Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery”instead of ‘I have a question.
Knowledgeable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title.
I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.
Use paragraphs instead of one massive, rambling introduction or story.
Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph, there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.
Post straightforward questions and then post background information.
Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
Adding Background information in your post will help members understand what information you are looking for so they can assist you in finding it.
Rephrase the question: I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine, but the claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?
Question B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?
See how the details below give us a better understanding of what you’re claiming.
Rephrase the question: I was involved in a traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?
This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial of your claim?”
Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. This process does not take long.
Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. The review requirement will usually be removed by the 6th post. However, we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.
This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before hitting the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims, and this helps us do that.
Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:
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
I have a website entitled howtoassemblevaclaims.com. It is intended to guide veterans/dependents in researching, organizing and assembling a va claim/appeal.
Right now, revisions are with the web designer. Included is information on USING AND FINDING A VSO.
Because I know a lot of you will never access my site, I am including here, an excerpt from what will eventually be added to it. My only concern is to help veterans, whether you go to my site or read it here. Either way is fine with me.
I wish you success.
EXCERPT from revision eventually going on howtoassemblevaclaims.com
USING A REPRESENTATIVE
In this journey through the ‘undiscover’d country,’ your representative, better known as a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) can be a very welcome guide as you proceed on your quest. However, if the guide isn’t experienced, then he/she could cause you to lose your way.
I am not yea or nay on a VSO. We used one in our appeal, BUT I did a lot of the work for him because I didn’t want anything to be missed.
While visiting various veteran websites I have discovered that there are no specific guidelines as to how a VSO is trained or how well a VSO does his/her job. Whether you choose a veteran organization such as Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, or Veterans of Foreign Wars (to use as examples) or your state’s Veterans Affairs makes no difference to quality or the lack thereof.
Sometimes you don’t even have a choice depending on how the organization is set up. Sometimes, also, it is a matter of geography, where one center represents a territory with no other choices available.
In many instances, choosing yourself as your own VSO might be the better choice for the entire process or the majority of investigative research. It might be that you can combine the two, you doing all the labor and then getting someone to do the liaison with the VA.
If you do feel more comfortable having a VSO handle your paperwork and corresponding with the VA, let me make some comments and suggestions.
• Whatever organization you choose, the VSO should not charge you any sort of fee. Most organizations about which I know offer these free services to all veterans, whether a member of their organization or not. However, it is courteous and respectful if you are able to join that organization. Remember, veteran organizations work hard furthering the interests of veterans, either singly or as a group.
• Do not be afraid to ask your VSO questions. If you don’t understand an answer, request more explanation. If you have specific needs and concerns, broach them.
• Any correspondence with the VSO or the VSO with the VA, request a copy for your records.
• Keep in touch so you know what the status is. Do not leave the VSO out of the loop if you contact the VA direct. Let the VSO know what you are doing.
• Do not inundate the VSO with lots of contacts. Try to give all your information at one time. Don’t keep sending him bits and pieces that are not necessarily vital to your claim.
The VSO is trying to help lots of veterans. Every time he gets documents they have to be filed which takes up time that is better utilized by helping another veteran.
FINDING A REPRESENTATIVE (VSO)
When visiting various veteran websites, I have come across a common question,
“How do I find a good VSO?”
Well, that is a question that is hard to answer.
There is no set group of questions to interview one to decide if he/she is savvy, committed and TRAINED.
However, after broaching this very question on a few websites, I did get some common-sense suggestions for trying to evaluate if the VSO individually or the organization at your location of choice is going to be of help to you. I will list them here, in no particular order, so that you may study and perhaps find some t you can then utilize when beginning this search.
• First, BEFORE you start your search for a VSO, decide just how involved you want to be.
If you intend to do a lot of the work yourself with the VSO acting as the go between, then you will need to look for someone who will cooperate.
If you are unable to work any part of your claim and need your VSO to take it from soup to nuts, again you will need to look for someone competent, organized, and willing to take on the entire process. This will be someone who will also need to be willing to take it into the appeal process as necessary.
• The following are suggestions from veterans. They were kind enough to offer their aid as I requested. I thank them. I am leaving their names and the websites out to protect their privacy.
- Talk to veterans, especially veterans you trust. Ask them about their experiences with VSO’s and/or organizations.
- Go to a canteen at a VA Medical Center or go to a veteran center and ask if anyone has some names that could be recommended.
- Go on veteran websites (See Support Groups in STEP 6) and ask for anyone’s experiences with a VSO or organization in a specific area. This would be an avenue where you would receive a frank answer to questions you might have since the member of the website is usually anonymous.
- Assess a VSO’s characteristics:
When meeting with the VSO, do you feel your meeting is being crammed into a small amount of time with not enough allowed to complete your queries? Or does the VSO have the patience and provides you with the time necessary to explore your concerns.
Is he/she getting sidetracked while talking with you or does the VSO give you his undivided attention?
Does the VSO exhibit confidence?
Does he/she seem genuinely interested in your claim(s)?
If you phone the VSO, is your call returned within a reasonable amount of time?
Does he/she show competence in the performance of the job?
How do you feel working with this person---comfortable, intimidated, encouraged, patronized? Depending on your response you need to decide if you want to continue with this VSO.
- Another possibility is to go in to a VSO office just before it closes. Even if they don’t have the time then to discuss your situation, setting up an appointment for another mutually agreed time could offer insight into the office. How are you treated, courteous with interest in helping you or in a hurry to just move you out the door?
• Sometimes you have no real choice in the matter. Remember, though, you may have signed a Power of Attorney (POA) with that VSO or organization but you can always rescind it and take the claim process over yourself or designate another VSO somewhere else to handle your claim by signing a new POA.
• Finally, if your VSO fails to give you the guidance you need, not to mention time to converse, respect and courteous service you deserve, then keep in mind there are other VSO’s out there. Do not worry about hurt feelings on the VSO’s part. They are there to help you! If they fail to do that, then you need to transfer to someone who can help.
Hopefully, this information will help a little. As I said at the beginning there is no set group of questions or actions that can guarantee a good VSO. There are a lot of variables in this complex area.
I wish you the best in your journey.
fanaticbooksEdited by fanaticbooks (see edit history)
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