Taking care of the men and women who dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom is a concept that our forefathers wove into the threads of our constitution. If you are a veteran, you are entitled to medical and educational benefits. If you are injured in the line of duty, filing veterans disability claims should be all it takes to get the financial support you need to lead a productive lifestyle.
However, as bureaucracy piled on top of bureaucracy for decades, veterans disability claims can be an excruciatingly tedious process. If you are beginning the disability claim process, you should pay attention to our list of Do’s and Don’ts to get your disability claim processed successfully.
The Dos and Don’ts of Filing a Veterans Disability Claim
- DON’T: Call the toll free number for filing a veterans claim.
When you call the 1-800 to get started with your veterans disability claim, you are not getting in touch with a disability professional at your local VA office. You are getting in touch with a person who works at a call center across the country, who is not personally invested in your well-being, and is not equipped to provide you with reliable information about your veteran’s claim. In fact, these call center representatives are graded on how long they stay on a call, so they will say whatever they need to get your off the phone.
If you are just wondering what time it is, what color the sky is, or another extremely basic piece of information, you might be able to get it from the toll free number. But if you have disability specific questions, such as how to use the veterans disability calculator or are you are depending on the success of your disability claim to continue eating and having a roof over your head, you don’t not want to rely on information given to you by a representative staffed at the toll free call center. Instead, visit your VA office directly and work with a case worker.
- DO: Learn the name of the person working on your case.
When you know who is working on your behalf to file your veterans disability claim, you have a person who understands the circumstances of your case who can answer questions accurately for you. More importantly, the representative who works on your case is accountable for the information they give you. When the VA representative you work with punches your information into the military disability calculator and gives you information about what your disability income will look like, the slightest mistake could lead to a difference of thousands and thousands of dollars. If you don’t know who gave you the information, or what their title is, it’s very hard to track them down down the line if there is a problem.
- DO: Educate yourself on the process.
The VA website has a ton of information on how veterans disability ratings are achieved, with details of each step of the process, and the answers to many of your questions. Taking a couple hours to research exactly how the process goes and what to expect from it will give you a huge advantage when you actually dive into it.
Imagine that you’re taking a road trip to a place you’ve never been. You could begin by reading the map, to get an overview of what the journey will look like, and what to expect along the way. Or you could go in blind, and just plan to stop at every gas station along the way and ask the attendant for the next step in the trip. Which do you think will make your outcome more successful? Likewise, learning about the process before you even begin will empower you to achieve the best outcome.
- DO: Be respectful to the employees who work on your claim.
We know how frustrating the veterans claim process can be. You dedicated your life to this country, only to be given the runaround when you need help. However, the VA employee who works on your case is not the reason the system is complicated and convoluted. Most of the time they do genuinely want to help you.
Even if they are particularly unhelpful, as the saying goes, “you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”