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Monday, January 26, 2009
Good News For Veterans
11:19 am | link
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: http://www.nosscr.org/pdfs/VHA-Directive-2008-071.pdf.
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