Short Versus Long
I received my disability in what many would
consider, record time. Only 4 months from the filing. During this time, I found so many
vet friends who had been in the system for months and months without even getting a C & P exam. I studied,
and became an independent accredited representative, and starting looking into many of these claims. As
friends started coming to me with denied, 10% and 20% ratings, I found that so many were represented by Veteran Organizations
local "Service Officers". I believe that their intentions were honorable, but they didn't bother
to search out every possible solution when trying to complete a claim for a veteran. Even some of the representatives
in the Regional Office didn't really bother to pursue these claims with any degree of passion. During the
12 years I represented veterans, I won 99% of claims for 100%, that qualified. That means I had complete
reversals of denied claims, and increases in benefits from 10, 20 and 30% ratings to 100% or at least 70% Unemployability.
The later paying the same as 100% and with the same benefits.
My advice to those who are doing claims or having someone represent them is, first, be informed and be realistic.
You won't get 100% for toenail fungus cause you walked through rice paddies in Vietnam. You won't
even get 10% for that. Second, Don't give up cause your initial finding was a low percentage.
If you know you qualify for more, then fight for it, but do it intelligently. If you have 10% for
a shoulder injury while in service and 10 years after leaving the service, it bothers you more and more, request an increase
in benefits. Get doctors letters stating that your condition has worsened and never forget to use the term
"residuals". If you didn't have the initial injury, then you wouldn't have residuals or complicating
issues due to the initial injury. Finally, stay in touch with your representative. Contact
him or her regularly. Once a month is about right. If your rep. fails to answer your
calls or return them, you need to find another representative who will stay in contact with you. Educate
yourself! You can find chapter 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations on the computer for free.
This chapter is all about veterans and veteran benefits. This is the LAW! It
may make for some boring reading, but it sure will help when you are checking to see if you have any benefits coming to you.
The last thing to remember, is that your representative can do all the paperwork correctly, and file for everything
you have coming, but in the end, the WORK is up to you. If you have PTSD, then you need to go to your treatments
with your counselor and shrink. If you have physical issues such as alcohol or drug issues, then you need
to get into the Veteran Programs at your local V.A. Health Center. Some have a waiting list, but most can
get you in quickly. Bottom line, you have to WANT to get better. If you follow this
advice, things will happen much smoother than sitting and waiting for it to happen. None of this is overnight.
Remember, you can always contact your congressman or senator once your claim is filed and it continues to drag on and
on. Many times they can speed things up a bit, but in the end, it's your Regional Office that will make
the determination and it's that office that will get you through it. Don't give up. When
you give up, they win!