With the recent conclusion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , many soldiers are finally returning home to their families. The time apart can strain many families, and make it difficult for everyone to adjust once they are together again.
However, this is not the only struggle that veterans face when their service time is over. Many soldiers that have served in war zones often end up injured in these conflicts and some of these injuries can have a life-long impact. These veterans will need to file for veterans disability benefits, and many are surprised to find out how long the process can take.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the agency that handles the requests for disability benefits. The wait time for these claims has been increasing dramatically. Since October of 2011, the average wait for the processing of claims has rise from 223 to 262, according to a recent VA report.
Unfortunately, disabled veterans living in central Texas have firsthand
experience with the frustration caused by these delays. The VA’s
regional office in Waco lists an average claims-processing time of 418
days, which is substantially higher than the national average.
Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that when the claims are processed, there is a high rate of error out of the Waco office. Nearly one out of every five claims is processed incorrectly. The 17.5 percent error rate ranks eighth in the nation.
Officials have pledged to reduce the wait times for these claims, but so
far, the steps they are taking have not addressed the problems. With more
and more veterans filing for claims each day, it is becoming more important
to know what to do before starting the process.
It is necessary to connect the injuries suffered with the duties performed in the armed forces, and sometimes this can be extremely difficult. Often, claims for veterans disability benefits are denied at the initial stages, which can cause many to give up hope. Veterans are allowed to appeal these decisions, but this will add extra time to the process. Additionally, the agency may assign a disability rating that does not align with the injuries suffered, which can again cost more time for those struggling to make ends meet.
Working with an experienced veterans disability benefits attorney can help you file a claim that will include all of the information you need to potentially be successful. This can be a very complicated process, and if you do not file your request with all of the appropriate documents, it will most likely be denied. If your claim has been denied, you have options. Knowing what to do at this time can help you prevent unnecessary delays.