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FAQ’s

In a previous blog posting, we explained why a “win” at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) most often does not result in immediate award of benefits by the VA, but instead in a remand, i.e. the case being sent back to VA to be redone, sometimes with further development. Clients sometimes wonder […]

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers two major disability benefits programs: (1) service-connected disability compensation and (2) non-service connected disability pension. Both benefits are based on the disability of the veteran and the disability’s effect on employability. VA pension is a needs based program. To be eligible for pension, a veteran must have wartime service, […]

VA Form 526 is used to initiate a new claim. Use this form if you wish to file a new claim for disability or pension benefits. VA Form 526b is also used to file claims for increased ratings or to reopen a previously denied claim. Be sure to follow the directions closely. Claims for VA […]

When a veteran is not satisfied with the decision reached by the Regional Office (RO), he/she must file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). The RO then offers two options for appeal, review by a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or the traditional appeal process. The RO will issue a letter outlining these two options. You have […]

Why is VA so slow to process claims? VA is a huge government bureaucracy. All bureaucracies, whether government or corporate, are slow, inefficient, subject to channeled thinking. They are inherently cautious and have many interconnected parts, and actions require multiple reviews and sign-offs. Political influences on, and scrutiny of, government bureaucracies increase the natural cautiousness. […]

Filing a claim for VA benefits can be a daunting task. It often requires the veteran to fill out and submit many forms or documents to the VA. Gathering this information can be very time consuming and in some cases costly. Therefore you want to ensure that the documents you sent are received at the […]

Wrestling benefits out of VA is usually a battle of attrition. While a few claims sail efficiently through the system, this is by far the exception. Most claims are a matter of wearing VA down through slow development of the claim and repeated challenge of decisions and correction of errors. The nature of this system […]

A question we often hear from our clients regards what happens to a claim that has not yet been decided or is still pending at his or her death. Fortunately, Congress recently changed the rules regarding how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) handles such claims. The rules are less clear for claims that are […]

UPDATE The proposed new PTSD regulations are now in effect. VA’s fact sheet about the changes can be found at https://www.va.gov/ Keep in mind that this does not entirely remove the requirement that PTSD stressors be corroborated – only in specified circumstances, involving situations of hostile military or terrorist activity. The asserted stressor must be […]

EVIDENCE IS CRUCIAL: Part 3

In a previous blog posting I discussed evidence in veterans cases, including a feature unique to this system, the rule that if evidence is approximately balanced on any given point, the veteran claimant is supposed to be given the benefit of the doubt. In actual practice this favorable rule is not applied because VA determines […]