Get competent representation, while most veterans who come to our site work their own claims. I still feel it's a good idea to have a service officer just to bounce ideas off of. When choosing a service officer be picky, interview several reps until you find one you think you feel confident with.
A few more words about Veterans Service Officers
The good, bad and mediocre exist in all organizations it is just a fact of life. So accepting that we encourage you to interview a few different Veterans Service Officers. It is important that at a minimum you choose a service officer you feel comfortable and confident in. Without trust and confidence in each other the pursuit of a successful claim will suffer. I say to you if you were going to hire anyone lawyer, doctor, accountant wouldn't you interview a few first?
Initial Interview with your Veterans Service Officer:
Copies make sure you give the Service Officer Copies and keep copies for yourself. Make a note on your pad of documents provided to your service officer.
Bring a Pad and pen. Write down the Service Officer’s name, phone number and ask them if they have an email address you can use to check on your claim.
This is the interview where the service officer will gather information about you and your claim.
This interview maybe fairly short, the service officer will have to obtain your records and review them to be able to give you specific answers about your claim for service connected disability.
Your service office should file your claim immediately in order to get you the earliest effective date. You do not have to wait for your records before you file a claim. You want the earliest effective date this will be the date you are paid from, so even it takes two years, you will get two years of retroactive pay.
What to take to the initial interview
If available DD214
List of addresses of private doctors or therapists that you see in connection to problem you are claiming service connection for..
Original plus copies, leave the copies with your service officer, I f your claim is successful you will want to be paid for your dependents.
Private physician statements related to the disability you are claiming service connection for everything.