The Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claim system can be frustrating because of the sometimes complex requirements and the lack of preparation given to military service-members before leaving the military. If you don't know why your claim was denied, rest assured that you can appeal as much as you want, and you may have better success by understanding a few of the following traits of the VA system.
It's Not Your Fault, and the VA Understands
Although some veterans are lucky enough to have major military bases as their final duty station to plan with the VA before the end of their military career, many small base, shipboard, rapid-travel, or combat veterans may only have weeks between being in a non-stop job and a civilian.
The VA claims system could be better and is always changing, but there are still some strict policies that must be adhered to in order to prevent fraud and to keep the funds available for the disability program's intended veterans. Try not to take a denial personally, but take the time to understand what isn't covered by the VA disability program.
Due to the fast-paced and often violent nature of some military activities, it's easy for a veteran who was in the right place to claim involvement in a potentially disabling situation. A person who was near others who suffered injuries because of combat, a construction incident, or a major on-the-job disaster may try to claim the same injuries as others involved, but may not have any actual injuries or conditions.
Although not necessarily fraudulent, some veterans may try to claim benefits that happen after the military. The VA can help you find the proper program for compensation and assistance, such as the standard health benefits program if you qualify but the VA disability compensation is not for you. This category can become complex, because some conditions may have started during the military, only to be noticed well after leaving the military.
Your Injury's Service Connection Is Key
The service-connected test exists to filter out these invalid claims, and it's easy for your claim to be categorized incorrectly due to clerical error or insufficient evidence.
A service-connected condition means that your condition can be linked to military service in some way. Either your condition was caused by documented incidents during the military such as being injured or traumatized by violent events, being involved in an accident or exposure to dangerous substances.
It doesn't matter if you were at work, in a combat zone, attending training school or on leave anywhere in the world; as long as you were still in the military, it counts as service-connected. Documentation is important in all cases, and must prove without a doubt that the event happened. You'll also need a current examination to prove that you are still suffering or could face complications because of the issue.
For veterans who weren't able to sit down with VA professionals during their last months of military service, there's a lot of requirements that need to be met. You'll need to organize your medical record and pick out the relevant information to send to the VA, and you'll also need up to date medical information.
Although the VA may send you to a medical or psychological evaluation as part of their Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam, it isn't a guaranteed service. Instead, you may need a personal injury lawyer to examine your documentation and arrange for non-VA medical professionals to examine your claim.
Contact a personal injury attorney like Richard M Altman as soon as possible to get a professional examination of your documentation, as well as access to medical professionals with claims system experience.