Mistakes to Avoid when Filing a VA Benefits Claim

Many Veterans are confused when they file a VA claim and are denied of veterans’ benefits. However, we often see Veterans making the same mistakes that lead to a denial of their VA claim. When filing claims with the VA, Veterans often make some common mistakes that could easily be avoided. Here is a shortlist of assumptions that, if avoided, could help your claim.

The VA might be a two-letter name, but it is an enormously large and complex organization with thousands of employees.  The “VA” does not “have it out” for any one person.  The organization is too big and processes too many claims and appeals to hold any level of vendetta against anyone.

Establishing Service Connection

Taking point number one into consideration, the Veteran must understand that the employees at the VA are trying to process as many claims as possible to help as many Veterans as possible.  Therefore, if the evidence is not clearly identified it is likely to be overlooked.

Three Things VA Is Looking For

  1. What is the Veteran claiming and do they have a current diagnosis?
  2. What is the event in service that caused the disability OR is there documented proof the injury happened in service?
  3. Is there something that links #1 to #2? This is known as a nexus.

If a Veteran can answer the above in a direct and simple manner, they increase their chances of service connection.

Get to the Point

A common pitfall of Veterans’ statements is that they take too long to get to the point. If anyone has ever heard the term “TLDR” (Too Long Didn’t Read), this is the same idea for VA claims. This can happen if a statement goes on and on about information that does not address the issue with the claim. The VA knows you are a Veteran. The VA knows you served your country. The VA knows that combat is dangerous. Utilize your statement to provide information that VA really needs. Cut right to the chase.  A solid statement will state the current diagnosis, state how it is related to service, and state why it must be service-connected.

Do Not Assume the VA has Specific Information

The VA does not know everything about you. Again, the VA is too big and too complex to have all the systems talk to one another.  Do not assume the VA “has” information or assume the VA “already knows” that.  If you know something is important then tell the VA what it is, why it’s important, and where or when they could find it in your record. The VA is an organization, but the “VA employee” working your claim does not know you from Adam.  All they know is the information on their computer screen and unless the Veteran helps guide the employee to where there might be more information the employee will never know.

Do Not Assume the VA Will Look into Something without You Telling Them To

Do not assume that the VA will imply anything.  The VA will only do what you tell them to do.  If you say you have a claim for your back and you have radiculopathy, but you did not claim radiculopathy, do not just expect the VA to service connect you for radiculopathy if you did not claim it.  Again, the VA is too big with too many claims to focus on claims NOT claimed by the Veteran.

Be clear about what you are claiming and why it should be service-connected.

Receiving Care at a VA Hospital Does Not Imply Service Connection

Remember, just because you are a Veteran and the VA hospital treats you does not mean your issue will be service-connected. The VA hospital will give you care because you are a Veteran. In order to get service connection, you need to show the VA how “If you had not served in the military, you would not have your disability.”

America’s Veterans Law Firm

Berry Law fights for Veterans across the country who need assistance getting service connections for disabilities and injuries that occurred in the military. If you need assistance appealing your VA claim, Berry Law can help. With attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, we have the legal resources to get you all the VA disability compensation you earned. Call today for a free case evaluation.