Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Expert Advice Avoids Problem

James G. Fausone
Veteran Advocate
Sometimes we get asked: “Why do I need a law firm to help on my disability claims the doctors agree?”  About thirty years ago, I learned a very valuable lesson from a wise old trial judge.  Judge Stacey leaned over the bench and said in a stern voice, “keep talking counselor and you could lose this motion!”  You have to know when you have won and then shut up, sit down and claim the victory.  It is human nature to keep talking and trying to answer questions, even if not asked.  But, more often than not you just give the other side ammunition not to agree with you.
Controlling the flow of information to VA is equally important.  An example recently occurred with John Q. Veteran.  On May 5th he underwent a complete PTSD review.  Upon our office reading the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) form, we found the rating physician wrote “Total occupational and social impairment.”  This was one of those occasions the VA Comp & Pen report says everything you need.
A month later, John Q. Veteran went to his treating physician and received a letter addressed to the Department of Education that stated he is “totally disabled and is unable to work in any capacity.”
The PhD psychologist was specific and detailed in her conclusions.  The treating physician’s statement was general and for some other purpose.  If you sent in the physician’s statement, it may give VA a reason to stop focusing on the controlling DBQ and send out for consideration of the physician’s statement.  It is time to sit down and wait for the win.

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