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Applying

Applying for VA Disability Benefits for the First Time:

Aside from filling out an application, here are the steps you should follow:

Step One: Collect All of Your Documents

To complete the application process, you will need to gather all of your documents. Even if you don’t have all of them or need more time to gather them, don’t wait to apply online. Waiting to apply online can delay your benefits and your documents can always be collected later.

Gather as many of the following documents as possible.

  • Your DD214(s)
  • Your Medical Records
  • Any Medical Evidence You Have that Shows Your Medical Condition(s) are Due to Your Service
  • A Copy of Your Marriage Certificate
  • A Copy of Your or Your Current Spouse’s Divorce Decree(s)
  • Copies of Birth or Adoption Records for Any Dependent Children You Have (including step-children)
  • A Voided Check or Deposit Slip for Your Bank Account You Want Benefits Deposited

Step Tip: Put Together Your Information

In addition to the documents listed above, you should have as much of the following information available when you fill out your application. If you can’t find it all, don’t wait to apply.

This list highlights the information you will need to complete the application process:

  • Your Service Information – Including Your Dates of Service, Places of Entry and Exit, Branch, and Service Number
  • The Disabilities You Wish to Claim
  • The Date When Your Disabilities Started
  • Any Medical Facilities and Addresses where You Receive Treatment
  • Information about Your Current Spouse, Including His/Her:
    • Social Security Number;
    • VA File Number if He/She is a Veteran;
      AND
    • Previous Marriages, Including the Dates and Places of Marriages and Divorces.
    • Information About Your Children and Any Step-Children who Live with You, Including:
      • Names;
      • Social Security Numbers;
      • Dates and Places of Birth;
        AND
      • Any Amounts You Contribute in Child Support
    • Military Benefits You Receive and the Amount
    • If Possible, Your Bank Account Information for Direct Deposit

    Step Three: Apply Online or with a Paper Application

    To apply online, just click the link for VA’s online application: HERE.

    To fill out a paper application, click the link for the application: HERE.

    Step Four: Complete Form 21-4142

    Once you’ve finished application, if you listed any non-VA Healthcare providers where you receive treatment, you need to fill out VA Form 21-4142. The information you will need for this form include:

    • Your Name and Social Security Number;
    • Name and Address of the Entity;
    • Dates of Your Treatment;
    • Answering “Authorize”, “Do Not Authorize”, or limiting consent in Question 9C;
    • Signing and Dating the Form;
      AND
    • Having a Witness Sign and Date the Form.

    Reasons Your Claim May Get Denied

    When starting the process of applying for VA disability benefits, you need to be aware there is a real possibility you will get denied. As most lawyers who handle these types of cases will tell you, getting denied the first time around is fairly common. Some of the most common reasons a soldier may be denied their veterans disability benefits are:

    • The condition they have was caused by their own negligence
    • The veteran was dishonorably discharged
    • Injuries sustained happened when soldier was AWOL
    • The accident happened while the soldier was in military prison

    When applying for VA disability benefits, you have to make sure you acquire all documentation to corroborate your claims. Having medical records and statements from your doctor is important. The more evidence you are able to produce, the easier you will find it to get the benefits you are entitled to.

    The Disability Rating Process

    Another important part of applying for VA disability benefits is getting your disability rating. The VA will do a thorough medical examination and give your injuries a rating. This rating is what will determine the amount of compensation you receive. If you do not agree with the rating you have been given, you can issue an appeal. While filing this appeal will take some time, it will be worth it in the long run. With the help of our lawyers, you will find out what benefits you are entitled to and what needs to happen to get your claim approved.

    When you fill out your application, VA Form 21-4142 should be included, but if you need another one, click: HERE.

    Step Five: Submitting Your Documents

    Once you’ve finished your application, you need to send in all your documents from Step 1, as well as the VA Form(s) 21-4142 from Step 4.

    If you did your application online:

    You can scan and upload up to five documents totaling one megabyte to the VA site.

    You can also mail your documents to the VA. If you choose to mail in your application and documents, on each page you need to write your name and the confirmation number shown on the confirmation page you received. Then mail your documents to the address on the confirmation page.

    If you chose a paper application:

    In Maine, you need to submit your Veterans’ benefits application to your local veterans’ field service office. There are offices in Bangor, Caribou, Lewiston, Machias, Portland, Springvale, Waterville, and Togus.


    You’re Finished!

    Once you’ve completed and sent in your application, make sure you continue ALL of your medical appointments and treatment. If the VA contacts you, sends you forms, or sends you to a doctor, you must respond. If you don’t follow all of these steps, the VA can deny you benefits.

    If the VA denies your application, don’t give up. The attorneys at Jackson & MacNichol can help you appeal. Give us a call at 800-524-3339.

    The process to apply can be a difficult process that takes time. It might seem impossible at times – especially if you’re denied. But, whether you’re applying or need to appeal, our team is here to help.

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