How to Claim Veterans Disability Benefits

A veteran who has experienced an injury or disease that was caused or made worse by their military service can receive disability benefits. The amount of time that has elapsed since their active duty does not matter. Anyone who is eligible to receive veterans disability benefits should apply to claim them as soon as possible.

Methods of Application

– The federal government provides an online application for veterans disability benefits. Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website to initiate the application process.

– Applicants can also submit their paperwork by mail. Visit the Veteran Affairs website to download the correct form, and then mail it to your closest Veterans Affairs (VA) office; they are located throughout the country.

– If you are within the United States, you may call the VA office at 800-827-1000 to submit an application by phone. Veterans located outside of the United States should call 412-395-6272.

Additional Assistance

It’s also possible to receive help filling out and submitting paperwork. A disability lawyer can help you complete your claim, or you can visit a VA organization or service office to receive help from their representatives.

Completing the Paperwork

The application requires information about medical conditions that necessitate the compensation. When completing these forms, include specific information about diagnosed conditions, injuries, and illnesses. If possible, add specific details, such as the date on which you first began experiencing symptoms and the specific medical diagnoses you received from your physicians. Submit copies of your medical records that verify and substantiate your claim for disability, if possible. You have up to one year to submit the necessary documentation. If you don’t have all your records, the federal government can request your records on your behalf.

The Process

When you receive confirmation of your disability or illness, apply for compensation immediately. Early application preserves this date as the effective date for benefits, which can affect the amount of benefits you receive. Do not allow a lack of medical documentation about your disability to stop you from completing the process; you can submit verification paperwork later, if necessary.

Time Line

The approval process for veterans disability benefits can vary. You may receive a decision within a few months, but it can take up to three or more years of processing to reach a decision. Some applicants may be able to fast-track the approval by submitting complete medical records with the initial application. This can effectively streamline the review time and enable the government to more quickly return a decision.

Special Status

Some people are eligible for special fast-track status. Former POWs, as well as those who have suffered sexual trauma in connection with the military or have post-traumatic stress disorder, receive priority processing on their claims. In addition, Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and are submitting a claim will receive special priority processing. Those who are homeless or who have emergency financial needs can also receive priority service.

If you are unsure of how to proceed with an application for veterans disability benefits, ask for professional assistance so that you can submit your claim in a timely manner.

Disabled Veterans Unable to Work Can Get A 100 Percent VA Rating and Full Benefits

If you are a disabled veteran who can't work, you could be entitled to full disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) even if your current VA rating is below 100 percent. You could get Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).

What Does It Mean To Be Unemployable?

Veterans are unemployable if the disabilities they have that are tied to their military service are preventing them from working. The most extreme situation is that a veteran is unable to work at all. Additionally, unemployability can also be claimed if the veteran is unable to keep a job, or to earn enough money to live above the annual poverty level, which is currently set at $ 11,170.

Unemployability can also apply to a disabled veteran who works on a farm or for a family business, even if their income exceeds the annual poverty level. This is referred to as "sheltered employment,"

If any of these situations describe what's happening in your life, you should look into getting full benefits based on individual unemployability, especially if the VA rating you currently have makes you eligible for TDIU.

What is the VA Rating Criteria for Individual Unemployability?

In most cases, your current VA rating must meet the VA's criteria for TDIU. For example, if you have a disability rated at 60 percent or higher, you are eligible. You can also have a combined VA rating of 70 percent or higher for two or more disabilities as long as one disability is rated at 40 percent.

There are Exceptions to the VA's Rules

Eligibility is not always that cut and dry. Believe it or not, you don't have to necessarily meet one of these VA ratings to qualify. The VA understands that each and every disability case is different. Yours may be linked to a specific situation that supports why you can't work. So, if you feel your service-connected disability is interfering with your ability to work, you may be entitled to more money from the VA.

Can TDIU Benefits Stop?

There are a couple of scenarios that could affect the continuation of your TDIU benefits.

Even, if you are awarded a 100 percent rating based on unemployability , the VA could still discontinue TDIU if they decide that you are fit to work. That decision would be based upon a requested medical examination. Your TDIU status will end and you will go back to getting compensated based on your actual VA rating.

If you do starting working again, you'll lose TDIU after a year and you will simply go back to getting disability compensation based on your actual VA rating in addition to a good steady salary.