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New VA App Helps With Disability Questions

I purchased my current car a few years ago. It was preowned and it relatively good shape. However, there was one issue that kept it from passing inspection; the hazard lights. I knew I had to get this Jason Watkins 086fixed for the inspection, but I was able to wait because it was not due for nearly a year. I put it off for a long time because I was afraid of replacing it. I know a lot about cars, but I know nothing about repairing them. I did not have anyone to ask, and panic started setting near the time my inspection was due. I purchased a really expensive switch, tore off the dash of my car as if I were Thor, the God of Thunder, and quickly realized that I made a huge fuss out of something very simple. Simply, the switch that connects the wires to the lights had somehow separated. All I had to do was plug it back in. The entire task only took a few minutes. Months of panic could have been avoided if I could have asked somebody about my situation.

I know I am not alone in putting things off when I don’t know the answers. From my past 5 years of experience working with VA Disability claims, I know many Veterans do the same thing when it comes to their claims. Let’s be honest, VA Disability is one of the most complicated and frustrating processes VA Appout there. I’ve been working with it for nearly a decade and I still don’t fully understand how everything works. As many Veterans already know, if you search for answers you won’t find many. The internet is full of opinion, not fact about the process, and if you call the VA directly, you will likely put on hold for as long as 3 screenings of the film “Inception.” In other words, if you have questions, you are out of luck.

What if this isn’t how things worked? What if you had questions about your VA disability claim and you could get answers in a matter of moments? What if it were in the palm of your hand? What if it we lived in 2015 and the technology to do this had been around for years? Well, the present is now, and this does not have to be a bunch of “what if’s.”

Recently the VA launched a new app that is designed to answer questions for VA Disability claims. Called 311Vet, it’s meant to ease frustration and get Veterans answers to the questions they have about their claims. Simply type in your question and you will have an answer in moments. (More about that later.) The VA has this set up to provide quick answers by way of a database. So, if you ask a common question, your response should be immediate. However, if you something more complicated or a question that hasn’t been answered before, your inquiry will be reviewed by an individual and the will get back to you “quickly.”

photos 4 049Please note that this app is only for VA Disability claims, and they can’t answer questions about a specific claim. For instance, you can’t ask: “How much back pay will I receive?” or “When is my next appointment.”

So, here is the question of the hour…how does it work? While I am not trying to be counterproductive, I must admit that I am not a fan of this app. Granted, I am not a Veteran, and I have some experience working with VA disability. Not to mention I have an awesome VA Disability Blog. Overall I found it to be a tad on the basic side. The first question I asked was “How long does a VA Disability claim take?” The response time was about 45 minutes and they gave me a very generic response that was way too vague to be helpful. (The real answer is that most VA Disability claims last 2-4 years on average. The second question was more successful. I asked: “What is the highest rating a Veteran can receive for PTSD?” This response only took a few minutes. While they did say that 100% was the highest one could receive for PTSD, the answer was convoluted and they pretty much quoted the CFR. (The CFR is the rating code book for VA disability code.)  If you weren’t an individual with a background in VA Disability you wouldn’t likely fully understand their response. One of the reasons my blog is so successful is that I know how to communicate with real people, not just other people who work in VA disability. No one cares if you can look something up in a book, and then copy and paste it in an app.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the fact that the VA is willing to put an app like this out there is great. Plus, it will take some time to work this app out. It’s only been around for about a month, so I need to give it more time. My best advice to Veterans reading this is to try it out on your own. It’s free and available for both Apple and Android devices. It’s free too. If you don’t have a smart phone, or if use something like a Blackberry, you can simply test your questions to 311838 and get the same response.

If you want real answers to your questions, or would like to talk with me about becoming a client, give me a call today for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. If you can talk now, use our chat, or fill out this form so we can contact you at a later time.

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Discharges and Your VA Disability/Pension Claim

 When applying for VA Disability Compensation and/or Pension Benefits, the characteristic type of discharge may play a huge factor in deciding whether or not you are eligible for benefits.  There are five different types of discharges that you may receive, which are as follows; Honorable, General, Other than Honorable, Bad Conduct (BCD), and Dishonorable. If you receive an Honorable, General, or a Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, you would be eligible to receive any type of benefit.

To be able to receive an “Honorable Discharge,” a service member must have received a rating from very good to excellent from their time of service. You are eligible to receive a “General Discharge” when you get separated from the service, under honorable conditions, and your performance is satisfactory. If you receive an “Other Than Honorable” discharge, it was either for misconduct or security reasons. When receiving a “Bad Conduct Discharge” you are normally separated from the service under conditions other than honorable. This is approved by a sentence of a special court-martial. Lastly, if you receive a dishonorable separation as part of a punishment then you will receive a Dishonorable Discharge.

If you do not agree with your discharge, you are able to fill out a DD Form 293, Application for the Review of Discharge From the Armed Forces of the United States. When becoming a new client at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, one of the first questions that we ask is what type of discharge do you have? We are able to answer any types of questions that you may have and we will let you know if we believe you are eligible for VA Disability Compensation and/or Pension. If you are looking for legal representation for your VA Disability Benefits, you have come to the right place. We have several experienced people who have the knowledge and ability to help you with your VA Disability Claims. Feel free to give us a call at at 1-877-526-3457.

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Why is a C&P Exam Important for my VA Disability Claim?

Any Veteran who has filed a claim for VA Disability compensation is very familiar with the long list of abbreviations used by the VA for forms and procedures. A C&P exam is often at the top of that list, but you may not be aware of what it is, or how important it is to your VA Disability Claim.

A C&P (Compensation and Pension) Exam is scheduled by the VA after you have filed a claim for service connected benefits or when filing for an increase in a service connected disability. It is the job of the VA to schedule this exam to see if this disability is related to your time on active duty and to what degree it affects your life. Each disability will be evaluated by a separate C&P exam. 

It is very important to attend all C&P exams that are scheduled by the VA. If you are unable to attend you will need to call the VA and reschedule this exam. If you do not show up for the exam, the VA will most likely deny your claim or continue the current rating percentage. These exams are usually performed quickly. For example, if you have a C&P exam for an issue on your knee, your knee is the only thing that will be evaluated during the exam.   Make sure to be truthful when answering all questions at your C&P exam.

Please remember that C&P exams are very important in the VA being able to make a decision on your claims. Make it a point to go to each and every exam that is scheduled. (There may be several). 

If you have questions or concerns about C&P exams we have the people, knowledge, and resources to help you get the benefits you deserve. For a free phone consultation, give us a call at 1-877-526-3457, or tell us about your claim now.

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What is an SSOC in VA Disability?

So you feel like you have been waiting an eternity for a grant on your disability, and now you have finally received a decision in the mail. At this point you have had a hearing with a Decision Review Officer (DRO) at your VA Regional Office and are wondering anxiously about what they have decided. Most likely, the decision you just received is either a Rating Decision or Supplemental Statement of the Case. I would like to discuss with you the importance of a Supplemental Statement of the Case and what it means to you.

A Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) is a decision that comes after a Statement of the Case (SOC) and a VA Form 9 has been filed on the SOC. At our office, when we file a VA Form 9, we request a hearing with a DRO, if the client has not had one yet on the issue(s), as well as a hearing with the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). (You can also find our bloggers discussing in more detail VA Form 9s and SOC’ on our site). Once a decision has been made on the appealed issues, the SSOC is rendered. Like all other decisions, the SSOC will discuss the issues at hand and how the VA determines service connection and/or increases for them. Near the end, you will eventually find the decision the DRO has made and his/her reasoning for it.

Now, you might be wondering what the next step is. This is the part when things can get a little confusing. If a VA Form 9 was already filed on all of the issues on the SOC that was received prior to the SSOC, then an appeal is not needed. The file will automatically be sent to the BVA for further reviewing and another hearing will be held with a BVA judge, if requested.  If you aren’t sure if you requested a BVA hearing on it and want to go to one, then re-file the VA Form 9. It is better to be safe than sorry in this case because you only have 30 days to file an appeal on the SSOC. If you are satisfied with your claims then it is important to notify the VA that you wish to close your claims or else your file will still be sent to the BVA for review. SSOCs and VA Form 9s can be very confusing. However, our team at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law would be more than happy to help you better understand the process and file the correct paperwork. So please visit us at www.Fight4Vets.com or call us as 1-877-VETERAN.

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