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In order to receive disability compensation from the VA, you will need to demonstrate that you were honorably discharged from the U.S. military and that you have a condition that is connected to your military service: a direct connection, an aggravated connection, a secondary connection, or a presumptive connection. 

In order to prove you have a disability, you will need medical records supporting your claim. There are other records that you may need, but actual medical evidence is critical. Medical documentation can demonstrate your actual medical condition and paint a picture of the symptoms and the severity of your disability. 

Collecting your Medical Records

Applying for disability through the Veterans Administration can be a daunting task. In fact, many veterans make common mistakes that delay their claims or create incorrect denials or low disability ratings. You can avoid this delay by avoiding these common mistakes. 

Waiting to file: Please don’t wait until you have collected enough evidence or your symptoms worsen to get a higher disability rating. The sooner you file, the sooner your effective date will begin. This effective date will set your date for retroactive benefits when you finally are awarded a claim. You can submit supplemental evidence as it becomes available, and you can always apply for an increased rating as your symptoms worsen, so start the process now. In addition, your filing triggers the VA’s “duty to assist.” They are required to offer assistance in obtaining your medical records from VA hospitals and your duty records. However, we do not recommend you wait for them, since they have hundreds of claims to process and you only have your own. So try to find the information yourself, but know that the VA is a good backup. 

Completing forms incorrectly: The VA allows you to file online, via mail or fax, or at your VA Regional Office, with the help of the staff there. The forms can seem long and confusing. Take some time to research how to complete them accurately to avoid delays. If you do make a mistake and are contacted by the VA, complete the corrections as quickly as possible to maintain your effective date. 

The VA has a number of different programs and benefits that help disabled veterans with different needs. You may be eligible for more than one of these benefits, so it’s important to talk to a veteran’s attorney with years of experience with all the aspects of the VA and what it offers. You do not have to be disabled to receive some of these benefits, and you can receive multiple benefits at the same time. 

Disability Compensation

In order for you to receive disability compensation through the VA, you must have been honorably discharged, served on active duty or in active or inactive duty training, and have a disability rating for your service-connected condition. In addition, one of the following must be true:

Autoimmune disease is a term that covers at least 80 different known conditions. An autoimmune disease or autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system is unable to distinguish between foreign invaders and healthy tissue, producing antibodies that destroy the body’s own tissue instead of the infection. 

Some of the most commonly-recognized autoimmune diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, psoriasis, and fibromyalgia. Autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and they are difficult to diagnose because symptoms are broad, including fatigue, chronic joint pain, digestive problems, muscle weakness, inflamed skin, hair loss, and chronic, unspecified pain. 

Rules for VA Compensation

From one of our good friends and supporters, Ross Levin, owner of Aviation Art Hanger I post this wonderful remembrance and tribute:

Commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

Seventy-two years ago today, on 18 April 1942, 80 crew members in 16 B-25 aircraft flying off of the USS Hornet demonstrated to Japan that it was vulnerable to American air attack. Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s remarkable and daring raid provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

In order to help you understand why you need to file your application for benefits, pension, or DIC the following information is provided from 38 U.S.C. §5110:

Effective Date — usually this is the date that the application for benefits is received by the VA. There are exceptions, however, to this rule which is found in 38 U.S.C.S. §5110 and 38 C.F.R. §3.400.

Disability compensation effective dates — “shall be the day following the date of the veteran’s discharge or release if application therefor is received within one year from such dates of discharge or release.” This is why you need to file your application without delay.

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