The process of applying for a veterans disability benefits claim can seem a long and complicated one. It is often a good idea to consult a veterans disability lawyer when you are filing for these benefits. Even when you are filing on your own, it is vital that you understand how the process works. This will help you file for benefits without wasting any time, minimize the possibility of mistakes, and improve your odds of having your claim approved.
A key step of the process of filing for veterans disability benefits is to collect and submit the relevant evidence. This primarily includes the medical evidence surrounding your disability. Here is a look at how you can gather such evidence and provide it to the Department of Veteran Affairs in a timely manner.
Evidence from a Military Clinic or Hospital
After you were discharged from the service, you likely received medical treatment at a military facility or a private doctor’s. If you were treated at a military hospital or clinic, you are required to provide the relevant details in this regard. These include information about the facility as well as the time period when you received treatment at the facility. It is important to note that this treatment must be related to the condition for which you are seeking disability benefits in your claim. If the treatment was not related to your disability, VA will not consider the related evidence.
Evidence from a Private Treatment Provider
If you received treatment for your service-connected disability from a private treatment provider, you must also include evidence from this provider. The Department of Veteran Affairs actually encourages you to submit such evidence. This is simply because a private physician is often more intimately acquainted with your medical history and disability. This makes the physician more of an authority in commenting on your disability and testifying as to its nature and severity.
Before you can obtain medical evidence from your private physician, you will first need to complete a release of information form. This form may be provided by your healthcare provider or you can fill the relevant VA forms for the purpose. If your healthcare provider has the form, you can fill in this form and then retrieve the medical records of your disability-related condition. These records can then be appended with your application when you file it with VA.
In some cases, you may need to get the release of information forms from VA before your healthcare provider releases the records. The VA Form 21-4142, titled Authorization to Disclose Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs, can be used for this. Once you submit this form with your application, VA will reach out to your healthcare provider and seek the relevant medical records on its own.
Public Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs)
In addition to the standard medical records, you can have your healthcare provider fill out the public DBQs available on VA website. The DBQs are specific questionnaires which are meant to bring out important details of your disability. Each DBQ must be completed and signed by the physician, clinician, or healthcare professional before being submitted to VA.
You can explore a broad range of DBQs on the official VA site. These are categorized on the basis of the bodily systems or organs affected by your disability. If you have a heart-related disability, for instance, you will be required to provide a filled-out DBQ from the cardiovascular section.
It is important to note that DBQs are not a requirement. However, they are very helpful in speeding up the processing of your claim. So if your healthcare provider can provide filled-out DBQs instead of the standard medical records of your disability, this will be more beneficial for your claim.
Submitting the Evidence
Most of the medical evidence you are required to submit with your VA claim is to be provided with your application. The application itself must be submitted in-person or through mail at the VA office located closest to you.
Hiring a Reliable Veterans Disability Lawyer in Greenville, SC
If you have suffered a service-related disability and want to file for veterans disability benefits in Greenville, SC, we can help you. Here at J. Robert Surface Attorney at Law, we help disabled veterans file for benefits without losing any time. In doing so, we help you gather the relevant evidence and submit your application at the earliest. We also work with you in case your initial claim is rejected and you have to appeal against it. Call us today to discuss your claim and schedule a free consultation.