Many people do not have them, but it?s an excellent idea to slowly build a copy of your own service file, a copy for your own use, before separation, its labor intensive but worth it. Most of the typical claims for Veteran Benefits or compensation are for service related injuries. Many of our Veterans serve long and hard overseas before returning home.
You can get a copy of the form needed from any VA Regional Office. Do a google search for VA Form: VA Form 21-526. There are numerous programs to benefit veterans in all different types of situations. There are so many different VA benefits to apply for, the returning Veteran can easily become confused, and it quickly becomes very frustrating for many people.
First of all, its important to know the different documents that one needs to apply for almost all veterans benefits. These documents that you should have available if not actually in hand are:
-The Social Security number, or VA claims number for the Servicemember receiving service.
-A copy of all Marriage and Divorce Degrees (if any).
-A copy of your leave and earnings statements from any active duty, and reserve service.
-A copy of your DD Form 214, or discharge certificate or release form.
-A copy of all Adoption orders (if applicable).
-Any Written Documentations of Medals or Commendations Received.
-Medical Records for any issue or disability that you intent to file or claim for.
-A copy of the birth certificates for each family member, Servicemember, Spouse, and Children.
-And last, if possible a complete copy of your service File.
One of the first things to do is: Relax. There is a lot of help available, and we will cover some of the tips here today as well as where to go for additional assistance.
No one site or web page, or even program can adequately list them all. It is a good idea to get on the Internet and search, and ask questions of other service people. New programs and options are available, so it is worth your while to look around and see what applies to you.
The Web site for the VA is simple: http://www.va.gov . There is a lot of links and helpful things to be found available both online and by visiting your local VA office.