Posted on May 18, 2015
CPT Clinical Psychology
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Sometimes the VA creates "EZ" forms that are not very easy. What was your experience in obtaining, organizing, filling out, and submitting the necessary documentation to the VA for benefits?
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Responses: 25
SSG Dave Rogers
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When I first was going to file a friend of mine who served told me to go to the American Legion and I am glad that I did. They walked me through all the paperwork, helped me get the documents that I needed and helped with all appeals. It cost nothing and it was great to have someone that I could call and they would handle any issues for me as well as follow up with the VA.
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SPC Human Resources   Labor/Employee Relations
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Filling out isn't the hard part. It's knowing what to put on the forms.

Here are my tips for everyone: Use medical terms used in your records. Don't just send in your medical records- that's asking them to take your folder- that is already a needle in a haystack- and find your supporting ailments to your claim that can also be a needle in haystack. Never really a good option. What I suggest to all my friends I help with their claims is. We go through every page of their medical records. Say you want to claim 4 things (I'm picking pretty common ones): back pain, tinnitus, chronic headaches, and PTSD. Get a coordinating highlighters and sticky tabs for everything you want to claim. And with a fine tooth comb, go through your records and everywhere it mentions anything to do with these mark them. For PTSD get character statements if you have major behavior changes from before event to after. It Can be family, friend, coworkers... They just have to know you well and put into words how much you changed (beware: this sucks and hurts to read). If you are married or have kids, send in all dependency forms and docs at the same time. Both went through at the same time, so I didn't have to wait another year for that to go through.
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SPC Human Resources   Labor/Employee Relations
SPC (Join to see)
9 y
The first time I went through I got a big fat "nice try do not pass go" letter. 7 years later I refilled and it was a breeze because I did everything up above
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SPC Human Resources   Labor/Employee Relations
SPC (Join to see)
9 y
Yes! Thank you CPL Doug Hill! Once I got home tonight from vacation, I was going to post helpful links. And the T38 was of them.
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CPT Bob Moore
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I have been through the process twice. I filed once in 1998 after leaving active duty and once last year when I finally decided my career in the military was over.

In 1998, it was a horrible process. It took years, they denied all 4 conditions even though I had medical records from my time in service, then reopened one without an appeal and eventually granted it. The entire process was on paper and communication was lacking at best.

In 2014, I filed again for conditions that came about because of my continued service. (overseas and in the states during additional periods of active duty) I can't say I did much differently, but the process was much better. I filed initially with paper, but was able to track everything online. In March of this year, I added several additional issues online (after being seen by the VA for those conditions for a year). In the end, it took just over a year for them to give me a decision on most of the issues. I still have one pending but that is the most complicated of all of the issues. While they didn't service connect everything, I think the decision is fair. They service connected almost everything that was either a presumptive condition or that I had records for. They even service connected one of the issues they denied in 1998. They only thing that they did not service connect was hearing issues, but I have already qualified for hearing aids from the VA, so that isn't much of an issue for me. It would have been service connected at 0% if they had service connected it.

In all, the VA is getting better, but you have to do your part up front for things to go as smoothly as possible. I had a diagnosis of my presumptive conditions from my family doctor and had him fill out the DBQ for that condition. Everything else, I provided as many of my military records as possible.

This is the best advice I can give: Get as much information as possible and provide it to the VA when you file your claim. If you can do a fully developed claim, file that way. There is info on the VA website about what that is and what the standards are.
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