Updated: Mar 13
The process of securing disability benefits from the Department Of Veterans Affairs can be
long, complicated, and frustrating for veterans in general. Although veterans can’t control the
VA judges the claims or the time it takes, there are some steps one can take to ease some of
the stress that can arise during the process.
Tip#1 Understand The Basics Of The Claims And Appeals Process
The more you understand how the VA’s claims and appeals process works, the more control
and command you have over your claim. Knowing when to take certain actions or what your
next steps will be can help in relieving the frustration usually experienced by veterans
seeking benefits. In addition, learning VA rules on topics such as effective dates - which
applies to any veteran seeking disability compensation- can help in identifying errors that
may have occurred during the judging process.
Tip#2 Keep VA Updated
It is essential that you keep the VA updated about different things that might be changing in
your life such as a new address as well as dependency statuses such as recent marriage or
divorce, or the birth of a baby. Failure in this could result in, for example, overpayment of
dependency benefits which you will most likely have to pay back. In case of an incorrect
address, you will risk your claim being delayed or even closed due to a missed deadline.
Furthermore, you don’t want to send your personal information such as your social security
number to the wrong individual.
Tip#3 Be Aware Of VA Disability Deadlines
Generally, veterans will have one year to appeal unfavorable VA decisions. However, there
are still exceptions to this timeframe. Another to keep in mind is that if veterans don’t appeal
within the Appeal Reforms deadlines, their decision becomes final. When it becomes finals,
veterans will lose their effective dates since the claim will no longer be continuous.
Tip#4 Be Honest With Your Healthcare Provider
When attending with a physician, it is crucial that you are honest and accurately reporting
your symptoms and limitations. A veteran’s medical records should accurately reflect what is
being reported. Do not exaggerate or downplay your symptoms. When you provide an
accurate picture of your symptoms, it can help in ensuring that your condition is documented
correctly in medical records which VA will most likely look at when deciding your claim.
Tip#5 Attend Your C&P Exam
C&P (Compensation and Pension) exams are medical exams ordered by the VA to assess
the etiology of a veteran’s disabilities when they are seeking a disability compensation claim.
VA weighs the results of C&P exams heavily so it’s crucial that you attend if VA schedules
one for you. If you don’t attend one, your claim will most likely be denied.