Five Common Roadblocks for Austin Veterans' Disability Benefits
There are several issues that veterans often face when applying for disability benefits. These problems include:
- Lengthy delays. This is a problem that nearly every applicant experiences. The issue is caused by large backlogs of pending cases, as well as a soaring number of new veterans’ disability claims. In the past decade alone, the number of claims made for veterans’ benefits has increased by 71 percent. As a result, many people are waiting much longer to receive a decision on their claim. In fact, the number of claims that are backlogged and awaiting a decision for longer than six months has increased by around 50 percent, and it can take as long as two to four years to receive a decision if you are forced to appeal your case.
- Errors in processing claims or appeals. With such a large backlog of applications, it is too easy for things to go wrong when disability review officers review claims. Information can be overlooked or misplaced, or disability review officers can simply miss important details concerning eligibility for benefits. This is a problem that can affect any veteran who is applying for benefits.
- Unfair or inappropriate denials of claims. While not every veteran experiences this problem, an increasing number of people are having legitimate benefit claims denied. This is especially a problem for those applying for benefits based on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions, since these problems are more difficult to conclusively prove.
- The VA incorrectly asserting that your disability is not service related. In order to be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits, you must prove that your medical or health problems are directly tied to your active-duty service. If you are not able to prove that your condition is related to your time in the military, then your claim will be denied. In order to ensure that the VA recognizes your claim as service related, you may need to obtain a “buddy statement.” This is a statement from others who served with you that addresses how and when your disability developed as a result of your service.
- The VA assigning you a lower disability rating than you deserve. When you are evaluated for benefits by the disability review officer, you are assigned a disability rating. This rating is based on your symptoms and the disabling conditions that you have. You must have a sufficiently high disability rating to be entitled to benefits at all, and your rating determines how much you can receive in benefits. If you are given a low rating, your claim could be denied or you could receive insufficient benefits.
These are just some of the issues that can arise as the VA is processing your claim. Some of these issues, such as the lengthy waiting time, will just mean that you need to wait longer in order to receive benefits.
Other issues, however, could result in your claim for benefits being denied entirely or in your receiving a lower award than you should. If this is the case, you will need to enter into the appeals process, which can extend over several years.
Mistakes to Avoid in Filing Your Claim
Some of the key mistakes that you should avoid include:
- Failing to provide enough information when you make your claim. The VA needs to have enough medical evidence to make an informed decision about your case. If you don’t provide it, then the claim may be denied.
- Completing the wrong forms. Your claim can be denied or delayed if you do not complete the specific forms required by the VA. A veterans’ disability benefits lawyer can help you determine what forms need to be completed and can assist you in filling them out correctly.
- Failing to get a “medical nexus exam.” Many people wait for the VA to send them for a medical exam, but this could result in your claim being delayed or even denied if the VA doesn’t send you to see a doctor. At the medical nexus exam, you can obtain a written statement from the doctor indicating that your condition is service related. This is important evidence that you need to have when applying for benefits.
- Missing the deadline to appeal. If your claim is denied or your benefits rating is too low, you have one year from the time you receive the decision to file an appeal. You must make sure you meet this deadline to preserve your right to benefits.
- Relying on the VA for help. The VA provides only limited assistance to veterans who are applying for disability benefits. While you can seek information and guidance from the VA, it is best to have your own professional representation. An experienced veterans’ disability benefits lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the application process can help ensure that you do everything possible to make a compelling claim to make your case go smoothly.
Our Veterans’ Disability Benefits Lawyers Can Help You Avoid Roadblocks
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our Texas veterans’ disability benefits attorneys have extensive experience representing veterans. We can put our knowledge of VA disability cases to work for you in order to help you get all of the benefits you deserve.
To learn more about how we can help, call us at 800-880-5100 or use our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential claim review.