Applying to receive your veteran disability benefits is actually quite simple; it is what follows where things become complicated. When you decide you are ready to file your claim, the first thing you must do is get the application. This paperwork is called the VA Form 21-526 or the Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. This form can be found online or at your local VA office. If you desire to avoid using a hardcopy, you are free to apply online.
What Paperwork Do I Need?
When you go to turn in your application, you should include a number of documents. These documents include your discharge or separation papers, your dependency records, and any medical evidence you have. The discharge papers will prove that you were indeed in the military when you claimed to be and that you left on anything other than dishonorable charges. The dependency records could be your marriage license or birth certificates. These records will affect how much compensation you are eligible to receive. Any medical evidence, such as records and professional evaluations, will help you prove your disability and resulting need for aid.
What if I Do Not Have the Necessary Documents?
If you do not have all three types of documents, it is ok. You can send in your application without these papers and your claim will still date back to the day the VA received your initial application. Should you not currently be in possession of your DD 214, or discharge papers, you can request a copy from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which holds all personnel files. The regional Veterans’ Affair Office will also aid you in collecting and retrieving all the necessary paperwork and records. It is a part of their duty to do so. However, it will be beneficial for you to have the necessary documents ready so that the entire process goes much faster.