If you’ve been hanging around the Veterans Law Blog, you know the central themes of my philosophy:
* The solution to a Veterans VA Claims Problems is the Veteran himself/herself.
* Professional Advocacy – even pro-se advocacy done professionally – matters in VA Benefits Claims.
To help others understand that philosophy, I not only publish daily posts on the Veterans Law Blog, but I also publish several Veterans Law eBooks that share the knowledge and experience gained in 7 years of representing Veterans in their VA benefits claims and appeals.
I’m not the Only One Doing This.
I have been a quiet follower of the AskNod blog for some time.
On AskNod , a seasoned Vietnam combat Veteran shares HIS experience and his knowledge about the VA Claims Process.
His writing style is biting and accurate – in a good way.
He picks apart inconsistencies in Court holdings, and VA procedures.
He shares techniques that worked for him in his claim – and for other Veterans he has worked with. And he doesn’t mince words when it comes to comparing the professional and non-professional advocacy options that are out there – like the over-worked and disinterested VSOs (not all of VSOs are bad, admittedly).
Recently, I downloaded AskNod’s eBook: Veterans Administration Claims: What You Need to Know to Be Successful.
In a sentence, this eBook is a valuable resource that should be in the tool-box of every pro-se Veteran. And it is reasonably priced – especially considering the value and knowledge that is compressed into its 268 pages.
Why I like AskNod’s eBook.
AskNod walks through the initial claim for VA Benefits Claim in amazing detail.
He starts with his own experience in the military, and the VA Claims process. His story is moving – he cuts right to the bone on the inadequacies of the VA Benefits process, and how it seems designed to put the Veteran at a major disadvantage.
He moves into the history of the VA Process, and then walks through each stage of the claims and appeal process in practical and intricate detail.
Throughout the eBook, you will get a good sampling of AskNod’s unique writing style. Biting – to the bone – honesty and candor about what you are up against and how to find your way off the VA Hamster Wheel with minimal damage to your sanity and psyche.
I gotta tell ya’ – I’m hoping for more books from AskNod – the man has a gift for writing.
His eBook provides tips and pointers about how to prove up and argue Hep-C claims, PTSD Claims, back claims, and a host of other common claims and benefits requests.
(I could find only one “error” in the book, and its not even a real error. Veterans can hire attorneys to represent them in the original pre-decisional claim process. The attorney just has to agree to work for free. So, as a practical matter, AskNod is correct – Veterans can’t find attorneys to represent them in the pre-decisional phases. But the law does not forbid an attorney from helping Veterans for free until a decision is issued.)
7 years ago, when I first started representing Veterans, I would have killed to have a practical – experience based – book like this from another Veteran. Much of what he shares in the pages of the book took me weeks – and sometimes months – to figure out the hard way in those early days.
This is not to say that if you get AskNod’s eBook that you will win your claim.
I don’t think any Veteran can make that claim. Even the eBooks you can get here in Veterans University are designed for one purpose – to give you more Weapons in your Arsenal – more gear for your “Loadout Bag”.
Veterans have several advocacy options in the VA Claims Process.
Veterans can hand over their power of attorney to a VSO – and roll the dice that they get the VSO that really truly cares (and there are more than a few out there).
Veterans can retain an attorney – if you chose this option I strongly encourage every Veteran to learn how to find the best attorney for their unique claim. Or they can represent themselves.
AskNod has it right when he says that at the pre-Ratings-Decision phase, pro-se Veterans get a bit of an edge – the VA cuts them a lot more slack.
(This is one of the reasons we don’t do a lot of pro-se work in the pre-decisional phases….the VA is still so leery of attorneys that the REAL value of an attorney is in the appeals process, where the BVA and the CAVC have more experience understanding the attorney’s role and the value they add to an appeal)
If you are going to go it pro-se, AskNod’s eBook seems like a great tool to help you approach your claim like a professional advocate.
To be clear, I get NOTHING for referring this book. AskNod didn’t ask me to, and I’m not getting any “fee” or “commission” for doing so.
I simply want to share a resource with you that I found to be “top-notch” for the pro-se advocate trying to make sense of the complex VA Benefits Claim Process.
Do you follow AskNod?
Let me know if you agree – or disagree – with my review if you download and read AskNod’s eBook. Post your comments/thoughts below.