I often talk with veterans who know or don’t know what possible benefits they might be eligible for. One benefit is VA Disability Compensation. Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service—no matter when or where they served— may be eligible to receive taxfree monthly benefits. Below are steps in determining if you qualify.
What the VA Requires:
To support a claim for service connection, the evidence must show the following:
• You have a current physical or mental disability.
• You had an injury or disease in service or experienced an event in service that caused or aggravated an injury or disease.
• There is a link between your current disability and the event, injury or disease in military service. If you have any of the following relevant items, you should submit them with your claim:
• Discharge or separation papers (the DD-214 or equivalent).
• Service treatment records and supporting statements.
• Private medical provider records and hospital reports.
VA Application Process:
The simplest way to obtain a VA decision on a compensation claim is to submit all supporting
documents and evidence together in a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) online at www.eBenefits.va.gov or by mail. Typical steps to apply online include:
• Find an accredited attorney, claims agent or Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to assist you with your claim.
• Establish an eBenefits.va.gov account to apply.
• Collect and upload your military, medical and other records.
• Gather private medical records.
• Gather the required evidence for each claimed disability.
• Scan and upload all documents and then click “Submit.”
• Track the status of your claim at eBenefits.va.gov.
If you want to file an FDC but aren’t quite ready, you can start an FDC at eBenefits.va.gov, save your incomplete application, gather your documents and submit your claim up to one year later. Your effective date will be
preserved if the claim is submitted within one year.
Expediting your disability compensation claim:
For some claims, the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) program is the fastest way to get your disability compensation submission processed. The DRC program can accept claims from Veterans requesting an increase to
an existing claim, as well as certain claims related to direct service connection, presumptive service connection and secondary service connection. Surviving spouses can also file certain claims for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, and transitioning service members can file pre-discharge claims less than 90 days from leaving the military. To submit a DRC, you will need to work through an accredited Veterans Service Organization representative who will assist you to ensure all supporting evidence (e.g.,medical exams) is included with your claim. This will accelerate the process and provide you with a decision within 30 days from the time VA receives the claim.
Thomas W. Snipp, Contractor
Office: (802) 338-431
The Vermont Veterans Outreach Program staff have very diverse backgrounds and many of them have served in the different branches of the military. Their commonality is that they know what our veterans are facing every day. The Vermont Veterans Outreach Program has a proven track record in getting the job done helping our veterans receive the services they need and have earned for their service to our country.
Veteran Outreach Feature Story