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IS COVID-19 AFFECTING VA DISABILITY CLAIMS?

| Apr 13, 2020 | Coronavirus, COVID-19, Veterans Disability Benefits, Veterans' Issues |

Veterans have many questions regarding their disability claims and how the VA is currently handling claims amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Paul Lawrence, Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary, approximately 90% of the VA is enabled to telework (nearly 23,000 workers), which means that claims should continue to be processed as usual. However, all the VA disability offices are closed to the public at this time. Claims can still be filed online through VA.gov or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

However, while claims are being processed, they will be slower, especially if a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination is required. By April 1, all VA Healthcare facilities had suspended C&P exams because the doctors are focusing on the COVID-19 response. Most contracted C&Ps are being rescheduled by the facility. In some instances, if the medical evidence is sufficient in the Veteran’s record, a telehealth C&P may be conducted, but the list of available telehealth C&Ps is very short and will be decided on a Veteran by Veteran basis

Finally, the Board of Veterans’ Affairs continues to conduct hearings. The hearings are via videoconferencing. These virtual hearings are by video through the VA Connect app or simply through a link provided by the BVA hearing coordinators. The hearings can be held in the comfort of the Veteran’s home, with your representative and the Veterans’ Law Judge on a three-way virtual video hearing.

As representatives advocating for those Veterans with disabilities, we understand this is a trying time. Our office is open for calls and online assistance and will continue to help our Veterans in any way possible. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, please call the office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation.

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