Proven Tips For Higher VA Disability Ratings For Disabled Veterans

Part 1 of 4

Starting your VA claim for disability compensation

I’ll start by explaining what I did and why it was wrong to help other disabled veterans NOT do what I did. Consider this a case of do what I say, not what I did. It is important to not repeat the following because it will cause a lengthy appeal process – and there is nothing worse than a 10-year appeal process. It’s like waiting for your IRS tax refund, except its more money and, like Rip Van Winkle, I look a whole lot older.

Don’t be dumb. I hand wrote my initial application for compensation without reviewing my Service Medical Records (SMRs). My claim led with the statement: “see supporting medical documentation in my file.” This was dumb. Imagine someone sending you a hand written, 300-page manuscript (doctor’s scribbles plus my own) and allowed you 4 hours to read it. Then they ask you a ton of questions that are legally binding. That is what I asked the VA to do 10 years ago. In reality, the VA adjudication process is very complex and time consuming for the veteran and the VA. Do not expect the VA to connect the dots. This is your job if you choose to take it, or you’ll be older and fatter still fighting the good fight, like me.

Get started. For veterans with copies of their SMRs, get moving. Any condition diagnosed within one year of separation could be considered service connected, even if it was undiagnosed in service. For those without the records, request a copy of your SMR’s from your local regional office. Mail in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Click here to find a sample FOIA letter. Once you have the chance to review the documents, you can begin your own research.

Research every condition and injury you have within your medical records (about the possible presumptive conditions that show up within one year – bring these up too). To do this, identify the key terms and find them in 38 CFR Part 4: Schedule of Ratings. For example, let’s say you have Sinusitis. Within your records, you can document 5 different occasions that you went to the doctor for the condition (like allergies, congestion, etc). Go to the CFR and find Sinusitis. A quick way to do this is to click [Control + F] and type in Sinusitis. This should lead you right to the rating criteria. Notice for the condition, the requirements “either or” tendency. Here, you either have periods of incapacitation or you have “non-incapacitating” episodes. Decide where you currently fall into the rating schedule. Then, you can Google the condition on either regular Google or Google Scholar. Read about what Sinusitis actually is and what causes it. Get educated on each and every condition you are claiming this same way.

Write up a summary of all the conditions and include dates of treatment while in service and after. You do not need to seek medical attention for every issue in order to document it. For example, incapacitating episodes are considered episodes that required a doctor’s visit. Non-incapacitating episodes are not. A person can self-medicate certain conditions. But always remember, the condition needs to be current in order to count. If it stopped hurting last year, then you will likely not get a rating for it.

Come to to read the rest on the topic, soup to nuts.

# # # # #

Voc Rehab Survival GuideBenjamin Krause is an award winning investigative journalist, attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He wrote his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans, after winning his long fight for benefits against VA to help other veterans do the same. Benjamin is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

About the Author

Benjamin Krause
Benjamin Krause is a Veterans Benefits Attorney and journalist who investigates problems veterans face with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He regularly reports on veterans' benefits news and analysis on the website
  • Phil

    You can use a VSO to start your claim. I did. Quite sucessfully. The VARO referred me to the best one they knew of. He was good. He jokingly made the comment that he spent half of his time on a plane at va expense to be constantly updated and retrained. He said he was sure there were times the VARO regretted training him so well. LOL
    Also, get your claim started as soon as possible. You can just submit a 21- 4138 with the conditions you want to claim. Then follow it up with additional evidence. The sooner you start the sooner the cash register starts going ka ching the first of every month the VA drags it’s feet. You can always add evidence right up to the time the ratings schedulers start looking at your claim. And that can take awhile. Also, if you start your claim within the first year of your discharge, your benefits will be paid backdated to your date of discharge. A nice lump sum if you get 100% or 70% and IU.
    If in doubt, see your nearest VFW VSO or call your nearest VARO and they can help you start your claim.
    And NEVER, NEVER, EVER, appeal a claim. It goes into limbo for years and there is nothing you can do with it once it goes into the black hole. Just reopen with new evidence. As soon as you get an award letter you do not like, submit an NOD. Notice of Dissagreement. Then follow up with new evidence. Request that the claim be reopened by a DRO. Decision Review Officer. They have better training, more authority, and can reverse a ratings board decision. My local VARO told me this. I was lucky enough to speak directly to the VARO director himself. The Regional Office “Top Gun”. He was right. I did what he said and it came up roses.

    • Ben

      Hey Phil – you are right on regarding the VSO. I got the information I believe from VA years ago. After your comments, I looked into it and found that you were correct. Thanks!

      • Phil

        Hi Ben. From a fellow vet who has always tried to help some of the people who have asked me questions over the years, I applaud your efforts. I usually tell them a little about myself and then refer them to one of the organizations that can help or to men like you.
        I just got lucky. I was very lucky to have the services of a US Air Force E 9 who was our VSO . He really went the last mile to help me. I could not have done it without him.
        My kid sister’s only son is an air force C17 driver. He loves it and will stay for a full career. I think from conception he was intended to be a globe master pilot. He is at his best in the left seat of a c 17.
        I bought him a regulation flight jacket while he was in high school and he wore it all the time. He got a $110,000 dollar scholarship from the air force to go to college and was commissioned at his graduation. I was there to give him his first salute as a new 2nd Lt. Oh shit, now I am crying.
        Anyway, thanks for all you do and have done.
        Phillip W. Johnson USN retired

    • kwaiyai

      There’s nothing wrong with APPEALING a claim. If you have the evidence up front you won’t need to APPEAL. Submitting an NOD and requesting a De Nouvo Review by the DRO is part of the APPEAL process. The DRO is basically a supervisor/manager of the Rater. You can’t reopen a claim with the DRO, it goes back through the whole rating process. Being in limbo for months/years tests patience but it will pay off if you get the grant. If you follow Phil’s advice of reopening versus APPEAL you’ll probably lose your retroactive payment. I agree with article – prepare the VA make a favorable grant on your claim first but APPEAL when necessary.

      • cori

        I understander why you would think waiting months/years for an appeal but for some of us, it’s not really an option. I have TMJD and IBS and the VA refused me compensation. with those pre-existing conditions not insurance will have me and conditions go untreated. I can ‘t afford to wait years.

    • DAY8293

      I was briefed in 1976 that I worked on our C-130 in Guam, after it flew through a Chinese radiation cloud, and was not decontaminated, along with a large group of people in the base theater with guards on the doors. But, we were told not to worry,,, then why all the guards??? And, as we were boarding to leave Guam, the pilot asked if we all picked up our medical records at the hospital,,, which we were not allowed to take along on a 30 day TDY, but he brought all of our records along, unknown to us,,,, again ‘not to worry, you can request them when you get back to Keesler AFB..” Never saw my records again from basic training, where I injured my knee, and did not even march in my Graduation,, tech school, where I again injured my knee, broke a finger, had tonsil problems,etc etc. I finally got my congressman to get one thing,, a copy of my stay in the hospital for mononucleosis, which included a note of x-rays in Jun and Jul of 1975 in tech school when I broke my finger and injured my knee, but, no hospital notes about the x-rays. The records disappeared due to my exposure to working on the radioactive C-130. If I could find someone else at Guam in Sept 1976, I would have some proof. ,,, And to top it all off,,, I claimed my broken finger, and a “VA doctor” said ” X – rays taken at the time showed no abnormalities”… and yet, the hospital visit, and the x-ray is no longer in my records. Just another slap in the face… How do you deal with this kind if lying bast,,,,,s ????? forget the freedom of information act,,, My congressman requested info from DOD,, and they deny all knowledge to him,,,, Anyone else have any ideas??? Any lawyers out there know how to handle this???

    • Delta Jackson

      Phil, You are giving horrible adivce telling people to never appeal a claim. Timely appeals are what result in earlier effective dates under 38 CFR 3.400 (q) and 38 CFR 3.156. See also V.A. general Counsel Precedent Opinion 12-98 on earlier effective date of rating.

      • Weezy

        YUP, My appeal went just fine, actually IT CAME BACK approved before i sent in my additional EVIDENCE GO FIGURE God is good <3

    • clarence

      Hello my name is clarence, I was reduce to 30% from 50% and they took 20% from my left knee which that is the knee I have a ACL and at this time my doctor want me to have a knee replacement ASAP, the shot and pills does not help the pain and me walk on bone to bone. i have a appearl in now which it has been 1 year and it’s in stage 1 of BVA, I will have my knee oper. in Jan. which I will be requesting 100% do you think I should ask for DRO on this matter…..any advice would be helpful.

    • Vij

      I filed for my VA disability in Nov 09. I had 2 QTC exams. Finally, in Apr of 2011, I got the big brown envelope. It was 6 pages of denial rating and “reason”. I immediately appealed it in May. I was at my lowest point, but I wanted to finish what I started. In mid Oct, I received another envelope. I was approved for 100% IU. I went through the DRO. Had I not appealed, I would still be working in constant pain and eventually end up in a wheelchair. My condition is degenerative. Veterans, NEVER GIVE UP!

  • Phil

    You can use a VSO to start your claim. I did. Quite sucessfully. The VARO referred me to the best one they knew of. He was good. He jokingly made the comment that he spent half of his time on a plane at va expense to be constantly updated and retrained. He said he was sure there were times the VARO regretted training him so well. LOL

    • axel paulsen

      do you know how we obtain a VA attorney to help us,

    • LOU





  • BDM

    You never listed (IN PLAIN VIEW) the top 10 places to retire.

  • hele

    @blue devil: Yes, it is amazing that maybe you are misled. “a number of new programs just announced today that he has been assembling over the last year” – really? What programs are you talking about and, right, HE has assembled them over a year? Talking to troops ever so few in between, as he and Mrs. Obama do, is a political move and not because he cares. I remember Mr. Obama was visiting Germany and it was scheduled to fly him per helicopter from Berlin to Karlsruhe to talk to the wounded troops – short flight, weather good. Everything was ready, but no, he cancelled and went to the fitness center instead. Everything from the White House is “action” now, because, they finally realize, the people are not as dumb as thought and also do not take it. I have always said, any president, the Commander-in-Chief, should be required to have some military experience. If one applies for any job – education counts- but the experience is really what is more important to get the job.

  • joe mortenson

    Tracy you are correct, the president allociated $ 14.5 billion for the three new diseases that was found by the I.M.O. in 2010, and another $50billion over the next five years. I realize this takes time, my family and i have been waiting very long, and we have a lawyer.

  • Gerard

    President with military experience

    There are very few politicians/statements who have any military experience.

    • Tomvet

      that’s a fact

    • U.S.Navy (ret)

      Very true, and those who do are senile and antiquated. Look at McCain! His only claim to fame is having been a POW. That does NOT make him hero. His political acumen is appalling as is his bogtry. He was elected through sympathy alone. A Navy pilot does not a politician make. He consistently has shot down Veteran’s benefits that he himself enjoys. He collects 100% VA Disability, concurrently with 100% military retirement, concurrently with 100% Social Security, concurrently with his salary as a Senator (and I use that term very lightly). This is the kind of “veteran” morons we have in congress and the senate looking out for the Veterans’ welfare? Had he been elected President and thus CINC we would be in worse crap than we are now as he is a hawk who wants to escalate the existing battles (wars) already engaged in. Why is it that every Republican is so intent on making “W” a god for his disasterous missteps taken only to codify his father’s misjudgement and his own Napolean complex?

      • Tomvet

        The Iraq War was the very reason I quit the republican party, One would think that a vet who is in political office would be looking out for other vets, when in most cases they don’t. I can’t stand to hear most of these desk jockeys send our military into harms way knowing that a lot aren’t going to come alive

  • Tomvet

    Obama has come through more for vets than any other President in resent history, a hell of a lot more than John McCain would have. I have been a member of both parties at one time or another, I belong to no party now not even the Tea Party. there are no politics in my statement. Just what I believe to be the truth

  • CavScoutSniper

    All candidates for President should be Honorably Discharged veterans. But then they are supposed to be U.S. Citizens as well. The simple fact is, the 2 so-called parties pick the candidates, not we the people. The Ruling Class is just that! We The People have been screwed and it will not change because the average American can’t commit or even remember past thier last meal. Until we come together as one people and force “write in” candidates to be elected nothing is going to change. Expect the cost of living to continue to eise and your standard of living to continue to fall ‘cuz that is the way it is. If you need proof just look at the past 30 years and where we were to where we are. What a shame, the Foundinf Fathers must be spinning in thier graves.

    • jack

      If that so call Honorably Discharge veteran had won, a lot of V.A . hospitals would be close and we would be on a limited voucher program

  • CavScoutSniper

    Cost of living to continue to RISE that is. Sorry for the typo.

  • Allen Riley
    I am in desperate need of some sound advice/info. While on active duty in theNavy, I substained critical injuries in a MVA and my wife was deceased.
    Severe head injuries was my worse injury and I am suffering from the brain damage as well as bi-polar/manic depressive. Recently I have been advised to have partial knee replacement from a related knee injury.
    Since seperation from service, I have been rated disabled through Social Security and I draw disablity for the injuries that I substained.
    However, I do want to mention that I received a less than honorable seperation. What can I do,do I have any entitlementsor can I do Any Thing?
    Very Sincerly,


  • sgt.GL

    Every one is bitching about this and that, if you want change get INVOLVED.

  • Dow78

    It looks like you have a long battle better start today. First I wouldf call attourneys who handle your type of claim. Also I’m sure it depends on what was your less than honable dicharge circumstances are. However all have good intel on what your gonna be in for!
    I was hurt in 1978 when I was a kid in the 101st airborne , hurt my back spent time in the hospital ,then went to STB to start special trianing, days later apparently they had a medboard without me present, I got home couldn’t hold a job from my back injury, subsequently a total of five back surgies, with multible complications. I wrote a letter that I thouht I should get some kind of medicail treatment and benifits it was denied. In 2004 my wife was hurt during Iraqy Freedom, I told the Marine my story he got the ball rollin g I was awarded 10 percent for failed back syndrome, then I started adding all the secondary conditions from the Injury, I started in 2004 it is now 2011 I recieved my 100 percent about a year ago, all the money from 1978 is lost becuase I did not appeal it, says my DAV Rep. I am going to be 52 this year.
    I lost approx 250.000 in compensation becuase I was a kid ,and becuase nobody told me what to do.

  • kgc

    ADR – Go talk to the VA folks. The military and the VA have learned a lot more about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you suffered an injury, then had personality changes that resulted in your receiving a less than honorable, you may be able to appeal your discharge. Regardless, you are entitled to assistance as a veteran.

  • buldawg

    Ben, I hope you give better advice than your comments here show. As an “expert” you cited sinusitis as your example. You noted that an incapacitating episode is one in which you visited a physician. That is not true. According to 38CFR4.97 “An incapacitating episode of sinusitis means one that requires bed rest and treatment by a physician.” Note the word “and”. Not only does the vet have to be treated by a physician, as you stated, but that physician must also prescribe bed rest. As far as the non-incapacitating sinus episodes are concerned, you need more than merely your subjective history of symptoms. There needs to be some objective evidence that you really have suffered from this.
    Also, your advise to submit lengthy written statements is not entirely accurate. While this may help in some cases, most often the best course (other than getting a competent VSO) is to submit objective medical evidence/opinions regarding your claimed condition. Very lengthy written statements take much time to review and in most cases have very limited probative value in the absence of sound objective medical evidence, which normally stands on it’s own anyway.
    Also, you nor most of the readers responding to this and other VA disability posts seem to understand the VA certainly has a responsibility to our veterans, especially those with service related disabilities or injuries. However, the VA also has a responsibility to the American taxpayer as stewards of billions of dollars of VA benefits paid out each month.

    • Disabled Vet

      An optional peice of evidence that you may also provide to support your case. Written statements from your co-workers and your bosses on how you disability affects your ability to function on the job. I submited letters from my peers and entire per say, chain of command in the civilian work force, on how my condition affected my performance at work when I had deabilitating episodes at work which forced me to leave work early, work from home on days and adjust my hours of work on other days. Credible written statements like these can help give the VA a better picture of what you are going through. But to be valid, they have to have information availiable so that these can be verified, and they are willing to talk to the VA if contacted in person to validate their statements. If you are having problems that affect your job performance, your bosses and co-workers should feel secure enough to take on this responsibility to help you out. Granted I had some people that were scared of being contacted, and did not want to be envolved, but I had more professional co-workers than those that did not want to be talked to or be involved even know they agreed with my condition. You just have to respect those as they come.

      • buldawg

        You told us in another post that you are paid at the 100% rate due to Individual Unemployabilty. In that case, you are correct these lay statements to which you refer can be important. However, in the vast majority of issues, these mean nothing and merely slow down the process. If one is only looking for a schedular increase, the law does not allow VA to use anecdotal tales of how your condition affects you. The law spells out specific objective medical finding required for each evaluation.
        The statement you referenced only helped your decision because you were already claiming IU…or the statements could have been taken as a claim for IU and your combined schedular rating met the requirement for you to be considered for IU.
        While the situation you describe is not rare, per se, it is not common either. Also, just a technicality, you didn’t get directly increased from 20% to being paid at the 100% rate for IU. It may have all happened as one rating, but before you could be considered for IU, your schedular rating would have had to been increased according to 38CFR4.16.

        • Ben

          -Lay Evidence Means Something-

          Attorney Chris Attig points out that claims like “lay statements mean nothing” are not based on current law, on which VA decisions are supposed to be based. (

          According to the Federal Circuit Court (which has jurisdiction over the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Board of Veterans Appeals) lay evidence counts and is important. Like the above claim, many VA adjudicators are unaware of binding law when making decisions on veterans claims. It is claimed that lay evidence should not count because it is not “objective.” Not true according to the decision in Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F. 3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007). In its decision, the court stated:

          “In a veteran’s claim for benefits, lay evidence can be competent and sufficient to establish a diagnosis of a condition when (1) a layperson is competent to identify the medical condition, [such as a broken leg, but not a form cancer], (2) the layperson is reporting a contemporaneous medical diagnosis, or (3) lay testimony describing symptoms at the time supports a later diagnosis by a medical professional.”

          According to the court, “Contrary to the Veterans’ Court, the relevance of lay evidence is not limited to the third situation, but extends to the first two as well.” To that point, the VA Board of Appeals and the Veterans Court had been guilty of largely disregarding personal statements because they were not “objective.” They were wrong and the Federal Circuit had the last say, binding future VA decisions, since 2007.

          Unfortunately, many VA adjudicators are still unaware of the appropriate weight to allow lay evidence. But there is no situation where lay evidence should “mean nothing.” That claim disregards current law.

          • buldawg

            When a veteran files a claim, they will most always have a medical examination. This is generally required. The veteran can submit reams of lay statements concerning a condition and how it has affected them. However, if the examiner finds no evidence of any current condition, the claim will be denied. If the lay statements indicate the vet can’t hear, but the objective audiology shows his hearing is normal according to VA standards, his claim will be denied.
            As I stated, in MOST cases, the objective medical evidence speaks for itself and will certainly carry more probative weight than contrary lay statements. You and this attorney are correct in that each and every lay statement must be considered and addressed, they just very rarely affect the decision.
            The best course is to find a competent VSO who understands the regulations and heed their advise as to what to submit. A competent VSO is the best filter for anything you submit.

          • buldawg

            My apologies for double posting on this, but I just had a thought regarding your quote from Jandreau v Nicholson…the Court’s first example is actually ridiculous. If a veteran claims a broken leg and there is no objective evidence of a broken leg such as an x-ray showing the fracture, a treatment report referencing treatment for a broken leg or at least a current x-ray showing evidence of a healed fracture, that claim will be denied. However, with the stated evidence, the lay statement that he had a broken leg would not be needed. But it would have to be considered and addressed.

          • Ben

            I’m curious about the lay statements very rarely impacting the rating decision. Can you email me more information about that at: I could use your help understanding how the VA differentiates.

            The reason I say that is because there are many different situations where the lay statement of the veteran could be the difference between one rating or another. I used the sinusitis example above because 7 or more non-incapacitating episodes holds a different rating than 3-6, neither of which require a doctor’s visit or bedrest. Assuming you have an MRI or EEG showing that you have moderate sinusitis, the only way to know which rating to provide the veteran seems to be dependent on a competent lay statement from the veteran and/or buddy statements.

            The same thing is true for Raynaud’s and PTSD, for example.

            I agree about the example seeming odd. However, what I think the court was creating is a type of black and white legal test. Obvious injuries on one end and diseases on the other. Then, it is up to the court and/or adjudicator to decide less obvious situations in the grey area between those two points.

            Anyway, email me with some more information so I can understand how adjudicators are able to know when to use a lay statement or not. Thanks buldawg for your help!

          • Ben

            Here’s a great VA Appeals case where the veteran’s records were lost. He won his claim, based in part, on evidence from lay statements because the VA lost his medical records:

          • buldawg

            Ben, please re-read each of my comments. In each of my posts I have commented that in MOST cases lay cases carry less probative weight than objective medical evidence of record. This would imply that I am stating in SOME cases lay statement are needed. In fact, you even commented to Talley Girl just below my comment to her that in her case of lost records, lay statements would likely be beneficial.
            I also noted that in the case of lost records, the development letters from the VA should inform the vet what is needed. I guess I should have clarified my earlier comments to indicate that unsolicited lay statements are generally not beneficial because in most cases there must be some objective evidence shown and that will normally suffice for a decision to be rendered.

          • Ben

            Thanks buldawg.

            Here is the disconnect between what I am asking and your answer. I am asking for specific examples where a lay statement could be the difference between a rating of 50% or 30%. I am not talking, in this thread, about proving an initial service connection. Obviously in that instance, the VA examiner will need to determine if the condition even exists. However, sometimes their rating will be lower than what is actually present for the veteran. For example, how much does the veteran’s PTSD impact their ability to work or to maintain social relationships? Or, does the examiner use the word “moderate” or “mildly” when discussing the cognitive impact of a head injury?

            Stated another way: You use ambiguous noun modifiers on your comments, eg some and most. I gave a specific example of when a lay statement would help. In your expert opinion, when else would a lay statement help, specifically (as opposed to not help)? Like what conditions or instances?

            A lot of veterans could benefit from getting specific examples of when a lay statement could help. Email me if you’re not comfortable posting it. Thanks for your contribution.

    • Cee

      buldawg calm down. Ben did not say to submit lengthy written statements! He said that’s what he did and that it was dumb. He said for folks NOT to do what he had done.

  • Ronnal

    I have a brother who went to Army Boot Camp at FT Jackson, South Carolina. While going through the basic training, he broke his wrist and was sent home after the surgery to wrist and was told that he could return back when he got well and they discharged him from the Army because of this injury. When he got home he still had problems with his wrist, leg, and knees and had to get his knee operated on too. He was in the Army for about 45 to 60 days before he was discharged. He did not return to Army because his knees kept giving him problem along with his wrist. He was denied VA disability compensation because he was not in the military over 90 days. This person should still be entitled to compensation due to him getting hurt at Basic Training. Can anyone help me with this matter or who I should talk to get him his disability rating that he well deserves.

    Please contact me, Ronnal, at 843-767-8188, or call Detric, my injured brother, at 334-453-0497. You may email me back at to inform me what to do about this because he did get hurt at Boot Camp.

    • tank commander

      Whoever stated that there is a ninety day requirement is all wet. If this veteran was discharged honorably because of his injuries in boot camp he is entitled to having a VA Exam to determine if the injuries are still present and to what degree. He should seek the assistance of a service officer such as those in the Disabled American Veterans and file a claim for Compensation benefits on VA Form 21-526 which is available on the VA website to download.

  • Mark

    Any person that has had a Less than Honorable discharge, can get in touch with thier congressman and attempt to upgrade thier discharge to honorable. My son did that.

  • madasheck

    You said conditions deiscovered with in 1 year of sep can be service connected. I had VA medical diangnose a ton of stuff that the military also diagnosed and gues what the VA claims process said it not exist. I wrote a 25 page letter p;rovide a SMR with index and colorful tabs and still nothing. I called for an update and still waiting review. I asked to make sure my files were in and even though I had a signature return reciept, they still didnt make it in. VA stinks!!11

    • buldawg

      You should have a VSO and submit ALL paperwork through your VSO. A competent VSO will advise you what to submit and will maintain a date stamped copy. Remember more is not always better.

    • buldawg

      Not all conditions first diagnosed within one year are subject to service connection. Look at 38CFR3.309.

    • Delta Jackson

      There is a regulation found at 38 CFR 3.309 showing medical conditions which are presumptive if incurred or aggravated while in military service or within one year of active military service. I recommend you review that regulation and take all your service medical records and medical records for treatment within one year after military service, V.A. letters, and other pertinent documents and go see a service officer with a service organization like Disabled American Veterans.

  • Maggie

    My medical records showed Many, Many vists to doctors for Sinis problems, congestion etc and they ignored it.

  • Joe

    Beware the V.A.’s current encouragement to get Vets to apply for increase if their disability has become worse. I did, V.A. agreed my original injury was the cause of new medical problem,gave me service connection for it,then several weeks later sent a letter of Proposed Reduction in rating saying overall I had shown improvement & was better!
    I have heard similar from other Vets
    Seems re-opening a claim gives V.A. a foot in the door to take adverse action.

    V.A. a foot in the door to

    • Delta Jackson

      There are regulations at 38 CFR 3.343 and 38 CFR 3.344 that concern wrongful reductions in rating. A service organization such as Disabled American Veterans, American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars should be help you appeal the reduction.

  • Joe

    Beware the V.A.’s current encouragement to get Vets to apply for increase if their disability has become worse. I did, V.A. agreed my original injury was the cause of new medical problem,gave me service connection for it,then several weeks later sent a letter of Proposed Reduction in rating saying overall I had shown improvement & was better!
    Seems re-opening a claim gives V.A. a foot in the door to take such action.

  • Dawn

    Definitely have to watch the VA when it comes to disability claims. I had a 30% rating for a knee injury. After 19 years with the same rating they downgraded it to 10% saying it had improved then denied me 100% for unemployability. I lost my job because of my knee condition.

    • Joe

      V.A. trying to reduce my 60% rating for back injury (which I have held for 39 yr’s.) to 20%. I am appealing.

    • Delta Jackson

      There are times that V.A. wrongfully reduces a rating contrary to 38 CFR 3.343 and 38 CFR 3.344. Become familar with this regulation as it existed in Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations at the time of the rating reduction.. If you visit the website of U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and search under the phrase void ab initio, you will find some cases of wrongful reduction of rating. I would go see a service officer at Disabled American Veterans for help pursuing an appeal of this reduction and for help appealing to receive TDIU. V.A. has a claims form you can file requesting unemploiyability.

    • ronald

      file a disagreement and that will take you over the 20 year mark then the 30% can’t be reduce my law

    • Rohan


      I am going through the same process. I retired from the Air Force in June of 2009 and got my inital rating letter stating I was given an 80% rating. When I tried to to apply for IU 7 months later I received the usual politically correct letters from the VA giving me C & P examination dates. Not only did they drop me to 50% saying I was better, which isn’t true, but they also denied my IU. I filed an appeal in Jan 2011 and just received a new letter from the VA saying they are granting me a partial benefit increase and brining me back up to 60% effective Feb 2012. I am still figthing for the remaining 20%. The key thing to remember is that you must have evidence or the VA will throw you to the curb and also make sure all of your medical records become part of your VA records even if you see doctors outside the VA.
      I am so frustrated with the VA bureaucracy and I mean the paper side of the VA and not the doctors, that I have had to use my Tricare Prime doctor to do the tests that the VA should be doing without me having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to see civilian doctors. So much for the VA taking care of veterans.

    • us navy

      They probably said something like you can do sedentary employment-sit at a desk and do a different job. 100.

  • Disabled Vet

    I filed my case on my own the first time, and again years later, The first time I filed I used the DAV, Vet organizations and got a low rating, the second time I refiled after loseing my job for the disability, I decided to get all my info together and file on my own, the DAV and VET org’s told me this was a bad Idea. I did all the work for them, all they had to do is read my claim and do the examination. With the VA hospitals help, the doctors there I had everything I needed, was awarded an upgrade from 20% to 100% unemployability. When I took the paper work to file at my local DAV, VET org’s they were pissed and treated me like crap ever since. Do your research, do your own case, and folow up with phone calls on a regular basis, I dont think the DAV has your best interest all the time. Just my .02 cents

    • buldawg

      Just about all nationally recognized veteran’s service organizations such as DAV, PVA, VVA, VFW, American Legion and so many others are wonderful and very competent. Unfortunately not all individual VSO are so great. I had a similar incident with a local DAV rep. However, as my claim and subsequent disagreement worked it’s way through the system, I had occasion to work with the DAV office located at the Regional Office. Those folks were fantastic!!! After all these years have still have dealings with them and they continue to be great.
      Advise? If your local VSO doesn’t seem to be helpful, contact the office co-located with your VA Regional Office or even contact their national headquarters. They will help you.
      Overall the very best way to get the correct decision according to law (which is not always according to what we want), is to work with a COMPETENT VSO. Then let them represent you. Submit any additionally requested information as soon as possible. And don’t decide you know more what VA needs than what they ask for. VA has over 1 million claims pending. If vets start calling too often just to check on their claim, that is going to slow things down for all.

      • Disabled Vet

        Yeah, you are right, you are always going to have the good and the not so good. Just never understood why relationship changed with my success in filling my claim. I know there are others that are fighting, and deserve everything they can get, but just cannot get through the system, but thats not a reason for the change of attitude toward me, just because I managed to get mine to go through. And I didn’t mean to say or make it sound like you should do it all on your own, you need a VSO or some rep. of some kind, but you can get your own paperwork in order, rather than just sign paperwork for someone to do it for you, that slows down the system as well. Ask what you need, and get it yourself if posible, and do as much of the work yourself, that helps the rep you choose process your case, and others, rather than spending so much time one just one case.

        • buldawg

          You are correct ask what you need and get it. As far as VSOs, remember you are not stuck with any you start with. If you don’t feel your’s is doing their job well, dismiss that one and interview others until you find someone you feel will assist you. If you have one who you feel has failed to represent and advise you properly, report them up their chain. The DAV organization is certainly interested in helping you get everything you deserve within the law.
          Good luck to you and don’t forget to return any form you are sent as soon as possible.

    • mashmore

      I am at the end now , my first time to file a claim, went through the DAV, and at the most important time, that stupid jerk, sent me a letter to me and the ratings people, 30 days before the decision, and a copy of all the medical proffesionals that didn’t send records and just kept going over and over and that stupid dumb ass , put the incorrect SS# on every single one!!!!
      at least he admitted his mistake didn’t even try to blame anyone else, but here i site still waiting on nothing I am sure

    • Lois

      100% true statement just need us to keep coming in to keep them a job. It’s sad but they need to be shut down.

    • bigboy

      A very good story, The Military Order of the Purple Heart withdrew my POA by sending a letter to the VARO with a gross lie. I pursued the VARO after doing my own research and was awarded 100% disability. Later, I found out the VSO’s or NSO’s can lose their accreditation by VA if they advocate strongly for a veteran. It’s heart broken when u find out, they work with more interest for the VA.

    • Combat FMF

      I agree with you. The DAV in Montgomery, ALabama is useless. They do not listen to the veteren nor do they really want to do any leg work.

  • buldawg

    One theme that I often note on commentaries like this is a sense of entitlement. We must all remember, VA compensation is intended to compensate veterans for lost earning potential due to medical conditions incurred as the result of active military service. VA compensation payments are not and have never been intended as a form of delayed compensation for our military service.
    There seems to be many who believe in some sort of VA conspiracy against the individual veteran. Folks, for the most part the VA decision makers do not know you. How can they have a vendetta against you? VA Rating Specialists work the the information available to them at the time they adjudicate your claim. Unfortunately sometimes there are errors. Often what you would cite as an “error” is actually a difference of opinion. Many schedular ratings reference terms such as mild, moderate or severe. What’s the difference between mild or moderate?
    And finally, we all must remember, VA compensation payments come out of our hard earned tax dollars. If you are entitled according to the law, that is great. However, remember if you exaggerate or make false statements to increase your rating, you are stealing from your neighbor and family who pay taxes.

    • Dan

      I have nothing but high regards for the VA & all they have done for me. I filed my own claim with my personal doctors files. Yes I had to go to the VA for a physical checkup & everyone were always so kind & willing to help in any way they could. I started with a 10% disability,then 30% , then 40% & now at 80% disability over the period of only 4 years. Resubmitted claims as my physical condition worsened. Yes 4 back surgeries probably helped my filing applications. They always wanted to help me. Maybe the state your living in makes a difference.. Wisconsin is Great

    • Delta Jackson

      I am the wife of a permanently and totally disabled veteran and I volunteer at another veteran’s forum where I assist veterans, their families, and survivors with claims. I can positively state that V.A.’s actions go beyond errors sometimes. I suggest you read the Federal Circuit decision in Cushman v. Shinseki. My husband’s case is similar. His V.A. claims file has two different Army discharge exams because V.A. or DOD altered one to deleted the notation hx varicose veins from the first page. My husband had varicose vein surgery four months after his discharge at a civilian hospital. There were seperate service medical records at the National Personnel Records Center showing he incurred varicose veins while on active duty in the U.S. Army. After his honorable discharge, he made a series of claims on the varicose veins to his V.A. doctors everytime he got a V.A. exam for another service connected condition. Time after time he refused to sign the facesheets for V.A. exams unless it was written down that he had service connected varicose veins. He had battles with his V.A. doctors about this because those doctors were reviewing his records which included an altered copy of his Army discharge exam. Now 30 years later all those informal claims for service connection of varicose veins are not in his C file at V.A. regional office and those records documenting his informal claims on varicose veins in V.A. treatment folders probably no longer exist. The Federal Circuit has also made some interesting decisions on V.A.’s secret rules for handling of Extraordinary Awards and on V.A.’s secret rules on TDIU. The later case I am referring to was the Federal Circuit decision in Andrew Collaro v. Togo West. My husband now has a 20 year protected rate but I recently discovered V.A. denied him an increase two years before our marriage on grounds he had not provided evidence of a permanent increase in disability. There is not one darn thing in the V.A. rating schedule, V.A. regulations or V.A. law that requires a veteran provide evidence of a permanent increase in disability. One thing I see when I look at his file is that V.A. made a series of denials that were based on altered service medical records.

  • Tally Girl

    Personally, I think VA is a joke. The sad thing about it is the veterans who really deserve a higher compensation don’t receive it and the veterans who don’t deserve a higher rating end up getting well over what they deserve. I just got out of the Army almost a year ago. Unfortunately, my medical records are lost. Thank God for being on recruiting duty my last duty station and being able to go to civilian doctors where I could obtain copies of some of my most recent problems.
    I’m currently sitting at 10% with no medical records, but about two month ago, I submitted to paperwork to go along with my initial claim of hypertension, protruding disc, and depression. As it stands, April will be a year from when I did my initial claim. It will be interesting to see how long it will take VA to make a decision. In the meantime, I am patiently waiting and preparing myself for the worst.
    Tally Girl

    • buldawg

      You submitted your claim in April 10. When did you get out and did you avail yourself of the BDD or Quick Start programs? If so, your exam should have been conducted prior to your separation. The pre-discharge exam should have been sufficient for the conditions you indicated. Yours sounds like one of the infrequent instances where certain lay statements could be helpful. With your medical records lost, you should have received a development letter telling you what alternative information you could submit.
      The VA is a joke? Not really. The individuals who work at the VA on your claim are charged with reviewing all available information and making rating decisions and evaluations based on the evidence of record and current law determined by Congress. The individuals making the decisions cannot make those decisions based on their personal feelings for you or your claim, good or bad. The decisions should be based solely on the facts of the case. The individuals get no benefit for denying or for granting.

      • usnavy

        That is correct, you can look at the rating schedule on the VA’s website, they rate according to chart that say you get this much for certain conditions, you can’t have enough medical records documentation that the conditions still exist.

        • Idmtmedic

          Usnavy, I gotta commend you on your responses. Informative and I see you truly care. Thank you from a 20 yr retiree. I claimed nothing at exit but truly believe I should have. Thank you for caring!

    • Ben

      You may want to contact a Veterans Law attorney to help you sort this out. There are a lot of cases like yours for older Vietnam Era vets whose files were lost in the late 60’s. Many attorney’s are finding ways around situations where the medical files were negligently maintained.

      Here’s a great VA Appeals case where the veteran’s records were lost. He won his claim:

      Here is what the court said about lay evidence when a veteran’s file is lost by the VA or Government:

      “In order to prevail on the merits on the issue of service
      connection, there must be medical evidence of current disability;
      medical or, in certain circumstances lay, evidence of in-service
      incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and medical
      evidence of a nexus between the claimed in-service disease or
      injury and the present disability. Shedden v. Principi, 381 F.3d
      1163 (Fed. Cir. 2004); Hickson v. West, 12 Vet. App. 247, 253

      “Further, under certain circumstances, lay statements may serve to
      support a claim for service connection by supporting the
      occurrence of lay-observable events or the presence of
      disability, or symptoms of disability, susceptible of lay
      observation. Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313 (Fed. Cir.
      2009); Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

      “The standard of proof to be applied in decisions on claims for
      Veterans’ benefits is set forth in 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107 (West
      2002). A claimant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt when
      there is an approximate balance of positive and negative
      evidence. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.102. When a claimant seeks benefits
      and the evidence is in relative equipoise, the claimant prevails.
      See Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1990). The
      preponderance of the evidence must be against the claim for
      benefits to be denied. See Alemany v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 518

      “The Veteran’s claims file, including service treatment records
      received by VA in October 1977, has been lost or destroyed while
      under the control of VA, and copies of the relevant service
      treatment records that were in the claims file cannot be found by
      the service department.

      “The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court)
      has held that in cases where records once in the hands of the
      government are lost, the Board has a heightened obligation to
      explain its findings and conclusions and to consider carefully
      the benefit-of-the-doubt rule. O’Hare v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App.
      365, 367 (1991). This increases the VA’s obligation to evaluate
      and discuss in its decision all of the evidence that may be
      favorable to the Veteran. Russo v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 46, 51

    • buldawg

      You most likely do not need an attorney. I repeat myself, find a competent VSO. Most national Veterans Service Organizations have offices located near your Regional Office. Contact someone at the VSO office near the VA Regional Office and they will more than likely be able to check the status of your claim and even get it moved very quickly.
      Check this route before going the more complicated and often less efficient route of getting an attorney.
      Also, you do not need to pay anyone any money for assistance. It is actually not allowed for anyone to charge for helping you with your VA claims until you get way far along in your appeals process.
      This prohibition may even apply to anyone selling a “How to Guide” as you will find if you follow certain links. Just remember if someone is selling something to you, they may be motivated by a personal agenda not beneficial to you. You can trust I am not trying to sell you anything.

      • Ben

        Buldawg is right: there lots of VSO’s who will represent your case for free. This may be more or less efficient. It depends on the VSO and their respective workload. What Buldawg does not mention is this:

        The VSO can represent the case up to the Board of Appeals level but cannot, I repeat, cannot represent the veteran to the US Court of Veterans Appeals or the Federal Circuit. If the evidence is inadequately developed in the Statement of the Case at the Board level, it often destroys the claim, all together. If it is the fault of the VSO, there is no recourse, ie malpractice. However, the attorney can be sued for malpractice if they screw up.

        Regardless, an attorney may be required, irrespective of the VSO’s involvement. There are plenty of VSO horror stories and plenty of great VSO stories. Shop wisely when looking for a professional, whether using a VSO or an attorney.

        I personally have used VSO’s in numerous situations; some were good and others not so good. My only advice is to get really familiar with the statutes on your own and always follow up with whoever is helping you to ensure everything gets filed on time. Now, I am in law school under Voc Rehab and have some exposure to Veterans Law through the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA). If you need an attorney, check out their site for a member in your area: Keep in mind, attorneys usually pay $150k for their educations and cannot work for free. On the other hand, if you win a $200,000 appeal fight because of their help, I’m sure the standard 20% fee is worth every penny.

    • Delta Jackson

      There have been cases I have heard about where V.A. has denied claims for Service connection when the Service Medical Records were right in the V.A. claims folder. One thing you can do is write V.A. Regional Office and make a written request for a copy of your V.A. claims folder. Also you can obtain an SF-180 form from a county veterans service office and make a written request to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri for copies of all of your service records.

    • VAbattlescares

      The biggest problem and delay is what the VA calls the development phase if you are certain they have your records, send them a letter to stop the development phase and proceed with your claim based on medical proof they already have in their file. this will show a result in under 90 days

    • Clarence

      Hello there my name is clarence, I have been out for awhile now and I was a 50% DAV started in 2009 I went back to my local VA and file for a higher % and I feel like the bomb was drop on me. The PA couldn’t do a correct check on me because i was already DA with with right toe that was in the stage of healing, but to say this I have a cane that I walk with and a special knee brace on my left knee and to top it off they took 20% from my left knee which that is what i went for, do note that knee have a ACL and I will be going for another knee replacement in Jan. so now I see how this goes because while I am in stage 1 of my appeal to the BVA after this oper. I will be filing for 100% and it’s been a year already so I know how you fell. good luck

  • RTO

    Does it do any good to contact our congressman or senator to investigate VA RO, when a decision will be made on our claim or appeal, or will this slow the process down?

    • joe huska

      do all the things you’re youself because nobody will help

  • easywebs

    The VA will turn you down the first time. It is very that a claim goes through approved the first time you submit it.
    Secondly, once the claim is denied read over the reasons for denial and focus you answers for “Reconsideration”. Never apply for an appeal, always ask for “reconsideration. This keeps you out of the Appeals process which can take from one to five years.
    In you answer on the Reconsideration answer those reason for denial in a way that proves you have the issues they claim you don’t have.
    There are some really great VSO and there are some really, really awful VOS/ You can change you VSOs at your discretion without losing your place in the VA Regional’s Office pecking system.

    • bjl

      The VA will NOT always turn you down the first time. I hear the same thing about SS disability, and that is not true either. Focus on getting your info together and presenting it in the most detailed and organized manner possible. Work on it as if your life depends on it (which for many, it really does). Don’t hand the board a mess to decipher, hand them something they cannot ignore.

      • ju7281

        Exactly! Take your time and get it right… the FIRST time!

  • Rick

    i have a hard time with fee basis. What are the rules on this….im on it but i need a shingles shot and they tell me if i want it at the VA or remote centers i have to give up my card….it says on my card for any medical conditions…any body up on this…Thanks Rick

  • Lore

    Maybe you can give us some advice. My husband is Retired Navy, at the time of his retirement he received a 60% disability rating (which I feel is not enough due to the condition of his knees) he has a hard time walking and his knees give out consistantly…and he most usually falls to the ground when this happens, his knees also dislocate continually when he walks, causing severe pain…and inability to use his leg until he snaps relocated his knee back into place (he does this himself it happens so often) his knees injuries are due to military service and duty related due to constant bending at the knees and use of knees to support himself while working on jet fueling systems and mechanics. VA also tested him for sleep aphena while he was still active duty ( when he started his claim process on the fast track program) he was found to have sleep aphena and in need of a cpap machine, but was told by VA and the active duty physicans to wait until after retirement and after checking into VA hospital and clinic for services they would provide the cpap. He was found to have sleep aphena that he developed while activly serving in the military. Then they denied his claim for the sleep aphena on his VA disability rating. They stated in the report he was found to have sleep aphena but since he was not on the cpap machine it was not compensatible. He went to VA clinic to try to get the cpap machine. He was told that VA could not locate the reports from the sleep study. This study was done at a VA testing facility. He has the letter he received after the study was complete stating he does have sleep aphena and requires a cpap….but has yet to get one or be retested or have it added to his compensation and disability rating.
    Another issue with the VA claim…when he filed his initial claim he listed all of his dependants…myself and 4 children. When compensation started the only gave him compensation for myself, the letter stated they did not have his childrens information so payment could not be made for the dependants. In July 2010 he once again provided the information for the 3 children that were still minors and his dependants. A couple months later the started compensation for the minor children. BUT ONLY 2 OF THEM. He called VA and again they said they did not have the information on the 3 child (all 3 childrens info was listed on the same form the same page, all in a row) eventually he was able to reach another VA Rep in Nov 2010. This gentleman looked up his record, and he confirmed, the information was right there on the same form with the other 2 children….his explanation for the error was “that the person who processed the claim must have just made a mistake”. He said he would send the 3rd childs information through immediately and we should here from VA within 2 weeks detailing the compensation amount with the 3rd child added. It is now almost March 2011 (4 months later) and we still cant get an answer. They have had the required information the entire time….YET we still cant seem to get the compensation he is entitled to. He has also been tested and diagnosed by VA examiners with PTSD, this frustration with receiving the compensation he is entitled to and processing his other service related injuries and illnesses (PTSD and sleep aphena) and trying to receive the treatment that is needed for this illnesses is adding to his agravated state of mind and seriously hendering his ability to cope with civilian life.
    Please do you have any advice as to where to turn to get this issues corrected.
    What happens if he stops breathing while asleep….and the VA knew over a year ago he had sleep aphena and that a cpap was required….

    • Tim

      Do as I did, contact your US Senator’s office and explain it to them. Each district VA office has a government liaison represenative. They will send you a privacy act form to fill out and explain in writing the issues. I used my US Senator, Richard Burr and had good results. I believe your senator carries more weight than your congressman/woman. The VA doesn’t want to blow them off because they hold the purse. Stay at it and don’t let them off the hook. They want you to give up. Don’t let them win. I’m speaking from expierence.good luck.

  • fayette

    im a sibbling with a military brother and im getting the feeling the federal goverment is blanking over our vets my brother moved back to michigan from ohio and he put in for a change of address filled out all papers his check went back to ohio address and the post office(is this not part of the federal gov?)sent it back too the gov they said they did not have it (HOW) can this be they said they would put a treacer on it ,it would take 6-8 weeks well its 4 months later and they still have not FOUND the CHECK question why cant they void the check they know it has not been cashed and reisue it that would be too much like right why cause a disabled vet unnessary hardship the federal gov needs a civilin task force to make them do their jobs this is crazy the age of computers and you cant track a check with in 4 months thas shameful the ferderal gov vets admin all for my vote you all belong in the HALL OF SHAME stop playing games give thesae vets what ever it is they need stop PLAYING

  • Fredrick Rainear

    In brief… Went active-duty May 2004 – Out on medical December 2004. I currently receive disability from OPM (Federal Employee) and Social Security disability. I have filed multiple times for VA benefits; but denied for lack of medical records. Recently I found a site that allowed me to request my medical records; which un-covered no medical records existed for me. Just thinking out-loud… I was discharged on medical, but no medical records exist (???). Up to this point I have/had been informed my records must be obtained by the VA… Frig that! I requested and now have my hospital records for my medical treatment while on active duty.

    Question: Where should I go from here?

    • Tim

      Get your US Senator involved. They will help I promise.

    • usnavy

      File you claim, submit copies of those records, keep your copies! Reopen it with new and material evidence your STR’s (medical records).

  • James o. Nazario


    • John

      I have probably a unique case: I have the letter that states they did not look into my medical records! I served in the Navy and in combat, although no official war (ridiculous i know). I had many injuries and now it is 10 years later and all of my injuries are reeking havoc. They gave me 30% originally then downgraded it to 20% a few years ago. I see Vets with 80% & less injuries I had who never saw combat! Tried the appeal process and was stopped just in time by a VA Officer friend. He reactivated & deployed so he can’t help me now.

      Any ideas what I can do?

  • mike

    I was in the air force from 1980 – 1989 i was honorably discharged. But While i was in the air force i had surgery from a fall when i was in iceland in ’86. injuring my back and left ankle. Sometime after the discharge i was still having pain in my back. I saw a Dr at the VA and they told me nothing was wrong with my back from what they could tell, and never did an xray. I went to a Dr, a few years later when I could afford medical inurance in 02′. The Dr. said my back was broken in 2 places and had several peices of broken bone – surgery went on and im still hurting badly even after all the screws and metal plate. Is it too late to do anything.

    • ted w

      no its not too late too apply for disability, but you should get all medical records to show everything

    • tyrone

      no reopen your case

    • ROD



    • usnavy

      No file a claim, submit all that evidence including the X-rays and the surgery information with your claim. It is never too late 40, 50 , 60 years file file file

  • U.S. Veteran

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  • Dennis

    So how long does it take to actually find out if your claim for VA disability has been approved? Has anyone had a positive experience?

  • diane

    My fther was injured (almost died) from a car accident while he was in the USN. This was in 1957. It was later determined that he had suffered brain damage. Not dibilitating but we are now looking into disability. Anyone at all that can shed some light on this subject and the viability of a favorable disability outcome, please help. My e mail address is

  • john davis

    Sorry, meant to say that replacing the hip might be good ffoe five to ten years before a replacement is needed.


  • Willie

    What is the development letter? Is that the claim outcome?

  • TruThor13

    Honorably discharged in 1989, diagnosed with disabling condition by a chiropractor. It took VA MD’s six years longer to arrive at same diagnosis. 13 years later the VARO in DesMoines Iowa admitted service connection, but told this vet I would DIE before they would award benefits. Then, for complaining about the overly adversarial & abusive VA claims process, they sent a goon squad from “Homeland security” to intimidate me into silence. They terrorized my six year old son, eight year old daughter and wife who was vommiting in distress as they “arrested” me. Google: Kenneth Tennant. The case was dismissed on appeal, and the VA now rates me at 100% “Service-Connected”, but refuse to award an Earlier Effective date consistent with my service dates. The SSA is worse. I applied for Soc sec disability in 1991. The SSA’s medical examiner determined disability but systemic incompetence & dishonest ALJ’s put job security before integrity or objectivity. I need a fair & impartial decision review officer to re-open my ss claim & correct the clear & unmistakable errors. Please copy this to Kathleen Sebelius, Sec of Health & InHuman Services. Thank you. Kenneth Tennant, 3935 Rolling Hills Dr., Bettendorf, Iowa 563 355 7073

    • usnavy

      What good is an earlier effective date you 100%, unless you need the money to that effective date as a principle I never saw a letter to a Veteran saying we won’t pay you will die first. Not appropriate. If you threaten a VA employee or the ROJ you will get a visit from Homeland security or the police (that’s a federal offense to intimidate or threaten anyone or blow up or injury the federal govt).

  • maura

    i got a letter from the vfw saying my husband is getting 80% jan 5 of this year but the VA said his claim is still pending… we filed almost two years ago. my question is if the vfw says he is going to be awarded a percentage can we count on it to be accurate?

    • usnavy

      It could change.

  • air force veteran

    who is able to say who deserves what? so many people are bitter and hateful. just because “you” feel your claim didn’t go according to plan, doesn’t mean others are gaming the system. i can’t stand it when i read veterans talking badly about other vets. learn how to read and fight for yourself and stay the course and fight the good fight, like those who “have” what “you” covet. how sad it is, how sad it is.


    I Am 52 yrs old. 100% service conected PnT. Have been since 1982. I have 3 dependents,5 grandchildren, A 92 yr. old mother and loopus striken sister. 5
    YEARS ago the V.A. STOPED MY comp. $ 2.800 a month. The reason being
    FUGITIVE FELON WARRANT. Last week 5 years later The V.A. now realize
    They made a mistake . HAD THE WRONG VET.I lost everything. My home credit family and friends. So now im being reinstated .WHAT ABOUT 5 YEARS OF PAIN AND SUFFERING?

    • rmc

      don’t know how old this post is but, I too had a fugitive felony warrant and my check was stopped for over 2 years. Because my warrant wasn’t for a violent crime or drugs and because I wasn’t avoiding arrest intentionally, I received a check 1 day before Christmas for the current month and retroactive back to when my check was first suspended. I didn’t even know I was going to get this money. A class action law suit was opened on behalf of people like myself and those that were mistakenly identified as a fugitive with an outstanding felony warrant. You should have gotten this money as soon as you were identified as one of these persons

    • usnavy

      You don’t get money for pain and suffering. When the VA sent you a letter on the fugitive felony warrant, they gave you an opportunity to get a letter from where they told you that the warrant was from. You should have acted then… by getting the letter saying there was no warrant or it was cleared you would have gotten immediate results. It is always advisable to follow the directions on any letter, if you ignore it then it will take longer to get things resolved. If you need help get a representative.

  • TUZZ

    First i got 60% ischemic heart 30 PTSD which was 70%. I got an additional 10 for my hearing loss. I’m at 80 percent and have been waiting 14 mts for a decision on my employability claim. Since then i’ve had 4 more operations due to my heart problem on top of the other 4 i’ve had done earlier in my claim. I’m 100 % disabled through Socail Security and yet i’ve been waiting 14 mts for an answer. I can get a Rep from my town to look in at this but they said it would send it back a min of 2 more months no matter what. That was told to me 2 months ago.

    • usnavy

      Unfortunately with the large of claims at the VA. Social Security disability is different that IU from the VA. Social Security is because of any disability. VA is for S/C disabilities. Any claim takes a while at the VA. There is no way to give you a timeframe, all you can do is wait at this point I’m afraid to say.

  • Mary

    My husband went to try and get retrained since he can no longer do anything he’s been doing. The man there basically asked him why he was there. He listed all the stuff wrong with him and told him it would be pointless for them to try to retrain him since he’d never make be able to finish school and told him to file for unemployability. He did. After about 6 months he got a phone call from VA telling him they didnt want to go that route and decided to just try to up his compensation rating. He’s currently at 70%. He got a couple requests for paperwork and sent back what they asked for.

    • RIchard

      I recommend Alpha Disability. They are handling my disability claim with the VA and they are doing a great job with my case.
      Call Today to Speak with a VA Disability Expert (877) 611-7724

    • richard j.

      thank you

  • mary

    Then he gets a letter telling him they are sending him for C&P appointments. About 4 months go by and nothing. So he calls. Lady on the phone tells him they did have one scheduled but they cancelled it and they just havent rescheduled it again. About a week goes by and they call and schedule two C&P appointments. By this point about 16 months have elapsed between when he filed and his appointments. Thats fine. He knows it takes a while. He happened to get on the myhealthy vet site one day and looked at the appointments section. They showed the one they cancelled and it said it was cancelled “due to an undiagnosed Gulf War illness” Why does that mean? The only thing we can think of is he included the letter he received from the DoD about 10 years ago telling him he was downwind when we destroyed a bunker and was exposed to Sarin and Cyclosarin. They said it was within acceptable limits but regardless he’s now 4 times more likely to develop brain cancer.

  • mary

    So, maybe thats what they were talking about? Who knows. Anyway, it’s now been about 2 and a half months since the last C&P appointment and we’ve heard nothing. Not even a “sorry it’s taking so long letter”. So, we’re up to 21 months now. He’s really not sure what to do. Should he call and find out of they need anything else? If he did call would they know more than whats listed on the ebenefits site? Any suggestions?

    • agp

      Just addressing one of your issues, if you have not still heard from status of c&p, go by the records center and ask for a copy. With the findings in that report, you can have a navigational tool early on in the claim process to help guide your claims direction.

    • derrick

      call you area v.a. rep to look it up, i did after many months of seen the sorry taking so long letter,,, they could not find it, it was not in the system and my dav guy couldn’t find it so we redid the claim in jan,, i have had 3 sorry taking so long letters(most ever) ,, maybe that;s a good thing? but i hope one way or another to hear soon,, but i just got the last letter last week, so i will wait to call again,, for now,,

  • jeffery

    My name is jeff…i serviced proudly for this country in the Army, for almost 10 years. Both of my knee’s are in pretty bad shape and the thing is i’m a diesel mechanic. I have been fighting them for 3 years now and still fighting, everytime its the same thing, sir we see no change in your knee’s with x-ray’s you are denied, again! I don’t know what else to do or where to go for answers? I used my employer insurance, too get a second opinon on my knee’s and my says that, there are chip bone fragments on both knee caps that causing the pain and swelling and need to have surgery. My employer knows about my knee problems and they wouldn’t give me the time off for me to get the surgery, cause its not job related and it will take 8-10 years, for each knee….i need direction, someone please help? my e-mail address is and you can contact me at (808)354-5278. in the morning cause i work at nite….thank you

    • samuel mordente

      The first thing you should, and thatis right away is get in touch with the dav, disability american veteran org. I did and they won for me.

    • Jon

      you are in a “protected class” as a disabled vet especially if they knew about your problem prior and cannot deny you the time off for surgery.

    • Robert M

      I have over 27 years experience first hand on what the VA does or does not do. The previous gentleman is right, in Texas we have a Texas Veteran’s Commission (TVC). It helps to have someone on your side to know the exact paperwork you’ll need in order to just get their attention. I know you’re working but it behooves you in many ways to go to the VA Hospital so that your symptoms may be noted, even if in the ER. Keep copies of non-govt medical visits because I can tell you now that it will help in the process. I had Avscular Necrosis of both hips because when I fell the wrong way during an exercise, the Army’s way of ‘fixing’ things were traction, morphine, and lots and lots of steroids. Consequentially, every time one goes in for surgery, if they stay for 30 days or longer, they are given a 100% compensation for the month. If I can be more indepth, contact me through email.

    • OnBehalfofVET

      Hi Jeff,

      My husband is also a diesel mechanic and his is currently receiving a 30% rating for one of his knees. He initially started out with a 10% rating and we requested an adjustment 3 years later for which he was approved. Like you, he continues to have problems and there are occasions when his knee will go out. The difference between you and him is that his surgery was administered while he was still on active duty. I’m not sure why your employer is denying you the time off for surgery and you need to check with your HR office concerning that as that’s a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), especially if your employer is required to adhere it to it and also if you’re eligible; also, they are aware of your injury, which could also be agains the ADA rules. To make a long story short, you’re probably going to have to proceed with your surgery before a decision can be made and you definitely will want to appeal VA’s first decision. Hope everything works out for you.

    • usnavy

      I don’t think it will take 8-10 years to recover from knee surgery. If you get surgery on a service connected disability and it take 30 days for recover you can apply for a temporary 100%, for 3 months-6 months, however it may take a while.

      File an appeal if you are not already in an appeal status.

  • dociggy

    I fought for my case while I was still in the army, deployment and constant mobilization hindered me from C&P exams so I was quickly denied despite my calls to the VA to try to reschedule and buy myself more time. Come to find out, my condition was labeled with a vague term as “hip condition” so now I have to try to fight the words that the stupid Vet Rep put on my file in order to gain any ground on my case… 4 years later, my condition worsened and I have seen doctors countless times! Yet the VA still wants “more evidence”, what more do they want? I have already turned in the 200 plus pages of evidence, they lost my original DD214’s, they lost my PEB/MEB findings and I turned them in again, and now they want more? I really have nothing left to give and my disability is literally killing me everyday… Come on VA, we are not faking this crap! Social Security is already taking forever, I’ve borne the battle, now it’s your turn.

    • usnavy

      I’m sorry you going through that but you have to realize there are Vets help Vets at the VA. We do are best and we work on 1,000 of claim at the same time. People applying and reapplying and reapplying for the same conditions even though they have nothing in the service medical records – key point in a claim has to be in your STR’s if you didn’t go to sick call and have it documented it’s hard to prove, things from old age that they never injured in the military. If you were in from 1960-1965 and you have arthritis in your knees now due to old age, it probably isn’t going to get approved. All claims have to be looked at.

  • Vet To Vet

    Army Veteran
    I’m currently at 50 percent disablility. Kneck,Lower Back, Both Knees. My questions is I was was involved in a car accident ( Rear Ended ). Which
    Re- aggravated my pre- existing injury’s in addition to my MRI result on the Right shoulder shows that i have a Two Place Tear in my Rotator Cup. Can this be Added to the VA Compensation? And I also have the same Identical pain in my Left Shoulder that had Nerve Damage running from my Kneck Injury? The Left Shoulder can be assumed to be another Torn Rotator Cup.
    Vet To Vet

    • Robert M

      Dear Army Vet:
      No matter if you had a previous disability, you may be able to also get non-service connection on other physical matters, especially since you’ve had proof enough to get 50 percent. In addition, because of the strain of other injuries, and I make no claims to being a
      va staffer, you should also be able to go a Vet Organization to file the claims for you to increase your compensation level. First things first. And this use to be the norm, but should you increase to 60% or more, you might be able to receive unemployability should the situation arise.
      Your actions reflect a great deal of character. And I wish you nothing lesser.
      Thank you for your service.

      • Michael

        Dear, Mr. Robert M

        Thank You for your Suggestions and Advice.
        Veteran To Veteran

  • 1fdjones

    Hey what is the development letter

  • 1fdjones

    What does the development letter say.

  • James

    Do you have a format in which you laid out your claims/appeals to get them reviewed correctly? I am 70% disabled and my award letter sated the only reason they did not rate me at 100% was because I was still working. I explianed that I was only working to survive, at the time it was my only means of income. If my conditions warrented 100% then I feel they should have awarded it whether I am working or not. I have since hired an attorney. I have been fighting the Regional Office VBA since 03/14/1997. I was discharged from service due to combat related injuries and the VARO told me that combat related injuries although in my Medical Evaluation Board from the Military stated so, didn’t mean anything. But I have been told that I am suppose to fall under some improved compensation plan because my injuries were combat related.

    • usnay

      You can get a 100% rating while working. If you have 70% and apply for individual unemployability you can’t work a regular job, you would have to work part time and only be allowed to make so much money.

  • JmB

    I was injured in basic training ( lower back) and was honerably discharged. 30 years later I am now perminantly disabled due to lower bacck problems. would I qulify for military disability?.

    • usnavy

      not military disability, you can’t file a claim for being discharged for injury. You file a claim with the VA and they you need to connect the dots show how you disease (back) progressed over the years,, you need medical records and documentation, documentation. Get your records from you civilian doctors and file a claim for disability, if it is causing you not to work file for individual unemployability. and file for SSD social security disability if you haven’t. Use those disability records to support you claim.

  • Harold Gross

    I saw an article about Veterans Service Connected Disability Claims, some new and some for higher percentage then already existing that were all granted much to the chagrin of the examining professional.She wrote of this recently and commented about the over abuse of the numerous number for claims that are current. Can you redirect this for me, I want to review it and print it.I am a 50% DAV.

  • richard j.

    i was awared because the dav rep. called me 100%schedule p/t no more ex cames i hadc/p may it is july now but i have no letter i just waite i am wating for the letter2 half month c- 23855027

    • richard j.

      i still have not receved award letter how long does it takei have 3 months i need help rich

    • richard j.

      what is it you want to ansewer i been asking you people for you thoughts

  • curtis williams

    just recently i file for upgrade from the va an going through the process i am ask to do a follow up .what do that mean?

  • carmine zinno

    i filed my third or fourth time thru the dav. i got a 10% rating…i knew before the dav did, or at least when they notified me. when i called to ask if they would handle my appeal they told me i had no chance. i filed myself 7 months ago and am still waiting !!!!

  • DAniel Kelly

    I don’t understqand why it seems that if you file using DAV as your representation you got a lesser award. Makes no sense. My husband, VIetnam Vet with multiple disabilities, filed over a year ago and we still have no answer. 3 months ago one guy said it was done and we shoul dhear any day. The guy he talked to today (at the San Diego VA Office) said we now have to wait 60 days from last week as they ae still reeiwing his claim. I feel like we’re getting the major governmental run around. What can we do?

    • usnavy

      a year is not that long. There is a huge back log of claims and representative are working mandatory over time to help but at the rate of claim it takes a while. They only thing to look forward to is the big back payment if you get one. Call the VA directly if you think your representative is giving you the wrong information. The 1-800 will answer all your questions.

  • A D

    any help on this will be greatly appreciated. i recently returned home from Afghanistan in March of 2012. i went thru the demob process at Camp shelbly,MS and was sent home with multiple injuries to include a torn rotator cuff a torn bicep tendon a torn bicep a cyst on my wrist that limited range of motion torn cartlidge in my knee. i had surgery on my own in may. i had to get on unemployment because nobody could help me. we were and still are getting behind on bills. i had to plea with my unit commander to be put on temporary orders for a source of income and it was like she did not beleive me that i was injured until the admin showed her my records from deployment showing the proof. i now have a frozen shoulder and waiting on the next shoulder surgery because the dr dont want to damage the first repair he did on the shoulder. as for my knee he dont want to operate on it until my shoulder is well enough to support a crutch or a cane. in the meantime i had a mri done yesterday of my other knee because it has been bothering me and now it has tor meniscus and something under the knee cap. on top of that the base dr i seen is sending me to a foot dr because of all the limping i do when i walk is destroying my feet and now i have to get my feet looked at. so i guees the point is here while i am waiting to be put into a WTU (med hold) to get fixed or kicked out more less what do i do? i got a letter from the VA but they give me 0% for my shoulder because the day they looked at it was 10 days after surgery. i dont know what to do. im stuck. i cant work. bills are piling up. any help i need it.

    • bjl

      Do whatever you can to get a MEDICAL discharge. Don’t depend on just getting a VA disability later. I should have gotten a Medical Discharge and didn’t. By the time I realized it they told me it was too late.

      If you can, get a hold of all of your service and civilian medical records and start researching/documenting. Clear, concise, well documented and organized information is what is required. Yes, you really have to draw them a picture. Once you have the info organized, ask others to read it. Make sure it is as clear and concise as possible. Don’t give up. Get a lawyer if you must, or the DAV (some DAVs are better than others).

    • tidedoc

      I am so sorry: you don’t know how those of us who are the children of vets or married to a vet are torn up over how you guys are being treated.

      All I can say is that we have an alleged commander in chief who would under no-and I mean none-circumstances ever taken up arms in defense of this nation. All of this is just too sad it is disgusting.

    • ju7281

      I agree completely with bjl. Get a Medical Discharge if you can, and DEFINITELY go through your medical record with a fine-tooth comb so you don’t miss a thing! I did that when I submitted a VA claim, and although my major issue (brain cancer with seizure disorder) was already rated at 100%, by digging up all the other stuff, it made for a very meticulous medical evaluation at the VA medical center.

      See if you can find a personal injury/disability attorney, one that doesn’t get paid unless you win your case. They’ll charge you a fee, normally 25% of your initial back pay, but not until you receive your first check from the VA, and ONLY if you win. If you don’t, you pay them nothing. So you’re safe there.

      Also, as I pointed out in another reply, contact The American Legion for assistance. You might have to join them, but it’s only $25 a year, I think, but they’ll help you with your VA claim. They helped me win mine, and in about HALF the time it would have normally taken.

  • johnny

    I began believeing the Va was for vets i then put in my first claim they ask me for proof i didn’t have my medical records at that time so i told them my proof was in my medical records i was denied it took 8 years going back and forth to kansas,to Va reginal ,Archives each on taking a year for an answer then o would go through the same circle taying to locate my records each one seying thedid not have them,they was lost in a fire or some other excuse i then called my senator it took 45 days then i recieve a package with my records but get this the day before the Ohio reginal sent me a letter again telling mme they didn’t not have my records i finally in the aproval phase it took me 19 months togethere plus 8 years

  • Renee

    This decision represents a partial grant of benefits on appeal, for this issue as you were not awarded the maximum benefit provided by the rating schedule. The claim is still considered to be in appellate status and further processing will continue unless you advise us that you are now satisfied.

    What does this mean?

    • shelly

      Please, may I ask for you guidance? I am putting together a SOP for Veterans who need help filing a claim for disability and/or pension from our VA located in Waco Texas. I am a veteran parent who is on the verge of loosing my home because I am having to support my ‘destitute’ (no income and unable to work PTSD) 8 year war veteran. The Lancaster VA will gladly give him many types of pills, in large amounts, and counseling every week but the run around from Waco for any financial assistance/disability compensation is beyond any ignorance. After getting approval from the Administrative Office in Waco we were told money should be sent within 3 months, if not sooner. Two months later a letter from VA Regional Office is requesting a response. The response was clear and mailed back ASAP. The response is not followed as directed by the veteran! Instead VA Regional did just the opposite and scheduled him for Dr’s appt’s over the next three months. My son fought for this country and this country treats him like a rape victim crying wolf. The VA should be ashamed of what they are NOT doing to help this countries veterans!!!!!

  • richard j.

    tank you for your help they were no sure thank you usmc

  • richard j.

    what does it mean100 % schedulefor genralized anxiety dis. with panic dis. features

    • Skypilot1992

      It appears to me that you have a 100% disability for generalized anxiety disorder with panic disorder features. If you do have a 100% VA disability, you are now eligible for a whole new range of benefits.

    • usnavy

      100% is the highest you can go disabilities range from 0 to 100%, it is the most severe.

  • popey57

    I am trying to find out why I don’t get paid for the 27 years before I put my claim in.I was granted service connected disable unemployable 100%. I would say that shows that I had the disability in 1976, so why cant I go back to then and get paid. Shit, they knew and let me run around with it, just to get worse. Now my liver is in stage 1 syrosis. Can anyone tell me what I should do about this, and how I can get my pay retroactive?

    • usnavy

      You do not get back paid for 27 years, you put in a claim and get paid to date of claim. The only way that you can possibly get a retroactive payment is to file for an earlier effective date by appealing the condition. Be in for a long wait, you should have filed 27 years ago.

  • donald milton

    looking for someone stationed at fort carson in 1983 that got frostbite near 124 signal bn or was in b 124 Signal Bn Ft. Carson CO.. Trying to find Davis, Walters, Wilkerson,Ramos, Hurlston or Mendiola. Witness of accident involving a Gamma Goat flipping over. reply at takdeez2@***.com

    • Glena

      My husband got frostbite at Fort Carson but it was in 1985. He didn’t go for medical help then because he thought he would get in trouble. Now his toenails are all messed up because of it.

      • donald milton

        hello Glena who is your husband?? was he on the banna belt or close to the em club by the rec centerpossible I might know him was this before Christmas? He might be still eligible for comp due to it happened while at ft carson. Its possible this happened during the blizzard when some of the personnel got trapped down range or during cold weathr training on base. Be sure to tell him to go put in a claim with a VA Rep like the VFW or American legion. Now there is a new report that he might be eligible for even 10 percent at first look in the new navy or army times for the report if you can not find let me know and I will repost for you. don’t have it at this second was really surprise to find someone that responded but good thing I checked on the site will be glad to assist in any way possible. Your husband is probably among one of many that got frostbite at carson.

  • Mark

    I wished I didn’t feel this way, but I trust no one in the VA. They represent the jerks that ruined my life after my injuries. Ruined my life by forming a major distrust in the authorities/professionals that were supposed to watch my back after I was hurt. I spent a month in my room without help. Rarely did anyone visit me. I nearly went crazy in my room, suffered endless nightmares, even to this day. All it takes is incompetence or over aggression to trigger me. Now think of that in a job. I’ve triggered at my bosses, my doctors, nurses, healthcare workers in general, preachers, church ladies, etc. The feeling of wanting to die is always behind my mind, thinking about it throughout every day of my life. Rarely to I have a good day. And those days are not really that great, just no incidents and usually alone. I can’t share my pain with my wife and don’t trust the VA reps or medical personnel to share my thoughts, what I seehear (psychosis), who I want to kill or break next. I internalize it so I blame myself (thus the reason I want to die). I’m afraid I’m going to hurt someone. I constantly over react and misconstrue people’s intentions. I hate my life. But for some strange reason I live for my children.. hell even my wife…even though I’ve wanted to run from her many times triggering from her inability to connect to me, or reversed. I feel no one cares. Let me put it this way, I know there is no one that really cares, just like the drills used to say. I witness 3 deaths just from training on two separate occasions before my accident, not my fault other than trying to save a friend (driver) from getting into trouble while rolling into another vehicle with officers running around and yelling at the top of their lungs, all contradicting each other. By the time the XO arrived it was too late and I was a Christmas ornament hanging on the back of a 2-1/2 ton truck, ironically before Christmas. I noticed a severe personality change in me and wanted to kill everyone around me not to mention that I wished I had died in that accident. I was abused by my first sergeant by him trying to make me do PT with a square feet of bandage on my abdomen level belly, side and back. I started having back side, hip and head pains (migraines), etc. I blacked out for hours and woke up injured, with medics or whatever rubbing my entire wounded side with what looked like a green pad we used on bathrooms. The PA admitted he messed up and ordered me to be sent to a hospital immediately because he said I might have a ruptured spleen. My first sergeant refused out loud to send me to the closest hospital and instead made me wait for a LT to drive me to garrison. He didn’t care and only took care of his own personal need, non-medical, and didn’t bring me to the doctor until the next day. I went 3 days without proper care while in extreme pain, with nightmares, major anxieties, scared out of my mind thinking I was going to die any second. The Top tried to make me do PT and scorned us for getting injured. I was the worst in the group and was out for over a month. Only the commander came once to visit me while laying in bed. He said nothing related to my injury. He was surprised I had a computer and the books I read. I was trying my best to get recommended for OCS and this happened to me. It ruined my life. I’ve never regained my confidence, nor trust in leaders. It’s hurt my career since I left active duty. Even though I can academically do pretty good for a messed up vet, it’s not good enough to survive at work. Zombieing out, going into daises or rages, missing too much work from hurting with chronic pain from this injury and other military injuries from trying to over compensate for my new fears and lack of confidence. Even hospitalize some years later with thoughts of dying as the only way out of this issue. I hid from it for 26 years. I did try to write it down before leaving active duty but then they scared me from doing it. Not trusting anyone has major consequenses. Only I didn’t do this to myself and don’t know what they won’t own up to it. I have statements from witnesses. But I found out that they conveniently never received my request for medical records. I don’t know what happened to my copies. I’ve moved around so much as well as changed jobs about every 2 years until my last one where I hid from plain sight and stood my ground wondering why they didn’t fire me. It decided it was because they were afraid of legal retaliation since the HR received my hospitalized paperwork with evidence of a major disability that I refused to talk about to anyone. I even lied to my wife and son that I really didn’t need to go but I was trying to make sure we didn’t lose our house while I was deployed in Iraq. I wanted to go, but I couldn’t handle anything around me. I shut down mentally. I’ve never completely recovered since that one chaotic dark night. Life would have been better for others had I died. I feel that the VA is full of jerks that are heartless. The same guys that bullied me out of making a claim while on active duty. I chose to make it on my own and never saw this coming.. at least I was wishful thinking.

    • David Davis

      I agree with you 100% Mark. My captors and military doctors I put on the same playing field with the VA reps. Some days I wish that veterans would capture the real agressors. Congressmen, heads of VA, local VA reps and most of the cronies that are in charge. I foresee a real Hard Target game in my mind that makes those that deny justice as the enemy and they are like zombies in my mind. Some days I think of Christian values and God and then nothing more than retaliation. The people in charge promote the incompetence and one day it will hit home. I pray veterans unite and defeat this corrupt agency and government. Patriots are still alive in my mind and not just in xbox games.

      • brr

        I’ve been fighting to survive what happened to me during active duty for over fifteen years myself. But hey, what do you expect, it’s the US government. They leach all the resources and usefulness from we the people, and then just toss us away when they are done. It will be a cold day in hell before the US government cares about us Vets, or anyone but themselves. I truly feel your pains, please be well brothers and sisters.

    • alosiewicz

      Wow, reading here what you wrote is a look inside of myself and my life since my injury back in 83. I too was aiding a fallen buddy, carrying him on my back across an open field when I found a deep dug hole. We both went into it. I broke my L5.
      The whole incident was “covered” up since it was never reported since we were doing something which never occurred. How the hell do you fight that?
      I was med boarded out for a “EPTS” yea sure I had a broken back before the Army and they “aggravated” it…. Yea sure. Makes my head want to explode, I spent many years in a bottle and on different drugs trying to forget that night. I always have this, “What if” feeling. What if I saw the hole, what if my team mate didn’t get hurt…..
      I know all about not being able to relate to others and just this side of wanting to rip someones head off and defecate down their throat…Those from the old school know this meaning. I have developed what the VA has labeled Bi-Polar disorder. I tell them they are full of crap and it is PTSD now that I have actually taken the time to look into it. They don’t want to admit anything since if they do they have to pay.
      The VA has a saying among themselves when it comes to disability claims and revals… is, deny and hope they die.
      My whole perspective of the system is sour. It gets worse by the day as does my pain. I just found out last week that I am going to have to have, at the least, a single level fusion of L5-S1. Maybe more pending results of the EMK this week.
      So Brother……I know where you are coming from. Been there done that still living it after 30 years of constant pain. Would love to talk to you some time.

    • usnavy

      There are people at the VA who care! There are Veteran’s trying to help other Veteran’s every day! I speak from 1st hand experience, I give every thing that I can to help Vets every day!!!!!!

      If you don’t trust the VA go to a Vet Center if you don’t trust them they have counseling at civilian places they understand PTSD and what your going through. Please see someone, talk to anyone, a family member, you wife someone. We want to help you!


      Mark, this is a different fight now, but one you can win. Keep trying until you find that certain person that will help you. Sometimes it is a VA rep, sometimes a doctor, sometimes a lawyer. Keep pressure on them, but be patient. Lean on family and friends and be strong. Life is too short and you only get one. Work the phone and talk to as many people in the VA, get free consults from VA specialty lawyers, just don’t let one or two people get you down. The VA has many people that don’t know what they are doing, so their answers to you will be different from one to another, but keep calling. Eventually you will get that person who knows the system inside out, feels your pain, and will go out of their way to help you. Claim things you haven’t thought of just to get your foot in the door and talk to different people. Eventually and sadly enough, it will be your perseverance that will fix your problem. It is the people that give up right away that is what the VA likes so they don’t have to pay you or do the paperwork. It may be a long road, but in the end it will be worth it. You deserve every penny you get, and most of all life has more value than any amount of money. Keep that in mind until you win this personal battle with the VA. If you think about it, they have more work than they can handle, and not enough budget to keep properly staffed. You WILL get what you are looking for with patience and perseverance, but live the best life you can while you do this, or you will wake up and realize you missed living a good life because you didn’t adjust to life after the military. This is YOUR time now, they got theirs while you were fighting for this country. Just keep at it, make a few phone calls a day, then live your life. Sooner or later you will get what you are looking for. Good luck to you and whether you know it or not, you and your friends, whether still alive or not, are heroes. Don’t let anyone make you feel any different.

  • willie

    I, was discharged from the air forcein 1970 never was informed that I, was a disabled vet.40% found out and was reinsted to compenstation in 2004.Re: stated by the va is that they were unable to locate me.Even though I served in the active reserve and regular army.Am I, entitiled to past compensation pay?

  • Marion Vie

    Does any know show the VA calculates retropay from a claim when there are several new rating factors:
    New condition: 10% Peripheral Neuropathy left foot (Claim goes back 10 mos)
    New condition: 10% Peripheral Neuropathy right leg/foot (Claim goes back 8 mos)
    Increase: 30% to 70% PTSD (claim goes back 18 mos)
    Ischemic Heart rating did not change:
    Type II Diabetes rating did not change.
    I was rated totally 60% and now I was awarded 90%.
    The DAV notified me of my award. VA has not sent letter yet, but have seen the letter in the eBenefits on line website.

  • Jaime

    I injured my wrist while I served in the military 13 years ago. To this day it gives me problems. X-rays were taken and I was supposed to see a surgeon before I ets. Well I was young and dumb and just got out cause I was in a hurry to leave ft. Drum. I still have the records when I got out and the doctor who gave me my physical stated on them that I had torn the ligament in my wrist. I never got my wrist fixed up . I was wondering if I can get the proper medical treatment from this past injury ?

    • Skypilot1992

      Your best bet if you are able is to go to a VA clinic or hospital. Have your DD 214 and the particular medical record and a subsequent civilian healthcare record with you. You will first need to get registered at that VA facility before you could expect the kind of care that you seem to be eligible for. There is a separate process for applying for a disability rating for your injury. For instance, if you have surgery there is a rehabilitation recovery. Which is covered by a disability rating and then there is a subsequent VA rating for your wrist post surgery and rehabilitation. YOU WOULD NOT NORMALLY EXPECT TO RECEIVE VA COMPENSATION ALL THE WAY BACK TO YOUR DISCHARGE DATE. HOWEVER, VA COMPENSATION MAY WELL START ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH FOLLOWING THEIR RECEIPT OF YOUR APPLICATION.

    • usnavy

      Go to the VA. You have to enroll and people sometime have to wait if they don’t have a % rating from the VA. They best way to start is go to the VA. You can file a claim for the condition you may get service connected.

  • stephanie

    My husband receives an army pension with a rating of 60%. He filed a va claim almost a year ago and is about to get his percentage from them. When he does receive his new rating I know he will lose his pension and the va will take over but my ? is will he get the full back pay or only whatever is on top of his 60%??

    • Skypilot1992

      Is your husband receiving a 60% retirement on the basis of years served? Or is he receiving an Army pension on the basis of a disability? If he is receiving an army retirement then the VA is a separate issue.

      As a general rule of thumb, a VA disability commences on the first of the month following the receipt of the application and is backdated for payment.

      As of several years ago, we are now being paid both retirement pay and VA disability pay. The VA letter will indicate otherwise. The next step is that the pay people at the Army do an audit and there will be a subsequent check if applicable.

      If your husband has an agent orange presumptive condition there is a whole other way of computing and payment.

      Your best bet for an answer would be to call the national VA phone line and get your husband on the line so that he can give permission for the VA person to talk to you. Have your questions written down and I have found them to be very patient in spite of what you may be seeing in other responses on this blog. Often it’s not easy getting through on the VA national line and there are days and times that are better than others. I have found having a handset with a speakerphone is very helpful as I can do other things waiting for the representative to get on the line.

      If you are not already part of Ebenefits, make sure you sign up as soon as possible on the VA website.

    • b money

      Yea I know this is old but why not. Upon separation the Army or any service will pay you a % if you are receiving disability. The VA will eventually take over that responsibility. This was my case when I left the Corps. But if he is receiving a pension for time served then it’s 2 different apples. He will receive both.

  • stephanie
  • Harold nichols

    Hello I served from 1980 through 1996 retired early for the convenience of the navy during the base closings. I have been diagnosed with PTSD from gulf war. va clinic says I will get disability when rated. My question is: will they take my retirement away when they do that? They think atbva I should be rated at least 50%

    • PHS

      If rated 50% SC or higher you will receive concurrent receipt which means you will receive your full retirement amount as well as your full VA amount monthly.

      • Rob

        Only if you have 20 years or more of service!

    • usnavy

      anything under 50% is deducted from your retired payment. So you get a tax break so to speak. If you get 50% or more look on DFAS website under CRSC/CRDP. There is a law that says if you get 50% you get both, all VA pay and all disability payments.

  • rita

    i was denied claims for medical conditionsious that were obvious in my medical records but i waited 10 years later to do another claim. The representative actlually reopened some old claims along with some new claims. It was obvious an error on va part to deny when evidence proved otherwise. I had my doctor do a nexus letter confirming diagnose dates of medical issues and confirming ongoing treatment to date along with the doctors statement that one of the conditions consequentially led to a new condition. my question is how effective will this nexus letter be and how far bck will the reopen claim (if approved) pay,

    • Alison

      A NEXUS letter is VERY POWERFUL! If your civilian M.D. is willing to write one on your behalf that will be a blessing for you. The reason is those personnel that determine the ratings on your claims, are school trained, and not medical doctors. The NEXUS letter endorsed by a Medical Doctor is like a trump card, the board cannot go against it as they are not M.D.’s and your claim WILL be approved. Hope this helps.

  • Laura M. Chapman

    My military records show that I had back problems from 1980 thru 1986 when I left and joined the National Guard Unit for another 2 yrs. In 2009 I was told by a National Vet Officer that I need to put in a claim for my back seeing it appears to be service realted. It is now 2013 and I am still waiting to hear from the Va. board. I am keeping all Doctors appointments proved by the VA. I have been recently told that there was question about it that I have PTSD.
    I went to see my rep. at the Regional Office and asked if I can add my current issue of PTST. I was told no. I asked if I could start a different claim just for PTST, I was told no. Is this true? What other avenue can I take?

    • Alison

      You may add additional claims at any time. I am not sure who told you this, but they were wrong. Call 1-800-827-1000 and speak to a VA representative and tell them you are experiencing worsening PTSD and that it was never added to your original claim. (I did the same for my migraines, and in one phone call the lady added it and 2 wks later I rec’d a C & P appointed for a migraine eval.) Wish you the best of luck. Praying for you.

    • dakwa

      I did not know that National Guard service member can claim for injuries?
      I had lost of vision to my right eye that lasted for 2 weeks. Is it possible for
      me to file a claim. I did see a eye doctor at a military hospital.

    • b1d

      I do not think that information is correct…I have never heard of that before. I do know that you can go to and file your claims on there. You will have to create an account if you have not done so.

    • usnavy

      The Board of Veteran’s Appeals takes a long time that is an Appeal. So if you disagreed with the decision that is an appeal. When you say put your claim back in, a claim doesn’t take that long. If you file a claim for PTSD now, you can do that but it may interfere with your appeal. If all your records are at the board of Vets appeal in Washington, the regional office can’t work on your claim at the same time.

  • Paul Herrera

    Where do I find VA Form 21-4138 ??

  • Karen

    I got out under Reduction in Forces in 94…started having probs in 2000 and finally in 2007 I had enough and went in to the VA. VA awarded me a disability and compensation. Then I received a letter stating that comp will NOT be paid due to being Riffed. My compensation will begin in Feb 2030 at which time I will more than likely be DEAD. I had no idea in 1994 that my med condition would be bad in 2007. Can the VA really DENY my comp benefits?

  • Don

    Hello all need an answer. Been using DAV for 4-5 years now and I can tell you at times it has not been the best situation. I am currently rated at 80% and I have alot of problems that the VA is diagnosing me with. My current claims are PTSD, lumbar Spain, sciatica,. I was diagnosed with adult asthma by the VA, and radiodicpoly, and I have plantar fasciitis, which they misdiagnosed at a CMP. I recieve a letter because it went to appeal and the VBO basically is saying I don’t have flat feet which he is saying I show plantar fasciitis at about 50% and heel spurs at 30%. He also is trying to say it is nt service connected I don’t have it in my medical records because, I did not have the ability to get X-rays and such while deployed. I was extended over my time and was release when I return from deployment. So I have no medical evidence but the condition cause were from running in rigid conditions in boots and non-comfortable shoes. I need advice cause I have 30 days to respond back or they are going to deny my appeal and leave the rating of the 0 the same.

    • Mort

      If you are not working and have not worked, you should file for 100% unemployabity.

  • Joseph Sperrazza

    I don’t understand the response to my question, I just want to know if Penna has a compensation program for veterans with diabeties, I’ve been told they have one by other veterans but can’t find any information on it.

  • mike west

    i just put in my claim a few weeks ago i already got a for a appt. would i get back pay from when i was discharged or when i put in my claim

    • b1d

      When you put in your claim

    • usnavy

      It depends If you applied within 1 year of discharge if not it would go back to the date of claim. No you can’t put in a claim in 2014 and expect to get paid back to 1929.

  • jeffrey brown

    what is a full grant concerning disability?

    • usnavy

      a full grant concerning disability may mean different things. A full grant if it is an appeal they give you what you asked for, say you asked for 100% you would get that if you didn’t specify they may give you 0% that is still a full grant.

  • JAC

    My husband receives a100% disability from VA for various disabilities (heart, diabetes, etc). He filed a claim in January of last year for PTSD and received a 100% disability for this also. My question, does he receive any additional pay or back pay since he already receives a 100% disability?

    • Mr Bill

      I have 290% and still get 100% so I would no

    • Guest

      Husband can also receive additional compensation known as “SMA”, which is Special Monthly Allowance, if he has a condition beyond his standard Total and Permanent rating. For example, if he is diagnosed with Loss of Use of a Creative Organ, the VA can award this as a separate claim, and under Special Award “K”, he is entitled to an extra $100 per month in addition to his total rating, as an example.

    • usnavy

      100% is the maximum disability you can receive, if you are at 100% and get 100% (200%) you only get paid for 100% that’s it, you don’t get back pay to his date out of the service either.

  • Lou Kleck

    My dad was discharged in WWll and assumed that his medical records would be available for anyone to view. He was not allowed to ever look at them bc that was the “RULE”. They were at the foot of his bed in the hospital. On his discharge papers it says his injuries were “Shoulder muscle and Lower leg muscles injuries”. After the war (because a hand grenade blew up next to him and he had over a dozen surgeries within about a six week period), he had severe pain in lower leg and then in hip. He did not know he had shrapnel in leg and hip. Xrays were taken and shrapnel showed on them. He also went to a “hearing” doctor, as they were called back then, because he had a lot of trouble hearing. She fitted him for a hearing aid in one ear when he was in his twenties and then for two a little while later. In 2004 before his open heart surgery a technician saw something strange on Dad’s stress echo and asked Dad, “Did something happen to you, Marshall?” Dad told him about the explosion etc. Dad has also suffered from nightmares since he left service. He even had to have Mom and him sleep in separate beds their married life, because he was flail his arms and body around so much he would always hit her. He is now medicated to sleep, but wakes up dreaming of happenings in the war. What do I bring to his appointments to help him get the service connections he deserves. I have some xrays from 1948 and his war journal. I had medical information for the last ten years , but not much before that. PLEASE HELP!

  • Rod Walsh

    I just had my C&P exam a few days ago. There were 3 conditions listed:diabetes, hypertension and lumbar… At the end of the exam the doc said his instructions had box checked for “no comment” concerning my back problems. I have been unable to have anyone find my medical records indicating back injury problems in service or at the VA later (approx 1966-1968).

    The “no comment” leads me to believe they already the VA already decided to deny compensation for that injury even though it was one of the listed conditions (the C&P doc did take some measurements related to my ability to bend and move. Also, the VA does know I have “severe degenerative disc disease” and spinal stenosis.

    I guess my question is this – do you think I’m out of luck concerning the back injury? Andd, if they deny, can I demand they locate the Marines I served with to get their recollections of my twice weekly visits to sick bay at Danang, Vietnam?

    Thank you!

    • Larry Johnson

      IF they deny your claim, reapply… and reapply… and reapply…
      AS far as getting the VA to locate the Marines for you, that will NOT happen.
      you will need to locate those marines and ask that they provide you a letter (yes, teh VA will only accept “in writing” forms) stating that you were in the condition you were in.

      Another hint, that was finally passed on to me, is when you do go to the Dr they send you to, don’t be a “marine” and say things like, ” I can take it” or “pain don’t hurt”… that just tells them that your not that bad off… tell them how bad it hurts, and what kind of conditions you are having to live with because of the pain, what life events you miss out on, and things like that because of the pain. This is NOT the time to be proud. One last thing, try go get as much documentation from as many people as you can, even people who do not know about your military service can write a letter saying how much pain you appear to be in… Every little bit does help.

      Good Luck.

  • Mike Yoho

    I was diagnosed with MTBI and PTSD from my deployment in Iraq with a 60% rating from the VA almost a year ago. I struggled for years prior to receiving any help and to this day continue to struggle and work through the issues myself. I have been able to maintain steady employment for almost 4 years now though I have been denied for promotion they keep me on board (for now). My disabilities are very much effecting my work, schooling and personal life. Prior to deployment I easily received passing grades in civilian and military courses with little effort and was always promoted ahead of my peers. I believe I should be rated higher than the 60% awarded but when I visited with my DAV he told me that I should not appeal since I have not received any treatments or help other than medication over the past year and thinks they may lower my rating because of this. My questions are: how likely are they to lower my 60% rating, do I really only have one year from receiving the initial award letter to request a appeal, and is it true that people like me who try to tough it out on our own really are hurting ourselves when it comes to VA ratings? Thank you

    • bjl

      I supposed they could lower your rating at this point. My advice to you is to stop struggling through issues yourself. Get treatment and get it documented. I have seen a few good VA docs and counselors, and seen a lot of really horrible ones. The key here is to get everything documented – your struggles, how you feel, every cold, cough, ache, pain. Don’t worry about your initial award – you have a 60% rating. If you continue to be followed by the VA, you will have your documentation to request an increase in the future. I was initially awarded 30%, went up to 60%, back to 50%, and then to 70%, where I have now been for 20 years. I never requested re-evaluation. I lived in TN for 5 years and THEY required a re-eval every year. After the 70% rating, I moved to PA for 18 years and then to NY. No one has reviewed me since living in TN. 60% is a good start, focus on working with a counselor (ask for a new one if the one they give you is not good) and an eventual re-evaluation. If you find you cannot work eventually, you could apply for 100% for employment issues alone. Good luck.

  • Andy

    Is there anyone who can review my medical records and make a determination that my injuries were service connected. VA keep telling because I got out in 94 they do not see any link that I have been to the doctor since.

    • Car Wash Jeff

      Dr Graig Bash Look him up on the internet.. He will charge a $5k to $10k fee.

  • L. Rivas

    I feel the same way…the DAV does not care or wants to help veterans with disabilities. I experienced the uncaring attitude and I am a life-time member of DAV. I don’t even bother with DAV anymore…they don”t care!!!

    • ju7281

      The reason I never joined the DAV is because of their outrageous membership fee! It should be free, but if not, at least no more than about $25-50 a year, but nothing like it is.

    • DAV life member

      Amen brother …. I’ve been a lifetime member of the DAV for years and I usually make donations to their commanders club and other fund raising drives, but when I thought I was getting help from the DAV for an increased rating, I learned more than I wanted to know about how worthless their help can be, even from their so called NSO supervisors. A total waste of time, but I learn quickly and bailed out of that DAV quicksand before they did any damage to my claim. I’ll start saving a few bucks too, because I’ll find other worthwhile causes to donate to for now on!

    • Ron Berry

      DAV or VA ?

      • armydog

        Disabled American Vets.
        Totally worthless if you need them for anything other than belittling accusations about your integrity and your likely outcomes. American Legion is not so good from the reps in Long Beach, CA either.

        Good luck!

  • henrybroder

    I am a Navy vet from the Vietnam era. I have been using the V.A. Med. Center for all of my medical needs. They gave me a 10% disability rating for having a pilonidal cyst scar (ass operation) because the operation was done in a Navy hospital while on active duty. While going to various doctors there I’ve met guys who have 100% disability for things like heart attacks and strokes that they had many years after leaving the service. Not service connected at all. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and bad teeth (the result of an active duty accident, yet I can’t get dental because they have no record of the accident, which I cannot believe, it was major!) I also have such bad arthritis I can barely walk. How can I get my disability rating raised? Anybody know?

    • ju7281

      First of all, the VA will not grant Disability to someone for conditions that are not service-connected. The VA determined that something happened while those people were still in that caused their heart attacks and strokes, even long after they separated. Therefore, passing judgment on them for having a higher percentage than you is only going to make you angry and bitter, and you just don’t need that.

      Now, to answer your question about getting your rating raised for the additional conditions you outlined, you will need to produce evidence of these conditions (notes from doctors’ visits, exam records, etc.), hopefully from your military medical record, and then submit that to the VA for reevaluation. If you can’t find anything in your paperwork to support your claims, then you might need to go to the nearest VA medical center for an evaluation for these conditions, and then hope the VA increases your percentage. It’s hard to say what they’ll do, but getting the original documents from any doctors, dentists, etc. is your best shot at proving your case.

      Also, as a disable vet myself, when I was going through the process for my initial claim six years ago for brain cancer/seizure disorder (which I still have, and yet, the VA just wrote me to say they’re reducing my disability by 60%), as a member of The American Legion, they were instrumental in working with the VA to help push my claim through and get it approved. So, if you’re not a member of The Legion, it might be worth the $25 annual membership fee to have them help you win your case. Just a suggestion.

      • henrybroder

        First and foremost, I want to differ with your comment: << Therefore, passing judgment on them for having a higher percentage than you is only going to make you angry and bitter, and you just don’t need that.>> I have not passed judgment on anyone, nor do I feel bitter or angry against them. They had strokes and heart attacks and that is NOT fun. However, I have discussed this with several of the guys and, especially in the case of the heart attack vet, He admits he was a heavy smoker before and after active duty and that is what led to his heart attack, not anything he did in the service. The same with the fellow who had the stroke. He said he was in great shape upon discharge. But over the years he got very heavy, didn’t eat well or exercise and that gave him a stroke, not his army service.

  • Thomas Krygowski

    I need a Lawyer to help me fight my ongoing PTSD disability. I currently have been rated at 30% but feel that a 100% is warranted. Who can I speak to for help ????

    • Sam

      I think if your crying about it on the web, you don’t really deserve 100%

  • April

    If I have my original Medical records from 1988 and the VA does not is that going to aide or hurt my case?

    • ju7281

      The VA won’t have your medical record unless you give them a copy, and it can only help you since you can go through it to see what conditions YOU want to present to the VA for evaluation. Just make sure you list EVERYTHING that you ever complained about during your service. They’ll do their best to give you the lowest rating they can, so it’s in your best interest to point out anything you want them to evaluate for your claim. It doesn’t mean you’ll get more just for brining more to their attention, but it can’t hurt.

  • Annette Dean

    My husband is a disabled Vet from Vietnam with a 60% disability rating. He has 2 or 3 letters with conflicting conditions to give him 60%. His back,problems and skin conditions started from being in Vietnam along with losing his eye and complete use of his left writs, but there was no rating to include his back problems and ongoing skin conditions which were stated in his injuries from the hospital where he received his prothestic eye. Who can help me get his case considered for 100% disability?

  • shakeme

    I won my claim on “ASBESTOS WITH FIBROUS” I also have “COPD” the C&P Doctor said in my first claim my “COPD” was triggered by my “ASBESTOS” I had quit smoking in 1977 almost 40 years ago I go 60% on that claim.I have now filed a claim on “COPD” which should give me a 100% I took a C&P exam and the DOCTOR stated that my “ASBESTOS” has nothing to do with it? Which Doctor word will they take.The DAV upholds the 2nd Doctor I don’t think they are right.What do you people think about this?


      I had the same thing I have asbestosis xray to prove it im 85 and was deniedjust recent

  • rangerhense

    i have been waiting 8 years for an answer for my dis. claim. i have a attorney in wash. on the case. i was injured 57 years ago. but didnt know i could claim, until about 10 years ago. all my medical records of the army accident were destroyed in the 1973 fire in st.louis. you would think at my age 77, that some consideration would be allowed. you be the judge, why would i wait so long to claim, and how is my fault my records were destroyed? i believe the army is waiting for my demise, so they do not have to pay me a penny. sad, sad, sad..

  • xjar7579

    Any service connection awards for Camp Lejeune water disability claims?

    • hugh

      I applied but was turned down. I have lung cancer. I was sending in supporting documents as I was undergoing treatment. When I got my biopsy report I sent it in. It said squamous cell carcinoma which is the cell type of the cancer. When denied I was told I didn’t have lung cancer, I was told I had squamous cell. Try getting someone at the loiusiville office to believe that it is something different. they think it either one of the other and can’t convince them that squamous cell is the cell type of the lung cancer.
      There is no one up there that knows the first thing about anything. would probably have been all right if I had said lung cancer and not sent in the biopsy report. Lung cancer is what was listed in the Camp Lejeune report.

  • John Mcgillicuddy

    I’am a vet that went blind in one eye after reg. service, but was in the national guard. They took my weapons card and my license to drive. I have lost my case for service connected pension. Now I am on SSDI and the VA. Prescribes me 2700mg of neurontin and 120mg of morphine a day. What to do about the chief of staff comming in to examine me and ripping my rotator cuff so bad that I needed surgery to have the shoulder fixed. I have a heart condition, COPD, torn mylin Seth of nerves in my neck and now they say I have altered mental status and that’s because they can’t diagnose the problem. I could use some good advice or HELP.

  • Dominic

    I served 13 years in the Army, two deployment to Iraq. Two broken leg, Herniated disc between L5 and S1 pinching my sciatic nerve, dislocated shoulder with splinters in rotator cuff, and 60% of my body covered in chemicals. Which the VA did two biopsies, and can only tell me that I’m allergic to nickel and formaldehyde, but can’t tell me what it is or how to treat it. In 2009, when I ETS’ed out, put in a claim, currently rated at 70% disability. Since my first claim my back has gotten worse, but a claim in again for my back in Nov, 2011. Only to wait 18 months for them to increase it to 80% and 12 hours later lower it to 70%. Appeal filed, Sept 15, 2014 went to a C&P appt. only to have the DAV send me a letter in the Chemical burns. Stating that it stayed the same rating of 60%. No word on my back. Still waiting…

    • syraya

      How did you connect your back to service? I had the same back problem and had to have surgery for it and now the scar tissue from the surgery is wrapped around my nerve roots.

  • riche w.

    v.a. gave me 100% s.c. p. + t. my age 65.the said it was good for the rest of my life is tha how you guys see it

  • Kim Miller

    I was in the Army from ’74 – ’78 Not knowing I was elegibale for compensation, on a whim, I applied in 2012 and it took a year but got approved at 85% disabled. I do not routinely go to doctors. Today I just remembered that they never commented on my arthritic knee that started when I fell during training while in Airborne Unit. How do I go about adding that as part of my disability rating?

  • Wendell

    Is it possible to be service connected from running in boots at Ft Bliss in late 70’s. Have had to have 2 back surgeries and wandering if this was common.

  • Mary Cosby

    I went into the Army in March of 1982 with bunions and flat feet. While in the Army I was accidentally hit in the left eye with a M60 Machine Gun and did receive medical attention. Before this, I almost fell from the back of a Duce. Had the bunion on my left toe removed at Ft. Hood, Texas, pin was put into be removed at six weeks, but is still there. Was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure and a Heart Condition after leaving the Army. Now, I have Glaucoma in both eyes, one complete knee replacement with one to go. I was discharged with 30% and after all my fighting for an increase I am still at 30%. Recently filed for the fourth time for compensation each time being turned down. Where do I find help?

    • G.D.

      Hi Mary,

      Go to your local VFW, DAV, American Legion and ask for the service officer. The state you live in should also have a Service Officer that can help you (look for veteran services and your state as a keyword search on the internet). Bring all military records and military and civilian medical records documenting anything that is related to your claim. Also ensure you go to the VA and get any and all medical record copies there. Ask your primary care doctor at the VA or your non-VA primary care provider for help too. Ask any person that you may still talk to with from the military to provide a statement to assist you. Hope this helps. Here are a few of the national websites to get you started:,,,, – G. D. VFW Post Service Officer in NM

  • Michael Eastman

    The VA removed my stomach, due food not passing. Anyone have a idea of what CFR and Code numbers this would be under?

    • Rhonda

      Try filing an 1151 Claim (38 CFR Section 1151) thru the regional office against the VAMC that did the procedure, you could be granted a disability rating for it.

  • Veronica

    I have a close friend who has been trying to get his VA disability but according to the va they can not find his va service records(fire at the records dep.) He has his DD214 and nothing else. He needs some suggestions on how to try and get his service records.