Blog: Answers to the most common VA Disability questions
Veterans entering their life after service often have a whole lot of questions about using their military benefits. They don't know who to ask, they're too embarrassed to ask, or they did ask and never received a good answer.
It is for all of these scenarios that this blog exists. Veterans can use this collection of some of the most frequently asked questions as a guide to navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs Disability process and utilizing the veterans benefits they deserve.
How long until the process is complete?
This is typically one of the first questions veterans ask, and unfortunately, the answer can be quite a shock. According the VA's official website, the amount of time it takes to reach a decision on a compensation claim varies depending on a host of factors, including the complexity of the disability, the number of disabilities claimed, and the amount of evidence required to verify a claim.
A veteran will typically receive a decision within six to eight months, but it has been known to take longer. This is only a partial answer, however. To be completely satisfied with their VA claim, most veterans will be in for a period of years, not months. In order to receive all the benefits they're due, most veterans are in for a two-to-four-year haul.
Is there any surefire method for approval?
Yes, actually, but some veterans may not like it. The easiest way to get VA approval is to seek treatment. A disturbing number of veterans have been turned down in the past because they either never sought treatment or there were inexplicable gaps in their treatment histories.
Veterans must be able to prove that their condition is chronic and seriously in need of treatment. For example - say you want to file a claim for a shoulder injury, but you were discharged in 1982 and didn't ever visit a doctor about your shoulder until only a few years ago. It's unlikely that the VA will grant service because there's no record of your shoulder being a chronic problem.
Why are some veterans connected for a specific claim, but others denied on it?
This is another one of those questions without a cheery answer, but the simple explanation is that every veteran has a different medical history and unique medical claim. Veterans who are turned down on the same type of claim their friend was connected on are rarely happy about it, however, unless the two experiences were identical it's impossible to truly compare them.
Can you receive VA Disability and still work?
Even if a veteran is totally, 100 percent connected to VA Disability, they are allowed to be employed in both full- and part-time positions. There is only one real exception to this, and that is for veterans receiving Individual Unemployability.
This, according to the VA's website, is a special benefit payable only to those veterans whose service-connected disabilities render them incapable of holding down a job consistently. The only other possible exception is those former servicemembers receiving a pension. Depending on how much they are paid, they may not be able to work.