Claim Process for Veterans with Service Connected Disabilitiesby Michael Patrick Brewer on Jul. 19, 2009, under Veteran Legislative Update, Veterans Benefits
In grateful recognition of their dedication and sacrifice, the United States, through the Veterans Administration has provided its former service women and men with compensation and pension programs designed to assist disabled veterans and their dependents.
Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service connected. Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of veterans dependents, and is paid monthly. Veterans with severe disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation. The benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax. For additional eligibility questions visit the Web site at http://www.vba.va.gov/bin/21/
The application process begins with locating and producing the veterans DD-214, known as the Discharge summary. It is advisable to then locate an accredited Service Officer with one of the Veterans fraternal organizations, eg, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Purple Heart Association, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America. Most all States also have State and County Veterans Affairs offices that will assist in the claim process.
The next step is to request form SRF-180 to gather all of your medical and in-service records. Your service officer will have these or they can be found at http://www.va.gov/vaforms. You can also call 1-800-827-1000 and the VA will start your claim over the phone.
The veteran will then complete V A Form 21-22 granting power of attorney to the claimant’s representative, and V A Form 21-4142 giving consent to release all records to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is not advisable to file a claim without assistance of an accredited veteran service officer. Many of the fraternal organizations have volunteer service officers who can guide the veterans through the forms process. While it may cause some anxiety, it is really a rather simple and straightforward process. The Veterans Administration has excelled at streamlining the process.
The next form contains the primary request of the veteran. It is VA Form 21-526. Application for Compensation and Pension. This is followed by V A Form 21-4138 which is the Statement in Support of Claim. It is advised to seek help from a skilled counselor as you fill this out in your own words. It means telling a story that may be hard to recall or to place in narrative form. It is often helpful to speak to a battle buddy who has completed this process.
Once the VA has awarded service connection for PTSD, it will then review the most current clinical evidence of record to determine how the severity of your symptoms impairs your social and industrial capacity, meaning your ability to find and retain gainful employment. The VA has a schedule of rating disabilities located in Title 38 C F R. Part 4.
The VA has adopted the criteria established in the DSM-lV as the basis for rating PTSD. There is also a diagnostic matrix called the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale that if used to determine your level of impairment. You can share this with your medical care provider who can prepare a report or opinion letter for submission to the VA describing your full spectrum of symptoms.
Rest assured that many good men and women have navigated this process to discover a great deal of contentment in their transition to civilian life.
Having a support system is of vital importance. The Vet Centers around the nation provide that support and validation of your experiences. They provide re-adjustment counseling to any veteran who served in the military in any theatre of combat operation during any period of war or any area where hostilities occurred. These small community-based facilities provide a holistic mix of counseling and community social services, such as referrals to programs like the ones offered at the Merritt Center.
The Merritt Center has a volunteer service officer who serves as a mentor to attendees in the workshops. Michael Patrick Brewer/USMC/ 520-360-6933 email: email@example.com. Hot line 520-540-7000