Veterans Disability Benefits – Application Process

You served your country with honor and dignity and as a result of that dedication you now are disabled and may not be able to work.  Through the Veteran’s Administration Disability Compensation Program your county is in a position to help take care of you.

As a disabled veteran you begin the process by completing and submitting an application for disability compensation benefits with your local VA regional office (VARO).  At the initial phase of your claim determination your claim is first reviewed by what is called the triage team. The triage team is responsible for reviewing, controlling, and processing all incoming applications. The triage team will decide whether your claim can be processed or whether it needs additional development before it should be reviewed.

The next step in the process is called pre-determination. Actually there are two separate parts to this phase of the process. One is called development initiation and the other is called evidence gathering. It is during the development initiation phase that the VA may request that you undergo an examination by one of their physicians. This is requested if the medical evidence obtained by such an exam is necessary to make a determination on your claim.

During the evidence gathering portion of the pre-determination phase the VA obtains all of your pertinent military medical records. These records become part of your claim and will be reviewed in making a determination on your claim.

Once all of your medical evidence has been gathered, both during your military service and all recent medical records related to your disability, a VA ratings specialist will consider all of medical evidence and make a decision on your claim. After the rating specialist makes the decision your file will be set to the post determination team who process awards for disability compensation benefits and will notify you of the decision on your claim.

Please keep in mind that if your claim for disability compensation benefits is denied that you have one year to file a written Notice of Disagreement. Upon receipt of the Notice of Disagreement, the VARO can allow the claim or confirm the denial.  If the VARO confirms the denial, there are several paths for reconsideration, review or appeal open to the Veteran.

Keep in mind that there are many qualified Veteran Service Representatives throughout New Mexico that can assist you with your claim.  Consider also that attorneys do not typically get involved before the Notice of Disagreement is filed since the attorney cannot charge for services prior to this time.  If you have been denied, a Notice of Disagreement has been filed and you are making no progress on your claim, it may then be time to seek the assistance of an attorney.

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