We often hear from individuals needing help filing an initial claim. They ask us, “How do I file a VA disability claim,” or “I need help filing a VA disability claim.” Due to legal circumstances, we are unable to assist with this initial step. These individuals asking for help usually have a disability that is currently impacting their life, but do not even know where to begin when applying for VA disability compensation. Navigating the VA system to apply for benefits after your military service can be a daunting task. If there were circumstances that you were facing while in-service that have led to a current disability, you are entitled to compensation. There are several different ways to apply for your disability benefits, from online to over-the-phone to an in-person meeting with an employee or representative. Each option has positives and negatives, but this list can help you find the option that best suits your needs.
The eBenefits site is a quick and easy way to submit forms, file claims, and find the needed forms to complete the VA disability benefits process. This is the fastest way to file forms and find information about your case. To apply for VA disability compensation through ebenefits, you will first need to navigate to ebenefits.va.gov and create a log in to gain access to the site. Once logged in, you will find a dashboard containing your personal information, ways to manage your information, application portals, and other helpful material. To complete the initial form, you will need to go to the “Apply” section, click on “Compensation,” and then click on “Apply for Disability Compensation.” This will allow you to complete a compensation application, taking you through the steps needed to file a VA disability claim. The website also allows you to track the status of the application you submitted so you never have to wonder what stage your application is at, and you have a better idea of when it will go through. To find the current status of your claim on eBenefits, go to the ebenefits website, hover over the “Manage” button, and click “Status Tracking.” It will have you choose which claim you made, and prompt you to log in. From there you can view your VA disability claim status. eBenefits can also help you learn more about your claim and keep you well informed. It also provides helpful links that can prove useful as you file a VA disability claim.
To file a VA disability claim by mail or fax, download VA Form 21-526EZ, “Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits”. This is a twelve-page document giving all information needed for the compensation application process and allows Veterans to fill in their information on a physical copy. After completing the form, you need to submit copies of the completed form and service treatment records to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Or you can fax it to:
(844)531-7818 (inside the U.S.) or
(248)524-4260 (outside the U.S.)
Veterans can go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee help them file a VA disability claim. Go to https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp to find the nearest VA regional office, or you can call 1-800-827-1000 to talk to someone about finding the best office for your needs.
Veterans also have the option of going to an accredited representative with the Veteran Service Organization (VSO). VSO representatives are private non-profit, state, or county entities that work on the behalf of Veterans, servicemembers, dependents, and survivors. They will examine the Veterans documents and application and help gather information and evidence needed to support their disability claim. VSO services are free for military and Veterans. VSOs can be found using the eBenefits website or by going to https://www.benefits.va.gov/testimonials/v-c-review-on-google-6-2021/so/testimonials/v-c-review-on-google-6-2021/aro.asp.
When filing your claim in person, it is important to bring the correct information. Bring any records that support your claim to the appointment with you as well. Also, bring the following items to make sure you have all the personal information they may need:
Although we cannot help with the initial steps of the application process, our goal is to provide Veterans with the help they need in getting the benefits they deserve. If you have gone through the initial application process and have received a rating decision within the last year, we may be able to help. If your rating decision has been denied or you want to increase your current rating, contact Berry Law today to speak to a legal representative. As a Veteran owned and operated law firm, we are committed to protecting the rights of Veterans. You are entitled to benefits. Let our team of VA attorneys go to battle for you. Contact us at (888) 883-2483 to schedule a free consultation today.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.