10 September 2012

VA Claims Brief - Application Process 101 (for beginners)

Nothing is automatic. Every veteran has to take the step of applying for benefits if you seek medical care or disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The process generally takes over a year...far longer with complicated issues, appeals, etc. In recent years (thank God) the VA and DOD manage a servicemember's separation so as to smoothly transfer medical records and partly automate the initial claim steps. 

During the return of forces from the first Gulf War, veterans seeking care from the VA were turned away until a service connection for the disability was proven...it took some time for the logical step of "presumptive service connection" to be implemented and many of us had to pay for private medical care because of the gap in coverage between military medical care and the VA. Bummer!

The VA Claims Process
After VA receives your Application for Compensation, it sends you a letter. The letter explains what VA needs in order to help grant your claim. It states how VA assists in getting records to support your claim. The letter may include forms for you to complete, such as medical releases. They help VA obtain pertinent medical records from your doctor or hospital. You should try to complete and return all forms VA sends within a month. Your claim can often be processed more quickly if you send a copy of your own medical records. This letter is often referred to as the Duty to Assist lette . Read More

Win Your Veterans Affairs Disability Claim - You finally decided to file a VA claim for disability, so now what do you do? Maybe you already have started the paperwork yourself or (far better!!) have been helped by a veterans service officer (VSO) filling out the required VA Forms and are now one of many waiting to hear from the VA about your claims status.

A Veterans Benefits Raters View

Definitions, Terms, Abbreviations

We can not stress enough how important it is to:
  1. View your VA claims folder at the Veterans Affairs regional office. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your VA c-file (claims folder).
  2. Ensure that all the records in your Veterans Affairs C-File are yours. 
  3. Check that everything you have sent to the VA is included in your C-File.
  4. After viewing your VA claims folder (c-file) and correcting any mistakes you may find. Then request a hard copy of your claims folder (c-file)

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