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Disability-specific benefits have been available to U.S. soldiers since the time of the American Revolution. The veterans’ disability system, however, has never been perfect. Of the 217,000 people who served in the American Revolution, only 3,000 ever received benefits. Among WWI veterans, 85 percent of all disability claims were denied.

Today, 31 percent of claims are denied—and 60 percent of those denials are in error.

The injured veterans who have honorably served our country deserve disability benefits when entitled to them. But a high rate of denied claims, often caused by red tape or bureaucratic mistakes, harms injured veterans who simply want to live a healthy and productive life.

If your VA Disability claim was denied, or if you want to take steps to ensure your application is not wrongly denied, contact Harris Federal for a free consultation today.

Find out today how our team of disability benefits professionals can help with your federal claim.

A Closer Look at the Veterans Disability System

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs handles service-related disability claims for veterans and reservists. To receive tax-free disability compensation, which is based on a veteran’s disability rating, an individual must meet the VA’s eligibility requirements.

Even veterans who are eligible may face problems with their claim. Research shows that many claims are denied, stuck in a backlog or even misplaced. Here’s a closer look at the disability process for veterans, from eligibility to the types of benefits and the hurdles veterans face when they apply for them.

Eligibility

Disability compensation eligibility is based on the following criteria:

  • Active duty service in the Uniformed Services OR active duty for training OR inactive duty training
  • Discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
  • At least 10% disabled by an injury or disease (which may include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD) suffered in the course of active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training

Those who meet this criteria must additionally provide:

  • Medical evidence of their disability (through a medical examination)
  • Evidence linking the disability to an injury or disease incurred during military service.

The validity of a claim is determined by a claims-handler for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Types of Benefits Available

Most veterans are familiar with the disability compensation offered by the VA. The variable benefit rates are based on a disability rating of 0% to 100%; only those veterans who are at least 10% disabled are eligible for monthly monetary benefits.

Other benefits, also subject to eligibility requirements, available to veterans include the following:

  • Automobile allowance
  • Clothing allowance
  • Specially adapted housing/special home adaptation grants
  • Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance
  • Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Education Assistance
  • Dependents’ Educational Assistance

Barriers to Veterans’ Benefits

There are approximately 22.2 million veterans living in the U.S. Close to 40% of them are enrolled in the veterans’ health program. About 17% of those veterans receive cash disability compensation. Many more, however, could be receiving benefits but aren’t. That may be the result of both claims processing errors and the veterans’ failure to apply for benefits to which they are entitled.

A recent report by the nonprofit National Center for Policy Analysis revealed problems with the veterans’ disability system. Among the key findings were:

  • Around 31% of initial VA benefit claims are denied
  • 60% of denials are erroneous
  • 60% of claims are backlogged
  • 7.5% of claims are misplaced
  • 4% of applications are lost
  • The average claims processing time for a VA Disability is 197 days (compared to 109 for Social Security Disability)
  • The average appeals processing time for VA Disability is 747 days (compared to 360 for SSD)

Millions of veterans believe they have a service-connected disability but are not receiving benefits. A study of 4.6 million veterans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found many reasons why veterans with self-reported disabilities did not participate:

  • Some veterans thought it was too much trouble to apply (7%)
  • Others didn’t know how to apply (14%)
  • Some never even thought about applying (22%), while others did not think they were eligible (37%)

Contact Harris Federal Law Firm for Help With Your VA Disability Claim

Whether you need help completing your VA Disability claim accurately and on-time or your claim was denied and you’re seeking an appeal, Harris Federal will stand up for you. We will assign a highly trained and skilled team to your case to provide you with the highest possible level of service.

As a veteran, you’ve given a lot to this country. At Harris Federal, we want to make sure that you and your family have the care and benefits you need. We offer nationwide service and free case evaluations. Call us at 1-877-226-2723 or contact us online for your free consultation.

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