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BDD VA Claim: Expert Insights from a Retired VA Rater

Advocate for Myself, Why?

Bottom Line Upfront

Preparation is key when applying for VA disability benefits through the BDD VA claim program.

  • Self-advocacy is a must
  • Writing a personal statement is a critical step, regardless of what others say you may not need one.
  • Make it easy for the VA Rater to make a decision by assembling a well-organized claim.
  • For more answers to FAQs & Tips, click here.


In today’s blog post, we have a special guest, Chris Edwards, a retired VA Rater with a wealth of experience in the world of the VA aspect of the medboard and BDD VA claim. We’ll be discussing how service members can advocate for themselves in the process and gain valuable insights. Learning to navigate this system is crucial for those who are about to leave the service or currently going through the medical board process. Let’s dive into the conversation as Chris shares his expertise and empowers service members and veterans with the knowledge they need to secure the benefits they deserve.

Meet Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards, our expert guest, has an impressive background. He served in the military for over 20 years, followed by a career as a veteran employment representative in the State of Illinois. He later worked for the VA, gaining firsthand experience in the inner workings of the system. One key takeaway from Chris is that VA Raters, who evaluate disability claims, are often disabled veterans themselves. In fact, 68% of them are. This insight challenges the misconception that the VA is out to deny claims. Chris has also dedicated nearly a decade to helping veterans on social media platforms, providing them with the information they need to assemble their claims successfully.

The Importance of Self-Advocacy

Chris emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy. Just as in the military, where you had to advocate for your career, service members and veterans should be prepared to advocate for their benefits. Learning the process and understanding the regulations can make a significant difference. By taking the time to research and understand the regulations, veterans can craft their claims more effectively. Chris encourages veterans not to leave behind the skills and knowledge they gained in the military but to adapt and apply them to their new lives.

Accessing the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)

One of Chris’s key recommendations is gaining access to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is a comprehensive resource that outlines the criteria for disability ratings. It provides detailed information about various conditions and the associated disability ratings. For example, if you have sinusitis, the CFR will specify how many episodes and the treatment methods required for different disability ratings. Armed with this knowledge, veterans and service members can write more precise personal statements that make it easier for VA raters to evaluate their claims.

Preparing Your BDD VA Claim

Preparation is key when applying for VA disability benefits. Chris suggests veterans research their medical conditions and understand the specific criteria outlined in the CFR. By gathering all the necessary documentation, including medical records and treatment history, veterans can present a more comprehensive case. Writing a clear and detailed personal statement can significantly improve the chances of a successful claim. Chris stresses that making it easier for VA raters to make a decision can expedite the process and improve the chances of approval. By advocating for themselves and putting in the effort to present a well-organized claim, service members and veterans can take control of their futures.


Navigating the VA aspect of the Medboard and BDD VA claim process may seem complex, but with expert insights from Chris Edwards, veterans can empower themselves to secure the benefits they deserve. By adopting the principles of self-advocacy, accessing the CFR, and preparing their claims diligently, service members can streamline the process and increase their chances of success. It’s time to take control of your post-military life and ensure you receive the support and benefits you’ve earned. Thank you, Chris Edwards, for sharing your invaluable knowledge.