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Recent Blog Posts

Separating Mood Disorders from Fibromyalgia

If you are going through the disability process and are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there will be a natural tendency for military providers to lump all your symptoms under this diagnosis- even if the other conditions arose much earlier than the fibromyalgia itself.  This is particularly true with mood disorders like anxiety and depression.  In order […]

Unique Way to Increase Rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a recent case, my client had received a 40% disability rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”) under the VA Code 5002.  While this was a good initial rating, it did not reflect the real impact of this disease upon him.  Sadly, he didn’t have the significant weight loss, anemia or severe incapacitating episodes 4 or […]

What Changes to DOD IDES Timelines Mean to You

In July of 2018, the DOD Secretariat unveiled major changes to the timelines for processing IDES cases.  The goal of these changes is to complete 80 percent of all active duty and Reserve/Guard cases within 230 days.  Each service is taking its own unique approach to implementing this mandate, but most of these changes will […]

Coast Guard Rolls Out Pilot IDES/VA Program

Until this year, unlike the other armed services, the Coast Guard had not participated in the Joint DOD/VA IDES program and has retained the traditional legacy PEB structure.  This structure will begin to change in 2019, as the Coast Guard rolls out its own version of the IDES process at its pilot test sites at […]

THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIMS UNDER VAIMA AND REOPENED CLAIMS

For decisions issued after 14 Feb 19, the VAIMA appeal system applies and you will no longer be able to reopen claims with new and material evidence.  Instead, you will have to file a supplemental claim if you wish to revisit a previously denied claim.  While this will require the agency to issue a new […]

SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIMS UNDER VAIMA

In many cases, you may be well-advised to initially filed a supplemental claim as opposed to going directly to a higher-level review or filing a Notice of Disagreement (“NOD”) with the Board of Veterans Appeals (“BVA”).  You can file a supplemental claim seeking benefits previously denied on higher-level review or by the either the BVA […]

HIGHER LEVEL REVIEW UNDER VAIMA

A higher-level review on the Regional Office (“VARO”) level is done by an experienced adjudicator and is essentially a de novo review of the claim. However, the reviewer will only the evidence in the record when the decision under appeal was made.  This means that you cannot submit new evidence to the higher- level reviewer […]

OPTIONS FOR APPEAL UNDER THE NEW VAIMA APPEALS SYSTEM

Under the new appeals system created to implement the change enacted by the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (“VAIMA”), you will have the option of requesting a higher-level review by an experienced adjudicator on the Regional Office (“VARO”) level, file a supplemental claim or go directly to a Notice of Disagreement with the Board […]

MAJOR CHANGES TO VA APPEALS UNDER VAIMA

The appeals systems designed under the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (“VAIMA”) will go into effect on 14 Feb 19 with respect to all cases in which a Regional Office has (“VARO”) issued a decision before that date. The good news is that his act will require RO adjudicators to issue more detailed decisions […]

Important VA Webcast- 10/16/18 @ 2PM EST

To all veterans and their families reading this blog, here is the link to a live webcast being held on 10/16 at 2pm EST in which Dr. Paul Lawrence- the Undersecretary for Benefits for the VA – will discuss changes and updates to the benefits process. It requires pre-registration and is free to attendees. Please […]

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