One of the many problems I hear over and over again is the frustration of veterans and their families in contacting the VA. There are several ways I recommend to do this.
First, you can go to a VA Regional Office and speak to someone. A list of the VA Regional Offices is located at http://www.va.gov/.
Second, you can call the VA at 1-800-827-1000. This is the national 1-800 number and you will have to negotiate through the program to speak to a representative. To my knowledge, the VA no longer provides direct numbers for each Regional Office, so this is the only way to call them. You should always ask for the name of the person you are speaking with and write down both their name and the date and time you call. Keep notes on what you discuss and the information the VA provides to you. Be polite, but firm. Please understand that the national number does not always have the most up-to-date information on the status of appeals and their information can be wrong.
Third, you can contact the VA by mail; you may submit applications, documents and requests for status to your Regional Office. Again, the addresses are listed at http://www.va.gov/. Unfortunately, since the VA is a huge bureaucracy, they have the potential to lose anything sent to them. Please keep a personal copy of everything and anything you send to the VA. Our Firm has a practice of submitting all correspondence to the VA by United States Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested. The green card method insures proof of mailing and receipt by the VA.
Finally, one underutilized method to contact the VA is via the internet at www.iris.va. Again, you can access this feature through the main VA web site, http://www.va.gov/. However, this method does require what I consider knowledge of particular information for each specific veteran, such as dates of service. While I have not yet found this method particularly reliable for my practice, it does have potential to be successful in the future.
I hope these suggestions help. Please contact me and let me know if there are certain topics you would like me to address. You can contact me at [email protected].