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SGM Mikel Dawson
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One thing I've learned (the hard way). I wanted to get an exam done while I am CONUS, and the VA gives numbers to contact - FORGET THE NUMBERS!!! If you normally use the Foreign Medical Program do the following:
1. Contact the VA facility near where you are going and make sure you are registered with them. You will be able to leave a phone number and they do call back. Once you are registered with them, you're not done.
2. You will have to contact the district office(your contact overseas) depending on where you live depends on the office: http://www.va.gov/purchasedcare/docs/pubfiles/programguides/FMP-Handbook_508c.pdf
This is important as the local VA where you are going can do nothing with out a release of records and such from the FMP, I found out the hard way. I am currently CONUS and was trying to get an appointment. After three weeks of goat screw run around, I finally found out the correct procedure, but it was too late for me. I thought because I was registered in the VA system I was in, but it doesn't work that way for us Ex-Pats. The number the VA gives us is only a message number and they can not make appointments, so instead just contact the VA facility and get registered there before you go CONUS and contact the FMP to release your records to that facility.
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SGM Mikel Dawson
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I highly advise when you are filing make sure you have someone who knows the ropes (VSO). I was very lucky, my cousin had volunteered and worked with POWs from WWII on their claims. When I filed mine, I sat with her for two days, then as I was writing, I bounce it off her. I got my claim approved the first time. Just a few things I learned:
1. The claim is about you - make it about you, don't pull any punches.
2. Make sure you got your ducks in a row - evidence! Filing claims sooner is better.
3. Put it down, re-read the next day. Your eyes and mind will be more clear on what you wrote and you will see your mistakes.
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LTC Stephen F.
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Thanks SFC (Join to see) I highly recommend Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars as representatives to the VBA. The VFW helped me out tremendously when I first applied for service-connected disability back in 2008.
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LTC Stephen F. I went with AMVETS on my first claim and Virginia Department of Veteran Services for my second claim. Very helpful indeed!
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