Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Screwed by Veteran's Affairs. Disability Compensation

Benefits denied, benefits cut, benefits overpaid, benefits underpaid....overmedicated, misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.

Veterans across this country have had their patience tested by the Veteran's Administration. Some have been getting screwed by the VA for a few months, others have been getting shafted for a few decades. Look at my grandfather, a WWII veteran, who finally got his disability approved 60 years after he returned from Germany. Veterans all over are fighting and often losing to the Veteran's Affairs.

So how do we troops fight the VA and win?

Find a Veteran's Service Officer that knows what they are doing.
This is very important. Now you can definitely file without the help of someone else. In fact, you can download all the forms that you need to file for disability on the VA's website. However, many veterans over explain or do not provide the proper details when arguing for disability. Some vets will write pages of reasons on why the should be compensated by the VA. This is unnecessary and will not get you any further in the disability process. In fact, I heard some disability boards won't read past the first page of explanations because it is just anecdotal evidence. The VA disability board is interested in medical evidence.

A veteran's service officer will help you navigate through the paperwork when filing for disability. They file these claims all day long for veterans and can be of great help to vets. However, there are some VSOs (veteran service officers) that will show complete disinterest in your case and may be downright lazy. My advice to you is to shop around for the best representative to support your claim. Find a service officer that shows genuine concern in what you are doing.

Provide medical evidence in support of your disability claim.
I can't stress this point enough. Show enough proof that your disability is bothering you. Many veterans just file a claim and think they will be awarded disability. This is pointless and will only result in a denial of compensation. Without proper evidence, documented by doctors, your claim will likely be denied. There should be a medical history from your military service of the injuries that you are claiming disability for. At the very least, there should be a VA medical record of treatment of said injuries that you are claiming. I tell everyone that when they get out, the first thing that they should do is get established at a local VA hospital or clinic. Then they need to start making appointments to begin medical treatment for their disabilities. This will establish a record of treatment that can be used to win your disability case.

Have a medical doctor recommend you for veteran's disability compensation.
Deliver your information straight from the "horse's mouth." Whose word is more credible? A whiny veteran or a medical doctor? If your doctor can right a few paragraphs about how your disability effects your physical, emotional, vocational, social or academic well being, then you have the best possible chance at winning your disability case.

Filing for disability is a stressful process. Especially when you know that you are deserving of these benefits. The worst part about the disability system is the waiting game that must be played by the veteran. It took nearly two years for me to receive my second disability award and I provided more than enough medical evidence. I also had a great veterans service officer helping me out. So be prepared for a long wait. If the VA sends back a letter asking for more evidence, go back to your doctors, file more appointments, get more recommendations if possible. Your claim must be supported by medical fact not by personal feelings and stories.

My last advice is to hurry up and wait.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Approved for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

United States Department of Veterans Affairs Seal

I recently was approved for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits from the Veterans Affairs. I will try to report on the process for approval and give a review of the Voc Rehab program that the VA is offering to disabled veterans.

The section below explains what the program is and what it offers to veterans that qualify. This quotation  was used from the VA website.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program helps servicemembers and Veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. For Veterans with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible. Vocational rehabilitation services include a vocational evaluation (i.e. assessment of interests, aptitudes, and abilities), vocational counseling and planning, employment services (i.e. job seeking skills and job placement assistance), training for suitable employment, supportive rehabilitation services, and independent living services. Generally, a Veteran must complete a program of rehabilitation services within 12 years from the date of VA notification of entitlement to service-connected disability compensation. This period may be deferred or extended if a medical condition prevents the Veteran from pursuing rehabilitation services for a period of time, or if the Veteran has a serious employment handicap.

[edit]Vocational and Educational Counseling

VBA can also provide a wide range of vocational and educational counseling services to servicemembers still on active duty, as well as Veterans and dependents who are eligible for one of VA's educational benefit programs. These services are designed to help an individual choose a vocational direction and determine the course needed to achieve the chosen goal. Assistance may include interest and aptitude testing, occupational exploration, setting occupational goals, locating the right type of training program, and exploring educational or training facilities which might be utilized to achieve a vocational goal.

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