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Veterans Benefits Blog

My VA disability claim was denied. Am I out of options?

If you have a service-related disability, one the worst things you can hear from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is that your claim for disability benefits has been denied. Fortunately, however, a denial does not mean you are all out of options - after all, you can still file an appeal, especially if your denial is based on insufficient medical evidence.

Whether the VA has outright denied you disability benefits or simply awarded you too little, the appeals process can help make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. In fact, you can appeal a wide range of determinations, including wrongful denials and low service-connected ratings.

Can I apply for both veterans disability benefits and SSD benefits?

Yes, injured vets can seek both veterans disability benefits - otherwise known as service-related or service-connected disability compensation - and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. In fact, disabled veterans often have many more options for benefits than they realize.

Differences between VA and SSD benefits

While there are many similarities between veterans disability and SSD benefits, it is important to remember that they are also quite distinct. For instance, one of the main differences between the two forms of benefits - other than the fact that one is only available to veterans - is that, unlike SSD benefits, a vet does not have to be completely/totally disabled before he or she is eligible for veterans disability compensation. A veteran's disability is compensated based on the severity of the service-connected disability, which the VA will rate from 0 to 100 percent.

VA has a disability backlog of more than 70,000 claims

According to a recent report from the Military Times, processing centers for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently have a backlog or more than 70,000 veterans disability claims. Sadly, this announcement comes a full seven months after officials already missed their stated goal of getting this backlog reduced to zero.

In fact, right now, roughly one out of every five disability claims submitted to the VA ultimately take longer than four months to process - the VA's long-established time limit for processing claims. While VA Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy has said that many claims are kept open longer than four months in order to ensure vets receive appropriate benefits, he acknowledged that the VA still needs to do more to bring down the backlog.

VA cut benefits to over 4,000 "dead" vets who were actually alive

Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cancelled the benefits of more than 4,200 veterans after it had mistakenly declared them dead, when, in fact, they were very much alive.

The problem was first raised by U.S. Rep. David Jolly last November when he was investigating the issue on behalf of several vets in the Tampa Bay area whose benefit checks suddenly stopped.

VA reviewing more than 24,000 denied brain injury disability claims

Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that more the 24,000 veterans will be given another chance to receive disability compensation for their traumatic brain injuries (TBI), despite the fact that their claims were initially denied.

According to a VA press release, this move comes after a national review of TBI medical exams found that many veterans were being denied benefits even though their initial medical examinations were conducted by someone other than one of the four designated medical specialists - either a neurologist, neurosurgeon, psychologist or psychiatrist.

This particular announcement includes post 9/11 veterans whose TBI disability claims were processed between the years of 2007 and 2015.

Should the Department of Veterans Affairs be privatized? Obama says no.

Given the many issues plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - including unreasonably long wait times for health care and various problems with the disability application process - it is no wonder why many people are calling for the privatization of the VA.

However, despite these views, President Obama recently told a reporter from The Gazette in Colorado Springs that he thinks "[t]he notion of dismantling the VA system would be a mistake."

Veterans First Act seeks to expand benefits for older veterans

On Thursday, May 12, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved a major, yet controversial, veterans omnibus bill - meaning the bill is now headed to the Senate floor.

This particular bill, which lawmakers introduced roughly two weeks ago, seeks many significant VA reforms, including extended benefits for caregivers of older veterans. While it remains to be seen whether this bill, which has been dubbed the Veterans First Act, will move forward, there is no denying this unanimous vote is certainly a good first step.

What To Do When You Encounter Problems During The Veterans Disability Application Process

Are you a veteran who has applied for VA disability benefits? Have you encountered problems during the application process? Was your claim denied?

Veterans Disability Benefits For People With Cancer

Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Is your cancer believed to be caused by or related to your military service?

Disability compensation may be available for veterans who have been diagnosed with service-related breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, throat cancer, mesothelioma, and other types of cancer.