FAQs

The Official Website for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is : https://www.va.gov/

This is a pre-discharge claim that can be filed up to 180 days before leaving the service.

If you have less than 90 days left on active duty, you can't file your claim through the BDD program.  But your can still file before you're discharged, and your claim will be processed after separation as a fully developed or standard claim.

You can use the BDD program if you meet all of the requirements listed below.

All of these must be true:

*  You're a service member on full-time active duty (including a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard), and

*  You have a known separation date, and

*  Your separation date is in the next 180 to 90 days, and

*  You're available to go to VA exams for 45 days from the date you submitted your claim, and 

*  You can provide a copy of your service treatment records for your current period of service when you file your claim.

You can't use the BDD program if any of these are true.  You:

*  Need case management for serious injury or illness, or

*  Are terminally ill, or

*  Are waiting to be discharged while being treated at a VA hospital or military treatment facility, or 

*  Are pregnant, or

*  Are waiting for VA to determine your character of discharge, or

*  Can't go to a VA exam during the 45 days period after you submit your claim, or

*  Didn't submit copies of your service treatment records for your current period of service, or

Added a medical condition to your original claim when you had less than 90 days left on active duty (Note:  VA will process the added conditions after your discharge.), or

*  Need to have a VA exam done in a foreign country, except if the exam can be requested by the overseas BDD office in either Landstuhl, Germany, or Camp Humphreys, Korea

You can help to support your VA disability claim by providing documents, such as:

*  Military medical treatment records.

*  VA medical records and hospital records that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your rated disability has gotten worse.

*  private medical records and hospital reports that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your disability has gotten worse.

*  Supporting statements you'd like to provide from family members, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, or those you served with that can tell more about your claimed condition and how and when it happened or how it got worse.

*  They will also review your discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents) and service treatment records.

Depending on the type of claim you file, you may gather supporting documents yourself, or you can ask the VA for help to gather evidence.

No.  Simply starting your VA disability application doesn't show your intent to file.  You'll need to submit an intent to file form, which sets the effective date (the day you can start getting your benefits).  Then you can focus on gathering supporting documents to turn in with your application.  If you submit an intent to file before your claim, you may be able to get retroactive payments (money you'll get starting from your effective date).

Note:  If your file your claim online, you don't need to separately send an intent to file form.  The online application already includes your intent to file.

You can file online at va.gov depending on your situation.  Go to va.gov and search VA form 21-526EZ.  When you get to the form, click the blue button (sign in to start your application).

Save time and save your work in progress by singing in before starting your application

When you're signed in to your va.gov account:

*  They can prefill part of your application based on your account details.

*  You can save your application in progress, and come back later to finish filling it out.  You'll have 1 year from the date you start or update your application to submit it.  After 1 year, they'll delete the application and you'll need to start over.

Note:If you sign in after you've started your application, you won't be able to save the information you've already filled in.

Prepare

When you file a disability claim, you'll have a chance to provide evidence to support your claim.  Evidence could include:

*  VA medical records and hospital records that relate to your claimed condition or that show your rated disability has gotten worse

*  Private medical records and hospital reports that relate to your claimed condition or that show your disability has gotten worse

*  Supporting statements from family, friends, coworkers, clergy, or law enforcement personnel with knowledge about how and when your disability happened or how it got worse

In some cases, you may need to turn in one or more additional forms to support your disability claim.  For example, you'll need to fill out another form if you're claiming a dependent or applying for aid and attendance benefits.

What if I need help with my application?

If you need help filing a disability claim, you can contact a VA regional office and ask to speak to a counselor.  To find the nearest regional office, please call 800-827-1000.

By mail:

File your claim by mail using an application for disability compensation and related compensation benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ)

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

In person

Take your application to a VA regional office near you.

You can submit your intent to file by phone or by written form.

By phone:

Call 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

By submitting a form:

Download, fill out, and submit an intent to file a claim for compensation and/or pension, or survivors pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966).

Mail:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims intake center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Turn it in at a VA regional office near you.

The first claim you file for a disability is your original claim.

Accredited representatives and VSOs can help you understand and apply for VA benefits, like:

*  Financial support

*  Education

*  Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

*  Home loans

*  Lift insurance

*  Pension

*  Health care

*  Burial benefits

These trained professionals can also:

*  Help you gather supporting documents (like a doctor's report or medical test result)

*  File a claim or appeal on your behalf

*  provide added support, like helping with transportation to medical appointments or emergency funds.

Note:  Veterans Service Officers work for Veterans Service Organizations (both are called VSOs), as well as for local government offices.

The three fundamental requirements for obtaining service-connected disability compensation:

*  First, there must be competent evidence of a current disability. 

*  Second, there must be medical, or in certain circumstances, lay evidence of in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury.

*  Finally, there must be competent evidence of a link or nexus between the in-serve incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury and the current disability.

Exceptions

The following diseases are covered, even if they appear more than one year after you separated from service:

*  Hansen's disease (a long-lasting infection that affects your skin, nerves, and mucous membranes) can appear within 3 years after discharge.

*  Tuberculosis (an infection that attacks your lungs and sometimes other areas of your body) can appear within 3 years after discharge.

*  Multiple sclerosis (a long-lasting illness that can cause numbness, weakness, and many other symptoms) can appear within 7 years after discharge.

*  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also know as Lou Gehrig's disease (a long-lasting illness that affects muscle control), can appear any time after discharge.

After you file your disability benefits claim, the VA may ask you to have a claim exam (also known as a compensation and pension, or C&P exam).  This exam will help them rate your disability.  Your rating will be based on how severe your disability is and will affect how much disability compensation you'll receive.  Compensation may include things like monthly payments and enrollment in the VA health care program.  The VA claim exam is different from a regular medical appointment because the examiner won't prescribe any medicine or treat you for your disability.

Does everyone who files a claim need to have a VA claim exam?

No.  The VA will ask you to have a claim exam only if they need more information to decided your claim.  If you have enough medical evidence in your file to support your claim, they won't ask you to have a claim exam.  Medical evidence may include doctor and hospital reports, test results, and other documents.

How to schedule your VA claim exam?

The staff at your local VA medical center or a local doctor's office that VA partner with will contact you.  They'll either send you a letter by mail with the date and time of your exam, or call you to find a time that works for you.  Make sure both the VA regional office and the VA medical center nearest you have your up to date address, phone number, and email address so you get your exam notice in time.

What should you do when you receive your exam letter or phone call?

Call the number provided right away to confirm the time and location of your exam.  It's important not to miss your scheduled exam, so you'll want to double check that you have the right place and time.

What if you can't make it to the scheduled exam?

If you can't make it to your appointment, let the VA know right away.  You can most likely rescheduled, but this may delay your claim.

To reschedule your appointment:

Call 800-827-1000 or go to your nearest VA regional office.

What to bring to your VA claim exam?

You don't need to bring anything to your exam.  If you have any new non-VA medical records (like records from a recent surgery or illness), please be sure to submit them before your appointment.  The health care provider can't review new information during the exam.  On the day of the exam, you'll want to wear comfortable clothes so you can move freely while the doctor exams you.

If you need help filing a disability claim, you can contact a VA regional office and ask to speak to a counselor.  To find the nearest regional office, please call 800-827-1000.  An accredited representative, like a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), can help you fill out your claim.  VSOs work on behalf of veterans and service members as well as their dependents and survivors.

1.  Sign in to va.gov.

2.  Choose how you want to receive your authentication code.

3.  Enter the authentication code you received.

4.  Go to the claim status tool.

5.  Review your claims, appeals, and decision reviews.

6.  Review the status of a claim.

7.  Review the files for your claim.

8.  Review the details of your claim.

You can find an accredited representative or a VSO in 1 of 2 ways:

*  Go to ebenefits to find a local representative (including a recognized VSO, an attorney, or claims agent) by state/territory, zip code, or the organization's name.

*  Or search the VA office of the General Counsel's list to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals by name, city, state, or zip code.

If you served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina, you may have had contact with contaminants in the drinking water there.  Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and development of certain diseases later on.  If you have qualifying service at Camp Lejeune and a current diagnosis of one of the conditions listed below, you may be able to get disability benefits.

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you meet all of the requirements listed below.

Both of these must be true.  You:

*  Served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 through December 1987, and 

*  Didn't receive a dishonorable discharge when you separated from the military

And you must have a diagnosis of one or more of these presumptive conditions:

*  Adult leukemia

*  Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

*  Bladder cancer

*  Kidney cancer

*  Liver cancer

*  Multiple myeloma

*  Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

*  Parkinson's disease

You may be able to get disability benefits if you have signs of an illness like hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, diabetes, or peptic ulcers that started within a year after you were discharged from active military service.  If your symptoms appear within one year after discharge-even if they weren't there while you were serving- the VA will conclude that they're related to your service.

Am I eligible for disability benefits from VA?

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you have an illness that's at least 10% disabling that appears within 1 year after discharge, and you meet both of the requirements listed below.

Both of these must be true:

*  The illness is listed in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulation, 3.09(a), and

*  You didn't receive a dishonorable discharge

Posttraumatic stress can happen after someone goes through a traumatic event such as combat, an assault, or a disaster.  Most people have some stress reactions following trauma.  But if the reactions don't go away over time or they disrupt your life, you may have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Am I eligible for disability benefits from VA?

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you have symptoms related to a traumatic event (the "stressor") or experience with the stressor is related to the PTSD symptoms, and you meet all of the requirements listed below.

All of these must be true:

*  The stressor happened during your service, and 

*  You can't function as well as you once could because of your symptoms, and

*  A doctor has diagnosed you with PTSD

What does VA consider to be a traumatic event?

The VA consider any of these to be a traumatic event:

*  You suffered a serious injury, personal or sexual trauma, or sexual violation, or

*  you were threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death

The steps below are a guide for filing your VA claim.  We're NOT a claims agent, attorney or VA representative.  It's illegal for us to file any claims on the veterans behalf.

Veterans first time filing, new conditions or filing for increase:

1.  Go to va.gov, search VA form 21-526EZ

2.  Sign in to start your application

Save time and save your work in progress by signing in before starting your application

When you're signed in to your VA.gov account:

*  They can prefill part of your application based on your account details.

*  you can save your application in progress, and come back later to finish filling it out.  You'll have 1 year from the date you start or update your application to submit it.  After 1 year, they will delete the application and you'll need to start over.

Note:  If you sign in after you've started your application, you won't be able to save the information you've already filled in.

3.  Fill in all known information and attach supporting document and click save.  We will provide a recommended list of conditions to claim and your IMO's.

4.  Once you receive the recommended conditions, add that information to your application.

5.  Attach your IMO's as supporting documents.

6.  Review your application

7.  Submit

If you have conditions that were denied in the past or you're doing a supplemental claim, use VA form 20-0995.

1.  Download VA form 20-0995

2.  Select a benefit type in part 1 on the form.  The most common benefit type is compensation, but if you're unsure, check your VA decision.  You can't select multiple benefit types.  You must complete a separate form for each type.

3.  List the issue(s) you want VA to review in part 2 on the form.  You can include all or just some of the issues VA decided.  You must list the issues(s) you disagree with and the VA decision date.

4.  Gather new and relevant evidence to submit.  You must add new and relevant evidence (supporting documents) or identify evidence you'd like VA to gather for review.  Your new medical documents and the IMO's will be your new and relevant evidence.

5.  Submit your application by mail or in person.

By mail:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims intake center

P.O. Box 4444

JanesVille, WI 53547-4444

In person

Take your completed form and any supporting documents to a VA regional office.

Note:

A veteran can submit both a VA form 21-526EZ and VA form 20-0995.

If that veteran is filing for increase and/or new conditions and that veteran has decision letter(s) from previously denied claim.  That veteran will need to submit both the 526EZ and the 0995.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) definition

VA uses the term MST to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment while an individual was on Active Duty, Active duty for training, or Inactive Duty Training.  Example include:

*  Being pressured or coerced into sexual activities, such as with threats of negative treatment if you refuse to cooperate or with promises of better treatment in exchange for sex;

*  Someone having sexual contact with you without your consent, such as when you were asleep or intoxicated;

*  Being physically forced to have sex;

*  Being touched in a sexual way that made you uncomfortable;

*  Repeated comments about your body or sexual activities; and 

*  Threatening and unwanted sexual advances.

To receive disability compensation from VA, you must have a current health condition related to these experiences.

Evidence needed for disability claim based on MST

MST impacts different veterans in different ways, and you can file a disability compensation claim for any health condition you have as result of your experiences of MST.

For any VA disability compensation claim to be successful, there must be:

*  A current physical or mental condition that affects your body or mind; and

*  An event, injury, or illness that happened while you were serving in the military; and

*  A link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease that happened during your military service.

For MST-related claims, you can use any of the items listed below to support your disability claim related to MST.

Department of Defense (DoD) sexual assault or harassment reporting forms

*  Investigative reports completed during military service

In addition to DoD reports, veterans who have current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions related to their experiences of MST can also submit indirect sources of evidence.  These may be behavioral events, patterns of changed behavior or circumstances that provide clues the traumatic event happened.  They do not have to show definitive evidence that it did.  Some examples are:

*  Change in work performance at the time

*  Episodes of the following without clear cause:

Anxiety

Depression

*  Journals or personal diaries

*  Panic attacks

*  Pregnancy tests

*  Records from official sources

Civilian physicians

Civilian hospitals, health clinics, mental health counseling centers

Civilian law enforcement

Rape crisis centers or centers for domestic violence

*  Relationship issues, like divorce

*  Requests for transfer to another military duty assignment

*  Sexual dysfunction

*  Statements from others

Chaplains or clergy members

Counselors

Faculty member

Family members

Fellow service members

Roommates

*  Substance abuse

*  Tests for sexually transmitted diseases

*  Unexplained social or economic behavior

VA may request a medical opinion to help determine how the indirect sources of evidence relate to MST and any current PTSD or other mental health symptoms.  VA will schedule an appointment for you to meet with a clinician who will provide this medical opinion.  If you prefer to meet with clinician of a certain gender for this appointment, please make this request during the scheduling of your appointment.

You have 60 days to appeal to a veterans law judge at the board of veterans appeals.

If you disagree with VA's decision, you can request to have a senior reviewer take a new look at your case.  The reviewer will determine whether the decision can be changed based on a difference of opinion or an error.

You can request a higher level review of an initial claim or supplemental claim decision.  You have one year from the date on your decision letter to request a higher level review.  This option isn't available after a previous higher level review or board appeal on the same claim.

Note

1.  You can't submit any evidence.

2.  You and/or your representative can speak with the reviewer on the phone.  You can tell them why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors.

You may be eligible for VA disability benefits or compensation if you have a current illness or injury (known as a condition) that affects your body or mind and you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.

Both of these must be true.  You:

*  Served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, and 

*  Have a disability rating for your service-connected condition

And at least one of these must be true.  You:

*  Got sick or injured while serving in the military and can link this condition to your illness or injury (called an inservice disability claim), or

*  Had an illness or injury before you joined the military and serving made it worse (called a preservice disability claim), or

*  Have a disability related to your active duty service that didn't appear until after you ended your service (called a postservice disability claim)

Presumed disabilities

*  A chronic (long lasting) illness that appears within one year after discharge, or

*  An illness caused by contact with contaminants (toxic chemicals) or other hazardous materials, or

*  An illness caused by your time spent as a prisoner of war (POW)

You can request a higher level review online right now.  Go to va.gov

By mail:

Fill out the decision review request:  Higher level review (VA Form 20-0996).

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims intake center

PO Box 44444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

In person

Regional benefit office near you

Initial claim:  153.1 days average

Supplemental claim:  125 days average

Higher level review:  125 days average

Board Appeal

Direct review:  one year

Submit more evidence:  More than one year

Request a hearing:  More than one year

To file a supplemental claim, fill out the Decision Review Request:  Supplemental claim:  (VA Form 20-0995).

1.  Select a benefit type in part 1 on the form:

The most common benefit type is compensation, but if you're unsure, check your VA decision.  You can't select multiple benefits types.  You must complete a separate form for each type.

2.  List the issue(s) you want VA to review in part 2 on the form:

You can include all or just some of the issues VA decided.  You must list the issues(s) you disagree with and the VA decision date.

3.  Gather new and relevant evidence to submit:

You must add new and relevant evidence (supporting documents) or identify evidence you'd like VA to gather for review.

The VA can help you gather evidence from a VA medical center, other federal facility, or your private health care provider.

Fill out the decision review request:  Supplemental claim (VA Form 20-0995).

Submit your application by mail or in person.

By Mail

Send the completed form and any supporting documents to the VA regional office that matches the benefit type you selected on the form.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims intake center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

In person

Bring your completed form and any supporting documents to a VA regional office. 

You can file a supplemental claim anytime, but the VA recommend you file within one year from the date on your decision letter.

If your IMO are completed and Signed and the payment has been made, then you should be able to download your IMO from : https://www.kdvma.com/imo_forms.html

Adding new evidence that's relevant to your case or identifying new evidence for review.  In order to file a supplemental claim, you must add evidence that is new (or not provided to VA previously) and relevant to your case.  You can file a supplemental claim anytime, but we recommend you file within one year from the date on your decision letter.  Download VA Form 20-0995.  You can use this option if your claim was denied and you want to add new evidence.

Option 1:  Request a direct review.

A veterans Law Judge will review your appeal based on evidence already submitted.  You can't submit evidence and can't have a hearing.

The Direct Review option will take about one year for the board to complete.

Option 2:  Submit more evidence

You can submit more evidence for a Veteran Law Judge to review.  You  must submit this evidence within 90days of the date we receive your Decision Review Request:  Board Appeal (VA Form 10182).

The evidence submission option will take more than one year for the Board to complete.

Option 3:  Request a hearing 

You can request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.  You can choose to add new and relevant evidence, either at the hearing or within 90 days after the hearing.  Adding evidence is optional.  Your hearing will be transcribed and added to your appeal file.

You can choose from 3 different ways to speak with the Veterans Law Judge:

1.  Virtual hearing from your home

2.  Videoconference hearing at a VA location near you

3.  In-person hearing at the Board in Washington, D.C.

The hearing request option will take more than one year for the Board to complete.

New evidence:  Is information that VA didn't have before the last decision.

Relevant evidence:  Is information that could prove or disprove something in your claim.

You can submit evidence yourself or ask VA to get evidence, like medical records from a VA medical center, other federal facility, or your private health care provider.  VA can't accept your supplemental claim without new and relevant evidence.

To request a Board Appeal, fill out the decision review request:  Board Appeal (Va Form 10182).

1.  Check off option 1, 2, or 3

Part II of the form lists the 3 Board Appeal option (Direct Review, Evidence Submission, and Board Hearing).  Check one.

2.  List the issue(s) you want to appeal in Part III

You can include all or just some of the issues VA has decided.  You'll need to list the issue(s) you disagree with and the VA decision date for each.

3.  Submit your appeal from by mail, in person, or by fax

By mail

Send the completed form and any supporting documents to this address:

Board of Veterans Appeals

PO Box 27063

Washington, D.C 20038

In person

Bring your completed form to a regional office.

By fax

Fax your completed form to 844-678-8979

The turn around time depends on how quickly you can get a current diagnosis on your conditions. 

I served in the U.S. Navy where I was Chief Resident at Naval Hospital Pensacola and provided care to active duty, reserve, and retired members at other duty stations before coming to private practice.

We provide veterans medical evaluations that meet VA-specific guidelines. This helps veterans towards successful claims.

As a medical sub-specialist, an active medical researcher, and a board certified physician, Dr. Mitchell can assess most medical conditions or concerns. That includes the analysis of most diseases and injuries a veteran might develop in connection to his or her military service. 

The C and P exam (Claims and Pension exams= CP exam) is one of the most important steps in the VA medical code process as all these claims all are medical claims and thus the CP exam is the VAs way to get more medical data—so never miss the exam or VA will simply say that the patient missed the exam and deny the case.

Complete your intake form.
Dr. Mitchell or someone from his staff will contact you to discuss your IMO. Only after you complete your intake form.
Keep in mind your price will be based on the number of primary/secondary medical issuses and complexity of your case.
Veteran pays his/her fee online.
Veteran sends a copy of their military medical record, civilian medical record, and VA medical records along with all radiology and lab reports. Please send copies only. Dr. Mitchell does not maintain any records on file. All records will be shredded after Dr. Mitchell completes your IMO.
Please take your medical documents through the postal service. Dr. Mitchell will use a P.O. Box, and he will not send confirmation of receipt because of his case load and work schedule.
Dr. Mitchell completes your IMO and mails it directly to you. This process should take 4 to 6 weeks from the receipt of payment and all medical records provided by you.


***NOTE*** All documents must be sent in one transaction unless authorized by Dr. Mitchell.
 
Dr. Mitchell’s daily routine consists of running Northside family practice and assisting veterans with their case IMO’s. Please be patient and allow him or his staff time to contact you.