One option is going to your local VA regional office, which you can find here, and completing an application in person. Although it may seem straightforward how to apply for veteran benefits, that is not always the case. If the form seems complicated, you can ask for assistance. One drawback to using this method is the long wait time at the VA. Another is finding time to visit the VA during the week, as many VA offices are only open during weekday business hours.
An alternative option is to log onto www.ebenefits.va.gov. Applying online can be easier because you can do it at any time. Many working veterans prefer this method because it gives them the opportunity to file a claim when it is most convenient.
You may also request the assistance of your county veterans’ service officer (CVSO) or a service organization such as the American Legion or the DAV.
Once your application for disability benefits is filed, the VA will review the evidence and produce a rating decision, which grants or denies the benefits you sought in your application.
You then have the right to appeal that rating decision. This is often when attorneys get involved in the VA claims process. If you want more information about the disability rating system, we have an article dedicated to how the system works.
The application process can be lengthy. To expedite the process, veterans often gather any and all relevant medical documents as well as evidence of a disability to support an application at the time it’s filed. In some instances, producing all of the relevant information with the claim will reduce the likelihood of a claim denial and the need to appeal.
Evidence that could be submitted includes:
Remember that lay statements about the cause of your disability can be submitted as evidence as well. These can be buddy statements from friends or acquaintances who served with you or statements from family members about how your disability affects your everyday life.
In 2010, the VA introduced the Fully Developed Claim (FDC) program, allowing you to speed up the application process by submitting your medical records up front, bypassing the VA’s effort to collect your records (which can take months). Remember, if you suffered military sexual trauma, have post-traumatic stress disorder, or are a former prisoner of war, your claims have priority in VA claims processing.
Not every claim is going to win you the decision you think you deserve. More often than not, disabled veterans are left with inadequate ratings and rewards. In that case, appealing is your best option.
Are you receiving the veterans’ disability compensation you are entitled to receive by law? If you need assistance appealing VA Rating Decisions for mental health conditions or physical disabilities caused in service, please contact the Berry Law Firm.
Click here to schedule a time to talk to a member of our team to determine if we can help you with your VA appeal.
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