Each year, more and more Veterans apply for VA Disability. However, there are even more Veterans left wondering if they can apply. The process is so daunting that many Veterans avoid it out of fear that they won’t qualify for benefits.
Our firm has been pursuing VA Disability benefits for more than a decade. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the process. More often than not, a Veteran who thought he or she couldn’t apply for benefits was qualified. So, how do you know if you should apply for VA Disability? Granted, anyone can apply for benefits, but most Vets want to know more about what the VA is looking for in a successful claim. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering pursuing VA Disability.
- Are you a Veteran? This question may seem silly, but many people who haven’t served ask us if they can file for Veterans Disability. Keep in mind that we aren’t talking about Survivors Benefits in this blog, just service-connected disability. A service-connected disability is an injury or trauma incurred or aggravated by the Veteran’s time in service. Only Veterans are allowed to pursue service-connected disability benefits. For instance, once an individual called our firm asking if he could apply for VA Disability. He didn’t serve, his family didn’t serve, and his only connection to the military was his work as a custodian at the local VA hospital. He was injured on the job and thought he may be entitled to VA Disability benefits because he worked for the VA. He was not a Veteran, so he did not qualify for VA Disability. He instead needed to file a worker’s compensation claim or Social Security Disability.
- Did my injury occur in service, or was it made worse by my time in service? When Veterans are seeking our help with their VA Disability claims, we ask them when and where their injuries occurred. For instance, if you came to us seeking service-connection for a shoulder injury, we would want to know when, where, and how it occurred. If your shoulder injury was caused by a car wreck that happened 20 years after service, you’re not likely to get that injury service-connected. However, if your shoulder was injured because you fell off a truck while in service, you may be able to get that injury service-connected. It’s important to note that this is just one example. There are many different scenarios for VA Disability claims. For instance, mental health claims don’t have to be diagnosed in service. Their symptoms often manifest years after a Veteran has been discharged.
- Does my injury still impact my life? If you injured your shoulder in service, and it still causes you issues today, that’s something to consider pursuing. However, if you injured your shoulder, fully recovered, and have no lingering problems, you probably won’t receive service-connection. Many Veterans have physical injuries that become more painful over time.
- Am I seeking medical treatment? Treatment is paramount for any VA Disability claim. Why is treatment so important? Medical tests and treatment are the evidence that helps prove your disability. A gap in treatment will not bode well for your, For instance, if you had a knee injury in service and didn’t see a doctor about the condition for 15 years, you’re going to have a difficult time getting service-connected. There are some exceptions, of course. We mentioned mental health earlier. Also, Veterans who were parachutist in service may have physical injuries creep up later in life. They may still get service-connected for their conditions even if they weren’t diagnosed or treated in service.
These examples are just some of the ways in which a VA case can become confusing. There are rarely any black or white situations when it pertains to VA Disability. This is why we say every case is unique. Please use these questions as a guide when asking yourself on whether or not you should apply for VA Disability benefits. If you’d like to make the process even simpler, you are more than welcome to call us for a free evaluation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form. Our intake process is very thorough, and we ask detailed questions to help ensure we’re getting you all the benefits you deserve.
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