Proudly Supporting our veterans
Veteran Affairs – VA Disability Lawyer
Our VA Disability Lawyers are here to fight hard for what you have fought hard and made sacrifices for.
In this section:
Types of Veterans Benefit Claims
The Ash | Law attorneys are proud to help veterans and their families recover the benefits they fought hard to earn. We understand it is a complicated process to obtain benefits and multiple appeals are often required to get them.
If you have been denied death benefits or disability benefits, our VA lawyers might be able to help you resubmit the claim and make an appeal to the previous decision. To learn more about how we can assist you in obtaining the benefits that you deserve, fill out the no-obligation, FREE consultation form. One of our attorneys will perform a free case review and get in contact with you shortly.
We handle different kinds of veterans benefits claims:
- including survivor benefits
- disability benefits
- death benefits
- employment benefits
- vocational rehabilitation
- educational benefits
- health care
- life insurance
- home loans
Do I Really Need To Hire a Lawyer for VA Disability Benefits?
Trying to appeal denied claims for these benefits is an extremely complicated process, and it is made more difficult by thousands of supporting laws and regulations. You cannot expect to be able to understand these laws on your own, or without the valuable help of a lawyer. They can make sure the claimant meets each deadline outlined by the, and they also collect additional documents (such as medical records) to offer further proof for the claim. Our VA lawyers can also keep claimants from making mistakes that further delay their claims. That being said, even without any complications, it can still take several months before a final decision on the claim is made.
How Our VA Disability Lawyers Can Help You With Denied VA Benefits
If you were denied VA benefits for your last claim, the law firm you choose to work with now can have a huge difference between receiving appropriate compensation and the claim getting denied again. Often times, the most difficult part of winning a VA benefits claim is proving that the veteran’s disability is directly connected to their military service. Our attorneys at Ash | Law have the best extensive experience with reviewing all kinds of medical records. We utilize this experience to help our clients and ensure that they receive the benefits that they deserve.
Veterans Disability Benefits Qualifications
There are four main requirements to be eligible for benefits:
The applicant must…
- … be a veteran
- … have a current medical condition
- … have sustained an injury or disease during their active duty
- … have a disability related to their time of military duty (including conditions or diseases that were provoked during service)
The reception of disability benefits is often based on if they can offer proof that the injury or illness incurred was related to or an effect of their military service. In order to demonstrate that, the veteran’s medical records must contain these elements:
- medical diagnosis of their current disability
- medical evidence of the development or aggravation of an injury or disease during military service
- medical proof of the connection between the injury or disease and the disability they currently have
Percentages for Disability Rating
After the VA reviews the application, then a rating decision is released from the VA Regional Office where the claim was filed. The total amount of benefits received by the veteran are determined by the VA based on the veteran’s disability percentage. The percentages may range from 10% up to 100%, which can then pay the veteran from $129 to over $3,000 per month. This number is also determined by how many dependents the veteran is responsible for and the veteran’s disability rate. These benefits are a tax-free income, and veterans can claim and receive both veteran’s disability and Social Security Disability (SSDI, SSD) simultaneously, without any discrepancies.
Disability ratings range from 10% up to 100% (complete disability) and provide the corresponding monthly disability incomes. The figures (effective 12/12) represent only the benefits for the veteran themselves, without factoring in potential dependents which increase the total amount.
100% — $2816
90% — $1689
80% — $1503
70% — $1293
60% — $1026
50% — $810
40% — $569
30% — $395
20% — $255
10% — $129
Veteran Affairs states that for those who receive 30% or higher and additional allowances for dependents, the amounts are based on the type and number of dependents in addition to the disability rating percentage. Percentages for Veterans who have Multiple Disabilities.
The VA defines a dependent as:
- children 0-17 years old
- children 18-23 years old who are in still school
- minor children who have a disability making them incapable of supporting themselves
- dependent parents
In the case that a veteran suffers from multiple service-related injuries, diseases, or disabilities, a special formula is used for determining the veteran’s total disability rating level. The VA first ranks the disabilities by severity from greatest to least. Then they examine the veteran’s most serious disability to decide how efficient they can be.
A veteran assigned 30% disability for the first injury is still considered 70% efficient. Then the second injury or disease is considered, a disability ranked at 10%. 10% of the 70% efficiency is 7%, which is then added to the initial 30% disability which equals 37%. The number is then rounded up or down. This veteran is considered 40% disabled and will receive $569 per month (without consideration of dependents).
Changing a VA Disability Rating
After a veteran receives a disability rating, some circumstances allow the VA to change the rating. They may require a re-exam up to 6 months after retirement from active duty, and then annual follow-up exams for up to 5 years to determine the continued severity of the disability(ies) and if the severity still exists, has been reduced, or any other changes have occurred. In such situations, it is possible that the benefits could be reduced or even stopped completely.
These exams are used for the following reasons:
1) it is expected the veteran’s condition to improve over time
2) there is valid evidence that the disability has changed
3) the current disability rating is incorrect
There are also various situations in which the veteran’s disability rating may not be reduced. For example:
evidence shows that the veteran is capable of maintaining a job for 12 consecutive months, displaying “material improvement” in their emotional & physical well-being
the veteran has a 100% disability rating that cannot be reduced unless a re-exam is ordered by the VA
the veteran has a 100% disability rating, suffering from total and permanent disability, and has received benefits for 20+ years
The VA is permitted to order a re-exam if the veteran has been receiving benefits for 20+ years for a non-permanent disability. However, their benefits cannot drop below their original compensation level. For example:
A veteran with a 60% disability rating receives benefits for 20 years, then a re-exam shows he is now only 40% disabled, his benefits cannot be lowered below the 60% rate.
Appealing Veterans Disability Benefits
Most disabilities are given a 20 percent or lower by the VA. However, an appeal can be filed if the veteran thinks the given percentage is too low. In the case that the VA denies benefits or the claimant is inadequately compensated, an appeal of this ruling can be filed using these forms:
VA Form 9
Notice of Disagreement
In preparation for the appeal, the veteran must go to the VA medical facility where they had the medical exam for their pension and compensation.
Once those steps are completed, the veteran should contact the Freedom of Information Office to obtain a copy of the doctor’s report. Should the doctor’s report inaccurately describe the disability, the veteran may do one of two things:
1) They may contact the VA to request another medical exam. They will need to explain why they believe their disability/disease or condition has not been accurately documented.
2) They may contact their own doctor to get a medical report. This report will need to be sent to the VA. In these cases, the VA may order a re-exam.
Once the Notice of Disagreement is filed, or once a decision at this point is made, the veteran can request a traditional appellate review or a review from a Decision Review Officer (DRO). The DRO conducts their own review and is not involved in making a determination about the veteran’s disability rating. They are only able to review ratings that have yet to be finalized. The DRO can only increase a rating in the case that an obvious mistake was made by determining a disability rating that is higher than warranted.
In the case that the veteran does not agree with the DRO’s decision, another appeal can be made to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). The veteran is permitted to bring a representative to this meeting – a non-profit, company, or attorney for example. If the veteran is once again denied, the case may be appealed one last time to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. There is only a small window of time between these steps, and if those windows are missed, the veteran may end up becoming ineligible to receive disability benefits.
There is a wide range of services and benefits offered by the VA for a deceased veteran’s dependent children, spouses, and dependent parents. Those benefits include:
- Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity
- Health Care
- Life Insurance Proceeds
- Education and Training
- Death Pension
- Dependency and Indemnity
- Civil Service Preference
- Compensation (DIC)
- Home Loan Guaranty
- Burial-Related Benefits
- Exchange and Commissary Privileges
- Education Program Refund
Our Veterans’ Benefits attorneys have the well-earned reputation of advocating effectively for veterans, and we take pride in helping you and your family with these claims. Fill out our FREE consultation form below for a free case review, and contact our office today.