There is one mantra I like to say to each Veteran when I begin representing them: “The biggest weapon you must have with the VA is patience” – and I mean it. Some Veterans come to me after applying multiple times and they just cannot get what they deserve. Some have been fighting with the VA for decades. Most however applied once many years ago and just gave up. And I understand why – an initial claim can take 6 months or more to be decided. An appeal could take several years after that.
The reality is the VA takes a while to decide a claim and the Veteran should be prepared to stick with it for the long haul. It is an agency that is inundated with claims. I often find the employees of the VA genuinely do care for the Veterans, but the procedures for deciding claims are not always the most efficient. I tell my clients right off the bat how long it could take to get a decision from the VA so that they do not have unrealistic expectations. If my client knows what to expect, it minimizes frustration and impatience.
Fortunately, Congress and the Executive branch are beginning to take notice of the inefficient claims process and claims backlog. It seems the VA is on politicians’ radar and I think some good changes and improvements will be made to the system. I do believe there are brighter days ahead for the VA and the Veterans who file claims.