Who is considered a veteran?

A veteran is anyone who served full-time in the active military, naval or air services, including the Coast Guard – and who was discharged or released from the service in all conditions other than dishonorable.

What is a general military discharge?

It means that you had qualifying service in the military but with some issues that involved either discipline or otherwise not meeting all requirements.

What does VBMS stand for?

VBMS stands for the Veterans Benefits Management System. This is VA’s internal case management system that it uses to manage benefits claims.

What constitutes Clear and Unmistakable Error?

The CAVC defines CUE in the following manner:

In order to establish CUE, the appellant must show that (1) either the facts known at the time of the decision being attacked on the basis for CUE were not before the adjudicator or the law then in effect was incorrectly applied; (2) an error occurred based on the record and the law that existed at the time; and (3) had the error not been made, the outcome would have been “manifestly different.”

What are the neurobehavioral effects of Camp Lejeune water?

Several research reports have found that there is limited or suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to the contamination at Camp Lejeune and neurobehavioral effects. However, the term “neurobehavioral effects” has been used differently in the research literature than what most veterans may realize. In the 2009 National Research Council report the term neurobehavioral effects included such symptoms as fatigue, confusion, depression, trouble concentrating, headaches, lack of coordination, sensory disturbances, as well as certain learning or behavioral disorders.

The report drew a distinction between neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. But due to the absence of diagnostic clarity, the VA research committee decided to define neurobehavioral effects broadly to encompass both neurological and behavioral effects.

Is sleep apnea related to PTSD?

Sleep apnea can be related to PTSD. Although sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder under the VA rating code and PTSD is a mental disability, there is a high degree of association between veterans with PTSD and sleep apnea. We have won many cases for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD or other mental health disabilities.

What is Gang & Associates’ success rate?

We believe that it is potentially misleading to publish exact success rates. Why? Because we do not accept cases that we believe don’t have a valid basis in law or the facts. So, we accept only cases where we believe that we can win. Of those, we win most cases we get involved with.

Benefits & Compensation

What benefits are available to disabled veterans?

Veterans have a wide range of benefits available to them. They range from VA pension benefits (non-service connected) and VA compensation benefits – to vocational rehabilitation and grants for adapted vehicles, housing, and equipment. If you are a disabled veteran, you’re invited to call our toll free Disability Information Answer Line at (888) 878-9350 and we can outline the benefits that may be available to you.

How does a veteran or dependent apply for VA benefits?

The form is called VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation or Pension. You can get an application form online at the VA website www.vba.va.gov/bln/21. Or you can call the VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000.

If you’d like help applying for benefits (and the process is difficult!), we would be happy to help you. Just call us toll free at (888) 878-9350.

How much are the monthly VA compensation benefits?

The benefits for disabled veterans range from $123 per month to $2,673 per month, depending on your disability. (These amounts may have changed since this guide was printed.)

Are VA disability payments taxable?

Generally, VA compensation is not taxable income, but there are many other factors that must be considered to receive a complete answer. Please see our article on this topic here.

Does the VA grant allowances for dependents?

Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated at 30 percent or more are entitled to additional allowances for dependents. The additional amount is determined according to the number of dependents and the degree of disability.

May I receive Social Security Disability and VA disability compensation benefits at the same time?

Yes, you can receive both Social Security Disability and VA disability compensation benefits simultaneously. If you receive a VA disability pension, the VA usually will reduce your pension amount by the amount of your Social Security Disability benefits because the VA pension is based upon need.

As a veteran, can I receive disability benefits and continue to work?

Yes. You can work regardless of the VA’s assigned disability level, even if you are rated as 100% disabled. However, if you receive VA benefits due to individual unemployability or if you receive a VA pension, you cannot work.

How much can someone make on unemployability?

A veteran receiving VA unemployability or TDIU can engage in marginal employment and earn up to the poverty threshold on an annual basis. The poverty thresholds are the federal poverty standards. This data is updated regularly by the Census Bureau. The poverty threshold in 2021 for a single person was $12,880. This means that a veteran seeking to work with VA unemployability should not earn more than about $1,000 per month or a little over $12,000 for the entire year.

Are benefits continued if a beneficiary is incarcerated?

VA benefits are affected if a beneficiary is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days.

Disability or Death Pension paid to an incarcerated beneficiary must be discontinued. Disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran rated 20 percent or more disabled is limited to the 10 percent rate. For a surviving spouse, child or dependent parent receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or a veteran whose disability rating is 10 percent, the payment is reduced to half of the rate payable to a veteran evaluated as 10 percent disabled.

Any amounts not paid may be apportioned to eligible dependents. Payments are not reduced for participants in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses or under community control.

Failure to notify VA of a veteran’s incarceration can result in overpayment of benefits and the subsequent loss of all VA financial benefits until the overpayment is repaid. Persons convicted of a federal or state capital crime cannot receive VA burial benefits.

What benefits are available for a veteran who needs help or is housebound?

A veteran who is determined by VA to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person, or a veteran who is permanently housebound, may be entitled to additional disability compensation or pension benefits. A disabled veteran evaluated 30 percent or more also is entitled to receive a special allowance for a spouse who is in need of the aid and attendance of another person.

Are members of the National Guard entitled to VA benefits?

Members of the National Guard activated for federal service during a period of war or domestic emergency may be eligible for certain VA benefits, such as VA health care or compensation for injuries or conditions connected to that service. Activation for other than federal service does not qualify guardsmen for all VA benefits. Claims for VA benefits based on federal service filed by guardsmen should include a copy of the military orders, presidential proclamation or executive order that clearly demonstrates the federal nature of the service.

What are combat veteran benefits?

First, a combat veteran would be entitled to all potential service-connected compensation benefits that the VA has to offer. The same requirements would have to be met for service connection. However, being a combat veteran does make proving an in-service event for purposes of establishing service connection somewhat easier. Basically, if the injury occurred because of experience in combat, the VA would have to accept the veteran’s statements as to what happened during that encounter for purposes of establishing an in-service event.

Second, combat veterans may be entitled to a form of special compensation called combat related special compensation or CRSC. CRSC is a separate payment from military retirement pay and the disability payments. To qualify for CRSC, the CRSC board must determine that some of the VA service connected to civilities are related to combat.

The focus of CRSC eligibility is whether the veteran has any eligible disabilities that are combat related. The regulations provide for seven categories of disabilities that make one eligible for combat related purposes and CRSC. The list is as follows:

  • Injuries incurred through an instrumentality of war
  • injuries because of direct armed conflict resulting from the performance of duty under conditions simulating war
  • injuries resulting while engaged in hazardous service
  • injuries that resulted in receipt of the Purple Heart award
  • designated disabilities that are presumed service related
  • disabilities that are secondary to the disabilities in the first 6 categories above.

In terms of the disabilities that are presumed service connected by the VA, the Department of Defense has made several findings regarding which disabilities will be presumed related to combat for CRSC. These disabilities include things that are known to have only occurred during combat such as exposure to mustard gas, radiation, undiagnosed illnesses, and the types of disabilities associated with being a prisoner of war.

Who is Eligible for CHAMPVA Benefits?

To qualify for health care under CHAMPVA, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Surviving spouse or child of veteran who died from service-connected disability.
  • Surviving spouse or child of veteran with permanent or total disability rating for service-connected disability at the time of death.
  • Surviving spouse or child of service member who died in active duty.

What are the VA’s non-service connected pension benefits?

Veterans who served during wartime and have a low income and few assets may qualify for non-service connected pension benefits. The veteran’s disability does not have to be related to his military service.


How long will it take VA to consider my claim?

The VA claims processing and appeal systems are overwhelmed with applications. You will face long delays at every level of the claims and appeals process. Unfortunately, the current backlog and high rate of errors continue to plague VA with no relief in sight. According to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals fiscal year report in 2006, it took an average of 489 days from the time a veteran filed his Form 9 (substantive appeal) for the regional office to forward the case to the Board. By fiscal year 2010 the average waiting period increased to 609 days. In the Board’s annual report for fiscal year 2010, it took an average of 212 days from when the Board receives a claim to when it issues a decision. And if the case is remanded (sent back) to the regional office, it took an average of another 493 days.

If my claim for VA benefits is denied, should I appeal?

In most cases, the answer is “yes”. While the law says the VA is supposed to give the veteran the benefit of the doubt and help the veteran with his claim, the fact is many claims are improperly denied. In recent years the Board of Veterans’ Appeals has remanded or sent back nearly 50 percent of the Regional Office decisions. For instance, in 2001 the Board sent back 48.8 percent of claims. In 2010, it sent back 42.4 percent of claims.

If you hope to win your appeal, you must make sure you meet the VA’s appeal deadlines.

In addition, you should carefully review the rating decisions and Statement of the Case to determine the reasons for the VA’s denial. These VA documents should explain why your claim was denied, which helps you understand what is necessary for your claim to succeed. In your initial appeal, make sure you provide any evidence that you did not provide with your initial claim because the appeal will reach a point at the Board level when you may not submit any additional evidence.

The claims and appeal process is so difficult that many veterans become discouraged and simply give up on their claims. On some occasions, veterans choose to reopen their claims many years later and discover they have lost years of unpaid benefits.

As a veteran, do I have to testify in support of my claim?

No, you cannot be required to testify; however, you have the right to request a hearing before the Regional Office or the Board, if you desire. No testimony is permitted before the Court.

May I hire a lawyer to help me with my claim?

Yes. In 2007, after roughly 140 years of not allowing veterans to hire paid lawyers, Congress passed the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006. This law allowed veterans to retain a lawyer for VA proceedings when the VA denies the claim and the veteran files a disagreement with the VA’s decision. For legacy cases (prior to the enactment of the Appeals Modernization Act, after the notice of disagreement, you could hire a lawyer to represent you through the frustrating, difficult process of appealing your claim. Now, under the Appeals Modernization Act, you can hire a lawyer after your initial VA decision. For more information about hiring a lawyer, please see our “Veterans Guide to Hiring a Disability Lawyer”.

How long does it take to get a decision from VA?

It varies depending on whether it is an initial claim or an appeal. It also depends on whether it is a legacy or AMA case. It also depends on what stage of the appeals process you are in. Generally, appeal times are based on how many cases are backlogged at VA and where you are in that line. VA is constantly working down its inventory of pending cases while new claims are constantly being filed. As such, predictions on timelines are constantly changing and anything we write here could be outdated in a month. But generally, a case that must be appealed all the way to the Board of Veterans Appeals will take longer than cases decided at the Regional Office level. But remember, it's not so much how fast you can get a decision but how accurate can you get a decision.

A quick denial serves no purpose and so oftentimes if it takes a little longer to get decision and that decision is correct and a grant of benefits, you end up saving more time in the long run. We've seen too many veterans over the years fixate on getting quick decisions out of VA when what really happens is VA sends out quick denials, thereby putting a veteran into the system for appeals which can take a long time. As such, we believe it is better focus is on quality decisions that are accurate and grant benefits rather than simply a fast denial.

Can you expedite your VA claim to get a decision faster?

Yes, under certain circumstances. There are provisions based on advanced age, terminal illness and extreme financial hardship that could be used as a basis to potentially move your case faster than it would otherwise move. But each case is different, and you should consult with a qualified veterans benefits attorney.

Are there times when a Final RO Decision cannot be challenged?

Yes. Before filing a CUE claim, check to see whether a previous final RO decision is eligible to be attacked based upon CUE. Some final RO decisions cannot be challenged at the RO level because they have been “subsumed” by a later BVA decision. Again, an attorney can be especially helpful with the necessary investigation and analysis concerning whether the decision can be challenged and where that challenge must be filed.

Disability Ratings

Can you get a 100 percent rating for VA disability for PTSD?

Yes. The highest level of rating impairment for service-connected PTSD is 100%. As of 2022 a 100% VA rating for PTSD disability requires total occupational and social impairment.

How to increase VA disability from 80 to 100 percent?

To increase one's disability combined rating from 80% to 100% requires the application of the VA's combined rating table. If the veteran has at least one disability rated at 40% by itself and a total combined rating of 80%, and he is not working, the easiest way to get to the 100% compensation level would be to assert a claim for TDIU or VA IU. To do this, a veteran would need to fill out and complete a VA form 21-8940.

Alternatively, if the veteran is appealing an assigned rating or appealing for a higher rating and he is also not working due to service-connected disabilities, then he can assert his TDIU claim as part and parcel of his increased rating appeal.

However, if the veteran is still working and wants to achieve a combined rating of 100% from the 80% level, then he must understand and apply the principles set forth in the VA's combined rating table. At the 80% level, one additional disability rated it an additional 80% could bring the combined rating up to 96% which would round up to 100%. However, finding disabilities that have 80% ratings by themselves is not realistic and so oftentimes there is the need to add multiple additional disabilities to try to achieve a combined rating of 100% from the 80% rating level.

For instance, if the veteran added a new disability at 50% by itself to the 80% combined rating, he would end up with a combined rating of 90%. Then, once at the 90% level, if he'd added a second disability at another 50%, he would be at a 95% combined rating, which would round up to 100%. There are many additional combinations of disabilities, but the bottom line is that they must be plugged into the VA's combined rating table and added accordingly. If the veteran is at 90% combined rating, he would need an additional five disability ratings at 10% each to get to a 95% combined rating which would then round up to 100%.

What is the highest disability rating for back pain?

The highest VA disability rating for the back or spine is 100%. The condition is rated under VA's general rating formula for diseases and injuries of the spine. To achieve a 100% rate for a back injury, a veteran must have unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine. Ankylosis is immobility and consolidation of a joint. Essentially, this means that the entire spine is essentially fused and immovable.

What is the maximum VA disability rating for hearing loss?

The maximum VA disability rating for hearing loss is 100%. Impairment in hearing acuity is addressed in 38 CFR Sections 4.85 and 4.86.

What is the highest VA disability rating for migraines?

The highest VA rating for migraine headaches is 50%. Migraines are rated under VA diagnostic code 8100. To obtain the highest VA rating for migraines at 50%, a veteran must show frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks that are productive of severe economic in adaptability.

What is the highest VA disability rating for sleep apnea?

The highest VA disability rating for sleep apnea is 100 percent as of 2022. The rating for sleep apnea goes from zero to 100 percent. The 100 percent rating for sleep apnea under the 2022 rating code requires chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or core pulmonale; or, requires tracheostomy. Under the 2022 rating criteria, the most common rating for sleep apnea is 50 percent which is assigned when a veteran uses a CPAP machine.

However, as of early 2022, the VA has proposed changes in the rating criteria for sleep apnea which would place the focus more on the effectiveness of treatment and the impact on employment based upon how effective the treatment is. Please continue to check this website for additional resources in the future that may address the rating criteria for sleep apnea.

Can I get VA disability for flat feet?

Yes. Flat feet are very common in the veteran population. This condition is medically called pes planus. The condition is rated under diagnostic code 5276 and the maximum rating for the condition is 50%. To achieve a 50% rating, a veteran must have the following symptoms: pronounced, marked pronation, extreme tenderness of plantar surfaces of the feet, marked inward displacement and severe spasm of the tendo Achilles on manipulation, not improved by orthopedic shoes or appliances.

To get VA benefits for flat feet you must service connect the condition. This means that the basic criteria for service connection must be met. A veteran must show an in-service event, a current disability, and a nexus or connection between the current condition and the events of service.

How does VA rate GERD?

The VA rates GERD by analogy. The VA rating formula for diseases of the digestive system does not have a specific diagnostic code for GERD. Typically, the analogous diagnostic code for rating GERD is the hiatal hernia. The ratings for a hiatal hernia range from 10% to 60%. To achieve the highest rating of 60% a veteran must have symptoms of pain, vomiting, material weight loss and hematemesis or melana with moderate anemia, or other symptom combinations productive of severe impairment of health. The next highest rating would be 30%, in the symptoms required to achieve a 30% rating or persistently recurrent epigastric distress with dysphasia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm or shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of health. The next level of rating for GERD is the 10% rating and it requires two or more of the symptoms for the 30% evaluation but with less severity.

Is disability compensation affected if the veteran is a fugitive?

VA disability compensation and pension benefits may not be paid to any veteran named on an outstanding felony warrant, or their dependents, until the veteran has surrendered to authorities or the warrant is cleared.

Can a veteran with a 90 percent disability rating work?

Yes. So long as the veteran’s service-connected disabilities do not impair his ability to work, he is certainly free to work Unless he's also receiving TDIU in which case he can only engage in marginal or casual employment and still retain his TDIU rating.

Survivors Pension & DIC

What is VA Survivors’ Pension?

VA survivor’s pension is similar to DIC, a tax-free monthly benefit. The difference between survivors’ pension and DIC is that eligibility is based on wartime service and income, not the veteran’s status or service-connection.

VA offers survivors’ pension benefits to low-income, single surviving spouses of veterans with an honorable or other-than-honorable (OTH) discharge who:

  • Served at least 90 days active duty on or before September 7, 1980, with at least one day during wartime, OR
  • Served 24 months (or the total duty time) after September 7, 1980, with at least one day during wartime.

Surviving children may also be eligible for survivors’ pension under the same criteria used for DIC benefits.

What Are VA DIC Benefits?

When a veteran passes away, any monthly payments they received for a service-connected disability will cease. Surviving family members seeking financial assistance can then apply for DIC benefits.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free, monthly VA payment available for surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased service members or military veterans.

Surviving spouses receive monthly payments for life, unless they remarry before age 57. Surviving children can collect DIC benefits until age 18 - age 23 if attending school - or indefinitely if the child has qualifying special needs.

Currently, VA DIC benefits are paid at $1,357.56 per month for spouses, $340.69 per month for each child – more in certain cases, such as if you are disabled and require daily care assistance.

Who Is Eligible for VA DIC Benefits?

VA DIC benefits are available for surviving family of service members who die on active duty or die from a service-connected disability. Surviving family may include the spouse, children, or parents.

To be considered a “surviving spouse” for DIC benefits, you must meet several criteria, including:

  • Married to the veteran for at least one year.
  • Married within 15 years of the veteran’s discharge from the service their disability is connected to.
  • Unmarried with a shared child AND living with the veteran at the time of their death.

A surviving spouse who prompted a separation during the marriage may not be eligible for DIC benefits. Similarly, spouses who remarry may not be eligible for DIC benefits - unless remarrying after age 57, remarrying after December 16, 2003, or the remarriage has ended due to annulment, divorce, or death.

Can same-sex spouses get VA DIC benefits? Yes. VA is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In September 2013, same-sex couples in the military were granted the same beneficiary rights as heterosexual couples.

For a child to collect DIC benefits, they must be a dependent of the veteran, and meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • Under age 18
  • Between ages 18-23 and enrolled in a qualifying school
  • Unmarried with special needs

The main criteria for receiving DIC benefits is being able to prove that the cause of death was service-related. If the veteran had a presumptive condition or was service connected for their illness, this may not be necessary.

If the veteran’s cause of death is not service connected, survivors can still collect DIC benefits. In some cases, the applicant may need to provide evidence that the cause of death was service-related – the most powerful being a good medical nexus letter.

Also, if the veteran had total disability due to individual unemployability (TDIU) or was rated at 100% disability (or combined rating of 100%) at the time of death, survivors may be eligible for DIC benefits.

Who Gets VA Benefits When a Veteran Dies?

Losing a loved one can be both emotionally difficult and financially overwhelming - especially when a spouse, children, or other dependents rely on a veteran’s VA benefits to get by.

What happens to VA benefits after a veteran’s death? Do VA benefits go to family members when a veteran passes?

While veteran’s disability payments stop after the veteran’s death, the surviving spouse and others may be eligible to collect other types of ongoing VA benefits, including Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) health care coverage, survivors’ pension, and burial benefits.

Does The Surviving Spouse Get Health Care Benefits After Veteran’s Death?

A deceased veteran’s spouse and children may qualify for health care benefits through the CHAMPVA program as long as they don’t receive TRICARE benefits.

Will my wife receive my VA benefits when I die?

The normal rule is that your VA benefits die with you. Another person cannot receive your VA benefits. However, this does not mean that your wife is without recourse and does not have entitlement to certain VA benefits in her own right. There are certain survivor benefits that your wife could be entitled to. Please see our resources on DIC.

If a veteran dies and his wife service connects the cause of his death, she would be entitled to monthly VA compensation. In addition, if the veteran had a pending claim for disability compensation at the time he died, his wife could substitute for him in that pending matter and bring it to conclusion and potentially receive the accrued benefit that would have been payable to the veteran due to that pending claim.

Does VA Pay for Veteran Burial and Funeral Expenses?

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a flat rate monetary benefit to cover eligible burial and funeral costs. VA may also agree to cover additional expenses, including plot, interment, and transportation costs.

Veterans eligible for VA burial benefits include veterans with honorable or other-than-honorable (OTH) discharge who:

  • Died due to a service-connected disability or were receiving VA benefits at the time of death.
  • Died during VA hospitalization or under VA care at a non-VA facility.
  • Died during transit to or from a VA health exam, treatment, or healthcare appointment.
  • Received VA benefits at time of death or qualified for VA benefits but instead received full disability or military retirement.
  • Died while receiving care at a VA-approved nursing home (after Oct. 9, 1996).
  • Had a VA claim pending at the time of death and would have been eligible for VA benefits prior to the date of death.

Surviving spouses typically receive the VA burial benefits payment automatically once the VA learns of the veteran’s death - no need to file a claim. If there is no surviving spouse, a surviving child or parent can file a claim for VA burial benefits.

Surviving family members should apply for DIC and other VA benefits as soon as possible after a veteran’s death, as the effective date for payments starts on the date of the claim if you wait a year or longer to apply (otherwise it starts one month after you receive approval).

If you have questions about your DIC claim or are having difficulty collecting DIC benefits after a veteran’s death, we are available to help. Contact Gang & Associates toll-free at 888.878.9350 or Contact Us online. Initial consultations are free and confidential.

Agent Orange

How much does Agent Orange disability compensation pay?

VA compensation is based upon having a service-connected disability. Whatever body part or body system that is affected is judged based upon the VA rating code. Agent Orange is a toxic substance that was used as a tactical herbicidal in Vietnam and exposure to this substance has been shown to cause diseases to numerous body parts and systems. Not every veteran will have every disease known to be associated with Agent Orange exposure, and how much you get paid each month in VA compensation depends upon whether you are service connected for the condition. Once you are service connected for the condition, VA will look to how severe the illness is, and what your symptoms are, and compare those symptoms with what's listed in the rating criteria for that disability. Disabilities can range from 0% to 100% and you would receive commensurate disability rating based upon your level of impairment.

Are Agent Orange benefits retroactive?

Yes. VA compensation based on exposure to Agent Orange will be paid based upon the same retroactive rules that apply to any other case regardless of what caused the disability in service. In general, for original claims for service connection, the effective date of any award is the date VA receives the claim or the date you became entitled, whichever is later. So, it doesn't matter if your disability occurred because of Agent Orange exposure or whether it occurred in boot camp. Regardless, once you file a claim, the general rules for retroactive pay would apply.

How do you file for Agent Orange compensation?

You would file a claim for VA benefits for Agent Orange the same way you would file any other VA compensation claim. You would file a VA form 21-526 and you would make a claim for the disease that you have because of Agent Orange exposure. There is no specific benefit called Agent Orange compensation. Agent Orange is merely the causative element that later produced a disease or disability. Your claim must be based upon the disease or disability that you are experiencing due to Agent Orange exposure.

Does Agent Orange cause mental illness in offspring?

There's no official evidence of mental illness in the offspring of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. However, this does not definitely mean that no such evidence could ever exist. As with everything we have known about Agent Orange over the last several decades, science continues to develop, and we don't know what will emerge in the offspring of Agent Orange exposed veterans as they age. We certainly have evidence in the Vietnamese people of serious health issues and even severe psychological and neurological problems and birth defects due to Agent Orange exposure. Problems continue, for instance in Vietnam, because birds and animals live off the land that is still contaminated with dioxin in the chemical accumulates in the fatty tissue of these animals, which are then later eaten by humans. This allows the problem of dioxin exposure to continue in the generations living in Vietnam after the war. Even in the US, there have been reports of health effects showing up even in the grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans.


How does a lawyer get paid in cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims? Why do the lawyers in cases at the CAVC all say it won’t cost me anything to hire them?

Not everyone can afford a lawyer. But it is important to have one. That’s why Congress passed the federal law called the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). This law allows the government to pay your lawyer’s fees and expenses. What’s more, the money the government pays to your lawyer does not reduce or affect any money that you receive from the VA. This money is not part of your VA benefits. Best of all, the lawyer will not get paid unless he wins a remand or reversal at the court level. If the lawyer does not get a remand or reversal he will not get paid. This gives your lawyer a strong incentive to win a remand or reversal – because your lawyer gets paid only if he wins.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A remand means you get to reopen your case at the VA level and get another chance to win the case – with new evidence, and new doctors’ reports. It does not mean you have won your case. Instead, it means that you have won the right to present your case again. In a case like this, your lawyer may get his legal fees paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act before you win benefits from the VA.

What happens after I get a remand at the CAVC? Will I get more free help from my lawyer?

Yes and no. Your lawyer may or may not be able to help you beyond getting a remand. Once you get a remand, your case goes back to the VA level. At this point, you want to add new evidence, if possible, and plug holes in the case so that the Board will not deny your claim again. Since this is not at the Court level, your lawyer will not get paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).

However, some lawyers will work with you at this level. They will help you get stronger medical evidence and present a stronger case. They will show you how to talk to the VA... in the best way possible, so you get your disability claim approved. Lawyers who do this usually ask for part of your back pay, usually 20% to 33%. For example, let’s say you were disabled several years ago, and you’ve been fighting this claim for many years. Let’s say the VA owes you $15,000 in back pay. If your lawyer helps you get your claim approved, he could ask for a fee of $3,000 (20%) or perhaps $4,950 (33%).

What’s the first step to hiring you to help me?

Call us toll free at (888) 878-9350 because you no longer have to “go it alone.”

We represent veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and in Federal Court for Service Connected Disability and Rating Increases.

As a result, our team has an in-depth legal background with a wide range of experience. This includes extensive experience in building and developing evidence in complex cases. We will gladly review your case and give you an honest evaluation of whether we think it’s a winner or loser. Then our lawyers will suggest how we should proceed. If we think we can win your case, then our firm will offer to represent you before the VA or the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The sooner you call us, the sooner we may be able to help you. So please don’t wait one moment longer. Call our team toll free at (888) 878-9350 for a free, honest evaluation of your claim, at no cost or obligation.

The following information is provided to help you improve your chances of getting your VA benefits claim approved.

If you would like to talk to an experienced VA disability attorney at no charge to you, call our office at (888) 878-9350 today.

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