- Claim Form & Military Records
- Gather Records
- Investigate "Title 38"
- Organizing Your Records
- Once you Organize
- Online Research
- Creating Your Claim
- Filing an Appeal
- Submit Your Claim
- After Claim Submission
- Preparing to Use
- Before You Begin
- Filling out the Application
- After You Have Filed
- Sorting Documents
- Active Military Personnel
- Using a Representative
- Finding a Representative
- Social Security Disability
STEP 6: ONLINE RESEARCH
Online research can give your claim a boost. There are fours areas where I would suggest you concentrate your energy: Medical, Media, Government and Support Groups. I have also included some areas of research that address specific searches. They are listed under "Miscellaneous" and can be of value.
This is the most important of the four. The intent is to research your disabilities, your diseases, treatments, and medications. The more detailed your knowledge the better your ability to discover the areas that get overlooked. These areas can be very helpful when applying for benefits.
Once your medical research is done, take some time to look at what articles are available online.
Research findings are always being published. There might be some new discovery that would be pertinent.
Try to find these links because sometimes the actual disability/disease can't be rated on its own, but if you can show a link between it and some other disability, it would then come under that umbrella.
Diabetes has been linked to cardiovascular problems. By finding an article that states this, your heart stuff could be related back to the diabetes. If filing a claim that includes diabetes as one of your conditions, the cardiovascular could then be included.
A couple of good search engines are Dogpile.com and Google.com.
I found this an extremely interesting area to explore. However, it is not absolutely vital to your claim. Where it helped me was in seeing how the government worked my claim, its rules, its restrictions and even its own policies. By learning these I was able to quote some of their own policies at the time I appealed their decisions.
- Title 38-Pensions, Bonuses and Veterans Relief
I gave you this site to access the actual Schedule of Disabilities Ratings but there is a lot of other information that can be found in the whole Title 38, Chapter 1, Parts 0-61. Take time to skim through, focusing on adjudication (Part 3) requirements as well as Veterans sections.
- Department of Veterans Affairs
This is the home page for the entire site.
- VA Index to Disability Examination Worksheets
THESE EXAMS ARE VERY USEFUL TO STUDY.
The VA usually requires a C&P exam to evaluate your disabilities. The Worksheets listed at this site give you an idea as to what will be addressed at these exams. This site lets you walk into an exam knowing what will be occurring.
Using this information, you can also prepare for what will be covered by the doctors at this time. It gives you a chance to take a list of questions you wish to bring up or possible answers to questions that might make the evaluation go faster, easier and more complete.
- VA Agent Orange
- VA Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses
- Board of Veterans' Appeals Search
This can be a very useful tool when searching for similar cases to your own VA claim. A gentleman by the name of Hoppy from the hadit.com website let me know how useful it can be. He says, and I quote,
"I have learned more and been able to focus my attacks on claims for initial service connection by reading BVA case decisions as a result of the searches I do on this search engine. The BVA decisions are written in good detail as to the way medical evidence is weighed and the laws are applied...
Some of my favorite searches are the name of the condition followed by the words "is granted". Example; "panic disorder is granted". Include the quotes.
This type of search will give you focused results on claims that were awarded. There will be some results that are not well focused. However, you will find plenty of winners for the condition you search for."
I have done a quick look at this search and, after viewing it, feel it could be a useful addition to your research into wording and necessary proofs needed for your claim.
- Your Senator or Representative
- To contact your Senator, go to: www.senate.gov and click on senators. Choose your state and it will tell you who and how to get in touch.
- To contact your Representative, go to: www.house.gov and in the top left type your zip code.
This will bring up your representative(s).
Click on the name and you will find how to get in touch.
- Support Groups
- Veterans Benefits Network
A website created by Veterans for Veterans.
This is an excellent site to enter if you need a question answered. Its forums are varied from PTSD to Agent Orange to Diabetes to Social to Social Security and Finance.
Another excellent site created for Veterans by Veterans. It, too, has forums to address multiple questions concerning veteran concerns.
According to their words on their home page:
"This site is dedicated to you... whether you're a Veteran or someone who loves a Veteran.It was created trying to figure out how to handle the "after shocks" of combat including PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We're here to help you find your way, find the information you need, and find a way not only to cope with life after combat... but to survive and thrive!"
Another website dedicated to Veterans helping Veterans.
- Veterans-America's Pride
Another site dedicated to Veterans helping Veterans with multiple forums.
- Multiple Well Known Veteran Organizations and Websites
- Blue Water Navy
This is a site that addresses Agent Orange Information for Vietnam Veterans serving in the Navy.
- Gulf War Veteran Resource Pages
(Note: I am not familiar with this site personally, but found it online and it looked as if it could be of use.)
- Worldwide Topsites
A site giving multiple veteran websites. Something here might also be of help to you.
(Just as a note: When you click on the above site, you automatically vote for my website since you are coming in from it. Thank you. You might be helping someone else find out about it.)
Here are some sites to get you started. Explore not only the main contents, but the various links offered as needed.
Veterans' Service Records:
Training Letters, Fast Letters, Clinician's Guides, Directives, etc.
These areas can offer valuable information in a number of ways:
- You can see how claims/health needs are to be addressed by VA personnel
- You can configure your claim to their requirements,
- You can see if there are any discrepancies in how a claim was addressed, whether something was left out or additional information could be needed.
I created some topics on Veterans Benefits Network as well as a Training Letter Forum on Hadit.com to offer aid in finding this information. The following link lists multiple topics all of which might be of use, not just for the topic above. It includes Medical Opinions, Writing a Report, and a number of diverse areas. Take a moment to check out all of its contents.
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