Brian Hill: Welcome to the Hill and Ponton video blog. I’m Brian Hill and this is Carol Ponton. Today we want to talk to you about how you go about proving a claim for benefits with an effective date back 30 years ago. This is important information. So stick with us and we’ll be right back.
Brian Hill: So Carol, talk to us a little bit about proving a claim for benefits that’s 30 years old.
Carol Ponton: Well, that’s difficult and unfortunately I feel like the veteran is going to be … the veteran or whoever is handling the veteran’s case is going to be responsible for proving that. The law says that the VA is supposed to assist, but we find that doesn’t really happen. So we want every veteran to know that they need to go out and they need to get all their medical records. They need to get statements, everything they can to prove how bad their condition was back to whatever day it started.
Brian Hill: So let’s assume that the veteran does that and he gets a 10% rating, 0% rate. What does he do?
Carol Ponton: I have to tell you, I see that so often and it’s so infuriating. You appeal it. And one thing you need to know is the regional office … So you file a claim, it’s handled at the regional office. The regional office, in many cases, does not get the veteran what they’re entitled to. And we find that we appeal that and now you have the opportunity to go directly to the Board of Veterans Appeal, if you’ve gotten all your medical records or if you can get them within 90 days.
Carol Ponton: So I want you to know, as a matter of course, I see veterans underrated all the time, so they have a right to these benefits, but the VA often underrate them. I’ve never seen them overrate. So you need to look at the rating you got, look at the rating, if you don’t think it’s fair, then you need to appeal it and you need to realize that you have an ability to get for diabetes, for instance, the fact that you have diabetes, but then also all of the problems that it causes. So often I will see somebody who has diabetes that has caused some chronic kidney problems, only getting 20% for their diabetes. That’s not right. So all of the problems that that service-connected condition causes, you’re entitled to a benefit.
Brian Hill: So the real point here is that don’t stop at the first step-
Carol Ponton: Right.
Brian Hill: Keep trying.
Carol Ponton: And with these claims where you’re going to need buddy statements, where the evidence is very old, you should expect to go to the Board of Veterans Appeals. That’s where you’re going to get the benefits you’re entitled to.
Brian Hill: Well, thank you for joining us today for the Hill and Ponton video blog.