The media has been circling the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently, reporting on the backlog of veterans who are waiting to receive much-needed treatment and disability benefits. As more and more veterans return from duty overseas and veterans of previous wars age, the number of claims for disability benefits is rising, adding to the massive pile of applications that the VA is facing.

While most veterans will face a significant wait to get a decision on their disability benefits, there are some ways that you can help your claim move smoothly and quickly through the system. Too many claims get rejected or slowed down because of simple mistakes or omissions. Follow these three simple tips to ensure that your claim is not one of them:

  • Provide your outside medical records with your request for benefits. While many veterans receive a majority of their medical care and treatments from the VA, some will seek some of their treatment from outside physicians. In order to make a decision about your claim, the VA will need to order your medical records from your outside doctors, which can be a lengthy process. Including your records with your request, or a signed medical release form for each external medical facility you were treated at if you cannot obtain the records yourself, can help reduce your wait time.
  • Respond promptly to any request made by the VA for information. After submitting your claim, you may receive a VCAA (Veterans Claim Assistance Act) notice from the VA requesting more information. Responding to this request as quickly and completely as possible can help you ensure that your wait will not be unnecessarily increased.
  • Keep the VA Regional Office informed. While the VA medical system may be up-to-date on your contact information, the VA Regional office (VARO) is usually not informed of updates made in the VA medical system computer. You may call or write the VARO to inform its staff of your contact information and address to prevent being lost in the system.

While there is no magic system for speeding up the VA claims process, the best way to approach it is to reduce unnecessary delays. If you need help preparing your claim for veterans’ benefits, reach out to us—we can help you make sure that your proverbial T’s and I’s are crossed and dotted for the most efficient compensation claim possible!