Veteran disability attorneys are veterans themselves, and they understand the laws that govern your service-connected benefits. They can help you with every step, from preparing for your C&P exam to arguing your case before the Board of Veterans Appeals.
The Role of a VA Lawyer
While veterans service officers and service organizations are useful in filing an initial claim and helping a veteran through the process, an attorney can offer much more. For one, they have the legal training and years of practice needed to develop a case that resonates with decision-makers at the VA.
This is important because veterans may have a tough time establishing a service connection or definitive causal link between their injuries and their military service. In addition, the VA uses complex formulas to determine disability ratings based on your injuries. Skilled VA disability lawyers can help you establish a high enough rating that the VA can award compensation. Additionally, a VA-accredited attorney can help you with the appeals process. Under current law, attorneys cannot charge for assistance with an initial filing. Still, they can take on a veteran’s case after the VA issues an unfavorable decision or underrates the severity of their injury.
Filing a Claim
A lawyer can help a veteran file a disability claim that meets all the requirements of the VA. They can explain what evidence is required and how it must be presented. They can also work with medical experts to provide information that supports the case. Most veteran disability attorneys understand what the VA wants to see and how it must be presented to ensure that all needed medical information is submitted in the right format.
They can also draw connections between a disability and a veteran’s military service. This is important to achieve what’s known as individual unemployability (IU).
A lawyer can also appeal a denial of a disability claim. This involves submitting a Notice of Disagreement to the local office that made the initial decision. It can take years to get through the entire appeals process, so it’s essential to hire an attorney who has experience representing clients through each stage of the disability benefits system.
Getting the Benefits You Deserve
As a veteran, you may be entitled to hundreds of thousands–perhaps millions–of dollars in tax-free disability benefits. The key is understanding how you qualify and getting the benefits you deserve.
To get disability compensation, you need a qualifying condition that is rated at the minimum level of 10%, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or chronic back pain. You also need to have evidence that your disability was either caused or made worse by active military service.
You can appeal the decision if your claim is denied or not rated high enough. A VA lawyer will carefully review the C&P exam and your evidence to ensure you are awarded all the benefits you deserve. This can be lengthy, but it is better than waiting decades for the benefit to kick in.
Appealing a Denial
A veteran may need to file a disability appeal to get a higher rating or get back pay for service-connected injuries. VA lawyers will help with this process by reviewing the evidence and ensuring it supports your claim.
They will also review any new and relevant evidence, which is important since the VA may not yet see all of the information you submitted with your original claim. In addition, a lawyer for veterans’ disability claims will look at the C&P exams to ensure that the VA assigned the correct rating.
Unfortunately, the VA has a very backlogged system, and many disabled veterans are denied benefits when they first apply. However, they can appeal a denial through several options, including a Higher-Level Review or a Supplemental Claim.