Times are getting crazier every day. If you’ve been following the news, you’ve no doubt heard about the budget cuts to the VA. This has left veterans with one single question on their mind: will you be able to get help when you need it?
The good news is, you won’t need to continue feeling hopeless for long. There is still considerable government support for our men and women in uniform; the question is just knowing where to find it. Everything from veteran benefits to financial help is at your disposal if you know how to get help.
Keep reading as we discuss how you can obtain veteran help.
How to Get Help Where You Live
Veteran assistance is the same across the board, regardless of which branch of the military you served in. However, the state where you live may allow you additional benefits and incentives.
As an example, Arizona has several impressive benefits for veterans. Disabled veterans do not pay property taxes in Arizona, and their spouses do not pay income taxes. These are just a few of the unique benefits available to Arizona veterans, specifically—or veterans who live in Arizona.
Your first step is to then research the benefits for your specific state and city. You could very well discover some enticing bonuses that may not exist elsewhere.
Contact the VA by Phone
The VA can be a complicated, frustrating organization to work with. It’s best to identify which department specifically you need to speak with, rather than playing phone tag to get where you need to go. Start with the VA list of phone lines.
This will be your primary resource for healthcare, disability benefits, and more. You can find hotlines for mental health, and even ones for specific situations like quitting smoking. You can avoid a lot of wasted time by calling the specific department you need to speak to.
As you probably know, the VA is understaffed and overworked. You may need to call in multiple times to get updates on your claim. Expect long wait times and be on hold frequently.
Be patient and understanding, as losing your temper could make the person on the other end less willing to help you. It’s an unfortunate situation that you have to play nice with an organization that does not always fulfill its promises. But the more calm and composed you are, the easier this process will be.
Know Your Qualifications
You can avoid a lot of wasted time if you know what you’re entitled to. It’s very common even for people who have a solid claim to experience repeated denials. Ensure that you meet the minimum standards to get the benefits you need before you apply for them.
Take the VA DBQ (Disability Benefits Questionnaire)
Disability benefits questionnaires are your key to getting coverage. It involves a medically-performed questionnaire that goes over any pre-existing or new conditions that you may have. This will help you to determine what benefits you can expect to get, and if the VA will cover your disability in the long term.
First, find the DBQ that relates to your specific condition. Download it and print it, then take it to your medical professional for an examination. This is essentially just a physical to verify your condition so you can proceed with a claim.
According to the website, most veterans will get at least a free examination. You may require follow-up examinations to get a complete reading on your disability.
From there, you will submit your claim as you normally would. Give the VA proper time to process this claim, but do feel free to ask for updates.
You May Qualify for 100% Permanent and Total Benefits
You’ve likely heard of 100% P and T benefits. These refer to severe disabilities that are often lifelong.
Total means that these are complete disabilities, the sort that would severely limit a veteran in everyday life and work. Permanent, as you can imagine, is a condition that shows no signs of improving in the long term.
Many refer to 100% P and T as the “holy grail” of military benefits. This is because once you get 100% P & T, no one can revoke it from you. The coverage is lifelong and comes with a host of other unique benefits that other veterans will not receive.
There are three general qualifications that you must meet to get full P & T:
- You must have a 100% disability, at least according to TDIU and the combined disability rating
- Your disability must originate from your service, even if only indirectly
- Medical evidence from your practitioner must prove that you will not recover from this disability at some future date
Some of the Unique Benefits for P & T Recipients
Even if you get this benefit, you will still receive all the standard benefits that all veterans receive. For example, monthly VA disability compensation and medical coverage–including medication and dental.
You may also receive the following specific benefits:
- CHAMPVA medical insurance
- Educational assistance for your dependents through Chapter 35
- DIC death benefits
- Depending on your state, this may include state-specific incentives and benefits
Another important distinction between P & T vs. other types of benefits is that you do not require future examinations. Most disabilities require you to go in and confirm that you still have the disability. That’s not the case with P & T; it’s lifetime coverage with no further questions asked.
Learn More With Veterans Educating Veterans
Recent events may lead some to believe that veteran assistance is on its way out the door. But veteran benefits are still yours for the taking, as long as you know how to get help. Depending on the level of your disability, you could potentially get full coverage and additional unique benefits with P & T.
Veterans Educating Veterans helps people like you get the information you need to navigate the VA. Our blog helps you deal with the challenges unique to current and former men and women at arms. Try out our disability calculator to get yourself started with a disability claim.