Navigating VA Disability Benefits Application Process By John Roberts
Lisa Willis Veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible for
veterans’ disability benefits, which include health care and compensation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The application process for eligibility can be daunting. For those coping with visible and invisible injuries, the juggling act can become overwhelming. Balls get dropped, and in this story, the balls are unfortunately the veteran’s physical, mental, and economic wellness. Upon filing her initial claim, Cecilia Burgos, a U.S. Navy wounded warrior from Medford New York, was denied disability benefits by the VA. She immediately filed an appeal in 2014. Fast forward to October 2016: Cecilia was still awaiting a final decision on her appeal, but now she was also facing imminent foreclosure because her medical conditions were affecting her ability to find suitable employment, leaving her without any means to afford her mortgage payment. Cecilia is one of many veterans who struggle with the transition to civilian life. Since 9/11, 2.4 million brave women and men have deployed around the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism. With improvements in medicine and technology, the percentage of those surviving their injuries and returning with service-connected disabilities is staggering. These veterans struggle daily with the aftermath of their physical sacrifices made on the battlefield.
HOMELAND / August 2017
Joey According to theWillis Department of Housing and Urban Development, 123,000 veterans and their family members have been prevented from becoming homeless. Still, an annual count conducted in January 2016 revealed approximately 40,000 veterans across the country remain homeless. As these nationally reported numbers continue to affect the veteran community, the need becomes evident to help injured veterans make the most of their benefits. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) believes long-term financial and medical support play a critical empowerment role in the recovery process, which is why it created the Benefits Service program. To help injured veterans, their family members, and their caregivers successfully transition to life after injury, the WWP Benefits Service program provides the tools needed to navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Working closely with each agency, the Benefits Service team walks injured veterans, family members, and caregivers through every step of the transition process, ensuring claims are filed and processed correctly – the first time. Unlike traditional models of veterans’ services, the WWP Benefits Service program takes a comprehensive approach to the claims process.