va disability lawyers
Disability Law

What to Know About VA Disability

VA Disability can be available to Veterans who can prove a connection between current illnesses or medical issues and their previous or current military service, or can show that an existing condition was made worse by service. Where’s the best place to get started?

VA Disability Lawyers Can Help.

Advocacy is defined as both public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy, and as the profession or work of a legal advocate. What does this mean for you if you’re a disabled Veteran?

In short, it means that local VA disability lawyers who take on cases like yours advocate your cause on your behalf. They know the ins and outs of the system. They know the pitfalls and snags that might hold up your case. They know the forms, language, and conventions surrounding the VA disability process. And they know how to handle an appeal if your case is initially denied.

To advocate on your behalf also means that your VA disability lawyers work for you. It’s in their best interest to win your case, just as it is in your best interest to receive financial compensation for your service-related injury or illness. By working together with your attorney, you can present the best possible case to help you win the benefits that you deserve.

A lawyer is helpful to you not only regarding what’s already been filed, but what needs to be filed as well. They can drive your case forward to show not only your injury or illness, but specifically how it is connected to your military service. They know the language of the regulations that the VA is looking for in a successful claim. In short, it’s all about having a winning team to advocate on your behalf.

Proving Eligibility

VA Disability benefits are available for both physical and mental conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are several specific conditions you must meet to prove your eligibility for a VA disability rating. In addition to showing proof of active-duty service, in most cases you must meet certain requirements that clearly document your condition to a particular time and place during your prior service. For example, a Veteran claiming to have sustained injury or disease related to agent orange must show military records that document that veteran’s presence in areas where the Air Force deployed agent orange. This is the direct correlation of a service-connected condition that the VA is looking for when approving benefits.

According to the Veterans’ Administration:

Both of these must be true. You:

  • Served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, and
  • Have a disability rating for your service-connected condition

And at least one of these must be true. You:

  1. Got sick or injured while serving in the military—and can link this condition to your illness or injury (called an inservice disability claim), or
  2. Had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse (called a preservice disability claim), or
  3. Have a disability related to your active-duty service that didn’t appear until after you ended your service (called a post-service disability claim)

Proving a Service Connection

A difficult part of VA Disability approval is connecting your condition to your service. Is your bad back a result of several parachute landings gone wrong, or a natural part of aging? Are your respiratory problems connected to air quality issues in Afghanistan, or because you were once a smoker? Is it a combination of both?

Proving the connection between your condition and your service means that you have a history of service records, medical records, and doctor’s opinions that show a clear link between your condition and your service. By working with the right legal team, your attorney can ensure that you have the correct documents, completed thoroughly and with the right medical evidence highlighted to prove that your condition is connected to your service.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can contact Affleck & Gordon, accredited VA Disability lawyers, for a free case evaluation to help you determine where you stand with your potential VA disability claim. There will be no attorney fees unless Affleck & Gordon win your case on appeal.

Determining the Severity of Your Condition

Severity of disability, according to the VA and their system, rates between 0%-100% disabled. Often, the VA will service-connect your condition, but not give you the rating that is truly deserved based on your symptoms and functioning. The VA can and does often grant service-connection with a “zero percent” impairment rating. While there may not be any immediate monetary benefit from a zero percent rating, this service connection could still be very important as your health worsens over time, and especially if you appeal your decision or file a supplemental claim down the road.

At each level of severity that the VA assigns, benefits increase, not only for you, but also for your dependents. Your monthly benefits will be based on the percentage you are considered disabled.

At the 10%-20% rate of disability, benefits will be paid for the verteran only, excluding dependents. Once you pass the 30% level of severity of your condition, your dependents will be included in the calculation of the amount of your benefits.

Why Do I Need VA Disability Lawyers for my VA Appeal? 

There are three main reasons why retaining VA disability lawyers can help you. First, at Affleck & Gordon, all consultations regarding your case are free. Their VA disability experts can review the elements of your initial claim, find ways to strengthen your case, call in experts to testify on your behalf, and assess your doctors’ notes to make sure all bases are covered. If you received a rating lower than you expected, our qualified team can assist with compiling new evidence for your claim and will make sure that the language and verbiage a Veterans Law Judge is looking for.

Secondly, Affleck & Gordon is paid only if they win your case. This is called a contingency fee basis, which means that they’re paid a percentage of your claim if you recover damages.

Thirdly, by having VA disability lawyers working as an advocate for you on your appeal, you are more likely to win the benefits you deserve.

Did You Know?

  1. You may file for disability at any time after your service.
  2. Of all original claims filed each year for VA disability, 31% are denied. 
  3. You may have all, none, or some of your claims denied
  4. Of those initially denied, 60% are denied in error. 
  5. If your original claim is denied, you typically have one year to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD).
  6. The average decision time for an initial VA disability claim is 94.3 days. However this is only an average, and every case is different based on the complexity involved.

At Affleck & Gordon, helping Veterans receive their disability benefits is a primary area of practice. The VA disability lawyers with Affleck & Gordon care deeply for their clients and assist them with problems that may arise with their disability claim or appeal.

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