VA Disability Benefits For Veterans – Essential Information For A Successful Claim
If you have a physical or mental condition that was caused or worsened by your military service, you may be eligible for disability compensation. The key to a successful claim is having all the proper documentation.
This includes evidence such as statements from laypeople who know how your disability affects you, medical records, and expert opinions. This information can reduce processing time and improve your approval chances.
How to Get Started
To qualify for disability compensation, you need solid medical evidence that shows your disabling condition is a result of injuries or illnesses tied to or made worse by military service. Ensure all relevant medical records include private doctor and hospital visits and VA health care provider notes.
You can apply for benefits online, by mail, or in person at a regional office. It’s a good idea to submit all the required forms and supporting documentation as soon as possible so your application process goes as smoothly as possible.
Sometimes, you can file a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) to get your claim processed faster. This means you submit all the necessary information for your topic, including private medical records that are easily obtainable, at the time you file your claim. This cuts down on processing time and results in a decision much sooner.
What to Expect
On average, the VA takes 134.4 days to complete disability-related compensation claims. Several factors affect this timeline.
Suppose you are a Veteran who wants to file for disability benefits. In that case, it’s essential to take the time to gather and prepare all of the necessary evidence before filing a claim. This includes medical records, lay statements, and expert opinions from various sources.
In Step 3, review the evidence and decide on your claim. The expert’s recommendation is sent to a Senior Veterans Service Representative for review and final approval before your rating decision packet is mailed.
If you are submitting a new disability claim or have new evidence for a previously denied claim, submit an Intent to File and follow the steps to get your claim moving faster.
What to Do After Your Claim Is Approved
Once you have a service-connected disability rating, you’ll want to stay current on all your benefits, including healthcare options, employment support, education, housing assistance, and more. You’ll also want to check out supplemental programs to help you with specific disabilities.
Moreover, VA disability benefits provide essential financial assistance to eligible veterans who have sustained service-related disabilities, offering support to help manage the impact of these disabilities on their lives after their military service.
Let VA know if changes in your life, such as moving or getting married, could affect your rating. It’s also a good idea to ask for an increase in your disability rating when your condition gets worse.
Many Veterans will also apply for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify, you must be rated 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) by the VA. Learn how to identify yourself as a P&T Veteran for expedited Social Security processing and what information you’ll need to provide with your SSA application. SSI is a federal benefit for people who can’t work or have limited resources and assets.
What to Do If You’re Disappointed
The VA defines disability as a medical condition that lasts at least one year or results in a permanent and total (P&T) disability. This differs from Social Security, which considers you disabled if you cannot work at a substantial gainful employment level.
Service members can apply through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program to begin receiving disability benefits immediately upon discharge. This is an excellent option for those who think active duty service caused or made their illness or injury worse.
Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly payment for veterans who have a specific mental or physical disability that was caused or aggravated by their active military service.
There are also other monetary benefits, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for survivors of a service member who died from their service-connected disabilities, Special Monthly Compensation for those needing aid and attendance, and a New York State Thruway travel waiver for legally blind wartime Veterans.