Stateside Legal: Was Your MST-Related VA Benefit Claim Denied? Learn About Special Review Process

 Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, along with many advocates, the administration, and other members of Congress, have been working for reform around MST issues.  This includes getting fair VA Disability Compensation awards for those with claims based on MST.

In June 2013, Congresswoman Pingree posted this very helpful Q and A about previously denied claims based on MST and how to get your case reviewed.

Pingree Introduction excerpted:

“In April 2013, some veterans who received denials for PTSD/MST service connection after 2009 were sent a letter offering to evaluate whether acceptable evidence was overlooked in reviewing their claim. While I am glad the VA will review these cases to give some veterans a second chance to receive the compensation they deserve, I don’t think the agency went far enough. I’m also disappointed with the lack of information and resources the VA has provided to veterans who could benefit from a review. I’ve put together a FAQ below to help you in the process.”

Topics covered:

1) What has the VA sent to veterans regarding the review?

2) Do I have to be contacted by the VA to get my case reviewed?

3) What kind of errors have been made?

4) What cases are being reviewed?

5) Will my case be reviewed automatically?

6) How can I have my case reviewed?  (See our comment below)

7) Where is my local VA Regional Office?

8) What other resources can I take advantage of to get help in the review process?

9) Do I have to wait for a decision from the VA to get counseling for my PTSD?

Stateside Legal comment:   In the form letter some people received, the VA advises to file VA Form 21-4138 “and indicate that you would like to have your PSTD claim based on MST reviewed.”  So it may be a good idea to go ahead and file this form while you are trying to contact your VA Regional office.  As our veteran advocate Jim Strickland often says:  “Send it in writing return receipt requested (for proof of receipt by the VA) and keep a copy.  Phone conversations may get you nowhere.”

The Pingree site also invites your Feedback on the Review Process.  We encourage you to share your experiences, in order to strengthen the system for all.

For new claims and other MST-related information, see our MST index here

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