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Are You Prepared to Go Through the VA Claim Process?

From the perspective of a 32-year-old Active Duty Officer.

Ten years to go until you close the military chapter of your life, have you thought about your VA claim?

I am currently serving on active duty and reaching the ten-year mark which means I am halfway there. Going through the VA claims process and submitting my medical records is one of the last things on my mind as I have years before that day. This was the view from my foxhole until I was linked in with POVAT and began working with Scott to start putting a Quarterly focus on ensuring I will be ready when the time comes to take off the uniform. Even if you are in the first few years of service and plan to spend the next twenty to thirty years with the military, here is a suggested course of action to help you in the long run and make your claims process much easier.

  1. Ensure your documents contain everything that has occurred to you medically and do so on a regular basis. I pulled my medical documents for the first time this year and found out that while on Recruiting Duty there was no medical documentation due to seeing a civilian provider. I had to get a copy of all my records and submit them through my closest military hospital to ensure everything was properly documented. This is an easy fix to correct if you do this before you move on to your next duty station, but can be easily forgotten in the height of a move. You can pull your documents at your military medical clinic or hospital. In most cases, they will be able to send it to you digitally, but some wait times are longer than others.
  2. If something is bothering you, get it looked at. I fell victim to the mindset of pushing through the pain and waiting years to address an issue. It compounded the issue and is taking up far more time now with physical therapy and imaging than it would have in the past. It will save you time and keep you in the fight longer if you address issues as they occur.

Ultimately, the small amount of work you do frequently will keep your records in order and make your transition smoother. Although I do not plan to exit the Army for the next ten years or more, life happens, and keeping track of your medical records will make the transition that much easier when the time comes. The POVAT Team has helped me start organizing my documentation and inspired me to set up a calendar reminder to regularly check on my medical records, ensuring I have all my ailments properly recorded.

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