How to Speed Up Your VA Claim: Tips for Faster Processing + Video
Many veterans wonder how to expedite their VA claims or appeals, hoping to get a quicker resolution. While the VA operates on a first-come, first-served basis, there are strategies to qualify for expedited or priority processing. Don’t expect overnight results, but you can significantly reduce waiting times. In this guide, we’ll explore ways to accelerate your VA claim based on your unique situation.
1. Demonstrating Severe Financial Hardship:
If you’re facing extreme financial hardship, such as eviction, foreclosure, past-due utility bills, or bankruptcy, you can request priority processing. It’s crucial to provide supporting evidence like eviction notices or past-due bills along with VA Form 20-10207.
2. Age Over 85:
Veterans aged 85 or older with claims/appeals at the regional office receive priority processing without the need for additional documentation—simply provide your date of birth.
3. Terminal Illness:
For veterans with incurable diseases that will lead to their demise, priority processing is available. Supply the VA with medical records or a doctor’s note detailing your diagnosis, prognosis, and life expectancy.
4. Purple Heart or Medal of Honor Recipients:
Recipients of the Purple Heart (PH) or Medal of Honor (MOH) also qualify for priority processing. You must provide proof of these prestigious awards.
5. Former POW Status:
If you were a former prisoner of war (POW), submit evidence of your internment to receive priority processing.
6. Military Discharge Due to Serious Illness or Injury:
Veterans still in the military and facing early discharge due to a severe illness or injury should provide documentation of their condition and military records.
7. ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease Diagnosis:
Veterans diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease receive priority processing. Be sure to include proof of your diagnosis. Note that if you served at least 90 days on active duty and develop ALS at any point in your life, the VA presumes it’s service-related.
Board of Veterans Appeals Advancement:
For those with appeals at the Board, getting your claim advanced on the docket can significantly reduce waiting times, though it may still take some time. There are four ways to achieve this:
1. Terminal Illness:
Provide documented proof of your terminal illness, including diagnosis, prognosis, and life expectancy.
2. Severe Financial Hardship:
Demonstrate severe financial hardship, akin to the Regional Office criteria, with evidence like eviction threats, foreclosure notices, utility shut-off notices, repossession, bankruptcy, or homelessness.
3. Age Over 75:
Simply provide your date of birth if you’re over 75 to qualify for docket advancement.
4. Administrative Error:
In rare cases, if an administrative error significantly delayed the docketing of your case, you can request advancement. For instance, if the Regional Office failed to send your appeal to the Board for several years due to their error.
How to Request Advancement at the Board:
Unlike the Regional Office, you won’t use VA Form 20-10207 for the Board. Instead, file a “Motion to Advance on the Docket.” It’s a straightforward process:
1. Put your request in writing.
2. Clearly state the reason for advancement, providing the required evidence.
3. Include your name and VA claim number.
If your motion is approved, it will be noted in the Board’s decision letter. If denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reason.
Expediting your VA claim or appeal is possible, depending on your circumstances and where your case stands. While you may still face some waiting time, following these strategies can help you get a faster resolution. Remember, you have the power to influence your VA claim’s progress. For further assistance with your VA claim, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Edward M. Farmer.