Every year, more than thirty percent of all applications for veterans’ disability benefits are denied. For veterans suffering from disabilities, that denial can mean the difference between being able to pay for living expenses and suffering undue hardship. Fortunately, if you know what to watch out for, you can avoid many of the most common pitfalls in the application process. Here are five of the biggest reasons that veterans are denied their claims for veterans’ disability benefits:
- Paperwork errors
- By far one of the most common reasons for disability claims to be denied is also one of the most easily preventable: simple errors when filling out or submitting paperwork. When you submit a disability claim, it is supposed to be as complete as possible and have all required documentation attached. If you miss anything, or fill something out incorrectly, your application may be denied without ever assessing the validity of your claim.
- Lack of medical evidence
- It is not enough to claim you have a disability. You also must have medical evidence showing you have a disability, which can include records from a doctor at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) or from a private medical doctor. Without this evidence, the VA cannot assess the nature or extent of your disability, and your claim will be denied.
- Inability to tie disability to service
- Of course, it is not enough to have a disability. You also must be able to show your disability is the result of your military service, either as a direct result of an injury you suffered or the indirect result of something that happened to you during your service. If you cannot show your disability was caused by, or worsened by, your military service, you may be out of luck.
- Medical condition not considered a disability
- Another common reason for denial can be a major point of contention: namely, that your disability is not considered severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. They might come to this conclusion due to a lack of military evidence, or they may decide you are functional enough that disability benefits are not appropriate. Either way, this kind of issue is raised commonly on appeal, either to reverse a denial or to improve a person’s disability rating.
- Disability blamed on pre-existing condition
- Finally, the VA may decide that your disability is the result of a condition you already had prior to joining the military, and not a result of your service. This may be especially true in the case of chronic conditions or psychological disorders that were worsened as a result of military service. In these cases, you may need a lawyer with knowledge of veterans’ disability rights to help you through the process.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.