If you are a South Carolina or Georgia veteran, disability benefits can be challenging to obtain. The process is complicated and frustrating, and sometimes the VA seems to go out of its way to deny or discourage deserving claims.A deserving claim is one establishing that:
a. You were in active service and honorably dischargedb. You received an injury or contracted a disease on dutyc. You are now suffering from the effects of this injury or diseased. You can establish a direct causal link between your current health condition and the in-service occurrence
Here are tips that will help you overcome some of the hurdles commonly encountered by veterans seeking disability benefits:1. Mail. Assume the VA mailroom has a decent chance of losing at least some of your documents. Take these precautions:
If you cannot prove the VA received something from you, then the VA will say it was never sent.2. Evidence. The job of proving your claim is yours, not the VA’s. It is up to you to locate and contact fellow soldiers who can provide testimony supporting your claim. You are the one who must gather medical evidence from doctors and medical facilities. You must prove: (a) your health is now impaired, (b) your health problem originated when you served, and (c) your health problem was directly caused by a service event.3. VA documents. Request a copy of every document in your claim file. After receiving the copies, try to visit your regional office and review your file. You want to make sure that no comments, notes, or other evidence present in your file that could help your claim were omitted from your document request.4. Sufficiency. Do not submit a formal claim if all you plan to file is the completed forms. If you file a bare-bones formal claim, the VA will give you 60 days to assemble evidence and then will rate your claim on what has been received. Instead of trying to beat that nearly-impossible 60-day deadline, you should instead file an Informal Claim. You will then have one year to assemble a solid claim. And the filing of your Informal Claim will establish and protect the claim entitlement date. 5. Sworn statements. You will want any written support from a fellow soldier to come in the form of a sworn statement before a notary. The VA will ignore buddy letters, but a sworn and notarized statement can only be disregarded if the VA has contrary factual evidence. These statements should support your case with facts rather than opinions.6. Denial. If your claim is denied, appeal it. The VA is frequently wrong, and unfortunately has budget and personnel constraints that make it easier to deny claims than award benefits. In many cases, strong advocacy and evidence are needed before the VA will make the correct decision.
A big reason that many claims are denied or rated below their disability level is because the claimant does not understand the evaluation process and receives no help. We can make sure you avoid that common mistake.
If you want our assistance, or would like us to evaluate your potential claim, we are available to speak with you. Call or email our office, or complete the short form to your right. If you are a South Carolina or Georgia veteran, disability benefits are your goal, and you believe you might qualify, we want to help.Andrew MagruderCharles “Les” WilkinsonWilkinson & Magruder1058 Claussen Rd., Suite 108Augusta, GA 30907706-737-0771 or 888-724-8844 Email us
Areas Served: We handle VA disability claims throughout the states of Georgia and South Carolina, including in the following counties and communities:
Counties: Richmond, Columbia, Burke, McDuffie, Lincoln, Warren, Elbert, Clarke, Glascock, Jefferson, Hancock, Washington, Taliaferro, Jenkins, Screven, Johnson, Laurens, Emanuel, Baldwin, Putnam, Greene, Oglethorpe, Morgan and Oconee.
Communities: Augusta, Blythe, Hephzibah, Waynesboro, Girard, Sardis, Keysville, Midville, Appling, Grovetown, Harlem, Evans, Martinez, Gibson, Sparta, Louisville, Wadley, Wrens, Millen, Lincolnton, Dearing, Thomson, Sylvania, Crawfordville, Norwood, Warrenton, Davisboro, Sandersville, Tennille, Rayle, Tignall, Washington, Athens, Elberton, Greensboro, Union Point, Siloam, White Plains, Watkinsville, Crawford, Lexington, Milledgevile, Eatonton, Swainsboro, Twin City, Kite, Wrightsville, Dublin and East Dublin.
Counties: Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Orangeburg, Lexington, Calhoun, Richland, Newberry, Saluda, Edgefield, McCormick and Greenwood.
Communities: Aiken, North Augusta, Beech Island, Belvedere, Clearwater, Wagener, Salley, New Ellenton, Jackson, Allendale, Barnwell, Williston, Elko, Blackville, Bamberg, Denmark, North, Neeses, Orangeburg, Branchville, Leesville, Batesburg, Lexington, Springdale, Columbia, Cayce, Irmo, St. Matthews, Cameron, Newberry, Prosperity, Chappells, Silverstreet, Saluda, Johnston, Monetta, Edgefield, Trenton, Modoc, Ward, McCormick, Parksville, Plum Branch, Mount Carmel, Greenwood, Hodges, Bradley, Kirksey and Ninety-Six.
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