This quick disability claim letter to VA Comp & Pension from my own claim for sinusitis, sleep apnea and allergic rhinitis should help get your claim going.

Knowing where to start when filing your first disability compensation claim is daunting, and this quick article with my own sample will help ease your anxiety.

About Sample Disability Comp Letter

Here is a sample of the first two pages of my application for disability compensation to the Dept of Veterans Affairs. If you want to “understand” how to increase your disability or managed the process, check out my post to increase your disability compensation rating. It provides the step by step process of researching your claim.

Keep Disability Letter Short

The entire disability claims package, including documentation, was approximately 70 pages. My summary letter was 5 pages. I usually suggest that disabled veterans keep their disability claims summary to no more than 5 pages. One to two pages is ideal but not a hard and fast rule.

RELATED: Veteran Shocked By Disability Rating Reduction 70 To 0 Percent

The reason for the length of my disability claims package was because of the Veterans Administration‘s incompetence.

Dispute Bad Facts

The VA claimed I had only seen a doctor 1 time for allergies. The claims adjudicator also completely ignored all my treatments for sinusitis. Rather than trusting the VA to their own lack of due diligence  I took action and wrote a thorough summary.

For that reason, I took it upon myself to ensure that they had the correct disability documentation the second time around. At the appointment, the VA’s ENT (ear, nose and throat) examiner told me the VA had conceded service-connection for the sinusitis before even beginning his exam.

I wrote this and include a copy of the first two pages of my disability claims letter to give you an idea of how to format your own summary letter. This format was borrowed from a NOVA conference on VA disability compensation primarily for Veterans Law attorneys.

Before Drafting Your Disability Letter

Before drafting your letter, be sure to look through your service medical records to get your dates right. Be sure to get a copy of your file using the Freedom of Information Act request letter. Getting your file is the first real step to winning your disability claim. Click on the above link to get a copy of that letter.

SAMPLE DISABILITY COMPENSATION LETTER

Next Steps On Disability Letter And Disability Claim

I hope that helps push your claim along by greasing your wheels in at least one way to present your claim to a VA claims adjudicator. Provide this to your VSO or attorney to help begin the process, whether on appeal or filing a new claim or anywhere in between.

One last important detail is the need to request a copy of your file.

I wrote up a free eBook for veterans to download that will help you get a copy of certain files that VA likes to hang on to like your health records, Voc Rehab records, and similar files that are more difficult to request.

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File for Compensation and Pension from VA — Disabled Veterans Guides

[…] Include a table of contents of your injuries. Here is a copy of an actual claim letter for sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and sleep apnea. It’s mine, so be […]

Rory R Jones
Rory R Jones

I have filed a claim with the VA Feb 8th 2009. The Rep for whom failed to file what he told my wife and I he would do. He would not return phone calls e-mails ext… upon looking into this-I decided to enlist the help of Sen.Carl Levin from our great state of Michigan. I was sent asap a form letter to sign to give him the permission he and his staff needed. I will say this,they were prompt and very nice in responses.
I suffer from MST/PTSD, and medical issues. I have letters from my doctors rating me at 100% .
This event took place in the US Army back in 1971. In short-it was a very bad situation for which if I talked well you get the picture. I buried the event as if it did not take place until 2005 when it came out like an atom bomb. Messed me up badly I must tell you.
To update this-I finely got my claims corrected with much effort and the help of Sen.Levin’s office.
Went through my interview in which they failed to have my c-files on hand. Image that one! They had over two months to get them there and failed an easy task. She wanted to know if I wanted to wait till she got my c-file? Heck no-I would just have to wait months for the next one.
We went through it and she wrote down some notes on the side of something. I had made a binder with copies of all information I had. She didn’t want it. Now why? It would have helped her out greatly. How many Vets take the time to do this?
This was in 2010. For some unknown reason, they were given a 15 day period to reply with a decision and id approved, a rating. Both the Va and Sen.Levin’s office called me about this and said it was in the highest level. What ever that means.
As of the writing of this letter, still no reply.
So that is my story. Just like the military,hurry up and wait. wait-wait and more waiting.
I am and will always be proud to have served our great country. I would go now if asked to defend her.
However, why do Vets – mostly from that time, have to endure this? Those from Iraq seem to come first. Tell me why. Just about every Vet from my time at the VA hospital in Ann Arbor Mi feel the same way.
Justice and fairness is all we want. To be looked at as we should be. To have any and all claims looked at in an open and fair manner. And a response sure would be nice.
Rory R Jones
U>S Army 1971-74

Arnold Ladd
Arnold Ladd

I have fought since 1979 for a VA Disability Rating. I have about given up, but my local VSO has assured me he is with me all the way. A good man. I would like to know where I can contact someone so I can show my respect for this man. Any ideas. I live in Anderson, IN
Thanks

Weaver Brian
Weaver Brian

I have had some amount of experience with the C&P folks, and it has been my experience that it is always to your benefit to include a reference to every single visit to any doctor, hospital, clinic, dispensary, etc., including military, VA and civilian facilities. To that end, I usually try to have the latest copy of my records that I can get, just to use as a reference while writing my statement. Remember this one thing: Your claim is not nearly as important to them as it is to you. They will probably not go through your records as closely as you would, so always make reference to everything relevant to your claim. (You know, lead them by the hand, show them every little detail.) The tricky part is to do this without going on for so long that they get bored to death while reading your statement. There is a very fine line in striking that balance. Good luck with your claim, and be prepared to wait a while. They aren’t in any hurry, either.

Rob Thompson
Rob Thompson

I completely agree with Rory R Jones, I am a 31 year retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. I submitted my claim online in May 2010 (received a confirmation number) and inquired in Aug 2010 only be told that the claim have been erroneously closed and would be reopened. The VA would then followup via telecom. As of this date (2/8/2011) I am still awaiting. I serviced my Country faithfully during both Vietnam and the 1st Gulf war and should not be pushed aside.

Russell W. O'Neal
Russell W. O'Neal

I have a similar claim for PTSD and unemployability and have been denied even after the PTSD rules have been changed. I have been diagnosed by VA mental health and my doctor said I am unemployable. I contacted my state Senator who’s office sent a letter to the VA asking about it only to have the VA send an explanation letter and that was it, I already knew that but I wanted to know why. So I didn’t get any help there and I can’t afford a lawyer, I live in Texas, any suggestions? Thanks

david royse
david royse

I would like to know why the airforce men at a base in Bangkok, Thialand are being turned down for disability claims on agent orange exposure . They were the ones who loaded and unloaded the canisters of agent orange. They also had to clean the planes.

Ben Krause
Ben Krause

My hunch is that they are not having success proving that the Agent Orange they were exposed to is the cause of the conditions they have now. As I understand it, there are only a few places in the world that the VA is allowing presumptive service-connection for conditions resulting from Agent Orange. I assume Bangkok is not one of these. The person should contact either a VSO or a Veterans Law attorney if they were denied ASAP because there time limit on appeal for these cases up to the Board or the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Lee Gee
Lee Gee

David,

Google the below citation and you will find a claim that was approved for Parkinson (Agent Orange) for a veteran that was stationed at Don Maung Bangkok.

Citation Nr: 1530215
Decision Date: 07/15/15 Archive Date: 07/21/15
DOCKET NO. 14-01 657 ) DATE

Vincent Collins
Vincent Collins

My name is Vincent Collins I was in South Da Nang Vietnam Province in1970 at the time Agent Orange was administered I aquired hepatitis as well as high blood pressure during that time. I put in a claim was denied any suggestions.

Paul Fruehauf
Paul Fruehauf

Russell O’Neal:
What was the specific reason for denial that the RO gave on the original letter? You have to respond specifically to the reason for denial and, if possible, provide additional evidence to counter it. The new PTSD rules cover combat veterans. Did you serve in combat? Was it verified? If not, did you have a verifiable stressor statement? Have you already filed an appeal?

Daniel Lawson
Daniel Lawson

Thanks for the information. I also filed and appealed my own claim. 8 years worth. I am now 100% and also the Post Service Officer with The American Legion Post 147 of Jasper Indiana. I average 2 appointments per week assisting fellow veterans. They range from 85 years old to 21 years. Every case if different and many are very complicated. Housedbound cases (Aid & Attendance) are the worst. It is not uncommom for the veterans to pass before the case is final. Daniel Lawson, Sfc US Army Retired.

Westley Thomas
Westley Thomas

Take a look at the website above. You’ll learn about the Forgotton ones and how the veterans have been screwed by the system. The wrongs can now be righted while those of us are still able to submitt and win our claims. You’ll learn about the word game that is used preventing you from winning your claim. If you are not familiar with secondary conditions. Take a look at our HOME OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST INFORMATION BANK! You’ll be glad you did. It will change your life. Veterans Quality of Life Access Network Inc.
It helped me after 34 years of being in denial, misunderstood, missinformed and receiving the run around with no help. Your greatest fight after you serve is to fight to get what you deserve. If you give up the system wins and that is exactly what they who run the system wants you to do.
Think about it. When the Veteran suffers the whole family suffers and it is not fair to the family to have to struggle to take care of the veteran when the VA Government should be providing for them without all of the red tape.
Westley Thomas / USMC / Vietnam Veteran 1966-1968

Jim Thaxton
Jim Thaxton

It’s very discouring to see that applications are routinely denied and delayed, sometimes until the time that the applicant is deceased. Is anyone aware of a manner to not get into that long grind? My original application is only a few months running to date. I was as thorough as possible with the original application, with assistance from the local rep. Other than the notification of receipt, I’ve received no requests for additional documentation, ect. Any advice would be appreciated.

Wayne Gerberding
Wayne Gerberding

I think that claim denials will soon hit an all time high. Why? Because of gigantic budget cuts which are imminent and will be pushed for by the Republicans. Being denied (or delayed) takes the fight out of many but no Veteran should ever stop fighting. I also believe that another way for the VA to cut the budget will be to re-examine and reduce existing approved claims, thus using valuable manpower to save a cent or two out of every dollar, when that manpower could be used on the fair handling of current pending claims and appeals. Let’s see if this doesn’t prove to be true in the next year or two.

Michael Pumilia
Michael Pumilia

The VA is a large beaucratic system where it is easier to say No than to do anything else. The responsibility to prove a claim lies with the veteran and not them. That’s the way they play the game. And it is a game to them. Far too many of the VA claims people act like the money is coming from their own pockets. You must keep on top of your claim all the time. Find a state veterans claim service officer. Many VA hospitals and clinics have in-house SO’s from the DAV, state, etc to help guide you. Never, ever give up! That let’s them win. Instead, be the squeaky wheel! Call your VA counterpart and ask about your claim at least once a month. That tells them you are actively engaged in getting it processed. Contact your Senator in Wash., DC. A congressman is great, but the senator is even better. Send a letter and be short, concise in what the problem is and why you need help. A long, rambling letter just obscures why you are writing. Tell them what’s wrong, how long you have been trying to get things done with the VA, and what you want. Tell them about your vet affliations. For me I’m a Lifetime member of the DAV and a member of the American Legion. Contact those organizations also on your behalf. The more help, the better. Good luck!

Westley Stone
Westley Stone

I am a veteran that has continue to file claims for service connected disability and continues to be denied bases on not making my appointments with QTC here in the metro Atlanta office located on Peachtree Street downtown Atlanta. Mind you I constantly have my private physician mail statements about my conditions which seems to be overlooked, lost intra office at the local VA or the VSO doesn’t send the file with the new informationb. I have written both my Senators and both have responded to some tired old writing from the VA that I failed to make my QTC appointment. I have been seeing my private physician for many years and have been approved for several service connected disability but all of a sudden I need to go to one of their doctors. This aint anything but red tape. Holding up your claim longer just to be denied. Then start the NOD. Then the appeal process then more years. Something should be done about these veterans and civilians never having to serve in any capacity of a military branch of armed forces has the gall to deny me and my fellow comrades fallen on their illness to be denied over and over again because they have failed to read the claim for all its worth. Our VA system are far remove from the veteran all is seen is that some civilian or fellow veteran working are not truly dedicated to our voices and hurt. Our country takes care of everybody and anybody but us the veteran. Its a horrrible thing for any ceteran that suffers and to be homeless and sick just to be turned downN denied and polaced on paperwork cause the worker for the VA can’t and will not figfure out the correct medical disabling condition or condirtions cause its too much to read and its boring or the worker for the VA is bored. My wife worked in the file room at the local VA when it was downtown and listen to thw horror stories about the mix up of the veterans files and the information what happens to it. I know what you my fellow comrades are going through. We need an IG inspection to just wipe out a many that0is just qorking for and oinly a paycheck. We all work for our payxchecks but work for our veteran especially. I’m hoping and praying that we as veteran want have to hurry up and wait too and so long just to get denied over and over. We need a relief and a quicker and fasyter process to getting what we deserve a fair chance in dealing with our claims and grant an approval with evidence when poresented. U S Army retired SSgt 101st Airborne Division, Fort Camnpbell, Kentucky 1972

Lewis Sanders Jr.
Lewis Sanders Jr.

I would like to see the criteria for agent orange. I was almost died Jan 4 2010 with a double anuresym of my aorta one part was repaired with a stint and the other has not been repaired as of yet. I am 40% service connect thru the VA for loss of hearing, athuritis, + eczema. I got a rash within two years after I left Vietnam, While in Vietnam awoke with a blood stained pillow from my ear. Then medical records and personnel records sent to me from St Louis and VA were totaly incomplete. So you tell Me what is a man to do to get the right benfits or the right records.
I also got copd and ulcer in feb and march of 2010 and was in the hospital twice. Forget it I give up. I would tell anyone considering a military career forget it it just aint worth it.
Lewis Sanders Retired First Sergeant

Tim
Tim

My Brother, My heart goes out to you, as for myself, this is my third (3rd.) try for Compensation & Disability from the VA. I served from 1968-70, my initial complaints which were backed by the Veterans Doctors, & my own Specialists for the following Diseases, they are as follows: PTSD, Agent Orange, Hepatitis B, after (41 yrs.), I just got to see and had to go to the Veterans Hospital for my (C&P Evaulation for PTSD), the VA Doctor told me, that I had PTSD, and I would be receiving a rating letter from the Veterans Adm. within a short while, this was last Nov. 2010. I have since received (2) letters from the rating review board, and it said it was working on my case, by the way, I go to see my (Shrinks, Etc. ) constantly. I have been trying for 41 years to get what is owed to me, as well as the rest of my brothers who served there country, during those dreadful years. All I can do is wait, & fight, and never give up, I pray to God Almighty, that before I die, I will receive what is due to me, as I would like to leave my wife, with something other than her taking care of me all these years. Brother lewis, try to hang in there, as this is what the government wants us to do, is to die, get frustrated, then they do not have to give us any MONEY & BENEFITS ! I pray that the good Lord will bless you & your family, and keep trying, never give up my brother, Brother Lewis,, do not give up the fight, until we can’t fight anymore, GOD-BLESS………….Sincerely Tim

Vincent Collins
Vincent Collins

Hey my brothers our true salvation is waiting for us beyond this earth. Although we all have an advocate that Will stand in the gap for each and every one of us. My prayer is wait upon the Lord he will hear our cries he will incline upon us he will pull us out of this horrible pit,and this mury clay place our feet on a solid rock and establish our comings and our goings. So just be steadfast unmovable always abounding in the Lord.

Lou
Lou

I started reevaluation in Dec 09. Finally received their ruling two weeks ago. I wrote a bunch about each thing I claimed. Plus every time they asked fore clarification I would add another claim to my packet. Went to all their doctors too. Went from 10 % to 60% and intend to appeal the items that they said were service connected at 0% plus add something else.

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Compensation & Pension — Disabled Veterans Guides

[…] Include a table of contents of your injuries. Here is a copy of an actual claim letter for sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and sleep apnea. It’s mine, so be […]

Steve Hellerstein
Steve Hellerstein

I had a hearing with a judge and my VSO back in May 2007 and have still not had a denial or approval for my claim. They said they needed more info from my regional office in Reno and that they had not investiagted my claim enough. That was in July 2010. To date I have not had a bit of contact from anyone. My original claim was filed in 2005.

Reginald Foster
Reginald Foster

I file a disability claim in 2003 for IBS and was granted 0%. I worte a notice of disagreement in a timely matter. In 2004 I was granted 10%. I wrote another notice of disagreement because my IBS problem was effecting me in asspects of my life, job, chruch and even travling and sometimes being late. In 2010 I was granted 30% for my IBS. And I did not receive no back retro pay and no increase in my service disability. I was told that nothing is owed to me that my disability for anxierty. And overall disabilty stays the same, I’m 80% disable and have been sine 1997. I and someone with legal status added up my percentage through Federal Code of Regulations 38 and came up with percentage of 86. But VA told that I do not get anything, nothing change. Could someone explain this to me. Thanks In Advance,

Carrie
Carrie

I am sickened, sad, and angry after reading these posts. I am a 30 year old OIF Veteran who is currently going through the whole claims process for PTSD. I first filed back in 2008 and due to being homeless I missed one of the required appointments. When I finally found some stability I tried giving it a second shot. This time, I’m assuming due to clerical error, they were sending all of my paperwork to the wrong address! Once more I had to clear up that issue and start over. Then guess what? They screwed up the address again. Now here in 2011 I’m still battling with them and it seems like they are trying to build a case against me. Everytime I deal with a VA shrink all they care to ask me about is my past. Never about Iraq and my whole Army experience. The only shrink that did ask about it was the one that did my C&P but he was required to. Also he is a Gulf War Vet so atleast I knew he could some how relate. I will, at my next appointment, force the shrink to listen to me about my experience. I need to talk about it and she needs to hear it.
I don’t know what the outcome will be nor do I have my hopes up. The only thing I know is the way I feel and the way they aggravate it. I strongly agree that only vets care about vets. I care about all young and old. The thought of the VA letting vets die before they decide a claim makes me want to punch whoever is in charge. That is like committing murder to rob someone of what is rightfully thiers. Sorry that’s just how I feel. Well to end this rant just let me say that my hope is for vets to unite and be heard because this is getting rediculous and obviously has gone on for to long.

Cindy McCauley
Cindy McCauley

Thank you for creating this website. This claim letter is a very good example of how to write one for my son, a Marine combat veteran. I am trying to assist him with collecting additional evidence for his disability claim and this is very helpful.

Jack LAST NAME WITHELD
Jack LAST NAME WITHELD

Carrie, I hear you. I am an OIF vet too and I was until recently working as a VSR (claims processor) in Pension. I am also going through the compensation process for my issues related to service. Although my expertise is on the Pension side of the house, the one thing I can tell you is that it helps to do a congressional inquiry if VA is dragging ass/fucking up in general on your claim. By escalating a claim to “Congressional”, it ensures that management is tracking the claim and VA must respond in a reasonable time frame…usually 7-12 days. Go talk to your senator/congress person. You may not get the answer you want, but you will at least know how far along you are in the process, if further development is needed, or if the case got resolved. As for VSOs, do your homework-some are really on the ball, others are useless and it shows in the initial claims we get. Some are ‘slam dunks’ and I can generate the claimant’s award within 30 minutes of reviewing the folder; for others…amateur night, you can tell. By far the worst are from lawyers “elder law specialists”….they like to charge the poor claimant to do a POA, but guess what? VA doesn’t recognize POAs in Pension land! Really good job bilking old Vets out of money when a half-way decent VSO can do it for free-my point is shop around and interview them as to what they have experience with. The following is to provide you with view inside VSR-world. Our work is set up on ‘points’..we need to work a certain amount of claims per day in order to advance/keep our jobs. Your claim may be very complex, but carry few points…so it goes to the back of my box. Another claim maybe fairly simple, but carry a lot points weight wise…that is the one that I am going to work. This system is their fault, because it is all about time and quantity rather than quality. There are some nasty habits in VA that are part of the institutional culture. We were trained from day one to DENY, DENY, DENY at any level possible. It was SOP to rip off claimants on the time they have to respond to our requests for info. (development). When we request some types of evidence, claimants get 60 days to respond-other types of evidence we only give 30 days. It was my Team’s SOP to only give 30 day windows-regardless of what category of evidence we were requesting…then the claim can be denied on the basis of failure-to-prosecute. To add insult to injury, remember that in pension many claimants are elderly and it will take them time to track down the needed documentation. Also, the work arragement is all about processing claims and reducing volume-not about customer service. It is so sick that when a claimant dies while waiting to get paid, that is a ‘good’ case to work…easy points. My fellow veteran employees are all really dissatisfied, I really want to publish a whistleblower book or something, because this way of doing things is evil. Then the legislation is flawed and riddled with loopholes, a WWII hero with an amazing service record is denied because his income is slightly over the limit (he did the right thing by working and saving money); yet some dirtbag who sprained an ankle in basic training in 1995, who got separated and subsequently gets “the HIV” (how that is service connected is beyond me..my drill sergeant forced me to share needles or have unprotected sex?) is kicking back enjoying his check. Any ways if anyone wants any info. on pension or insight into the magical world of VA please feel free to contact me. [email protected] If you have ever seen the movie “Office Space”, then you have an accurate depiction of what the Philadelphia PMC is.

Armando
Armando

While on active duty there have been numerous time when i went on sick call and com-laint about certain things such as sleep apena, bad feet etc. It turns out the doctord never annotated my medical records. The y gave me a few asprin or what ever and said go back to your unit. Is there anything that can be done to prove an injury was service connected. Thank you

Jeffery Scism
Jeffery Scism

I have processed several requests for upgrading my service connection percentage. all denied. They say that they reviewed my claim and did not review my military Medical files, because no-one knows where they are. They were sent directly to the VA by the USAF in 1990. I filed for my disability upon discharge was was rated at 0% service connection on three issues. They awarded me compensation at 10%. They state that if I have an on-going chronic condition but haven’t been seen by a VA doctor about it, there is NO CHANCE it will be considered. Many times a Vet will have a condition that there IS NO TREATMENT for thus they will not see doctors, but just put up with it. Also VA doctors decide on examination whether your conditions they treat are service connected, If you get billed for the Medications they prescribe for it, then they have determined that it isn’t service connected. A lot of what are now compensated conditions were not known when many veterans were in-service. Proving service connection for these is very hard, because the doctors never diagnosed, or documented. One thing I found is my doctors never did Blood sugar tests on me in-service, My diabetes was diagnosed post discharge by the VA, but since I have diabetic family members, they said Non-service connected. My medication co-payments equal my VA compensation.