Many Veterans Fail to Apply for VA Benefits

As wars in Afghanistan and Iraq come to an end, soldiers from these war zones are returning home to thankful communities. These men and women, away from their families for long periods of time, strive to get back to their normal, everyday lives.

Some of these soldiers have sustained injuries or illnesses while on duty. These injuries can make it difficult for veterans to adjust or find and maintain employment. In some cases, these individuals will need medical treatment in order to recover.Veterans benefits are supposed to help members of our armed forces get the care they need at affordable rates, but the system itself seems to be causing additional problems for those in need of assistance.

In order to receive these benefits, veterans must apply for VA benefits. The approval process can take a long time to complete, and many find their initial applications denied. This can be a very frustrating process, leaving many veterans confused about what they need to do next. If the veteran is not satisfied with the VA’s decision the veteran can appeal the decision and hire a lawyer to assist in the appeals process.

Most veterans begin this process without the assistance of an attorney. They compile the information that they need to submit, and wait for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to review their claims. A large number of these initial applications are rejected in a document known as a Rating Decision. If the veteran is not pleased with the Rating Decision, he may retain an attorney to assist with an appeal.

The delay in obtaining veterans benefits convinces many to give up after their requests are denied. However, there are options available to those who wish to move forward. There is a multi-stage appeals process that allows veterans to have their cases reviewed more extensively.

But veterans need to take the crucial first step of beginning this process, which it appears many are reluctant to do. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA), roughly 45 percent of eligible veterans have declined to file their initial applications for the benefits, despite having conditions which could potentially be approved by the VA.

The IAVA believes that the majority of individuals have refused to apply due to the lengthy wait times. According to VA records, the average wait time has increased since December. The average wait that veterans may have before their applications are denied can be over 270 days, which can create significant hardships for those who rely on these benefits.

If you have questions about the veterans’ claims appeals process, speak to attorney experienced with handling VA benefits claims.