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Filing a claim for VA disability compensation can be extremely time-consuming. If you file a VA claim online through their website, the process can take at least 30 minutes. Aside from filling in the needed information and gathering the required supporting documents, the most challenging part is submitting and waiting while the VA reviews your claim.
That being said, it’s no wonder why many people find the process frustrating. Fortunately, there are some tips that will help you make the process easier. Following these steps will ensure that you get everything right the first time, so you won't have to do it over and over.
Prepare Documents For Filing A Disability Claim
You should submit all of your supporting documentation with your claim for benefits to get a decision from the VA as quickly as possible. The required documents are as follow:
- Records of the hospital or clinic where you received medical care are needed for your benefits application, but many private medical providers do not comply with VA requests for these records. Avoid this delay by proactively submitting your documents.
- A copy of any DD214 or separation documents you may have.
- A statement from your friends, family, clergy, law enforcement, or another veteran supporting your injury or illness.
- Dependency records such as marriage certificates and children's birth certificates.
If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to submit more documents that will support your disability claim. Keep in mind that you’re not required to send original documentation to the VA; copies are enough. These documents will help them determine your VA Disability Rating.
Specify Your Illnesses and Injuries
Include the dates your symptoms began, along with the specific ailments and injuries for which you are applying for disability benefits. If you are still suffering from a disability or illness that developed during your military service, or if you suspect that complications may arise in the future, you should include it in your VA disability claim.
Filing VA Claims Via Different Platforms
If you want to file a VA claim, you can choose from different platforms for your convenience. After submitting a filled-out Form 21-526EZ, choose from the following options:
- Apply online using the VA's website.
- Call their hotline at 800-827-1000.
- File a claim through the eBenefits website.
- Get in touch with the Veteran's Service Organization. They are knowledgeable about working with the VA and can assist you in ensuring your application is complete and correct. All VA claims are free, and anyone who is charging for help is ripping you off.
- Get assistance from a VA employee at a regional VA office.
Waiting For Your Claim To Be Reviewed
After filing your claim, all you have to do is wait. Although it may take a few months, you will usually receive a letter from the VA acknowledging the receipt of your claim.
There are also instances when they will reach out to you to inform you that they are working on your claim or need more information. Moreover, expect to get a status update every month while the VA is working on your claim. They will also notify you once they have made a decision.
Depending on how your claim was filed, you can check its status through the veteran's service organization. If you submitted a claim online, you can check the status on the VA website.
The VA may contact the Department of Defense (DoD) or ask you for more medical information depending on your situation. Additionally, VA may arrange for you to undergo an examination to determine your claim of disability. If you claim multiple disabilities, the VA may schedule you for a number of medical appointments. It is important that you show up for your VA appointment if you are required to undergo a medical examination to support your claim.
VA will not ask for additional information unless it sends you an official letter stating so. Other than attending scheduled examinations, you need not do anything else.
You can visit your local VA office if you need assistance with your disability claim. An attorney can also assist you through the process. You can receive the compensation you deserve by working with an experienced disability benefits attorney who can review your claim, gather the necessary evidence, and prepare the required paperwork.
Filing a claim with the Veterans Affairs Department of the United States (VA) requires patience and effort. It could take months or several years to process an initial claim for VA benefits, so do not waste any time. When you discover you are disabled, you should apply for benefits right away to secure your compensation.
Are you interested in learning more about the various options and programs that help people with disabilities? Read more of Disability Help’s resources on our website!