ARE YOU MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY PREPARED TO FILE YOUR CLAIM?
FACT! NOT EVERYONE WILL REACH 100%
1. Keeping it Real, Not Every Veteran Has a Pathway to 100%.
When being evaluated for a VA disability, it's possible to be assigned a percentage ranging from 0 percent to 100 percent. Those with multiple service-connected issues have greater potential. Otherwise, there's no guaranteed method of achieving 100%. This is particularly hard to swallow for veterans who are currently 80% and 90% because they can see the finish line. Reaching 100% can require an additional 60% to 70% to achieve the goal of 100%. This means that unless the veteran has multiple conditions that can be rated, appealed, or by secondary conditions, they may have exhausted all potential for reaching 100% VA disability.
2. Be Humble About The Process; The VA Has No Clue Who You Are.
It is no secret that the VA has no clue about who you are or what happened to you during your service; they care even less about your race, rank, top-secret job, or political affiliation. Over the past 70 years, no administration has done enough to keep its promises to our nation's veterans; they've all fallen short, don't let this be your Achilles heel; the process works the same for all of us.
3. Communicating With Your Advocate
We understand it's hard to get through our lines; please leave us a detailed message or text us. If you fail to leave a message, our phone system won't register your call, and no one will be able to return your call; texting and email are the best methods. We appreciate your patience; we are actively working on increasing our availability.
It's your responsibility to communicate with your advocate. Due to the number of veterans we assist, our agents cannot contact you regularly to give you an update. If it's been 3 months and you haven't contacted your agent, your claim has the potential to stall; you must be actively involved with your claim. We may not be your best option if you require unsolicited weekly or monthly updates.
4. I Heard it From Another Veteran
There are a lot of well-informed veterans with valuable knowledge about the VA process; however, the VA claim system is an ever-changing process. So unless the veteran has taken the initiative to keep updated with all the revolving changes outlined in the 38 CFR, Code of Federal Regulations, assume the information with a grain of salt. Wrong or outdated information can cause delays and even denial of your claim.
Do not compare the processing of your claim to other veterans. Even if you may have the same condition with the same symptoms, the event that caused your VA disability is unique only to you. Another distinction is the documentation of your condition; it's doubtful that you both have the same information in your military medical file. Most importantly, your claim depends on an independent third party's evaluation of your VA disability and will not result in an identical assessment. Don't fall into this trap; always consult your advocate for the most accurate information about your claim. The only paramount concern is that you received the maximum benefit for the service-connected conditions.
5. I Never Had The Opportunity to Go On Sick Call
Due to the stigma of not being able to carry out our duties or being seen as weak and fear of reprisal kept many of us from seeking care for conditions we still suffer from today. Although this is true for many of us, the sooner you get over it, you can concentrate on gathering evidence to prove your claim. Writing a statement for each condition is a must, and so is seeking care for a diagnosis and treatment to establish continuity of care. This process can take 6 to 12 months and is based on appointment availability, even longer for specialty clinic appointments. Be careful not to fall asleep here; you have the most work to do.
6. Failure to Google or Research Your Conditions
You need to get familiar with your disabilities; if not, you are already behind on your claim. Not investigating your VA disability limits your ability to discuss possible causes or potential secondary conditions with your PCP and your VA disability advocate, costing you to lose potential compensation and secondary connections; no one knows you better than you.
7. Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
How long will my claim take? There's no correct answer to the following question; whoever tells you differently is being disingenuous: you should be prepared to wait 6-18 months minimum for a decision; if your claim needs to be appealed, expect an additional 7-18 months for a decision. If you're counting on the speedy processing of your claim to avoid a financial situation, be patient; don't set yourself up with expectations for things out of your control; this will cause you unnecessary stress. Neither the VA nor your advocate can predict this information, so it's best to be patient.
How long will my claim take from start to finish?
How will the VA rate my claim?
Do you think the VA will approve my claim?
When will the VA schedule my compensation & pension Exams?
Now that my exams are complete, how long will the VA take to decide?
The VA is often backlogged, so expect constant delays in the timely processing of your claim. Be aware that your claim will be denied, underrated, and appealed several times before approval. The VA does try to process all claims within the suggested time frame; however, some situations affect these efforts.
Delays in third-party exams
Covid and other national disasters
Internal technical Issues
Most of all, The lack of participation on your part
8. CLAIM KILLER #1 - No History of Care
Not knowing how to talk to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) is a massive disconnect for most. Veterans actively involved in their healthcare have a greater chance of approval. In the past, the patient‐doctor relationship was one‐directional, the doctor typically took the lead, and the patient followed. Today, this relationship is a partnership, and your PCP can help you establish a diagnosis for your condition by referring you to specialty clinics, labs, physical therapy, and testing. Taking an active role in your healthcare can help you get the best care possible from your doctor. If you don't discuss your in-service injuries or illnesses with your PCP, they'll have no knowledge of its connection to your service unless you tell them don't assume they know; it will hurt your claim. If you believe it's crucial, speak up and discuss it.
Denied because you don't have a current diagnosis for the in-service injury or illness
Denied because there's no record of treatment, and you failed to seek care for the condition consistently.
Denied because you don't have a history of care for the claimed condition since you left the service.
Don't file your claim and mentally check out! After you file your claim, you should immediately schedule appointments with your doctor for the claimed conditions. Your doctor can help document any changes or identify secondary conditions caused by your claimed injury or illness. If you haven't seen a doctor for the claimed condition since you left the service, writing a detailed statement to fill in the gaps is a must!
9. CLAIM KILLER #2 - Failure to Write a Statement About Your Injury or Illness
A VA Statement in Support of a Claim is a 3-5 paragraph written narrative that details the facts and circumstances of an in-service injury or illness; personal statements help fill in the gaps between your military service and the present; you should write a statement for each condition.
If you fail to tell your side of the story, you allow the VA to dictate to you what did or didn't occur. Remember, they don't know who you are or what happened to you during your service.
The VA Disability Advocates Main Office is Located in Las Vegas, NV. We Represent Veterans throughout the United States. 702-209-5722