Serving in the armed forces can come with many challenges, and it's no secret that soldiers often pay a high price for their service. The physical, mental, and emotional trauma experienced during military service can leave veterans with long-lasting effects that affect their daily lives. As a result, many veterans find the need to claim disability benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). While the VA offers many benefits, navigating the claims process can be complex and confusing.
1. Understanding the Claims Process
The first step in claiming VA disability benefits is to file a claim with the VA. It's important to remember that the claims process can be long and stressful. According to a National Veterans Legal Services Program report that examined the VA’s performance of its duties, a staggering 85% of claims filed with the VA in recent years contained errors. To avoid potential pitfalls, working with an experienced VA attorney specializing in veteran’s benefits is important.
2. Working with an Attorney
Hiring an attorney who specializes in VA cases can be a crucial step in the claims process. Attorneys can help veterans cut through the red tape and get the compensation they deserve. They can also ensure that all the relevant medical information is included in the claim paperwork. Moreover, by using independent medical professionals, a good attorney can help soldiers minimize the need to visit VA-authorized doctors, often the only doctors who can provide an acceptable opinion.
3. Submitting Medical Evidence
Medical evidence is a critical part of the claims process. Based on the evidence, the VA will rate the veteran’s disability. Ensuring that the proper medical evidence is submitted can make a massive difference in the success of a claim. Veterans can submit treatment and medical records from any doctors they have seen for their condition. However, it’s important to note that while a claim does not require a medical opinion in a veteran's favor, it will require an acceptable medical opinion by a good medical professional.
4. Preparing for the C&P Exam
The Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam is crucial to the claims process. During a C&P exam, a doctor chosen by the VA will examine the veteran to assess their medical condition and offer an opinion as to the veteran's level of impairment. The VA then uses the doctor's report for decision-making purposes. It's important to come fully prepared for a C&P exam and to bring any necessary medical records or documentation to the appointment.
5. Appealing Denied Claims
Sometimes, VA disability claims are denied. However, denial is not always the end of the road. Veterans have the option to appeal denied claims through the VA’s appeal process. Unfortunately, navigating the appeals process can be even more challenging than the original claims process. Nevertheless, it is advisable to persevere with the help of an experienced VA compensation attorney.
Georgia Veterans’ Disability Attorneys
At Affleck & Gordon, we are proud to provide zealous representation for veterans seeking VA disability benefits. Our attorneys have decades of experience in representing veterans nationwide and pride themselves on their commitment to helping those who so bravely served our country. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us today at (404) 990-3945 for a consultation.