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Monday, January 26, 2009

Good News For Veterans

Good news for veterans who (1) get their medical treatment from the VA and (2) are seeking Social Security disability or SSI.

For years, veterans who tried to get Social Security disability or SSI often had trouble getting their VA doctors to complete questionnaires. Such questionnaires can really help someone trying to establish disability, because they provide a way for a treating doctor to describe a patient's work-related limitations. Social Security needs this information, and a treating doctor, especially one who has a long treating relationship with a patient, will be a better source for it than a doctor paid by Social Security to do a quick one-time examination, or worse, a doctor who reviews other doctors' records but never actually sees or examines the patient. Unfortunately, VA doctors were often unwilling to fill out the forms their patients' lawyers provided. This put the patients at a disadvantage in pursuing disability claims with Social Security.

Now the Veterans Health Administration has issued a new directive on this topic (VHA Directive 2008-071). The new directive makes it clear that VA doctors should complete non-VHA medical forms for their veteran patients. The National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR) has posted a copy here:

If you're a vet applying for Social Security disability or SSI, and have had trouble getting your VA doctor to fill out a form from your lawyer, you should make sure your lawyer knows about VHA Directive 2008-071.

Michael Ferry

11:19 am | link 

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