Veterans put it all on the line for our country, therefore, we must ensure that they and their families are taken care of in the event of injury or illness.
Many assistance and benefit programs are available through the Veterans’ Administration (VA) to meet the needs of and enhance the quality of life of our country’s heroes. Unfortunately, the process for obtaining disability benefits is too complex and time-consuming for most veterans to manage. Many times claims are denied, and veterans don’t receive all of their entitled benefits. However, this does not have to be the case. Professional advocates are helping veterans every day to receive the full benefits they need and deserve.
The Role of a Professional Advocate
A professional advocate is an attorney or non-attorney professional expert who advocates on behalf of veterans. They help them obtain and understand what is needed for a claim and answer all claim-related questions. In addition, advocates analyze VA claim history and determine the most efficient way for veterans to receive all the benefits they deserve. Advocates will also assist in the appeals process and help provide sworn testimonies.
Limitations of The Disability Claims Process
Thousands of US veterans apply for disability benefits and compensation every year. Unfortunately, about 40% of disability claims are denied the first time. In addition to high denial rates, the Department of Veteran Affairs is unable to keep up with the demand for disability benefits. Veterans are competing with one another for limited resources. The system is backlogged, and the disability claims approval process can take months or even years.
Even without the stress of denials and long wait times, the process can still be very overwhelming. Many forms need to be fully understood and filled out carefully. Significant evidence and relevant medical records must also be properly submitted with a claim.
While this process can be incredibly frustrating, a professional advocate can help simplify it. They guide the veteran through each form, provide necessary evidence by consulting with medical providers, and can file an appeal if a claim is denied.
Inadequate Disability Benefits
Sometimes a veteran is approved for disability benefits but receives less than the entitled amount. This usually happens when a disability rating is too low.
Disability benefits are directly dependent on a veteran’s disability rating. The disability rating assigns a percentage to determine the severity of the disability. The scale measures from 0% to 100% and is based on a thorough health review. Many times veterans feel their rating is insufficient. Fortunately, in these circumstances, a supplemental claim appeal can be filed with new evidence and medical documentation. However, this process may take several appeals, and a small error could be the reason a case is thrown out. For the best outcome, an experienced advocate is highly recommended.
Obtaining the Maximum Benefit with a Professional Advocate
Disability assistance and benefits are meant to be utilized. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect, leaving many veterans with insufficient benefits or none at all. Professional advocates work to relieve this burden on veterans and their families. With an experienced advocate, the claims process is much more efficient, and an appeal is much more likely to be approved. According to the VA’s 2020 annual report- 40.9% of veteran appeals are approved with an attorney advocate. In contrast, only 26.2% of veteran appeals are approved without representation.
Professional advocates are essential when navigating the VA disability claims and appeals process. An experienced advocate will very carefully analyze the situation, identify and complete the correct forms, and determine the best way to obtain the maximum benefits owed.