Service Connected

Veterans Make Use of Yoga to Reduce PTSD Symptoms

I work with a young lady named Lauren who is quite interesting. Lauren is our operations manager and usually comes in the office perky and ready to work. She is so full of energy and spunk that you have to wonder what’s going on with her. I happen to be quite blunt and simply asked Lauren what was going on in her life to make her so full of energy. Was it some sort of pill? Was it gluten? Is it a new energy drink? I was concerned that she was consuming a case of “5 Hour Energy” before she came to work. (That’s nearly 30 hours of energy.) “Oh Jon,” she replied, “don’t be silly.” Lauren happens...

4 Examples of Non-Combat PTSD

After nearly four years of working with Veterans, and writing this blog for a majority of that time, I can openly say that I know at least a little bit about VA Disability. If you've read my blogs in the past I have often discussed how much misinformation is out there, and how so much of it is believed to be truth. One thing I keep coming back to is the notion that non-combat Veterans can’t service connect for PTSD. If for any reason this were to be the last thing I ever write, I want it to be known that a Veteran does not have to serve in combat to get service connected for PTSD. It’s obvious...

4 Reasons We Won't Take a Veteran's Disability Claim

Personally I think making a New Year’s resolution is as pretentious as buying a pumpkin spice latte in October. I don’t make real ones, and I think blasting about it on Facebook, or for the very lonely, Google Plus, is just a cry for attention. When I set out for change I simply do it. Earlier this year, not so early to be considered a resolution of any sort, I decided to be very upfront with people in my life. Instead of letting something get under my skin and smolder for a while, I’ll simply let someone know they are irritating me. On the other end, if I think you are awesome, I’ll let it be...

New Veterans Health Care Bill May Actually Benefit Veterans

There’s a good chance that you've heard about a new Veteran’s health care bill being signed into law. I’ll admit that it can be kind of confusing to read. If you turn to a 24 hour news channel for information regarding what this means for you, then you are likely just going to hear a lot political non-sense about how this favors one party over the other or some other commentary that doesn't really help to explain what is going on. Well, we really don’t pay too much attention to politics with this blog, so here is what we found out about what changes are going to occur, and how this will really...

MST, Social Media, and Establishing Service Connection for Veterans

If you read my most recent post on Veterans using the social media application Whisper to discuss PTSD, then you know that it’s not the only condition Veterans are making use of the app for lately. Posts regarding Military Sexual Trauma, which is closely associated with PTSD, have been appearing a lot more often. A lot of Veterans who have been sexually assaulted or raped while serving are taking to Whisper to discuss these situations. In my post regarding Whisper and PTSD I stated that I believed using this platform to discuss traumatic events was a great first step in seeking treatment. The...

PTSD: From a "Whisper," to a Roar

As a person working in social media I often try to stay connected to current trends. A relatively new social networking site called Whisper is becoming quite popular. Whisper is a place in which you can confess thoughts or life events anonymously. Simply, you create text that is posted over an image of your choosing. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you don’t have to use your real name. The application takes great lengths to make sure your real identity remains hidden. (If you want it to be.)  Personally I am not a fan of anonymity, but this service isn’t really geared towards me. While a lot of...

Can I get service connected for a flatfoot condition?

When I was just a young lad I remember having a conversation with someone who was told he couldn't join the military because he had flat feet. Years later I would realize that there were many other reasons for him not being qualified for military. As a tween, I remember that conversation, and for some reason it stuck with me. As an individual who now works with Veterans, imagine my surprise when I would hear Veterans talk about filing claims for flat feet. I immediately would wonder how they got into the military with their flat feet. Well, it’s something that has been in the back of my mind...

5 Tips for getting through the VA Disability process from someone who knows

When I joined the Jan Dils team nearly four years ago I had no idea how frustrating working with the VA would be. Granted, I am not a Veteran, nor have I served, but I can honestly saw working on the legal side can be frustrating. I am the kind of person who prefers to see things as either black or white. The VA however likes to view things in multiple shades of gray. (Please note that this is a reference to how individuals interpret and make judgments on issues, not a reference to that awful book.) If it were up to me, a Veteran with a diagnosis for PTSD would simply be granted that. However,...

Making the rank; Does your rank help your VA claim?

When I was studying criminal justice in undergrad, or as it is more popularly known, wasting four years of my life, we learned about ranks within police departments. I really wish I would have paid more attention during that lesson because it likely would have helped me when doing intakes with Veterans. The reason is that I have to know what rank a Veteran was at when he or she was discharged from the military. One might think that it is a simple as asking them and then jotting down their reply, but like going to the DMV, things get complicated fast. Most of my research came from the...

Modern Veterans' Organizations offer Alternative to alcohol-based socialization.

Full disclosure, I am not much into drinking. It’s never really been a hobby of mine. I remember celebrating pretty heavily when I turned 21, then revisiting some nachos I had consumed earlier that evening, and not too much after that. I am now nine years removed from that day and I can’t really recall any other time in which I was intoxicated. Honestly I saw a lot of cautionary tales growing up that have really stuck with me. Also, I simply can’t stand the taste of most forms of alcohol. Before we get too far along, I want to make it clear that this is not the judgment express. I am flawed....

Why is the VA Denying all of those Gulf War Claims?

Last month the Department of Veterans Affairs released a study showing that 80% of Gulf War related claims get denied by the VA. For some this information may seem like a shocking number. For others however, this seems like a regular occurrence with the VA. Why are all of those claims getting denied though? While I personally can’t go in and look at every decision, I can provide some insight from my own experiences. Let’s examine an issue like headaches for instance. This issue is on the Gulf War presumptive list. In other words, the VA assumes that if you served in the Gulf War, and have an...

What it's like to apply for VA Disability

I can go on and on about the VA disability process until Taylor Swift finds a man that is good enough for her, but sometimes it’s great to hear about it from someone who has been through the process before. Plus we don’t have that much time…Ms. Swift tends to be quite choosey. Our new weekly feature continues this week with Bill from our VA department sharing his personal experience. Since this is our 2nd blog with Bill I decided it would be interesting to see how he found out about VA disability in the first place. As I sat down with Bill he reminded me that he was discharged in 2009. It’s...

If I get Social Security and VA Disability, am I "Double Dipping?"

Recently I posted a blog about a practice I referred to as “Double Dipping.” It’s what happens when you try to get the VA to service connect you for something that you have filed for on Workers Compensation. In other words if you filed a workers compensation claim on your back, and then try to file a VA Disability Claim on your back, one will negate the other. The reason is that you are trying to get the government to pay you for an injury that occurred at both places. In the VA’s eyes, it has to be one or the other. The reason for this is that one is for injured workers; the other is for...

What is the difference between a diagnosed and an undiagnosed illness?

Have you ever struggled to understand something that so many people you know grasp so quickly? I will admit that I find myself in this type of situation often. For instance, when I competed in speech and debate in high school I struggled to remember my speeches. Every tournament I would lose because I had pauses in my speeches as I forgot the lines I wrote. One day my coach had a private conversation with me. He informed me that the judges don’t know what I know. If I forget something, they are never going to realize it because they didn’t have a copy of my speech in front of them. It all made...

Don't fall into the treatment gap

I know I can often sound like a corrupt MP3 file-that’s a broken record for my older readers-but I can’t stress how important medical evidence is for any Veterans Disability claim. While a lack of treatment as a whole is bad for your case, a gap in treatment can be just as bad. Granted, this isn’t as much of an issue for Veterans who are returning home from recent conflicts. We see this problem mostly in Veterans who served in Vietnam, the 80’s or even the early 90’s during Desert Storm. A classic scenario I hear all of the time from Veterans is that they were hurt while serving, chose not to...