Navigating the DBQ Documentation Process

The Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ) was developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help correctly identify, document, and rate the service-related disabilities of veterans. These forms will typically provide the evidence needed to support a favorable disability rating and can, in some cases, speed up the overall claims process.

But how do they work exactly? ​
Read on to find answers to some of the most common questions related to DBQs and the process related to them.

Questions About the DBQ Documentation Process

Is a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam Required if I Have a DBQ?

While a C&P exam is typically required at the beginning of the disability benefits process, in some cases, a DBQ that is supported by personal statements, a plethora of medical evidence, and even letters from others may be enough for the VA to deliver a disability rating.

What Does a DBQ Do?

A DBQ is a form that helps to document a veteran’s service-related disabilities and typically includes items such as a diagnosis of condition(s), current and past medications used to treat said condition, signs and symptoms of said condition (including physician findings) and the functional impact that the condition is having on the veteran.

Because the VA’s rating requirements differ depending on the condition, either a general form (such as one covering shoulder troubles) or a specific form (for one condition, such as headaches) will be used. The DBQ will provide evidence of the condition(s) in question and will aid the VA in delivering an accurate rating of the disability.

Can a Non-VA Physician Complete a DBQ?

Prior to 2021, the bulk of DBQs were completed by VA physicians. In March 2021, the multiple DBQ forms (there are over 80!) were made public to allow for civilian physicians or others inside the VA to fill out the forms.

Note that while any civilian provider can complete a DBQ form, it’s always best practice to have a physician do so, as the VA tends to have a more positive view of physicians.

What Needs to Be Done for a Civilian Physician to Complete a DBQ?

If a veteran is interested in having a civilian physician complete a DBQ form, it’s important to download and print the correct form from the VA website. The forms can be found here. Once printed, the form can be taken to the desired physician for completion.

It’s always a good idea to double check the form to ensure it’s been filled out properly and that the symptoms of the condition have been documented correctly. Make a copy of the DBQ for your own records, and then submit your form to the VA as soon as possible.

Is a DBQ Required to Obtain a Disability Rating?

Physicians are not required to complete a DBQ form, but many choose to do so and use the form as guidance for the examination of a veteran. As a guide, the form supports doctors in taking detailed notes regarding the veterans’ condition(s), but some physicians trust in their own note-taking practices and will document conditions that way instead.

Veterans are not required to submit a DBQ to receive a disability rating. If the disabilities are supported with proper medical evidence, a rating will be issued. A DBQ is simply an extra step to ensure conditions and symptoms are documented correctly.

Navigating the DBQ Process with REE Medical

At REE Medical, the goal is to connect veterans with the resources needed to acquire the highest disability rating possible. The process is three-fold and entails:

1.) Scheduling a Consultation
You can schedule a free consultation by visiting the REE Medical website here, by reaching out to us on Facebook, by sending an email to, or by giving us a call at (866) 495-8044.​

During the consultation, your conditions and symptoms will be discussed to determine whether or not REE Medical services are right for you and your unique situation.

2.) Follow-Through
Once it’s been determined that REE Medical services are right for you, you’ll complete a detailed questionnaire and be seen by a neutral third-party physician near you who is familiar with the VA claims process.

3.) Follow-Up
Once you have received your completed DBQ forms, you’ll be able to confidently submit them to the VA for review, knowing that they’ve been filled out completely and accurately.

If you have any questions or would like to get the process started, please reach out to us today. We look forward to hearing from you!

A complete list of deductions for all members of the military from food to fun getaways!

What a better way to thank our veterans, then to offer them a discount or perk when purchasing something. It’s a great way to thank them and reward them for their loyalty while supporting your business.

Here’s the ultimate list of discounts for all military members: active or retired

Major Retailers

Next time you buy a big screen TV or computer, consider checking to see if your favorite retailer is offering a military discount. If they don’t offer a discount, they may offer a special perk as a way to thank you for your purchase and more importantly your service. Some popular stores that offer discounts include Old Navy, Aeropostale, and Kohl’s. However, some higher end stores such as New York & Company, Banana Republic, and Stride Rite offer military discounts as well.  For a complete list, 
click here offers a database full of several online deals that are continuously changing and worth checking out.

Theme Parks

Under the 
Waves of Honor program, active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsmen get free admission into any of the Anheuser-Busch theme parks once a year. The program also offers discounts for veterans.

The free admission is good for SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San Diego, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place Langhorne, and Discovery Cove.

Those who are eligible will get one free single-day admission ticket each year and other possible discounts that vary by park. The program is sponsored by Seaworld Parks and Entertainment.

Museum Admission

The summer time is a great time to see a number of museums for free if you are a member of the military.  Veterans can receive free admission to over 1,500 museums around the country from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  The program is called Blue Star Museums and offers free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel to participating museums.  For more information, click here

Free Food

Veterans Day is typically a very popular day for restaurants to give out meals and discounts to Veterans. However there are some discounts that apply to veterans year round. It’s best to check with your favorite establishment first before assuming there is a given discount.

Here is a list of some of the most popular establishments that offer military discounts throughout the year.  Here is another excellent list that provides many examples and Newsweek also highlighted several chains around the nation recently. 

Make Sure to Ask

If you’re ever unsure about a particular discount, just ask. Many stores won’t include it in the fine print, but if you ask, they might help you out. However, don’t assume that just because a discount is listed on the internet it is always in effect; retailers often change their policies.

Please keep in mind that both online and in-store discounts will require a valid Military ID. For internet purchases, some sites use to verify your ID, while others have their own built-in checkout process.



PTSD Awareness Month – Not all Wounds are Visible

June 1st marks the start of PTSD Awareness Month.  A full month is dedicated to raising awareness about the treatment options available for post traumatic stress disorder.  According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. 

How it started?

In 2010 a month was dedicated to the disorder to ensure those suffering from the invisible wounds of war receive proper treatment.   Even though most PTSD treatments work, most people who suffer from the symptoms don’t get the help they need. 
 Statistics show that about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. 

Although it’s not a new problem, it’s an important one.  It has been speculated that it’s affected human beings since the beginning of time.  
Scholars have found evidence of PTSD in ancient Greco-Roman soldiers as far back as 3,000 B.C. In the American Revolutionary War, it was called Nostalgia. In the Civil War, it was called Soldiers Heart. In World War I, it was called Shell Shock. In World War II it was called Battle Fatigue. In Vietnam it was called Gross Stress Reaction, then changed to the current PTSD.

Different types of trauma

There are 
different types of PTSD. Originally, it was thought to be something only military service members faced. Now we understand that we can all suffer from some type of stress disorder, making a day of awareness even more important. The different types include normal stress, acute stress, uncomplicated, complex, and comorbid. 

Different types of treatment

Effective treatment options can vary and new methods are being developed everyday. The 
Department of Veterans Affairs outlines the most effective various psychotherapies ranging from prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and eye movement desensitization therapy. 

Raising awareness

Raising awareness is an effort that starts with everybody.

PTSD month
 is a campaign supported by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  The campaign encourages people to explore their website to learn more about the disorder and take the pledge to raise awareness.

The department provides a number of outreach activities on 
calendars with ideas on how to spread the word about PTSD every day of the month.  Additionally, there are more outreach ideas listed here.  Most importantly, everyone needs to understand what PTSD is and how to identify it.

What are the symptoms?

According to 
the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include nightmares of the trauma, flashback memories during the day, avoiding people and places that remind the person of the trauma, and feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, anger control problems, and guilt. 

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD.

For more information

If you are someone you know if experiencing PTSD, there are several new therapies available. 

For more information and how to get help, please review the resources listed below. 

Finding creative ways to show support for military families

Deployments are a stressful time for military families. Having your loved one in harm’s way a world away is difficult, to say the least. Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries are missed, communication is limited or even nonexistent at times, and feelings of loneliness are the norm.

It’s important to show support for families abroad and here at home. 

Everyone has a role to play in supporting military families – not just their friends and neighbors. Employers, educators, community leaders, government leaders, and health care professionals can all help support military families in unique ways.

Here are some simple ways to show support for military families in your own community.

Volunteer and hang out

Look for opportunities to help by matching your own talents and resources with the needs of another.  Organizations all over the country are helping military families in unique ways.  Whether it is with time, money, or their talents, it is the volunteers who make the difference. 

Better yet, spend time with a spouse of a deployed service member.  What a better way to show your support than to actually be there for another person during a lonely and stressful time.  Bake or cook a home cooked meal for them. 

Send a care package

Receiving a care package from home can be a morale booster for deployed service members.  However, it doesn’t always have to be a traditional package.  Soldiers enjoy receiving cards in the mail as well.  If you are looking for tips on how to send out a care package, check out this helpful article.

Show your appreciation and be understanding

Always be understanding and appreciative of what the military are going through and what they have endured.  Make military children feel welcome when they arrive at new schools.  Be understanding if they missed a deadline while settling into a new environment.  Try to be sympathetic and accommodating when a military family moves into the neighborhood.  It is difficult to move as often as military families are required and can be challenging. 

Finally, never take for granted the individual freedoms these service members work tirelessly to safeguard and defend, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. They do it not only for themselves, but for their family members who support them daily in their patriotic service and privilege.

If you are looking for ways to support a military family, there are countless ways.  Be creative!   If you didn’t see an idea that suits you, here’s a list of 99 ways to get involved to help support the troops, their families, and the nation. 

Making the time and effort to celebrate veterans beyond the holiday

A while ago I used to work at an organization with only a couple of veterans among a group of 50 to 60 other employees.   On Veterans Day, I would always thank the two veterans for their service.  If we consider the commitment and sacrifices these men and women made, it hardly seems to be enough to simply thank them.  To honor these individuals isn’t necessarily difficult yet it’s extremely worthwhile.

What are some ways we can celebrate veterans at the office year round?

Here’s a list of how to thank veterans in the workplace

Veterans Day as a paid Holiday

Name Veteran’s Day an official paid company holiday. This will ensure Veterans working in your organization will feel appreciated and can spend the day with their loved ones.

Send Out an email

Send an internal email on Veteran’s Day thanking veterans for service.  Make sure to include names of those that have served. The more aware your employees are of the veterans working for you, the more apt they are to give extemporaneous thanks in the office.

Celebratory Breakfast

Provide Breakfast or lunch to celebrate.  If your organization can’t offer a day off, a celebratory small gathering may be alternative.  Serve a yellow ribbon cake, decorate with American flags and invite the whole office to join in.

Wave the Flag

Display an American flag at your facility.  For Veteran-specific holidays, put small flags all around the exterior sidewalks of your office building, along with flags throughout the inside.

Volunteer with Military Causes

Offer volunteer opportunities to staff at various military charitable causes or a day of volunteering at one particular military cause.  Offer to match employee donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, Homefront America, Operation Homefront or other charity organization that serves vets.

Get Involved in Veterans Events

Support your local VFW post or hold events there.  Participating in your community’s Veterans events gives public recognition to the veterans on your staff.  Also consider attending your local Veterans Hospital or nursing home, or volunteer at one as a team activity. Encourage the volunteering employees to be social with vets. Asking a vet about their service is one of the best ways to honor them, according to “Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.”

Veteran’s Day is 
November 11th, and it’s important to send our best wishes to those stationed overseas and serving at home.

Along with Veteran’s Day, there are many other dates and observances set aside throughout the year specifically honoring and recognizing military members and their families. Here is a list of specific dates and observances for 2021:

February 19th – Coast Guard Reserve Birthday
March 3rd – Navy Reserve Birthday
March 13th – K-9 Veterans Day. The date is the official birthday of the United States K9 Corps and a day to honor their service.
March 25th Medal of Honor Day. A holiday to honor the heroism and sacrifice of Medal of Honor recipients for the United States.
March 29th – Vietnam Veterans DayA national holiday to recognize and honor Veterans who served in the military during the Vietnam War.
April 5th – Gold Star Spouses Day. A day dedicated to those whose spouses gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military or as a result of service-connected injuries or illness.
April 14th – Air Force Reserve Birthday
April 23rd – Army Reserve Birthday
May 1st – Silver Star Banner Day. “Official Day to honor wounded, ill, and injured Veterans”.
May 7th – Military Spouse Appreciation Day. This date recognizes the service and sacrifices of military spouses.
May 13th – Children of Fallen Patriots Day. A day to honor the children left behind by the brave men and women who gave their lives while defending our freedom.
May 15th – Armed Forces Day. Observed on the third Saturday every May, this is a day dedicated to paying tribute to men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
May 31st – Memorial Day. A solemn occasion to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military.
June 6th – “D-Day”. Anniversary of the World War II Allied invasion in Normandy, France.
June 14th – Flag Day and Army Birthday.
June 27th – National PTSD Awareness Day. A day to bring awareness about issues related to PTSD.
July 4th – Independence Day
July 27th – Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
Aug. 4th – Coast Guard Birthday
Aug. 7th – Purple Heart Day. A time for Americans to pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Sept. 11th – Patriot Day. An annual observance to remember and honor those who were injured or killed during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Sept. 18th – Air Force Birthday
Sept. 26th – Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. A day to honor the families of fallen service-members.
Oct. 13th – Navy Birthday
Oct. 26th – National Day of the Deployed
Nov. 10th – Marine Corps Birthday
Nov. 11th – Veterans Day. This is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice treaty, which ended World War I and is also a day to thank military Veterans for their service.
Dec. 7th  Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The anniversary of the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, signaling the United States’ entrance into World War II.
Dec. 13th – National Guard Birthday
Dec. 18th – National Wreaths Across America Day