Live Manual: Know the ins, outs of VBA via KnowVA

New online claims resource for advocates, Veterans


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Every now and then I’ll encounter Veterans via VAntage Point who are clearly adept at understanding the laws and regulations that govern VA claims processing. People who know these laws and regulations also understand how they constantly change due to updates in technology, new medical findings, new court decisions, etc., which can add to the complexity of processing claims.

For gurus, like Veterans service organizations, other Veteran advocate groups or Veterans like you who have interest in keeping abreast with VA laws and regulations, you’re in luck! VA recently overhauled the M21-1— the guidebook manual that dictates the policies and guidance of VA claims processing.

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Live Manual gives advocates and Veterans the same information that claims processors use to adjudicate claims.

Now called Live Manual, this latest version of the M21-1, Adjudication Procedures Manual, is available to everyone through the KnowVA Knowledge database.

KnowVA is an external-facing Web platform that provides you access to the same information claims processors use to process and make decisions on benefits claims. It contains new features like the ability to conduct key word searches, browse by topic or search by specific question. The information is always updated so you’ll never fall behind on the most up-to-date guidance.

To access Live Manual via KnowVA, visit www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov.

 

The creation of Live Manual

VBA employees are routinely asked what changes could be made to enhance their jobs. Many expressed the need for a consolidated location for claims processing guidance that was housed in multiple VA intranet and Internet sites.

Live Manual was created by and for VBA employees to make information easier to find, helping employees to process claims for compensation, pension and burial benefits accurately and timely for the benefit of Veterans and survivors. It is user friendly – and because it is a single resource – it significantly reduces time when researching laws and procedural guidance. The final product leverages industry best practices for knowledge management across large dispersed organizations.

Creating the Live Manual required evaluation and integration of more than 4,500 individual pieces of published guidance as well as a thorough review of approximately 6,000 pages of existing M21-1 guidance.

Have any questions about the Live Manual? Ask below in the comments!


 

Mark P. Ledesma is a public affairs specialist with VBA’s Office of Corporate Communications. Prior to joining OCC, he served Veterans as a senior Veterans Service Representative. Mark is also a Marine Corps Veteran.

Author

Mark Ledesma

– Mark P. Ledesma is a public affairs specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration after having served six years as a senior Veterans Service Representative at the San Diego VA Regional Office. Mark is also a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Comments

  1. Frank Robert Higgins    

    Hello..In regards to M21-1 live manual which is disclosed above….” of more than 4,500 individual pieces of published guidance as well as a thorough review of approximately 6,000 pages of existing M21-1 guidance “., as a partial description .
    Now I have the information all in one place [I hope,I have not read or learned it yet ] to educate myself on VBA policy….Down here on the gulf coast southern USA I have been Trying for thirty (30) years to get my service connected percentage rating corrected and to get the four (4) digit code (injury description) corrected ( injuries / disabling trauma to my body that I sustained while on active duty in NAVY) and / or to get the correct codes that pertain to my injured body.I just didn’t know the ‘secret code’ and ‘inside information’ procedure guideline that VBA uses. now maybe i will have a fighting chance with this on going battle of me against the Veterans Benefit Administration. I would say that I’m excited that the rules and regulations are all in one place (hopefully),but truthfully I’m so very frustrated. It has been thirty (30) years so far…. Frank Higgins 12/14/2015 P.S. I was in the Navel Hospital almost nine months while on active duty,for 10% rating and hurt everyday because if this.

  2. Gregory Allen Linkenhoker    

    I am 20% service connection disabled. I have substantial hearing loss in my right ear. The VA gave me hearing aids but I receive no disability from my loss. 8 years in the AF working the flight line caused this loss. The VA says that this loss is service connected. I can’t wear my hearing aids to work because of the tools that I use to do my job. The loss of my hearing causes problems with my supervisor because I cannot hear. What can I do to get this issue resolved

  3. Andrew Famula    

    I was discharged with Disability from the Coast Guard. I was given a pension. I was told I get half when I get out and the other half I will get when I get my rating from the VA. the VA is supposed to give me the REST of my money. REGARDLESS of WHAT the rating is. I have been denied benefits TWICE now because they keep going back to service related injuries from the Marine Core. I am NOT asking for benefits from the MARINES only the Coast Guard. They keep denying so they don’t have to give me the rest of my PENSION. That is illegal. That money is MINE regardless of WHAT my rating is. I WANT my money. I NEED it. It’s got to the point that I will have to start calling Representatives and News Organizations if you don’t get your act together soon.

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Mr. Famula,

      I’d like to help you with your situation. Can you please clarify where you got the information that VA will give you the rest of your pension money?

  4. Francis Moran    

    I constantly hear to appoint a SO rep because of their knowledge. Knowledge they may have but apparently not much time. I’m certain they handle large volumes of cases. But if they’ve o time to give to a vets case, perhaps they shouldn’t accept it. They also claim they prefer emails to phone calls. Understandable and desirable. But after effort to compose as short an email as possible on a complicated subject, the response is usually a sentence and sometimes a very disconnected and unusual one at that. Just an observation. As a website, ebenefits is in need of a lot of work. A LOT. Perhaps LiveManual will assist vets to learn and understand the labyrinthian maze that is 38 CFR. I do hope so.

  5. Linda Ford    

    Within past year I started receiving Social Security. I even signed up for Medicare. I currently have been receiving 30% disability from ? 1980 until now 12/1/15 when VA claimed I had been overpayed. When Janesville, Wisconsin office called me, “Why didn’t I inform VA?”, I said, “I thought you were all hooked together”. I also told them I wanted to put in a claim because of my R hip replacement botched job by my PC at the time. Without disability, I’ll be another homeless Vet. I haven’t really been working on claim bc I am in pain due to my other joints falling apart. L knee bone on bone a parts well as wrists. I don’t have money to go to specialists on Medicare. And quite honestly, I am a parts fraud of VA Dr’s. I barely walk anymore & despise my VAMC PC. I don’t know who to talk to anymore. I’m fed up. Linda Ford

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Ms. Ford,

      I’m sorry for your frustration. Please know that we’re here to help. To clarify – do you mean you’re receiving pension benefits? Compensation benefits wouldn’t create an overpayment because it’s a non-taxable benefit.

      Have you appointed a Veteran Service Organization to help clarify your overpayment issue and to assist you with your claim? Also, have you contacted your VA regional office for help?

  6. Marlene Hodges    

    I am a retired veteran with 20 years active Navy service and have a 60% service connected disability. I am eligible to receive Concurrent Disability and Retired Pay (CDRP), but I have been denied my disability pay starting in July 2015. I would like to know why I am not receiving my disability entitlement. I did not waive my entitlement, as was stated by correspondents I have received.
    Thank you for your timely response to this question.

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Hi Ms. Hodges,

      I’m sorry that your dealing with this issue. Have you contacted your regional office to try to correct the matter?

  7. Donald F Barnes    

    I served in the USMC during the Vietnam war . I was told by the VA office that I am suffering with PTSD I recieved 30% disability at that time Over serval months of therapy,my therapist told me to file a pertision that my level of PTSD is much more serious . I did so along with her letter of diagnostic conclusion.This has been two years ago and I have not heard a word from anyone.I checked with our local VA office and said my letter was recieved but they had heard anything either .Can anyone tell me what I need to do . Se per Fi….

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Mr. Barnes,

      Which regional office are you working with? Also, do you have an appointed Veterans Service Organization?

  8. Donald Frank Barnes    

    Zoe

    I was diagnosed three years ago that was suffering with PTSD .I was awarded thirty percent at that time . After starting help sessions with a social worker employed by the va , My therapist told me that my case was much more serious than originally diagnosed and I should file a petition .
    This was done two years ago and so far I have not heard a word from anyone.My local VA office assured me that the paper was has been filed . Does anyone have any answers? Se per Fi….

  9. john a gehrig    

    Mr Davis, see a Veterans Service Officer…They can help you…DAV, American Legion, VFW to name a few.
    They will work to solve your problem… They have the answers…Semper Fi…

  10. j sprague    

    So if the VBA RO rater doesn’t follow the M21, what recourse does anyone have? I mean, you can file reconsideration, but that’s like sending the issue back to the same guy that screwed up in the first place (in fact, they can even screw up worse in reconsideration).

    Short of filing an NOD and proceeding to an appeal that takes multiple years, most vets who have not studied up on the M21 and 38 CFR will never figure out that they were lowballed in their rating.. When is the VA going to start providing a point of contact that can resolve blatant, clear and unmistakable mistakes on the spot for the claimant?

  11. DannyG    

    Mr. Davis, Brother, it bothers me when I see urgent pleas like yours unanswered. The only help I can offer is encouragement & prayer. You have been through so much, & the “golden years” are not being too good to you. Stay strong, my brother!

    1. Andrew Famula    

      I was discharged with Disability from the Coast Guard. I was given a pension. I was told I get half when I get out and the other half I will get when I get my rating from the VA. the VA is supposed to give me the REST of my money. REGARDLESS of WHAT the rating is. I have been denied benefits TWICE now because they keep going back to service related injuries from the Marine Core. I am NOT asking for benefits from the MARINES only the Coast Guard. They keep denying so they don’t have to give me the rest of my PENSION. That is illegal. That money is MINE regardless of WHAT my rating is. I WANT my money. I NEED it. It’s got to the point that I will have to start calling Representatives and News Organizations if you don’t get your act together soon. hg

  12. Jim Davis    

    I am a Korean war vet 85 years old I make $1024 dollars per month, my property is being repoed due to my partner (Brother)
    passing leaving only my income to support our property. I cannot live on my income is there help on getting a pension are
    more money some way?

    1. Mark Ledesma    

      Good morning Mr. Davis,

      We do have a pension program that you can apply for. The following link will provide you information about the program, benefits, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

      http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/index.asp

      Based on your age and wartime service – you may be eligible. I also recommend that you reach out to a veteran service organization (VSO) group – they can help you through your claims process and educate you about other Federal and state services you may qualify for. You can visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/VSO/ for more information about them.

      I hope this helps, and thank you for your service. Semper Fi!

Comments are closed.