Evidence Required for Claiming Disability
The Veterans Claims Assistance Act places the legal burden for the care and evaluation of disabled veterans onto the Veteran Affairs and associated organizations. Officials must evaluate all VA disability claim evidence provided for each case as well as provide assistance as needed. Applicants, in turn, need to fulfill the VA claim evidence requirements by furnishing necessary documentation and information pertaining to military services and medical condition. Since the amount of compensation for disability is directly related to the level of evidence provided, it is in the veteran’s best interest to provide clear documentation. Veterans fully developed claims and evidence begins with proof gathered through the SMR (service medical record). Maintained by military medical records, the SMR will be able to assist in providing the medical data records that indicate that an event occurred that impacted the service member’s health as well as detailing the circumstances that gave rise to the event, treatment records, follow up care, long term prognosis and ongoing treatment. The SMR maintains the VA disability claim evidence needed and should be one of the first places considered when beginning to gather the evidence required for claiming disability. To learn more about VA claim evidence requirements, read the following:
- Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
- Understanding the Veterans Claims Assistance Act
- Fully Developed Claims (FDC)
Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
To know what are the VA claim evidence requirements, applicants should review the Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs). A type of veterans claims assistance, DBQs allow applicants to assess what evidence is a requirement for their specific claim. For instance, VA disability claim evidence needed for Tuberculosis may include a report confirming the diagnosis. As the name infers, DBQs are questionnaires that review the veteran’s medical condition and claim. With over 70 different types available both online and in person from local VA offices, theses veterans claims assistance forms narrow down the information requested by the VA for a particular disability. They help veterans fully developed claims and evidence needed for approval and can significantly speed up the process for claim submissions for both disability and pensions.
Applicants, who want to know how to fill out Disability Benefits Questionnaires correctly, should take the DBQ form with them when visiting a private primary care provider in the area. Although the service member may have expenses from the visit, it is VA disability claim evidence needed when applying. Doctors who can supply veterans fully developed claims and evidence for their application are typically worth the fee, as it will streamline the process significantly. Otherwise, the veteran will need to make an appointment with the VA facility for the next available appointment with a VA doctor. DBQ Forms allow the private doctor to evaluate a veteran’s condition properly using the standards set forth by the VA. It is this disability rating that the veteran will use as evidence of the disability. While the VA disability claim evidence needed varies by condition and disability, all DBQ forms are available to obtain online or by visiting a regional VA facility.
Understanding the Veterans Claims Assistance Act
The Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCCA) was enacted to assist veterans in navigating through the various forms and data required to receive disability compensation. Applicants can start gathering VA claim evidence requirements as soon as they fill out the VA Form 21-526EZ. Part of the VA disability claim evidence-gathering procedure includes providing the VA with contact information for all treating medical personnel, completed and signed medical release papers, SMR information and military paperwork.
Most veterans believe that the Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCCA) means that the VA has to be diligent in gathering the evidence for the veteran’s claims. However, the applicant should also pursue the collection of evidence in addition to the VA representative assigned to the case. In many instances, if a VA agent attempted to collect medical records from a private doctor and was not successful, he or she is no longer bound to continue the attempt. Applicants can ask the assigned agent how to gather evidence for veterans disability claims in order to assist their own efforts. By law, the Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCCA) requires that Veteran Affairs needs to:
- Inform veterans about what is necessary to complete their application.
- Consider all claims that submitted for compensation.
- Accept handwritten or written communications from medical personnel as evidence.
- Provide the veteran with a listing of the evidence needed to provide a fully developed claim.
- Assist in the gathering of all data, evidence or supporting documentation.
However, the level of compliance can vary from one VA to the next and from one agent to another, so being proactive can help a veteran’s claim along. A veterans fully developed claims and evidence is the goal for all disability compensation cases, and as such hinges on the production of significant evidence to support the claim. Having duplicate copies as well, even if the agent has managed to obtain the VA claim evidence requirements is advisable.
Fully Developed Claims (FDC)
VA claim evidence requirements allow officials to make faster decisions about the eligibility of the applicant. By submitting all relevant VA disability claim evidence, the applicant can be part of the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program. Veterans Fully Developed Claims and evidence-gathering assistance is available for veterans and their families who are filling original, reopened, new, secondary and special claims. Fully Developed Claims are completely filled out, signed and has all of the requested evidence and documents. Veterans can find out which documents are necessary to file an FDC by checking with their assigned agent.
The applicant is rewarded for his or her diligence to gather and produce vast amounts of VA disability claim evidence, as more complete and full the submission packet, the higher the rating of the disability and award amount. Some additional forms of evidence can include historical records of combat, a flight log or ship’s records, documentation showing receipt of a Purple Heart or detailing the veteran’s time as a POW. Included in Veterans Fully Developed Claims and evidence are often letters from long-term friends known as a Statement in Support of Claim, especially if the person writing the note was an eyewitness to the disabling event. Particular weight is given to the ‘buddy letter,’ if the statement is written by a commanding officer who was in attendance at the event.
The Fully Developed Claim program will result in a faster decision when it comes to making a determination by the VA for any type of disability claim. While the authorities allows the submission of VA disability claim evidence throughout the submission process for standard claims, the applicants must submit a Fully Developed Claim packet with all of the evidence to assure the VA that there will be no more VA disability claim evidence to consider after the initial proceedings have begun. Applicants wondering what documents are required for a Fully Developed Claim must provide medical evidence, evidence of the event or injury while in service, a direct connection between the disability and service in the armed forces (usually in the form of a medical statement) for original disability claims. Claims for increased compensation will require that the veteran provide current medical records, past medical records and statements from doctors.