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.