Navigating the VA Appeals ProcessAs a law firm that specializes in helping veterans of our armed services, we know just how frustrating it can be to try and get the benefits that you deserve for your medical conditions. Just like any insurance or government program, VA disability benefits require a huge amount of effort and support, just to receive basic benefits or to increase those benefits when your condition warrants. Many Veterans find themselves lost in the appeals process when the VA denies or gives less benefit than you feel you deserve. Hiring an attorney that specializes in legal issues related to veteran’s rights and VA benefits is always your best bet for getting the best results from your appeal, however, that doesn’t always make the process less confusing. Here’s some basics on the VA benefit appeal process.

Making a Claim

We often hear veterans talk about how they have been waiting for years on a resolution for a benefits “claim”. The problem here, is that if years have gone by, your claim has gone from a simple to claim to an appealed claim. It’s an important first step in understanding the claim and appeal process, to understand the difference between making a claim and an appeal. Your claim process is done early on in your process of acquiring or increasing your benefit. In basic terms, a claim is your initial request for benefits. You provide to the Department of Veterans Affairs an application for disability or medical benefits that documents your medical condition and your need for the benefit. This information is compared to your service history, to confirm that your medical condition or disability is related to your military service and then a decision is made, based on the information provided, whether to deny, fully fund or partially fund your disability benefits. If you disagree with the VA’s decision, then you begin the appeals process.

Appealing a VA Decision

If you disagree with the decision that has been made regarding your VA benefits, you have the right to appeal this decision. Many veterans choose to hire an attorney that is experienced in handling these matters. It can be helpful, but keep in mind, hiring an attorney is done at your own cost, you will not receive government compensation for your attorney. During the appeal process, you or your attorney will submit additional information and evidence regarding your medical condition or disability in attempts to change the decision that has already been made by the VA. The appeal process can go on for many years, while the initial response to your claim is generally a quick process. The appeal process has many steps, and for most veterans is not terribly successful. Veterans that hire an attorney to assist them through the appeal process are sometimes more successful, but it’s important to realize that the appeal process is only successful for about 10 to 12 percent of veterans.

To be the most successful in your claim and appeal process for VA disability and medical benefits, it doesn’t hurt to have an advocate on your side. Making your initial claim for benefits or increased benefits with the assistance of an attorney well versed in veteran’s rights can make the process easier and more successful. If you are struggling with the VA disability benefit process, and need help submitting a claim or working through an appeal, the legal experts at Walus Law Group are here to help. Contact us today at (586) 954-3250.