WE ARE OPEN AND SERVING VETERANS DURING THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY

Kenmore_Washing_Machine_and_DryerThe time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great opportunity to assess stuff.  Particularly stuff that is cluttering your apartment or house.  If you are considering storing your belongings, you are in good company!  Self-storage facilities in the United States are so popular they have their own national association.  According to the Self Storage Association (SSA), this industry generated $27.2 billion in annual U.S. revenues, in 2014 alone.  SSA asserts that the self-storage industry has been the fastest-growing segment of the commercial real-estate industry over the last 40 years.

Texas, of course, has its own self-storage organization, the Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA). Some sources identify Houston and Austin as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the “Top 10” U.S. cities for self-storage, with San Antonio not far behind.

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RBGWe at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. are delighted to announce that our principal and founder, Bob Goss, has been recognized by Avvo, the well-known attorney rating and review site, with Avvo’s “Clients’ Choice 2015.”

Avvo’s attorney rating system identifies rankings of 10.0 – 9.0 as “Superb.” Based on Avvo’s mathematical model, which includes input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and legal professionals who understand the work attorneys perform, Bob received a perfect Avvo “10.0” score.

This is the second year in a row that Bob (pictured at right) has been recognized by Avvo as a “Clients’ Choice” attorney. Continue reading

RubensSmallK-Graves4Then-Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Eric Shinseki, resigned in May 2014 after a shocking season of revelations regarding Veteran deaths at the hands of VA.  On October 16, 2015, VA Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey  resigned in the wake of a pay fraud scandal involving senior bureaucrats Diana Rubens (pictured left) and Kim Graves (pictured right).  Rubens and Graves – ironically – were put in place by Hickey in 2014 to clean up following the international news coverage of Veteran deaths and VA’s back-log of benefits claims.  World-wide exposure of VA’s actions highlighted the shameful treatment U.S. Veterans suffer at the hands of the very agency that supposedly is dedicated to Veterans’ well-being. Continue reading

Josiah_Webster_Civil_War_Discharge_Certificate_February,_1863_-_NARA_-_192986When you are released from your obligation to serve, you are “discharged.”  If you received an “Honorable” discharge, it’s unlikely there’s any need to request a subsequent upgrade.  However, other types of discharge categories can have a serious, permanent affect on qualifying for Veterans benefits, including those issued by Texas as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans benefits are important, not only to you but to your family.  If you currently do not qualify for Veterans benefits because of the nature of your military discharge, now is the time to consider pursuing a request to upgrade.  But, be careful.  You generally have one opportunity for a successful request – so make sure you do everything possible to get it right. Continue reading

17068-a-woman-and-older-man-sitting-at-a-table-pvThis may sound like the start of a bad joke because it is so difficult to receive any type of benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  However, Veterans and family members do receive collection letters from VA.  This VA debt-collection correspondence is issued by VA’s Debt Management Center, or DMC.

The DMC has recently become quite aggressive about identifying and collecting on debt – even if it’s not really debt.  DMC’s new “activism” is primarily a result of unfair atmospheric concerns that Veterans and their families are gaming VA’s benefits system to obtain an undeserved free ride.

I just received a letter which appears to be from VA’s Debt Management Center (DMC)?  What do I do? Continue reading

gasmasks-twoThe 2010 Census offers unique insight to U.S. Veterans.  Over 835,000 Americans are Veterans who served during both Gulf War eras.  Almost 50,000 more American Veterans served in Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras.  This means the United States has almost 1 million Veterans potentially suffering from serious service-connected injuries.

If you are a Gulf War-era Veteran, how can you recognize a service-connected medical condition?  Among the most common types of service-connected health problems now suffered by Gulf War-era Veterans are: Continue reading

RBGWe at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. are delighted to announce that our principal and founder, Bob Goss, is being honored this month in the December 2015 edition of Houstonia Magazine as one of Houstonia’sTop Lawyers of 2015.”

Houstonia Magainze partners with Avvo, the well-known attorney rating and review site, to identify lawyers who merit inclusion in the Houstonia “Top Lawyers” list.  Avvo uses a proprietary algorithm which factors in professionalism variables such as peer endorsement, attorney experience, education, training, public speaking, publishing, and awards.  Reader nominations and Houstonia Magazine’s own editorial review of nominee’s accomplishments are important additional considerations. Continue reading

17330-a-doctor-and-couple-viewing-an-x-ray-pvWhat Are Lay or Buddy Statements?

“Lay” or “buddy” statements are:

  1. Oral statements made by the Veteran, family members, friends, neighbors, or service buddies during a hearing; OR
  2. Any written declaration or written statement made by the same (Veteran, family members, etc.), regarding the Veteran’s disability.

Why Are Lay or Buddy Statements So Important?

As the names suggest, “lay” or “buddy” statements are statements made by people who know the Veteran but who aren’t qualified to make a medical diagnosis or prove medical facts. Continue reading

Cuckoos are geniuses in the bird world.  They trick unsuspecting birds into feeding their chicks, usually with the result that the poor duped birds loose their own babies while the cuckoo chick thrives.  But don’t think this happens only in the bird world.  Others have learned from the cuckoo, and are taking your resources!  For example, according to a recent independent study, here is how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compares with a few other large U.S. health-care providers:

Provider            # of Employees       # of Physicians     # of Patients     # of Facilities       States

 VA                              288,000                    20,208                 5,814,463              1,600                  50

Kaiser Permanente     174,400                    17,400                 9,100,000                646                   10

HCA                             225,000                   37,000                 1,795,300                 280                   21

Ascension                   155,000                    40,000                 1,515,500                161                    23

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Medical ExamTexas has more female Veterans than any other state.   According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as of October 2, 2015, Texas is represented by 180,286 women Veterans.  While VA and the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) offer health, counseling, and other programs designed to meet the unique needs of our Nation’s women Veterans, women Veterans often feel like – and are – “invisible” when it comes to VA disability benefits and healthcare.

The fact of “invisibility” for VA disability benefits and healthcare is especially concerning because women represent approximately 10-percent of the U.S. Veteran population.  Moreover, the number of female Veterans is expected to rise -even though the overall population of Veterans is likely to decline.  This means more services, not fewer, must be made available for our Nation’s women Veterans. Continue reading

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