Are you a veteran looking for disability benefits? Well, we are glad to hear that, but before you apply, you need to be aware of certain things. For instance, how do VA disability benefits work?
First and foremost, VA disability benefits are not easy to get. Nobody is going to come down and hand them to you; you will need to apply and rigorously prove that you deserve them. Not that we don't believe you, but the societal structure is simply built that way.
In this article, we will cover nine more things you need to know before you apply for VA disability benefits. If you skip these things, you might never get approved.
So if you value the outcome of your application, keep reading and secure your well-being for the near future.
1. A Veteran Is Not Strictly Defined
You would think that the government would have a legally defined term for who is entitled to benefits as a veteran, but that's not the case.
Unfortunately, there is no single definition that would term itself as a veteran when it comes to benefits. Different benefits have been enacted at different times by several congresses; thus, each benefit has its own criteria for qualification.
That might leave you wondering how to get VA disability benefits.
You can qualify for some benefits with a single day of service. Other benefits require you to serve a specific amount of time. Others require that you meet special conditions.
2. They Don't Know if You Are a Veteran or Not
You would think the government has a database that contains all the service information for the military, but it doesn't.
One would think that the government knows where you served when you served, what medals you earned, how long you served, and what kind of discharge you got. That's not the case either.
3. You Have to Prove Your Belonging
Perhaps in the future, you won't have to do this, but at this point, you have to prove that you are a veteran. You do this by providing military discharge paperwork.
There are some other methods for proving your belonging, but they are more tedious.
If you have a disability, you might be able to qualify for additional short-term or long-term benefits. Find out if you are eligible for benefits here.
4. You Don't Need Honorable Discharge
You might think that you need to have an honorable discharge to apply for the benefit, and many continue to believe that.
The truth is that only some benefits require that. There is a myriad of other benefits that you can receive with any other than honorable discharge.
5. No Doesn't Always Mean No
You might apply and be told no. You might be told that you don't meet the criteria, even though you might believe otherwise. Maybe you asked years ago, only to be told not to apply again.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been pretty embarrassed for the poorly phrased rejection letters, which make even the most capable legal representatives struggle to understand them.
However, the agency is no longer allowed to confuse their applicants. The VA is required to use simple, plain, and everyday language when rejecting claimants. If you were rejected in the past and didn't know why now might be a time to try again.
6. The Right Paperwork Results in the Right Outcome
Even if the VA rejects you in plain and simple language, it does not constitute their righteousness. Most of the time, when rejection happens, it's because the appropriate supporting evidence was not delivered.
You can ask the VA to examine your case again, and if they reject you again, you can choose to appeal. There's a federal court that is designed to hear appeals for VA disability benefits.
So get yourself an experienced attorney, gather your evidence, and don't be scared to fight for what you deserve.
7. Benefits Above the Surface
You might be surprised to find out that there are so many great benefits available to you and your family. Some of these are above the surface, such as disability compensation and medical care.
Others are subject to the design of help with vocational training and continued education, as well as general improvements to the overall lifestyle of your loved ones.
8. Benefits Below the Surface
You might have never known that there are benefits beyond these above, starting with small business loans to free headstones for when you pass away.
Some programs can help you buy a home, find a place to live when you retire, to get a great job, or to help with travel and shopping. These benefits don't only apply to you but also to your surviving family members.
9. VA Disability Benefits Will Not Chase You
Just because you are a veteran, the VA will not actively look for you. Even if you stand outside of their office, they won't ask you to come in and fill out an application.
Unless you put in the effort to get your benefits, nobody else will. It's your job to fight for your benefits, and if you do so with significant vindication, you will be successful.
Your Life, Your Choice
Now that you know what you need to know before you apply for VA disability benefits, you are well on your way to do so and improve the likelihood of a positive outcome. In any case, it's your life and your choice.
Many veterans have done well without applying for benefits, but why not improve your life? The risks and courage you had to take on to protect your country and loved ones mean you deserve it. If benefits are there for you to take, why avoid them?
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