It appears that older Veterans’ disability claims will be expedited. As part of an recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the oldest claims will be immediately evaluated and paid. The move is something that veterans’ disability advocates have called for, as they have insisted that old claims have at least some type of provisional payment that would keep veterans from enduring additional financial hardships while waiting on benefits.
The move was bolstered in part by a demand by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to speed up the claims process. Indeed, the move will benefit Maryland veterans directly (as it has one of the worst performing VA offices in the country) but it will also benefit veterans in Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas and Florida.
In the meantime, there are hundreds of thousands of claims still meandering through the VA system. Analysts ominously predict that the backlog is destined to increase with the wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, additional ailments are being recognized by the VA for compensation.
Even with these looming challenges, the help of an experienced attorney can help veterans seeking compensation for injuries suffered while serving one’s country. A number of claims are stymied because of mistakes by the Administration, but there are a number of issues that come about from simply not knowing how the claims process works. An attorney can help organize (and obtain) the proper documentation and work through the pitfalls that often trap petitions prepared without legal counsel.
While the VA’s newest proclamation is a step in the right direction, disabled veterans should still seek the assistance of a lawyer if they think they need help.
Source: BaltimoreSun.com, VA to expedite oldest disability claims, April 19, 2013.
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