The requirement of pro-rating symptoms by disability has contributed to lengthy waits for decisions, large backlogs of pending claims, high error rates in claims processing and an increasing number of appeals.
Parkersburg, W.V. (PRWEB) December 07, 2011
West Virginia Veterans’ disability benefits attorney Jan Dils said today that she supports a high-ranking senator’s call to eliminate “unnecessary tests and procedures” that may be causing a tremendous backlog of claims in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to her website,Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki late last month to ask him to consider eliminating a requirement that doctors determine what portion of a symptom is caused by a disability.
This can be particularly difficult for doctors to do in cases in which a Veteran seeking disability benefits exhibits multiple, overlapping symptoms, Murray said in her letter. Many doctors have stated that they cannot, with a high degree of certainty, attribute overlapping symptoms to one disability or another.
The senator also said that doctors also often fail to answer this question. As a result, regional VA offices are required to return examinations to the doctors, and that can delay a final decision on a claim, Murray wrote.
“Senator Murray has voiced frustration with the current system that Veterans and their attorneys and claims representatives have shared for many years,” said Dils, whose law firm handles Veterans’ disability claims from its offices in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
“The requirement of pro-rating symptoms by disability has contributed to lengthy waits for decisions, large backlogs of pending claims, high error rates in claims processing and an increasing number of appeals,” Dils said. “Meanwhile, Veterans and their families are in immediate need of these disability benefits. Many of them are struggling to survive.”
Veterans who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines can file claims to receive tax-free compensation if their disability resulted from was made worse by injuries or diseases associated with their active military service.
Types of disabilities include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), toxic exposure (such as Agent Orange or other herbicides) and fibromyalgia.
However, the claims process can be lengthy.
According to the Army Times, the VA currently has a backlog of more than 868,000 claims, with more than 61 percent of those pending claims being more than 125 days old. Since 2008, the number of claims awaiting a decision longer than six months has increased by more than 50 percent, the Government Accountability Office reports.
“This backlog is only going to grow as more and more Veterans return home from serving for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Dils said. “It’s clear that change is needed – now.”
Due to the difficulty in filing for disability benefits, and the obstacles a Veteran might face, Dils encourages seeking qualified legal assistance.
“It’s important to have a skilled professional by your side who will make sure claims are filed correctly and will stand by your side throughout the process, including appeals,” Dils said. “Additionally, many law firms, such as Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, will not charge Veterans unless we’re successful in obtaining disability benefits for them.”
About Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, L.C.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, L.C., focuses exclusively on helping individuals with disabilities get the financial help they deserve from the government by seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Social Security Administration. The firm features West Virginia offices in Charleston, Parkersburg, Huntington, Logan and Beckley, one office in Charlotte, North Carolina and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To learn more about Veterans’ benefits and Social Security disability benefits, contact the firm by calling (877) 838-3726 or using its online form.