VA Disability Claim
Important Information About Making a VA Disability Claim
Veterans who have suffered a severe injury or illness as a direct result of their service may be eligible to apply for veterans disability benefits through the Veterans Association (VA). Here is some valuable information that will help you apply for a disability claim.
Before you Leave the Military
If you know you will need disability benefits before you are discharged, the VA strongly encourages you to apply for benefits through the pre-discharge program before you exit from your service. Applying through this program will greatly reduce the processing time, so you will be able to start receiving your benefits sooner.
Ways to Apply for Disability Benefits
If you need to apply for disability benefits you can do so in any one of the following ways:
– Using your ebenefits account, which can be found online
– Complete a form and mail it to the closest VA regional office
– Go to your local VA regional office where a VA employee will help you with the process
– Work with an accredited representative or agent who knows how to complete the application
You can apply online by using your eBenefits account. When you use this method, you must upload all of the evidence you have to support your claim to make your application complete. If you need time to gather your medical information, you can complete the application in more than one session. But, it must be completed within one year from the date you start the application. In these cases, the VA will consider your application date as the first day you started your claim. If possible, try to submit all of your evidence with your application, as it will make the process go more quickly.
Mailing Your Application
If you are not comfortable submitting your application online, you can use the tried-and-true traditional route of sending it through the mail. Your application should be addressed to the regional VA office that is closest to you. Along with your application form, you should also include all of the medical evidence that supports your claim. The VA is willing to request your medical records on your behalf. However, you must provide the name and address of the person, company, agency, or medical facility from which they will come as well as the time frame the records cover and the condition for which you were treated. If you were treated by a non-VA doctor, you will also have to fill out a consent and release form that allows the VA to obtain the records.
Visiting a Regional Office
You can complete your application in person by going to your local regional VA office where a representative can help you. If you opt for this method, make sure to bring all of your medical evidence with you. If you need help obtaining your records, the representative assigned to you will help you at this time.
Working with an Accredited Representative
The VA strongly encourages vets who apply for disability benefits to seek the help of an accredited representative who can assist with completing a Fully Developed Claim. Accredited representatives are those who have permission from the VA to represent veterans to the VA and state the vet’s case. This requirement helps to ensure veterans have representation from competent and qualified people.
Regardless of how you choose to apply for benefits, you will have to provide the VA with specific information to help prove your claim and show your need for benefits. The evidence you will need to provide includes:
– Your discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
– Service treatment records (if you have them)
– Medical evidence from doctors and hospitals
What is a Fully Developed Claim?
The Fully Developed Claim (FDC) program in an initiative that promotes faster decisions on claims for current service members, veterans, and survivors. All the claimant must do is submit the required information and supporting records at the time of application and then certify that there is no further information to submit. The VA will then fast-track the application for a quick decision.
What is a Standard Claim?
If you make a standard claim,then the VA takes on the responsibility of obtaining the records they need from the Federal agency you authorize them to contact. The VA will also make an effort to obtain any records that are held by non-federal agencies as well (such as a non-VA doctor). If necessary, the VA will also make arrangements for you to have a medical exam by a VA doctor, if one is necessary to help your claim.