The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) exists to help veterans transition to a civilian lifestyle, and are a vital tool in making sure that mentally and physically afflicted veterans get the help they need. If recent scandals, reports from older veterans, or your own dealings with the VA haven't made it apparent, it can be a full time job to get past the standard VA medical system and into the disability system. If you're confused as to why it's so hard or want to get more ammunition for your appeal, consider a few traits of the VA system and ways to reach success without devoting your life to unpaid paperwork.
The Burden Of Proof Can Be Hard
To qualify for VA disability, you need to prove that your injury, illness, or other conditions are both severe enough to require disability and that they're related to military service somehow. Unfortunately, nothing is taken at face value at the VA for a few reasons.
The major reason for difficulty is the need to combat fraud. VA disability compensation and related medical care are the biggest price points in VA spending according to state expenditure reports, and tax payers have already paid far more than necessary for what should be helping every injured veteran.
Consider the costs for every faker who makes it through the system. Medical care is a variable amount with no easy sticking points for prices, but once you're rated for service-connected disability, you get hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. That money is better spent on veterans who actually need care, and even if all disabled veterans got the compensation they needed, the many outreach and medical programs are just as useful if not far more effective and in need of funding.
Connecting The Dots Is Nearly A Professional Job
What is your disability condition? Do you have Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or behavioral issues because of what you experienced in the military? Were you involved in an accident in a foreign country? Were you injured at work when a machine malfunctioned, or injured during combat?
Finally, can you point to your symptoms and point to a specific document proving what happened at the same time? That's the real issue with disability claims, since you need documentation to go with any claims or even physical evidence. For the physical damage, you need medical record proof or some incident report that can be verified as authentic and from your military days. The psychological issues are harder to prove, but becoming more accepting as PTSD grows in global understanding.
Because of the difficulty in proving when an injury happened and how it's related to military service, you'll need to do a lot of research. If it isn't stated obvious in your records that "Service member Johnson was exposed to caustic fuels and has breathing problems because of it", you'll need a lawyer to argue the cause and effect of the situation.
It will also take medical professionals outside of the VA system to both have time in the face of long VA queues, as well as the ability to pin down the connections for your claim. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your appeal and the intricate connections needed.