Navigating VA Claims and Appeals

Navigating VA Claims and Appeals

When it comes to pursuing veteran’s benefits, there are several options available for appeals if your claim is initially denied. While the process of dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Department of Defense (DOD) has become somewhat less cumbersome in recent years, it can still be time-consuming.

It’s worth noting that the VA has faced a backlog of over 500,000 pending claims and another 90,000 appeals since 2008, which can explain why it may take longer to process your claim.

On average, it takes approximately six months to process new claims for disability compensation and pensions through the VA. However, appeals can extend over several years.

The Two Primary Benefits Agencies

While there are other agencies involved in veteran’s benefits, the two main entities responsible for handling most benefit-related matters are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

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


The VA administers various benefit claims, including:

  • VA Healthcare
  • Disability Compensation
  • GI Bill Education Program
  • VA Pensions
  • Veteran Survivor Benefits

The VA healthcare program serves approximately 5.3 million registered veterans, with over 3.7 million receiving disability compensation and pensions. Each year, the VA processes an average of 805,000 new claims for disability compensation or pensions.

Counselors are available at VA veteran’s centers to assist those with questions or in need of help. Typically, service members must contact the VA regional offices closest to their location for most claims, except for those related to medical care, which should be applied for through a VA medical center.


Individuals with 20 years or more of military service can retire from the military and apply for benefits through the Department of Defense (DOD) or their respective military service branch. The five main military branches under the DOD are:

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

Each of these branches includes an active-duty section (full-time service) and a reserve section (part- time service). Additionally, the National Guard is associated with the Army and Air Force, categorized under individual states.

What the DOD covers

Those eligible, including family members, can obtain this card at the Pass & ID section of any military base. To obtain or renew an ID card, retirees can visit a military base other than their parent service base, simplifying the process.

The DOD provides benefits such as:

  • Military retirement pay
  • Shopping and travel benefits
  • Military healthcare (TRICARE)
  • Combat-related special compensation
  • Assistance from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service

To address retiree payment concerns, veterans typically cannot visit a military base. Instead, they must contact the relevant branch of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

For inquiries related to military retired pay, individuals can reach DFAS at 800-321-1080 or visit their website at The DFAS website offers myPay, a program enabling access to retiree pay accounts for making necessary changes.

    Posted at 21:22h, 18 February Reply

    I’am a retired vet I’d like to get a covid vaccine shot from the VA what would I need to do?

    Posted at 21:20h, 18 February Reply

    I’am a retired vet I’d like to get a covid vacine shot from the VA what would I need to do?

    Posted at 19:09h, 20 February Reply

    I have an appeal going on and I cannot find where to see any progress. “Ebenefits” tells me my appeal was moved to “”. Well, here I am…where is my appeal? Please help!

  • Lyle H Bradshaw
    Posted at 15:52h, 23 February Reply

    I was turned down by veterans adaptive housing. I do not know for the reasons but here is why I think I do qualify for this program. I am service connected. I get all my needed equipment from prostetics. I have had my left leg amputated. Thank you

    • Matt Terry
      Posted at 19:14h, 23 April Reply


      Contact the Veterans Affairs office nearest you for the answers you seek.


  • Ronald Weathers
    Posted at 03:13h, 18 January Reply

    The Board has found the Veteran injured his back to some extent I would like to know how much is extent, The last word I got was in 10/08/2015 from the Appeal

  • Randell(Eugene) McIntosh III
    Posted at 18:00h, 22 July Reply

    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

  • Randy L Wyrick
    Posted at 14:43h, 10 May Reply

    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?”

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