» VA Proposes Standardization in Disability Claims Process

VA Proposes Standardization in Disability Claims Process

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 4, 2014 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed that veterans use standardized forms to submit disability claims.

This is an idea that would seem in step with the desire to streamline and modernize the process. However, the proposal has veterans groups concerned that many former members of the military will not be able to navigate the new system.

Traditionally, veterans have been able to submit claims in a variety of ways, including through simple, handwritten notes. The claim becomes the initial point for retroactive pay reference when and if the filing veteran’s claim is approved.

“The standard means of filing a claim for benefits involves completing and mailing to one’s local VA office the so-called Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension,” said James G. Fausone, a prominent Northville, Michigan attorney who specializes in legal help for veterans. “It is always helpful to attach any supporting evidence, such as medical records, to the application.”

The VA wants to dispense with the so-called “informal claim process” that veterans employ when they submit a handwritten note in favor of online or standard paper forms. The agency says the measure will help it catch up with its 400,000 backlogged claims. But such a mandate would mean that the claim period would not begin with receipt of a handwritten note.

Some veterans groups are arguing that, as a result, those who use the Internet will be rewarded at the expense of others. “We have concerns because the average age of the American veteran is 64 years old, and the 2010 census reported that 55 percent of Americans 65 and older do not have regular access to the Internet,” said Zachary Hearn, deputy director of benefits for the American Legion.

For many veterans, the VA’s proposal may become an irritating burden requiring additional detail and paperwork. But legal experts advise that the claims process is inherently complicated. That argument is particularly compelling in circumstances when a rejected claim must be appealed — in which case, the help of an attorney could be pivotal.

“Pursuit of your appeal without experienced legal counsel severely reduces your prospects for success before the court,” Fausone said. “Over 75 percent of all cases resolved at court in 2008 were represented by legal counsel.”

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • Michigan senator introduces bill to help improperly discharged veterans
    U.S. Senator Gary Peters has introduced legislation to help veterans who may not be receiving all the benefits they are entitled to as a result of being improperly discharged from the military due to behavioral changes. Peters, of Michigan, said the bill would ensure the fair treatment of veterans who were discharged because of behavior [...]
  • Mindfulness-based therapy eases PTSD symptoms of veterans
    The results of a recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study show that mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy can be more effective in helping to reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans than other forms of group treatment. The study was carried out at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where [...]
  • VA admits unqualified doctors performed brain injury exams on veterans
    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Aug. 7 acknowledged that it violated VA policy by having unqualified medical personnel perform diagnostic exams for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The erroneous exams resulted in some local veterans being denied TBI benefits. There were more than 300 veterans involved, although the exact [...]
  • Congress passes bill to provide veterans with VA-issued ID cards
    Congress on July 7 approved a bill that would allow veterans to obtain official identification cards through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Supporters of the measure say the ID cards would contribute to reducing identify theft, along with making it easier for veterans to prove their veteran status. Current federal law requires some [...]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,

Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required