Common misconceptions around disability benefits can deter Veterans from submitting claims, leaving them without the benefits and compensation they deserve.
At REE Medical, we think it’s important to uncover the truth behind the disability claims process, starting with the essential task of distinguishing reliable information from misleading or inaccurate statements.
Let’s review – and debunk – the top five most common myths around VA disability benefits.
Myth 1: It’s too late to file a disability claim.
Because some physical and/or psychological injuries may not present themselves for years after leaving military service, such as time spent as a POW or disabilities caused by contact with hazardous materials, there is no deadline for a Veteran to file a disability claim. This is referred to as a postservice claim. While there is no deadline on when to file a claim, it’s important to understand that the longer you wait, the more complex the process can be.
Myth 2: VA disability benefits are only available to combat Veterans.
VA disability benefits are available to all Veterans, regardless of the form of service. This is crucial because non-combat Veterans are just as susceptible to mental health disorders from their time in service, including depression, substance use disorder, and PTSD.
Myth 3: A disability rating will affect my chances of employment.
A Veteran with a disability rating, even at 100%, can legally be employed full-time. However, if you receive Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, or TDIU, working can make you ineligible for those benefits. What’s the difference? A TDIU provides compensation and benefits to Veterans with a 100% disability rating, even if their disability does not equal 100%, because they cannot maintain gainful employment. In contrast, a 100% schedular VA rating does not limit your ability to work, meaning you can receive benefits and still maintain employment.
Myth 4: Another Veteran deserves benefits over me.
There is no cap on the number of Veterans entitled to disability benefits. This means that no matter the extent of your injuries, as an active or retired member of the Armed Forces, you are entitled to disability compensation benefits. It is important to note that the VA does assign claimants to priority groups, which ensures that those Veterans who need immediate care get it quickly.
Myth 5: I can’t change my disability rating once I’m assigned one from the VA.
If you feel that your rating doesn’t accurately reflect your service-related disability or it has gotten worse, you can submit paperwork to request an increase in your disability rating.
To receive a VA disability rating increase, a Veteran must submit an application for a rating review and provide evidence of their worsening disability, such as medical records and treatment notes. Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) and detailed Nexus letters, which are evidence-based documents prepared by qualified and credible medical experts, are essential to a Veteran’s claim. The Department of Veterans Affairs ultimately makes the final decision on all claims submitted.
Reach out to our team to see if REE Medical’s services are a fit for you.