There is a recognized medical condition called xxx. It causes the kinds of things which force a person into that sort of lifestyle." There is no known test to identify and diagnose this illness (the doctor needs to be direct the comments to either a Judge or adjudicator by talking in the first person) The doctor should state he "believes in this person" and he/she should state "If you also believe her complaints and that she now lives this lifestyle, then you have to believe she has this disabling condition." 5. Get statements from anyone Get statements from anyone who knows you and your issues. Write your own statement too! Have these individuals state how the problems affect you (example: It is hard to bend over, or squat, or hear, etc.). This includes your wife, kids, parents, co-workers even the guy/gal walking along the street.
All of these people can contribute! All their statements are evidence that must be considered. If you have them put their phone number down on the statement and request the adjudicator to call (not if they have any questions), the adjudicator is required to call. If they don't call, you have grounds for appeal. The medical facts and findings speak louder than any of this testimony, and the veterans own testimony is quite powerful in describing the effect of this proven medical condition. The VA doctor's report that seeks to negate the claim is wide open to attack when he fails to do procedures or make determinative tests. 6. Get the Vet Center Records If you have been going to a Vet Center, get their records. They are independent of the VA medical system (CAPRI) so you need to get a statement or copy of your provider's notes or both from your treating Social Worker.
7. Vocational Rehabilitation If you have gone to Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab), you were evaluated by them too. Do a Privacy Act request and get all copies of evaluations and anything else (to include reports of contact [ROC]). The Voc Rehab evaluations carry some weight, since they are independent evaluations. Get copies of the contractor evaluations (the people that did the Voc Rehab screening) and the VA's Voc Rehab evaluations. 8. Legal Research Go to http://www.findlaw.com or or http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/ and look up all Board of Veteran Appeal, Court of Veteran Appeals, US District Court, US Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions that affect your issues. These legal opinions as well as the courts opinions narrows the focus of how the adjudicator can look at the evidence. Use these sites to support your other evidence. Do your own legal research!
If you don't have access to the internet or are not internet savvy, you can get copies of any appeals and decisions from the VA. They can be requested from Veteran Benefits Office or the Adjudication Office. A simple phone call to one of those offices, explaining that you are requesting a copy of those records for your own file should be sufficient. Keep the information of who you talked with and their phone/fax numbers and addresses in your notebook for ready reference! Again, you may need to provide this request in writing, but this can usually be accomplished by phone or fax. Some Service Officers from DAV, VFW, or American Legion will do this for you, but don't depend entirely on them! Some mental health records are kept separate from the main medical records, so again, you may need to call the Mental Health Clinic in your VA to request copies of those records from that office.
9. Statements From VA Personnel If you have been seeing a counselor at the VA Hospital, then get him/her to write you a statement of how bad they think you are. Plus, write up a statement on your own, let the adjudicator know about your background, your stressors and how this affects your daily life. Counselors are sometimes skeptical that people are acting out, pretending, not real. If the guy is really bogus, you might do better not to ask, but in truth, further questioning may well reveal that the skeptical counselor really believes the guy is pretty bad off or he wouldn't be going through all of this. That it is the stress of daily life that drives him to it. And NO counselor ever treats a death threat as anything other than real! 10.
SF 180 Use our system to create a customized order form to request information from your, or your relative's, military personnel records. You may use this system if you are: A military veteran, or Next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military The next of kin can be any of the following: surviving spouse that has not remarried, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother. If you are not the veteran or next of kin, you must complete the Standard Form 180 (SF 180). You can obtain this form from Fax-on-Demand, or download it, then mail or fax it to the appropriate address on the form. The SF 180 may be photocopied as needed. Please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested. You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax. How to Initiate a Request for Military Personnel Records: Click on the "Request Military Records" button to start. This will launch a separate window. Enter the required information in the system to create your customized request form. There are 4 steps that you need to navigate. The system will guide you through the steps and tell you exactly which step you are on. Print, sign and date the signature verification area of your customized form.
If you don't have a printer, have a pen and paper handy and we will guide you through the process. This is important because the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) requires that all requests for records and information be submitted in writing. Each request must be signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin. Mail or fax your signature verification form to us, and we will process your request. You must do this within the first 20 days of entering your request, or your request will be removed from our system. 11. Reviewing Your Military Records Review your military medical records and make a list of every ailment that you had while on active duty. Note each biohazardous exposure you may have had. For example, If you used cosmoline on everything to protect it from rust, and then we would be in carbon tetrachloride up to the elbows because that was what used to clean it off. Carbon tet is cancer producing. I am sure there are many other examples. 12. Cross Reference
All your Military Ailments With Your Civilian Ailments Cross reference all you military ailments with your civilian ailments. If the problem persists or a secondary issue has cropped up as a result of the issue that developed during your time in the military then you need to apply for that issue (as a secondary issue). An example of a secondary issue would be if you hurt your right knee and had to put weight on your left knee and now the knee is damaged. You can claim the left knee as a secondary issue to the injured right knee. 13. Downloading Go to the VA web site and down load all the Fast Letters, Memo's and any other documentation that will support your case. www.va.gov. 14. Go to the DAV, PVA and any other VSO Web Site Go to the DAV, PVA and any other VSO web sites and bookmark them (and down load anything related to your claims). 15. WARMS Go to http://groups.msn.com/unitedveterans/yourwebpage1.msnw
Look up what your issue is and determine the percentage that you want to apply for. Now 98% of the Veteran Service Rep's (VSR's) will tell you not to give a percentage, but if you don't ask for a percentage and you are awarded 0% for an issue, you can't complain because they gave you exactly what you asked for. If the adjudicator denies your issue and you did not ask for a certain percentage, then you have to prove the VA didn't follow proper procedure (this is very hard to prove). Your VSR will tell you that the law can change. If it increases then just fax, email (w/receipt) or mail in an updated request. If the percentage decreases, you don't need to do anything. The Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 allows the law that is most favorable to you to be applied to your claim so don't change your percentage. 16. Current law favors the Vet. Call the Regional Office ..Don't be intimidated !