We all have the same mixed sense of dread and joy when we check our mail and find the brown or white envelope that signals the arrival of a VA disability claim ratings decision.
Will it be a denial? Will it be – at long last – a grant of VA benefits?
Will it be another one of those ridiculous 75 page letters that blathers on about the generic evidence you need to add to your VA disability claim in the next 30 days?
If it is a denial, your reaction to that letter could make or break your entire disability claim.
Here are 3 Things you can do that will keep you from killing your VA disability claim.
1) Don’t Give Up.
You have a legitimate claim. Even though I’ve never seen your VA disability claim, here’s why I can say this: I’ve been at this for 7 years, and I have YET to see a frivolous VA claim.
Frankly, the VA disability claim process is so convoluted and complex that I don’t think its even possible to have a frivolous claim. The trick, often, is HOW you argue or prove up your VA claim – not the basis of the claim in the first place.
But if you give up, they win. Figure out where you need help, and go and get it.
Follow the Veterans Law Blog and get free information to help you understand the VA claim process.
Download dozens of Veterans Law eBooks and training videos and get a deeper education of how I have seen the VA Claim process really work
Follow blogs written by Veterans – like the AskNod blog – and learn from the experience of other Veterans.
But whatever you do – do NOT give up in your VA Disability Claim. That’s the surest way to lose.
Here are some ideas to help your keep your sanity when dealing with the VA Claims Process.
2) Make the VA Disability Claim Process Work for You.
We all get mad. I read this crappy decisions from VA raters that clearly don’t know the difference between the law and a bowl of soup.
Its infuriating when the VA gets the facts wrong in your decision – or doesn’t seem to really get what happened to you in military service.
So get mad at the VA. Join a forum like VAisLying.com – or join their Facebook page – and vent about your frustrations there. You may even find someone that can help you in your claim.
But don’t stay mad. Remember that the VA Claim Process is a ladder – not a hamster wheel – and that if you follow my 8 Steps to Improve your VA Claim, you can use the process to work FOR you.
Break out of the prison of your experience in the VA disability claims process!
Read what one Veteran recently told me about how he did this, and how it helped him WIN his VA Disability Claim at the BVA:
3) Get your VA C-File.
Improving your VA disability claim starts with this document – your VA Claims File is so important to your VA claim:
Every rater in your claim will look at it.
Every doctor that issues a C&P medical opinion will look at it
Every DRO that reviews your Notice of Disagreement will look at it.
Every BVA Judge that reviews your VA appeal will look at it.
Shouldn’t you know what’s in it?
Here’s a true story. Recently, I overheard one of our Interns talking about a C-File that he was organizing prior to an attorney’s review. He said that the Veteran was described throughout the VA disability claim, as:
A Blue-eyed Caucasian male
An African American man
Think something is wrong with this Veteran’s C-File? Think the VA is looking at the wrong records? Time will tell – when an attorney reviews the file, we will be able to find the real problem in this VA Disability Claim.
But here’s the point: you need to know what is in your VA C-file – because THAT is what the VA is using to deny your disability claim.
Learn how to get the C-File here.
In the comments below, tell me – and the thousands of other Veterans that read the Veterans Law Blog – what you do to keep your sanity when you get another outrageous decision from the VA.