By Chris Johnson, VA Accredited Attorney and Partner
We see a lot of veterans who think they know whether they will qualify for VA benefits. Sometimes they are right, but many times they are wrong.
You never know for sure until you see the veteran’s documents. These documents must be reviewed thoroughly because we have people who think they're eligible that aren’t, and those convinced they’re not eligible who turn out not to qualify.
Many years ago, I had a client who was convinced he didn’t meet the service requirement for VA Pension. I wasn’t sure either, so we submitted the Standard Form 180, the official records request from the National Archive. It can take up to a year to get a response.
After six months of waiting, the client was impatient. “Are we ever going to hear anything?” he asked. “We need to do something.”
“If we don't have your military documents, we can't do anything,” I told him. “Based on what you’ve shared with me, it looks like you won’t be eligible, but I want to see the official documents before we rule it out. I want to see it in writing.”
After nine months of waiting, the documents arrived. When I reviewed them, I realize that this client did qualify for VA pension—just barely. A veteran must serve at least one day in a wartime period to qualify. This client had served two days. He qualified by a scant 24 hours. I had never seen one that close before.
It was a big win, but after so much waiting, it didn’t feel like a victory to my client. The barriers of entry are high for VA claims, and lengthy delays are one of them.
This story proves that when it comes to VA benefits, you must be patient, and you can’t assume anything. The proof is always in the paperwork, but it can take a while.
If would rather not handle a VA claim application on your own, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law is here for you. Just give us a call at 615.824.2571.