Military service requires great sacrifice. In some cases, a military career can cause or exacerbate health conditions. For example, time spent in combat or training could result in physical traumas that make life as a civilian much more difficult. In other cases, you may have a minor health condition when you enter the armed forces, but that condition gets much worse during your time in service.
Often, these health conditions make life as a civilian more challenging when you return to society. Perhaps the medical bills from your healthcare needs are incredibly high and put you under financial stress. Maybe the disability itself makes it hard to find a job and earn a steady income.
Whatever the case may be, you should not have to struggle after your military service because of a disability that was caused or worsened as you sacrificed to serve the country. If you are facing this type of challenge, it may be time to file a claim for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Let’s talk about what this process involves.
The most important component in any VA claim is the evidence that you can provide to support it. The VA is not going to send you any tax-free monthly payments if you cannot prove that you have a condition that is service-related. The first step as you prepare to file a claim is to gather as much evidence as you can about your condition. Evidence can include X-rays, MRIs, doctor’s reports, medical records, medical bills, service treatment records, and medical test results. Filing a claim without evidence will almost certainly result in a rejection. For example, don’t file a tinnitus VA claim before you have received a medical diagnosis. If you do, your chances of approval are close to zero.
Submitting the Claim
There are multiple ways to submit your claim. You can do so online through the VA website. You can also send in your application by mail. If you prefer to have someone help you through the process, you can bring the paperwork to your local VA office and submit it in person. In some scenarios, you may have to submit an intent to file before you send in the paperwork that is the actual application. This will depend on which filing method you choose.
VA Reviews Your Claim
The next step can take several months. The Department of Veterans Affairs will review your claim to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. During this period, they will evaluate the evidence and may submit you to an exam. If more evidence of your condition is needed, then a representative will reach out to you and request this information. You must respond promptly and provide as much detail as you can to speed up this process. After your claim goes through various parties at the VA, a decision will be made as to whether or not you will receive an award letter and your first payment.
Appealing an Unfavorable Decision
In many cases, veterans receive a rejection letter from the VA. Most of the time, the reason is that the condition is not deemed as service-related. It could also be rejected because there is not enough evidence of a disability in the first place. Whatever the reason for your rejection is, this is not always the end of the road. There is a process for appealing the decisions and trying to compile more evidence to back up your claim and receive your monthly tax-free payments. It may be worth searching for a VA disability lawyer who can help you build a compelling case.
Raising the Disability Rating
If you are approved for disability benefits, the amount you get paid depends on the disability rating you receive. This rating is a percentage in increments of ten, and it is based on how much the disability impacts your life. Sometimes, veterans receive a rating that is lower than what they deserve. Similar to how car accident lawyers negotiate for better compensation for their clients, you can hire experts to help you raise your disability rating and receive higher payments. This will require more evidence and the help of professionals who understand how VA disability claims work.
Earn the Rewards You Deserve For Your Sacrifice
Life as a civilian is often difficult after military service. Few people in your circles can relate to your experiences in the military and the adjustment can be tough on your mental health. If you are suffering from an injury or illness at the same time, the challenge becomes even greater, especially with the financial burden of your condition. The VA disability program can be a small reward for your sacrifice, but it will nonetheless be very helpful in reducing your financial hardships as an injured or sick veteran. Look into the VA claim process and seek out experts who can help you file a successful claim.