Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Filing for VA Compensation – Retiring in the Philippines Part II

For at least the next few years there is going to be a VA Regional Office in Manila, and THAT is a good thing for anyone considering retiring here. Originally, my intention was to file for my disability compensation BEFORE coming over, but I changed my mind after sending an email to a Mr. McQuown at the Manila VA back in early 2002 just months before I retired. He assured me that it would be no problem to file my disability claims in the Philippines, so I took the plunge.

Its four years later – was it a smart move, or would I have been better off filing in the USA before coming over? Actually, it turned out to be a great move to file here instead of the United States, and for a couple of different reasons. The primary one – medical evidence! To ensure you maximize your claim results, you’ll need medical evidence, and it’s easier to get plenty of it fast and cheap right here in the Phils. I will probably provide more on the necessity for medical evidence in a later post, or email me at pjspear1@yahoo.com for my current treatise on what a veteran needs to know to file for VA disability.

Another reason to file in the Philippines: access to information. When you retire here, especially to areas such as Angeles City, Olangapo, and Baguio where hundreds of American military retirees currently live, with very little effort you will make contact with kindred spirits like yourself, people who are either going through the VA application process, or who have already gone through it. These folks will be a great help in steering you in the right direction for advice, and warning you of the pitfalls that await you once you enter the VA lair. Better yet, the REALLY smart ones will advise you to acquire the services of a veteran service officer like me. Do not try to do it by yourself – the VA will eat you alive if you do.

Right up until about a year ago, I would have said that another motive to file at the VA Regional Office in Manila was that a veteran would have a better chance for a quick and accurate adjudication of his claim. I WON’T say that anymore. I don’t know if its just here, or if its happening at all the VA regional offices, but decisions out of Manila have been taking longer, and they have more often than not been going AGAINST veterans, and that’s in spite of medical evidence that used to mean automatic approval. My opinion – there is a drive in the “VA institution” to reduce claim amounts to save bucks, and to do what I call “kick the can.” That is, the VA raters seem to be simply denying what I think are “good claims,” which then forces veterans to go through the lengthy appeal process. I know I sound libelous, but THAT is exactly what SEEMS to be happening. Hey, I call ‘em as I see ‘em.

And finally, a very valid basis to come here and file is the low cost of living in this country. Why? Because being able to concentrate ALL your efforts and energy on pursuing your VA compensation gives you a decided advantage over those who do so in the States. Veterans in the U.S.A. usually MUST worry about making money, and that means finding a job, so they are usually unable to do the things and acquire the evidence they need to maximize their claims. Living here, you will be able to make your VA pursuits your job. My experience: a half-hearted attempt will give you feeble results.

And consider this, if you expect the VA to do the right the thing by you, by conducting a thorough medical examination and then to use the exam results to properly rate your service-connected conditions, forget about it! My experience is that VA doctors habitually trivialize veteran’s conditions, and usually, if a vet overlooks an ailment on the initial claim form, the VA will NOT normally consider it, no matter how obvious it is. Shameful? You bet it is! So, to overcome this VA tendency to mess over veterans during the compensation application process, veterans MUST concentrate their personal efforts to ensure best results, and that is BEST done here, where making a living is NOT the primary order of things.

Hence, all you veterans contemplating retiring here, come on over and come see me, or someone like me. Filing for VA disability compensation? The Phils is the place to be.



At 2:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it will be there in the Philippines that I need to worry about my present VA compensation. Could not wait in July to find out if VA reduced my compensation rating. Ah whether reduced or not I will be there in the Philippines and live.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Give it a try. If you need any help dealing with them, and you will, then contact me.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Yojin said...

Is compensation be able to bring home to where you came from and would they be granting GI bill and foriegn school like Phils? I have this both situation Im still waiting for the rating Im not retired and its too expensive to go to school in the States. Im still thinking about continuing my degree where I took my study in College in the Phils.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Sure, no sweat; you can go to school here. There are hundreds of VA approved colleges you can attend. Contact the VA Regional Office in Manila and they'll fill you in on what's available at a school near where you might want to live.

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I too wanted to go back in the Philippines to continue my studies and planning to live there for good, however, I do not have enough information or the know how on shcool requirements and list of schools that are VA approved in the Philippines. Kindly provide a POC or a list of current VA approved colleges in the philippines, particularly the one's that are in the provinces. My email "strykers4@yahoo.com. Thanks, Jojo

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Pacific Island Tours said...

Can you help me with my VA Claim?

I am thinking about moving to the Philippines.


At 6:11 PM, Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

For the time being I no longer assist or advise on VA claims since I am no longer a service officer under the auspice of the VFW. However, you can try to contact the office at Post 2485 in Angeles City and see if they can hook you up with a claims consultant there. Good luck.

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the site that you can look for VA approved schools in the Philippines. Just click on the Country and select Philippines and then you can find in all schools in the cities and provinces. Here's the site : http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildViewOrg.do

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then you can click the PROGRAM after clicking the SCHOOL you want. Then the courses will show up there.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Bruce said...

I know this not about VA Claims. I am having a hard time to get my wife and daughter a ID Card. I have been trying to get apointment with the US Embassy Manila. But its a joke. No one there is willing to help. Called next month to get apointment 3 monhts later. What kind of a sytem are caring on at the US Embassy? Any help I would appreciate it very much.

At 4:45 PM, Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

For ID card and DEERS enrollment appointments I suggest that you contact the RAO. I went through them to make an appointment for my dependents ID cards two years ago. The military JUSMAG clerk only sees ID card applicants two days a month so a 3 month wait for an appointment sounds about right. That's how long I had to wait in fact. But you ARE correct about our embassy. They do not seem to care about us. I know plenty of other expats who get much better treatment from their consulates. Conversely, I have not met one American who is generally happy with the treatment we get. I will say though that the JUSMAG clerk treated us very well. Once we showed up at our appointment, he was professional and worked fast to get us all enrolled in DEERS and issue ID cards. The problem is that you have to go through the consulate section to get an appointment for ID cards. Stay patient and try not to lose your temper. It's what I tell myself every time I go near that godforsaken compound. Just the sight of American Embassy in Manila makes my blood pressure rise 20 points. Here's the RAO's website by the way: http://www2.mozcom.com/~rao_cabr/


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