the steps listed above.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW UNTIL YOU KNOW YOU DON’T KNOW IT!!
CMSGT, USAF, Retired
Veterans Advocate [email protected]