The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been the subject of criticism and frustration for many years. Hence, to provide better services to veterans everywhere, Senator Jeanne Shaheen recently introduced a new legislation that would require VA offices throughout the country to hire more staff. Most importantly, she hopes that the legislation will improve productivity in VA offices. According to the Greenfield Daily Reporter:
Shaheen said the change would reduce a backlog of appeals that grew 76 percent from 2009 to 2012. Her bill would also require the VA to report to Congress on the feasibility of increasing capacity at other levels of the appeals process.
“I’ve heard time and again from New Hampshire veterans that have spent years waiting on their appeals and this is entirely unacceptable,” she said. “The VA must do better; I’ve spoken with Secretary (Eric) Shinseki directly on this issue several times […].”
The legislation proposed by Shaheen is further proof that fighting for veterans’ disability benefits may be difficult but it can be done. In fact, with the help of a reliable veterans disability attorney from established firms like Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, the claims or appeals process can be carried out more efficiently. That said, it’s also important for the families of former U.S. servicemen and servicewomen to know why backlog exists in the VA. Simply put, applying for veterans benefits entails a lot of paperwork.
In most cases, an honorable discharge is required for former military personnel to file for VA benefits. In practice, however, even this requirement isn’t always enough because VA offices also need proof of the applicant’s prior military service, especially documents pertaining to injuries he or she sustained that lead to long-term complications. Unfortunately, recordkeeping in the military isn’t always efficient and documents of some veterans who served in prior conflicts can be easily lost in the clutter.
This is where hiring a disability benefits lawyer becomes more important because aside from fighting for his or her client’s VA benefits, the lawyer can also complain about the client’s mismanaged military records. Fixing such errors is the responsibility of the Board for Correction of Military Records of the applicant’s respective service branch, but it can only be done by going through a long appeals process which the disability lawyer can help with. In the event that the VA denies the applicant’s claim, the lawyer can also assist in filing an appeal.
Time will tell if Shaheen’s legislation will yield positive results and straighten things out for awarding disability benefits. In the meantime, veterans would do well to work with lawyers to represent them in front of the VA.
(Source: Shaheen: Hire more staff to process veterans’ disability claims appeals, Greenfield Daily Reporter, May 07, 2014)