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Veteran’s Disability Benefits

Have you served in the military and sustained a disabling service-connected injury? If so, you might be entitled to disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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Once the VA acknowledges that you meet the criteria for service connection, VA rating specialists will review your application, medical records, and any other documentation you submitted with your claim to evaluate the symptoms you are experiencing, including their severity and the degree to which they are disabling.

Eligibility Requirements for VA Disability Benefits

To qualify for Veterans Disability benefits, you need the following:

  1. Eligible military service
  2. Eligible military discharge (NOTE: A dishonorable discharge does not quality.)
  3. A current service-connected disability
    • Current Diagnosis:Veterans must show that a qualified medical professional has diagnosed a current, disabling medical condition. Our team can help develop your appeal by ensuring that the medical evidence attached to your claim is comprehensive, from a qualified medical professional, and accurately depict the severe nature of your physical and/or mental disability.
    • Service-Connected Injury, Event, or Illness:Veterans must demonstrate that their medical condition was caused by a service-connected injury, event, or illness experienced during or as a result of active-duty service in the U.S. military. To prove this, you must have service records or other documentation that shows the injury, event, or illness occurred during your time in service.
    • Medical Nexus:You must also provide evidence that the injury, event, or illness that occurred during military service is medically related to your current disability. This requirement is also referred to as the “nexus,” or link. Many veterans find that this is the most challenging aspect of completing a successful application or appeal for benefits.
      • Presumptive Service Connection: In some cases, you may not need to establish a medical nexus. For certain time periods and locations of service, VA will presume that your condition is connected to your service. For example, if you served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, VA will presume that you were exposed to Agent Orange and will grant service connection for certain conditions caused by herbicide exposure. Similar presumptions exist for veterans who served in the Gulf War, atomic veterans exposed to ionizing radiation, and former prisoners of war.

How Do I Apply for VA Disability Benefits?

The first step to obtaining VA disability benefits is to file a claim. You can apply online at www.va.gov or at a VA regional benefit office near you.

Before submitting a claim, you must gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. This could include:

  • VA medical records
  • Hospital records
  • Other medical documentation
  • Supporting statements from family members or other military service members
  • Written statement of how your condition began and how and when it worsened
  • Discharge papers
  • Service treatment records
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Initial claims can take a long time to process, although they can be expedited for certain reasons, including terminal illness, Veteran over the age of 75, homelessness, or financial hardship. It is a good idea to put in an initial claim as soon as possible to set an early effective date for your claim.

How Long Do I Have to File a VA Disability Compensation Claim?

If you are a disabled veteran, it is important to know that there is no statute of limitations to apply for VA compensation benefits. However, you should file your application as soon as possible, because in nearly every case you cannot get retro pay before the date you apply for benefits. The VA process is long, and it can take months or years to have your application granted. As such, the sooner you start the process, the faster you can obtain the benefits you need and the further back in time your retroactive benefits will pay.

Was Your VA Disability Compensation Claim Denied?

If you have been denied VA benefits, you are allowed to appeal some or all of the decision.
Unfortunately, the appeals process can be lengthy. It can take from many months, and sometimes even years, for the VA to decide an appeal.

It is important to keep in mind that the effective date of a claim can be lost if you do not maintain appeals for your claim, requiring you to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. This is one reason it is so important to have legal representation.

The VA Appeals Process

If you receive an Unfavorable Decision or believe that the VA underrated your disability, our team will be able to help filing an appeal. We will review the VA’s rating decision, along with your medical documentation, to determine whether we might be able to get the VA to grant your claim, increase your rating, or challenge the effective date that the VA has established for your benefits.

We look forward to helping you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our VA disability attorneys today to discuss your claimat (321) 914-4710.