VA Claims and How a VA Claims Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has a current disability or condition caused by or worsened through military service, you may qualify for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits could be essential for the financial stability of your household, but despite this, they can be challenging to acquire.
Obtaining the VA benefits you are entitled to require an extensive and in-depth application process that can take quite a bit of time. Errors, omissions, and other issues with your application can result in years’ long delays, and if you need to appeal decisions an even longer lag-time before you receive benefits. To support the success of your VA benefits appeal and the completeness of your benefits, work with a VA claims lawyer from our VA benefits law firm.
The Benefits of Filing a VA Claim
If your VA claim is accepted, you will receive tax-free compensation from the VA to provide for the following:
- Diminished earning capacity due to disability or unemployability
- Special monthly compensation for other circumstances
In addition, by obtaining service connection for your condition, you can also obtain from VA, among other things, the following:
- Medical care to treat your disability
- Physical therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation
When your ability to live and work has been altered due to the condition or disability caused or magnified by your military service, a successful VA claim will lead to you and your family collecting compensation.
VA Claims: An Overview of the Process
The process of applying for your VA benefits is time-consuming and complicated, and an error at any point in the process can delay your application or even result in its denial. To support the success of your VA benefits application, it is helpful to understand the process and how it works.
Eligibility Criteria for Filing a VA Claim
The first step in acquiring VA benefits is determining and verifying your eligibility for VA disability compensation. Qualified veterans are eligible for VA disability compensation. Under 38 U.S.C. Sec. 101(2), the term “veteran” is defined as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released from there under conditions other than dishonorable.”
If you are a veteran who served in the armed forces and are presently suffering from a disability or condition linked to your service, you could be missing out on helpful and valuable LVA benefits.
To be eligible for VA benefits a veteran must have served on active duty in the military. The VA defines “active duty” as:
- Full-time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training purposes
- Full-time duty as a commissioned officer in the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service within certain time frames and circumstances
- Full-time duty as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during certain time frames and circumstances
- Service as a cadet at the U.S. Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, or as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy
- Authorized travel to or from those duties and services explored in the sections above
A person is also considered eligible for VA beneifts if he had qualifying active duty for training. A term of active duty for training is qualifying military, naval or air service where the individual “was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.”
A person also has qualifying service if he had inactive duty for training if the individual was “disabled or died from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; or from a myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or cerebrovascular accident during such training.”
This service must be under the visage of the Armed Forces of the United States, meaning the Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and the reserves of each.
To be eligible for VA benefits, you must qualify as a veteran, meaning your discharge status must be anything other than dishonorable. If you were dishonorably discharged and believe it may have been wrongful, there are ways to appeal the decision. If you have disabilities or conditions resulting from or linked to your military service, a successful challenge to your dishonorable discharge status could result in significant benefits and compensation becoming available to you from the VA. There are ways to obtain VA benefits even if you have an other than honorable discharge.
Specific Disabilities Recognized by the VA
The VA recognizes specific disabilities and awards compensation for them based on a percentage scale ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent and increases in increments of 10 percent. While the VA has a schedule of covered conditions and their related ratings, you may still be entitled to compensation if your condition or disability is not on the list. The VA will rate unusual conditions by analogy with similar conditions that are listed in the rating code.
It is also important to note that you can have more than one condition or disability simultaneously, which will impact your compensation. Veterans often have more than a single disability, and as a result, your overall disability rating and level of compensation will also be affected. Service-connection can be direct, secondary, or presumed due to being from particular sources that the VA recognizes without you having to provide further evidence.
The broad categories of VA disability conditions are:
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Dental and oral conditions
- Digestive conditions
- Ear, eye, and nose conditions
- Endocrine systems
- Genitourinary and gynecological conditions and disorders of the breast
- Hemic and lymphatic conditions
- Infectious diseases, immune disorders, and nutritional deficiencies
- Mental conditions
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Neurological conditions and convulsive disorders
- Respiratory conditions
- Skin conditions
- Sleep conditions
- Other various conditions approved by the VA for disability
Each broad category has additional branches; for example, the digestive system is broken into ulcers/postgastrectomy syndromes and weight loss/coexisting abdominal conditions. Each condition then is subject to the schedule of ratings that will determine what your overall disability rating is and what level of tax-free VA compensation you could be entitled to receive.
Our firm employs an in-house physician with years of experience working with the VA disability categories and ratings. The VA claims lawyer on your claim is also intimately familiar with the process, and we can ensure that you receive an accurate and complete diagnosis to incorporate into your application. This provides the fullest possible compensation so that you and your family are not covering the costs associated with your service-related condition out of your household budget.
Types of VA Claims Individuals Can File
The specific circumstances of your service and your present condition will dictate what VA benefits you could be entitled to. What you are entitled to, in turn, impacts what claims you should file and the information and evidence needed in your applications to achieve success. Working with a VA claims lawyer from our VA benefits law firm helps to take the stress and uncertainty out of your day-to-day life as we take over the entire appeal process.
Compensation for VA disability is graduated depending upon the degree of the veteran’s disability ranging on a scale of 10 percent to 100 percent. The compensation is tax-free. VA disability compensation, as clarified by the VA, provides veterans with monthly benefits to compensate them as a result of the impact of:
That above must have been either incurred or aggravated during active military service. Veterans are not the only individuals who are eligible to receive VA disability compensation.
VA disability compensation is also provided to:
- Surviving spouses
- Dependent children
- Dependent parents
This compensation is provided in recognition of the economic loss that is experienced as a result of a veteran’s death during military service or after military service due to a service-connected disability. The disability degrees are designed to compensate the Veteran for considerable loss of working time due to their condition.
Some wartime veterans and their survivors can obtain VA pension benefits if they meet specific requirements.
To be eligible for VA pension benefits, each of the following must apply to your situation:
- You were not dishonorably discharged, and
- Your annual family income and net worth meet particular limits that are established by Congress
At minimum 1 of the following must be true about your military service:
- You began active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served a minimum of 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- You began active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the entire period of your order to active duty, with at least 1 day during active wartime, or
- You were an officer who began active duty following October 16, 1981, and you had not previously served on active duty for 24 months or more.
Lastly, at least 1 of the following must apply to your situation:
- You are 65 years of age or older, or
- You have a permanent or total disability, or
- You are a patient in a nursing home for long-term care due to a disability, or
- You are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
Aid and Attendance Benefits
VA Aid and Attendance benefits may be available for veterans who are housebound due to a service-related condition. You may qualify for this compensation if you require assistance with daily activities, need to stay in bed or a large portion of the day in bed, or have limited eyesight. It is meant to provide you with in-home aid and other assistance to meet your daily needs and improve your quality of life.
In certain situations, a veteran may qualify for compensation for clothing. Generally, this is when clothing is damaged due to a condition, such as an artificial limb, or due to skin issues due to medications from a service-related condition. Your VA claims lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible for this and other “Claims Based on Special Circumstances” as defined by the VA.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is a tax-free payment payable to the surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. In sum, the qualifying survivors of Veterans who died from service-connected disabilities may be eligible for DIC.
Automobile Assistance Claims
When your injury or condition results in the need to purchase a special automobile or make alterations to your existing automobile, funding may be available to you through the VA. Determining your eligibility for this type of compensation requires evidence to prove that your current condition requires these alterations to allow you to live a regular life despite the service-related condition. Our in-house physician and network of medical experts can fully assess your condition to determine exactly what benefits you could be entitled to.
VA Hospital or Facility Medical Malpractice Claims
Even after you have navigated the VA claims process and achieved coverage, there is still the risk of being injured during a medical procedure. If you or a loved one experienced an injury while undergoing a medical procedure or during a stay at a VA hospital, you could have a medical malpractice claim. Medical professionals must meet a certain minimum standard of care, and failure to do so is negligence that can entitle you to compensation.
Connect with a VA Claims Lawyer from Our VA Benefits Law Firm
While there are a great many law firms available to assist you with your VA claim, few provide you with a case-specific attorney from the start. Instead of outsourcing much of the work on your case to paralegals and assistants, we put a VA claims lawyer on your case from the beginning to support the best chances of success in the end. We only get paid if we win, and your initial case review is free, so there is no risk in contacting us and seeing if we can help.