What Are Your Options When a VA Disability Claim is Denied?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jan V. Hinson with Tilton & Tilton LLP.
When someone’s military service results in a long-term or permanent injury or health condition, or exacerbates an existing condition it may be possible for the servicemember to file a VA disability claim. VA disability compensation is typically tax-free and awarded on a monthly basis in an amount that can vary from case to case.
The process for getting a VA disability claim approved can be complicated and difficult to navigate. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an eligible service member to see their claim rejected; this could be due to clerical errors, documents filled out incorrectly, or even failing to supply the exact kind of evidence the claim reviewers are looking for. However, there’s good news; even if someone’s initial VA disability claim has been denied, they can submit an appeal to have their case reexamined.
A VA disability attorney can give your claim a much better chance at being accepted.
VA disability attorneys strongly recommend reaching out for legal assistance if your claim has already been rejected, or if you are struggling with submitting the claim in the first place. An attorney who has experience with VA disability claims can steer their clients around some of the most common mistakes that result in claim denials and can help a servicemember provide the exact type of proof the VA will want to see. The VA will require specific types of documentation and evidence from a servicemember regarding their disability; this could include medical records, testimonies from friends and family, and more. Actually getting the condition approved as an official disability can be one of the hardest parts of the process.
Illness, injury, and even chronic mental health conditions could all be eligible for compensation under VA disability benefits.
Any physical or mental health condition resulting from military service that is chronic and interferes with the quality of a servicemember’s daily life could make a veteran eligible to receive VA disability compensation. From chronic pain to hearing loss and even mental health conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety, there are many injuries that may qualify as disabilities if the proper evidence is collected and documentation is submitted correctly.
In addition to records from medical and mental health professionals, you may also need to collect statements from friends, loved ones, and anyone else who can attest to your condition and the effect it has on your daily life. If you are not sure where to start, a VA disability attorney should be able to quickly identify, contact, and obtain written statements from these sources of support.
Additionally, if the paperwork is not filled out correctly or completely the first time, it could result in a denial of the claim. Seeing as the paperwork for filing a VA disability claim is notoriously complex, this is another area where hiring a VA disability attorney to help could be extremely beneficial.
Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) may also be able to assist with the initial filing of the claim or appealing a denied claim.
VSOs are accredited individuals who have undergone the necessary training to help Veterans apply for VA disability benefits. VSOs can provide resources and advice to help a disabled service member and their family, and can also help explain and assist with the process of filing or appealing a VA disability claim. VSOs can typically be found in your local VA office as well as other organizations by county or state. To locate a VSO in your area, visit the State Veterans Benefits Directory and click on your state. If your claim has already been denied and/or has complications, they may recommend seeking an accredited VA disability attorney to give you the best chance at claim approval.
To learn more about VA disability claims, or for help filing or appealing yours, reach out to an accredited VSO or VA disability lawyer.