When I began working for the VA in 2006 I had no idea I would develop such a passion for helping Veterans. Working at the Board of Veterans Appeals for six years taught me a lot about the VA process, the ins and outs of Veterans law, and how frustrating the whole ordeal can be! Then, when I began my own private practice, I realized how unfortunate it is that Veterans need my services. It’s unacceptable that Veterans are not taken care of by the VA and have to wait a long time for treatment or to receive benefits. I love my job and believe my past experiences put me in a unique position to help Veterans. I am honored that my clients have chosen me to represent them. So, I would like to share some tips on navigating the VA process and share a bit of what I have learned the past several years.
- There is help! You do not have to go through the VA disability process alone. As an advocate for Veterans, it is my job to simplify the VA process for you by filing the documents, developing your claim and talking to the VA on your behalf. I will be the contact person for you in your claim, so you can avoid the frustrations of the constant runaround on the phone and never being able to speak to a live person when you the call the VA office.
- Save your documents! If you have any service treatment records or old medical records, put them in a safe place. Better yet, bring them to me so I can scan them and keep them secure. A lot times, these historic records are extremely helpful to establish a continuity of symptomatology, which can be critical in a service connection claim.
- Don’t duplicate! If you have sent a document to the VA, don’t be tempted to send it again if they don’t address it right away. Also don’t send multiple statements making the same argument that was already asserted. Whether before the regional office or the Board of Veterans Appeals, submitting duplicate evidence will delay your claim.
- See a doctor! If you have not received treatment for a disability that you believe is related to service, seek medical treatment so there is documentation of a disability. To be granted service connection or to get an increased rating, there must be current medical evidence showing a diagnosis of the condition and its severity. If you have current treatment for a disability, there is one less reason that the VA can deny your claim.
- Be patient! You will have to wait for a decision. The VA takes a long time to process claims and unfortunately, that is the most frustrating part of the disability process. Waiting a year or more for a decision is typical. The VA is overworked and understaffed. If there are extenuating circumstances, I can file a motion to get your case expedited, but these situations are rare. Expect to wait, but rest assured, I will be working on developing your claim and am here to answer any questions you may have.
Lastly, remember you are not alone. There a lot of Veterans experiencing the same frustrations that you are going through and I am here to help you through the entire process. Call me, Amy Fochler, at (704) 243-0053 for a free consultation. I am Your Veterans Benefits Specialist.