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Carefully read all letters regarding benefits

When the Department of Veterans Affairs sends you a letter about your benefits, you might find it pretty dense. It's hard to wade through all of the information, and it's tempting to just skim it and set it aside.

Don't do it. It's very important to read through the letter carefully so that you fully understand the decision that is being made and why it's being made. Don't just look for the main points and assume that's enough.

For instance, your benefits may be based on a disability percentage. Every disability isn't 100 percent or even close. Maybe you thought you'd get the 75 percent rating, but you really got 30 percent, so your benefits aren't what you hoped.

The letter will not just tell you the percentage, but will also explain the decision. Moreover, if you think the decision was made in error, the letter may tell you specifically what medical evidence you have to get to ask for an increase.

Another example involves dependents, as you can get more money if you have one or more qualified individuals in your family. Don't just look at the payment itself. Check to see if you're listed as someone with dependents or as a single veteran. A simple paperwork error that puts you in the wrong category could have a drastic impact and identifying it and rectifying it could change those benefits substantially.

It's very important to understand the benefits process, your legal rights and what steps you can take if you think those benefits need to be adjusted. The more you can learn on all fronts, the easier it is to fight for fair payments.

Source: The Fort Campbell Courier, "Read VA letters carefully," Sandy Britt, Dec. 07, 2017

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