A1: Go to your nearest Accredited VSO at the American Legion, VFW, DAV or other Service Organization. There they will listen and file a claim. Bring your DD-214 and tell them how you were injured, mistreated or exposed and what your disabilities are. (GH) 8/29/19
A2: It's hard. In order to be service connected you have to have a medical issue that is considered "caused by your active duty service". If you were in Viet Nam you need to get on the Agent Orange registry. After you do that you will eventually be given an appt at a VA hospital for an exam. They will determine at that exam if you have any of the issues caused by agent orange exposure. It's a long list. You can get the entire list on the internet. (DK) 8/29/19
A3: When you go see a Service Officer at one of the veteran org., like the DAV, make sure you bring any and all evidence (documents) of the diagnosis of your illness or disability. The diagnose can be from non VA doctors/hospitals. The evidence needs to show that your condition was caused by or occurred while in service. The VA can go and get your records, but it's your responsibility to provide such documentation, so I recommend you have the docs when you file your claim.
Also, there is a VA form called -- INTENT TO FILE- this form is used to let the VA know you plan to file a claim, but you don't know when or for what. Then you'll have 365 days to get all the necessary evidence during this time. However, even if it takes you u to a year to get ready to file, your claim 'date' will be the date you submitted the INTENT TO FILE form. Good Luck. (JL) 8/30/19
A4: Get a Service Officer, VFW, DAV, Etc, to work the case for you. They are free and paid for by the state. (CS) 8/31/19