The Department of Veterans Affairs has introduced new benefits application forms that it says are simple to use. However, the new system is confusing, especially for older veterans, and those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
Under the new policies, which will take effect on March 24, the informal claim process that earlier allowed veterans to kick start the process of filing a claim by making a written request for a claim process, will be eliminated. Under the earlier policy, veterans were able to file informal claims and had a period of one year to file a claim. Any benefits would immediately be backdated to the day that the informal request was filed.
Under the new changed policies however, veterans must fill out a new standardized form to start the claims process. This means that when a vet is not able to fill out the form correctly, he will simply lose months of benefits that he was eligible for under the earlier policy.
During this period of time, he must wait for the agency to inform him of the mistakes in his form. For older veterans, the process is likely to be especially mentally taxing and exhausting. Besides, the new policies don’t make it clear how long the agency has before it informs a veteran that the form has been filled in inaccurately, and must be redone.
According to representatives of the Veterans Of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans, the new system places older veterans who want to start the process of filing a claim at great inconvenience and at risk of delayed benefits. It also makes it more difficult for veterans who suffer from brain injuries. According to the veterans, these changes are not really beneficial for veterans.
For help filing a veterans’ disability benefits claim, speak to a California veterans’ benefits lawyer.