What Are Veterans Disability Benefits?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides disability benefits to veterans who have suffered a service connected disability. Benefits are also generally available for a person whose pre-existing condition was made worse as a direct result of military service.
The process can be daunting for veterans who are unfamiliar with it. While we provide basic information here, a veteran or dependent seeking benefits should seek the counsel of an experienced veterans disability benefits attorney immediately after receiving an initial determination from VA.
Am I Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?
It depends. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a former service member must show that he or she:
- Has been honorably discharged or otherwise discharged under honorable circumstances;
- Suffered a service connected disability or exacerbation of an existing injury or illness while on duty;
- Continues to suffer a disability; and
- Can prove the connection or “nexus” to their military service.
How Do I Apply for Benefits?
In order to obtain benefits, a person must file an application with the VA either electronically or by mail. In addition to the completed application form, the claimant must also provide supporting documentation to establish eligibility. That includes medical and military records as well as dependency documents for your spouse and children. While the VA is supposed to make efforts to seek out this documentation, a claimant is well advised to gather and submit the required evidence to ensure that it is reviewed along with the application.
How Does the VA Determine the Amount of My Benefits?
The VA rates each successful claimant’s level of disability on a scale typically ranging from 10 percent disabled to 100 percent disabled. According to current rates, a single veteran with no spouse or dependent children who is considered 100 percent disabled is entitled to up to or more than $2,800 per month.
Can I Obtain Disability Benefits If I’m Still Working?
Yes. The VA finds that many beneficiaries are still able to work in some capacity. For example, a person rated 60 percent disabled by the VA and receiving benefits may still be able to work to a limited extent. The agency does not offset benefits based on other earnings.
What Happens if My Claim is Denied?
A person whose claim is initially denied by the VA or disagrees with the rating granted or the effective date of the disability has the right to appeal the decision. It is at this point that the veteran should obtain an attorney. The appeal begins by filing a “Notice of Disagreement” form. As its name implies, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals considers claims decisions by local offices. A claimant can request an appellate hearing before the Board.
In our experience, the VA is frequently wrong in its initial determination as to whether a claimant is disabled or regarding the extent of the disability or its effective date. If you have a well-supported claim, do not give up due to an initial rejection. An appeal is frequently necessary to completely prove your claim.
At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, our veterans disability benefits lawyers are dedicated to helping clients throughout New York State, as well as Connecticut and New Jersey, obtain the maximum amount of benefits to which they are entitled. With more than five decades of combined experience, we have the knowledge, skills, and ability to help veterans navigate the claims process and present their case to the VA in the most clear and convincing manner. Call us at 877-644-9710 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
How Do I Pay My Attorney?
In order to help our clients manage their benefits & simplify fee payments we offer a FREE debit account. For more information click here!