Veteran benefits cases are often lengthy processes—that’s why our team of attorneys, paralegals, and administrative professionals works together to communicate with all parties to ensure smooth, timely case progression and prevent errors due to miscommunications.
At the Veterans Benefit Group of Goodman Allen Donnelly, we keep our clients up to date on their case by staying in contact about every ninety days. Of course, if a client has questions sooner than that—about a letter they received, a call from the VA, or their case in general—we are available as needed. If a client has a question, they can call us or write a letter, which is how we often communicate with veterans who are incarcerated.
One of the most important ways our team helps a client understand his or her case is through a written plan on how to win the case. This plan often requires that we gather evidence such as copies of medical records or a medical opinion. To collect medical records, the client must sign a release form so that we can work on their behalf to obtain the necessary documents. We coordinate directly with doctor’s offices, sending the release form to obtain the medical records, and then work with the client on any type of payment that might be due afterward.
To get a medical opinion, we must submit medical records and a questionnaire for the doctor to complete. We work with the doctors to make sure everything is sent back in a timely manner. If the client does not have a doctor, we will help them find a doctor in their price range and geographic area.
It can take a long time for the VA to make a decision—that’s why we have a system in place to keep the VA up to speed up and on track in a case. We make sure that the VA is taking the necessary steps in a timely manner by contacting the appeals team, either by email, letter, or phone, for status updates.
If we’re not receiving a response, we may contact the director or other higher ups for the status update. If these efforts still do not receive a response, we oftentimes write a warning letter that says, “if you do not respond to us, or if you are not going to take the necessary action, we may contact the under secretary and, if necessary, file a writ at the court.”
By keeping channels of communication open and establishing systems to keep all parties on track, cases are resolved as efficiently as possible.
Author: Kristine Arvey, Paralegal Case Manager
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