As I said earlier, one of our goals is to get our quality level to 95 percent by 2015. While a significant portion our quality problems reflect process errors rather than errors in the final decision with respect to the granting or denying of benefits, rates paid and effective dates of payment, we do make mistakes. Here is what you can do to help yourself and VA: 1. National Service Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, as well as State Departments of Veterans Affairs or Veterans Commissions and County Veteran Service Officers can give excellent assistance and its free. Many Servicemembers and veterans have been told they should go through their service medical records and claim everything they have ever had or been treated for.
Call your local regional office to see what organizations are available at that office. While you can do that, it is likely to significantly increase your frustration level, result in unnecessary examinations, and slow the process without getting added benefits.
Additionally, legal requirements can sometimes be confusing and time consuming.
To have the best experience possible I recommend the following: 1.
Some claims, such as those involving participation in nuclear tests, covert operations, military sexual trauma or other similar circumstances where records may be difficult to locate can and frequently do take longer, sometimes much longer. To meet the challenge of a rapidly growing claims volume, VA has been provided with significant numbers of new staff in the last couple of years.
Even if, during the course of working the claim you do get additional information you can always submit it when you get it. If you think our decision didn’t consider something, didn’t cover a topic, or is wrong, call your representative right away.
We won’t be trying to determine whether you warrant service connection in the first place. If you have been out of the service longer but still think you have a condition related to your service apply! It just might be a little more complex and take a little longer because of the need to develop more records. Our goal is to complete all claims within 125 days or four months by 2015 with 95 percent accuracy.
Right now more than 30 percent of our claims have been pending longer than that.
We will take your claim and get you examined before you go home.
Normally, decisions are available about two months after you separate or retire. If you are still on active duty but have less than 60 days to go, you can still file a “Quick Start” claim.
You should not claim acute disabilities or illnesses you had in service unless they left a residual.