Caring. Effective. Efficient.

VA Form 21 Blog

The VA Form 21 Blog is unlike any resource out there — because it is designed and written specifically for attorneys, advocates, VSOs, and agents, it is a valuable tool you can use to shape, build and grow a law practice representing veterans and their surviving spouses. My goal is your goal: to give you the tools to become a powerful advocate for veterans. Learn more about the VA Form 21 Blog

VA Form 21 Blog: The Business of Veterans Law

Before we get into a discussion about the business of veterans law, let me make some candid points about the business of law in general. Anybody can hang out a shingle and start a small law firm representing veterans.  There are so many resources av… Read More
Read More

VA Form 21 Blog: VA Advocacy Skills

You have certainly heard the story of Noah and the ark? He saved the world and all the animals from a devastating flood.Let me tell you why Noah was able to do what he did. Noah had a vision or, perhaps, an insider tip that flood was on the way. He k… Read More
Read More
Categories: VA Advocacy Skills

VA Form 21 Blog: Legal Updates

When I represent a veteran before the VA Regional Office or BVA, I build my client’s case based on the current law as I understand it. My Notice of Disagreement is shaped by the legal errors that the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)… Read More
Read More
Categories: Legal Updates

CAVC Docket Update: Appeals Submitted for CAVC Panel Decision and Oral Argument (June 2018)

In June 2018, it appears that the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) has set 1 case for Panel Decisions and 4 cases for Oral Argument and Panel Decision.  I do my best to seek out and find all cases submitted to a CAVC Panel or set for Oral… Read More
Read More

Episode 010: "No, I won't give you my Debit Card PIN Number" (FCOA Precedent: Acree, #17-1749, Legal standard to withdraw an appeal orally at BVA)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? VA regulations provide that a veteran’s “appeal may be withdrawn as to any or all issues involved in the appeal.” 38 C.F.R. § 20.204(a). a statement made by a veteran at a board hearing qualifies as an effe… Read More
Read More

Episode 009: "To the Best of my Knowledge" - The case against attorney use of VA Form 21-4138.

In a recent court appeal, the VA was relying on the unsigned and unsworn statement of a random government bureaucrat. This bureaucrat was “testifying” to the lack of existence of any evidence that my client was exposed to the herbicide ag… Read More
Read More

Case Review: #17-0306, Schmoker v. Wilkie (Is Hearing Loss a VA disability even if its not compensable?)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? {Several issues were raised in the briefing of this case – this review focuses in on one: continuity of symptomatology for hearing loss} A veteran is entitled to service connection for loss of hearing if his… Read More
Read More

Episode 008: Get your chocolate bar out of my peanut butter! (The role of intent in determining the scope of a VA Claim)

Shameless plug for sponsorships for the podcast.  If you are getting value from the VA Form 21 Blog and Podcast, and want to become a sponsor, you can become a patron, or sponsor, by clicking here: Sponsor the VA Form 21 Podcast on Patreon. Sponsors… Read More
Read More

Episode 007: "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Challenging VA Medical Examiner's Competence)

In today’s episode of the VA Form 21 Podcast, I am going to teach you how to become a better advocate by challenging the VA Medical Examiner’s competence – or at least rebutting the presumption of competence in your client’s B… Read More
Read More

Episode 006: CAVC Oral Argument: Atencio v. Wilkie, 16-1561 (April 26, 2018)(Gulf War Syndrome presumptions and GERD)

What the ‘MUCMI’ is going on with GERD? PREVIEW OF THE CASE: General Overview of the Medicine Some terms you will hear in this argument: GERD is Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder. GERD can often – but not always -result from a dysfu… Read More
Read More

Episode 005: CAVC Oral Argument: Simmons v. Wilkie (16-3039)(CAVC Application of Harmless Error Rule)

General Overview of Harmless Error law. The major question in this case is how the CAVC should apply the harmless error rule when it might involve making findings of fact. The Court stated in its supplemental briefing order that it “…has… Read More
Read More

Episode 004: CAVC Oral Argument - Johnson v. Wilkie, #16-3808 (April 24, 2018) Successive Rating Criteria for Migraines)

General Preview of the Case: This is a complex case involving the complex issue of “successive rating criteria”, with a lot of regulatory interpretation and factual application issues at play.  There is one, and possibly more, diagnostic… Read More
Read More

Episode 003: CAVC Oral Argument: Spellers v. Wilkie, 16-4053 (April 19, 2018)

Issue for Oral Argument: General Overview of the Law When a veteran’s disability does not meet the requirements for the next higher schedular rating, but the evidence indicates his or her disability is more severe than the current rating, a veteran… Read More
Read More

About the "VA Form 21” Blog

Written by attorneys, for attorneys, VSOs and agents, the VA Form 21 Blog will keep you current on changes in veterans law, teach you the advocacy skills you need to get better results for your client, and teach you the business skills you need to operate a financially viable law firm representing veterans.