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Disabled veterans and fully developed claims

Serving in the military is an act of bravery and sacrifice. Our country's honorable military service members dedicate years of their lives to ensure that our nation and its freedoms are protected. Since they put so much on the line for our country, the least our country can do for them is to provide them with benefits that they need and deserve. Amongst these benefits are Social Security disability benefits. However, as we have discussed previously on this blog, these claims can take a long time to reach an adjudication.

Yet, veterans may be able to expedite their claim to receive their benefits more quickly. This can be done by filing what is referred to as a "fully developed claim." These claims are processed by the Department of Veterans affairs more quickly because they contain all relevant medical records and a certification that no other medical evidence is available. Though this may sound like a great way to expedite the process, it can also be dangerous for a disabled veteran.

Since a veteran in this circumstance certifies that no other medical evidence is available, the person's appellate options may be minimized if the initial claim is rejected. With this in mind, a disabled veteran needs to carefully consider the strength of his or her claim by assessing the federal requirements to be deemed disabled, as well as the medical evidence available.

Though a normal claim may be slower, it does give a disabled individual more chances to seek a reversal of a claim denial. That is not to say that going that route is right for everyone, as a fully developed claim may be beneficial in some circumstances. However, these matters are very fact specific, and those who wish to learn more about how to aggressively and competently pursue their claim may want to speak with a legal professional.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Fully Developed Claims," accessed on Aug. 8, 2016

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