For Veterans experiencing dire life circumstances, the waiting time to move a compensation claim through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may seem daunting. But the good news is that you may be qualify for an expedited claim.
Here are four valid reasons the VA might expedite your claim:
- Advanced Age
- Lack of Housing
- Terminal Illness
- Extreme Financial Hardship
Here’s how they’re broken down by the VA.
1. Advanced Age
If you’re age 75 or older, you may be eligible to move up in the VA claims waiting list. Call your VA office to learn its age requirements. Some VA offices put this threshold at age 80.
2. Lack of Housing
The VA will consider — but not necessarily approve — an expedited claim if you don’t have a regular place to sleep. This includes:
- Welfare hotels
- Transitional housing for the mentally unwell
- A public or private place not designed for regular sleeping (such as outdoors)
3. Terminal Illness
If you’ve been diagnosed with an incurable and/or fatal disease, you may be eligible for an expedited claim. Examples of such illnesses are ALS, Stage IV cancer, and heart failure among others.
4. Extreme Financial Hardship
This is severe, ongoing, and overall hardship. Examples could include:
- Lacking funds for basic needs such as: food, medical expenses, transit, shelter, utilities, or clothing
- Foreclosure on your home
- Repossession of your automobile
- Seizure of property or assets
What can I do to fast track my VA claim?
If you recognize yourself in one of those descriptions, then you’re probably asking: What’s next?
You’ll want to contact your VA regional office to learn how to request an expedited claim. Each office may have different protocols.
But before you do that, you need to gather information to strengthen your case. This can come in the form of:
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
- Foreclosure forms
- Collection notices from creditors
- Food stamp records
- Health care records
- Any other items that show your struggle is real
The more information you can offer, the more likely your claim will be fast-tracked.
If you’re a Veteran seeking personalized transitioning support, check out SAVI’s free programs here, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.