If you served in the United States Armed Forces and received an Honorable Discharge, you are likely eligible for a disability rating with Veteran Affairs.
No matter how severe the injury was, if they originated while you were in service, it is important that you make those injuries known to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Doing so involves filing a disability claim with the VA.
While the process can feel arduous, it is crucial that every veteran takes stock of their injuries and file disability claims. For many veterans, it is best for them to work with a veteran disability attorney. Doing so can lighten their load of paperwork as well as keep the VA from trying to deny claims that should be approved.
Create an eBenefits Account
The first step to filing and managing your disability benefits is to set up an online account with eBenefits.va.gov.
During registration, the government will confirm your identity and give you an online profile to track your benefits and/or apply for more benefits. In addition to assistance with your disability benefits, eBenefits offers a host of other benefits for veterans, including tuition assistance, vocational training, VA home loans, and more.
Make Copies of Your Service Record
Locate your service record, including your DD-214. Make copies of these documents so that you can send copies to the VA while filing your claims. If you are working with a veteran disability attorney, they will ask you for copies or make copies for you.
Do not ever surrender your original documents to the VA. They have been known to misplace your records.
Make Copies of Your Medical Records
You should also make copies of all your medical records, both during and since your time in the military. This process can be overwhelming, so you may want to ask for help from friends and family.
If you’re seeking medical treatment from a VA medical facility, then you should also set up an online account with My Healthy Vet. Doing so will grant you access to all of your medical records at the VA hospital/outpatient clinic.
Identify Your Injuries
Name every part of your body that has noticeably deteriorated because of your time in service. If you suffered a severe injury while in the military, that injury should be claimed. For example, if your knees were in pain just after getting out of the military, and your knee pain is directly related to things that occurred during your time in service, your knees should be claimed.
It can be helpful to solicit help from your spouse while itemizing your injuries. Don’t forget to take stock of mental and emotional injuries, such as poor sleep, irritability, or difficulty focusing. These are common side effects of anxiety disorders or PTSD and likely resulted from your military service.
File Disability Claims
Once you’ve identified what injuries you would like to claim, you can apply for disability compensation.
Because each veteran’s claims file can be different in terms of what evidence must be submitted, it is a good idea to seek assistance from a veteran disability attorney. They can help you complete the application and submit the appropriate documentation.
The VA will do their best to claim that your injuries are not connected to your service. If this is the case, a veteran disability attorney can help you challenge the VA’s decision and approve your claim.
Once your claim is approved, you will be given a disability rating which will designate the amount of disability you receive each month. You will be able to manage your benefits online through your eBenefits account.
For more information about how a veteran disability attorney in Indiana can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.