How Do I File a Claim for Veterans’ Benefits?

There are many different types of veterans benefits including benefits for education and training, home loans, vocational rehabilitation and pension.  This article only focuses on applications for veterans’ disability compensation benefits which can be awarded when a veteran has a disease or injury that is caused by, related to or aggravated by military service.

How To File For Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits

Veterans can apply for disability compensation benefits without hiring an attorney.  One way to do so is to apply online through your eBenefits account.  You can also go to the nearest VA Regional Office and complete an application or submit your claim to a Regional Office by mail after you complete the particular form for the type of benefit for which you are applying.  For disability compensation, that would be either VA Form 21-526 Application for Compensation and/or Pension or VA Form 21-526EZ Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation.

The “EZ” version is a simplified version that will get the process started and establish an “effective date,” although there may be additional information sought later by VA that would have been addressed on the longer version.  So, the more complicated form could potentially result in a faster claims decision, although that is never certain when dealing with VA.  Some time after your claim has been filed, you will receive a Rating Decision from a VA Regional Office indicating what, if any, disability the VA has determined is related to your military service.  If you disagree with that rating decision, you can appeal it by filing a notice of disagreement.

Do I Need an Attorney to File For Veterans Disability Compensation?

You do not have to have an attorney to file an application for veterans disability compensation.  We usually recommend for veterans to file the initial application themselves since the VA benefits system is supposed to work for the veteran instead of against the veteran.  Part of that is based on the “duty to assist,” which is VA’s obligation under the law to help veterans identify and obtain evidence supportive of the claimed benefits.

If you are able to secure your benefits without the service of an attorney, that’s wonderful.  Unfortunately, many veterans are denied some or all of the benefits they should receive.  In those cases, an attorney can help appeal the denial (or partial grant of benefits, as the case may be).  These appeals are the primary focus of our firm.  We want to help those veterans who are unable to receive their benefits without our help.

For representing you on the appeal, there would generally be a contingency fee contract with a potential attorney’s fee calculated as a percentage of any back due benefits if we agreed to represent you on the appeal.  Still, you would only pay us if we were successful in recovering benefits for you. We take this approach because it allows veterans to secure the benefits they can without an attorney involved so our work can be focused on those benefits they VA would not have granted otherwise.

Other Questions About Veterans Benefits

For answers to additional questions about veterans’ benefits claims, please feel free to visit the Veterans’ Benefits section of our Questions and Answers page or simply complete the “Need Help” form at the right to get a consultation about your veterans’ benefits claims.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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