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.
Back in April, this blog reported on a lawsuit filed by a group of veterans against the Department of Veterans Affairs. The members of the group became stuck in the backlog of disability claims and filed a lawsuit about a year ago in the U.S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. However, the legality of that lawsuit has been denied; the court says that it cannot hear aggregated cases when there is more than one plaintiff.
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times tells the story of a veteran who has been seeking full disability compensation. This wouldn't be that unusual, except that he has been doing so since 1985.
The number of veterans who are homeless is higher than in the civilian population. Vets between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely to be homeless. Although only 8 percent of the U.S. population has veteran status, veterans constitute 17 percent of the homeless population. In addition, veterans are homeless longer than nonveterans. Veterans seeking housing from a homeless shelter are more likely to have disabilities than the general homeless population in shelters, according to the 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annual homelessness report.
The short answer to the question above is almost always yes. Some disabled veterans who apply for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs get lucky and are approved after submitting their initial claims. However, a lot of vets are not so lucky, and even claims that are approved may contain errors, requiring veterans to pursue an appeal to obtain the full benefits to which they are entitled.
One of the unintended consequences of addressing the initial VA disability claims backlog, which was over 600,000 in 2013, is that appeals now take much longer. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has focused on reducing this backlog to the point where other matters, such as dealing with appeals, appear to be receiving little attention.
An Army veteran is appealing the decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Vietnam vet, Tim Josephs, says he was a medical guinea pig during the Vietnam War and was one of about 7,000 members of the military who tested biological and chemical agents that might be used in a Soviet attack.