Thursday, May 20, 2010


With Memorial Day approaching it is a good time to address veterans who apply for disability benefits. I represent a 48 year veteran who worked as a cook, and treated at the Veterans Administration (the "VA"), whose Social Security Disability ("SSD") application was approved today.

Unlike many doctors, the VA maintains detailed typed treatment records. Since the VA also performs diagnostic testing, those reports are also contained in the VA's files. Like most doctors though, the VA treatment notes are created to aid the doctors when treating their patients, and not to serve as evidence in connection with a disability claim. Consequently, the VA records do not usually contain any information about the patient's ability to work or function.

I obtained functionality assessments from the claimant's physicians at the VA. Because of the VA's legible and detailed records, it was relatively easy for the VA doctors to explain the basis for their conclusions. The veteran treated with doctors outside the VA too, but their treatment records were less clear. Without ever being denied or needing to attend a hearing the veteran's disability application was approved.

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