It’s time for you to file your claim, what to do? It may be easier to explain what not to do. Don’t expect the VA claims reviewer to be a mind reader. Provide enough information to the VA for them to determine what you are requesting. If you have a leg injury that is causing problems, at least let them know what leg it is. Make their job easy. Provide details of your injury. You don’t have to re-write the Encyclopedia, but you need to provide enough detail. Inform them when and where you first reported your injury, not simply that “my injury occurred while I was in service with the Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force, etc. Remember, start with the basics. In order to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation, you must have served on active duty, been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and the injury or disease was caused or aggravated during your service. So, first you show that there is a connection between your current condition and a disease, injury or aggravation of some disease or injury that occurred during service.
The VA has a “duty to assist” Veterans in developing, or gathering evidence for their claim. I just have a couple of questions about this one….who does this claim mean the most to? YOU. Who has the most interest in getting the benefits for which you are entitled to receive? YOU. Who, then, should provide the VA with as much evidence as practically possible to prove up your claim? That’s right….YOU. So, if you have been being treated by a medical doctor, tell the VA who, when and where you were treated. (Just a little tip….it’s even better if you provide them with a copy of the records yourself). It takes the VA average of six months to even begin to gather the evidence for you file. Help them as much as possible.
If you are scheduled to do a “compensation and pension (C&P) exam with a VA doctor. Go to the exam. I’ll explain the do’s and don’ts of how to conduct yourself in a C&P exam at a later date. However, the bottom line here is show up, on time and answer shortly and plainly the question that the doctor asks. If you have already been seeing a physician for your condition, you can have him/her fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) and submit that along with your claim. Sometimes, the VA will not require a C&P exam if you submit a DBQ.
If you have questions or have been denied your benefits, you can always call us. We are here to help. 601-414-3707 or 888-454-5197.