Veterans Benefits Manual
By Barton F. Stichman
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This exhaustive manual is an indispensable guide for advocates who help veterans and their families obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.User-friendly, well-indexed, and packed with practical information, it includes sample forms and briefs, flowcharts, checklists, citations to legal authorities, and other documents designed to streamline the claims process and save you and your veteran client valuable time.Written by practicing lawyers at the National Veterans Legal Services Program, this manual contains valuable insight and analysis from a team of experts on the front line of veterans law. Use their first-hand experience fighting for veterans' rights and their insider's view of the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain the benefits your client earned.The Veterans Benefits Manual contains dozens of effective, battle-tested advocacy tips for veterans and advocates along with all the latest developments in veterans law. 2015 Edition Editors: National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) Barton F. Stichman, Joint Executive Director and lead litigator for the National Veterans Legal Services Program Ronald B. Abrams, Joint Executive Director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program Amy F. Odom, Director of Litigation of the National Veterans Legal Services Program Louis J. George, Director of Training and Publications of the National Veterans Legal Services ProgramNew in the 2015 Edition:The completely revised 2015 Edition of The Veterans Benefits Manual has been thoroughly updated to include important developments in veterans law over the past year.New highlights include advocacy essentials such as:• New sections describing how to comply with, and take advantage of the new VA regulations requiring use of VA claims forms as of March 24, 2015, to start an original or reopened claim for compensation benefits (see Sections 12.4.2 and 17.6);• A completely new section explaining the complex VA effective date rules that apply to awards of benefits made by the VA after March 24, 2015 (see Section 188.8.131.52);• Advice on how and when to file an "intent to file a claim" for compensation or pension benefits (see Sections 184.108.40.206, 12.4.2, and 17.6.1);• New advice and tips for advocates on completing the VA's new Notice of Disagreement form that must now be used to initiate an appeal (see Sections 12.7.3 and 17.7);• New updated sections discussing the VA's adoption of the DSM-5 for mental disorder claims, how the DSM-5 differs from the DSM-IV, and the impact of these changes on veteran claimants (see Sections 3.5.1, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, and 22.214.171.124);• An update about proposed changes to the VA's pension program, including the VA's proposed regulations creating a set net worth limit and a three-year look back for asset transfers (6.4.2); • Advice on how to avoid your client being shortchanged due to VA policy changes on when the VA will infer a claim for benefits that are not expressly requested (see Section 17.15.3);• Updated information on the applicability of the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to veterans who served in deep water harbors in Vietnam and veterans who, after the Vietnam War, worked on C-123 aircraft that sprayed Agent Orange during the Vietnam War (see Section 3.8);• Updated information on the VA regulations implementing the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" for veterans who served at Camp Lejeune and their family members (see Sections 10.5.5 and 10.23.3);• New sections discussing the VA's Veterans Choice Program, which implements the "Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2015" (see Sections 10.15.5 and 10.17.2.2); and • Updated contact information for Veterans Service Center...