Ask: Looking to create a group of Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) to help create a LLM to be used specifically to help Military Veterans navigate the VA’s Disability Process.
Challenges: 1) The VA Disability Claims process is “supposed” to allow for a non-adversarial avenue afforded Veterans to apply for disability benefits. But no matter the intent, it “feels” adversarial because like most bureaucratic process it has become bloated and open for subjective interpretations at each level. 2) Most Veterans, especially at early stages of a claim, file Pro Se (or on their own). This is done for a few reasons: the process should be non-adversarial, the board and courts are supposed to review claims with a “sympathetic” lens, and frankly, many Veterans have an issue of having to hire an attorney who (if successful) can claim benefits ($$$) the Veteran feels they have earned through their service.
My Background: My name is Scott, but I also go by IAMFUBAR. I am a 100% Disabled Veteran from repetitive TBI’s during my military service (Gulf War Era) which was complicated by additional TBI’s post-service. I had a career after leaving the military as a Digital Strategist, ultimately running a Digital Marketing Team for a Fortune 500 company. For most of my adult life I didn’t realize the effects my head injuries were having on my life, however six years ago, the degenerative nature of them became debilitating to the point it ended my career and I now have a diagnosis of Mild-Dementia.
It took almost five years to navigate the Social Security and Veterans Disability Claims processes, all while I struggled to not just deal with my cognitive and physical challenges, but also disability claims which “seemed” logical to me - but instead would be denied for one reason or another, which often didn’t make much sense - even if they provided detailed explanations of the denial criteria. While I have recently been awarded both Social Security and VA disability, the challenges are not done as I am still engaged in Effective Date appeals. Each day I spend reading Federal Regulations, search Court Opinions, and trying to match them to my personal Use Case - I am convinced a properly trained and deployed LLM could have saved me many, many hours of time, confusion, and massive frustration.
Personally, my programming experience is limited. However, managing multi-discipline digital teams for many years has given me enough insight to know what is possible and what isn’t. Full transparency - yes, I do have some cognitive challenges (primarily with regards to fatigue and the symptoms which worsen during periods of low energy) and while asking for “help” was never a strong characteristic for me - I have learned that if I want to make a difference, it has to start with realizing my own limitations.
Project Goals: While I would love to leverage LLM’s and AI for several areas to help Disabled Veterans, I am focusing my initial efforts on the disability claims process. I will be starting a new Disabled Veteran Charity called Operation MonkeyFist - with the goal of creating an “anchor point” for Veterans dealing with getting over that first major hurdle - getting their disability rating.
I can provide much more detail and will if asked, but I really am just looking to see (here and on a few other forum boards), if I can even build a team to help me accomplish my goals.
Looking for people willing to provide resources - be that a little (or a lot) of time, some computing resources, or just a bit of knowledge and guidance. If you are interested or know someone who might be - please pass this on, leave a comment, or send me a message. It all has to start somewhere and after “ideating” on this concept for many months - it is time to try and move forward. Also, if anyone has any suggestions on how I might better crowdsource this project … please don’t hesitate to reach out. THANKS!!