No need to worry, having a deferred VA Claim does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost!
Filing a VA Claim is quite a tedious process. There are many steps involved, yet it is definitely worth the time and effort. You served, and it is to your benefit to gather all of the pertinent information for the VA to review. Once you’ve compiled your information, you click the “submit” button, and you wait. You probably log into your account and check it on a daily (or hourly) basis. Once the VA has received your claim, they have two choices — approve or deny. But what if the result is neither approved or deny? This stage is called the deferred decision, where the situation is more complicated.
No Approval Or Denial Status. Now What?
You filed your claim, check the status of your disabilities on eBenefits, and out of seven disabilities, one turned out was deferred. You notice a “deferred” decision as you click on the submitted claims. Deferred meaning, delayed or more specifically, the VA is requesting more information to support your claim. In addition to more information, the VA may look at your application as incomplete because they need more medical records or administrative records.
You must put yourself in the VA’s perspective and understand their justification. Just because a deferred status showed up on your account doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad thing. What you need to realize is that having a deferred status is better than not approved
The deferred status can mean that the VA needs sufficient evidence to make a sound decision. The decision will weigh heavily upon the information that will need to be resubmitted or an in-depth C&P (Compensation and Pension) Exam.
At this point, you would reach out to the person who helped you file your claim or the VA to get some clarity. The information you might receive is, “We need to schedule another exam” or “Can you provide more medical documentation?” These questions are fairly common. You must act promptly since the VA is expecting the applicant to provide adequate information. The information will determine to decide, especially if the disability is secondary to another disability (i.e., Sleep Apnea secondary to PTSD).
The process will start from the beginning once you satisfy what the VA is requesting on your behalf. It is essential, and you must consider all of the evidence. The information gathered will be scrutinized on a higher level because the Veteran Affairs office will ensure that everything is accurate once you know. You can adjust what needs to be submitting to the VA. If you are using a VSO, you must ask the question of what to provide. Submitting false documents will further delay the process will frustrate you because you didn’t do your due diligence. Having a competent VSO is crucial because you will have a disability that will compensate you for life.
Here is some information to consider while having a deferred claim:
- Be mindful and be patient of the tedious tasks that take into consideration
- If using a VSO be patient with their knowledge and ask questions that will help you through the process
- If a C&P exam is requested, research on how to conduct a successful C&P exam
- Asking other veterans who have been in your shoes helps you in the long run.
- A deferred decision is not a bad thing. Remember, the VA is considering all information so that they can collectively make a sound decision.
Why Do Deferred VA Claims Occur?
Okay, that you have deferred claims definition in a nutshell, why do you believe this happens? There are many answers, but there isn’t a definitive way to explain it. Each situation is unique because every Veteran will have a different story to tell.
The VA reviews thousands and thousands of claims weekly, and making a Sound Decision that is a short amount of time is not conducive to the VA claim process. But unfair to have the VA decide with no medical evidence because you just put a claim down. Imagine every Veteran submitted on average of 10-15 claims and thought they were going to get approved. The VA didn’t even consider any of the medical evidence. What questions would you have for the VA if that were to happen? Sure, you would get compensated; however, the process would be broken.
Throughout the years of VA claims, the process has improved and streamlined because of in-depth research and help offered on all spectrums of the VA claim process.
A deferred claim is a delay, but think of it as a further review as if you’re going before a panel. Your applications mean a lot to the committee, and if you want to make sure that they have all of the evidence, all documentation everything in place.
What’s Next for my Deferred Claim?
When you discovered that you have a deferred claim, it is essential and imperative to your benefit to have your medical records up to date. If you are unsure, contact the VA, and they will check in the system on what is recorded. Ensure that the VA is specifically giving you your action steps and not the action steps that you may think you need to do. Read that sentence again. Everyone’s situation will be different, so please be mindful of the actions that need to be taken.
Step 1) Clearly Define the action steps and have a notebook to write down your claim.
Step 2) Your questions will dictate your claim process. As mentioned earlier, do your due diligence.
Step 3 Your effort in ensuring a deferred claim is processed will depend on how much you are asking for help.
Need help with your VA Claim?
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About the Author
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.