I can go on and on about the VA disability process until Taylor Swift finds a man that is good enough for her, but sometimes it’s great to hear about it from someone who has been through the process before. Plus we don’t have that much time…Ms. Swift tends to be quite choosey. Our new weekly feature continues this week with Bill from our VA department sharing his personal experience. Since this is our 2nd blog with Bill I decided it would be interesting to see how he found out about VA disability in the first place.
As I sat down with Bill he reminded me that he was discharged in 2009. It’s hard to believe that 2009 was five years ago. A lot has changed in the VA since then. The backlog is much greater than it was then, but information is also more widely available. A program called benefits delivery at discharge is in place now for military personnel who approach the end of their military career. For Bill, that was not an option.
The first thing I asked Bill was: “How did you originally hear about VA Disability?” He stated that he actually heard about it from a friend of his who was also in the Air Force. Bill’s friend actually told him about a civilian group that would come on his base and discuss VA disability in detail with the Airmen. Bill sought out this group because they actually helped with the transition from military life to civilian life, and one of the things they offered was help with VA Disability Compensation.
I then decided to ask Bill if his superiors were helpful with the application process for VA Disability. He then said that they weren’t but did not believe it was intentional. He simply believes that there was just little knowledge as whole at the time for VA disability compensation.
What happened next was kind of surprising. In fact, I’m glad I was not consuming a beverage when I was told the answer because I likely would have done a spit take. I asked him how long it took for him to get a decision back. Bill said that he was discharged in February and had a decision in March. That is less than a month after his discharge! Bill could tell that I was almost in a catatonic state by this information. He then quickly informed me that he started the process 6 months prior to discharge. Still though, that is only 7 months to get a decision back. Oh I how I miss the good ole days…when VA claims took less than a year and Justin Bieber was only mildly annoying. If you file a claim now after you are discharged you are looking at 12-18 months for a decision. Granted this is not if you file a fully developed claim or if you take part in Benefits Delivery at Discharge. These programs were not available to Bill.
Though Bill was granted 10% within a month of discharge, he sought the help of an attorney to file an appeal. I asked if he thought he could have done this on his own. Bill replied to me that he thought he could have, but it would have taken a lot longer. Bill works with us now helping other Veterans get their benefits. He encourages all Vets to seek legal help when going through this process. I asked what other advice he would give to young Vets, or anyone approaching discharge. Bill said to seek treatment and document everything. Bill is a very tall, capable man. He could easily beat me in an arm wrestling match, and likely a battle of wits. In no way is he weak. I bring this up because he brought up the mentality of those who serve. He stated how they will likely “suck it up,” and not seek treatment. They will put off treatment because of this mindset. He mentioned that there is really no need for this. At the end of the day you are trying to get the benefits you deserve and seeking treatment will make a world of difference.
Bill is still not service connected for everything he is pursuing. It’s a long fight, and he has help help from a reputable law firm. If you would like to know more about what he, and the rest of our staff can do for you, give us a call for a free consolation. 1-877-526-3457. Or if you can’t call right now, fill out this form so that we may call at a more convenient time.
As I stated in the introduction blog, I really like getting to know Bill. I tend to be drawn to those who serve. Obviously it’s what I do for a living, and most of my friends outside of work have served in the military. Earlier this week Bill was telling me about the time he met Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. He mentioned that he had to give him flight instructions. I asked if he made sure to phrase it in a form of a question. I might win that battle of wits yet.