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.

I'm so thankful and grateful for all the hard work Jason, Tina and Liz did for me. They went above and beyond to get the best outcome for me. They took the to explain everything that was going on with my case again I'm so thankful grateful and happy with the outcome of my workers comp case.Adrian Adams
First off, I must say thank you again to the office of Perkins Studdard. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication your office has shown to achieve a successful and happy outcome. You have forever changed my family’s life! Also, I wanted to give a special shoutout to Jessica Hyatt for her excellent attitude, advice, and overall professionalism throughout every step of this process. This journey has finally been complete after more than a decade of being denied and almost giving up. However, two of my old coworkers advised me that the office of Perkins Studdard had also successfully helped them achieve their proper rating too. Needless to say, this has been one of my best decisions in life. I can now sleep a little better and stress free knowing I finally got what I deserved all along. Once again, thank you for everything! And shoutout to Travis Studdard, “we did it.” Respectfully, Jonathon FloresJonathon Flores
My family and I are so grateful for Jason Perkins and his team. Jason explains thing's to detail and walks you through every step of your case. I would highly recommend Perkins Studdard for your legal needs. Thank you so much Jason and Tina!Chapin & Lea Anne Warner
The best I know for workers comp attorney'sDenise Williams
Jason really has helped me so much through this hard experience I have went through! And the ladies in the office was wonderful with any and everything I had questions about! I highly recommend using this lawyer office to everyone and Jason Perkins for sure!! Thank y'all for everything and making it easier to get through this long though experience! James HammittJames Hammitt
Thank you so much ! I received excellent representation from the entire Perkins Studdard Law firm, my VA claim was resolved and granted in a timely manner, they were hands on with me during the entire process. I would definitely recommend the firm to any veteran deciding to file a VA claim.Darrell Lynn
I would like to thank the law firm of Perkins-Studdard (Travis) and his team, for performing such an outstanding job, at every possible level, during my recent situation with the VA Disability Claims . From the first time I called and spoke with Mr Studdard with an overview of my situation, until the final settlement was executed (successfully I may add), I always felt that I was in good hands with this firm. Everyone in the office, Jessica, and April were responsive, approachable, knowledgeable, good listeners, and extremely professional. Mr. Studdard was realistic of the circumstances and of the potential difficult process that would lay ahead, should I proceed. I can’t say enough about Travis, and I will always be thankful to him. Travis was committed, and he instilled a real sense of confidence during both the highs and the lows. He ultimately prevailed and the outcome was very much in my favor. Of course, each case is different on its own merits and one can never predict how things ultimately will turn out. All I know is that the settlement far exceeded my expectation. Mr. Studdard has been a blessing to me. I strongly recommend that anyone who would find themselves in a similar legal situation with the VA to contact Law Offices of Perkins Studdard for a consultation. It was a very positive experience given the circumstances. Thank you again, I shall forever be in your debt.Concetta Hogg
Mr. Perkins, I cannot express enough how thankful I am for your exceptional representation. Your hard work, expertise, and unwavering commitment to my case have left an indelible mark. Thanks to you, I can now move forward with my life, confident that justice has been served.Esli Roque
Travis and his team have been a blessing for me and my family. They have done an amazing job in helping me navigate the VA appeals process. They kept their eye on the ball all the way through the long, difficult and confusing process. I highly recommend Travis and his team because thanks to their professionalism and know how, I got the benefits I deserve.Daniel patriot
Travis has been a blessing to our family, he left no stone unturned and delivered the "W" for my VA claim. Every bit of my experience with the Perkins Studdard team was respectful and they demonstrated their appreciation for our service as veterans. I highly recommend this Law Firm and truly appreciate their willingness to stand on my behalf.M L

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