If you are a veteran struggling with a disability you think was caused by your military service, you will most likely want to file for service-connected compensation, and may need to track down—even chase down—some important records and make sure they get to the right people.
Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows you to apply online using an eBenefits account, unless you would rather apply by certified mail, work with an agent, or apply in person at your closest VA regional office. Along with your application for benefits, you will need to compile any relevant records and evidence.
How to Simplify the Claims Process
VA has a duty to assist veterans in the development of their claims. As part of VA’s duty to assist, it will issue a letter notifying you of what evidence is needed to support your claim. This is called a Veterans Claims Assistance Act (“VCAA”) notice. While VA will request records on your behalf, it is ultimately up to you to ensure that VA actually gets them. If you have the records, or can get access them relatively easily, it is in your best interest to submit the records yourself instead of depending on the VA to get them. Providing everything VA needs to process your claim can significantly decrease the time it takes VA to issue a decision in your case. Basic forms such as military discharge papers, treatment records from your time in the military, and current medical evidence from visit to the hospital and doctors are all evidence that VA will need.
Consider Preparing a Fully Developed Claim
You should consider submitting a fully developed claim to the VA as it is meant to help process claims more quickly. This process allows you to certify that you are giving everything to the VA that they will need. This means that as far as the VA knows (and accepts) you have compiled and given them all the records they will need, from the personnel department to doctors and hospitals.
Filing for disability compensation is a stressful process, particularly when you are dealing with medical and financial hardships. If you need assistance in navigating the claims and/or appeals process, the team at Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick is ready to help. Contact our veterans lawyers for a free case evaluation.
For immediate help, call 401-331-6300 or contact us online.