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An Inside View of the Veterans Benefits Claims Process

After ten years of the United States’ military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans have heard about the types of wounds that Veterans are facing—and surviving—with head injuries being the most common. What most people don’t know about is the staggering number of injuries that are taking place.

The Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Federation of American Scientists, issued a report in September 2010, stating that, as of that month, Operations New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom had resulted in a total of 178,000 brain injuries, 87,000 cases of PTSD and 1,600 amputations.

While modern medical technology is saving more lives than ever before in military history, the result is that our men and women who serve overseas are often left with debilitating, if not lifetime, health problems. In addition to the physical and emotional burdens they must carry, returning Veterans frequently find themselves shocked by the financial impact of recovery. In many cases, the veterans may need an advocate, such as a veterans benefits lawyer, to help them pursue the compensation and benefits they deserve.

Though Veterans, loved ones and survivors of soldiers who died while serving their country are entitled to Veterans Benefits, not all claims are approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the office that handles those them. When that happens, families must decide whether to challenge the decision, which means disputing the actions of the United States government.

On Vantage Point, a blog produced by the USDVA, a search for information on “denied claims” yields a post entitled “Some Tips for Filing a VA Disability Claim”, which starts out bluntly: “Filing a first claim for disability compensation can be a stressful experience.”

Results from a similar search on the USDVA website includes a list of the top ten reasons for denied claims and their corresponding “rejected code” numbers.

USDVA employees themselves find the claims process frustrating. In a December 2010 Vantage Point post, the process was described by writer Lauren Bailey as “complex, mostly as a result of federal regulation.” A Veterans Service Representative, named Chris, in Nashville’s Regional Office was profiled in the piece. “He doesn’t like the bureaucracy any more than the Veterans waiting for their claims decisions, but he and his colleagues follow the rules very closely and do their jobs and quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

With testimony from within the department itself reflecting the difficulties Veterans and their families face in pursuing Veterans Benefits claims, it appears that bureaucracy is alive and well in certain government offices.

In 2007, Veterans and their families were granted the right to seek legal representation by a Veterans Benefits attorney after only one claim denial. If you are a Veteran with injuries or you have a loved one who was injured while on active duty and Veterans Benefits claims are now being denied, you need a trusted advocate. Call us for a free consultation with a Veterans Benefits attorney in Pennsylvania: 1-800-946-9461. You can also reach us by completing our online contact form