» 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

  • VA Accountability Act Inspires Hope, Doubt
    In August, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. The act seeks to provide a number of remedies to problems uncovered earlier this year within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including wait times for and inadequate access to health care. The cornerstone of the act is the requirement that VA facilities [...]
  • Veterans and Sexual Dysfunction
    Jim Fausone Veterans Disability Attorney This is one of those taboo subjects you just don’t bring up in polite company.  But the reality is we hear from veterans every week about their erectile dysfunction, which can be claimed as a service connected disability in many cases. As recently reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune: The [...]
  • The Number of Homeless Veterans Drops, but Challenges Remain
    Last month, the Obama administration announced that the number of homeless veterans in the United States has dropped 33 percent from 2010 figures. According to the Huffington Post, the White House has committed to ending homelessness among veterans by 2015. The key principle behind the push is “Housing First” — the notion that veterans need [...]
  • Oakland County Bar Association Veterans Committee
    Kristina Derro, the practice attorney for Legal Help for Veterans, recently assumed her role as Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA). OCBA is the largest county bar association in the state of Michigan. She was nominated for the position by the members of OCBA in recognition of all of her work for veterans, [...]

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



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

* indicates required