Claims filed with the VA for disability benefits are often denied. In fact, 75% of initial applications for disability benefits are not approved. Is this done in a malicious manner to deny you the ability to take care of yourself after suffering a service industry? No.
The VA exists to help veterans in many aspects of life. However, at its core, it is essentially a government-run insurance company. Insurance companies operate on the principle of never paying out a claim unless there is no other option.
What Does the VA Do?
The VA, or United States Department of Veteran Affairs, is a federal agency concerning itself with helping veterans in their lives after service. The agency provides veterans with healthcare services, disability compensation, educational assistance, vocational training, loans, life insurance, and funeral services.
The aim of the VA is to help veterans who have served their country receive the help they need to redirect their efforts towards helping their communities, their families, and themselves.
Why Would the VA Deny My Disability Claim?
There are many reasons that the VA might deny your claim beyond the overall insurance company mantra of never paying out a claim if at all avoidable. Some of the most common reasons that your disability claim might be denied are:
Wrong Form Filed
Unfortunately, since the VA is a government-run agency, bureaucracy is the name of the game. That means forms, forms, and more forms. Unless you have someone familiar with the process assisting you, it is easy to get lost among all of the paperwork you have to submit for your claim.
Missed Disability Form Deadline
Like all bureaucracy, in addition to many forms, you have many deadlines to meet to file your claim. Missing even a single deadline can result in denial of benefits.
Lack of a Diagnosis
Even if you get all of your forms correctly filled out and meet all of your deadlines, your claim can still be denied if you do not have a current diagnosis for your disability claim. An example of a situation in which you may not have a formal diagnosis is a situation where you are experiencing chronic pain.
Lack of Evidence of an In-Service Event, Injury, or Illness
Another reason that the VA may deny your claim is a lack of evidence connecting your disability to your service. If you can’t provide proof that your disability is a direct result of your service, your claim may be in trouble.
Missed Compensation & Pension Examination
It is critical that you do not miss your Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination. If you do, the VA has the right to deny your claim without consideration for any evidence you may have gathered. If there is a valid reason that you can not make it to your exam, inform the VA immediately and reschedule.
Negative Nexus Opinion
Even if you have met all of the above conditions and you feel that you have sufficient evidence to back up the connection between your disability and your service, your claim can still be denied. At your C&P examination, the examiner may not find your evidence of a connection to be compelling enough, and you could receive a negative nexus opinion.
What Do I Do if My Claim Is Denied
If your claim is not approved, don’t despair. Veteran George Sink Sr. is helping fellow disabled veterans claim their benefits, and he recommends that if your VA claim is denied you should not give up because you have the right to appeal the decision. If you didn’t seek help the first time around, make sure to enlist the expertise of someone who knows the system and can help you to get the disability benefits to which you are entitled.