To The Veteran Who Says “But, I didn’t know!” ~ A Call To Action
Having interviewed dozens of Veterans who are in the claim process (or, should be) for their Service-Connected Disability, these remarks are for those who have yet to file a claim.
It’s understandable that Veterans in the process of separation/discharge from military service “just want to get home.” Unfortunately, many miss an opportunity to initiate a claim for their Service-Connected Disability(ies). The entitlement to VA Disability Compensation usually STARTS with the date you make your claim. As time passes, you may be losing money and jeopardizing your health by not starting the compensation process by initiating a claim.
It’s IMPORTANT for you to understand that it becomes more difficult to prove a claim for disability as time passes. The greater the interval between your date of separation and the date of your claim, the more evidence is likely to be needed to connect your current disability back to your military service.
It’s most disturbing when Veterans tell me that they did not even know a claim was possible! At least once a month, I interview a Veteran who simply says, “I didn’t know I could get benefits for the disability that started with my military service. I go to the VA and I get my medications [or therapy]. But, no one told me I could get money . . .every month. . . because of my disability.”
So if you (or a Veteran you know) seem to be having difficulty living life, working, or functioning in society–and these problems started with the military experience–the message is simple: FILE A CLAIM! Get the process started NOW!
My staff and I frequently counsel Veterans who are making claims for the first time on how they need to start the process. We do this free of charge. Then, if the VA doesn’t get it right (which often happens. . .some would argue “chronically”), we have the Veteran’s back and help him/her appeal. That’s what we do and we welcome hearing from you. So, now you do know.