As a former service member living with a disability connected to your time in service, it is your legal right to file for VA disability compensation. However, the bureaucracy involved often makes the process very daunting and frustrating.
Some veterans experience several setbacks when filing for VA disability claims. These setbacks can be partly because the VA is overwhelmed with the backlog of cases they receive each day. On the other hand, they could be due to some mistakes made by the veterans in filing for claims.
VA disability claims include:
• Original claim
• Special claim
• New claim
• Increased claim among others
Below are ten common problems you could be confronted with when trying to file for VA disability compensation.
1. Insufficient Information
Providing inadequate information, such as insufficient medical evidence in your claim, can derail your progress in getting VA disability compensation. Lack of enough information will undoubtedly make it hard for the VA to make informed decisions concerning your disability rating.
2. Delayed Claim
You must file your VA disability claim within the stipulated time frame. If your claim is denied, you can appeal within twelve months from when you received the report from the Decision Review Officers at the VA. If you miss this deadline, the chances of making another appeal outside the stipulated time window are minimal. It is advisable to appeal immediately or a few months after receiving the rating decision.
3. Disability is Not Connected to Service
To be eligible for VA disability, you must provide substantial evidence proving that your disability is connected to your time in service. It could be an event or incident that led to injuries that resulted in some form of disability.
The evidence must be satisfactory enough; otherwise, the VA might rate it as not connected to service. If you receive such an unfavorable report, it is best to appeal immediately. The best way to get past this is to have a colleague who witnessed the event give a statement to strengthen your claim.
4. Symptoms of Disability Not Convincing
There are scenarios where the VA will rule that you are exhibiting symptoms of a disability-related to service. However, they may also refute the same symptoms as not severe enough to deserve a higher disability rating or benefits.
5. Mistaken Assumption on Who Should Cater for the Medical Exam
Typically, a medical exam is crucial when filing for a VA disability claim. However, service members are expected to undergo and obtain medical results on their own. It is ill-advised to rely on the VA to cater to the exam.
6. Underlying Conditions
You may have an underlying condition that may have led to your disability. As such, the VA may rule that your non-aggravated situation is not service-related and does not warrant disability benefits.
7. Incorrect Documentation
Before the process of filing for a VA commences, you must submit specific forms relevant to your claim. Filing the wrong documents or entering incorrect information can lead to automatic disqualification.
8. Lack of Legal Representation
You have the right to file for a VA claim by yourself. However, enlisting the services of a legal representative can be beneficial and is highly advised. This ensures that you understand the process from a legal perspective. It also helps you avoid making mistakes, which can be costly in the long run.
9. High Expectations Regarding “Duty to Assist”
It is the VA’s legal duty to help veterans file their VA claims. They have a responsibility to gather medical and other relevant records required to develop the veteran’s claim. Unfortunately, the VA seldom fulfills this duty. Therefore, relying on the VA to perform their duty to assist can slow your case down.
10. Pending Claim
There could be a high chance that your claim is still being processed and not necessarily denied. It takes quite some time to have claims processed. As such, it is advisable to make regular checks to ascertain the status of your case before deciding on the next step of action.
Never Lose Hope
While there are myriads of setbacks in the process of filing for VA disability compensation, the best thing to do is never to lose hope. Working with an expert VA disability attorney will significantly improve your chances of winning your claim sooner.