Tips by Veterans

These tips were found on various social media forums. Veterans help fellow veterans. 


1. When you’re registered with the and My HealtheVet, this is very helpful: The Blue Button notes side of My HealtheVet was a very important tool I used to get rated.

2 When you go to the MST Coordinator they put a note on your Health Care Record saying you are a victim of MST. This is a good thing indeed. When you go for medical care for what MST caused you do not have to tell your story again. Only share that private information with the MST Coordinator or other Mental Health Specialist.

3. Take these Self-Assessments on the VA Website. It will tell you where you stand in many categories. It will help you understand a lot about yourself and the direction you should be going. When trauma survivors take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. Active coping with the trauma makes you begin to feel less helpless.

4. Some of us think the VA denies claims with hopes that you are dying or will give up.  It took me 4 years to apply for the disabilities and receive the final rating of 100% P&T. I did this without a NEXUS Letter. It is an expense to have one done and extremely hard to find a doctor to write one.  

5. Exposure to Agent Orange is an event but cannot be claimed as a disability. What Agent Orange caused is a disability. If you have any one of these you are entitled to a disability rating.  Many more symptoms and diseases added to the presumptive list caused by Agent Orange.

6. Apply as soon as possible after discharge.

7. Have military medical records transferred to the nearest VA facility prior to discharge.

8. It’s not too late to apply.

9. The DAV service officers will assist with your disability application, no fee or membership not required.

10. Make sure the VSO is qualified. If you have any questions about that start here.

11. VA now awards service connection for chronic pain that lacks a specific diagnosis, as long as that pain is connected to an event that occurred or a symptom that appeared while the veteran was on active duty. Furthermore, the veteran’s chronic pain must cause functional impairment or loss.

12. While you are on active duty go on a sick call or a doctor’s appointment for EVERY Injury you have. Document all injuries. You are not a sissy gold brick doing this. In the outside world, HR tells new employees the same thing.

13. A VA Doctor will NEVER WRITE A NEXUS LETTER. Find a civilian doctor to do this. You will pay for the appointment or ask to be treated outside of the VA.

14. Do not pay a blood-sucking lawyer to write up claims for you. They will rob you blind. Use an accredited VSO.

15. Find out about the VA Caregiver Program. It is a hardship for them. Let them be compensated by the VA.

16. Put in for every mile you have to drive to your VA Appointments. You can do that electronically or with a form at a VA Business Office.

17. Take a charging cable for your smart device because sometimes the appointment takes a lot longer than expected OFTEN.

18.  Don’t count on the VA to do any research on your behalf for records needed to prove a disability. The VA only evaluates what is in front of them. I started by searching the internet to find email and US mail addresses for the national archives, and the Coast Guard Historian to search for my records. I was able to find records of events that were part of my PTSD which lead to finding shipmates and my CO. They sent buddy statements cooperating with my case.

19. DAV operates a fleet of vehicles around the country to provide free transportation to VA medical facilities for injured and ill veterans.

20. CFR 38 is your best friend. It is a Web Automated Reference Material System Schedule for Rating / Disabilities  Once you go there you can automatically download the text document for what you are looking for. 

21. As we get older things we were exposed to can begin to affect our health. If an illness gets worse or a new one pops up ask the VSO if a disability claim is in order.

22. Write down what is wrong with you physically and mentally and talk to your VSO if they could be caused when you were serving. The VSO has a complete list of what Agent Orange causes. Not sure if they have a list for each branch of service and MOS.

23. There are many out there who say they have the inside track and better ideas for you to have access to information and get faster and higher ratings. It is all about MONEY for them. Stick with talking to fellow veterans and find out how they work with the VA and a VSO. Be very careful when someone holds out their hand when everything the VA is about is FREE.

24. Dental is free only if you are rated at 100%. That should be changed since poor dental health can affect your whole body. They need to lower that rating number.

25. Do not LIE to the VA for Health Care and Disability Claims. They will charge you for fraud and when convicted you are sentenced to pay huge fines and receive prison time. Google It.

26. If you are still on active duty and thinking about getting out and filing a claim, go through the Benefits Delivery At Discharge or BDD program at your installation. To qualify you must have between 60 and 180 days left on active duty. We will take your claim and get you examined before you go home. Normally, decisions are available about two months after you separate or retire.  If you are still on active duty but have less than 60 days to go, you can still file a “Quick Start” claim. Quick Start claims are processed at dedicated facilities so decisions are quicker for most Veterans.

27. My problem is I was raped by the same gender as myself by several members of my section. I had orgasms which made them even angrier and beat me more. After that, I was called gay, queer, fag, and homo. I did not report the event because a ship is much smaller than you would ever know. Other shipmates stopped being my friends. My proof of the MST was my records showed overnight I got in a lot of trouble for fighting, lack of respect for officers, asking to be reassigned, and many other behavioral problems. I understand that orgasm is a physical thing and has nothing to do with being gay.

28. The Agent Orange Registry Exam is a free evaluation from which Veterans can learn about possible health problems related to their military service. Participants receive a health exam not a physical exam, including exposure and medical history.  If needed they will give a physical exam and laboratory tests. 

29. While in the Military we were exposed to some very unfriendly environments.  View what they are by category.

30.  My recruiter was a female. As a female myself, she warned that I would experience MST from harassment to rape. I took it at full face value. SO SHOULD YOU. I learned how to defend myself, I stayed sober in public, I learned to document events, and I SPOKE OUT TO PROTECT MYSELF WHEN IT HAPPENS. I stayed away from any situation that I was uncomfortable to be around. I stayed for 6 years and came out with a college degree and job skills for my civilian life.

31. Denied denied denied is all I got back from the VA until I got my act together by going to therapy for PTSD. Anger Depression and Wanting to be Dead was blinding disability. The VSO had a serious talk about that. No one could help me if I did not help myself.

32. If you’ve served in a combat zone, get free private, alcohol and drug assessment, and other support at one of our 300 community Vet Centers.

33. Veterans and survivors can use the intent to file a process if they need additional time to gather support for their claims. The Intent To File (view  PDF )  process can be used for VA compensation and pension benefits. This includes Survivors’ Pension and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. You can Call 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

34. I lost all emotions while deployed to Iraq, where I was raped by two Iraqi soldiers at a roadblock. They did not survive a surprise attack. I could not report it. Later I was sent home with PTSD based on zero emotions with a death wish. Only my mental health counselor could pull the MST out of me and bring back floods of tears hate anger and the broken pieces in my life.

35.  The VA refused to pay for my Emergency Care so I owed many thousands of dollars in collections. well, they have to pay now. U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims judges wrote that VA’s reimbursement regulations, which were instituted in 2018, violated a law that requires VA to approve veterans’ claims for emergency room expenses not covered by private insurance. The case is Wolf vs. Wilkie  If you are in collections CALL VA Adverse Credit Reporting or Debt Collection Questions at 877-881-7618