Usually, a congressional investigation will get answers for you that have been ignore in the past by other means. Your congressman/woman will probably get results for you or give you a good reason why not.
At that page, click on the tab that says “VA Benefits Claims Process.” That provides information on the process itself, as well as information about the Senators who serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee and how to contact them for assistance.
The House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee page also includes a great deal of information about VA, benefits available, and how to get help with your claim. That page can be accessed at http://veterans.house.gov/
Many of the calls and emails received by the Committee are questions about the VA Benefits Claims Process or requests for help in resolving a claim.
HELP WITH A CLAIM
If you are seeking help in resolving a specific problem with VA, we recommend that you contact one of the Senators from your home state. Each Senator employs trained professionals who specialize in assisting constituents with federal processes such as VA and Social Security applications.
If you are from Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, or West Virginia, then one of your Senators is on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Please Click Here for our membership list, and contact your home state Senator. Members of this Committee have staff who focus specifically on veterans’ issues.
If you are not from one of the states listed above, please click on: My United States Senator.
Requests for assistance received by the Committee will be forwarded to the attention of your home-state Senator.
APPLYING FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY FROM VA
Am I eligible for VA service-connected disability compensation?
If you served on active duty in the Armed Forces (including being deployed while serving in the National Guard or Reserve), were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, and believe that you developed a disability or aggravated a preexisting disability, during or as a result of military service, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation. In some circumstances, veterans of the National Guard or Reserve whose disabilities are related to military training may also qualify. In addition, veterans who have a service-connected disability that led to an additional disability may receive compensation for that disability. Veterans who have a non-service connected disability which is aggravated by a service-connected disability may also qualify for compensation. Veterans who are disabled as a consequence of receiving care at a VA hospital or during vocational rehabilitation may also qualify for compensation. There is no time limit for filing an application for disability benefits, but waiting may make the claim harder to prove since records could be lost or destroyed. Benefits are not retroactive, so an application should be filed as soon as there is evidence of a disability.
How do I apply for service-connected disability compensation?
Download VA Form 21-526, Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension, or access the web-based application at the Veterans ON-line Application (VONAPP) website. This document can be printed out and mailed to the appropriate VA Regional Office or submitted online via VONAPP.
Fill out this form in FULL. List ALL disabilities for which you are claiming service-connection, including all information you have on treatment dates and locations. Include any information concerning environmental exposures, combat or activities that you believe are related to the disabilities being claimed. If a section is not applicable, mark “N/A”, rather than leaving it blank.
You may also send a letter to VA stating that you wish to apply for service-connected compensation benefits. You will need to complete the application within one year from the date of your letter in order for such a letter to be treated as the original date of your application.
Can I get help with my application?
Many veterans service organizations are accredited by VA to assist with applications for benefits (a full list is available by Clicking Here.) In some locales, county and state veterans service officers provide free help with VA claims. You can call 1-800-827-1000 and ask what service officers are available in your area. You may not pay an attorney for services relating to the filing of your original claim.
What should I submit with my application?
• Service medical records and all other medical records relevant to the disability you are claiming. VA will try to get these records if you do not have them, but it saves time if you gather them yourself. When gathering your medical records, it is important to remember that there are three basic requirements for proving that a condition is service-connected: 1. You must have a current disability or symptoms of a disability. 2. There must be evidence of a disability in service or of an incident or event during military service which could relate to the current, claimed disability. 3. There must be medical evidence of a link (sometimes called a “nexus”) between the in-service disability or the incident or event and your current disability. • Information about your family. If you have a spouse or other dependents, complete all information on the form including Social Security numbers, dates and location of birth, marriage, divorce or death of previous spouses, and court records of adoption.
• Proof of disability for an adult child who became disabled during childhood.
• DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other separation papers
If you do not have a copy of your DD Form 214, you may submit Standard Form 180 (SF 180), Request Pertaining to Military Records, to
National Personnel Records Center Military Personnel Records 9700 Page Avenue St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 Fax: (314) 801-9195 Online: National Archives’ eVetRecs website.
Where do I send my application?
Photocopy the complete application, including DD Form 214, completed VA Form 21-256, and all supporting materials and KEEP A COPY for your records. If you do not submit the application on line, mail the application and all supporting materials to your nearest VA regional office. Be sure to put your file number or Social Security number on all documents you submit in person or by mail. You can find the mailing address in the telephone book or by Clicking Here.
What happens next?
After VA receives and reviews your application, it will send you a letter stating what, if any, additional evidence is needed to support your claim, what part of that additional evidence you are responsible for getting, and how VA will help with gathering material. You will receive a decision on your claim after VA obtains all the information and evidence.
Additional information on the claims adjudication process may be obtained by Clicking Here.
What do I do if I do not agree with VA’s decision?
You can file a “Notice of Disagreement” in writing with VA. This notice must be received by VA within one year of the mailing of the decision being appealed. If you do not appeal within that time period, you will be required to submit “new and material” evidence to reopen your claim.
If you do not appeal within one year and new and material evidence is received after the one year period, your benefits will only be paid from the date of the reopened claim. You may also pay an attorney or work with the veteran service organization of your choice in preparing your appeal. VA’s pamphlet concerning appeals may be found by Clicking Here.
The above information is general information provided for overall guidance only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice for a particular veteran and should not be relied upon for that purpose, as individual circumstances may affect rights and procedures in individual cases. For additional guidance, please consult your regional VA office, a veterans’ service organization, or an attorney specializing in veterans’ benefits issues, who may be able to help advise you on your particular situation.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS Russell Building Room 418 202-224-9126 VISITORS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Individuals who are planning to attend a Committee hearing or meeting and require an auxiliary aid or service should contact the Committee at 202-224-9126. So as to best enable staff to make arrangements, please call at least 48 business hours in advance.
Among other things, staff can arrange for ASL interpreters, convert hearing testimony to Braille, and reserve seating for individuals who have service animals. The Committee’s hearing room in Russell 418 has a hearing induction loop installed to assist visitors with hearing aids; and also has individual wireless hearing amplifiers available from any Committee staff member. The Committee routinely leaves space open at hearings to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs. The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs holds most of its hearings in the Russell Building in room 418. However, we occasionally schedule hearings in public hearing rooms in the Hart and Dirksen Buildings.
There is no parking available to the public on the Capitol grounds. The best drop-off location for Russell Building access is the corner of Constitution and Delaware Avenues, NE. The closest Metro stop is Union Station.
There are metal detectors at each entrance so be prepared to empty your pockets of electronic devices, change, keys and all other items that cause concern at metal detectors. There is also the option of being “wanded” manually rather than going through the metal detector at the door.
All of the public hearing rooms in the Senate are accessible. Please see the information on the following pages to assist you in finding the accessible entrance(s) to the Russell, Dirksen, and Hart Buildings.
**In case of an emergency requiring you to evacuate a Senate office building, the Committee staff has been trained to assist you and will help you reach the designated evacuation site.
The Russell Building
The accessible entrance to the Russell building is on Delaware Avenue, NE. It is to the left of the staircase that is at the corner of Constitution and Delaware Avenues, NE.
The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is located in room 412 on the Constitution Avenue side of the building. After entering Russell through the accessible entrance, proceed to the fourth floor using the elevator bank to your right. In the event of an emergency evacuation while you are in the Russell Building, proceed to Russell Freight Elevator 16 which is on the C Street side of the building. The freight elevator has been designated as the primary evacuation site for employees and visitors with mobility impairments. This elevator is marked with a blue sign that says “Primary Staging Area”. The Capitol Police will operate the elevator and assist with the evacuation. The likely instruction will be to take the elevator to the First Floor, turn left and proceed to the accessible door at Delaware and Constitution.
The Dirksen Building
There is one accessible entrance to the Dirksen building on C Street, NE, near the corner of First Street. It is very close to the entrance to SDG-50, the Dirksen Auditorium. If you are attending a hearing in Dirksen 106, the closest accessible entrance is in Hart, at Constitution and 2nd Street.
In the event of an emergency evacuation while you are in the Dirksen Building, proceed back to the C Street side of the building. The freight elevator # 2 has been designated as the primary evacuation site. This elevator is marked with blue signs that say “Primary Staging Area”. Take the elevator to the Ground Floor and exit the building on C Street. The Capitol Police will check these areas and provide assistance. The Hart Building
There are two accessible entrances to the Hart building: Constitution Avenue, near the corner of Second Street, NEThis entrance is the closest accessible entrance to the hearing room in 106 Dirksen.
Second Street, NE, in what is called “the Hart Horseshoe” Once you have entered the Hart Building through either accessible entrance, proceed toward the large sculpture in the center of the Hart atrium. There are elevator banks located at either side of the sculpture. In the event of an emergency evacuation while you are in the Hart Building, please proceed to the C Street side of the building. Freight elevator #14 has been designated as the “Primary Staging Area”. The Capitol Police will check these areas and provide assistance.
it has been my experience in the past decade that contacting elected officials leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth I have had better results with hookers in the past at least I got what I paid for now as far as dealing with Congressional people they usually do nothing for you they have staff members who actually do the "work" if they are good they may be able to obtain results, if they are typical they send a offical request for assiatnce to the VARO and ask where your claims stands and what are the problems in getting you your benefits, what they get in reply is a "normal" letter telling the Congress critter that they are "working on it and everything that can be done is being done" and when it is resolved they will be the first to know, the VA has 60 days to respond to a "congressional inquiry" much like when you were in the military they have the same type of response to Congressional inquiries they have people who know what and how to respond to the elected officials, they have been doing this for decades, there are normally files that show the staff officer that has to form the reply how to format the response and what is needed to dot the i's and cross the t's to protect the chain of command. Congressional offices and the VA has the same system in place, the only difference in response times is from the White House Presidential inquiries have a 10 day window for a reply from the VA I have seen this up close and personal which leaves the VA open to mistakes they don't always have time to cross the t's and dot the i's. This is where you may catch them in a mistake if you look closely, that is where I caught them they got caught lying about my use as a human test subject during one of the rush replies to the White House and then VA Chairman of the Senate VA Committee (wide spread senator from Idaho) his namje slips my mind at the moment but the VA got caught lying that I was sent home from Edgewood Arsenal without ever being used in any experiments and my VA records showed that I was returned to my "home" on 10 July 1974, one problem with that reply I was not sent home as they claimed and that die to this I had never been used in any experiments since I left before any experiments began.
The real record showed I was discharged from Aberdeen Proving Ground Hospital on 10 July 1974 and returned to Edgewood Arsenal on 10 July for continued TDY in the med vol program until I left on August 22 1974 which openly contradicted the statements of the then Director of Compensation and Pensions Renee Szybala.
This glaring distortion was enough to force the VARO to have to open the claim to exposure to chemical weapons and drugs while on TDY to Edgewood Arsenal.
For the most part Congressional Inquiries are nothing more than a paper drill thatthe main purpose is to cover all of the government officials azzes more than it is to fix a problem any veteran is having with the VA about a specific claim.
I know there are a few cases where actual Congressmen or women get involved and demand answers and refuse to take part in the "white wash" but they are few and far between. I have even been brushed off by John Hall himself as I had his private e mail account before he was elected to Congress being a campaign volunteer opens many doors, but even he shrugged off the probelsm of a Cold War veteran and the abuse that they were suffering after more than 30 years. He is in charge of the House VA Oversight Committee, if I could not get and keep his attention what chance did I stand with my own Congressman Joe "you lie" Wilson R of SC02, his office manager told me I just needed to learn to take no for an answer this was after President Clinton forwarded my request for help to his office after meeting him in person when he signed my book on Dec 17, 2007 when he was here in Columbia SC campaigning for Hillary for President. He did however sign Dr Ketchums self published book about the Edgewood Experiments.
He had his aide give me his business card with his email address ion it to send him the information relating to my case, his response was to send it to my local Congressman and demand his help. That got me the lecture about learning to take NO for an answer. Well I didn't and I proceeded with my BVA appeal and as you all know I did prevail at the BVA level, by ignoring the Edgewood experience and showing how my CAD and hypertension was actually secondary to my already SC PTSD, the link was easier to make that trying to prove the toxic exposures caused my damage. In most medical problems there are many possible explanations on what caused the medical condition, sometimes you nedd to stop fiaxting on one aspect and be willing to look outside the boax and see if another possibility can be used to connect the dots on your service connected problems, with military personnel there can be multiple possibilities that lead to your medical problems explore them all and throw everything at the wall and see if something will stick.
Elected officials are not the answer most people think they will be, to me they are a thing to be used only as a weapon of last resort, they cause my more trouble than they fix.
Posts: 1381 | From: South Carolina | Registered: Jul 2005
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