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How to File a VA Disability Claim

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How to File a VA Disability Claim

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VA disability compensation is designed to offer a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who fell ill or were injured while serving in the military. Physical conditions such as chronic illness and persisting injury are common qualifiers for VA disability, but mental health conditions such as PTSD can also make a veteran eligible to receive VA disability. Essentially, any service-related damage to a person’s body or mind that qualifies for a disability rating could make a veteran eligible for VA disability benefits. Some VA disability benefits can even apply to a surviving spouse or dependent.

Here are just a few common conditions covered by VA disability benefits:

  • Chronic back pain resulting in a diagnosed back disability
  • Breathing problems due to a lung condition
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Ulcers
  • Cancers caused by contact with toxic substances
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

There are different kinds of VA disability claims, and over time you might need to file for more than one.

  • Original claim: This refers to the claim a veteran files for disability. It can be filed up to 180 days before leaving military service.
  • Increased claim: If the condition for which the original claim was filed has gotten worse, you can file a claim for a VA disability benefits increase to compensate worsened damage.
  • New claim: A Veteran can file a new claim to request additional benefits such as additional financial support, special monthly payments, and benefits to help if a Veteran is no longer able to work due to a disability.
  • Secondary service-connected claim: This is applicable when a new disability arises in connection to the disability a veteran already has.
  • Special claim: This type of claim is useful when a veteran has special needs linked to their disability.
  • Supplemental claim: This kind of claim can be made using new evidence if an initial disability claim was denied.

There are a variety of steps a veteran must follow to file a VA disability claim:

  • Determine eligibility for a VA disability claim.
  • Gather supporting evidence and documentation regarding the disability.
  • Investigate if any additional forms will need to be submitted with your claim.
  • Gather supporting statements from people who can confirm your condition and how it came about.
  • Fill out the form completely. This can be done online, by mail, or in person at your local VA office.

You do not have to file a VA disability claim on your own.

Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) and accredited attorneys are well-versed in handling these kinds of claims. These professionals can walk you through the application process and help you obtain the necessary supporting documentation to ensure you have the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve.

If there is any factor contributing to your claim that could potentially complicate the process, it might be especially useful to speak to a VA disability claim attorney who will know how to address those factors and ensure you have the best chance at qualifying for VA disability benefits.

This is particularly necessary if the VA has already rejected a prior application for VA disability. An initial rejection does not have to be the end of the road to disability aid. An experienced VA disability attorney will know how to reformat your claim so that it has a better chance of being accepted, and might think of other evidence which could exist to prove your disability.

If you or a loved one want help filing a VA disability claim or were initially rejected for VA disability benefits, seek legal counsel to learn more about your options.

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