After filing a disability claim to the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability system, many veterans receive either a denial letter or a request for more information that can be confusing. Although such claims are expected from injured veterans after leaving the military, it takes a strong set of documented evidence and proper claims-filing experience to be successful--a difficult task for a career that often starts directly after high school or college, and often in a career having nothing to do with legal procedures or VA administration. If you're confused about the denial, don't quit! A bit of insight can help you understand what went wrong and how to proceed with a bit of help from an injury lawyer.
Why Would Valid VA Claims Be Denied?
Being absolutely certain of your problem and its cause can be frustrating because it makes little sense that an organization dedicated to veterans--and often staffed by veterans--would turn down a legitimate sufferer. Unfortunately, since there's no shortage of veterans who submit fake claims in hopes of slipping under the surveillance of the VA for lifetime compensation, the VA has to remain vigilant--which sometimes catches legitimate veterans in the crossfire.
This means that you, despite how obvious your condition seems, must have documentation that shows how the condition is related to the military and whether you're still suffering or not. The second part can be the easiest, but proving a connection becomes harder with time.
If you don't have military-based documentation from military sources, it's hard to differentiate your claim from a veteran who was injured at their veteran job, but wants to try for VA benefits illegally. Some of the best evidence is in the form of a medical record or service record entry that has dates clearly matching your military career.
If you didn't report the problem, the next best thing is to report as soon as you get out of the military. It's understandable that not all service members have the convenience of a major base as their last home command, and not all veterans are given the in-development out-processing training to get the military evidence they need.
The VA can deny your claim if you're missing any of that information, or if you wait too late (an indefinite timeframe, to be sure) to file your claim. This is where an injury lawyer comes in.
A Lawyer Delivers Deeper Research
If you don't have the proper paperwork, the VA can't find it for you. Officials may direct you to the right place to begin your search, but many programs such as the presumptive claim system (discussed further in this PDF from the VA) go unspoken and often take a lot of time and resources from the veteran that could be spent adjusting to civilian life.
An injury lawyer has more experience with injury systems and claims, and can help you amass the evidence you need to prove your condition. If you're missing evidence that links your condition to the military, a lawyer can examine your service record and research any similar claims involving your service areas. Veterans with similar stories can be an easier way to make your claim look more legitimate, and there may be actual evidence hidden in administrative language that you could have misunderstood.
For medical evidence, a lawyer can connect you to a team of medical professionals who can both provide helpful treatment to you and documentation that points specifically to what any claim system would find valuable. Contact an injury lawyer to discuss veterans disability appeals and innovative ideas that VA-associated officials and lawyers may not think of.