There are many benefits of the Veterans Affairs program you can apply for, as many veterans are in need of help after the end of their active duty service. It is a difficult process, so, besides knowing the technicalities of how to apply, you should also know how to increase the odds of your application being successful.
Believe you can do it
Veterans with a disability need to believe they can do it, they need to believe they can beat the system. Sounds simple enough, but many veterans applying for the VA program struggle to find their way through all the paperwork and bureaucracy involved.
Veterans Affairs has its problems, but the solution isn’t in the Congress or the VA itself. The solution is you. You have more power that the people from VA that process your disability claim. And that’s really important to know before starting down the path of proving your eligibility.
The VA C-file
This is, without a doubt, the most important document of your entire VA disability claim. In most cases, the reason for veterans being denied their disability claim lies in their C-file.
You are “shooting blind” without a copy of your C-file. The reason for it being so paramount is that it helps you to better understand the documentation for your claim.
It will show you the evidence missing from your claim, the evidence that should not be in there, as well as the evidence necessary to prove and resolve your appeal or claim. Without it, it all becomes sort of hit and miss.
Nobody is saying you should become a lawyer. Far from that. You just need to become familiar with some of the more basic laws that come into play with VA disability claims or appeals.
What’s more, take a look at some of the previous cases that your fellow combatants fought with the judicial system, and learn from them. You can learn from their mistakes, and take in the positive aspect of their struggle.
These cases can also help you understand how VA looks at evidence, what mechanism they use to deem somebody eligible, and what arguments they use to disprove the evidence veterans provide.
The four pillars
Service connection in VA disability claims needs to be built in order to successfully make your argument. The four pillars of every disability claim are effective date, impairment rating, service connection and eligibility, the most important pillar being the service connection.
The usual pattern in failed disability claims is veterans failing to prove the service connection of their injuries. They simply couldn’t prove their disability was related to their time in the military. And to do that, you need good evidence, which brings us to the next point.
Using wrong or bad evidence is probably the worst thing you can do when trying to argue your disability claim. That, and the previously mentioned failure to acquire the C-file.
Firstly, you need to use good quality five-star evidence in your disability claim. Evidence that clearly and irrevocably proves that your disability stems from your military involvement. Secondly, you have to point the evidence to the VA. Don’t make them try to find a needle in a haystack, because they probably won’t bother.
Lastly, the evidence you use has to be relevant, probative, competent, credible, and, most importantly, material.
Choose where and how to fight
For many veterans, the process of VA claims is a never ending process of claims, denials, and remands. They start to feel like they’re getting nowhere.
However, when you start to better understand the process itself, you can start choosing the battlefield, increasing your chances of a successful disability claim.
For example, certain battles such as impairment rating issues and effective dates cannot easily be won in a regional VA office. You stand better odds at the Board of Veteran Appeals. Other processes are more easily won at the veterans court. Choose your battles, but choose the battlefield too.
Finally, we come to the last advice we have to give. If everything starts getting too cumbersome and difficult to understand, get professional help. We know how easy it is for the entire process to become too complicated for the already physically and emotionally drained veterans.
To be completely honest, no Facebook veteran group, no text or blog, and no message board can replace good legal council from attorneys experienced in VA disability claims.
Nobody is saying you have to hire one, and it’s certainly something that VA doesn’t advise. But, if you think you’re in over your head, and start thinking there is no way out, get help. And make sure the person trying to help you knows their stuff.
You don’t have to prove your disability to us, you just have to come in
We at Fix Body Group try to take care of our veterans as much as possible. That is why we try to streamline the process of you getting a discount on our services as much as you can. If you are in the Veterans Affairs program, come and receive a 20% discount on all services. It is a small token of appreciation on our part for everything you’ve done for us and our country. We’re expecting you.