VA Proposes Standardization in Disability Claims Process
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
- No New Evidence Needed to Resubmit Military Sexual Trauma-Related PTSD Claims
Veterans may not realize that they do not need new evidence in order to resubmit a previously denied claim for PTSD benefits related to military sexual trauma (MST), according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report also claims evidence that an overwhelming number of veterans who are aware of [...]
- 5th Annual Veterans’ Summit
The 5th Annual Veterans’ Summit will be held on Wednesday, September 10, at Laurel Manor in Livonia, MI, 8 am – 2 pm. We are co-sponsoring the event with the Canton Community Foundation. This is a fantastic FREE event for veterans and their families! You can register online at www.cantonfoundation.org, and call Beth Meade at 734-495-1200 [...]
- A Lesson in Customer Service: Veterans are Not an “Oscar the Grouch”
The Department of Veterans Affairs continues its parade of poor decisions and bad ideas with their most recent slideshow shown to VA employees, which depicts veterans as Oscar the Grouch, the character from Sesame Street. Perhaps the VA needs to bring in Oscar the Grouch’s Sesame Street neighbor, Count von Count, to give themselves a [...]
- ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge”
The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” has become the internet sensation this summer. Your Facebook account probably has received dozens of these videos and challenges designed to raise money for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. You may have seen former President George W. Bush participate in the challenge which made broadcast news. The DOD has now [...]