The members of the armed forces have made immeasurable sacrifices to protect our rights and our freedoms. Military service can take a serious physical and psychological toll on a person. According to data from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, there are nearly 2 million military veterans who are living with a major service-connected disability.
Financial support is available for disabled veterans. However, the VA disability claims process is complicated. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for disabled veterans to struggle to secure their benefits. You do not have to go through the process alone. In this article, our Phoenix veteran’s disability lawyer provides a guide to filing a VA disability claim in Arizona.
How to Prepare for Your VA Disability Claim Before Starting Your Application
If you or your loved one is a military veteran with a service-connected disability, it is crucial that you apply for benefits as soon as possible. VA disability benefits as a much-needed financial lifeline for people and families that need support. Here are two key things to keep in mind when preparing to file for veterans’ disability benefits:
- Know the Eligibility Requirements: Are you eligible for VA disability benefits? To start, you must have a disabling condition, and you must have served in a branch of the United States armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Forces, Marine Corps). Additionally, you must establish that your military service caused or materially exacerbated your injury, illness, or other medical impairment.
- Gather and Organize Supporting Documentation: Next, you need to gather and organize all relevant supporting documents, records, and evidence. Beyond your military service records, your primary supporting evidence will be medical documentation. To get a VA disability claim approved, you must have accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive medical records.
Complete and File the Veteran’s Disability Application Form
Filing for veterans’ disability benefits requires completing and submitting the proper claims form. The easiest way to file a veteran’s disability claim is through VA Form 21-526EZ. You can actually start and submit this application directly online. Once you make an account and start the application, you can actually save your progress for up to 365 days. To be clear, this is an important form. It is imperative that you get everything right. Even a seemingly small error could lead to the delay or even denial of your veteran’s disability benefits.
Wait for a Decision on Your VA Disability Benefits
Once you fill out and submit your VA disability form, you will need to wait for a decision from the agency. While there has been some improvement in processing speed in recent years, it will take a bit of time for the agency to render an initial ruling on your benefits. As of September 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that it takes an average of 106.4 days to make a decision in an initial disability claim. In other words, you should expect it to take around three or four months to get a decision from the VA. You can always check your claim and track its status: Here.
You Have the Right to Appeal a Denial of Veterans’ Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, not every disabled military veteran has an easy time accessing their benefits. The VA can deny disability claims for a wide array of different reasons—from errors in the paperwork to disputes over the implications of medical evidence. A denial is not the end of the road. You have the right to appeal the VA disability denial. There are effectively three “lanes” of appeal:
- Supplemental Claim: Do you believe that your VA disability claim was denied because you forgot to include some important information? If so, the best option is likely a supplement claim. Through a supplemental filing, you can submit additional relevant documentation to support your claim for disability benefits.
- Higher-Level Review: If you feel that the VA denied your disability benefits in error, you have to seek a higher-level review. In effect, this means that your application will be re-assessed by a fresh, more experienced reviewer.
- The Veterans’ Board of Appeal: If your VA disability claim was denied a second time after either a supplemental filing or a higher-level review, you have the right to challenge the matter directly to the Veterans’ Board of Appeal. An Arizona VA disability appeals lawyer can help.
Veterans’ disability benefits appeals are complicated. You may have as little as 60 days from the date on your denial letter to start the appeals process. Do not go it alone: If your veteran’s disability claim was denied in Arizona, contact our Phoenix VA disability appeals attorney for immediate assistance with your case.
Arizona VA Disability Lawyer Paul J. Dombeck Helps Veterans Secure their Benefits
You and your family do not have to navigate the VA disability claims process alone. Our founder
Paul J. Dombeck is an experienced veterans disability lawyer. Attorney Dombeck puts a strong emphasis on ensuring the disabled veterans who gave so much to support are able to get the full and fair VA disability benefits that they rightfully earned. When you contact us at our Phoenix law office, you will have a chance to work with an Arizona VA disability lawyer who can:
- Hear your story and answer questions about VA disability claim;
- Gather and organize medical records and other relevant documentation;
- Handle all of the veterans’ disability paperwork; and
- Take whatever legal action is required to help you or your loved one get the best outcome.
Get Help From Our Phoenix, AZ Veterans Disability Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Arizona VA disability attorney is a compassionate and experienced advocate for justice. If you or your family member needs any help with a VA disability claim, we can help. Give us a call at (602) 805-0577 or connect with us online to set up a free, completely confidential initial appointment with a lawyer. From our Phoenix law office, we provide VA disability representation in Maricopa County and throughout Arizona.