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How to Check Your VA Claim Status: VA Claim, Appeal, or Decision Review
How to Check Your VA Claim Status: VA Claim, Appeal, or Decision Review
If You Are a Disabled Veteran, You Deserve Compensation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a long-standing disability support program for Veterans. This program is designed to give disabled Veterans the financial support they need to care for themselves and their loved ones with the help of tax-free benefits. The VA recognizes many different types of disabilities as qualifying a Veteran to receive monthly payments. If you are a Veteran who has a disability, whether physical or mental, you deserve to receive the assistance that you need from the VA.
What Qualifies a Veteran for Disability Benefits?
The VA offers different levels of disability benefits to Veterans who are suffering from the effects of mental and physical disabilities. In many cases, though, the VA will need medical verification that a Veteran’s disability is directly linked to their military service. The VA primarily gives benefits to Veterans with service-related disabilities, although there are some exceptions to this rule. In some circumstances, the VA will only need a verification of your current disability and Veteran status to give you a disability rating for certain conditions, based on unexplained prevalence among Veterans (e.g. ALS).
If you suffer from a mental health issue like PTSD, anxiety, or depression and have a diagnosis, you will need to connect the condition to your military service to qualify for benefits from the VA. In the case of PTSD, this often means connecting your diagnosis with a particular traumatic experience you had when you were in the military.
The VA will carefully review your medical records and assess your condition as they consider your claim. You can help make a case for the legitimacy of your claim by presenting the VA with testimonials from soldiers who served with you, as well as with an independent medical examination (IME) from your doctor.
In some cases, the VA will grant monthly disability benefits to Veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals, contaminated water, and other dangerous substances during their service. If you are a Vietnam vet and served overseas within a certain period of time, the VA will assume you were exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange and qualify you to receive disability benefits. In this specific circumstance, you do not need to have a diagnosed disability to be eligible for benefits – the VA is willing to provide you with compensation based on your presumed exposure to Agent Orange.
How VA Disability Ratings Work
For each claim filed by a disabled rating, the VA has two potential routes they can take. They will either deny the claim based on insufficient medical evidence or other factors or approve the claim and give a Veteran a disability rating. This rating is between 0 and 100 and translates to a specific amount of monthly benefits.
If you are a disabled Veteran with no dependents, you will only receive benefits for yourself in your monthly payment. However, if you have a spouse, children, or dependent parents, your monthly disability benefits will increase. There is an incremental increase in your monthly payment based on each dependent in your family.
The difference between a payment for a disabled Veteran with a 10% disability rating and a 100% disability rating is a big one. In addition, a significant number of dependents can mean a major increase in your monthly payment. Because of how significant the gap between a lower rating and a higher rating’s payment is, getting an accurate VA rating is a must.
If the VA gives you a disability rating that is lower than your condition warrants, you don’t have to be stuck getting fewer benefits than you deserve. To potentially change the outcome of your claim, you can make an appeal to the VA.
Struggling to Make a Connection Between Your Disability and Your Military Service?
The VA will often need verification that a disability is service-related before they qualify a Veteran to receive monthly benefits. If the VA rejects your claim based on insubstantial evidence, we can help. If you need to change the outcome of a claim you have filed with the VA, one of our experienced attorneys can help you go through the VA appeals process.
Once you have started the process of appealing to the VA, you can check its status by visiting this page on the VA’s website. From here, you’ll be asked to log in or create an account to see the status of your appeal.
From the VA’s appeal status page, you can see some important information about your appeal and follow up with the VA if they ask for further evidence to support your claim. Throughout the appeals process, the VA may ask you to upload further documentation or evidence that can play a key role in the outcome of your appeal. An attorney can help you navigate the appeals process by offering helpful insight into how to interact with the VA to get the best possible outcome.
VA Appeals Can Go Through Multiple Levels.
The VA appeals process starts at the regional level, with your local VA office handling your appeal and reviewing your claim. However, an appeal can continue to move forward past the regional VA office to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This level of VA appeal typically involves either a virtual hearing (especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic) or an in-person hearing at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C.
A VA appeal can even move up to higher courts if you continue to get a less than ideal ruling. This is not a process that you want to go through on your own. Without the representation of a skilled attorney, it can be challenging to get the outcome that you need when it comes to preparing legal briefs and motions.
Our team of attorneys has fought this battle for thousands of Veterans, and many of our staff have gone through the process for their own VA benefits. Knowing exactly what you’re going through helps our team support you through the appeals process. We’ve experienced the challenges of service-related disabilities firsthand, and we want to do everything we can to get you the benefits that you need and deserve so that you can fully support yourself and your loved ones.
Check Your VA Disability Claim Status
If you are still waiting to receive a disability rating from the VA, you can visit this page on the VA website to check your claim’s status. Getting a decision back from the VA can take several months, but a few factors can make the decision take even longer.
Filing a claim for multiple disabilities can mean a longer wait time to get results back from the VA. If you are still waiting on a VA decision three to four months after filing a claim, you are still in the average time frame. However, you may have to wait longer if you have filed a complex claim based on a combination of several service-related disabilities.
Checking Decision Review Status
If you need to appeal your rating, you can use the decision review process, which involves reopening a case to potentially get a higher disability rating or be approved for benefits if you were previously denied. The decision review process can start on one of three levels:
- Supplemental claim decision reviews start when you prevent further evidence, such as an independent medical examination from your doctor, to the VA to change your claim’s outcome.
- Higher-level decision reviews come into play if you request your claim be reassessed by someone higher up in the VA. Unlike supplemental claim decision reviews, higher-level reviews do not involve adding evidence to your claim.
- A board appeal is the highest level of decision review for an initial rating decision. This type of decision review is an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Affairs, who handles appeals above the regional level.
During the decision review process, the VA may ask you to get examinations to help them determine the outcome of your claim. Make sure to keep tabs on the status of your decision review from here to see if the VA has requested anything from you before they can move forward with their review of your claim.
There are multiple ways that you can change the outcome of a disability claim that you have filed. However, the process of getting a different decision from the VA is one that you shouldn’t go through without help. Getting the help of an expert attorney can keep you from feeling overwhelmed by the many rules and regulations put into place by the VA. These rules can sometimes create unnecessary obstacles for a disabled Veteran, but an attorney can help make the VA’s regulations work for you instead.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.