While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted much of normal life, the VA disability benefits system is still open and processing claims. According to VA’s most recent Veterans Benefits Newsletter, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) continues to provide services and decide claims despite the ongoing pandemic through the increased use of virtual technology.
THE BOARD AND VETERANS COURT REMAIN OPEN
In addition to the VBA, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims are both still making decisions on disability benefit appeals. This means that while many in-person meetings, such as Board hearings and oral arguments, are being replaced with video conferences, appeals are still being processed by the Board and Court.
WHAT SHOULD A VETERAN DO?
Because the VA is still open and operating, veterans with disability claims should continue to pursue their claims. It is important that veterans comply with all deadlines in the decision-making process. Also, veterans who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits should move forward without any concern that the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent them from seeking benefits. Continuing to pursue a disability claim - even during the pandemic - is especially important because the date on which a veteran files a claim for benefits will often have a significant effect on the amount of compensation a veteran is able to receive.
WHERE CAN VETERANS GET HELP?
Along with the VA’s disability benefits system, veterans’ advocates are also still able and ready to assist if a veteran needs help appealing an unfavorable decision. Because nearly all of the work to assist a veteran appeal an unfavorable decision can be done remotely, veterans’ advocates remain able to assist. Accredited veterans service officers and attorneys remain available to assist, and no veterans should ever feel obligated to pursue his or her claim without help.
If you have any questions concerning your active or potential VA disability claim, the legal professionals at West & Dunn stand ready to help. Please feel free to call us at (608) 490-9449 or contact us online.