Veterans can file for veteran disability compensation. Veterans may qualify for disability benefits if they suffer from physical or mental conditions before, during, or after service, so long as the conditions are related to service. Veterans who would like the opportunity to receive compensation must file a VA claim.
If you wish to file a VA claim, the process may take some time—anywhere from three to six months to receive a decision. Certain circumstances, including missing information in the claim, can slow down the process. Fortunately, in some cases, you may qualify for a VA expedited claim process.
There is, however, no exact way to determine how much faster the expedited VA claim process is. Claims are deemed “priority” or “non-priority,” meaning priority claims will be handled first. Still, because there are other priority requests, expedited claims may still take a little time.
First and foremost, before deciding whether you are a qualified candidate for an expedited VA claim, it is important to understand the criteria.
Common Circumstances That Can Get a VA Claim Expedited
If you are a veteran interested in expediting your VA claim, you must first qualify. There are special circumstances that, if present, can allow a veteran to expedite the VA claim due to hardship.
The Veteran Is Going Through Financial Hardship
If a veteran is experiencing extreme financial hardship, they may be able to expedite their claim. The veteran applying will need to provide evidence of their financial situation, which can include:
- Collection letters,
- Past-due bills, or
- Eviction notices.
If the evidence submitted is substantial enough to support the claim of financial hardship, your VA claim will be taken care of more quickly.
The Veteran Is Terminally Ill
If a veteran is suffering from a terminal illness, their claim will be expedited. Medical evidence of the terminal illness is needed to qualify. Medical proof can include medical records or a letter from a physician. The veteran can provide this documentation themselves or allow the VA to gather their private treatment records.
The Veteran Is Diagnosed with ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease affecting the nervous system, eventually causing the loss of muscle control. As with a terminal illness, veterans diagnosed with ALS will qualify for an expedited VA claim if proof is present. The veteran can provide this to the VA, or the VA can obtain these records for them.
The Veteran Was Seriously or Very Seriously Injured or Ill During Military Operations
Veterans filing VA claims are likely already suffering some injury or illness. However, veterans that have suffered an injury or illness during military operations can qualify for an expedited VA claim. The VA sets this category apart, defining it as “a disability resulting from a military operation that will likely result in discharge from military service.”
To qualify, veterans must provide a copy of their military personnel records and medical evidence showing severe disability or injury. With permission from the veteran, the VA can get the required treatment records on their behalf.
The Veteran Is of Advanced Age
Veterans 85 years or older may qualify for an expedited VA claim. In their request, the veteran will simply need to provide their accurate date of birth.
The Veteran Is a Former Prisoner of War
Veterans who were prisoners of war are eligible to have their VA claims expedited. Veterans must provide a copy of their military personnel records, including their DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty), and other important information, such as their service number, branch and dates of service, or any other information relevant to their detainment.
The Veteran Received a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart Award
Veterans decorated with a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart Award will qualify to have their VA claim expedited. The veteran will need to furnish a copy of their military personnel records, including DD Form 214 or some information exhibiting receipt of the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart.
What Can I Do to Make My VA Claim Go Faster?
If you are a veteran and qualify under one of the above-mentioned criteria, you may wonder how to speed up your VA disability claim. To do so, you must fill out a Priority Processing Request form.
What Can an Attorney Do for Me?
An attorney cannot guarantee that your VA claim will go any faster. Nonetheless, your lawyer can help in a variety of ways, including:
- Thoroughly explaining the process;
- Answering your questions;
- Helping you navigate the VA claims process; and
- Supporting you from beginning to end.
The VA claims process can be tricky and challenging to handle on your own. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can have a better chance at a successful outcome to your claim.
Consult with a VA Disability Attorney Today
Gerling Law exists to help clients get the help they need during a trying time. We believe in putting our clients first and always having their best interests at heart. Gerling Law’s attorneys are all experienced and well-versed in the law, making them your best ally.
We aim to help our clients in any way we can, getting them on the right path to recovery. Our firm offers free consultations. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can help you.
Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®