The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has a powerful reason to ensure you fail. In short, they do not want to pay you properly. They know the bitter truth: many veterans will simply give up. Screw that. Here are five common VA claim mistakes you must avoid when you file your VA disability claim.
VA Claim Mistake #1: I Don’t Deserve VA Disability
Don’t make this simple VA claim mistake! VA disability is not a handout. It is something that you earned through your service. However, too many veterans feel that they somehow did not “earn” the right to even apply for VA disability. As a result, the VA wins without no effort. The VA will fight and try to deny your disability, but you should never just let them win without a fight.
VA Claim Mistake #2 I’m Good- I Don’t Need VA Disability
We recently spoke with a young infantry soldier who had just returned from a long deployment to Afghanistan. He had finished his enlistment, and was transitioning to civilian life. He is both ranger qualified and airborne qualified. In addition, he earned his Combat Infantry Badge while deployed. However, he had developed some injuries during his time on active duty.
The culture shock of transiting from deployment to civilian life was pretty extreme for him. Unfortunately, he felt that reporting any of his injuries would somehow make him less of a soldier. As a result, he made the VA claim mistake of not wanting to file a claim. However, we encouraged him to take the time to actually work through the VA disability process. Besides receiving VA health care, the VA rated him at a 30% VA disability rating.
I don’t think he initially realized he qualified for a VA disability rating at all. Thankfully, he has now set himself up for success over the rest of his life. It is likely that his disabilities will get worse as he ages. He had to first acknowledge that he is human, and then the VA was able to properly rate him.
Mistake #3: No Medical Nexus
Have you ever filed a claim for “everything you could think of?” That is a terrible plan that many veterans like to use when they file for disability. You must be able to prove nexus. Nexus is the term that means that your current issue originated on active duty.
The VA loves to deny claims as “not service-connected.” They use a lack of nexus to do this. You need to spend some time reviewing your medical records from active duty. This will show the items that will be easiest to prove. You will also need a current diagnosis. Ironically, going to the doctor for medical treatment is the best thing you can do for your claims.
You will then need to prove that there is a nexus between the two. This can be done with a nexus letter from a doctor, but showing continuous care for the disability is another option.
VA Claim Mistake #4: Fraud and Under Reporting
It is imperative that you tell the truth when you file for VA disability. Unfortunately, veterans will sometimes attempt to embellish their symptoms to increase their rating. This is fraud and will result in severe penalties. In addition, the VA can simply choose to ignore any evidence that they can prove you embellished.
However, fraud is not the only VA claim mistake veterans use to short themselves. You should also make sure that you are not under reporting your symptoms. It is important that you articulate your symptoms. You are not bulletproof, and you need to give the VA the opportunity to properly rate you.
VA Claim Mistake #5: No Plan = Plan to Fail
The worst VA claim mistake of all is not having a plan to win. You are fighting one of the most important fights of your life. You must have a plan, and you can not afford to blindly file a claim. As a result, you need to research and learn before filing your claim. I recommend using a VSO as an advisor, but ultimately you are responsible for your own claim.
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