Filing and Appealing VA Claims Can Feel Overwhelming
The good news is, you don’t have to! You can go online to VA’s Index and watch the videos and read the tutorials and file a claim on your own. But, you first should ask yourself, “What am I going to file a claim for?” If you take a look at our Self-Help page, you will see over 80 issues.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Looking at the VA’s Exposure Ed app, you’ll see that there are literally hundreds of diseases, including many cancers you could have to deal with, based on hazards you didn’t even know you were exposed to.
On top of that, when you file a claim, the adjudicator who reviews it at the VA, is looking for specific phrases or trigger words that are written into the laws and regulations they follow. If they don’t see them, you will eventually get your first rejection. Hopefully it will have a through enough explanation to help you refile more correctly the second or third time. And, if you need any military records to back up your claim, we wish you the best of luck.
- Type “Veterans Services” in the search box at FindHelp.org
- This link shows you all the certified VSOs, according to the VA. Most are not the county ones mentioned above but do similar services and usually have VA certified counselors.
- LifeLine for Vets also has a VSO locator.
Veteran Services Offices can help you with compensation/pensions, medical care, educational benefits, family benefits, veteran home loans, death and burial benefits and much, much more. Basically, they will fight for everything you and your family EARNED through your service. They will even help you obtain missing records, file claims and appeals for you, and follow up, at no cost to you! That’s right, FREE.
A certified Veterans Service Officer will interview you and discuss not only your circumstances, but also your family’s. Then they will begin the filing process using their knowledge of what adjudicators need to see to get your maximum benefit the first time. Their experience filing hundreds of thousands of claims and appeals each year gives you the edge.
VSOs are NOT part of the VA. They are paid to fight for your rights against the VA. And, since these are County operated centers, (or local service organizations) they can also guide you to other Federal, State, County and community resources that can help you.
Often these include tax reductions, extra educational benefits for yourself and sometimes even your children. Some counties may also have dedicated funds to assist you with temporary shelter/utilities, food/health supplies, medical/dental, job placement, counseling, and transportation. Many have ID cards so that you can get discounts from local stores and services, as well as national chain stores and restaurants, even if you are not registered with the VA or have a “0” rating. Please also see our Freebies and Discounts page.