The Legal Aid Society has launched an online, interactive tool designed for low-income veterans as they apply for VA benefits, such as pension and service-connected disability.
Two versions of the tool are available: one version can be used by any veteran; the other helps veterans living in Kentucky find state-specific resources to assist in completing the application form.
The tool can be found on Kentucky’s statewide legal aid website at http://www.kyjustice.org/veterans-interview.
The Department of Veterans Affairs processes more than one million claims annually. It can take the VA more than eight months to review and process the average claim. For low-income veterans, this delay in an award of disability or pension benefits stresses the household budget.
The Legal Aid Society’s tool guides veterans through the benefits application process in a manner intended to focus their answers and, in turn, help them submit a more complete application. It alerts users to information that must be supplied in order for the VA to timely process the claim and award benefits. At the conclusion of the interview, users may print drafts of their forms and a checklist of suggested supporting documents.
The tool was developed for veterans to complete in coordination with a representative accredited by the VA. In fact, Legal Aid encourages all users to have their draft applications and exhibits reviewed by an accredited representative before submission. By using this tool and consulting with an accredited representative, veterans will be able to submit more complete applications and reduce the risk of a need for a supplemental submission or for an appeal if the initial claim is denied.