It’s safe to say that I’m not the only one who hates New Year’s Eve. It’s pointless. Who wants to stay up just to watch a ball of light drop 40 feet? I’ll even go as far as saying that New Year’s was just made up to sell more calendars. Kidding aside, it seems like more and more people aren’t fans of this holiday, and that is fine by me. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals for the New Year, especially when it pertains to your VA Disability Claim. Setting goals will keep you on track, and can possibly get you service connected quicker. So, here are 7 goals to set for your VA disability claim in 2016.
1. Stay Positive. There’s nothing worse than going through a difficult situation and then having someone who’s not going through it tell you to stay positive. No, I’m not a Veteran and I’ll never be able to file a VA disability claim, but I do know a lot about them. Staying positive in 2016 will help you with the remainder of your goals. Further, our law firm is up front with every Veteran we talk to. If we don’t believe that we can get you service connected, we will tell you why. We don’t believe it’s fair to give someone false hope.
2. Get Treatment. Like many Veterans I hate making trips to see the doctor. It can be expensive, the people in the waiting rooms are annoying and they never get my Grey’s Anatomy jokes. But, as I’ve been preaching for the past 5 years, treatment is what wins cases. So, if you are pursuing a VA disability claim, set a goal to get regular treatment in 2016. Keep in mind that treatment does not always mean going to the doctor. For instance, if you have headaches, keep a journal detailing the pain and duration of each headache. Or, if you are struggling with PTSD, look into yoga or joining a Veterans organization as alternative treatments.
3. Don’t compare yourself to other Veterans. Too often I hear Veterans get upset when talking about how another Veteran got his benefits in 6 months while he has had been waiting for three years. I’ll be the first to admit that it completely sucks when your peers are further along than you are and they don’t have to put in the effort. I deal with it too. However, that is just the way the system is and there isn’t much we can do change it. Every case is different and every regional office operates at different speeds. Focus on your own case. Perhaps there are reasons why your friend was connected so quickly. It’s possible they aren’t being upfront with you too.
4. Don’t wait to file appeals. This is one of those times when I really need to practice what I preach. I love putting things off. For instance, I was intending on writing this blog in December. But, in the world of VA Disability, putting things off is extremely counterproductive. Here is a good example: When you file your initial claim for benefits you have 365 days from the time the VA makes a decision to file an appeal. More often than not I speak to Veterans who wait until day 352 to file their appeal. Or they come to us the day before it expires and need it appealed as soon as possible. The VA is already going to delay your claim a lot on their own. On average it still takes about 2-4 years for your final decision to come through. In the meantime, anything you can do to keep your claim from getting delayed can make a big difference.
5. Educate yourself on the process. There is too much hearsay in the world of VA Disability. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to members of REO Speedwagon when discussing the process. They heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who heard it from another that you can’t service connect for non-combat PTSD. Well, this is simply not the case. I’ve even seen other VA attorneys aren’t accurate when it comes to VA disability. Coming to this blog is a great first step. However, there are other ways to educate yourself. The VA website is a great first step. They actually have a lot of good information. Set up a Google Alert for VA Disability or even speak with your representative. I am always happy to answer any questions for Veterans.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While I never served in the military, I am well aware of the lack of information out there for individuals as they approach discharge regarding disability. Many Vets are not aware that they can even file for benefits. So they definitely aren’t aware that this process is difficult. If you find yourself struggling with appeals or with submitting evidence, you can get help. Talk to a service officer or better yet, contact an attorney for a free consultation today. One thing I hear often that brings a smile to my face is when a Veteran says he or she wished they had talked to me sooner. It means they trust me and they are often relived to have talked to me. It’s free. The worst thing that will happen is that we won’t take you on as a client. If that happens, we will still try to help by providing more information about other services.
7. Talk to other Veterans. While this is not exactly related to VA Disability, too often Vets isolate themselves from other Veterans. There are a lot of great Veteran Based Organizations out there and you can probably find one that will help you out a lot. It can be a motorcycle club, a Student Veteran organization at college, or even a group who is involved politically, like the IAVA. It’s important to know you’re not alone in this world.
The New Year is only a few days old. It’s not too late to set some goals. Veterans who are active in their claims stand a better chance to get service connected. While it may seem time consuming or pointless at times to set goals, it works. If you would like to know more about the process or would like to talk to me about your claim, call me toll free: 1-877-526-3457. You may also fill out this form if you’d rather we call you at a later time.