Vision Assistance For Military Veterans
Vision issues fall into a strange category of compensation that can be difficult to prove. If you wore glasses before the military, it may be even harder to push for vision compensation, even if your vision has weakened significantly because of military service. There's no reason to give up on a Veterans Affairs (VA) claim just because of a denial; if you keep a few claim system ideas in mind and seek the assistance of an optometrist, you can push for the vision compensation you deserve.
Why Would A Vision Compensation Claim Be Denied?
In order to be considered for compensation, your injury must be service-connected. This means that the injury must have either occurred during military service or was significantly worsened during server. The concept of 'getting worse' is subjective, which can work against your favor if you don't have the right evidence in place.
You need to show a marked decrease in your vision, but there are other problems that could get in the way. Vision weakens naturally in many people, and people who wear glasses may be at a higher risk if their prescriptions aren't changed on a regular basis. As a slightly related note, there is no confirmation about whether wearing glasses makes your vision worse or not; the idea of vision degradation is a very complex issue that can't easily be pointed at one area of blame.
Although the normal degradation of vision works against your favor, the VA accepts evidence for presumptive service-connected injuries (explained more in this PDF document from the VA). 'Presumptives', as they're called in VA jargon, are issues that don't have a clear cause, but could have been caused during military service.
At this point, time is of the essence. You have the best chance of winning a compensation case with the VA if you complained of the issue before leaving the military. Bringing up the issue after military service with no prior reports becomes a very difficult ordeal.
Civilian Optometrists Are Ready To Help Veterans
In order to prove your vision disability, you'll need a vision test. The VA's Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam exists to provide a quick, basic vision test to assess your level of vision difficulty. Unfortunately, it isn't perfect.
If you've been denied due to a lack of evidence or an unremarkable amount of vision loss, seek the assistance of a civilian or private optometrist. With their assistance, you can get professional examinations on your own time without having to deal with the rush of the VA system.
Once you get the proof you need, you can submit the evidence with a new claim or appeal. If you still run into difficulty, a lawyer experienced in VA disability claims or personal injury law may be your only hope. Begin your search for compensation with the optometrist and work from there.
Assistance With Or Without Compensation
If your compensation claim is approved, you can enjoy no-cost medical, dental and vision care from the VA--with wait times in consideration, of course. You may also receive a disability payment based on the percentage of your disability, which is different for every condition and severity. You can even be referred to your private optometrist, so make sure to keep their card handy to avoid the VA wait times.
If you're denied again and need to continue the process, the VA can still help. Eligible veterans can sign up for VA healthcare, which comes with lower medical costs than most civilian clinics at the expense of wait times that can take months to reach.
You can also be referred to an optometrist during this process, but make sure to have an active appeal with the VA in order to recoup any costs once your compensation claims are accepted. Contact your optometrist to begin planning your vision care after military service.