3 Tips – Guaranteed a
These are my top 3 reasons why you should file your claim while on active duty. These tips have a guaranteed higher disability rating percentage for all Zero Nexxus clients. Do not let anyone tell you to wait and do not sign a Power of Attorney or a contract for someone else to file for you. No one is going to care more about your claim than you. That is why we give YOU the tools and guidance to take control of the process. Schedule a consultation so you can receive a disability rating that you have earned.
This is something we’ve discussed briefly in another blog however, we should take a deep dive into what Access to Care actually means and why it’s important to you. The official definition of access to care is “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes”. Believe it or not, while on active duty our access to care is exceptional. Access to care does not translate to exceptional healthcare, there is a clear distinction. For the point of filing a substantive claim, access to care is more important than the quality of healthcare we receive. Let me explain.
Regardless where you may be serving in the military, access to care is always present. Whether you are deployed, working CONUS or on a ship you have organic medical assets with you. More often than not, most people will choose the easy wrong over the hard right. For example. You injure your knee on a run or lifting. Your medic buddy overhears you and offers you some pain killers, motrin, tylenol, etc and you move on and never take the time to get that knee pain documented. Thats the easy wrong. Comparatively, you take some tylenol or motrin and take the 30-60 minutes to go to medical the following day and get it documented. Thats the hard right. I would not attribute this to laziness, quite the contrary.
I believe that most service members fear missing work and that their workload may fall on a friend or they may appear “weak”. What you must realize is that you can get xrays, labs, and other diagnostic studies done and have a note written and uploaded to your medical record in that one visit. You have not created the nexus between your injury and your service. It took you an hour to do it.
This leads us to discuss the alternative. What is access to care on the other side? Lets discuss.
Once you have that DD214 in hand and you have not submitted your BDD claim, you are in the gauntlet known as the VA Healthcare system.
What most people in the military do not realize is that military access to care is far superior to that which you will encounter with the VA. Unfortunately, there is not reliable data available for VA appointment wait times. It is important to note that the time it takes to get enrolled in a VA benefits program is largely unknown. For the sake of this argument, let’s say you are already enrolled in the benefits program. How long do you think it would take you to get an appointment to see a provider about your knee pain? A week? A month? What if the provider orders you an x-ray, how long do you have to wait before you can get it done? Having a radiologist interpret those x-rays will take time and then ,of course, you have to make another appointment to go over the results.
If this injury has already been established as service connected, you are in luck. If it is not, you will have to go through the process of creating the “nexus” or link of that pain/injury to your service.
The Benefits Delivered at Discharge (BDD) program is an exceptional tool that the VA has created which simplifies the VA claim process. This helps you establish yourself in the VA Healthcare network immediately upon separation from service. If you are within 90 days and no longer qualify for the BDD you still have options. Call us at 1-844-ZNEXXUS for a pre-consultation to find out what options are available.
How do you find out about the BDD program? From a friend? A veteran? Your command? The VA representative at your transition course? The problem is most people never hear of it or when they do its at the transition course. If you attended the transition course with 12-8 months before you EAS, you’re in luck. If you went closer to 6-3 months before EAS’ing, then you’re most likely going to miss the window to apply. A large and mostly unknown obstacle to using the BDD program is that no one really knows about it. Unless you know what you are looking for on the VA website you will most likely miss the information. If you take one thing away from this article let it be this, you must file your BDD claim 180-90 days prior to separating from service.
With the aforementioned in mind, lets address what I view as the upside of the BDD program. The BDD offers active duty, who are less than 6 months from separating the opportunity to file a complete VA claim. In theory, this is amazing. If you are prepared, you can apply and receive your disability rating while on active duty and immediately be eligible to receive your disability check the day you get out of the military. If you are rated between 50% and 70% that is between $1043.00 to $1547.00 a month, tax free. Who couldn’t use an extra thousand dollars a month?
Our goal at Zero Nexxus is to help you take advantage of the BDD program or submission of a Fully Developed Claim while still on active duty. If you reach out to us with 24-12 months before you EAS, we can assist you and offer critical insight on the process. To be clear, you can reach out to us at any point prior to separating and we can still offer assistance however, reaching out to us with more time will be most advantageous.
Less Than 90 Days
Remaining In Service, No
With less than 90 days left on active duty, you still have a great option. If you have done any research into submitting a claim you may have come across the term Fully Developed Claim. A Fully Developed Claim is when you submit a claim that does not require the VA to obtain medical documentation on your behalf. If you submit your claim with all medical records and supporting documents, you have a fully developed claim. The FDC significantly reduces the workload on the VA. You may reduce your the time it takes the VA to adjudicate your claim by submitting an FDC.
Foresight is critical. The path is known, we can see the challenges a year or two in advance and yet, we wait. We wait to be frustrated by the barriers we encounter at the VA and we get frustrated because we knew better. The VA is counting on you to not apply for VA benefits. Why else would they find it acceptable that only 24% of Veterans receive benefits with an average rating of 10%? The truth is, they don’t care. No one cares about your VA claim. Most people don’t even care enough to apply for their own claim. Let us help you.