Don’t Take “NO” for an Answer: 5 Tips to Remember When Your VA Claim Gets Denied
I have a somewhat rational fear of being rejected. Honestly, I avoid a lot of things because I am afraid that someone will say no. It wasn’t until I was talking to someone else who had a similar fear that I realized how silly this fear really is. Plus, when you work for a law firm with a slogan like “we won’t take no for an answer,” you learn to let the fear go by the wayside quickly. A few years back my car was hit from behind by a nice young lady from North Dakota. The car was totaled, and I was afraid of getting a loan for a new vehicle. Eventually someone talked some courage into me and I decided to talk to the bank. I ended up getting the loan, getting a decent car, and have been happy ever since. That fear of rejection almost kept me from getting a decent automobile. I share this story because I know a lot of Veterans I speak to have that same fear when it comes to VA disability. Too often I have talked with Veterans who applied for benefits, got denied, and then let their claim slip away because they were worried about getting denied again. Since I encounter this so often, I decided to put some of my best advice into a convenient list for anyone who has been denied. Here are the top 5 tips to remember when your VA claim is denied.
- Everybody gets denied the first time. I’ll admit that statement is quite hyperbolic, but the vast majority of Veterans do get denied their first time. While different agencies will report a variety of statistics about the denial rate, it seems to hover around 80%. This is a horrible statistic, but it means you aren’t alone. Actually most of our new clients are Veterans who have been denied. More often than not we get those Veterans approved.
- Continue to seek treatment. Long time readers of this blog will note that I mention this in almost every blog list I make. The reason I do this is that it is one of the most important aspects of getting approved. In fact, I would say that next to serving in the military, it’s the most important aspect of a claim.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to appeal. It’s hard for me to preach about this subject because I am great at putting things off. In fact, if there was a book written about procrastinating I would likely wait until it was in the discount bin to purchase it. The VA gives you a year to file an appeal on the first denial. This does not mean you should wait until week 51 to start to take action. Generally, when filing appeals, the sooner you file it, the better.
- Seek help. As I work for a law firm I could easily say that everyone should just come to Jan Dils Attorneys at Law and all of your troubles will go away. However, I didn’t start this blog back in 2011 to make sales pitches. While I do believe that our firm is often the best option for Veterans seeking service connection, I simply want Veterans to get service connected. It’s a tough process that few can do alone successfully. Getting help with your claim from an established law firm, service organization, or other resource can relieve a lot of the stress and uncertainty so many Veterans have.
- Don’t ignore paperwork from the VA. There are multiple reasons why this may be important. If you filed claims at multiple times then the VA is likely going to send you decisions at different times. It could also be a VCAA, or an exam notice that needs to be addressed quickly. Even though the VA will often send you paperwork that simply states they are working on your claim, it’s always smart to review it first. If you have received an exam notice, ignoring it will result in getting denied.
Getting denied can be frustrating. However it doesn’t mean that your claim is over. If you are denied, and you believe that your claim is valid, I suggest filing your appeal. If you don’t feel doing this on your own will result in a favorable decision, then give me a call for a free case consultation. In fact, we charge no upfront fees for our services. You can reach me toll free 1-877-526-3457. If you are reading this late at night because you can’t sleep, fill out this form, and someone from our firm will call you as soon as possible.