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How to File a VA Claim & Service Connect Rating

This process tends to be long and complex. The good news is that there are people in Tarrant County that can help, including:

See VA Claims for a full list of agencies providing benefit claims support services.

Filing Your Claim

Step 1 – There are several ways to file, both via paper form and electronically.  Be sure to use the most updated forms to file your VA claim.

Learn More about Filing

Receive Confirmation of Receipt from the VA

Step 2 – You should receive notice from the VA that they have received your claim within about 2 months.  If you haven’t, you’ll need to follow up.

Learn More about Confirmation

Submit & Gather Evidence

Step 3 – The VA is looking for clear documentation of:

  1. an event that occurred that had an impact on your health,
  2. the circumstances surrounding the event,
  3. subsequent treatment records of how the injury or illness was addressed at the time, and
  4. any follow-up care or treatment.

The more information you can gather, the easier the process will be. (Always keep a copy of what you mail to VA and be sure to send it by certified mail, return receipt requested.)

Learn More about Gathering Evidence

C&P Exam

Step 4 – You will most likely be required to have a Compensation and Pension Examination by a licensed physician or physician’s assistant.  You will get a notice telling you when and where your medical exam will be.

Learn More about the Exam

The Initial Decision

Step 5 – After all the documents have been gathered and your file has been reviewed, a decision will be made about your claim according to the law and the particular facts in your case. Listed in your rating decision are: the evidence, the decision, and the reasons for it. You or your representative will then receive the decision with a cover letter.

Learn More about the Initial Decision

 

When the Initial Decision Finds No ‘nexus’

Step 6 – To get benefits, you must meet three tests. You need to show:

  • eligibility by your military service,
  • diagnosis of a “condition,” and
  • evidence that the condition started during your military service or, if your condition was preexisting, that it was aggravated by military service.

This third test is the connection or “nexus” between what happened to you in the military and your current medical condition.

If the initial decision finds no ‘nexus’, your next task is to seek an expert physician who will review your complete medical records. You’ll ask him or her to write a letter stating their opinion that your condition today is related to your military service.

Learn More about Proving “Nexus”

Notice of Disagreement (VA Appeal)

Initially your claim is reviewed by the VA Regional Office [VARO]. If you disagree with their decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed within the VA, and then by the courts.

  • First, you can request review by a Decision Review Officer within VA;
  • Second, you can appeal a denied claim to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
  • From there you can appeal an unsatisfactory result to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
  • Either you or the VA can appeal from there to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
  • Finally, either party can appeal this decision to the United States Supreme Court.

Learn More about VA Appeal

Special thanks to StatesideLegal.org for creating this great resource and keeping it up to date!

 

There are several types of VA benefit claims.  Please visit the Veterans Benefits Administration website to learn more.

Important Note: There may deadlines that can prevent you from receiving your full benefits. If you are eligible for medical disability benefits, don’t put off filing your VA claim.

 

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