Tips for Dealing With the V.A.
Help the V.A. do its homework. In “Getting Your VA Claim Processed: The Simple Truths” http://www.dodlive.mil/index.php/2012/08/getting-your-va-claim-processed-the-simple-truths/), V.A. representative and veteran Catherine Trombley offers this advice: “make your claim easy to approve.” This means gathering as much evidence as you possibly can - especially medical records if they were generated by a private sector doctor. Supply the V.A. with important details. Trombley recounts receiving claims that simply stated the veteran had a “leg condition” or “back pain,” leaving her to wonder, “Which leg? What part of the leg? What is the actual condition causing the back pain?” Medical records are the only way for the V.A. to answer these types of questions. If you don’t have the evidence in your own hands, be sure to tell the V.A. where to find it.
Prepare to wait. As with many things that are government-related, getting a claim processed takes time, sometimes months - sometimes many, many months. While being patient is probably one of the most difficult things to be where finances are concerned, unfortunately, it’s pretty much a requirement in this case. This is why it’s so important to gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible, as it can help to prevent delays in processing your claim.
You don’t have to do this (entirely) alone. There are a number of veterans’ advocate resources out there that offer information on how to file claims, and will support you through the process. We have listed a number of these organizations in the sidebar.
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.
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