An update in my VA Claims Status

As a reader of this blog you know that I have recently transitioned from Active Duty and am now enjoying life on the civilian side of the fence.  One of the big parts of transition is the eligibility for a disability rating from the Veterans Administration, and recently my status in that regard changed.

Let me back up a bit.  I began my transition well over a year ago (in the summer of 2011), and as I went through the required and optional transition seminars I was educated on the benefits that all honorably discharged veterans are eligible to receive.  As a retiring Marine, I learned that I was eligible for more benefits than those who served one or two enlistments (such as pension and access to VA medical care for myself and an entitlement to TRICARE for my family).  Such benefits are great!  They were earned through over a quarter century of service in uniform and no small amount of time getting shot at in combat zones.

In addition to VA medical care I, and all veterans, are evaluated to determine whether or not we are eligible for a disability rating as a result of the maladies, wear, and tear that we experienced while serving in uniform.  It is perfectly reasonable to be evaluated for any such problems, but unfortunately the time it takes for the claims evaluation process to reach completion is far from speedy.

This month I received a couple of notifications from the VA.  The first was a letter that is identical to the letters that preceded it telling me that my claims process was still under review.  Not surprising, really, because the average time to review and approve a case is well over a year, and mine has only been in the hopper for about ten months now.

When I logged into the VA ebenefits website, however, I saw that there was some progress.  Hooray!  My status had changed from “Preparation for Decision” to “Regulatory or Procedural Review”.  I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I am optimistic that it is an indicator of progress.

I drilled into the website to see what the new status reflected.  Here is what the website said:

Claim Received: 08/17/2012
Claim Type: Regulatory or Procedural Review
Estimated Claim Completion Date: unavailableWe are currently unable to provide you with a projected completion date for this type of claim. Please await further claim status notification for this Regional Office.

Hmmm.  That tells me pretty much nothing at all.  I read on…

Next Steps:

We will review all available evidence and make a decision on your claim upon receipt of all requested information as outlined in the headings, “What Do We Still Need from You?” and “What Have We Done?”. 

Several factors will determine the duration of the “Development” phase, including:

  • type of claim filed
  • number of disabilities you claim
  • complexity of your disability(ies), and
  • availability of evidence needed to decide your claim.

Now that sounds promising!  My case is in the “development” phase!  I still don’t know what that means, but I am hoping it indicates progress.

At any rate, my claim is wending its way through the claims process, and it looks like movement forward is occurring.  I hope that those of you out there in the same boat are receiving similar updates, too.  A word to the wise, however: Don’t wait for the VA to tell you about your updated status via the postal service, because they likely won’t.  My letter from them this month didn’t tell me anything new.  You should be checking the VA website (www.va.gov, specifically the ebenefits tab) frequently to see if your status is moving forward.  Otherwise things may be going on with your claim that you are unaware of.

Just a word to the wise….keep up on your claim!  After all, if you don’t, who will?

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5 responses to “An update in my VA Claims Status

  1. Thanks for your service. Keep up the fight. VA are taking their slow time on these claims. I file my claim on 1/3/12 and it is still in Gathering informations stage. Keep hope alive and just maybe we will get good news soon. What ever you do “Do not give up”.

    The Byrdman

  2. Mike the only way to really speed these guys up and not sit on it, get the DAV involved and if they are still taking their sweet time, have your State or Federal Senator get involved. I had surgery in the military, right and left hernia, and left veorc. I was given 0% rating in 1990. They never told me. I applied back then but never received anything from VA or told anything, I had 12 more surgeries and turned in claims several time by paper. Not a peep from them. Both my knees were injured in the military and had medical records to show service connected. Sent by paper also. VA response, not service connected because they lost medical records and only gave me 7 months to show proof. Sent it but not a peep from them. So I filed in 2013 for hearing damage from M-16 fired and damaged my left ear drum and tinnitus in both ears. Filed on My E Benefits and received 20%. So filed for upgrade on Hernia’s and reopened knee injury. Been only 5 months and did as they asked and had doctor fax DBQ and 23 separate surgery and once again not service connected because VA lost or tossed my medical records. So now I asked Johnny Isakson to get involved and in 3 days, my file is being worked on and I am being sent to doctor on outside for rating on knees. Not sure what rating I will get for left and right hernia and left tactical removed because of defective mesh from military. Waiting 25 years sucks. Be a squeaky wheel and don’t stop.

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