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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Speaking Out

I Had An Idea And Reached Out To Nova


Here is the original email I sent:

Hello, my name is Lisa XXXXX. I would like to speak to someone about NOVA possibly offering some of their classes and training to Veterans who are not attorneys or law students. I am a Veteran who is 60% disabled by the VA standards. I am a military sexual trauma Veteran and my ratings are for PTSD, endometriosis, and migraines. I recently completed a malpractice suit against the VA using the FTCA after having an unneeded surgery due to a nurse looking at the wrong lab results. I also wrote a proposal for the VA of how they could fix their hospital computer system so that

the error that happened to me wouldn't happen to another Veteran. Both projects took over three years and I learned things about the VA that still make my blood boil when I think about them. My point is, I would like to help other Veteran's and have been doing so on line and there is a large community of Veterans that have

fought with the VA and have a vast knowledge of how the claims system works and we could be utilized in ways that no service organization is willing to organize. I would like the opportunity to speak to someone at NOVA to see if Veterans who have battled the VA and are willing to fight for other Veterans would be welcomed at NOVA? I look forward to hearing from you. Attached is the notification I received that the VA found my computer change idea to have merit. Thank you, Lisa XXXXX

Here is the first response.

Regina Alegre wrote:


Thank you for your interest in NOVA. I am forwarding your query to our Exec. Dir., Rich Cohen. I'm am sure you will be hearing from him in the near future.

Thank you,

Regina Alegre

Here is the latest email I got from the Exec. Director, Rich Cohen.


I have great respect for veterans such as you who are willing and able to learn how to "fight smart rather than hard".

NOVA has two seminars each year, in the Spring and in the Fall during which we teach some of the "tricks of the trade" and discuss the latest developments in the law. These seminars, which are designed for lawyers and non lawyer practitioners with some exposure to the law, are open to anyone who wants to come and who pays the registration fee, including veterans who are not representing other veterans, but who want to learn the law. Many of our lawyer and non-lawyer members are veterans. Information on the seminars is posted on our web site


That having been said, I am concerned about your idea of having veterans help other veterans and essentially provide legal advice. My primary concern is that unless the folks providing advice are prepared to regularly study and review the latest cases from the Veterans Court and from the Federal Circuit and keep up with changes in VA regulations and Fast Letters, the information they provide will be inaccurate and harmful to the claim. For example, most people who have not been actively following VA law do not know that a notice of disagreement must contain specific language showing an intent to appeal; that it is possible for a claim to be " deemed denied" without notice to the veteran; and that language in a medical record showing the existence of a disability does not constitute an implied claim. These are just a few changes which occurred in the past few years, but which would not be know to people who do not regularly study veterans law. I am also concerned that adjudication of a claim involves the practice of law and legal terminology which makes it very difficult for many non attorneys to master. Finally, I'm concerned that someone who is not prepared to monitor deadlines and filing rules may inadvertently miss a deadline, to the claimant's detriment.

A smaller, but more manageable task might be for you to concentrate on working with veteran volunteers to learn how to file and develop claims and to insure that the word gets out that after a notice of disagreement, filed after June 20, 2007, a veteran is permitted to hire a lawyer for assistance in the claim.

You may also be able to find lawyers through NOVA who would be eager to have veterans work with them as paralegals, under attorney supervision, to assist the lawyers obtain benefits for deserving veterans.

Please feel free to contact me to further discuss your ideas and my suggestions.

Thank you for you service to our Country and for you interest in helping other veterans.

Richard Cohen

Executive Director


What do you think? Lisa

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SpeakingOut , I also noted that he said 'tricks of the trade'....huh. That is really what this is about ....how do they trick you and all vets? I am with Pete,,,,, my cfile is gone to another state, noone else has even heard of this move. The claims are numerous , not by my choice and I want a lawyer the minute I get a decision on any thing. Mr. Cohen is telling the Veterans plenty....I can see why you were nervous of his responses to your generosity and desire to help other vets. I am too. You also bring up another point about how can he say this and then lie to the committees on how easy it is for the Veteran to file and "receive" his benefits. I wonder what Congressman Filner would say to this letter from Mr. Cohen and the next time they all got in front of the committee? Maybe you should share your letter and thoughts with him. And Wapiti , that is a good question as there are too few lawyers and I cannot find one either. I thought I did but now she is so busy that she can't find time to handle the cases she has.All of the others are now too busy trying to fight the VA and can't take on new ones. I am like Pete,,,,,,,, 20% is not anything compared to having to put up with hassels.Halloween and "Trick or Treat" seem to go on all year with Mr. Cohen. God Bless, C.C.

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Email him back and ask him when was the last time he was up to 3,4 5 am reading BVA and CVA cases? I tend to do that seven nights a week now. Nope not a lawyer, don't wanna be a lawyer, just want to help vets FREE as long as I can.

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