Applying for Veteran Disability Benefits
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Anyone who has served in the United States military could be eligible for a variety of benefits, including benefits designed to help Veterans recover from and/or live with a disability. The process for applying for this kind of benefit can be intimidating, but resources are available to help interested members apply, including the assistance of VA attorneys who are experienced in handling these matters. VA disability compensation offers a tax-free monthly payment to Veterans who were sick or injured during military service and continue to experience lasting or permanent damages as a result of that sickness or injury. These monthly payments are intended to help supplement some of the financial damage caused by lost wages or medical bills.
When considering filing for a VA disability claim in order to receive VA benefits for a military injury or illness, it is important to collect any evidence or documentation which could support the eligibility of that Veteran. It’s also a good idea to collect supporting statements from people who can confirm the existence and severity of the disability. All of this information will be combined with a properly filled out VA disability application form which can be done online, by mail, or in-person to offer a Veteran the best chance at receiving the benefits they have earned.
Types of VA Disability Claims
There are a wide variety of injuries and illnesses that could result in a Veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits when they result in lasting damage or disability. However, there are a variety of common conditions for which many Veterans receive assistance every year. Proving the existence of these conditions in addition to the effects of a condition on a Veterans life is paramount to receiving adequate VA disability benefits. Chronic back pain, breathing problems, hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD are common conditions found to be eligible in VA disability claims. There are multiple types of VA disability claims a Veteran can make, and at different times a different claim may be called for.
Common types of VA disability benefits claims include:
- Original claim: This is the first claim a Veteran files for benefits regarding their disability. This claim can be filed up to 180 days before leaving the military.
- Increased claim: If the disability for which the original claim was filed has gotten worse since the original claim, a Veteran may choose to file a claim for a VA disability benefits increase to compensate for the increase in damage.
- New claim: A Veteran can file a new claim to request additional benefits including additional financial support, special payments, and special benefits if they find themselves no longer able to work due to their military disability.
- Secondary service-connected claim: This kind of claim is applicable when a new disability arises in connection to the disability a Veteran already has.
- Special claim: This type of claim is applicable only when a Veteran has or develops special needs in connection with their disability.
- Supplemental claim: If the original claim filed for disability benefits was denied, an applicant may choose to use new evidence to file a new or supplemental claim.
How to Apply for VA Disability Benefits
The process to begin applying for VA disability benefits can be complicated and involves gathering documentation from any available sources regarding the existence and validity of the condition caused or worsened by a Veteran’s military service. VA attorneys are well-versed in the kind of documentation necessary to prove a disability and can help their clients easily navigate the complexities surrounding the application process.
The basic steps to applying VA disability benefits include:
- Determine eligibility. In order to determine whether a Veteran is eligible to receive disability benefits, the Veteran must first assess whether their condition qualifies as a legitimate disability.
- Gather supporting evidence. Supporting evidence in this situation could include medical reports, notes from a doctor, test results, photographs of the injury or disability, and expert evaluations of a Veteran’s disability status.
- Investigate if any additional forms are needed. This is where it might be helpful to consult a VA attorney if you have not already done so. A VA attorney might be aware of the other kinds of forms a person might need to submit in order to increase the chance of their application being accepted.
- Gather supporting statements. Gathering supporting states from people who can confirm your condition, how/when the condition occurred, as well as the effects that condition has on your daily life, can be paramount to building a strong case for eligibility for VA disability benefits.
- Fill out the form completely and submit. Before submitting an application for VA disability benefits it is important to make sure that the form is filled out completely and correctly. Failure to fully out the application form can result in unnecessary delays and/or rejection. Once the applicant is certain their form is completely filled out and the information therein is correct, the form can be submitted online, by mail, or in person at a local VA office.
If you or a loved one suffered a new or worsened condition due to military service, you might be eligible to receive VA disability benefits. To learn more about eligibility and/or how to apply, seek legal counsel from a VA attorney.