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Navigating Claims and Appeals

Multiple options are available for you to appeal if your claim for veteran’s benefits is denied. Though dealing with the VA or DOD is becoming increasingly less laborious than in past years, navigating claims with these organizations can still prove time-consuming.

In fact, the VA had a backlog of over 500,000 claims pending and another 90,000 appeals pending since 2008, which may speak to why it might take you longer to process your claim.

Approximately six months is the average new-claim processing duration for those seeking disability compensation and pensions through the VA, whereas appeals could take years.

The Two Main Benefits Agencies

Though other agencies exist, there are two agencies that predominately handle most of the issues concerning veteran’s benefits: the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Other agencies include the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in charge of the veterans’ preference program for government jobs, and the Small Business Administration, in charge of the veterans’ small business loan program.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Since its inception in 1930, the VA has expanded with an annual budget of approximately $86 billion and employees 230,000 people, operating 1,357 facilities such as regional offices, vet centers, medical centers, and outpatient clinics across the country.

Some benefit claims administered by the VA include:

The VA healthcare program touts around 5.3 million registered veterans while more than 3.7 million veterans get disability compensation and pensions. Every year the VA handle a norm of 805,000 new claims for disability compensation or pensions.

Counselors are accessible at VA veteran’s centers and able to assist those with questions or in need of help. Service members must generally contact the VA regional offices closest in proximity to where they live, excluding those applying to medical care.

Apply through a VE medical center in order to receive VA medical care.

The Department of Defense and military services

With 20 years or more of military service, individuals can retire from the military and apply for benefits with the Department of Defense (DOD) or their individual military service branch. There are five military branches under the DOD:

  • Army
  • Air Force
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Coast Guard

The branches listed each have an active-duty section (full-time service) and a reserve section (part-time service). There is also the National Guard with the Army and Air Force. The National Guard is categorized with the parent branch and under the individual state.

What the DOD covers

Those applicable—including family members—can obtain this card at the Pass & ID section of any military base. To receive an ID card, or renew one, retirees can visit a military base other than their parent service base and have their request taken care of, making this process simpler.

The DOD covers benefits such as:

  • Military retirement pay
  • Shopping and travel benefits
  • Military healthcare, or TRICARE
  • Combat-related special compensation

Getting help from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service

In order to conclude retiree payment concerns, veterans can’t visit a military base. Instead, they are responsible to contact the relevant branch of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

For any questions you have about military retired pay, the DFAS is available at 800-321-1080. Or you could visit their website at www.dfas.mil. At the DFAS website, you can use myPay, a program that allows access to retiree pay accounts where you can make changes if needed.

3 comments

  1. Randy L Wyrick

    I have received a letter fro the Board of appeals stating that I have been approved for individual unemployment. My question is, “How long does it take to receive an awards letter and payment?”

  2. Last letter-Contact Us-had me badgered and hound by three young ladies of the Mental Health
    area-Sara, Heather, Thecsia after reading my outline of harm, stupidity since the care of a textbook, newbie Resident from MUSC working for VA-RMC caused my hearing losses-30% one ear, 50% the other,
    The 30% by graphs and analysis was determined to be non-claimable(stick your finger in your ear and see how much it affects your needs and mental health. Then of course, 50% in other-Dr. Robin Kohli was immune to
    suit as was Attending doctor, despite the direct incompetence ascribed to ignoring my tinnitus complaint.
    Form 1152 with expiration, 1152 like form with no expiration restrictions ,from square one to Regional VA Counsel and then from same to General Counsel VA/D.C. clearly placed a determination of lump sum
    compensation @ Ralph Johnson VARMC and then the soccer game got intense withoverage ‘time’ stretching into years, two directors, and failure of P.A. advocative, too. Last action seems to be that the current
    director @ Johnson VARMC drop kicked my case to Regional VA officein Columbia SC-Mr. Icaassks will
    not provide the correspondence and medical file(s) sent not has VA Columbia acknowledge it receipt.

    The high degree of military suicide is clearly attributable to the years of uncaring and poor attitudes of managers, overuse of limited skilled doctors(veterans need seasoned, experienced doctors, esp., in mental clinics and closed units AND the duty of soldier, …, not to inflict harm on others, whether family, neighbors, … Now we have seen recent soldier with mental health limitations, ignored or uncaught
    in their discharge going ‘postal’ or having this diminished capacity twisted.
    ALL WE want are answers and replies and actions taking more than six here, years there with graphs
    and regulations making it so easy for command to shovel veterans along to be ‘treated’ slowly, lackingly,
    …!
    As they are pushed more and more towards a postal reactions, all should remember these men and woman
    are likely to be better armed, have better accuracy, and do far more harm than the cost of care and claims
    initially requested.
    Don’t add to the burden of all’s world; reduce the possibilities of harm; this is not just the advocacy required
    of Armed Forces, medical care, and duty of a separate soldier, sailor, airman, coast guardsman, but the Supreme Deity, my God, … and their teachings.
    It’s a calling, not just a job.
    Character can stop as many bullets as Kevlar.

    We want to know where our claims are and why not handled expeditiously.
    Please send copy of my last ‘contact’ and this one when my request above is filled
    Randell789@yahoo.com

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