VA Disability Lawyers Give an Overview of Veterans Disability
At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, our New York disability attorneys, represent clients throughout New York State, as well as in Connecticut and New Jersey. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our VA disability lawyers are dedicated to helping veterans obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. Call us today at 888-311-7642 for a free case evaluation.
What Are VA Disability Benefits?
Veterans benefits are offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and they include an array of benefits for anyone who was disabled in a service-connected injury or condition. VA benefits are also available to those who had a pre-existing condition, but military service made it worse.
VA benefits may include the following:
- Disability Compensation
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
- Claims Based on Special Circumstance (Special Claims)
- VA Pensions
- Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP)
- Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSP)
These forms of financial compensation are also supplemented with medical resources, such as VA health care and VA nursing home care, as well as education benefits and home loan guarantees. It’s important to know your rights as a military member or former military member. Our VA disability lawyers can evaluate your situation and help you understand your legal options.
VA Disability Benefits: Who Is Eligible?
Generally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides disability benefits to members of the military who are injured or become sick while on duty as well as those whose pre-existing conditions are made worse as a result of service. Benefits are not taxed and are subsequently paid monthly in amounts that vary based on the recipient’s specific circumstances. A person who is able to work despite any impairments or who also receives Social Security Disability benefits may also be able to obtain VA disability benefits.
Simply being eligible for these benefits does not mean that a veteran will ultimately receive them, however. Rather, the injured person must file a claim that includes sufficient evidence showing that he or she is entitled to benefits. If you are not familiar with all the details, our New York disability attorneys can help you with this process.
You may be eligible for VA disability benefits if the following apply to you:
- Were honorably discharged from the U.S. military;
- Were discharged under honorable conditions or had a general discharge;
- Suffer from a service-connected disability or your pre-existing illness or injury was made worse due to your service; and
- Can prove the connection or “nexus” of the disability to your military service.
Does It Matter What Branch of the Military You Served?
People from all branches of the military are eligible for benefits, including the following:
- Service considered full-time status in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard;
- Reserve status service in the U.S. Army National Guard or Air National Guard (if the federal government activated that service);
- Cadets attending military academies throughout the U.S., including the Air Force, Coast Guard, Naval, and other academies; and
- Some people who enrolled in prep schools, training academies, and national service organizations directly connected to the military.
It can be difficult to know if you qualify for disability benefits. You may be unsure of whether your schooling, training, or type of service qualifies. If you received a discharge that was not honorable or general in nature, you may also be able to apply for a discharge upgrade or records correction. There are many options for you after serving as a member of the U.S. military.
Our skilled VA disability lawyers will review your information and compile evidence that your condition is connected with your service. Even if you have a history of pre-existing conditions, we may be able to connect the severity of your current condition to exacerbation during your service.
Filing a VA Disability Benefits Claim
In order to obtain disability benefits, a veteran must file a claim with the VA. For the uninitiated, the VA disability benefits claims process can be a complex, tangled web of paperwork. At Hermann Law Group, we help guide clients through the process by seeking out and reviewing medical and other evidence in order to ensure that they can establish each of the required elements of a successful benefits claim. Our VA disability lawyers will examine your medical records thoroughly, and advise you accordingly.
In order to begin your VA disability claim, you or our VA disability lawyers must file an application via a form VA 21-526. You can submit this form online or through mail. You must also include supporting documentation for your claim. Our knowledgeable attorneys are familiar with the requirements of the VA. We have guided many people through successful completion of the disability benefits claims process. We know what you need to include in an application package to increase your chances of obtaining benefits.
Hermann Law Group can help you compile the following for your initial claims application:
- Discharge/separation papers
- Medical records
- Dependency documents, such as marriage licenses and birth certificates
Most of the documentation necessary seems straightforward. However, the VA will be looking for key information in your medical records and other documents that meet the requirements for a VA disability claim. Our VA disability lawyers understand what type of information you need to include in your claim to get a positive outcome.
Proving Eligibility for VA Benefits
A veteran seeking VA disability benefits must show that he or she:
- Served in active service and received an honorable discharge;
- Sustained an injury, became sick, or exacerbated an existing injury or disease during service;
- Is currently suffering from the effects or symptoms of the injury or disease; and
- That these effects or symptoms directly related to military service.
Claimants should draw on a variety of evidence, including medical and military records and witness testimony, in order to establish these elements of a successful benefits claim. Showing proof of your eligibility is essential. The VA claim reviewers will not make assumptions regarding your documentation. We must make sure that your documentation clearly displays the story of your injury and disability. This may require evidence from witnesses and experts. We can provide medical analysis for the VA so they clearly see that you are eligible for disability benefits.
At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, our VA disability benefits attorneys regularly represent clients in these claims, and are intimately familiar with both the claims process and how to prove a specific claim. We understand what the VA is looking for in a claim. Moreover, we know how to obtain the necessary evidence and present it in the clearest and most convincing possible manner.
VA Disability Benefits Claim Appeals
The VA denies scores of disability benefits claims each year, including many for individuals who should actually receive benefits. Sometimes, the problem is with the claimant’s paperwork (or lack thereof). Other times, however, the government simply gets it wrong. The good news is that a person whose claim has been denied can appeal the decision.
Your claim may be denied outright, or you may disagree with the percentage of impairment the VA finds. In either case, you have a right to appeal the decision of the VA. An appeal will require a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) and additional medical documentation in order to close the gaps that the VA felt existed in the initial case. This often requires expert opinions about your specific type of disability. An expert can provide detailed information about your medical condition and how it impacts your life.
You may make the following types of appeals of a VA disability claim application:
- Decision Review Officer (DRO) Appeal – This may or may not involve a hearing at your VA regional office. This enables you and our VA disability lawyers to go before an officer to explain your case and the evidence we are submitting.
- Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) Appeal – You may skip the DRO appeal and take the issue directly to the BVA. The BVA will prepare a Statement of the Case, which is the VA’s final decision.
Our VA disability lawyers will work closely with you throughout a disability benefits appeal. We will identify what was lacking in your initial application and help you obtain the right information for an appeal. Whether you worked with us on initial appeal, on your own, or with a Veterans’ Service Organization (VSO), we can help you achieve a successful appeal.
Contact New York VA Disability Lawyers
If you are considering filing a VA disability benefits claim or want to appeal a claim that has been initially denied, contact the veterans disability benefits attorneys at Hermann Law Group, PLLC. We are happy to discuss your particular case in an initial consultation. Furthermore, we stand ready to guide clients through the process from application to award. Our New York disability attorneys can help. With offices in Tarrytown and Wappingers Falls, New York, Danbury, Connecticut, and Hackensack, New Jersey, we serve clients across three states. Call us at 877-644-9710 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.