The Veterans Affairs (VA) claim system can be a difficult ordeal, especially if your paperwork isn't in order. Not all veterans have the opportunity to leave the military at a major, organized military base, and some veterans are injured or affected by conditions in areas that lack administrative support. If you're facing a denial or waiting months for a response, take the time to understand the VA disability system's needs and how to align your next evidence submission or appeal.
What Does The VA Want In A Successful Claim?
At the core of the VA approval process is whether your claimed conditions are service-connected or not. Service-connection means that your injury or condition was related to the military in some way, such as being caused by events in the military or pre-existing conditions becoming worse because of military service.
The VA has strict guidelines for filtering out fraudulent claims and ensuring that only the service-connected claims are given compensation. Even if you have a legitimate condition, there are veterans who seek VA disability for car accidents, falls and other issues that clearly happened after the military.
To make your claim successful, you need to create clear evidence that you're not part of the fraudulent or ineligible groups. Don't worry about being accused as a fraud while working through the claim, as the VA understands that mistakes can happen on their part. If your claim isn't valid, you'll simply be denied and invited to provide more proof as part of the appeal process.
A denial means that your evidence didn't line up with the service-connection requirements. It could mean that you didn't submit information that shows an accurate date of when your condition started, or at least a history of reporting an issue during your military time. It could also mean that your current medical review doesn't show that you're currently suffering. The VA can't simply look at you and approve your wounds on the honor of your word, so get the evidence in order.
An Attorney May Be Necessary
If you don't have medical record entries or other evidence that shows when your condition could have started, it's going to be difficult to prove your case. You could submit a presumptive condition claim if you were part of specific military campaigns (as explained in this PDF file from the VA), but the process requires quite a bit of research and documentation to create a believable link.
An attorney may be better suited to creating a presumptive argument or researching past information so that you don't need to go through the presumptive process. With more experience in researching past medical condition information and access to medical professionals with known track records for claims system examination and documentation, a professional legal defense can make your appeal more successful.
There are times when a strong amount of evidence can be denied. For example, a veteran may be denied because the injuries sustained were too close to their End of Active Duty Service (EAOS). It may look suspicious to the VA, but if you got out of the military because of the circumstances around your injury or condition on your own accord (without a medical discharge), you may have a hard time proving your legitimacy.
Contact a team of attorneys in areas with easy access to VA administrative centers to discuss such complicated situations and to figure out how to make your claim more successful. Find a trusted firm, such as Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC.