Compiled from data from many sources, below are the Top 10 Reasons Veterans Don't Pursue Benefits.
1. I don't trust the Government.
a. Many veterans have indicated that they don't trust their Government in matters of confidentiality and privacy, and therefore, have no interest in pursuing benefits. Veterans from the Vietnam era are particularly sensitive regarding their distrust of the Government. Many veterans from that era have indicated that they had a very bad experience while in uniform, and felt as though the Government is not really inclined to assist or help them. One veteran said, "The Government did me wrong while I was in Vietnam, and I am sure they'll do me wrong again."
2. I didn't know I was eligible.
a. Far too many veterans are unaware of their eligibility status. Many veterans assume that since they aren't registered to use VA services, they are automatically ineligible for benefits. One veteran said, "I never retired from the military so I always believed I was ineligible for benefits."
3. I am not eligible.
Military discharge status plays in big role in determining if a veteran is potentially eligible for benefits. Honorably discharged veterans are 100% eligible for benefits if they meet the criteria. Veterans with a Bad Conduct Discharge are not eligible for benefits. However, some veterans fall some place between an Honorable Discharge and a Bad Conduct Discharge. For instance, a veteran with a General Discharge is oftentimes eligible for benefits. Best to visit with a Veterans Service Officer to find out if you qualify. One veteran said, “My discharge papers show that I was forced out of the military due to the needs of the Government and my bad foot. I have a General Discharge with medical stipulations. I always thought that made me ineligible for future benefits.”
4. I don’t want to go through the “red tape.”
Many veterans are of the belief that pursuing benefits from the VA is a matter of navigating a very complex and confusing system that involves mounds of documentation. While it may be true that there is a lot of paperwork, most, if not all is handled by a competent VSO and not the veteran. The VSO is trained to work with the bureaucracy, not the veteran, and takes much the complexity away from the veteran. One veteran said, “It’s just too confusing to get started.”
Top 10 Reasons Veterans Don't Pursue Benefits
One VSO shared these four reasons many veterans typically don’t receive their benefits:
1. They don’t know about them. The VA doesn’t advertise, so the VSO often hears “I didn’t know that benefit was available!”
2. They don’t think they qualify. Many assume they aren’t eligible, or aren’t a veteran, because they didn’t serve in combat or retire from the military.
3. They think it is too much of a hassle to apply. OK, it does take a little work, but that’s why the VSO exists – to help veterans through the process.
4. They say, “There are others worse off than me.” Many believe if they get a benefit it will be withheld from someone else. This is untrue – the VA is very well funded!