claims assistance

Claims Assistance

Before filing a claim, many veterans have questions on how to begin the process.  The purpose of this area is to help answers your questions on claims assistance.  Here you will find the answers some of your questions such as why you should file a claim within one year of discharge, how to file an original claim more than one year since discharge and how to file an appeal.

We also provide information for education benefits and how to get copies of your military records or Veteran’s Administration claim file.  Click on each of the question marks below for answers to each question.  Additionally, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us here.

Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions are below.  This list is by no means comprenhensive.  If you have additional questions not answered here, please contact us.  Click on any question below to view the information associated with that question.

File an original claim within one year of discharge.

  • If this is the first time you filed a claim for compensation with the VA it is called an original claim.

    Regardless of whether you are on active duty or not the correct form is VA form 21-526EZ.

    •Please review the Appointment Checklist, Transition Tips documents and Claim Process Overview before you submit your claim to your local VA Regional Office.

    If you have dependents the correct form is VA from 21-686c. Ensure you review the Appointment Checklist to determine the necessary supporting documents to add your dependents to your claim.

    •Contact us through the website with any questions you have before you submit your claim or after you have received your decision.

File an original claim more than one year since discharge.

  • If this is the first time you filed a claim for compensation with the VA it is called an original claim .

    •If it has been more than one year since you were discharged than the correct form to use is VA form 21-526EZ.

    •Please review the Original Claim Over One Year Post Discharge Tips and the Required Supporting Documents Checklist  before you submit your claim to your local VA Regional Office.

    If you have dependents the correct form is VA from 21-686c. Ensure you review the Appointment Checklist to determine the necessary supporting documents to add your dependents to your claim.

    •Contact us through the website with any questions you have before you submit your claim or after you have received your decision.

Claim an increase in your compensation or file for a new condition.

  • If you previously filed a claim for compensation with the VA any additional claim is called a new claim and addressing a previously denied issue is called a re-opened claim.
  • Use the VA form 21-526EZ to do this.

  • Contact us through the website with any questions you have before you submit your claim or after you have received your decision.

File a claim for death benefits.

There are two types of death benefits:

    • Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is payable to the widow of a deceased vet. The vet has to have died from something that was related to their active duty service.
    • The other is a burial benefit.
  • The correct form to use for DIC is 21-534EZ.  The correct form to use for the Burial benefit is VA form 21P-530.
  • Please review the Survivors’ Guide provided by the Special Operations Association (SOA) before you submit your claim to your local VA Regional Office.
  • Contact us through the website with any questions you have before you submit your claim or after you have received your decision.

File an appeal.

File a claim for education benefits.

  • VA Form 28-1900  Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation
  •  CH-35 Pamphlet  Dependents Educational Assistance Program
  • VA Form 22-1990  Application for VA Educational Benefits
  • VA Form 22-5490  Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ VA Educational Benefits
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Information Sheet
  • Fry Scholarship Program

File a claim for combat related special compensation (CRSC)

  • CRSC or Combat Related Special Compensation

– CRDP or Combat Related Disability Pay

Please follow this link for related information.

Get copies of your military records or VA claim file

Get copies of your military records or VA claim file

  • You can request your military medical and or personnel records through the National Archives. Just follow the link below and the instructions on the National archives site.

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html

  • b. You can request a copy of your VA claim file which will have your original Service medical records in it. Just fill out a VA form 21-4138 (see Reference section) and say “I want a copy of my claim file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)”

Send the request to the VA Regional Office in the state you live in.  Follow the link and click on the state you reside in for the address.

http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=3

Disability Exam Questionnaires

New Medical Forms Will Streamline Veterans Claims Process

Physician Questionnaires to Boost Disability Exam Efficiency

WASHINGTON (Oct. 26, 2010) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released three new disability benefits questionnaires for physicians of Veterans applying for VA disability compensation benefits.  This initiative marks the beginning of a major reform of the physicians’ guides and automated routines that will streamline the claims process

for injured or ill Veterans. “This is a major step in the transformation of VA’s business processes that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

These new questionnaires are the first of 79 disability benefits

questionnaires that will guide Veterans’ personal physicians, as well as VA physicians, in the evaluation of   the most frequent medical conditions affecting Veterans.

Accurate and timely medical evaluations are a critical element of VA’s continued commitment to high-quality and prompt decisions about the nature and degree of conditions afflicting Veterans.  Streamlining this process by directly involving Veterans’ treating physicians in providing specific information needed to evaluate their claims will lead to completeness in the examination and faster compensation decisions.

VA’s goal is to process all claims in fewer than 125 days with a

decision quality rate no lower than 98 percent, a mark Secretary Shinseki has mandated by 2015.  The physician questionnaire project is one of more than three dozen initiatives actively underway at VA, including a major technology modernization that will lead to paperless claims processing.

The disability benefits questionnaires are part of VA’s automated health records system which prompts VA physicians conducting disability examinations to include precise information in a standardized way to assist claims adjudicators in ensuring Veterans receive the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible. These VA examination results are electronically available to claims adjudicators in VA regional offices.

For Veterans who receive their care from private physicians, VA has placed the disability benefits questionnaires on its Internet site (http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp) with instructions for physicians to submit examination results on Veterans’ behalf.

The first three questionnaires cover B-cell leukemia (such as hairy-cell leukemia), Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.  VA recently published a final regulation to be implemented Oct. 30 that will establish the presumption of eligibility to VA disability compensation benefits for Veterans with one of these three conditions who were exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide agent used extensively in Vietnam.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war who have a “presumed” illness do not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service.

This “presumption” establishes eligibility to VA compensation if their condition is disabling to a compensable level.

For additional information on the VA disability compensation program or additional presumptive disabilities for Veterans exposed to herbicide agents, contact VA at 800-827-1000 or visit http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm.

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