How to Apply for Veterans Service-Connected Disability Compensation
If You Applied for VA Disability Benefits Previously: You have several options. You may follow the directions below for those who never applied, or you may also merely send a letter to the VA stating that you are seeking VA Disability benefits. This letter should include the medical conditions for which you are seeking new benefits or a rating increase and whether you are totally disabled and unable to work. When complete, it should be mailed to your local VA Regional Office, which in Hawaii is:
Department of Veterans Affairs VA Regional Office P.O. Box 29040 Honolulu, HI 96820
Note: The benefit of this option is that the onset date for which you can be awarded benefits is likely to be earlier than if you fill out the application. However, be forewarned that it may take you a bit longer to actually get benefits, as VA will require you to provide it with at least some of the information on the application at a later date.
If You have Never Applied for VA Disability Benefits: You must fill out an application. Follow the steps below.
Step One: Gather Your Documents Gather as many of the following documents as possible. However, do not let finding these documents delay your application for benefits regardless of how you are applying online. If you can’t find some or even most of these, start the application process anyway to preserve the earliest possible benefit date. These documents can be collected later.
● Your DD214(s) ● Any Medical Records you have or can Easily Obtain ● Any Documentation You have or Can Easily Obtain Showing Your Medical Condition Arose In or Because of Service ● A Copy of Your Marriage Certificate ● A Copy of Your or Your Current Spouse’s Divorce Decree(s) ● Copies of Birth or Adoption Records for Each of Your Dependent Children (including step-children) ● If You have a Bank Account, a Voided Check or Deposit Slip for the Account You Want Benefits Deposited
Step Two: Gather Your Information The following list shows the information you will be asked for when you apply. As with the documents above, try to have as much of this information accessible to you as possible when you fill out your application, but don’t let it excessively delay your application if you can’t find all of it.
● Your Service Information, to Include Your Dates of Service, Places of Entry and Exit, Branch, and Service Number. ● Disabilities you are claiming. ● The Date Each of Your Disabilities Began. ● The Medical Facilities and Addresses where You Receive Treatment for Your Disabilities. ● Information about Your Current Spouse, Including His/Her: > Social Security Number; > VA File Number if He/She is a Veteran; AND > Previous Marriages, Including the Dates and Places of Marriages and Divorces. ● Information About Your Children and Any Step-Children who Live with You, Including: > Names; > Social Security Numbers; > Dates and Places of Birth; AND > Any Amounts You Contribute in Child Support. ● Any Military Benefits You Receive and the Amount. ● Your Bank Account Information, if any, for Direct Deposit of Your Benefits
Step Three: Decide How You Want to Apply: Online or On Paper
If you wish to apply online, click the link for VA’s online application: HERE.
If you wish to complete a paper application, click the link for this application: HERE.
Step Four: Fill Out the Form 21-4142 After you have completed your application, if you listed any non-VA Healthcare providers at which you received treatment, you must complete a VA Form 21-4142 by:
> Filling in Your Name and Social Security Number; > Filling in the Name and Address of the Entity; > Listing the Dates of Treatment; > Answering “Authorize”, “Do Not Authorize”, or limiting consent in Question 9C; > Signing and Dating the Form; AND > Having a Witness Sign and Date the Form.
Your application should provide you with a VA Form 21-4142, but if you need more or a replacement, click: HERE.
Step 5: Sending in Your Documents Once your application is complete, you must also send in the documents you gathered at Step 1, as well as the VA Form(s) 21-4142 you completed at Step 4.
If you filled out an online application: You can scan and upload up to 5 documents totaling 1 megabyte once you have completed your application.
You may also mail your documents. If you do this, on each page you must first right your name and the confirmation number shown on the confirmation page you received when you submitted your claim online. Then take or mail your documents to the address shown on the confirmation page.
If you filled out a paper application: In Hawai’i, you must mail your application, as well as all of your documents to:
Department of Veterans Affairs VA Regional Office PO Box 29040 Honolulu, HI 96820
Alternatively, you may hand deliver it to the VA Regional Office which is located in the E-Wing of the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu on Oahu.
During this time, continue to go to ALL of your medical appointments. If the VA calls you, sends you forms, or sends you to a doctor, don't forget to respond. All of these steps are important, because otherwise VA may deny you benefits.
If VA does not award you benefits, do not give up. Instead, it is important that you appeal this decision as soon as possible. Or give us a call at (808) 536-8074, and we will help you.
Finally, no matter how long this process takes or how difficult it might seem, don't let it take charge of your life and make your condition worse. While this process might seem impossible, if VA turns you down, we’ll be here for you.
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