The Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claim system is designed to help veterans in need, but it's far from perfect. With complex requirements and frustrating delays, the system may put too much burden on an already distressed veteran who may not be able to learn the system quickly enough to get the help needed in a timely fashion. Whether you're filing an initial claim, facing a denial or working through an appeal, a few concepts of the VA claim system can help you prepare for success and reduce stress throughout the process.
Why Are Claims Denied?
In order to serve the most veterans with the support needed, the VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) system is designed to compensate veterans who were injured during military service. If your claim isn't related to military service, lacks sufficient information linking it to military service or isn't severe enough, you may receive a denial.
The C&P system places veterans through a fact-finding process that includes medical examination. A veteran will both be examined for the validity of his or her injuries and given treatment for existing issues. Even if you don't earn a disabled status after the examination, you can request examination and certain basic support such as medication during the examination process.
What Is A Service-Connected Disability?
The VA system grants enough money to support a low-to-middle income household in many instances, and many veterans are after that kind of support. In order to filter out fraudulent claims or injuries that weren't related to military service, the VA employs a service-connected test to every claim.
A service-connected disability is any condition that was cause by or related to military service. From broken legs or irritated backs caused by physical trauma and harsh conditions to psychological trauma caused by events in the military, you can claim many issues as long as they happened during military service or were triggered by military service.
The connection is not so simple as being related to military tasks; you don't have to be on duty or performing your normal job in order for the injury to be service-connected. Wartime, workplace and domestic incidents can all be service-connected as long as the event happened during your military service.
To complicate things, the timing of the injury is taken into consideration. Many individuals end their military service because of injuries that may not be enough to warrant a medical discharge. Just because you're not being discharged doesn't mean the problem doesn't matter, but it may seem strange to claims processors.
Some claim denials end with the statement "injury occurred too close to EAOS" (End of Active Duty Service), noting that your injury claim seems a bit too close to the end of your career. It could be seen as an attempt to claim compensation for a bogus injury at the end of service. Don't take it personally; you may have been caught up in an overzealous attempt to deny scammers.
Contact a personal injury attorney like Hagelgans and Veronis to build an injury claim that not only explains the legitimacy of your injuries, but the dire need for assistance after serving your country.