November 4, 2022

Allsup Survey Finds At Least 4 in 10 Veterans Have Service-Related Disability, But Less Than One-Third File VA Disability Claims

Survey shows that half of veterans do not understand their disability benefits, find the process unclear, and miss out on critical care and resources that might be available to them even years later 

Belleville, Illinois — Nov. 4, 2022 Almost half of U.S. military service members transitioning from active duty to civilian life do not understand the benefits available to them when they have a service-connected disability, and have difficulty navigating their options through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), according to a new survey conducted by Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services.

“When members leave military service, many aspects of their lives are in flux and the VA disability claims process can seem complicated and overwhelming,” said Brett Buchanan, U.S. Army veteran and director of the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®. “Our veterans can’t access the care they need and have earned through service, unless they receive quality information and guidance.”

The Allsup veterans survey revealed that a lack of clarity and guidance about VA benefits as veterans transition to civilian life leaves many veterans underserved. While at least four in 10 service members exit the military with service-related conditions, only 32% file for VA disability benefits. This gap is consequential: for instance, veterans who receive a disability rating of 70% or higher receive free VA healthcare. There are more than 25 disability-related benefits and programs for veterans when they qualify for service-connected compensation.

Misconceptions About VA Disability Benefits

Allsup’s survey examines how veterans miss out on the vital benefits they have earned due to perceptions—and misconceptions—around the filing process. Among the 1,041 veterans polled, 39% disagree that they received adequate guidance about benefits when discharged from the military. The survey findings corroborate this claim: half of veterans (48%) indicated that they do not currently understand their disability benefit options. Moreover, when veterans with service-related disabilities who have not filed a disability claim with the VA were asked what barriers stand in their way, the top deterrent is “too much hassle,” followed by uncertainty regarding whether their condition will qualify if not previously reported, is serious enough, or qualifies as service-related.

Positive Finding With VA Programs

A positive finding revealed that 65% of survey respondents are pleased with the support and programs that the VA offers. However, only 15% of veterans strongly agree that they received good guidance and resources when exiting the military. This leaves the majority of veterans to navigate the system with inadequate support and increases the chance that they lose out on potential benefits or give up on the application process altogether.

Of those who found it difficult to file a claim, about half (52%) expressed a desire for more help filing their claim, and almost 60% of respondents said that getting through forms and paperwork is a significant challenge. These findings illustrate the valuable guidance a representative can provide to veterans with disabilities. VA-accredited Claims Agents can be especially helpful if a veteran’s disabling condition is diagnosed later in life and requires documentation to confirm a connection to their service.  

Help Navigating VA Disability Appeals

The VA appeals process may be particularly overwhelming because of the options available to veterans – which include Higher Level Review, Supplemental Claim and appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The survey found one in 10 veterans did not know that they could file an appeal if their claim is not approved. Even among those veterans who are aware of the appeals process, more than half did not file an appeal due to a lack of knowledge and resources as they faced yet another round of complex paperwork and decisions.

“At Allsup, we help veterans navigate the VA appeals process by providing expert assistance as they make decisions about their claims for service-related disabilities,” Buchanan said. “Our VA-accredited Claims Agents help them choose from their options and then develop a well-documented, successful appeal.”

Along with VA disability appeals, Allsup offers expert Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) assistance for those veterans who are no longer able to work due to disability. “Our services are veteran-owned and veteran-led— and after helping hundreds of veterans appeal their VA disability claims, we are proud of our 95% success rate,” Buchanan added.

Find the Allsup report available for free download online (PDF): “Navigating VA Disability Benefits: Reporting on Veterans’ Experiences When Leaving The Military.”

For more information about Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services, call (888) 372-1190 or email

Methodology: Pinkston conducted a survey of 1,041 military veterans from Sept. 2-12, 2022. Participants included a mix across military branches, time period served, rank, active duty and national guard, and gender. Respondents were recruited from an online research panel and surveyed across a combination of computer, mobile and tablet devices. Survey questions were administered in English. The margin of error is  +/-3% at the 95% confidence interval.

Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®: Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services provides compensation assistance for your service-connected benefits. For veterans who have been denied veterans benefits or don’t receive a fully favorable rating decision for one or more disabilities, we can help you appeal. Veterans who use a paid disability representative like Allsup VA-accredited Claims Agents generally see their annual average benefits nearly double compared to those who appeal on their own.

 ABOUT ALLSUP: Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work, and healthcare benefits services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at and @Allsup on Twitter.