The VA may send you for a Compensation and Pension Exam, (C&P. The VA relies on these exams in deciding your case. What do you need to know before you go? Who is performing the exam? The examiner’s qualifications are important and can make a big difference in the result. And, those qualifications may vary more than you think! You might be used to getting treated by a specialist who is an expert in your condition. But, when your exam is scheduled, you may not be scheduled to s
“Wrong Form” Letters You thought you had finally figured out which form to send to the VA and how to fill it out. Then, the VA sends you a letter acknowledging your submission, but saying it won’t be accepted because you didn’t use the correct form. The VA isn’t saying they don’t know what your appeal is about, just that they want it on a certain form or it won’t count. At our firm, we call these letters from the VA “wrong form” letters. When the VA first started sending t
In a previous post we discussed that to prove a VA disability claim you must have a medical opinion – a so-called “medical nexus” – connecting your current medical condition to an event or injury in the service. This means that a doctor must say that it is “as likely as not” that your current medical condition is caused by your service. Note that this is a 50/50 opinion. The doctor does not have to say that your service definitely caused your current medical condition, but on
The answer to this question may change over time. I think that the answer today is different than when Higher Level Reviews became part of the new VA claims process, called the Appeals Modernization Act, in February 2019. So please keep in mind that what we say today might change. Right now, we find that an HLR has limited utility. One reason is that the HLR does not allow us to submit new evidence. That means the evidence already in the file has to be strong enough to prove
The new VA claims procedure, effective in February 2019, continues to evolve in front of our eyes. One of the most interesting aspects is whether to request a Higher Level Review of a decision, or to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The most attractive aspect of an HLR is that your claim will be reviewed de novo by a VA employee who is more experienced that the one who made the initial decision. Usually the HLR will be conducted by a Decision Review Officer.
If you or a loved one was a veteran, you may encounter people who say they are experts in the field of Veterans Benefits, just to discover later that their knowledge is limited, biased, or non-existing to begin with. The following are examples of how the wrong person can be detrimental to your VA claim. We will call this person “Bob” and he could be a well-meaning friend or family member, an accredited Veterans Service Officer, agent, or attorney, or anyone else who offers to
Having your VA disability claim denied can be discouraging, but it’s important to remember that a skilled attorney or claims agent can often win the claim on appeal. One way in which attorneys help veterans is by finding errors in the decision that can be grounds for an appeal. There are many procedural errors in VA disability decisions that can constitute grounds for an appeal. The three most common are incorrect consideration of the evidence, problems obtaining the necessar
Despite rarely receiving a rating of more than 10%, tinnitus is the most common VA disability claim. In many cases, tinnitus is considered a secondary disability to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Tinnitus Symptoms and Treatment Options Tinnitus is characterized by hearing sound when no external sound is actually present. The sound is often described as ringing, buzzing, hissing