The Military Disability system was designed
with the intent to properly and fairly compensate all disabled American veterans for any disabilities caused by military service. Even with all the
best intentions, however, the system sadly falls short all too often.
There is nothing more frustrating than
feeling trapped in an unfair system, and too many of our veterans are wasting
their efforts trying to fight the system in the wrong ways.
So what can you do that will do the most
good? When does fighting just waste your time and effort (and maybe even
First, educating yourself about the system
and how it works is of the upmost importance. We founded www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com
for exactly this purpose. When I worked for the PDBR, it was clear that the
majority of veterans who applied were completely clueless about how the system actually
worked, and it wasn’t really their fault. They had been given wrong or
incomplete information somewhere along the line, and the majority of their
frustration came from simply not having the right information. With the right
info, you’ll be able to easily resolve the majority of the problems you face.
If you have all the info and are doing
everything correctly, but are not satisfied with a decision that is made
somewhere along the way, there is a system in place for you to appeal that
decision. It is very important that you follow this process. People outside the
official appeals system do not have the power to make any changes, so
continuing to argue your case with them will only frustrate you and them and
not get anything really done. Filling out the forms to file an appeal may not
feel as satisfying as yelling at the poor schlup who answers the phone at the
VA office, but it’s much more likely to do you good.
Now, if you’ve done everything
right—submitted all the right information, made your case airtight, etc.—and
your appeal is denied, what do you do? From here, you have only two options:
continue to appeal to higher courts or accept your ratings for now and try to
get the laws themselves changed.
Continuing the appeals process could be an
extremely long, tough, expensive road, but it may be worth it in some cases. If
your appeals are all denied, this is the only option that could get your
ratings changed. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has the right to override the
laws in special cases. So, if you are trapped in a technicality of the law that
is clearly unfair, you may be able to get the Secretary to make an exception in
your case. To get to him, however, you have to first go through the United
States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Many veterans who pursue their
cases this far choose to higher a lawyer to help. It is an option that could
become very expensive and may ultimately not do any good. For some, though, it
has been totally worth the fight. That choice is ultimately up to you.
But if you choose not to continue to
appeal, does that mean that you just have to sit back and take it? No. While
you may not have the power to get your ratings changed now, you do have the
power to influence Congress to fix the faulty laws. Write a letter to your
Congressman explaining the details of your case and how the laws have failed to
give you the proper compensation you deserve. You may feel that this option is
pointless. Will a Congressman really care about your case? Believe it or not,
the treatment and welfare of our veterans is a BIG issue in Congress right now.
Many bills are in Congress, many changes are being proposed. Now is a great time
to let your voice be heard.
Ultimately, there are far too many veterans
who are being harmed because of the shortcomings in the laws governing military
disability. If you are one of them, it may seem that you are trapped, but there
are still ways you can being proactive and help work toward positive change for
This is a bit of an
early announcement, but we want to get the excitement going. The VASRD
, the law
that governs how conditions are rated for DoD Disability
and VA Disability
currently being rewritten. They will be releasing the new changes one section
at a time, inviting feedback on the changes before they are finalized.
As each section is
released, we will be posting the changes on this blog and inviting all of you
to comment. Let us know what you think of the changes. Are there things they
missed? Do the changes seem fair? What loopholes do you see? Once we collect
all of your thoughts and insights, we’ll include them in an official document
that we’ll submit to the Congressional Committee. They must consider all the
documents submitted before they can finalize a law.
Join with us and let
your voice be truly heard!
We’ll keep you
informed as we get closer to those changes being released.